Saturday, April 08, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

The Ares was a concept for a low-cost ground support plane that looks like a scaled-down version of the A-10. Not only didn't the Air Force want it, but the Army didn't want a plane that would threaten the AH-64 attack helicopter. So in my post on an Aerospace Force, I guess my question of what the Army might do if it got the A-10 was answered at least once. Although my question includes the money to support a ground support plane, too. So perhaps the question still needs answering.

Yemen's Houthi rebel/separatist group is using modified SAM-2 anti-aircraft missiles as surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. This brings back memories of the pre-Iraq War when news reports noted that Iraq was importing SAM-2 engines without any media awareness that the reason to import engines for such an obsolete anti-aircraft missile was to build ballistic missiles with a range prohibited by the Gulf War ceasefire. No, that little fact was seen as demonstrating that Saddam was only trying to get defensive weapons. And here we are with a volley of missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia.

Russia is ordering small but heavily armed corvettes for their navy. Not only can they be exported, but they make sense. Russia does not need a large blue water navy. Their core fleet needs to be corvettes for coastal defense, ballistic missile submarines for a survivable nuclear deterrent, and attack subs and anti-submarine ships to create defended bastions for the ballistic missile subs. If they can afford it, amphibious warfare ships for coastal areas are useful. Once they have that, they can consider "show the flag" blue water ships. Aircraft carriers are purely the red sports car of the Russian navy.

Did the Russians help cause the 2010 plane crash that killed the Polish president and a lot of top officials?  It was a convenient loss for the Russians. If true, at least Moscow didn't blame the Nazis.

The international naval patrol mission did finally suppress piracy off of Somalia. But the cost was to allow hostages to languish for years on shore. I hoped for punitive missions to smash up the pirate bases ashore. But the mission did work. Until the international warships went away. So what will India do now that one of their ships was taken? India as a non-Western country has more room for error in a response.

I have expressed my worry that Egypt could be flirting with Russia as part of Egyptian worry about the American alliance and Russian efforts to rebuild their presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. This author worries that America is pushing Egypt to Russia. Luckily, Egypt is still transitioning to American military gear long after Egypt's flip to America. Flipping back would be rough. And Russia is in no position to finance a flip. Nor is Iran even with the financial windfall of the Iran deal. China could pay the price to be Egypt's patron, but would they? And America shouldn't be quite the problem for Egypt in the post-Obama era, I imagine. So I suspect that Egypt is really just trying to tell America and Saudi Arabia (which also finances Egypt) not to take them for granted.

It is interesting that Norway's defense upgrade plans focus on air and naval defense. What about ground forces?  I'm assuming that the Norwegians see little territorial threat beyond losing their far north to an overland attack that doesn't threaten more settled areas let alone the core of southern Norway. Air and sea capabilities will stop airborne and amphibious invasion threats, of course. And they can support Sweden and Finland more easily. And there are the American Marines, of course.

In the current era of a Democratic "Red Scare" about potential Russian ties to Trump. let's spare a moment to recall the "Red Yawn" of Democratic concern about communist China's influence with Bill Clinton.

I do worry that South Korea will go wobbly with a new left-wing president. But my worry about a major shift to China is tempered by the hostility that North Korea and China show toward South Korea that should limit any lowering of South Korea's guard. And again, I won't blame President Obama for not doing something about North Korea. I find it hard to believe South Korea or Japan would have agreed to any military action when we--but not they (especially South Korea's capital, Seoul)--would have been vulnerable to a North Korean response. Was betting on a North Korean collapse in 8 years really a bad bet to make under the circumstances?

The implication that it is troubling that President Trump is delegating routine decisions on waging war to the military (the military is "seizing control" of more responsibility) is just odd. What should be troubling is the past trend to make the president a squad leader from the Oval Office. Heck, it is bad enough that generals sometime act like squad leaders from the Pentagon. Civilian control over the military means the civilians decide when to use force and what the goals are. It does not mean that the civilians make military decisions on how and when to fight the enemy the civilians designate.

The problem of Obama fans leaking information and otherwise undermining the Trump administration wouldn't be as bad as it is if Trump would actually appoint the people he can appoint to executive office positions--like at the Department of Defense. A sense of urgency please. The transition period wasn't long enough to get a jump on this?

Democratic complaints that Russians hacked the election (although the Russians failed to hack a majority of voters for Trump) seem to rely on the theory that Russia managed to poach the most stupid of the Democratic coalition who fell for Russian fake news.

Susan Rice seems to have been prominent in unmasking Trump people caught up in the giant Hoover vacuum that is our signals intelligence apparatus. But hey, at least she didn't blame Trump's victory on some obscure video maker and imprison him.

Tina Fey is certainly proof that feminists are just the women's auxiliary of leftism, considering she slams the 44% of college educated white women who voted for Trump (and the 52% of white women overall, I suppose). Fey heard them roar and then accused them of being animals.

We're making nice with Egypt, which lessens the chance of Egypt flipping to the Russians--if that was a real Egyptian option.

Look, I know I'm deficient in nuance. But this leaves me confused: "Unemployment among 15-to-24-year-olds is now at a staggering 25 percent and has led to an exodus that has rendered London the sixth-largest French-speaking city in the world." This exodus of young French people from France makes no sense. I keep reading that France (and European countries in general) need mass immigration from the Moslem world to take jobs in birth-poor Europe that doesn't have the workers to fill jobs.

Is there a Watergate level scandal emerging for the former Obama administration?

Seriously, that Left-wing screening of 1984 as a warning against Trump is absolutely hilarious when you consider that the book is a warning against socialism. I assume that after watching the movie, attendees screamed about Trump for about a couple minutes, eh? Tip to Instapundit.

We need FISA to fight terrorism directed at America, but we need federal employees to be responsible with the enormous power they have rather than abuse it. So as reauthorization comes up, the abuses revealed by the whole "unmasking" issue by the Obama administration provides us a choice: Congress refuses to reauthorize the law because the executive branch can't be trusted to use the power that is supposed to protect Americans; or the executive branch employees who abused the law are punished enough to deter future abuse, so we can keep FISA intact.

So it is suspicious if you deposit $10,000 dollars in your bank account; and it is a crime to deposit less if it looks like--to the government, of course--you are avoiding that threshold. Which means the government can seize your money. Those "buy gold" commercials are looking more appealing, eh? Oh, and I thought the bank was required to report higher deposits to the government and not the responsibility of an individual or business making the deposit, as the article states. Tip to Instapundit.

Iraqi forces have suffered 800 dead and 5,000 wounded in the 5 months of the Mosul offensive. The remaining ISIL defenders are disorganized and demoralized in their tiny corner of the city. This compares well to the 7,000 killed and wounded Iraq suffered in the 7-week assault on Iran's city of Khorramshahr in 1980. Given that the casualty ratio in 1980 was likely closer to 3:1 wounded to killed, about 1,700+ Iraqi troops likely died in the 1980 assault.

I see, Trump is the problem for trying harder--with more effort rather than many more troops--to win (and end) Middle East wars that already raged under President Obama who was happy to just avoid disaster he might be blamed for until he left office. Ah, a former Obama administration official now serving as a professor. Consider the source.

Mysteriously vague "youth" beat up a gay couple in the Netherlands for the crime of holding hands in public. When gay rights conflict with "youth" bigotry, you know who wins in Leftist victimology.

A French soldier was killed in Mali which is the center of France's efforts to check jihadi advances in the region.

Liberal hatred of Trump supporters is ridiculous: "'I absolutely despise these people,' one woman tweeted at me after I interviewed Trump voters. 'Truly the worst of humanity. To hell with every one of them.'" I've long said that it is a crime against language that "liberal minded" is taken as a synonym for "open minded." Truly, those haters need to scrape their COEXIST bumper stickers off of their hybrid cars.

When speaking of media bias, this article will do as well as any to illustrate it. No mention that super-majority voting is a relatively recent procedure for court nominees. No mention of Democratic obstruction in Republican nominees since the Reagan administration.  No mention that Democrats abandoned the super-majority for lower court judges (calling it "filibuster reform," I believe). No mention that Democrats raised the issue of not nominating a judge in the final year of a (Republican) president. No mention that Senator Reid prior to the election when Clinton was believed to have a lock on the presidency had said the "nuclear option" (aka the Reid Option) would be a good idea (when Democrats were assumed to have a lock on a narrow win in the Senate). No, the reporter just notes the destruction of tradition by Republicans. This is bias in action. The writer may not even realize it.

Do you really doubt that feminists are the women's auxiliary of leftism rather than a group that promotes and celebrates the success of women?

This week saw the anniversary of America's entry into World War I. One of my grandfathers was a World War I Army veteran. My other grandfather was sent to the Mexican border before the war. Here are Army links to brochures on both.

India has sheer size to deal with threats from Pakistan. That advantage disappears when dealing with China. So India really needs to break up and sell for parts their dysfunctional procurement bureaucracy before China gets too far ahead. If India wasn't a democracy, I'd say some people should be shot as a lesson to others.

Those damn Swedish neocons with their wars in the Middle East and refusal to accept Moslem refugees into their country deserved this kind of terrorism, no doubt. Wait. What? Sweden has accepted lots of refugees and migrants from the Middle East? And Sweden barely has a military let alone used it in the Middle East? Huh.

Somebody's Clinton Privilege is showing. Tip to Instapundit. She was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple? Good Lord, her family bought the team for her!

Climate models just don't work, and you really can't deny that fact.