EU Commission President Juncker: ‘I Don’t Understand Tsipras’ – Interview with SPIEGEL

Keep Juncker as far away from you as possible!


Greece is in the eye of the storm. Washington is involved with EU countries bullying its SYRIZA government to make endless odious debt payments – the exact opposite of sound policy. It’s about:

  • paying bankers first at the expense of its ordinary citizens; 
  • impoverishing them;
  • bankrupting the country; 
  • preventing an essential Grexit to repair its devastated economy; 
  • forcing it to keep selling off its crown jewels at fire sale prices; and 
  • ultimately regime change – replacing SYRIZA with right-wing governance beholden solely to monied interests instead of its current one going part way.


EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker remains committed to preventing a Grexit. But he tells SPIEGEL that his patience is wearing thin: “I don’t believe the Greek government’s response has been sufficient.”

SPIEGEL: Mr. Juncker, we would like to speak with you about friendship.

Juncker: A vast topic. Go ahead.

SPIEGEL: It says in the dictionary that friendship is a relationship defined by mutual affection and trust. If you use that as a guide, would you describe Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a friend of yours?

Juncker: There are two types of friendship. The first is rooted in goodwill, of the kind I feel for Mr. Tsipras. The second — true friendship — is much rarer, because it must first overcome obstacles and grow.

SPIEGEL: You began referring to Tsipras as a friend soon after he took office. More recently, though, you have begun complaining that he is incorrectly depicting the offers you have made in Athens. Were your friendly overtures to him somewhat premature?

Juncker: No, my relationship to Mr. Tsipras is, for the time being, a friendship in accordance with the word’s first definition. Only later will it become clear if real friendship will grow out of that. I will, however, acknowledge that the trust I placed in him is not always returned in equal measure.

SPIEGEL: You have made concessions to Mr. Tsipras on several issues, but he is still accusing you and the other creditors of wanting to pillage Greece. Are you disappointed in him?

Juncker: One should never take personally the relationships between representatives and institutions. We are here to work for the people. On the other hand, politics cannot function without reliable personal relationships. With all due respect to the new Greek government, one has to point out that some of its representatives came into office without being adequately prepared for the tasks awaiting them.

SPIEGEL: The negotiations with the Greeks are making exceedingly slow progress, if any at all, despite the fact that the country’s bankruptcy is coming closer and closer. Is it still possible to prevent the country’s departure from the euro zone?

Juncker: We have to keep trying to do all we can to prevent a Grexit. You are right; we are running out of time. And some of the toxic rhetoric coming out of Athens doesn’t make it any easier to find a compromise. Mostly, though, I just ignore the rhetoric, because we have to make progress.

SPIEGEL: The Greeks seem to think they can get a better deal if they remain at the poker table.

Juncker: European politics is not a card game where there is a winner and a loser at the end. On the contrary: Either everyone wins, or everyone loses. That is why it is absolutely essential that the Greek government move as quickly as it can.

SPIEGEL: Many of your colleagues have accused you of essentially inviting the Greek government to shove its chips into the middle of the table. After all, at the very beginning of the negotiations, you categorically ruled out the possibility of a Grexit.

Juncker: Had I said at the beginning of the negotiations that a Grexit was an option, it would have unleashed a wave of speculation on the financial markets. Apparently, there are some in the Greek government who have misunderstood and believe that there is someone in Europe who can pull a rabbit out of the hat in the end. But that is not the case. I have warned Mr. Tsipras many times he shouldn’t depend on me being able to prevent a failure of the talks if that isn’t desired by the other side. We should do everything we can to prevent a Grexit, but to do so, both sides must exert themselves. In the end, I would prefer the rabbit to bear the Greek national colors.

SPIEGEL: Do you have the impression that Tsipras understands the stakes for his country?

Juncker: I have described for him in detail what an exit from the euro zone would mean for his country on the short-, medium- and long-term.

SPIEGEL: And that is?

Juncker: Greece has experienced deep cuts to its social safety net. The result has been an unacceptable humanitarian crisis. Every morning, many people in Athens or Thessaloniki are actually faced with the question as to how they are going to feed themselves that day. The problem, though, is that the crisis would only become worse in the case of a Grexit. On the other hand, there are people in Greece who are filthy rich. I have called upon Mr. Tsipras to raise taxes on wealth in his country. Shockingly, his response to my request was not as enthusiastic as I had expected.

SPIEGEL: For five years now, international creditors have been trying to stave off Greek insolvency with vast aid packages worth hundreds of billions of euros. But unemployment in the country remains at 25 percent and gross domestic product has plunged by a quarter. Don’t you have to admit that Europe’s attempts to save Greece have failed?

Juncker: You are failing to mention the successes we have achieved. Although Greece’s GDP has fallen dramatically, the government has presented a budget in which revenues are significantly higher than expenditures. I reject the idea that the Greeks are lying around doing nothing. Pensions have been slashed, salaries reduced and public spending reined in. Germans, in particular, have the impression that the Greeks have done nothing to free themselves from their plight. That impression is incorrect.

SPIEGEL: But the Greeks no longer want austerity. People hate the Troika and the government is cheered when it blasts the parameters laid down by the International Monetary Fund as “criminal.” How can the bailout project be continued on such a foundation?

Juncker: It bothers me that the Tsipras government acts as though we in the European Commission are austerity fanatics who are crushing the dignity of the Greek people underfoot. I am upset that the Greek government acts as though the Commission is seeking a higher sales tax on electricity, to mention one example. I have told Mr. Tsipras many times that I am open to other suggestions if they result in the same revenues. Instead of complaining about the Commission, Mr. Tsipras could one day tell Greeks that I have offered a €35 billion investment program for the years 2015 to 2020 to stimulate growth in his country. I haven’t heard anything about that.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation?

Juncker: I don’t see myself as being in a position to psychoanalyze another European government. I sometimes even find it difficult to analyze myself. But jokes aside: I don’t believe the Greek government’s response has been sufficient. If I were the Greek prime minister, I would sell that as an achievement and say: I pushed through the €35 billion package in Brussels. I don’t understand Tsipras. In one of the positive moments during our negotiations, I once told him during a coffee break: If I had campaigned on your platform, I would have won 80 percent of the vote. But he only got 36 percent.

SPIEGEL: If Tsipras continues to reject additional spending cuts, he would only be doing what he promised to do during the campaign. Do you fault him for that?

Juncker: I, too, am of the opinion that, following an election, a politician should do what he or she promised before the vote. For that reason, politicians have to think carefully, before the election, whether they will be able to fulfill their campaign promises. European countries make up a community of destiny — one which only works if the members can depend on each other. Unfortunately, prior to taking over the government, Mr. Tsipras adopted positions, which, in part, are in conflict with the rules governing this union. That is why his campaign promises cannot be 100 percent implemented. Mr. Tsipras should have known that.

SPIEGEL: Do you understand why another friend of yours, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, now believes that a Grexit is the better alternative?

Juncker: I am not aware of any sentence uttered by Wolfgang Schäuble that would lead you to draw such a conclusion. The German finance minister is a devoted European who, in his person, unites both the past and the future. As such, everyone — and the Greeks in particular — would be well advised to listen closely to this man.

SPIEGEL: Schäuble is concerned that the case of Greece could send the wrong message. If creditors are too lenient and the Greek gamble is successful, other euro-zone member states could seek to emulate Athens’ chutzpah.

Juncker: That is a danger I see as well. I know that many, particularly in Germany, see me as a naive proponent of Greece. But I am very clear that solidarity and solidity belong together. While I have understanding for a temporary inability to adhere to the rules, we cannot have a situation where the one who breaks the rules is rewarded. That is why the Greek government must make clear that it is prepared to adhere to the rules.

SPIEGEL: Tsipras enjoys widespread support among the Greek populace, but at the same time, a clear majority of Greeks would like to remain part of the euro zone. Would it not make sense to ask the country’s voters if they are prepared to continue down the path of austerity?

Juncker: It is erroneous to believe that one can change the reality in all of Europe with a referendum or new elections in a single country. I have explained that to Mr. Tsipras on several occasions. No matter what happens in Athens, the make-up of parliaments in other member states — and in the German Bundestag as well — will remain exactly as it is.

SPIEGEL: Let’s assume for a moment that international creditors are successful in finding a last-minute compromise with Athens: Do you think Chancellor Angela Merkel would be able to convince German parliamentarians to back such a deal?

Juncker: If we are able to reach an understanding that is sustainable, and if it is reached in cooperation with the German government, then it would be Angela Merkel’s task to convince the German Bundestag of its merits — and I am absolutely convinced that she would be successful.

SPIEGEL: With all due respect to your optimism, the mood is quite different among Merkel’s party allies. The parliamentarians have lost all desire to allow the Greek government to continue leading them around by the nose.

Juncker: I don’t believe that the Greeks would be able to lead German parliamentarians or the Commission president around by their noses.

SPIEGEL: The chancellor has said that, if Greek politicians would like to see who has the strongest nerves, they are welcome to do so.

Juncker: Ms. Merkel is right. But we aren’t just talking here about who has the better nerves. We are talking about the Greek people and particularly about those who find themselves in a very difficult situation.

SPIEGEL: Membership in the euro zone was long considered to be irreversible. Now, there is a distinct possibility that a country might leave the common currency area. What does that mean for Europe’s future?

Juncker: You are asking a theoretical question that I don’t want to consider. I want to prevent Greece’s exit. And we have come a long way. Think back to the year 2010, when the difficulties began. At the time, the danger was enormous that the contagion could spread to other countries. Had Greece left the euro then, it could very well have turned into a conflagration for the entire euro zone. Today, a Grexit would still have significant consequences, but the fear that it could cause the exit of additional member states has waned considerably. Nevertheless, the entire world would get the impression that the make-up of the euro zone can be changed. We have to avoid this impression.

SPIEGEL: Greece isn’t the only country that is making it difficult for you to keep the European community together. The British government would like to soon hold a referendum as to whether the country should remain a part of the EU or not. How great is the danger that Britain leaves the EU?

Juncker: We need a fair deal. The British know that Great Britain isn’t the only country with red lines, but that other member states have them too. Here in Brussels, we aren’t manic cheerleaders for Europe and the British are an intelligent people. We will find an agreement that is such that our friends in the United Kingdom will feel a desire to remain a lasting member of the European Union.

SPIEGEL: Yet the British prime minister would like to make some fundamental changes. He would like to remove the phrase “ever-closer union” from the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty, for example. What is your response?

Juncker: Why shouldn’t some in Europe go faster than the others? If the British don’t want to be part of this move, then we can make it possible for them, but in such a way that it doesn’t prevent others from going forward. That has long been the case with the currency union. Those who want to bind themselves closer together should be given the possibility to do so.

SPIEGEL: The presidents of Europe’s most important institutions have also been thinking of how the EU should develop. What are your suggestions?

Juncker: On the basis of the current treaties, the economic and monetary union is not yet complete. The entire world now wants to know from us how we intend to change this state of affairs. I, for example, believe that the euro zone could use a larger dose of parliamentary involvement, from both the European Parliament and from national parliaments. I work closely together with (European Parliament President) Martin Schulz. When it comes to smaller issues relating to party politics, we have different points of view. But when it comes to larger questions, we are partners and allies. We propose moving ahead in stages. Initially, the focus should be on what we can do within current rules to enhance our stability and to make improvements. Then we have to examine what we can achieve in the mid- and long-terms were we to make changes to European treaties. That, though, is not a pressing question.

SPIEGEL: Given the crisis in Greece, don’t you think such a step is necessary?

Juncker: Yes. Especially because of the crisis with Greece, we have to tell the world and ourselves where we are headed. The people of Europe are also becoming more skeptical and the gap between them and the European elite is widening. You would have to be blind not to see that. That is why Brussels cannot continue to focus on trivialities and burden people with regulations that can often be better handled on a local level. Europe has to show that it is able to take action on the larger, urgent problems: in foreign policy, with the immigration problems, with the economic challenges of the digital era. The European debate can no longer be limited to shower heads and olive-oil jugs.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Juncker, thank you for this interview!

The Pentagon’s Robotic Warfare Arsenal


(Please read Part I before this article)

The Third Offset

The most significant aspect of Work’s speech lies in his explanation of what constitutes the Third Offset Strategy, the ongoing progressive trend of the entire US Armed Forces.  


To briefly establish some background context, he describes an offset as being “broad technological strategies” that essentially nullify an opponent’s existing military advantage. The first offset is identified as being the US’ “[reliance] upon tactical nuclear weapons as an offset for [Soviet conventional] numbers.” Then, “in the 1970s, when the Soviets achieved strategic nuclear parity with the United States and the threat of tactical nuclear warfare was too great, was no longer an effective deterrent, we changed sites and we went after what was then called conventional weapons with near-zero CEP, or conventional error probability — what everybody knows today as smart guided munitions.” Tactical nuclear weapons and precision-guided munitions thus represent the two offsets of the Cold War era, which brings the US to the cusp of the Third Offset Strategy that forms the basis of Work’s announcement on 8 April.

Step Three:

So what exactly is the Third Offset Strategy, anyhow? In Work’s own words:

The whole purpose of the Third Offset Strategy or Strategies is to identify the technologies, identify the operational and organizational constructs, the new operational concepts to fight our future adversaries.  Now, unquestionably, a big part of this is going to be identifying, developing and fielding breakthrough technologies, in addition to using the capabilities we have now in a different way… the real essence of the third offset strategy is to find multiple different attacks against opponents across all domains so they can’t adapt or they adjust to just one, and they died before they can adapt again.

Considering the previously mentioned challenges that the US must overcome in order to avoid fighting a “fair fight” against China, the Third Offset Strategy takes the following three forms in practice:

Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missiles:

The US grand strategic doctrine mandates that it must maintain full control over the world’s waterways, and accordingly, it cannot allow a rival navy to compete with it. In response to China’snaval buildup and potentially even that of Russia in the future (as well as the joint collaborationbetween the two strategic partners), the US has innovatively transformed its notorious Tomahawk stockpile into anti-ship precision-guided missiles. Work brags that:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work

We just demonstrated firing the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile against a ship, without changing its seeker-head, completely doing it by off-board sensing.  Well, now we have 2,000 potential thousand-mile range anti-ship missiles.

The strategy here is for the US to decimate whatever naval resistance is present in the A2/AD zone prior to beginning its physical intrusion into the area and facing bombardment from its land-based defensive component. Upon entering the salvo zone, the US plans to utilize the second manifestation of the Third Offset Strategy to protect itself from the precision-guided munitions that are expected to be unleashed against it.

The Electromagnetic Game Changer:

The deployment of electromagnetic rail guns is expected to completely revolutionize the field of missile defense, as not only does its immediate and precise firing mechanism allow for constant overhead defense, but it brings about the opportunity to achieve interception cost parity against the oncoming projectile. Work explains:

The electromagnetic railgun is going to provide us deep magazines and high volumes of shots.  It’s going to change the cost-imposing strategy on its head.  Right now, we’re firing $14 million missiles to go after a $50,000 missile.  It doesn’t make sense.  But when you have electromagnetic railguns and powder guns, using the same smart projectiles, now you can start to break the raid.

Not only is this game-changing technology expected to be deployed amongst the naval units that are likely to lead the charge in “breaking into the theater”, but there are pivotal plans for a land-based mobile application as well:

Right now, every Paladin that the Army owns might be a very effective counter-swarm weapon by combining the smart projectiles with our hyper-velocity guns, our electromagnetic railguns, using the exact same rounds, and advance computing.  All of the modeling right now is telling us that every single Army artillery piece using powder guns, using these advanced guided munitions, will be able to knock down heavy missile raids… And what Paladin will provide the Joint Force is a mobile raid-breaking capability.  We’ve already demonstrated this on the Navy’s five-inch guns.  This summer, we’re going to demonstrate it on the Paladins.  It’s something the Army needs to think about.  The Army, with its THAAD and its PAC-3s and potentially Paladins in the future will be the mobile raid-breaker for the Joint Force.

article-1338112-0C7909D1000005DC-90_634x684Electromagnetic rail gun-outfitted Paladin tanks could accompany the invasion force into battle upon landing in order to become a land-based extension of the naval missile defense shield that nullified the target’s defensive deterrent capability in the first place, thereby creating the possibility of theoretically limitless and unconstrained protection from precision-guided munitions for the aggressor’s entire ground assault force. This would absolutely and irrevocably alter the strategic balance against Russia and China towards the US’ definite favor, and when buffeted with theglobal missile defense shield that Washington is unveiling all throughout the world, it would make Moscow and Beijing vulnerable to the Pentagon’s blackmail. Additionally, if the US proliferates electromagnetic rail gun technology to its Israeli and Arab NATO allies, then this would abrogate Iran’s retaliatory missile deterrence and in turn open up Tehran to a devastating first-strike potential by Tel Aviv and Riyadh (or even a joint attack by both).

In sum, electromagnetic rail guns radically change the global strategic calculation and represent a ‘defensive’ super weapon that would embolden US aggression against Russia, China, and Iran with no conventional retaliatory consequences. In fact, if the technology can be tried and tested in ICBM interception, then it would also eliminate or grossly undercut those states’ nuclear reactions as well, meaning that the only hope that remains for a credible deterrence would be asymmetrical responses such as space-based launchings or some yet-to-be-determined strategy. Still, these might be alarmingly vulnerable to being undercut by a pre-emptive “informationalized” attack by the US.

The Terminator Doctrine:

The most evolutionary form of the Third Offset Strategy is the creation of hybrid man-machine soldiers and the seamless combat integration between man and machine. Work recalls an anecdote in attempting to justify this disturbing post-modern leap:

Tyler Cowen wrote a book called “Average is Over.”  He’s an avid chess player.  What he said was, “It used to be a matter of faith that a machine would never beat a human,” because a machine would not have the intuitive cognition.  You know, it just wouldn’t be able to have the intuitive spark to think through an interactive dual like chess.  That proved to be wrong.  Now machines consistently beat grandmasters.  And what he found out in a thing called three-play chess is the combination of a man and a machine always beats the machine and always beats the man.

He then continues by prophesizing that:

I believe that what the Third Offset Strategy will revolve around will be three-play combat in each dimension.  And three-play combat will be much different in each dimension, and it will be up for the people who live and fight in that dimension to figure out the rules. We will have autonomy at rest, our smart systems, being able to go through big data to help at the campaign level and to be able to go through big data at the tactical level.  So autonomy at rest and autonomy in motion.

Before leaving office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a look at high-tech projects being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Before leaving office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a look at high-tech projects being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

What he’s saying here is that man-machine hybrids, perhaps created via the augmentation implants that were forecasted by the Directorate of National Intelligence’s Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report from 2012, will be capable of besting any ‘purebred’ man or machine offensive or defensive unit in one-on-one competition, even indirectly via the cyber and electronic realms. He also suggests that forward-operating assault squads in the future will be “disaggregated” into smaller, more fluid formations that would require “overmatch by providing support in fires, intelligence and logistics”, something which man-machine collaboration can solve. He goes on to propose that:

If we combine them (the squad) into well-trained, cohesive combat teams with new advances in robotics and autonomy and unmanned systems, three-play combat at the squad level, we can create super-empowered squads, super-empowered small units with enhanced situational awareness and lethality. DARPA’s Squad X program, among others, is working on a number of ideas right now to increase human and machine collaboration at the lowest tactical level, including ground robots, small micro-drones, and trying to figure out how to push the squad situational awareness and lethality out to a large, large battlespace area.

He predicts that “much of this technology is going to come from the commercial sector”, and also lists some of the examples currently in development:

This is not as far away as you might think.  The Army is — right now is kind of leading the way in manned and unmanned teaming with the Apache in the shadows, which is going on in the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative, which we think is exciting and kind of a leading indicator of where we need to go. Automated driving seemed like the work of fiction not long ago, but there’s a race going on between big-tech companies and some of the larger auto makers who are looking to develop self-driving cars.  So, in the not-too-distant future, squads are going to operate with robotic support, sapper robots, counter-mine robots, counter-sniper robots.

The autonomous robot support units take on a heightened raid-breaking significance when one considers Work’s earlier prognosis that:

“We’re not too far away from a sensor-fused weapon, and instead of going after tanks, we’ll go after the biometric signature of human beings.”

This should be interpreted as meaning that one of the weapon classes of the future will directly target human beings inside of their protective structures (be they tanks, planes, buildings, etc.), inferring that the only guaranteed defense against such an armament would be the deployment of non-human autonomous units that would destroy these weapons prior to actual human or hybrid introduction to the field.

pix3_120514Altogether, everything that Work has described vis-à-vis robotic warfare systems amounts to a clear “Terminator Doctrine” in rolling out hybrid man-machine soldiers and autonomous robot support units, perhaps even in the form of Paladin anti-missile electromagnetic rail gun tanks that would provide the necessary cover for the aforementioned blitzkrieg force (be it man, man-machine hybrid, or purely autonomous). Robotic and man-machine hybrid warfare is evidently what the US is planning to develop in order to win Air Land Battle 2.0 and guaranteeing the success of the Third Offset Strategy against Russia, China, and Iran.

Concluding Thoughts

Robert Wolf’s announcement of the Third Offset Strategy and his detailed description of the trajectory that the US plans to take in actualizing it present the greatest declaration of strategic destabilization in modern history. The US is essentially proclaiming its intent to acquire the full-spectrum technology to initiate a first strike against the Eurasian Great Powers of Russia, China, and Iran, which in turn will likely spur them to partake in their own Third Offset buildup to create breakthrough defensive means in safeguarding against this impending vulnerability. If they’re not able to achieve this, then the US will more than likely place each of them in a position of military blackmail in dictating its geopolitical and economic demands, which would of course mitigate the global movement towards multipolarity.

Out of the three Resistant & Defiant states mentioned, the US may most likely attempt to use this technology against Iran first as a means of perfecting it prior to utilization against the others. This is because Tehran currently doesn’t have the nuclear deterrent necessary to make the US second-guess using the country as a testing ground, nor does it have as much of a relative ability as Russia or China in escalating any potential crisis to the level of brinksmanship that may be needed to make the US back down (e.g. the nuclear triad and potentially space-based weapon deployments). It should be clear at this point that the US is dedicated to militarily institutionalizing its unipolar hegemony for the indefinite future (the real “velocity of instability”), and that the Eurasian Great Powers must take similar technological measures in defending against the Third Offset Strategy and/or succeed in pulling off a major asymmetrical counter-move such as de-dollarization that would ‘offset’ the US’ grand strategy before it’s too late.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

How the Pentagon Plans to Defeat Eurasia and Roll out “Robotic Warfare”



127529Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work expounded upon the US’ military strategy in Eurasia during a speech at the Army War College Strategy Conference on 8 April, revealing critical insight into the Pentagon’s formal approach to forthcoming conflicts. Work’s words should be read in full by any strategist endeavoring to understand the imperatives that guide the world’s most armed forces. He elaborates on the theoretical foundations of American military might, including how the Pentagon plans to counter the three types of wars supposedly being waged by Iran, Russia, and China.

The main strategic innovation being presented is something called the “Third Offset Strategy”, which in practice amounts to electromagnetic anti-missile rail guns and seamless combat integration between man and machine. These two pronouncements mark startling military developments that will assuredly initiate a news arms race between the West and the Resistant & Defiant states most actively opposed to its domination, as the only realistic alternative is eventual submission or all-out pre-emptive war.

Part I analyzes the theory and nature of 21st-century wars, using Work’s speech as a guiding instrument, and then addresses the Pentagon’s overall plans against China. Part II continues off of this trajectory and details the Third Offset and all that it frighteningly entails, before ending with a brief conclusion that ties everything together.

Theoretical Foundations

There are three main ideas that Work references as underpinning the US military’s overall strategy, and they are as follows:

The Two Pillars:


Highly skilled individuals and technological superiority constitute the two primary pillars from which the rest of America’s strategy is built. To quote the man himself:

Since World War II, American military strategy and our entire national defense strategy has been built upon an assumption of technological superiority, and the better-trained individual — individuals, men and women, organized to employ these technologies in an innovative way… I assume and I am confident in my assumption that we have an enduring advantage in our people…But I’m telling you right now our technological superiority is slipping.

While the striking rate of suicide in the US Armed Forces calls into question the endurance and quality of training that American servicemen receive, the main aspect to focus on in the abovementioned citation is Work’s belief that the US military’s technological superiority is in decline. His view is entirely subjective because there are no reliable quantitative measurements available to back it up, but it importantly conveys a sense of urgency and infers that some type of action must immediately be taken to halt and/or reverse this process. Surprisingly, he’s not asking for more money to stop the US’ relative decline in military spending (despite thinking that trend is “stupid”), instead pleading that:

It doesn’t matter how much money we have.  This problem requires thinking.  And we need to tackle it together, and not worry so much about the resources as the intellectual capital that we need to put in the bank to allow our joint force to be so successful in the future.

Work’s preference for brainpower over budgetary politics is logical when one considers the second motivator of US military strategy.

The Velocity of Instability:

Early on in his speech, Work references Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno’s definition of the “velocity of instability” as being the pace of strategic change, which becomes one of the most influential current imperatives of the US military when it combines with the pace of technological innovation. What this simply means is that non-Western actors are creating new technologies and crafting adaptive strategies that are creating complications for the US’ application of full-spectrum dominance, the former of which will be discussed in detail during the next main section. In response to such rapidly changing circumstances, the US feels entitled in bullying others by never picking on an equally matched adversary.

No Fair Fight:

A remotely piloted aircraft system (drone) getting launched from the aircraft carrier George H.W.

A remotely piloted aircraft system (drone) getting launched from the aircraft carrier George H.W.

According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, whom Work also cites during his speech, “we never, ever want to send our troops into a fair fight”, confirming what many had already suspected about militant bullying being an integral part of the US’ foreign policy toolkit. The US never picks a fight with anyone who can give it a legitimate run for its money, so to speak, choosing instead to conventionally attack smaller and weaker states like Iraq and Libya whose militaries represent a negligible challenge. When it comes to more evenly matched rivals such as Russia and China or those which can inflict unacceptable collateral damage like Iran, the US understands that it must keep its destabilization just short of the conventional threshold, opting instead for asymmetrical aggression in the form of economic subversion, Color Revolutions, and Unconventional Wars.

21st-Century Wars

Keeping the concept of “no fair fight” at the forefront of one’s thoughts, it’s now time to look at the three types of wars that Work accuses Iran, Russia, and China of waging, before describing the radical means he proposes for countering them and thus giving the US the first-strike capability in any conflict.

Hybrid War:

In his parade of prominent US military strategists, Work speaks about Frank Hoffman and his definition of hybrid warfare, which he defines as:

“Combat operations characterized by the simultaneous and adaptive employment of a complex combination of conventional weapons, irregular warfare, terrorism and criminal behavior to achieve political objectives.”

The above perfectly describes the US and its proxies’ onslaught on Syria, but Work instead attributes this strategy to Hezbollah (commonly believed in American military circles as being a de-facto extension of the Iranian military) in its legendary 2006 defense against Israel’s invasion of Southern Lebanon:

Hezbollah fighters were armed with advanced anti-tank missiles, thousands of long-range rockets, Chinese-made Silkworm anti-ship missiles, advanced man-portable anti-air missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  They had very simplistic, but very effective battle networks to employ them.  They practiced irregular warfare, but at the same time maneuvered effectively against Israeli armored columns, proved proficient in indirect fire, and they used swarms of heavy anti-tank missiles to great effect.

Again, this sounds exactly like how the US is behaving in Syria, specifically with its anti-tank and anti-air armament supply to terrorist groups active in the country, but nonetheless, the Pentagon representative insists that “in the future, without question, hybrid adversaries will pose a qualitative and quantitative challenge” to the US. It’s not clear if he’s foreshadowing that US troops will soon be fighting against the same proxy agents they helped arm and train for hybrid war, but it’s unmistakable that he’s identifying this type of fighting with the Mideast theater, where thus far it’s been most popularly practiced.

Non-Linear Warfare:

Euromaidan is the classic example of a legitimate public protest turning violent through  the hybrid warfare technics.

Euromaidan is the classic example of a legitimate public protest turning violent through the hybrid warfare technics.

Work continues linking various novel warfighting innovations with certain geographic zones and actors through his description Russia’s application of non-linear warfare in Eastern Europe, which he reports as:

Evolve[ing] from covert actions by special operations forces, to sustained unconventional combat waged under an umbrella of denial.  And then ultimately escalating to high-end force-on-force proxy warfare with the state actively involved in combat operations .

One could be forgiven for mistaking this with Washington’s strategy of Color Revolution 2.0, otherwise known in practice as the “Arab Spring” or EuroMaidan, seeing as how both instances perfectly correlate with Work’s definition. He even manages to express the exasperation that the embittered Syrian and Ukrainian authorities felt when he says that:

“Non-linear adversaries make those avenues (of approach) harder to detect, using agents, paramilitaries, deception, infiltration, and persistent denial to make those avenues of approach very hard to detect, operating in what some people have called “the gray zone.”

One can now begin to see a pattern of ironic rhetoric emerge; the US is accusing its primary Eurasian rivals (Iran, Russia, and next to be seen, China) of engaging in the exact same type of warfare that Washington itself has perfected, and which has been used as its calling card in the victimized states that it recently attacked (be it directly or indirectly). The American ideology of Exceptionalism means that it would never openly recognize this fact and will instead always try to assign such strategies to its adversaries, but this doesn’t take away from the reality that the US has become the most apt practitioner of these concepts.

“Informationalized” Warfare:

The third military innovation that Work outlines as posing a challenge for the US is what he says the Chinese call “informationalized” warfare, which he considers being:

“The combination of cyber, electronic warfare, information ops, deception and denial to disrupt our command and control to give the enemy an advantage in the decision cycle.”

It’s curious why he attaches this strategy to China, since Beijing hasn’t fought a war since its 1979 one against Vietnam before the advent of cyber warfare, but be that as it may, once more, it’s the US that’s actually the prime practitioner of this misattributed art (or least came close to it). The reader should recall the 2011 NATO War on Libya when the US seriously considered that very same plan before deciding to more easily use Tomahawk missiles to destroy Gaddafi’s command and control centers. While it’s obvious that this so-called “informationalized” warfare can realistically be =exercised by any Great Power in the world today, so far US-controlled NATO appears to be the most capable actor in doing so due to its multi-national (UK/Poland/Italy/Baltic States) deployment of “strategic communication centers”, which will predictably augment its capability in carrying out the “information ops, deception and denial” components of this strategy.

Clashing With China

USS Fort Worth, based in Singapore, is closely monitoring Chinese activities near Spratly Islands

USS Fort Worth, based in Singapore, is closely monitoring Chinese activities near Spratly Islands

The Deputy Secretary of Defense not-so-subtly refers to China as a prospective target of the Pentagon’s warfighting machine when he speaks about the challenge posed by A2/AD (anti-area, area-denial) strategies, which Beijing has previously been highlighted by the US military for partaking in. Work lists three steps by which the US plans on countering this concept:


  1.  “Take the first salvo” (likely inferring a provocation or false-flag scenario) using raid-breaking technology (to be elaborated upon shortly)
  2.  “Break into (the) theater”
  3.  “Think about Air Land Battle 2.0”, predicted to be “against enemies which have lots of guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles, and are using informationalized warfare to completely disrupt our heavily netted force”, but which “the Army needs to figure…out” because it has yet to be witnessed in battle.

It’s anticipated that the “first salvo” will be when the enemy “throw[s] guided munition salvos as dense as our own and sometimes over long range” (essentially making it “AirLand Battle 2.0” before the US breaks through the theater and gets close enough to physically respond), meaning that “the competitor who can demonstrate the ability to defeat the guided munitions salvo competition is going to have a unique advantage at the operational level of war.” The US seeks to acquire this said advantage through its implementation of the Third Offset Strategy, which is also envisioned with providing it the ability to defeat both human and robotic military units during the theater break-in and subsequent Air Land Battle 2.0.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for Oriental Review.

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