Ride through the valley in thunder and rain
The battle is raging, redeem this domain
The castle of Eden lies silent above
Darkness surrounded us, away we must go
I look through the eyes of the world
I see there are strangers among us
Awaiting a sign from above
To conquer the power and the glory
Enter the battle, our will to enchain
Bringing us forward, defeating the pain
Into the meeting with swords made of steel
We’re standing together the secret reveals
Come across to the Promised Land
Close your eyes, I will take your hand
Through the river of steel we’ll go
When the dragon lies bleeding
– From “The Dragon Lies Bleeding” (Hammerfall)
The enemies and certain identifiable demagogues of the United States have taken to view our country as a dragon that must be bled of its power and stature. As the mythology of the dragon goes, you could not slay the dragon with one spear, but it would take many spears into the body of the dragon to slay it and “bleed it to death.” As you look at the world today, our enemies, both foreign and domestic, are sending those spears into the body of the United States. I do not have the opportunity in this writing to discuss the various spears in detail other than to list some of them here:
- Economic, financial and cultural crises;
- Radical jihad;
- Enablers of international terrorism;
- The media;
- Weak, misguided leadership in Congress, the White House and in our courts;
- Globalism and multi-culturalists, New World Order zealots;
- United Nations and their subversives;
- Progressive socialists;
- Rogue nations like Iran and North Korea.
These are the “spears” that must be dealt with by new leadership through common sense and a revised U.S. national strategy to survive the mess that has been created. The U.S. has always drawn operational plans from strategic doctrine. Currently, the nation faces unprecedented threats and vulnerabilities. Should we continue America’s near-total reliance upon the logic of deterrence and appeasement, we will be doomed to be bled to death. Continued belief in classical threat-system dynamics could be problematic, even if American planners were to focus on just state sponsors and radical Iranian jihad proxies (like Hezbollah and Hamas). These states, like their surrogates, value particular religious or ideological preferences more highly than their own lives and freedoms.
At the start of the nuclear age, there was the threat of “massive retaliation” and “mutual assured destruction” (MAD). This gave way to “flexible response” and “nuclear utilization theory” (NUT). Interpenetrating these strategic doctrines, first conceived with reference to the USSR, were fierce debates over enemy targeting options. President Obama and team appear to be clueless to today’s threats and definable threat options. These very sensitive examinations will be divisive, but the pertinent issues concern America’s physical survival.
It is not a simple world, strategic doctrine is always a complex matter, and any improved U.S. plans will have to be creative as well as comprehensive. If, for any reason, Iran is permitted to be the hegemonic and nuclear power of the Middle East, our doctrine will have to identify viable global options. In turn, these options will require enemy perceptions of persuasive American power and of an American willingness to actually use this power.
An example of one major threat and spear: Moscow markets cruise missiles launched from a freight container – Russia’s Club-K Freight Container cruise missile. This relatively cheap, extra-smart, easy-to-use Club-K Container Missile System, which Moscow has put on the open market (Iran is the first acquirer), allows cruise missiles or Shehabs to be concealed in freight containers, which can then be launched from a sea platform container ship. I have warned of this “spear” threat for over a year now – with no response from the powers-to-be. It is virtually undetectable by radar until activated. No wonder Iran and Venezuela were keenly interested when the Club-K was put on the market at the Defense Services Asia exhibition in Malaysia for $15 million.
Western military experts are calling it a “real maritime fear for anyone with a waterfront.” The container-cum-missiles, carried by a ship, fishing vessel or truck can approach a targeted coast, highway, or international railway and strike behind the target’s missile defenses without alerting radar monitors or even surveillance drones and satellites. The capability is able to wipe out an aircraft carrier up to 400 kilometers away. The system’s manufacturer, Novato, is directing its marketing tactics at anyone under threat of military action from the United States. One expert accused the Russians of proliferating ballistic missiles on an unheard-of scale.
At the Malaysian exhibition, the marketing film showed the Club-K being activated from an ordinary truck. The truck pulls up, whereupon the container roof lifts up to reveal cruise missiles ready to fire. The operator then pushes a button and the missiles, which have a range of 350 kilometers, are launched without further preparation.
Military sources warn that the sale of Club-K cruise missile systems to Iran or Syria and their transfer to Hezbollah would give them an edge substantial enough to be a game-changer in the Middle East balance of power and strength. Hezbollah would be capable of surreptitiously approaching any coastline in any region and send missiles flying against American, Western, or Israeli strategic targets before they know they are even under attack.
The missile specialist, Novato, which maintains a manufacturing plant in Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, produces an array of missiles against air, sea and land targets, including cruise missiles launched from submarines, as well as the advanced S-300 missile interceptor, which Russia contracted to sell Iran.
How should we deter a nuclear Iran both from launching direct missile attacks and from dispersing nuclear assets among terrorist proxies? And for Deterrence against Nuclear Terrorism (DANT), how should one power compensate for the absence of “fingerprints” and for the limits of satellites and radars? This is significant because Ahmadinejad says that soon there will be a world without the United States and Israel. Coupled with his regular pronouncements to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, this sends nuclear alarm signals that cannot be ignored.
Threats to American cities could come from cars, trucks and ships. Ballistic missile defense would be of no use against such ground-based attacks. Could we truly convince Tehran and its surrogates that any proxy act of nuclear terrorism would elicit a massive nuclear retaliation against Iran itself? We must, but meaningful policies can emerge only from a carefully re-conceptualized U.S. strategic doctrine.
Enemy state proxies were once limited in the damage they could inflict, and the logic of economic, cultural and military warfare was traditionally based on reasonable expectations of victory. Today, some terror and radical jihadi groups/cells could bring greater disasters to the American homeland than could certain countries. These are the “spears” that will bring us greater pain than was deliverable by our national enemies in World War II.
The chessboard is set and the pieces are being moved deftly!
Paul E. Vallely, major general, retired, U.S. Army, is chairman of Stand Up America. He has a distinguished military career of 32 years, serving in many overseas theaters including Europe and the Pacific Rim countries as well as two combat tours in Vietnam. The general has been a military analyst on television and radio for several years.