Saturday, May 19, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

America should support the European PESCO initiative if and only if it is limited to making arms procurement more efficient across the continent rather than being the leading edge of a European Union military that undermines NATO. And I have little confidence that the EU elites want the former without the latter.

Hahahahahahaha!!!! Wait.What? He's serious? That's just sad.

I don't think we should torture. But once again, let me correct the record. Torture works. If backed by multiple sources that give you confidence that your target knows what you need to know, few people can withstand torture without telling what they know. What doesn't work is torture as a routine matter on a large scale when you round up the usual suspects to see what they will tell you when you inflict pain. In that case, people who know nothing really will tell you whatever you want to hear. That form of torture is worthless and counter-productive by pushing people to side with the enemy. Further, not every extremely unpleasant method is torture. And even further, we can totally rule out any extremely or even mildly unpleasant method of getting information without defining it as torture.

You thought the Indonesia suicide bomber attacks on three churches in Indonesia couldn't get worse? Wrong answer. Let's hope the counter-programming works. It took time to radicalize so many Moslems. It will take time to undo the damage. On the bright side, despite being a large Moslem-majority country, Indonesia is not very jihadi-friendly.

So the daughter of the Profit says that churches should preach about supporting climate change activism. Which makes sense. Now go and emit no more.

I bet the people who use these pronouns mock religious people who "speak in tongues." Go figure. Tip to Instapundit. I keep hoping we've reached Peak Stupid and yet the bar keeps getting raised.

What's the betting line on years to the first span collapse?

A government big enough to help everyone is apparently big enough to help overseas terrorists. The Long War is long enough because of the nature of our jihadi enemies. Do we have to make it longer?

The Iran-backed Yemen forces are slowly being defeated but Iranian aid keeps them fighting longer than they could otherwise, the Yemen government believes.

California has apparently been a sanctuary state for STDs.

If "the world" makes America pay a diplomatic price for walking away from an atrocious nuclear deal with Iran that would not stop Iran from going nuclear and which enabled Iran to fund mayhem around the Middle East, "the world" can ef itself. Repeatedly. The French decline the offer to self-screw.

Whether or not they are a natural Democratic constituency,  my view is that when someone is an ex-felon having served their punishment, the state should stop punishing them and restore their voting rights. Obviously, it is fine to deny actual felons currently serving time the right to vote.

A desire to get out of Afghanistan is fine as far as it goes. Who wouldn't want to end a war we have been fighting in for so long? But what is acceptable if we leave too soon? Are people really fine if the territory reverts to a jihadi sanctuary the way it was when al Qaeda launched the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on America? I'm truly sorry the war is so long. But we face religion-inspired fanatical enemies who really want to kill us at home. I say we don't let them.

Erdogan says the UN has "collapsed" because of its failure regarding Gaza. Not Syria. Not Sudan. Not Somalia. Not (big) Congo. Not Zimbabwe. Not Pakistan's support for jihadis. Not Myanmar. Not Libya. Not Mali. Not Russia's aggression against Ukraine. No, Turkey's proto-dictator says that failing to prevent Hamas from sending civilians and children to attack Israel's border condemn Israel  means the UN has "collapsed." I think somebody hasn't realized that the Palestinians are no longer Queen of the Victim Prom.

Yeah, once Turkey was the hope for moderate Islam and Saudi Arabia was the problem, being the Patient Zero for jihadi ideology. Now they are switching places.

I have no way to judge this threat. But it has been a while since we've had one--which historically have devastated regions. Are we really immune to it now?

Is the Trump administration starting a full-court press on Iran? Weakening or defeating the Iranian mullah-run government would help resolve or lessen a lot of problems we have in the region.

A declining American birthrate (tip to Instapundit), if it remains lower than recent rates, will have a great effect on what the US-China power balance is in 2050 or 2100. UPDATE: More on fertility.

Socialism isn't about superior caring; socialism is about exploitation with a better cover story for the exploiters that the rubes will believe even as they are impoverished, starved, and otherwise killed off. Tip to Instapundit.

When the media willfully lies to make Trump look bad, it has real world consequences in foreign countries where people believe the lie is true. I remain confused about how Trump's "fake news" charge continues to gain traction, of course.

Again, my first reaction is that they (CAIR in this case) should ef themselves for their stupid reaction. Repeatedly. I'm truly sorry we aren't at war with extremist League of Women Voter types, but whaddayagonnado? You go to war with the enemy you have and not the enemy you wish you had.

Really, it's okay to mock an enemy. For "super dark" you just need to see what our jihadi enemies do every day.

I am very unhappy that Moqtada al Sadr's alliance won big in Iraq (although Sadr himself did not run for an office). He has the blood of a lot of Americans on his hands and I don't trust that he is no longer an Iranian stooge. But Sadr was behind the deaths of a lot more Iraqis. If they don't mind, I don't know if we can do anything but accept the results and focus on making sure free elections [UPDATE: and rule of law in governance, of course] continue. Democracy must not be, as Erdogan in Turkey explained, like a train that you get off when you arrive at where you want to go. Who knows? Maybe Sadr is no longer a walking piece of breathing garbage who will make all of us--Iraqi and American--regret we let that three-time insurrectionist live.

A Russian company, Rosneft, is drilling for oil on behalf of Vietnam in Vietnam's EEZ in the South China Sea that China claims as Chinese territorial waters in defiance of the Law of the Sea that China and Vietnam have signed. Huh. The company is basically an arm of the Russian state. Interesting, no? Especially given that, according to the second article, China may have decided that investments in China are too risky (and apparently the political benefit of investment is no longer high enough). Well, if Russia is pivoting to Asia (and 2021 isn't far away), this sign of Russian-Chinese friction might make sense.

Remember that when National Security Advisor Bolton spoke of the "Libya model" for North Korea, he was speaking about the intrusive WMD removal and verification process; President Trump (and the North Koreans) were speaking about the subsequent European-pushed (remember "leading from behind"?) overthrow of Khadaffi during his civil war. So Trump was just reassuring Kim Jong-Un that our intent is de-nuclearization and not revolution.

It shouldn't require legislation. I just don't see how we can trust Turkey with the F-35. I assume that we reserve the best stuff for our own planes. But even that is insufficient for Turkey under Erdogan. Unless we sell Turkey a "monkey model" that lacks the advanced stealth and electronics, how can we possibly believe the Russians and Chinese won't rapidly have full knowledge of the plane? Of course, perhaps we should take the opportunity to pretend we are selling the Turks the top F-35 with flaws that the Russians and Chinese may think apply to all F-35s. Or would we just outsmart ourselves and reveal more than we realize? Okay, I'm getting dizzy now.

Where actual oppression of Moslems under occupation and ethnic cleansing takes place--but nobody acts like they care or even know about it. Well, maybe if the Chinese convert to Judaism--or even Christianity--on a large scale, people in the West and Moslem world will suddenly care about Xinjiang. It's amazing what a communist state--even if just formally communist--can get away with. On the bright side, Starbucks employee reeducation isn't that bad--yet. Remember, that training day is “just one step in a journey.” A Long March has many steps.

Even small infantry units equipped with Switchblade can have their own air force for recon and strike. And they like it.

I don't know how valuable a B-1 with some type of cannon/rail gun/laser for close air support would be, but I kind of like the idea for anti-ship strike. Bonus material about how rare friendly fire is by requiring going back to 2014 for a single incident to explain why troops are a bit worried about Air Force close air support. Good Lord, before precision that was a routine price of doing business and you just prayed your air force (and artillery, for that matter) did more damage to the enemy.

I don't even think about trade talks with China as talks about trade. Nobody seems to mention that last year Trump noted that concessions on trade might be made if China actually helps us solve the North Korea nuclear program. So really, threats of doing things that harm China just allow us to agree to the status quo as a concession to China, no?

The Army pistol replacement story. Because indoors, a pistol is better than even a scary looking rifle.

No worries about Russia and Germany seeking a pact common cause, right? Smaller powers between them should check their ammo. I'm talking to you, Ukraine. That's what the common cause is all about.

Um, no. That's just not how these nuclear negotiations are going to work. not when we have a Plan B if negotiations fail.

If I'd seen this, I wouldn't have bothered writing this. Although it is nice to have more historical support for a modern role for the Army's core competency in the Asia-Pacific region.

Let me say that I feel better about restricting non-national security comments here. I am a national security analyst. Of course I have opinions on other issues--with varying levels of background to comment on them. But I have no obligation to comment on everything and shouldn't if I want to be an analyst. Sometimes other issues touch on national security. And sometimes I will comment on whatever because I can. Sometimes just for the humor value. But I like throttling back my other commentary. Maybe this could be a trend that could benefit a lot more people.