Skyrocketing costs and an aging military are conspiring to leave America vulnerable in unsuspected ways.
Over 70 percent of the surface of the Earth is water. Early in its history, leadership in the United States understood the vital importance of creating a strong, reliable naval force to protect our borders and trade. During the Reagan era, the U.S. Navy boasted a fleet of 600 ships. Today, 272 ships are deployable in combat and support assignments. There has been a 20 percent reduction in the number of usable ships since 1998.
With the explosive cost of new technology and ship building, difficult decisions must be made. There is only so much money available to maintain our force and build security for the future. We simply cannot afford a 600-ship navy, and many defense experts argue we don’t need that many due to weapons advancements and other technology developments.
A 2010 article that couldn’t be more relevant today:
Like a forgotten downtown billboard, Detroit proclaims a warning about the rest of America for any who will stop and look.
If ever an American city was a warning for the nation, it is Detroit. Its crumbling mansions, overgrown boulevards and abandoned factories drive a message home to those who will pay attention. We cannot afford to ignore this once-great city. Why? What killed Detroit is killing America.
Detroit used to be synonymous with wealth and prosperity. It was a city humming with big-finned cars and Motown rhythms. Factories churned out products that ended up on store shelves around the world. Full employment empowered high salaries, flourishing schools and manicured storefronts, with flashy neon lights lining the boulevards. Multiple generations of families shared the same streets and barbecues.
If Ukraine is to still join the EU, expect it to after the cold winter subsides. This way, Russia can no longer blackmail the Ukranian leadership via energy supplies by shutting off the gas lines as it did a few years back — which also was a statement to Europe as it, too, was affected.
Every decent revolution produces an iconic scene. The 1989 Tiananmen protests had tank man; during Germany’s reunification it was a segment of the Berlin Wall swaying back and forth like a wiggly tooth before finally collapsing; in Baghdad in 2003, it was the slow-motion toppling of the giant statue of Saddam Hussein. On Sunday, the budding revolution in Ukraine got its iconic scene, when, amid protests of roughly 500,000 in Kiev’s Independence Square, angry marchers felled a Vladimir Lenin statue then slugged it to pieces with sledgehammers.
The protesters are upset with President Viktor Yanukovich, and specifically his November 29 decision to reject a free-trade deal with the EU. The decision was seen not only as a rejection of Europe, but an embrace of Russia. Many Ukrainians worry that Yanukovich, despite repeated denials, has struck a deal with Vladimir Putin to form a customs union with Russia.
Whatever the outcome, events in Ukraine highlight three important geopolitical realities, each of which is also prophetically significant. Continue reading