Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rolling Thunder Gave No Pain, Rolling Sanctions No Gain

     The parallel of the events leading up the outbreak of World War compared to the moves that Putin has made in the Crimea and may make in Eastern Ukraine, Moldavia, and the Baltic Republic and the response of this administration thus far both preceding and following such acts have been well commented upon. What is troubling if one is a student of history is to compare Operation Rolling Thunder strategy of LBJ conducted by the U.S. from March 2, 1965 with certain interim halts until November 2, 1968 with Operation Linebacker II unleashed by Nixon from December 18, 1972 to December 29, 1972 in an attempt to finally force the North to the negotiating table in Paris.
      The B-52s participating in Linebacker II carried up to 26 tons of 500 lb bombs per plane and in the 11 days of Linebacker II they flew 741 sorties dropping over 15,000 tons of explosives, the equivalent of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The cost to the North in terms of electrical power, harbor facilities, rail yards, roads, air bases and SAM batteries was catastrophic. The inventory of SAMs was exhausted and the North for all intent and purposes in the last days of Linebacker II was undefended against attacks from the air. The cost to the U.S.--15 B-52s shot down or crash landed, 33 airmen killed or MIA and 33 add to the Hanoi Hilton's resident POW population.
      The result. Nixon agreed that if the North returned to Paris to reopen the Peace Talks there on January 2, 1973 the U.S. would cease B-52 bombing of the North on the 29th of December. They did and Linebacker II ended. On January 27, 1973 the Paris Peace Accords were signed, ending the U.S. participation in the Vietnam War.  Is the lesson to be learned that military force must be used in the situation at hand. No, the lesson is that if you are going to substitute sanctions for armed conflict, which no one would want to see involving four nuclear powers France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States, those sanctions must be massive, applied immediately, without interruption and result in substantial economic harm to Russia and those oligarchs supporting Putin. Thus far from the White House the sanctions are farcical, about as effective as draining Lake Mead with a hole in Hoover Dam the diameter of a human hair.
 Rolling Thunder Gave No Pain, Rolling Sanctions No Gain        
Why are the lessons of history so painfully with lives lost learned,
In times of crisis, too often today are missed or spurned?
In response to the Crimean annexation game
11 individuals sanctioned as if that the Bear will tame
Whatever happened to the lessons of Rolling Thunder?
Where the North was subjected to creeping American air wonders
While the metal dumb bomb equivalents of a later shock and awe
Sat idle in the B-52s hoping the North would be forced to withdraw
Accords didn’t happen until the Linebackers started blitzing from Guam
Each one dropping 26 tons of high explosive bombs
Lesson learned is that gradual escalation of force does not cause a foe to yield
Only massive, immediate, and unrelenting cause a foe to leave the field
Today, even more feeble aimed at a few individuals with weeks to plan
Now monetary targets as if somehow this will stay Putin’s hand
There are no clouds; there is not even the hint of thunder
Only another red line in the sand like empty blunder
If we are to avoid a bullet war and move to the sanction’s field
Here is an idea that may make the oligarchs rebel and Putin to yield.
Unleash the fracking, unleash the oil sands, unlimber Keystone, export our gas
Already on shaky ground, cutbacks of oil and the Russian economy may not last
From the world markets, the ruble and Russian goods bar
Austerity in Europe on gas and the Bear hobbled may not go far
China will be the unknown card that we need to join our suit
If they do or if only neutral the Russian economy will feel depression’s boot
If not, there are many cheap goods we can do without
We a better trading partner, China’s best interest to come about
We broke the Bear’s back with SDI and we may have to do it again
Especially if due to falling oil sales, Russia has less hard currency to spend
The annex of Russian speaking territories past Crimea without a nation’s consent must halt
No more lands lost, peoples enslaved because of our silence, inertia and default  
This will not be easy; it will be a most difficult task involving great unity and skill
But history tells us of the alternative and swallowing it will be the most bitter of all pills.
Mr. President on sanctions today, all in, double down, not in starts and stops, or dribs and drabs
Without a single bullet, rattled saber, we might just put an end to further Russian land grabs.

© March 20, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

1 comment:

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