Missile Defense: Serious Business as Usual
Other parallel developments should also raise serious concerns for America and our allies, including China's expanding its missile production beyond previous Western estimates.
The major argument against taking preemptive military action against Iran is the fear that Tehran's retaliatory capability will engulf the Middle East and other regions in serious violence and turmoil, throwing the world's already fragile economy into a deep recession or even an economic depression.
This mindset is coupled with a peculiar assumption that absent military action the only viable default position is some form of tepid engagement and rhetorically tough diplomacy, which quickly becomes an embrace of the status quo. That position essentially equates to acceptance -- albeit without much enthusiasm -- of the creeping incrementalism, sanctions off-and-on again, and a passive, "business as usual," or "containment," approach in dealing with Iran.
This is a perilous proposition.
New reports reveal that Iran is moving full speed ahead with its nuclear program, and is in full possession of advanced, long-range missiles with which to deliver warheads. Assembling the warheads onto the missiles takes no time and is not complicated. Iran has doubled its production capacity for enriched uranium in its underground facility. The Parchin military facility has been sanitized, making inspections futile.
Other parallel developments should raise serious concerns for America and our allies, including China's expanding its missile production beyond previous Western estimates.
In addition, assessments that Iran possesses only leftover Soviet Scud rocket motors have been thoroughly negated, and new cooperative missile and nuclear technology agreements between North Korea, Iran, and China have come to light.
Perhaps worse yet, Russia, Iran and Venezuela continue to discuss basing missiles near Caracas, right here in our own hemisphere.
U.S. combat commanders, mindful of these developments, have repeatedly noted the need for more inventories of U.S. missile defense elements.
Congress should heed this call even as naysayers recycle misperceptions and half-truths about missile defense.
Twenty years ago, after the end of the Cold War and during the Capitol Hill debates about the future of missile defense, critics often argued that other defense technologies should be prioritized ahead of missile defense; and military commanders' assessments of such needs were often cited to justify cuts to missile defense programs.
Also problematic is the misguided, wish-fulfillment reporting today: it implies that the $9 billion spent on missile defense and its related components by the U.S. military services and the Missile Defense Agency are somehow very "Cold War-like" and thus unnecessary.
It is no surprise then that the 30 long-range interceptors in Alaska and California, and the prospects of a European-based capability to shoot down long-range Iranian missiles, are too often labeled "unnecessary," "provocative" and "too costly."
Sadly, until a nuclear bomb goes off in or above an American city, the professional "business as usual" enthusiasts will advocate the status quo.
But as Robert Walpole, an expert analyst at the CIA, among others, has noted: Iran and North Korea are in the ICBM business and just a "third stage working" away from an ICBM capability.
Russian's serial condemnation of U.S. missile defense deployments rings hollow: the missile threats we face are not governed solely by Moscow and, in fact, are sustained and assisted, in part, by Russian cooperation and trade - rendering our need for missile defense more urgent, not less so. Our combat commanders, as well, are asking for greater production of our missile defenses.
Fortunately, an additional $1 billion a year in support could significantly bolster world-wide missile defense deployments and provide the U.S. and its allies better protection of the homeland.
Of particular need are more Standard Missiles – such as SM-3 1Bs being tested now – which will be deployed on our Navy Aegis ships at home and abroad. We should also focus resources on upgrading the current defense of the continental United States by both modernizing our 30 interceptors in Alaska and California and expanding the use of SM-3s and other defenses in the protection of the East Coast and southern Gulf region of the United States. The number of THAAD batteries in use should also be expanded.
Additional deployments of the Israeli Iron Dome system, including by such allies as the Republic of Korea, are also needed more fully to protect the U.S. and its allies. Some 16 nations have expressed interest in purchasing this system, a sale that would further enhance U.S. security.
Additional work should be initiated on space-based elements of missile defense to take critical advantage of U.S. technological prowess and deal with more sophisticated offensive missile threats.
If we remain wedded to the "business as usual" escapist wishes on Iran and a host of other geostrategic puzzles, we should at least pay attention to Richard Miniter's prescient warning that "in the real world, leaders cannot afford to experiment with dreams."
In the absence, then, of a willingness to eliminate the mullahs' nuclear and terrorist threats, at the very minimum it behooves us, as Americans, to reflect honestly on these gathering threats, and abide by that constitutional requirement to "provide for the common defense."
Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland.
Comment on this item
by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.
by Soeren Kern
"My son and I love life with the beheaders." — British jihadist Sally Jones.
Mujahidah Bint Usama published pictures of herself on Twitter holding a severed head while wearing a white doctor's jacket; alongside it, the message: "Dream job, a terrorist doc."
British female jihadists are now in charge of guarding as many as 3,000 non-Muslim Iraqi women and girls held captive as sex slaves.
"The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that's why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force." — British terrorism analyst Melanie Smith.