Saturday, June 02, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

Colombia will be the first NATO partner--not an actual NATO member, however--in Latin America.

More here and here on the unwillingness of Germany to be a reliable ally. They're proud of this attitude. There are Germans who would like to be a capable ally, of course. But they don't have a voice, very clearly. The Germans might want to consider that it is criminal not to be able to defend the concentration of industrial power that Germany has, given that if controlled by an aggressive power it could be used to conquer even more. The clue bat is still needed.

The resistance makes it easy to despise them more than Trump.

Two American warships defied Chinese territorial claims by carrying out "maneuvering operations" within 12 miles of Chinese islands in the South China Sea on May 27th. Which made the transit an actual "freedom of navigation" operation.

Nearly ten years after Russia planned for and attacked Georgia to cement Russian control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia is wrapping up their court case charging Russia with war crimes in the war. Ah, justice.

Whatever you think of Palestinian claims to land that Israel controls, there is no excuse for thinking of the weeks-long Gaza border assault on Israel as a "protest" that Israel is overreacting to. The media is simply horrible in doing their job on this issue.

This is not a sign that America isn't raising men from boys. It is one boy's failure to become a man. Plenty of young men and women have been standing up in uniform as adults defending America or working hard as civilians for me to believe this is true. Honestly, every generation of older adults, forgetting what they were like in their 20s, thinks the younger generation is worthless. I'll never forget reading how the World War I generation worried that the younger generation wasn't up to taking on Hitler. Every generation has losers. Stop worrying so much.

The Army has renamed Multi-Domain Battle to Multi-Domain Operations. Please adjust all documents. In theory it is fine to fill gaps across domains. I fear the Army will be pushed to do things in other domains that other services are supposed to do, weakening the Army's core competency in the land domain.

The Army's 1st Armored Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division will help restore American practice in rapidly moving units from the continental United States to Europe. The Poles would really like it (and are willing to help pay for it) if American troops would remain in Poland. The Russians continue to be their a-hole selves in response. Maybe this is where REFORPOL comes in.

I know it is more common for conservatives to complain about "endless war," joining liberals (but for that short 8-year gap when they oddly stopped complaining, from 2009 to 2016) doing the same. But when we face jihadi enemies who dream every day of killing us in large numbers, the choice is fighting them forever or until we win. Unless you think simply ending our part in the war and giving jihadis a free shot at us the way they had in the years leading up to September 11, 2001 is the way to go, what is the alternative?

So about same-sex marriage. I know. Not in my lane. But there is a fascinating aspect that I wonder about. First off, I'm fine with it. Had you asked me before I would have said marriage is obviously between a man and a woman. Civil unions? Fine. But I didn't really care about it. So now? I'm fine if society is fine. Have a ball. It isn't like I think same-sex marriage cheapens standard marriage. Nor am I going to stand as a symbol of marriage (divorced). But what I find fascinating is wondering what the result will be. Married couples tend to vote Republican. Will the Democrats who championed same-sex marriage find that they have created couples with economic and family interests that push them to vote Republican? I think that would be fascinating. And I welcome our new Republican voters, of course.

Iran has told their European friends in regard to the nuclear deal issue that Iran would consider a ceasefire in Yemen where Iran is backing Houthi rebels. Meanwhile the rebels are losing ground in the civil war. Which might explain Iran's offer of a "concession."

Why we won't have an English major president. I wouldn't mind their condescending attitude if they had an expertise to back their sense of superiority. Tip to Instapundit.

It seems amazing that we can't figure out the oxygen problem on our aircraft.

Ah, the sainted international community. Of course, the rot starts from the top, where Syria now provides the president of the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament. Syria. Which agreed to give up and not use chemical weapons in 2013. And continues to use chemical weapons on civilians.

I try very hard to remember that when social media erupts in left-wing anger that it doesn't reflect all liberals. That's why I generally refer to "the Left" when I complain (and I certainly never use common insults against those on the left). I really am trying hard not to paint all people to the left of me with the opinions of the vocal hard left wing. I have known and worked with liberals all my life and know that I can disagree with them--even strongly--on policy without believing them to be stupid or evil. I think that may come from living in Detroit and Ann Arbor where I didn't have the luxury of living in a conservative bubble. I do worry that a lot of liberals don't have that advantage and are being pulled to the hard Left's accusation against conservatives of being evil and/or stupid. I used to joke about the NPR "debates" about whether Republican opposition to the "good liberal proposal of the day" was from their evil or because they are just too ignorant to know better. But with social media amplifying the hard Left (and hard Right, to be fair) views, are reasonable people being pulled so far into their bubbles that they can't imagine people having different policy views for any reason other than being stupid and evil people? Unhinged Resistance to Trump is putting this trend on steroids. Reason number X for why I want the federal government's scope of power (and the president's power within the federal government) to be greatly reduced so that California can do what it wants and Alabama can do what it wants and nobody has to worry that either wants to do that for all America. Let the federal government just work on national defense, foreign policy, a small number of actual national issues, and defending constitutional rights against state abuses. It can address inequalities in states with block grants that let the states decide on priorities. Then it won't be so important to control the federal government, and passions at the national level will tone down. Heck, maybe with fewer responsibilities, the federal government will get better at what it does. 

I'm going to assume that not even the compliant Western press can call this action a Palestinian "protest."

I think the Philippines really needs to follow Chinese precedent and build an island at Second Thomas Shoal before their grounded ship functioning as an outpost to defend Filipino territorial claims in the face of growing Chinese pressure rusts away and collapses.

Russia's Syria expedition demonstrates the limits of Russian capabilities, which could not sustain 20,000 troops in a sustained fight abroad. Remember, I didn't think Russia posed a big military threat to Ukraine in 2014, believing the logistics would not allow a sustained Russian mechanized offensive much beyond the basic load of the combat vehicles, causing an early end to an offensive until logistics could be cobbled together.

The mayor of Stockton, California wants to pay the poor $500 per month in cash and wants to pay those "most likely to shoot someone" $1,000 per month. How long before the poor figure out that it is more profitable to be a threat to shoot someone. I eagerly await the headline story "Stockton gets more shootings despite paying people not to shoot other people." Stanford grad, eh? We clearly haven't reached Peak Stupid yet.

When each side carries out military operations that are "proportional" to the other side's military operation, it just means that neither side is hurt enough to stop the low-level forever war that rages for very long. So good luck with that.

After Russia "helped" us get the 2013 Syrian chemical weapons deal and the 2015 Iran nuclear weapons deal, what could possibly go wrong with Russia's top diplomat visiting North Korea regarding nuclear talks? One can hope that our current State Department is more formidable than the outfit led by Spongespine Spandexpants.

Unless India gets their dysfunctional weapons development and procurement system whipped into shape, China is going to kick their ass in the next fight.

Boom! Winning the war takes more than that. But it does require a lot of that.

One man, one vote in Italy. What the one man--the Italian president--did was legal if not custom. And at the time it seemed as if it essentially nullified the parliamentary election results. The EU--which likes to say it wants democracy when it complains about eastern Europeans--looked the other way. Will Italians ratify the legitimacy of that presidential action or be angered by it? Hard to say. But ultimately it didn't work.

Whaaat? A Sandinista commie scumbag is using gangs to attack and kill (about 80 so far) actual protesters? There has been silence here. Although I credit Amnesty International for bringing this up. The sainted international community only gets upset when Israel kills (fewer) Hamas gunmen attacking their border defenses.

If the main problem is that North Korea wants to disarm more slowly than America wants North Korea to give up nukes, maybe the solution is to have China take responsibility and physical control of the nuclear sites for the duration of their elimination. Because we have to neutralize the nuclear weapon threat before we have to destroy them with military force.

Faked assassination in Ukraine to draw out Russian plot. More to follow I assume. Russia continues to be perplexed about Ukrainian anger over Russian-occupied Ukraine in the Donbas and Crimea.

A discussion of US-India defense cooperation prospects. I still wish the acronym for the newly named Indo-Pacific Command was PAINCOM.

I understand that the point of the Trump administration's aggressive stance on trade terms are supposed to rebalance the benefits of the trade toward America rather than reduce trade. In objective terms there is nothing wrong with revising trade deals that had a national security component that was intended to strengthen American allies and extend our influence when we had a higher percent of global GDP than we do now. Then, we could more afford--and needed the political benefits of--tilted deals that helped others more. But I do worry that cooler heads won't prevail in settling these disputes.

Adding American missile defense capabilities in Europe will help keep our reinforcements flowing to Europe in an emergency. And guard against Iranian missiles, although an American counter-attack on Iran is a bigger deterrent. So I hope we put THAAD in place.

The near fetish of counting casualties in US strikes is mystifying. Just because a civilian dies does not mean America is legally responsible. Most obviously, when an enemy uses human shields the enemy is responsible for deaths when we strike the enemy. And even mistakes that arise from the enemy dressing like civilians make he enemy responsible--that's why lawful combatants are supposed to wear uniforms. And finally, even when we know who the enemy is and are pretty sure civilians will die, too, striking is generally lawful if the objective is reasonable. We actually go beyond what is required to avoid civilian casualties and the self-flagellating counting is mind boggling to me.

Catalonia again has a government run by those who want independence from Spain.

Unless the resolution backers believe the best way to "protect" Palestinians is to overthrow the Hamas government and jail them all, America was right to veto the UN Security Council measure. The council also failed to condemn Hamas for assaulting Israel.

Just because America and India have a common interest in opposing China doesn't mean we are tight allies with all of our interests and objectives aligned. Welcome to the real world. But our foundation for friendship is stronger than the anti-USSR foundation that China and America had in our brief late Cold War alignment.