Admiral James “Ace” Lyons Tribute Luncheon
Citizens Commission on National Security (CCNS) 301-456-4982
Army Navy Country Club
1700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22202
Tuesday November 13, 2018 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Army Navy Country Club
1700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22202
Tuesday November 13, 2018 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
By Lawrence Sellin, Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.)
For too long, many presumed experts have attempted to solve the problem of radical Islam by dissecting religious texts or recommending the support of so-called “moderate” Islamic factions.
It is a fool’s errand.
The problem with radical Islam, like other forms of political extremism, is that it is hegemonistic and totalitarian. In a world where democratic institutions remain fragile, national security options are often imperfect and contesting monolithic threats short of war may be best executed by navigating or leveraging inherent geopolitical strata and fractures.
The single, most relevant impediment to radical Islam is ethnic and cultural nationalism.
Tribal, ethnic, cultural and linguistic characteristics are primordial, traditionally hereditary and often the default forms of social identification that predate organized religion. It is only when religious practices were incorporated into those forms of identity that religion became a significant factor or sometimes a substitute for traditional identity.
That is, when religion goes beyond individual or group spiritual beliefs and begins to have not just social, but also political influence, it reaches, or is promoted as, a form of hereditary identification.
Nevertheless, tribal, ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity remain fault lines even in societies where Islam is the dominant religion. Kurdish nationalism in regions where radical Islam is an ever-present menace is an example most familiar to Americans.
Nowhere, however, are fault lines more consequential for U.S. policy than in Pakistan, the Yugoslavia of South Asia.
Yugoslavia was established in the aftermath of World War I as a pan-Slavic solution to the political volatility many blamed for the outbreak of the war. It was cobbled together as a federation of six republics with borders drawn along ethnic and historical lines, most of which were remnants of the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Ethnic separatism eventually overcame the presumed unifying concept of pan-Slavism and Yugoslavia did not survive the century in which it was created.
Likewise, Pakistan is an artificial state created by the British during the partition of India, based on the ideology of Islam and composed of ethnic groups that never interacted in any significant way. Pakistan’s Sunni “Islamization” program, begun by President Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988), which involved the proliferation of Islamic schools “madrasas” and the promotion of Islamic law “Sharia,” was specifically designed to create national unity by suppressing ethnic separatism and religious diversity. As a result, radical Islamic groups, including the Taliban, have proliferated in Pakistan, becoming increasingly more extreme.
Traditionally secular and tolerant, Pakistan’s southwest province of Balochistan has been the home of a festering ethnic insurgency since 1948, when it was deprived of independence and forcibly incorporated into Pakistan. Despite its mineral wealth, the Baloch have been intentionally kept underdeveloped by the Pakistan government, and have been subjected to extensive Islamization, oppression and alleged extrajudicial killings by the Pakistani military.
As a result of both official neglect and intent, the Pakistani province of Balochistan now possesses all the elements of instability, including political corruption, criminal gangs, drug trafficking, a plethora of Islamic extremist groups and an extensive Taliban infrastructure along its common border with Afghanistan.
A secular and independent Balochistan would drive a stake into the heart of radical Islam and change the strategic dynamics in a region, where U.S. influence is rapidly shrinking.
The Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement (PTM) is a campaign for Pashtun human rights based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. The Pakistani government views the PTM as an ethnic separatist movement and has made efforts to suppress it. Those efforts include alleged government-inspired attacks conducted by the Taliban on the PTM and the incorporation of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The latter was ostensibly designed to dilute the influence of the PTM as a substrate for ethnic self-determination and the potential for the PTM to loosen the Taliban’s grip on the Pashtuns, both of which might interfere with Pakistan’s plans for Afghanistan, and, indirectly, China’s regional ambitions.
How does ethnic and cultural nationalism translate into strategic options for the United States?
Other than a “presence,” the U.S. has little negotiating leverage in Afghanistan, even for a graceful exit.
There are simple explanations for why the U.S. has not succeeded in Afghanistan after 17 years. Afghanistan is a landlocked country and Pakistan does not share the same aspirations for Afghanistan as the United States. Pakistan has stymied U.S. efforts in Afghanistan by controlling the operational tempo through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani network and by maintaining a stranglehold on the supply of our troops.
Blackmail largely restrains the United States from attacking insurgent safe havens in Pakistan because, by doing so, there is a risk that further destabilization of Pakistan would allow terrorists to obtain nuclear weapons. So the stalemate continues and the Pentagon’s fallback strategy — more counterinsurgency and nation building — remains the status quo.
Changing the geopolitical dynamics of the Afghanistan conflict by exploiting ethnic nationalism could provide both short-term leverage in peace negotiations and long-term strategic influence.
It doesn’t take a strategic genius to conclude that Balochistan is a regional center of gravity.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the majority of which runs through Balochistan, is the linchpin of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a collection of infrastructure projects and a transportation route that connects China to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi on the Arabian Sea. Without the CPEC, the Belt and Road Initiative — China’s blueprint for global domination — is dead in the water.
You get to the Taliban through Pakistan and you get to Pakistan through China. Ethnic separatism is Pakistan’s pressure point, but it is China that will ultimately feel the pain.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa.
First there was Gorsuch then there was Kavanaugh. Each time the Stolen Valor liar makes his contribution for a reason. I wonder what they missed.
Dear Sen. Richard Blumenthal,
You recently called upon your Senate colleagues to subject Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record to “extreme vetting,” questioning both his qualification and biography. The Senate certainly has the right and obligation to closely review any nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Conversely, it is our right as Americans and veterans to scrutinize your hypocrisy in doing so.
We are veterans of the Vietnam War. We fought alongside our brothers in arms, many of whom died or were gravely injured there. We saw the treatment meted out on us and our fellow military personnel upon our return, yet we never questioned our commitment to our nation’s freedom. But perhaps more relevant to this discussion is that we know you were not there with us.
The fact you repeatedly and consistently claimed to have served in Vietnam is a gross case of stolen valor in our opinion. You obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970, at least two of which were seemingly political favors to you so that you could avoid joining us in a war zone. Here are just a few examples where it appears that you have chosen to buttress your political resume by shamefully inflating your record of military service:
We recognize that military service of any kind is valuable to the protection of our nation’s freedom. There is no shame in engaging in “Toys for Tots” campaigns, recycling efforts, or assisting in the improvement or construction of various facilities, which appears to be a fair description of the bulk of your duties during the Vietnam War.
What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.
You should be proud that you shared a uniform with so many brave souls who endured the hardships of war, but instead you chose to attempt to deceitfully and craftily join their ranks with your intentionally vague statements and false claims. Quite simply, it is impossible to “misspeak” about having seen a war.
Valor is too uncommon a commodity, and too precious a virtue, to be stolen by those who have not paid the high price for freedom. We recognize that some concerns over any appointee, especially the Supreme Court, are honest and legitimate.
You, sir, are neither. If you ever had a sense of duty, if ever you respected the service and sacrifice of others, then please recognize your duty now:
Sen. Blumenthal, “take your seat”!
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, U.S. Army, Auburn, Ala.
Retired Col. Don “Doc” Ballard, U.S. Army, Grain Valley, Mo.
Retired Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, U.S. Army, New Braunfels, Texas
Retired Col. Bruce Crandall, U.S. Army, Manchester, Wash.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Davis, U.S. Army, Freedom, Ind.
Retired Col. Wesley Fox, U.S. Marine Corps, Peoria, Ill.
Retired Col. Harold Fritz, U.S. Army, Peoria, Ill.
Retired Maj. Gen. Jim Livingston, U.S. Marine Corps, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bob Patterson, U.S. Army, Pace, Fla.
Retired Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Stumpf, U.S. Army, Tomah, Wis.
Retired Maj. James Taylor, U.S. Army, Trinity Center, Calif.
Retired Lt. Mike Thornton, U.S. Navy, Dallas
Retired Col. Leo Thorsness, U.S. Air Force, St. Augustine, Fla.
Retired Col. Jay Vargas, U.S. Marine Corps, San Diego
The signatories are all Vietnam-era Medal of Honor recipients. Their Medal citations can be read at www.cmohs.org.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.
About Dr. Dave Janda:
David H. Janda, M.D. is an orthopedic surgeon based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a member of a nine-member orthopedic surgery group. In addition, Dr. Janda is the director and founder of the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is the only health care cost containment organization of its kind in North America. Dr. Janda’s academic career has been highlighted by many awards and distinctions.
Dr. Janda was appointed by the former Bush Administration to the Board of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
He also was appointed to the National Institute of Health Trauma Research Task Force. Governor John Engler has appointed him to the Governor’s Council on Health, Fitness and Sports for the State of Michigan, as well as Chairman of the Advisory Group on the Prevention of Sports Injuries. Dr. Janda is the author of The Awakening of a Surgeon (Pictured, right) and The Power of Prevention Handbook which chronicle his efforts in the field of preventative Medicine.
The books he has authored chronicle his efforts in the field of preventative sports medicine and outlines his approach on how to create a more available and more affordable health care system. He and the book, “The Awakening of a Surgeon”, have been featured guests on the Oprah Winfrey Show and his research and prevention based studies have been featured on many network television, radio, newspaper and magazine presentations. These presentations have empowered the public by providing families and communities prevention information that can be used on an immediate basis to become safer and healthier.
With his Operation Freedomon WAAM Talk 1600 radio show, Dr. Janda brings to the operating table information the mainstream media either ignores or is afraid to bring to light. Every week, Dave will bring featured guests to WAAM’s Operating Room that have a background in health care, economics, finance, and geo-politics discussing current events. When the listener “leaves the operating room,” they are better off and on the road to a better life.
Our Counter-Intelligence System IS broken because it was sabotaged. SUA has primary source intel showing how America and our Intelligence Apparatus have been hijacked, held hostage and extorted by the Deep State for years.
By Joshua Berlinger and Ryan Browne
(CNN)The Pentagon released a report Friday accusing China of seeking to undermine the US military’s industrial base, the latest in a series of US jabs at Beijing.
One of the most pressing concerns is Beijing’s control over the supply of critical technologies and materials, which could pose a significant risk to US industries that are vital to national security, the report said.
Analysts in Washington have long warned that Beijing could exploit the US military and defense manufacturers’ reliance on China, which from 2013 to 2016, accounted for 78% of all rare earth imports into the US.
“Diversifying away from complete dependency on sources of supply in politically unstable countries who may cut off US access” is one of the report’s central recommendations.
“A core threat to the American industrial base comes from China,” White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times discussing the year-long study.
“The broader goal, as the report makes clear, is to ‘diversify away from complete dependency on sources of supply in politically unstable countries who may cut off US access,'” he added.
The Trump administration plans to address supply bottlenecks and potential failure points using the same strategy employed during the Cold War and World War II — pumping millions of dollars into US companies that produce items critical to the US military, like high-performance aluminum, steel, tungsten and carbon fibers.
The funds will “address critical bottlenecks, support fragile suppliers, and mitigate single points-of-failure,” according to the report.
Defense officials said that one such investment will include a $250 million increase for small and medium manufacturers in the submarine supply chain.
The commitments fall in line with President Trump’s campaign promise to invest more in domestic manufacturing jobs and rely less on trade with China.
The report comes amid a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and China, fueled in part by the ongoing trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.