I rejoiced at Trump's election and at so much of what he's been doing since then. Most of all the way he continues taking a flame-thrower to the lying media. But what the hell is he playing at in proposing a few days ago to implement “the greatest military build-up in American history"? After all America spends, according to some estimates, more on "defence" than the rest of the world combined. Apparently huge additional numbers of military personnel, aircraft carriers, missiles and bombers are urgently needed.
For what? Maybe "Defence" Secretary Tillerson is offering us a clue. "We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” Now Mr. Secretary that is stupid and dangerous talk. You don't threaten a major power unless you have the means to enforce that threat. Otherwise you risk humiliation (think Obama's red lines in Syria) - or a conflagration.
So how would America force China to abandon those islands? Station a major naval task force in situ? If so they'd be sitting ducks. The Chinese have developed advanced ship-killer missiles that would devastate such a fleet resulting in thousands of US servicemen returning in body bags. What then? A land invasion? Obviously preposterous. A nuclear war? Equally preposterous - at least I hope so! In short no matter how much more is spent on "defence" the threat from Tillerson is hollow. And highly dangerous.
And it's not just China. American "defence" forces are great for destroying infrastructure and large detachments of concentrated combatants (and all too often non-combatants!) while their Navy would easily defeat any other nation's fleet in all-out combat. But the war game has changed, as Iraq and Afghanistan, inter alia, have shown. If Trump doubled spending the American military would still not be able to hold down these relatively small and powerless countries. And what of the enemy du jour, "Terror"? Maybe lots more aircraft carriers, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles can forestall a jihadi planting a bomb in a train or driving a lorry into a crowd of kuffars. But how exactly is unclear to me.
This is not to criticise American fighting men (I exclude the non-fighting women and transgender freaks). Problem is that they're structured to fight WW II all over again - a common failing throughout history, re-fighting the last war. Another and more ominous lesson from history is that the pressure to use huge armies and flashy new weapons is hard to resist.
So again, why the gargantuan budget-busting military budget in the first place and now putting it on steroids with “the greatest military build-up in American history"? And how will this be financed? Remember that the reign of HRH Obama The First saw the national debt double, to an eye-watering $20 trillion. Which brings me back to China and the transformation of international competition. Because if China chooses it can bring down the dollar (and with it the proposed military build-up) by flooding the markets with US Treasuries. Sure, the Chinese public would suffer from this as well but they - like Russians and unlike Americans - are well used to suffering.
We can only hope that Trump is playing some kind of game here, messing with his internal enemies' minds as he's done so well up to now. Hope.