The phrase "the tide of war is receding" is guaranteed to go down in history as one of the top ten stupidest things ever uttered by a Western leader, along with "Peace in Our Time!" and "We can do business with Mr. Hitler."
Obama surely reads his daily briefings. Outlining the dangers from Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, and China and Russia behind them. Obama is either monumentally stupid, a low-IQ Black man who had "smoke blown up his ass" his entire life for the ability to speak in standard English not Ebonics for extended periods of time by disingenuous White Liberals who hailed him a genius, and as a consequence continues to fail miserably at elemental, gut-level tests of competence Bill Clinton could pass, or he simply hates America as the epitome of "evil White people" so much he wants to punish them and America. Of course, he could be both. In any event, his words "the tide of war is receding" will be flung back in his face time and time again. It is guaranteed. Because having a strong military is like having insurance, it is costly until you need it. And you always need it. Not having it invites disaster. A man who rammed through ObamaCare to cover illegal aliens and others with health insurance ought to know that.
Having the ability to fight two major conventional wars at the same time is critical. It is critical because America's current enemies, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, China, and Russia are sure to act in a conventional manner to destroy American security objectives dating back to FDR, when America is occupied fully with ONE existing conventional conflict. Which is sure to break out any day now.
Why? Because the international situation is uncertain. And it is uncertain because America is weak, divided, disdains military power, and has been proven without a doubt for the past thirty five years or so to be bullied with little risk. George W. Bush bought America time (though he did not understand what he did, and handled the Iraq War poorly) by making an example of Saddam. To encourage the others. That time is now up.
America faces two fundamental problems. The first is energy scarcity, which can be managed long-term by fracking/drilling in the US and using unconventional techniques, at the expense of Green purity and throwing out green/renewable fantasies of windmills and solar panels powering a modern industrial society. Note: managed. Not solved. Demand for oil and natural gas and coal, too, will keep energy costs high because China, and to a lesser extent India, Brazil, and other developing countries want nice things too, that cost energy: clean water, sewage systems that work, power that goes on and stays on, not just for two intermittent hours a day, hospitals that are clean and sanitary, and a modern industrial base to power all that.
The second problem is related to the first. Food. Zerohedge reports that as Spengler at the Asian Times and PJM has noted, food prices are set to go up indefinitely as arable land declines, petroleum goes up (the two are related, think about it for a minute, no one uses horses to plow fields), and Chinese demand intensifies. Made worse of course by bio-fuel subsidy madness in the US, turning food into fuel.
This is causing a crisis. As Zerohedge points out, in another post, Iran depends on sky-high oil and imports most of its food. Like Tunisia, then Algeria, then Libya, and now Syria, the main cause for discontent is people not being able to eat. As Spengler noted, Chinese peasants will eat before Arabs (and Iranians). Because the Chinese can pay more for food. ZeroHedge notes:
It has been estimated that the Iranian theocracy cannot fund its bloated bureaucracies, military and its welfare state if oil falls below around $40-$45/barrel. Drop oil to $25/barrel and keep it there, and the Iranian regime will implode, along with the Chavez regime in Venezuela.
Saber-rattling actually aids the Iranian regime by artificially injecting a "disruptive war" premium into the price of oil: they can make the same profits from fewer barrels of oil.
The way to put them out of business is drop the price of oil and restrict their sales by whatever means are available. They will be selling fewer barrels and getting less than production costs for those barrels. With no income, the regime will face the wrath of a people who have become dependent on the State for their sustenance and subsidized fuel.
Of course, easier said than done. China has lots of money, needs to keep the power on for its own internal stability, and will reliably prop up the price of oil to keep feeding its people, and paying for their food. Rarely is something simple easily attainable. Like losing weight or playing a musical instrument, it takes work and struggle.
This is precisely WHY the US needs a military that can fight two conventional wars at the same time. Because regimes like Iran and North Korea are hit hard by rising food prices, as well as Pakistan, and want War as a release from forces that threaten to overturn them as in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Libya, and probably Syria. No one wants to end like say, Khadaffi, stabbed in the buttocks with a knife, to death. There for everyone to glory in, on Youtube.
Thus, of course Iran wants War. They crave it, as the only thing that can push oil prices high enough to pay for food, and at the same time allow them unfettered ability to kill all domestic political opponents. It does not matter if they take terrible losses, they've had them before. A swarming attack, against a carrier battle group, preceded by days of false moves and provocations to wear down attention and attentiveness, can easily sink a carrier. Many in Iran think that doing so will cause the US to simply turn tail and run. Under Barack Obama, they may be right.
At the very least, they can smuggle out oil at $200 a barrel, closing the Straight of Hormuz through mobile missile strikes and mines and such, perhaps also launching attacks on Iraq taking out its oil facilities and even the Saudis and Kuwaitis and Omanis. China, and many other countries, would be happy to buy oil at those prices under those circumstances.
Meanwhile, North Korea starves to death, under a new leader even more despised and incapable than the last. One who is young, prone to torturing small animals as a child, and fat and unattractive at twenty eight. Kim Jong Eun has one play, only and that is war. War with South Korea and the US. Not to win, but just not to be overthrown.
Particularly if the US is occupied elsewhere, say the Persian Gulf, and thus all sorts of gains can be seized, even perhaps ALL of South Korea and even Japan. You don't have to be a giant if your enemies are all midgets. Neither country has much of a military, much less military age young men, much less any ability to sustain a long, ugly war. Without the US ready to fight, prospects look a lot better than ending up like Khadaffi. Since Jong Eun is even less loved than the Colonel.
Likely at this point, both Iran and North Korea are playing a game of "after you, Alphonse." Since the second mover has the advantage -- no US forces to confront him.
Obama's cuts to missile defense, his ongoing cuts to nuclear forces, and a reliance on drones (easily hacked, as even Iran was able to do) is a fantasy strategy. Since the US from FDR onward has relied on US Naval and Air dominance in the Persian Gulf to control the world price of oil. To the US liking. And disadvantage in particular of Russia, which has nothing else but oil to offer.
Russia and China are sure to challenge the US dominance, if for no other reason than to order the world to their advantage and the US disadvantage. This is normal politics, Russia can only survive in a world where oil is hideously expensive. China can only survive the onslaught of all those men without any female counterparts because of selective sex abortions, and a slowing economy beset by corruption and cronyism, by dominance of neighbors and ultimately the entire Pacific. Otherwise all those resources (including yes women) don't flow into China to keep the social peace and the folks at the highest levels end up like Khadaffi. No one wants a knife up their ass.
Nor are the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians, the North Koreans, and the Pakistanis (who are fully nuclear, have a disintegrating populace and state, are beset by Jihadis, and under siege from rising food prices) stupid. They know that a limited, cut to the bone American Military might not even be able to win in one place, and surely will not in two or more. Hence the move to create two or more crisis by pouring fuel on any regional crisis set afire.
In my opinion, at some level Obama understands this and welcomes this. All those decades of "hate America" along with the "hate Whitey" rhetoric of Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan (a frequent visitor to the White House according to logs, unsurprising since Obama was a neighbor of Farrakhan's in Chicago) had to take their intellectual toll. At some level, Obama constantly strives to make all those sermons he heard from Wright come true. That is Barack Obama. You don't spend twenty years listening to Rev. Wright (and likely Louis Farrakhan) and not want to make their dreams come true.
Ultimately that is a stupid move, since leaders rarely prosper by punishing their people. Nor is the model of most Muslim tribal nations (raise up a tribe of favored few, like Saddam's Tikritis, and punish the rest) likely to succeed in a nation as big and as powerful (in the sense that ordinary people are not beaten dogs, but individuals jealous of their liberties, mostly) as America. Obama's likely destination is impeachment and conviction, with a long jail time as an object lesson. Being the first President to deliberately lose critical wars in disastrous fashion that degrades life for the average American (oil and food at unaffordable levels for years until drilling and growing are refashioned) pretty much guarantees that. But for years, Obama was never punished politically, socially, or economically for associating with odious figures like Wright and Farrakhan, so it is no surprise that he deliberately wants to harm America.
The alternative of course is not endless Wars for Democracy in Muslim lands. But rather a military able to dominate the Pacific and Persian Gulf at the same time. Withdrawing troops from Europe is a minor savings, but closing bases there leads to a lack of forward positioning in the area and increases US dependence on … Israel. As the only friendly country in the area with ports, airbases, and a population able to support force projection. While Germany, Italy, and England are not close to the Middle East, they are closer than Arkansas or Georgia, and provide "good enough" ability to stage and marshall forces bound for the Middle East. While troops can and should be withdrawn from many areas, the bases should remain.
Drones, easily hacked and dependent on an increasingly vulnerable satellite system (now even Iran has the ability to shoot down satellites, joining Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan) are no substitute for US air power with the best air superiority fighter (the F-22, canceled) and the best ground support airplane (the A-10, canceled). Cyberwarfare is no match for US naval forces able to punish enemies and control the seas (including keeping the Straights of Hormuz open for shipping). These all cost, and the costs seem high. Until say, Iran and North Korea and China and Pakistan (and perhaps even Venezuela) all launch attacks hoping to achieve regional dominance cheap and easy at the US's expense.
If you liked your life with gas at $5 a gallon, wait until it reaches $10 per gallon. See how much social peace is bought then. The US too, is not immune from the social changes around the globe of Chinese peasants eating a lot better than they did before.