Saturday, July 28, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

Merkel is right that relations with America are "crucial" for Germany, given German military weakness and extensive trade that requires American military protection for Germany and their trade.

Syria is regaining the Golan Heights border with Israel. Traditionally, Syria kept that border very quiet. If Syria controls the border it will remain quiet. If Iran controls the Syrian side of the border, Israel will face attacks across the border. So what happens to the buffer zone established in 1974?

Well, no, America isn't ready to fight sophisticated enemy militaries. We remain "unbalanced" after fighting insurgents and terrorists for so long. We are in the process of "rebalancing." And restocking war reserve stocks. And with the combat experience of so many officers and NCOs added in, the rebalanced American military will be very good. Given time. And in the meantime, our potential enemies are in worse shape.

Remember, the Obama administration knew about and ignored Russian election interference. Only when Trump defeated Clinton did Obama suddenly care. Perhaps we can now unite on blocking the Russians, who have long pulled this kind of stuff.

The idea that America is at fault for bad American-Russian relations because we tried to bolster Ukraine's ability to resist Russian efforts to make Ukraine a compliant client state and buffer is ridiculous. Ukraine had every right to want to join the West rather than be a vassal state of Moscow. The same holds true for the other people who managed to throw off the Soviet/Russian yoke between 1989 and 1991.

Of course Putin doesn't want NATO to work with Ukraine and Georgia--Russia still has a lot of territory to take from both them.

On the question of whether I "support" Trump, the answer is clear: I remain grateful he defeated Clinton. I support Trump status as the lawfully elected president. I support many of his policies--many more than I'd support if Clinton had won. But that does not mean I cannot oppose policies or actions I don't like. I have mentioned that I don't bow to royalty. Well, I don't bow, period. No American should. Although I shall maintain my focus on national security affairs.

Iran's chief nutball Rouhani: "War with Iran is the mother of all wars." Which is much better than the "mother of all battles" that Saddam promised in 1991 before getting his ass kicked twice, and then tried and executed.

Is this collusion or nuance? I'm so confused.

The ability of the F-35 to gather, use, and share information is apparently awesome. Early in this blog I expressed concerns about the plane. Over time I'd hear good things too but retained my worry. It was only relatively recently that I read that the Russians had mounted a propaganda campaign to discredit the F-35, hoping to shoot it down in the procurement stage. Clearly, my former concerns had been shaped by reading people who had (almost assuredly unwittingly) absorbed some of that campaign. Now my concern is keeping the technical secrets of this plane secret. And I should note that I have a small amount of Lockheed Martin stock, as I try to note if I remember LM is involved in something I mention.

If you wonder, I remain a "traditional conservative on the classical-liberal model." At least domestically. Abroad I am not an isolationist.

Oh good grief, nobody actually thinks that defending the West only relies on spending at least 2% of GDP on defense, but that is surely the foundation for everything else. Stop making excuses for Germany.

Fulani herders are killing farmers in Nigeria in a long-running war that so far this year has killed 1,700 people. This will do nothing to soothe worries about Moslems, even though the religious angle isn't the biggest factor. As a point of comparison, in no calendar year did American troop deaths in the Iraq War reach 1,000 KIA.

Now this is worrisome Russian hacking.

Congress might block transfers of F-35s to Turkey. Mattis opposes this. I wonder why he isn't apparently worried about the intelligence threat of giving F-35s to an increasingly hostile and unreliable Turkey under Erdogan? I find it hard to believe that the supply chain for the plane couldn't adapt to the loss of Turkey in it. Surely thought has been given to that already.

China's investments and weapons sales increase their control of resource production in Africa. I wonder if a similar analysis could be done for Chinese activities in Russia's Far East?

In related news, India's Modi promises to engage in Africa.


1,000,000% inflation looming. Socialism is evil whether it is trying to harm people or pretending it helps people.Why people with functioning brain stems and a conscience can embrace it is beyond me.

Russia's use of military contractors (mercenaries) in Syria and Ukraine (among other places). I collected my blog thoughts on this general issue here.

Algeria's president is quite life-like--which is apparently good enough for government work.

Thus far, Congress has not appropriated funds for a United States Space Force. You know my thoughts.

Sweden is worried about their air defenses in light of Russian threats.

I have no idea if the Toronto killer was an ISIL-inspired attack or not. But the idea that he couldn't be a jihadi because he committed suicide after the attack and jihadis don't believe in suicide is an odd assertion given the many years of jihadi suicide bombings we have seen--especially during holiday season. Ringing a bell?

Your daily dose of ancient history when a president is taunted for deporting illegal aliens and the press goes wild in defense of the president.

Good Lord, what a horrible way to die. Corruption has a body count.

China's espionage war to catch up with our technology rages without much public notice.

A lot of Syrian "White Helmet" rescue workers remain stuck in Syria.

It really does amaze and horrify me that the European Union is determined to punish Britain for leaving the EU, even as the EU resists efforts to sanction Iran in an effort to stop the mullahs from getting nukes. Mention of talk about a Brexit 2.0 after a soft Brexit strengthens my view that Britain must get out now even if the deal isn't that good rather than risk failure to leave in a pursuit of the perfect Brexit. Get out and fix what is wrong with the Brexit deal after Britain escapes the EU.

Nigeria named the 4th commander in 14th month in an effort to whip the army fighting Boko Haram into shape. Nigeria did good work scattering the jihadis. But they aren't doing a good job finishing the job or even holding bases in the face of hit and run raids. Nigeria needs to keep after the terrorists 24/7 to deny them the ability to mass and strike--or even to rest, recruit, and train. Oh, and the Fulani cattle war continues.

I've mentioned this before but found a link as I went through unread emails. Iran and Russia provide support to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A clarification on GDP growth: 4.1% GDP growth in the most recent quarter is good but not a decisive change from the recent past until it is a year-long rate. During the Obama administration, we never had an annual growth rate for a full year of at least 4%. Individual quarters are another matter.