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America's Secret Weapon to Stop Russia

Author: Robert S. Spalding III
March 31, 2014
National Interest Online

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Today Ukraine is threatened by a large Russian force on its border. The Crimea has been annexed by Russia, and Russian forces are consolidating their hold on the province. Despite assurances by the Russians that they have no interest in invading Ukraine, it is easy to be dubious of their claims. Capability doesn't lie, and intent can change in a heartbeat.

Many have already said that there are no military options in the Ukraine crisis. While Western Europe and the United States do not desire conflict with Russia, the lack of action supporting Ukraine is actually a provocative gesture that invites escalation by the Russians. Fritz Kraemer, a little-known but highly influential strategist in the Pentagon best known for his many years as advisor to numerous secretaries of defense, believed that there were two ways to be provocative. One way was to be threatening, and in so doing provoke an enemy to action. The other way was to appear weak, and thus to provoke an adversary into a similar risky misadventure.

Before the United States Air Force began pounding Saddam's forces in what would be a prelude to a one-hundred-hour ground campaign, it provided a much more subtle service to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When considering the first Iraq war, most people think about the offensive campaign that pushed Saddam's forces out of Kuwait. Few remember the deterrence provided by airpower before allied aircraft began the offensive that would be known as "Desert Storm."

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