T Nation

Solutions to Geopolitical Problems - In/Out of the Box


#1

Often times we talk about geopolitical problems but rarely do we talk about actual solutions. It's usually in vague terms like, spend less, for example.

I'd like to hear & discuss orthodox and unorthodox solutions to the many problems we face.

For me, the deficit, debt, and unfunded liabilities are by far the biggest issue facing America.

I propose:

1: Ending Social Security:

In order to do this, I would institute an age-based tiered system to, over time, eliminate the program while simultaneously ensuring the oldest American's aren't completely fucked over. It would be something like:

65+: As is
55+: 75% of the benefit. Continue paying in until retirement
45+: 50%

So on and so forth. Unfortunately, that means younger generations (this includes me) will have to ante up and continue paying for social security until the program ends. Yes, that blows. Does the under 35 crowd want a country or their social security payout in 30 years?

This shouldn't be that hard to pass since young people don't vote...

2: Eliminate the Air Force... Would not be popular, but a) they are the newest and least useful branch and b) while sucking up nearly 25% of the military funding.

I would use the savings from the elimination of the air force to revitalize the other 3 branches over the course of the next decade and then earmark the remaining funds + inflation to either
a) pay down debt
b) remove to make balancing a budget (#3) easier to achieve.

3: Balanced Budget Amendment:

I would propose a balanced budget amendment and tie a Congressional & Executive bonus plan to it. USMC, you want to pay government workers more...? Yes, in this case. How else do you incentives the two branches to balance the budget? You pay them to do it just like you would in the private sector.

4: Congression Term limits Amendment

6 maybe 12 years, tops. Probably for both houses.

5: A TBD debt to GDP ratio Amendment: Appropriate level would be difficult to agree on, but it should be less than 1.

6: Immigration:

Incentives border states to strengthen patrol their border. Tie federal funding to outcomes. Fed should back with resource, but states should take the lead.

Once the border is secured. Then offer amnesty.... I'm sure that will go over well. Do not require illegals to pay a back tax, many of them can't. Just give them full amnesty. After a pre-determined date, all illegals found in the country are immediately deported (with due process) and any business found employing an illegal is required to pay 10% of their Net Profit per illegal up to a maximum of 100% of profit. Stop fucking around with this and just get it done... All penalties are earmarked for border enforcement freeing up funding for other activities.

7: Incentives private investment in infrastructure projects. Sort of like what Baltimore and Kevin Plank are doing:

http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/port-covington/

These are ones I can think of at the moment. Some, obviously need to be fleshed out more.


#2

Can you elaborate on this? In particular: why would the Air Force be the first on the chopping block because its the youngest of the services, especially given the emergence of cyber and space as operational dimensions? How did you come to the conclusion that the Air Force is “the least useful” of the U.S. armed forces? How would the strategic, operational, and tactical gaps left by the dissolution of the Air Force be filled without proportional spending? What elements of the remaining services do you see in need of dire revitalization that would justify dissolving the Air Force?


#3
  1. Pay out what everyone is owed and then close the books. End it.

  2. No.

  3. Sure, worth a try.

  4. No. Term limits for Supreme Court justices however, yes. 10 years.

  5. Number 3 should help this already I would think.

  6. Border security yes. Amnesty no. I just don't know how we would determine when illegals came into the country. Would we tell them to register with the government and if they fail to assume they weren't here?

  7. No. I'd prefer no tax money go to private projects.


#4

You would, of course, have to do a thorough assessment of capabilities, but most, if not all, of what the air force does is also done by someone else. I’d probably expand Navy & Marine Corp flight power, for example.

I think one of the main issue with our government is that too many similiar activities are done by too many entities. Would should consolidate resources to be more efficient.


#5

Very true iirc: the largest air force in the world is the USAF, the second largest is the US Navy. I don’t know enough about the logistics to know whether or not consolidating air power under one branch would increase efficiency. BUT any plan that entails ANY kind of reduction in aggregate US Air power is a plan I’d vote against in a hurry. Air supremacy is one of the central pillars of American military primacy, and in fact the gap is closing quickly enough that I’m in favor of more, not less, air vehicle expenditure. The F-35 is in many ways a ground-facing weapon. It has serious problems vs. the newest generation Russian and Chinese fighters in terms of aerial combat. I am in favor ordering significantly more F-22s in order to fill the 25-year gap before the post-35 generation begins to become active.

Edit: I know we’re talking about two somewhat different things. Just thought I’d put this here because it’s been on my mind. A while back there was a good National Interest article about selling F-22s to foreign countries in order to help cover the costs.


#6

And don't get me wrong: for all its storied problems, the F-35 has been having a pretty good year since the summer. As a strike fighter its going to be a bad motherfucker, and the stuff about each one commanding a little battle group of accompanying drones from the cockpit could make for a hell of a killer. That's the future of warfare. But without air superiority a strike fighter is just a very expensive prop.

End hijack.


#7

I'm reminded of the story of a foreign officer asking a Pentagon defense analyst, "I know why your Navy has an air force, but why does your Navy’s army have an air force?" Redundancy is important is wartime. The Army and Marine Corps also have some overlap, but they also have unique roles and missions.


#8

Wait till he finds out that our Navy's army's air force has an army:


#9

We need to come up with a New Clear Triad of air, land, & sea,,, Nah too murky, can't see it.


#10

I completely agree smh.


#11

Number 2: Interesting. I would pull back most, if not all overseas troop deployments, except the airforce. Maintain our ability to reach out and touch our enemies. I supposed our carriers could do this, but carriers could be sunk.

Number 4: Sure, but they should also be banned from taking jobs as lobbyists for at least 10 years after terms are up. That way they don't spend their terms doing favors in order to secure lucrative employment for when they leave office.


#12

I believe that the kind of retrenchment you are advocating would be dangerously destabilizing. Forward deployed American forces are vital to national and international security. In particular, the capability, commitment, and credibility of American extended deference in Europe and Asia would be severely undermined. Combined arms doctrine requires balanced air, sea, and most importantly of all, land forces (Refer to the primacy of land power citation below). Drones, Strike fighters, and bombers are essentially flying artillery, which, in conjunction with Special Operations Forces conducting foreign internal defense and direct action missions, are sufficient to address threats such as terrorist organizations. They are not, however, nearly sufficient enough to deter near peers such as China or Russia, or revisionist middling powers such as the DPRK or Iran.

http://recursosbiblio.url.edu.gt/publicjlg/biblio_sin_paredes/fac_pol/Trag_Powe_Polit/cap/04.pdf


#13

Yes I understand that, and though I don't read much on this forum I have read this response from you on the subject before. And while I'm sure you're right for a lot of reasons, I also believe that with our ever increasing debt eventually we won't be able to afford our current deployments. So our withdrawal can either be staged, over 10 years say, so as to give our allies time to build up their military resources so that they can shoulder the burden of their own defense, or our withdrawal can be abrupt and unannounced, leaving a destabilizing power vacuum that our enemies would certainly exploit.

Image if the economy had completely imploded in 2008, as the experts claimed it was very close to doing. What would have happened to our overseas bases then?


#14

It seems like the main obstacles on these are a politically divided country. Regardless of how good a solution is a half of the country will oppose it (which means the state representatives). So a better question would be like, how to solve these problems that 55% of the people can agree too


#15

I honestly don't get the rationale behind a balanced budget.

What exactly is it meant to achieve?

On immigration-

I have a simpler solution- Proclaim that, after a certain date, all illegal aliens found attempting to cross our borders will be shot on sight.

Establish a couple army divisions on the borders, or bring in national guardsmen from all the states.

Once the folks back home learn that the U.S. will not even attempt to process you and figure out what to do with you, then they'll stop trying to come over.

Give amnesty to the rest that are over here and have them declare themselves within an year's period. Any that do not and are caught will be taken to the nearest border. There they will be released and treated as an illegal alien attempting to cross the borders.

Easy.

Edit- Maybe we can bring over the drones being used overseas and have them patrol the borders. Shoot at any group of humans that are IDed as being illegal aliens.


#16

Make it 51% and you've just defined Democracy. LOL.


#17

Not sure if serious?


#18

Serious in a facetious manner.

I feel like the border is an impossible situation.

The Democrats have no answer. Heck, as far as I know, they have no response to illegal immigration at all.

They support amnesty and are concerned mostly with the illegal aliens already within the borders. They also don't like deporting people. This effectively amounts to saying "If you manage to get in, you'll stay for some time; maybe forever".

The Republicans either promote strengthening border patrols or building a wall.

The Chinese tried building the known longest wall in existence. It's apparently really impressive to see it in person. It also failed miserably in achieving its intended purpose.

I feel like a wall here will do the same.

I also feel like strictly enforcing immigration laws won't ever come to be because of the "fuck the laws if they don't represent our values and beliefs" mentality that ALL the political parties in the U.S. appear to hold.

Plus the illegal aliens were first renamed as illegal immigrants. Now they're undocumented immigrants. Pretty soon the fact that they're all from poor places and "aww, I feel so sorry for you!" becomes more important than enforcing the law + the fact that we already have tens of millions in the U.S. who you should feel sorry for.

The only solution, in my opinion, is-

  • Find a way to completely change our opinions regarding illegal immigration. There are only two options o this- Either treat them as criminals and disregard their sob stories, or listen to their sob stories and be humanitarian about it.

The answers will come from this.

Basically- the fundamental issue at hand is how one perceives the illegal aliens.

If you want to consider them illegal aliens, then they're violating our sovereign lands and are effectively enemies of the state. You execute enemies of the state or you imprison them. There's no point wasting resources imprisoning them, so you execute them.

If you want to consider them a humanitarian problem, then you cannot stop them from coming. Ergo your immigration laws go kaput.

And I will hate you for making many hard-working Koreans who have to pray that they win the visa lottery to stay in the U.S. mean less to you than some random-ass person who crossed the Rio Grande.

...

Seriously, immigration is such a big fucking black-hole in this country, even beyond the whole stupid illegal immigration crap.


#19

I'm not sure that you do, because you don't acknowledge that balanced US forward deployed forces are necessary for conveying capable, committed, credible, extended deference. You stated that air power alone was necessary in spite of the empirical record showing that bombing alone is insufficient to compel a minor power (see the Kosovo War), much less deter a near peer. Also, the supposed economic windfall of retrenchment is unfounded. You're peddling an isolationist phantasm that overstates the costs of engagement and the benefits of withdraw. Upon a careful examination of both theory and history, it's evident that the consequences of retrenchment would be destabilizing and dangerous.

http://www.twc.edu/sites/default/files/assets/academicCourseDocs/22.%20Brooks,%20Lean%20Forward.pdf


#20

Securing the border is not impossible. It would just require us to refocus DoD resources on securing the border rather than pissing people off in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

In 2008, we had nearly 300,000 troops deployed in the Middle East. That is almost 150 troops for every mile of the US Mexico border (1989 miles). That is almost one troop for every ten yards of border. Much of that border is a river, which would make securing it more manageable. Obviously, you would need to consider support troops and having the troops work in shifts. Moreover, we would need to invest navy resources in securing our coastal waters, particularly in the gulf of Mexico. But if you were to invest even a fraction of the resources and manpower that we are pissing away in the middle east for who knows what reason, you could quite likely secure the border very effectively.

Add in the fact that we would now be deploying troops to secure our border rather than supporting them half way around the world. It boggles my mind that people take for granted that we can blow up a random hovel half way around the world with almost no notice, but think its impossible that we could secure our own, fixed border.