Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

Brexit will happen! I was honestly worried that pro-EU forces would--as they have before--reverse voter sentiment somehow to preserve the proto-empire.

The next "European" tank will be a German Leopard II tank chassis with a French  LeClerc tank turret. So I guess the French and Germans could swap tanks they have in storage with each other to build "new" tanks. For a moment there, I was impressed that the Europeans had designed a "new" tank.

I hope it is true that the European Union wants their military efforts to be complementary to a strong NATO--and not to a NATO that starved of troops and money by the Europeans who are also in the EU.

I really resent that Democrats distorted and politicized our inadequate border control capabilities to make America look bad to the rest of the world. Separating children from families is obviously bad--unless the alternatives are worse (including leaving a child with an adult who is not their parent--and who may be abusive). The border policy predates Trump (but with zero public crying and outrage back in the days of hope and change); and American criminals sent to jail have their children separated from them all the time without tearful politicians and TV hosts expressing outrage.

And let me add that I find it hilarious that Democrats claim the president is creating a dictatorship. Yet on the border issue Democrats didn't want Congress to change the law on child separation for illegal border crossers that Trump enforces. No, Democrats wanted Trump to use his pen--as Senator Schumer stated--to simply change his policy in defiance of statutes. Fascinating.

Can the Army carry out its core competency of large-scale conventional warfare?

Yes, the weight of armored vehicles is trending in a bad direction. But how much passive (but heavy) armor can be eliminated in favor of active defenses or avoiding detection? I'm just a bit skeptical that we have real alternatives to passive armor. Remember, active protection systems are needed on our Abrams not to replace lots of heavy passive armor but to protect against hits to thinner side, rear, and top armor. I think the only way around this weight of armor problem is eventually to get remotely operated or robotic vehicles (so no crew to protect) that don't bother with much armor above protection from auto cannons and shrapnel, are considered semi-disposable, and are made in large numbers. Infantry carriers might become the only heavy vehicles left because of their precious human cargo.

Wow! Socialism in Venezuela made everyone millionaires!   Feel the Bern!

Twitterfied America really is depressing in the hate and intolerance it amplifies. I keep telling myself that the vast majority of people aren't like the vile examples of our species that Twitter attracts. I really am an optimist, eh?

Saudi Arabia's MBS is in a dangerous game to transform Saudi Arabia from a "tribal petrostate to a mature, 21st-century nation." Qatar is not bending to Saudi pressure and is pulling Iran and Turkey into the region to balance the Saudis, however; and the possible need to go nuclear if Iran manages to do that will make the transformational game more dangerous. There can be no doubt that Saudi Arabia needs American help in a dangerous neighborhood. We should hope Mohammed bin Salman succeeds in his dangerous game.

But what are the odds their predictions will be amazingly wrong for another thirty years?

The China-India border dispute. I did not know that China has managed to gain control of 1,000 square kilometers of land since 2000.


Assad finds using chemical weapons to be an efficient method of killing people who support rebels, figuring that if you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. As I noted before, Assad killed his way to victory. It isn't quite accurate to compare this to the American "hearts and minds" approach to counter-insurgency because Assad doesn't face an insurgency--he faces a civil war where enemies control parts of Syria that Assad cannot enter. This is more like Saddam using chemical weapons against fanatical Iranian troops along the front in the Iran-Iraq War. This is why civilian casualties are relatively small in the multi-war (I think no more than 30% of the estimated 500,000 dead). Also, I don't think the non-Western world with experience on the western front of World War I have the same horrific view of chemical weapons. So that's a factor in use.

How it is a shock that illegal immigration harms poor Americans disproportionately is beyond my ability to comprehend. Mind you, it is great for liberal Americans in the upper class who can validate their moral superiority by championing open borders and have cheap lawn care services. Tip to Instapundit.

If Republicans argued with Democrats the way Democrats attack Republicans, when you note that Democrats love trains to nowhere, Republicans would say that Nazis used trains to take victims to death camps--so commuter trains are just like Nazi trains. Which means Democrats are just like Nazis. Seriously, not everybody you hate is a Nazi. And I'll add, why do you hate everyone who disagrees with you?

I thought it was significant that the FBI has found no evidence of Russian-Trump election collusion, but the FBI counter-intelligence capability seems to have deteriorated dangerously in general, so maybe not. I mean seriously, WTF?

Last week my data dump had more non-defense things than I like. I'm working on it. Although I consider border security a national security issue. And I resent the way Democrats distort the issue for political gain to make America look bad to the world. If America was really so bad, people wouldn't be flocking here in droves. And really, why haven't all those in Hollywood who pledged to flee abroad actually left?

Speaking of border issues, Canada doesn't like how we treat Central American refugees crossing our border. Of course, those refugees should apply for refuge in Mexico rather than continuing north to America. Funny enough, without hostile press coverage or public outrage, since last summer Canadian officials have been telling Haitians, Mexicans, and Central Americans in America that they shouldn't head for Canada. Canada has been approving just 8% of such refugee claims, sending the rest back to their country of origin. Said the Canadians, "Canadians are broadly supportive of immigration. But Canadians truly believe in order and well-managed immigration." Same here.

China's economy rests on a fragile foundation.

I'm really not happy that Turkey will get F-35s. I hope that the plane is a reduced-capability version of the new plane America and the West will rely on for air superiority for decades to come. I guess the problem isn't that the Russians will crawl over the plane, but that the plane will exchange lots of data with Turkey's air defense system that will be provided by Russia--which Russian technicians will crawl all over. Can we throttle the data flow, at least? We're smart enough to do that, right?

The wonders of capitalism for bringing goods within the reach of everybody.

And oh yeah, it took the British press to reveal that the Time magazine "crying child" cover had never been separated from her parent.  But remember, "fake news" that promotes a liberal agenda isn't a thing. And yes, children have been separated from jailed parents. But if there are so many apples out there, why show a banana? I mean, if the media cares about credibility.

The headline says "EU"-American defense ties will be fine, according to the NATO chief. But the article is really about European-American defense ties. Thank God the European Union does not mean geographic Europe. America has friends in Europe. But an institutional Europe defined as the EU will not long be America's friend.

Wow, will Sweden really manage to sell their Gripen fighter to the Philippines?

I guess India will get a base in the Seychelles.

Why is is so hard for some people on the left to understand that you can be in favor of immigration while being opposed to illegal immigration across a porous border? The two are different things! Of course, I still don't understand why some people on the left can't understand that you can lack any hatred of Moslems while being in favor of killing murderous jihadi bastards. Those are also different categories of people.

The first unit of American B-1 bombers will get the long-range AGM-158C anti-ship missile. Their most likely war-time deployment would be to Guam in the Pacific or Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Or to Iceland or Italy, I suppose, if the Russians insist on being a more pressing potential foe than China.

Iran is equipping its old F-4 Phantoms for the long-range naval strike mission. Even an old plane with modern anti-ship missiles can be a potent threat. So there is another reason why our carriers just should not enter the Persian Gulf.

Seriously, when everything Trump does is like the Nazis, according to the media; and so anyone who supports Trump is therefore just like Nazis, Trump supporters just stop giving a damn that you think they are just like Nazis. You can't be the media who cried Nazi and expect the lack of actual Nazi policies (I honestly don't think the people making that claim have any understanding at all of actual Nazis) to allow you to keep making that claim without losing credibility. At some point, people say, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." The people throwing the Nazi charge around are historically ignorant and despicable, hateful people. Period.

The Philippines is pushing to upgrade its antiquated military. They can hardly defeat China in a war in defense of Filipino territory in the South China Sea that China is taking. But Manila can make sure it is capable of winning a battle with Peking over one of those small pieces of territory--and hope the alliance with America and Japan deters China from escalating to a war China would win if it was just a Philippines-China clash.