Swoop: Washington’s World: January 7th – 13th, 2012 – The New Defense Line

Swoop: Washington’s World: January 7th – 13th, 2012 – The New Defense Line
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Swoop: “As anticipated, President Obama’s January 5th announcement on defense strategy set the stage for an approximately 8% reduction in military spending over the next decade. Precise details of where the cuts will fall will be worked out in consultation with the Congress.

However, with reductions in numbers for both the army and the marines, the shape of the US military is transitioning away from an expeditionary format based around overseas ground wars to a format in which the US relies on naval, air and space assets to project power. Obama confirmed the “pivot” in US strategic priorities from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region, while leaving a considerable military capability in the Middle East. He stressed that, even with these cuts, the US would still be spending as much as the next ten nations combined and that no reduction in US global supremacy would result.

Indirectly, this is intended to signal to China that the US will remain a significant actor in East Asia. US officials interpret Chinese expressions of concern in the regard as indicating that they “have got the message.” Given the critical reaction by leading Republican presidential contenders to the new strategy, Obama’s policy is not the last word on this subject. However, from our contacts at the Pentagon and with the presidential campaigns, we expect the main lines to endure.

The one exception may be Iran which, as we expected, is emerging as a touchstone of “toughness” in the presidential campaign rhetoric. The Administration remains, as we have reported, resolutely opposed to a military strike on Iran. Nonetheless, recent Iranian threats over shipping in the Strait of Hormuz have raised the level of alert in Washington to a possible uncontrolled escalation of events in the Gulf. Orders to the Firth Fleet are to observe restraint.

The US and Israel will hold week-long joint missile and air defense exercises in Southern Israel beginning on January 8th. Elsewhere in the Middle East, the pattern is reversed. Despite the continued bloodshed in Syria and Iraq, the Administration is showing little interest in becoming involved.

In Egypt, US diplomats are extending their contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood. On North Korea tension is also relaxing with State Department officials in the region expressing relief at the stable transition of leadership.”

Source: http://theswoop.net

Photos Credits:
Strait of Hormuz By eutrophication&hypoxia / FlickR
The sun sets on the USS Bataan. By Official U.S. Navy Imagery / FlickR