The New Era
The New Era in world history started on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked. This new era, we quickly learned, would be characterized by asymmetric warfare: A small jihadist terrorist group, armed with box cutters, was able to attack the United States with civilian airliners, stagger the world’s only superpower and shatter the false sense of invulnerability Americans had felt since the end of the Cold War.
The attacks of September 11 led the U.S. first into Afghanistan and then into Iraq. In each of these fronts, U.S. forces achieved rapid victories over enemy regimes, but efforts to secure lasting stability in Afghanistan and Iraq proved elusive. The high costs in blood and treasure of Iraq soured the American people on the intervention there and led to the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops without the proper Military infrastructure and security force being in place.
In this new era we find America’s weaknesses accentuated by shortsighted policies such as sequestration, which has deprived the Military of needed resources and triggered a massive downsizing of the Military—all in a time of war and amidst the reemergence of Russia, rise of China, and reckless actions of North Korea and Iran.
We find Russian strongman Vladimir Putin steering an aggressive expansionist movement in Ukraine, Georgia and the Arctic.
In this new era, Putin and his ilk neither fear the West’s military alliances nor respect the West’s values of political freedom, economic freedom and the rule of law.
1. Russia appears to want to reassert control over the former Soviet captive nations, and is instituting a new form of “hybrid warfare” to achieve this end through stealth and deception. This strategy could and probably will be used in the Baltic nations, Poland and Romania, all of which now feel threatened.
2. China is following the expansionistic aggressive example set by Russia by building islands out of submerged reefs in international waters and in waters claimed by other nations. China’s man-made islands are being turned into military bases from which China is attempting to extend its reach—and limit America’s. The Chinese have placed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, warplanes and radars on these illegal islands to protect their recent spoils. They have built a military-style 10,000 foot runway that can accept any size jet, and a carrier-killer missile that can attack our Navy’s aircraft carriers in the South China Sea. All of this activity and the military threats are taking place in one of the busiest shipping lanes on the globe.
3. In the Middle East, thanks in part to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, we see Iran emerging as a new powerbase and increasing terrorism in the region, with Russia furnishing the arms and new era weaponry at every turn.
4. In North Korea, we see a paranoid schizophrenic leader firing off one missile after another, testing nuclear devices and threatening war against the U.S., South Korea, Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations. The American Security Council Foundation forecast this scenario of a nuclearized North Korea over 15 years ago. We have failed as nation to keep nuclear technology from leaders that have no respect for their own people, and only respect power in their erratic and brutal hands.