If the United States and/or Israel finally do attack Iran, as it now appears inevitable, they may end up falling into a trap laid by Russia and China.

“Garden Airplane Trap”

Max Ernst – Art Institute of Chicago

The Americans know Iran did not bring the RQ-170 down because their intelligence agencies discovered the culprits were a Chinese cyber warfare team which seized control of the drone; Iran was given the passive role of being told where and when to hold out their arms to catch it. The Obama administration is keeping this information to itself so as not to compromise US economic relations with China, especially in a presidential election year. Debka

Iran tested its passive radar system and electronic warfare equipment in the latest aerial drills aimed at maintaining readiness of a nationwide radar network, local satellite Press TV reported on Sunday. Colonel Abolfazl Sepehri, spokesman for the four-day military exercises, said that Iran’s armed forces deployed the country’s most up-to-date passive radar system and hardware for electronic warfare on Saturday, according to the report, which did not elaborate on the system. Xinhua – 2011-11-20

For the modern armed forces of any large, militarily advanced country, which might find itself hypothetically facing the United States armed forces in battle — probably only Russia and China  fit this description — the problem of defending themselves (or more probably a client state) against an American offensive is above all about winning an anti-aircraft battle. Finding ways of raising the cost of an air attack, beyond what Americans would be prepared to pay, is surely one the most important, if not the most important, field of study for their staff officers.

In any hypothetical conflict, (which is what general staffs spend their lives preparing for) American ground forces could only enter China or Russia — or their clients — vital space if they could first destroy their air defenses and then follow it up with a “turkey shoot” in the same way they did to Saddam Hussein in both Gulf wars or to Serbia in the Kosovo conflict.This is the major problem to be solved and you may be sure that much treasure and grey matter are being spent on solving it.

Iran might prove to be an ideal place to “bench test” Russia and China’s antiaircraft systems and perhaps deal a heavy blow to Washington and Israel’s idea of cost-free gunboat diplomacy.

It is obvious that a large modern army with an adequate antiaircraft defense, which would also mean effective electronic and cyber countermeasures, would have little to fear from American ground forces, which have been turned into a “lean and mean” counter-insurgency force, but one which has not been able to emerge victorious from any counter-insurgency scenarios, either in Iraq or Afghanistan… or even clearly define what such a victory would be. This reduced ground capability would be totally inadequate for any “boots on the ground” activity in a terrain as large and rugged as Iran’s, unless complete mastery of the airspace were insured.

Everything in American military thinking revolves around overwhelming air superiority in the face of a helpless and prostrate enemy. To be able to defang that air superiority from the ground, would entirely change the world’s military balance of power. Therefore it is surely a primary objective of all states that feel themselves threatened by American power and any military-industrial complex that could develop such capabilities would be assured of brisk sales.

The US Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups, would also be extremely vulnerable to the same electronic and cyber counter measures and missile systems the that the USAF would be. The central challenge in resisting American power then is to stymy and neutralize its air and sea power from the ground. The same in even a greater degree would apply to Israel. The Americans and the Israelis depend entirely on their technological superiority to attack others at little or no human cost to themselves. Much of America’s foreign policy is predicated on this relative invulnerability of its forces, Israel’s almost entirely so.

The escalating situation in Iran is providing both Russians and the Chinese with an ideal laboratory for bench testing and developing effective countermeasures against American air, cyber and electronic superiority. Something similar occurred in miniature in 1999, during the Kosovo conflict, but enormous Iran is an infinitely more interesting antiaircraft “laboratory” than tiny Serbia ever could have been.

The attack on Iran is now being treated as something inevitable, something which is sure to occur this spring… it could end up being a disaster on the scale of Spain’s “Invincible Armada”.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com/

David Seaton

David Seaton