Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has called for a “new vision” for the military even if no one, including him, can explain what it is. Austin has been touting something he calls “Integrated Deterrence” a buzzword that seems to involve AI, the State Department, and some sort of new way of war. But mostly it means that war is a silly idea and that no one should fight wars.
“The cornerstone of America’s defense is still deterrence, ensuring that our adversaries understand the folly of outright conflict,” Austin declared in his big Pearl Harbor speech.
The problem, for the last 70 years, is that Americans see war as folly, but our enemies do not. And Austin, who headed up Obama’s disastrous retooling of the Iraq War which turned over half the country to Iran and the other half to ISIS, ought to know that better than anyone else.
There’s a massive gap between Patton’s “Americans play to win all the time” and Austin’s insistence that, “the costs and risks of aggression are out of line with any conceivable benefit.”
Iran certainly doesn’t think so and Obama and Austin didn’t give it any reason to think differently.
We end up fighting endless wars because we get into them to deter rather than to defeat the enemy. Our leaders believe wars are a terrible idea, and so they never set out to win one. Instead they stumble into wars and wait around for our enemies to be deterred by our determination to fight them to a stalemate until we give up and go home. And then do it again.
But if the military isn’t for winning, what is it for? Austin’s “Integrated Deterrence” means the military playing second fiddle to the State Department. He argues that the “U.S. military isn’t meant to stand apart, but to buttress U.S. diplomacy” and work with other federal agencies.
Austin already knows to defer to the State Department because he was a member of Secretary of State Blinken’s Pine Island Capital gang whose people now dominate foreign policy.
And integration means Austin serving on Biden’s task force to promote labor organizing.
What does any of that have to do with the military? A better question might be what Biden and Austin’s woke new military has to do with the military.
In his 100 days review, Austin claimed that his first priority was sexual assault. While rape and any crime in the military should be dealt with, it sends a ridiculous message to our enemies when that’s the top priority of the U.S. defense chief. ”Sexual assault is a problem that plagues us. It is a readiness issue. It is a leadership issue. We’re going to lead real change for real results,” Austin ranted. Somehow I doubt China’s military bosses are focusing on crime issues.
After sexual assault there was extremism and vaccine rates: all of which are political priorities.
But Austin came into office defining the coronavirus as our greatest national security challenge. And then declaring global warming to be an “existential threat” that he intended to meet by “electrifying our own vehicle fleets.” Because what the military really needs is electric cars that won’t function when the temperature drops or the charging stations are too far away.
While the Pentagon is focusing on leftist politics, Afghanistan is heating up with some of the worst fighting in a while and the Taliban are being hit with the hardest air strikes in years even as Biden preps for an alleged withdrawal. The Taliban have been making gains and the Biden administration would like to avoid a humiliating retreat under fire. But that may be unavoidable.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley was assuring the troops that whether you’re “male or female, gay or straight or trans or something in between”, it’s all good.
While all the identity politics is making headlines, the big questions about China and Islamic terrorism aren’t. Even the question of whether we’re withdrawing from Afghanistan is still on the table despite Biden’s announcement and all the media buzz. Obama had already announced a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Austin oversaw Obama’s equally fake withdrawal from Iraq.
The official word is that the troop numbers are going to zero. But it all depends on how you define numbers and troops. Or as Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby put it, there won’t be a “U.S. military footprint on the ground in Afghanistan, with the exception of what’s going to be required to support the diplomatic mission there.”
And some sort of unstated counterterrorism capabilities.
While China preps for what looks like an invasion of Taiwan and Iran races forward to a nuclear bomb, the Secretary of Defense is delivering speeches full of environmentalist buzzwords like a “shared commitment” to a “resilient” and sustainable future”, declaring, “we share this planet.”
But that’s what integrated defense means. Instead of expanding the capabilities of the military, its existing capabilities are integrated into whatever woke policy priorities are hot right now.
Austin isn’t overseeing a military machine, but a political organization being used to support whatever the New York, San Francisco, and D.C. economic, cultural, and political elites want.
Democrats are defining everything as a war, from global warming to equity, as wars, except for actual wars. And the military is being used to fight every political war with no clue about how to fight the actual wars over the horizon. The new visions just means that the men on the ground will still be dealing with conflicts the same way that they have with no new lessons learned.
Withdrawing from Afghanistan doesn’t mean that we’ve learned anything, just that it’s unpopular. And we’re likely to be back in Afghanistan or Iraq using the same flawed approach because the military leadership is too busy spewing woke talking points to actually lead.
That’s bad enough when it comes to Islamic terrorists, but far worse if we fight China.
The People’s Republic of China hasn’t spent the last two decades focusing on vision statements and global warming. Its form of identity politics, unlike ours, is militantly nationalistic and convinced of its own superiority. Meanwhile America is convinced of its own inferiority.
And our military is run by men and women who are obsessed with indoctrinating the troops with their own brand of leftist politics, organizing them politically, but not militarily.
That doesn’t mean that we won’t stumble into a war.
It only takes one side to start a war as we learned painfully on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. China, unlike Secretary of Defense Austin, doesn’t believe in sharing the planet and isn’t focused on sexual assault tribunals or electric cars. It intends to win.
Austin’s Pearl Harbor speech is rich in unintentional ironies. Pearl Harbor was supposed to show off our deterrence even while the FDR administration imposed an embargo on Japan.
Democrats love economic sanctions, but they don’t tend to work, and instead of folding to the embargo, Japan went on the offensive. As China prepares its own campaign of expansionism and the Biden administration, which likes to compare itself to the FDR administration, uses sanctions to avoid making the difficult decision whether to engage or disengage, history could repeat itself all over again. But this time when the planes come, they won’t catch sailors ashore, instead they’ll be listening to critical race theory and feminist lectures while charging electric cars.