Ukraine, Taiwan, Middle East: The worst-case scenario for the Pentagon takes shape

Only 5 years ago, the American military supremacy was such that no one imagined that any international actor could come and challenge the military victory in the United States on the conventional level. Since then, things have changed a lot. Three years ago simulations began to appear showing that the United States and its allies were no longer able to intervene with the necessary and sufficient forces on two major fronts, for example in Europe against Russia, and Middle East versus Iran. Two years ago, with the entry into service of certain new weapon systems, such as the Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile, or the DF3 anti-ship ballistic missile, the very hypothesis of a victory on a single front became less certain.

Today, the latest headquarters wargames show that defending Taiwan against a major conventional Chinese offensive would be nearly impossible, just as it would be difficult to stem a Russian frontal assault in Eastern Europe against Poland. or the Baltic States, for example. Above all, the hypothesis of a simultaneous double front, in Europe against Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific against China, would mobilize the US armies to such an extent that they would be unable to sustain the effort over time, and would be forced to divide their military powers below the thresholds, leaving hope for a possibility of victory over each of the Theaters. We therefore understand why the crises unfolding today in Ukraine against Russia, around Taiwan against China, and in the Middle East between Iran and a contingency alliance formed by Israel and the Sunni monarchies. are most worrying for the White House and the Pentagon.

The American forces no longer have the capacity to intervene massively in two major theaters simultaneously, in order to jointly face the Russian and Chinese forces.

The very important movements of Russian forces observed for 3 weeks in Crimea and along the borders between Donbass and the Russian Federation have been maintained in recent days, with the arrival of new units near the Russian-Ukrainian borders. According to the OSCE, such a deployment of Russian forces had not been observed since the intervention in Crimea and the tensions around Donbass in 2014. Heavy systems intended for use in major theaters, such as anti-aircraft systems in long-range S400, or the Iskander short-range ballistic missiles, have even been observed heading towards the Ukrainian border, raising fears of imminent Russian intervention in the country. Through President Biden, the United States has given Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the assurance of preserving the country's territorial integrity, without, however, deploying American forces for the time being, so as not to provide Moscow with a Casus Belli justifying an intervention.

At the same time, Beijing has dramatically increased the pressure exerted by the PLA's naval and air forces on the independent island of Taiwan. Chinese air missions bringing together fighters, watch and anti-submarine warfare planes, and sometimes long-range bombers, carrying out bypass trajectories through the north or south of the island to the limit of the Taiwanese air defense zone, now take place on a daily basis, while the naval exercises, near the island or along its Pacific coast, and including PLA flotillas which are better and better equipped, have also seen their frequency increase very significantly. The aggressiveness of the Chinese military also increased, as evidenced by the response of a J16 pilot to calls from Taiwan Air Defense when he crossed the center line separating the Taiwan Strait, calling on the Taiwanese to get used to the presence of Chinese planes. because, according to him, the Strait of Taiwan like the island belong to China.

Chinese fighters and bombers are increasing acts of provocation in the Taiwan Pass and around the Independent Island, in order to show their ability to isolate the island from any foreign military aid if necessary.

In an interview with CNN, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated US full support for the defense of Taiwan, as well as the Biden administration's commitment to enforce the Taiwan Relations Act , in order to provide Taipei with the necessary means to ensure its defense. At the same time, the Pentagon multiplies the simulations to try to find a strategy which would allow, in the current state of things, to counter a Chinese invasion force sent against the independent island, without much success it must be admitted. But as in the case of Ukraine, there is no question, for the time being at least, of deploying US forces on Taiwanese soil, which would only precipitate the outbreak of this conflict in the making.

The case of the major crisis brewing in the Middle East is significantly different, since it is the allies of the United States, namely Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain who seem to be in control of Tehran. The latest actions to date include the sabotage of an Iranian cargo ship used by the Revolutionary Guards in the Arabian Sea claimed by Israel in response to attacks by Tehran against Israeli-flagged ships, and especially what appears to be a cyber-sabotage of the Iranian centrifuges at the Natanz power plant, claimed to cover word by Jerusalem, which without causing any victim, significantly lessened Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities. These actions seem to be carried out unilaterally by the allies of the United States, as Joe Biden and the Europeans try to put the Vienna accords back on track, after Donald Trump derailed them in 2017.

Iran has a very large stockpile of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and suicide drones that could be used to strike industrial facilities and cities in Saudi Arabia, Emirates and even Israel in the event of conflict.

The fact is, we can now fear an armed response from Tehran against the instigators of these attacks, in this case Israel, which would not fail to cause a global conflagration in this region so strategic and unstable. Tehran has many means to retaliate, either by using the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, or Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a hybrid strategy, or by using its many ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones, to strike Israel and its allies, and close the straits which is sure to create a new energy crisis, while the world economy is still hard hit by the Covid crisis. In this case, the United States and Joe Biden are trying to advocate moderation, but in the event of a conflagration, Washington would have no choice but to support its traditional allies against Tehran.

If the Middle East crisis is a dynamic of its own, the simultaneous resurgence of tension in Ukraine and around Taiwan may appear to be a coordinated strategy between Beijing and Moscow, so as to prevent Washington from carrying all its weight. military in a single theater, especially since the American armed forces are still widely dispersed on the planet. It is true that on the subject of Ukraine, the European armies could, if they act in concert, neutralize the threat facing Moscow. But except London, which announced the dispatch of Eurofighter Typhoon to Romania to cope with the Russian military reinforcement at the Ukrainian borders and in the Black Sea, the other major European armies, such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and like France, remain remarkably passive, limiting themselves to the only diplomatic channel that we know very little effective on Vladimir Poutine. The same is true in the Pacific, where neither South Korea, the Philippines, nor India have indicated their support for Taiwan. Only Japan has taken a step recently by allowing the United States to use its bases to defend Taiwan if necessary.

The Royal Air Force has announced the dispatch of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Romania to deal with the concentration of Russian forces in the Black Sea and on the Ukrainian borders.

We can also wonder about the very responsibility of the United States in the present situation. By wanting too much to keep control of the defense decisions of its allies, often reduced to the rank of auxiliaries, Washington has considerably altered the strategic involvement of these same allies, unable therefore to seize a subject as serious as the annexation of one country by another at their own borders, to respond to it by a significant and potentially dissuasive strengthening of the posture of their armed forces. Like the relative assurance of being protected by the American military and dissuasive tool, has lost a large part of the interest of Western policies and public opinions in favor of a powerful and autonomous defensive capacity.

Be that as it may, the present situation should prompt European leaders, but also their allied counterparts in the peaceful zone, to quickly review their dogmas in matters of defense. It cannot be ruled out that the concomitance of the crises in the Donbass and around Taiwan is not accidental, and that it aims to partially neutralize the United States' response capacities, at least from a military point of view. The time when peace was guaranteed by American military power alone is over, and it seems time to return to postures comparable to those applied during the Cold War, when the European members of the Atlantic Alliance, however many less numerous than today, they alone represented more than 65% of the conventional military means of this one, against barely more than 45% today. It now seems clear that we can no longer exclude the risk of major conflict, including in Europe, and this in the medium and even the short term, as we can no longer build a security policy on the sole protection coming from from the United States, which cannot be everywhere at the same time. It remains to be seen whether European leaders will have the courage to take the necessary measures within the required timeframe, at the risk of further shocking a public opinion without resilience, for whom the wearing of a mask, vaccination and postponement of holidays linked to the crisis. Covid already constitutes major traumas ...

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