Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton will embark on a whirlwind foreign policy tour through Asia next week hoping to establish new strong relations with China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. And in March, Clinton is likely to be the guest of the Russia Foreign Minister in an attempt to help to thaw the recent icy relations during the Bush Administration years. President Obama offered to help to "push reset" on American-Russian relations if the Russians can act cooperatively and constructively with many common goals with the U.S. For example, in the last two days, both U.S. and Russian Navy ships have foiled pirates from Somalia.
It would be in the interest of both Washington and Moscow to prevent an expensive and dangerous arms race and for both nations to move more slowly on military projects that could dramatically tip the parity of military power between the two nations. For example, Russia has been working on hypersonic cruise missile projects designed to evade the American antimissle defenses. Russia has other projects such as silent running submarine engines, that China has also recently tested that have been able to closely tail American ships and submarines for up to two weeks without detection. All of these new military technology projects only present some dangers of creating a new high tech weapons arms race.
However, with space weapons or killer satellites, the U.S., Russia and China all present the biggest danger of creating a new arms race that could threaten the military parity of the nations, and could create a potential for thousands of orbiting space weapons. One problem is that it would take an average of two orbiting antimissile satellite platforms to be able to shoot down most types of solid rocket fuel based missiles. In the case of Russia, with around 5,500 armed warheads, it would take 11,000 orbiting U.S. antimissile satellites to have any ability to down a force this large. First of all the U.S. doesn't have the technology, nor the money, to be able to deploy such a large force of orbiting space weapons, when some space programs such as the NASA Space Shuttle project are based off of 1970's technology, and the program is already so cash strapped as well as fragile and accident prone. Even rain or cold weather can damage the fragile tiles or the shuttle. The U.S. simply cannot invite an expensive arms race with the Russians. Part of the fall of the old Soviet system came from the damage of excessive military spending in that nation during the Reagan years, when Reagan cut many social services and other domestic programs, throwing so much money into a huge arms race. Now the Russians have a strong oil rich economy, while the U.S. has been greatly weakened by the ravages of the deep recession, and banks from nations such as Japan, China and South Korea are propping up the American government buying purchasing bonds. The U.S. is in no financial position to spend wild amounts of cash to match some new Russian missile projects or other weapons. New arms treaties and more cooperation between the states where any thought of warfare should be the ultimate goals are needed.
Secretary Of State Clinton has a great deal of work ahead of her to mop up the foreign policy mess left by the Bush Administration and to renew cooperation with the Russians, who still remain as out greatest military rivals despite the fall of the Iron Curtain some years back. The world community needs peace between these two military superpowers. And the U.S. needs as much freedom from huge military spending projects as possible because of the bad economy. And situations such as Iraq and Afghanistan have only encouraged low tech terrorists and armies around the world to view the U.S. as vulnerable to low tech warfare scenarios. The U.S. needs peace with it's high tech military world rivals, and to improve it's lower tech warfare capability to better handle situations like Iraq or Afghanistan.
While the U.S. military remains the strongest in the world, it still has some great weaknesses due to budget concerns or for the want of some technology that simply isn't available yet. Part of the role of Secretary Of State Clinton will be to promote peace to keep military costs both reasonable as well as within real existing technology realms. However, if the hawkish parties form a coalition government in Israel and decide to attack Iran's nuclear program, which they do not really have the military technology to knock out these 75 foot buried hardened Iranian bunkers, then the U.S. could be forced into a bloody situation far worse than Iraq or Afghanistan to fight a low tech war and clean up the mess. Secretary Of State Clinton certainly has some major challenges ahead of her. And President Obama could unfortunately find himself as the most tested president since Lincoln. Clinton will need to keep any foreign policy brush-fires from developing into huge foreign policy forest fires.
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