May 29, 2017

Trump Needs to Upgrade the Nuclear Triad to Defend America from China and Russia

The United States is the only nuclear power that has not modernized its nuclear stockpile. Barack Obama, various previous presidents, and Congress have failed to protect the national security. America’s nuclear arsenal and ICBMs are obsolete. This is why China and Russia do not fear America and this is very dangerous.

China captured a U.S. Navy drone in the South China Sea

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An unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) drone is bright yellow and about 10 feet long. It often moves slowly and autonomously around the sea to collect data about the ocean floor and environment for weeks or months before U.S. Navy ships retrieve them.

The website Stratfor published an article on December 16, 2016 titled “China captures a U.S. Navy Drone in the South China Sea.” It explained that a Chinese warship seized a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) in the South China Sea. According to several reports, China deployed a Navy ship on December 15 to steal the U.S drone about 57 nautical miles northwest of the Philippines’ Subic Bay port. This occurred just before the USNS Bowditch was preparing to retrieve the underwater drone. Department of Defense officials have said that the United States has requested that Beijing return the drone. The incident comes as President-elect Donald Trump has criticized China for unfair trade, currency manipulation, and imperialism on the South China Sea.

On December 17, 2016, China stated that it had seized the drone to ensure the “safe navigation of passing ships and personnel.” China said it would give it back. This was an unacceptable excuse for what was a clear violation of international law and another affront to America. On that same day, President-elect Donald J. Trump blasted the theft of U.S. equipment and tweeted: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters-rips it out of water and takes it out of water to China in unprecedented act.”

On December 15, 2016, a U.S. Navy underwater drone deployed by the USNS Bowditch was captured and stolen by the Navy of China resulting in a formal diplomatic protest. This incident is one of many involving China, a nation that has harassed U.S. Navy ships and aircrafts for several years during the Obama administration.

Stratfor pointed out that USNS Bowditch is an oceanographic survey ship. This ship is part of a 29-ship Special Mission Ship program and operates in the South China Sea. Stratfor pointed out the following: “The USNS Bowditch, a Pathfinder-class survey ship under the Naval Oceanographic Office’s Maritime Sealift Command, is routinely deployed to survey and map the ocean floor. Though this mission is ostensibly civilian in nature, the data the ship collects also has useful military applications that are particularly relevant for submarine navigation. In its demand for the UUV’s safe return, the United States asserted that the vehicle had been captured in international waters. The latest episode appears to be a fairly bold move on China’s part.”

More than likely Chinese leaders are trying to assert that 90% of the South China Seas and its reefs and islands belong to China. The Permanent Court of Arbitration recently denied that claim. The theft occurred more than 50 nautical miles from the Scarborough Shoal, China’s nearest territorial claim. The underwater mapping that the Bowditch drone would have been engaged in can be used to support U.S. anti-submarine operations by identifying submarines’ most likely paths.

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This map of the South China Sea shows where the captured of the Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) drone was captured about 800 miles from China. It was a final insult to Obama.

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The damaged EP-3 Navy surveillance aircraft is shown on the ground on Hainan Island.

A serious incident between China and America occurred in April 2001. An EP-3 Navy surveillance aircraft was operating about 70 miles from Hainan Island when it was intercepted by two Chinese J-8 fighters. A collision between the EP-3 and one of the J-8s caused the death of the Chinese pilot, and the EP-3 surveillance aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan. The 24 crew members were detained and interrogated by the Chinese authorities. Eventually the Americans were released.

Paul Sonne and Gordon Lubold wrote an article titled “U.S. Demands Return of Survey Drone Taken by China in South China Sea” which was published in the Wall Street Journal on December 16, 2016. Sonne and Lubold wrote that it was the first time Beijing has captured a U.S. drone since the Chinese took a Navy surveillance plane on Hainan Island following a midair collision on April 20, 2001. The drone is valued at approximately $150,000. It is one of many that the U.S. Navy uses around the world to collect “bathymetric data from the sea, along with data on the water’s salinity, temperature and current flow.”

The reporters explained the following: “The seizure of the drone marks the latest and perhaps sharpest point of tension between U.S. and Chinese military forces in and around the South China Sea, a critical trade waterway where China has built artificial islands and laid claim to a vast swath of maritime territory, to the dismay of neighbors and U.S. officials…The Chinese have installed antiaircraft weapons and other small arms on all seven of its reclaimed islands in the South China Sea. China’s reclamation and militarization of the islands have raised concerns in Washington that Beijing is planning to enforce broad and disputed Chinese claims to the sea, a critical maritime hub that sees more than $5 trillion in trade transit its waters annually.”

In violation of international law China, has installed antiaircraft weapons and other arms on all seven islands it has built in the South China Sea. This was done despite President Xi Jinping’s promise not to militarize the islands in the Spratly archipelago, where Beijing’s territorial claims overlap with those of several other nations. President-elect Donald J. Trump has said that he is ready to confront Beijing on territorial issues.

Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, denounced the Chinese and demanded the U.S. to take action against the weaponry. He stated the following: “It appears China is intent on transforming these features into operational bases that will allow its military to project power and assert control of one of the most vital international waterways. This is unacceptable.”

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Admiral Harry Harris is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

As usual Obama did nothing except to ask that the drone be returned. He could have sent several Navy ships to the area to show strength. U.S. Pacific allies are seeing the weakness shown by America in dealing with the Chinese hybrid naval war. China is becoming emboldened and more serious incident will be contemplated against the U.S. Navy ships and aircrafts.

Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said recently in a speech at an Australian think tank, the following: “The United States will not allow the shared domains to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea. We will cooperate where we can and be ready to confront where we must.”

President-elect Trump has indicated he will take a harder line than Barack Obama toward China. He said recently that he would review U.S. commitments to Taiwan and the one China policy. He also accused Beijing of building a “massive military complex” in the South China Sea.

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USNS Impeccable

On March 8, 2009, the USNS Impeccable was 75 miles south of the island of Hainan, China, when it was followed by five Chinese ships. Two Chinese naval trawlers maneuvered close to the USNS Impeccable approaching as close as 50 feet waving Chinese flags and ordering the Impeccable from the area.

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Two Chinese trawlers stopped directly in front of the Impeccable, forcing the ship to conduct an emergency all stop in order to avoid collision.

The Impeccable sprayed water at one of the nearest Chinese ships and radioed the Chinese crews informing them of its intentions to leave the area and requesting a safe pass to travel. When it was trying to leave the area, the two Chinese trawlers dropped pieces of wood in the Impeccable’s path and stopped directly in front of it, forcing it to do an emergency stop to avoid a collision. Once the Impeccable got under way, the crew aboard one of the trawlers used a grappling hook to try to snag Impeccable’s towed sonar array.

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One Chinese crewman waves a Chinese flag, while another uses a grappling hook to try to snag USNS Impeccable’s towed sonar array.

The United States filed a formal protest following the incident stating that, under international law, the U.S. military can conduct activities “in waters beyond the territorial sea of another state without prior notification or consent” including in an exclusive economic zone of another country. The U.S. diplomatic note stated that “The unprofessional maneuvers by Chinese vessels violated the requirement under international law to operate with due regard for the rights and safety of other lawful users of the ocean.”

China’s Foreign Ministry responded that the Pentagon’s complaint that five Chinese vessels had harassed the Impeccable was “totally inaccurate.” This claim was disputed by several released reports, which all state that the Impeccable was interfered with numerous times, both while operating in the area and when attempting to leave.

On December 19, 2016, the Wall Street Journal wrote an excellent editorial titled “China Tests U.S. Resolve” regarding the efforts of China to illegally challenge the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Below is the editorial:

“China’s theft of a U.S. Navy underwater drone in full view of the USNS Bowditch on Thursday is a telling episode. While Beijing agreed to return the drone over the weekend, along with bluster that the U.S. had hyped the heist, the Chinese navy’s actions were a deliberate provocation. China is testing U.S. resolve to maintain freedom of navigation in international waters that Beijing illegally claims as its own.

Some think the theft is a response to Donald Trump’s decision to take a congratulatory call from Taiwan’s President. But the People’s Liberation Army has pulled these stunts before. In April 2001, a PLA pilot tried a dangerous intercept with a U.S. spy plane in international airspace. He misjudged the distance, losing his own life and causing the U.S. plane to make an emergency landing in China. Beijing released the crew and plane after a 10-day standoff.

In March 2009, the PLA began a harassment campaign against the USNS Impeccable in international waters. After several days of dangerous maneuvers by five Chinese ships and one plane, the Chinese maritime militia tried to steal a towed sonar array from the ship. Whether China today is responding to Mr. Trump or offering a final insult to President Obama is beside the point because the drone theft is part of a larger Chinese pattern.

China’s behavior shows its intention to intimidate its neighbors and establish hegemony in East Asia. In recent weeks the PLA air force has flown practice bombing missions, with fighter escorts, near the Japanese island of Okinawa and around Taiwan. The Japanese air force scrambled to intercept Chinese planes 571 times last year, up from 96 in 2010. Recently China has deployed military forces on disputed shoals in the South China Sea, contradicting President Xi Jinping’s promise to Mr. Obama.

China objects to U.S. Navy and Air Force transits near these shoals. The Obama Administration promised to carry out such missions regularly but then restricted the Pentagon to a handful. That sent a message that the U.S. can be intimidated from exercising its rights.

The drone theft may be a Chinese warning that the U.S. Navy will face harassment if a Trump Administration steps up such patrols. China is also rapidly expanding its submarine fleet, as an asymmetric response to U.S. surface dominance, and undersea drones map the ocean floor and test currents and sonar for submarine passage and detection.

The Chinese interception occurred about 50 nautical miles from the U.S. base at Subic Bay in the Philippines. The recent anti-American rants by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may also have encouraged China to hope that an episode at sea could drive a larger rift between Manila and Washington. The Navy will have to expect more such interference.

All of this is occurring as Mr. Trump is signalling his intention to take a tougher line with China, at least initially, as he renegotiates the bilateral economic and strategic relationship. Mr. Trump’s precise goals aren’t clear, but one promise he’s likely to fulfill is rebuilding the U.S. Navy to reinforce America’s Pacific presence.

Chinese leaders may think these shows of force will intimidate the Trump Administration the way they did Mr. Obama. But they are likely to have the opposite effect. Mr. Trump doesn’t separate economic from security issues, and the Chinese are playing with fire.”

Russia is America’s number one geopolitical enemy

Vladimir Putin 2015.jpgVladimir Putin does not respect Barack Obama and now Russia has more nuclear warheads than America.

Both China and Russia are harassing U.S. aircrafts and Navy ships around the world. These two nations and their allies represent an existential threat to America. The nation needs to drastically increase the budget of the Pentagon and improve the nuclear arsenal and missiles to match or exceed the better-equipped Russian and Chinese missiles and other weapons. Anti-ballistic missile defense must be improved. Failure to do so will severely endanger the national security of the United States.

It might provoke a devastating combined Russian-Chinese surprise nuclear attack upon America as weakness invites aggression from the dictators who rule those two nations. This writer revealed how Russia and China are developing hypersonic glide vehicles to defeat the increasingly sophisticated anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense of the United States and its allies. These two enemy nations are ahead in the development of hypersonic weapons.

The nation that achieves mastery of hypersonic weapons first will overturn the principles of how wars are waged. The development of hypersonic weapons is similar to the development of nuclear arms. America is in great danger as the balance of military power has shifted against it. The only area that America has superior weapons is in space. Russia and China are working diligently to develop weapons superior to America in space such as the hypersonic glide vehicles.

Vladimir Putin has frequently threatened nuclear war against America and its allies. It is very important for Americans to understand that Russia is the number one geopolitical enemy of America. Equally important is to know that Russia is using jihadists throughout the world as a weapon against the United States and the West. China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and other nations are waging successful cyber warfare against America and stealing its industrial and military secrets.

Unfortunately, the Obama-Clinton administration has done very little to stop the cyber warfare from our enemies.

Russia has violated with impunity the New START nuclear agreement

The Department of State has reported that Russia increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the past six months under a strategic arms reduction treaty as Obama ordered America nuclear warhead stocks to be reduced sharply. Since April 2016, Russia has added 61 new nuclear warheads. Incredibly, Obama ordered the Pentagon during the same period to reduce its deployed nuclear warheads by 114. Obviously, this ill-advised action has increased the disparity between America and Russia and has seriously endangered the national security.

Bill Gertz wrote an article titled “Russia Adds Hundreds of Warheads under Nuclear Treaty” which was published in the Washington Free Beacon website on October 4, 2016. The reporter explained that Russia’s nuclear warhead increases since 2011 suggest that Putin does not intend to cut its nuclear forces and will abandon the New START arms treaty as part of a major nuclear buildup.

Gertz pointed out that Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon nuclear weapons specialist now with the National Institute for Policy, said that, in his opinion, it is now highly unlikely that Russia intends to comply with New START. Schneider said the following: “Moscow appears to be on a path to doubling its warheads. With or without New START, Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads are likely to increase to 3,000 by 2030. I think it is also clear that the Obama administration has an unannounced program to implement Obama’s proposed one-third reduction in strategic nuclear forces from the New START level unilaterally. A strategic military balance that existed in 2011 when the treaty was approved has now been reversed by Russian increases and U.S. cuts. In 2011, the United States had a lead of 263 deployed warheads, we are now 429 deployed warheads below Russia. The Russians will think this is quite important. It could impact Putin’s willingness to take risks.”

Shamefully, the Obama administration is continuing a program of unilateral nuclear disarmament despite promises by President Obama to modernize and maintain U.S. nuclear forces as long as strategic dangers are present. This is happening as Russia and America have increased tensions over Syria. The Russian action followed the State Department’s decision to cut off talks with Russia on Syria.

Gertz wrote that the nuclear buildup is raising new fears that Putin is planning to break out of New START treaty limits rather than comply with the accord. Russian forces have deployed 249 warheads above the warhead limit set by the treaty to be reached by February 2018. Since the treaty went into effect in 2011, Russia increased its total warhead stockpile from 1,537 warheads to 1,796 warheads, an increase of 259 warheads. At the same time the Obama administration has cut U.S. nuclear forces by 433 warheads during the same period.

It is obvious that Obama has willfully and deliberately downgraded America military superiority making America a lesser superpower. This is treason and dereliction of duty! Why Republicans in Congress have not denounced this unilateral disarmament while the enemies of America are getting stronger militarily? Why is the media not writing editorial criticizing Obama’s endangering our national security? After all, if Russia and China were to attack America and defeat it in a World War III, all Democrats, Republicans, and independents would suffer alike. This is not a matter of politics but of survival.

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Air Force General John E. Hyten

Gertz wrote that Air Force General John E. Hyten, nominee to be the next commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, warned the Senate during a hearing in September 2016 that Russia is modernizing both its strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. General Hyten stated the following to the Senate Armed Services Committee: “It seems clear that Russia has been making large investments in its nuclear weapon programs as well as modernizing both its strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons. In addition to advancing nuclear capabilities, Russia is emphasizing new regional and strategic approaches, and declaring and demonstrating its ability to escalate if required. Collectively, Russian development of advancing weapons capabilities and its evolving war fighting doctrine is concerning.”

Gertz explained the following: “Under New START, the United States and Russia agreed to reduce deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 warheads. Deployed land-based and submarine-launched missiles and bombers will be cut to 700. Missile launchers and non-deployed heavy bombers will be reduced to 800. While U.S. nuclear forces are very old and in need of modernization, Russian nuclear forces are being modernized. By 2020, nuclear missile submarines, land-based missiles, and bombers will be modernized, with 70 percent of the nuclear forces replaced with advanced systems, according to U.S. officials.”

Russia abandoned the 2000 agreement on plutonium reduction

Russia announced on October 4, 2016 that it had abandoned a 2000 agreement to reduce stockpiles of plutonium originally intended for nuclear weapons. Gertz said that Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook reported with respect the Russian rejection of the plutonium agreement, “We’re disappointed with their decision.”

Gertz wrote that other alarming signs of Russian nuclear weapons advances include intelligence reports that Moscow is expanding underground nuclear command. This is a violation of the New START treaty. Putin is also planning to double its nuclear warhead stockpiles for new multiple-warhead missiles.

Obama, who is the architect of the destruction of the United States, is ignoring Russia’s rapid reaming and modernization of its nuclear arsenal and is moving forward with a unilateral disarmament scheme. This is dereliction of duty and treason!

Donald J. Trump needs to upgrade the nuclear triad to defend America from China and Russia.

The aggressive behavior by China and Russia needs a strong response. This is why it is of utmost importance that Donald J. Trump upgrades the nuclear triad to defend America from China and Russia. Fortunately, the President-elect has supported a revamp of U.S. nuclear forces set to start soon at an estimated cost of $500 billion. It would take several years to improve the nuclear arsenal. In the meantime, the Pentagon is developing new weapons which are classified. The 2017 Pentagon budget has an estimated $62.2 billion or 11% of the total budget. Pentagon’s efforts to replace the nuclear triad of submarines, land-based missiles and the B-21 bomber over the next decade will remain classified.

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The B-21 bomber is being developed to eventually replace the B-52 of the 1950s.

Conclusion

Russia and China are committing aggression unimpeded around the world. Obama, with the help of Hillary Clinton when she served as Secretary of State, has willfully and deliberately downgraded America’s military superiority and made America a lesser superpower. Both have weakened American power abroad.

The disastrous Obama administration legacy fostered danger and insecurity in the world. President Obama has seriously endangered our national security. Donald J. Trump needs to reverse the immense damage done by Obama and Clinton. The policy of Obama and Clinton of unilateral nuclear disarmament must be stopped.

Donald J. Trump has promised to rebuild our military and appointed competent retired generals to the Cabinet and the White House. Only when America has the capability to wield overwhelming nuclear and military power can America deter its enemies from threatening Americans and its allies. As President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is no more than one generation away from extinction.” Our survival is at stake! We need America to be resurgent and not America in decline!

Frank de Varona is an educator, historian, journalist, and internationally known expert on politics, economics, foreign affairs and national security issues. He was born in Cuba and, at the age of 17, he participated on the Bay of Pigs invasion in an effort to eradicate communism in Cuba. After spending two years in prison, he returned to the United States, where he earned three college degrees. He is married to Dr. Haydée Prado, a clinical psychologist, and has a daughter Irene and a grandson Danny.  Professor de Varona had a 36-year career in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools as a social studies teacher, principal, region director, region superintendent, associate superintendent of instruction and interim deputy superintedent of schools. He also was an associate professor of social studies in the College of Education at Florida International Education for seven years.  Professor de Varona has written 22 books and over 400 hundred articles in newspapers and magazines. His most recent book is entitled – The Gathering Threat of Russia, China, and Their Allies to America (2016) –  Frank de Varona is a Director of Bear Witness Central in the Miami-Dade area.

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