Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekend Data Dump

The Philippines has been able to greatly reduce Moslem-based violence in their south. But the China threat looms despite a slight pause to deal with Hong Kong and economic problems.

A Navy destroyer deployed to the Black Sea. Russia is the focus, of course. Our deployments there are limited by treaty provisions governing non-Black Sea navies in those waters, in regard to tonnage and time.

The Scorpene saga highlights India's military-industrial complex ineptitude. This lingering problem caused problems when Pakistan was the primary threat. But India's power superiority made up for that. But now China is India's primary threat. The lingering problem could be fatal in that contest.

How the "fake" gets into "fake news" to twist reality to suit political purposes. That video should have been a minor fleeting story.

I hope that the Chinese students using American freedom to safely demonstrate in favor of a monstrous dictatorship over Hong Kong protesters will one day return home and contemplate their brief interlude of freedom as they live in Dystopian State 2.0 that China is building every day.

Yes, America should support Ukraine against Russia but also prod Ukraine to build rule of law. Without rule of law Ukraine is just a weaker version of corrupt Russia that will lose their war with Putin.

This is an interesting assessment of the American strategic environment in 2040. It assumes a more post-Cold War era of American power advantages based on a couple assumptions that seem dubious. Namely that Russia will be weaker and focused internally; and China will gain ground (especially in controlling the South China Sea) but will be focused internally from domestic unrest. Why would either focus internally from problems or success, leaving the global playing field to America? Why wouldn't they resort to force against weaker neighbors to bolster domestic support? I suppose I find it interesting because I have an older look at 2040. We have a couple decades to go.

The Germans still annoy me with their declared defense attitudes.

The funny thing about the Democratic obsession with killing the Electoral College presidential election system is that the Democrats actually do have an edge in this system. Hillary really did have a Blue Wall. But because the monumentally inept Clinton managed to lose that wall in 2016 with Trump essentially drawing to an inside straight, Democrats want to kill the system. At some level I assume Democratic leaders know better and are just using the desire to change the system as a club to bash their political opponents and make their rabid supporters happy.

Three countries that tried and then rejected socialism. Real socialists know that democracy is an impediment to retaining socialism when other people's money runs out.

Grant me that this is funny. It really isn't easy being green, I guess.

Pelosi's quasi-impeachment behind closed doors is a repeat of her Obamacare strategy: Congress will have to pass the impeachment in order to see it.

China's economic and military rise was fueled by massive espionage efforts. Now we are cracking down on that. Can we succeed and will China's economy falter without the input of our research?

I may be totally unfair to say this, but somehow I think that the people who extol the virtues of pink salt totally think global warming is an existential and immediate crisis.

In this last week's Democratic debate did not even bring up the whole Russia collusion hoax. If Trump is a Putin puppet, you'd think the issue would have come up, no?

I've been skeptical that sanctions are an effective alternative to war. Sure, they show our position clearly. And they weaken an enemy if war results anyway. But the enemy may endure sanctions without changing their policy that we object to. And if they can't endure them, they may decide sanctions are no different than war in their effects and respond with military action. There are hints in the Iran sanctions of both my skepticism (Iranian military action) and the view I've read lately that sanctions in the modern connected world are more effective because of America's economic strength. Austin Bay adds to the argument that sanctions can now be effective.

I couldn't watch more than 15 seconds of the Democratic debate. But I was trying to give Biden the benefit of the doubt when I heard his "people who clip coupons in the stock market" comment. I thought maybe he was saying that regular people "who clip [grocery] coupons" but are in the stock market shouldn't be punished in the zeal to get the billionaires. But no, when I read his full statement I had no idea what he was talking about.

Remember that Turkey joined NATO because Russia is a long-time enemy. The Soviet Union bordered Turkey not only in the east but, as a result of World War II, from its Bulgaria vassal state in the west. Erdogan wants a more independent foreign policy that recreates Ottoman glory days (with the haze that distance from the reality provides) because he knows a weakened and more distant Russia can't really hurt him short of nuking him. So he doesn't value NATO or American friendship nearly as much as Turkey did in the Cold War. After Erdogan perhaps our relations can be repaired. Now I'm just trying to ride out Erdogan and hope for better days in the future.

Navy UUVs.

So ... California is saying that if RUSSIANS illegally slip into California that they'll be able to serve on state boards and commissions.

Obama endorses Justin Trudeau in spite of Trudeau's history of blackface. To be fair to Obama, if Obama had a son he'd look like Justin--well, at certain costume parties, anyway. Tip to Instapundit.

Hiftar, in charge of the forces originating in eastern Libya, has halted the effort to take Tripoli. So Turkey's intervention on the side of the forces holding Tripolit worked. But that may not matter because Hiftar controls most of the rest of Libya. Mucking around in former colonial holdings is the way to make friends with Arabs, eh?

Those scumball POS Antifa thugs are resuming their violent ways for the Left, without much media notice. According to the media, violent right winger gangs are always a Tweet away--but the Leftist street goons are the only ones to arrive.

Our Virginia-class attack subs have a problem with their stealth coating coming off (that reduces the effectiveness of enemy active sonar). Our allies and foes have problems with this issue, too. We've been struggling with the issue for a decade without success.

Yeah, I find it amazing--and shocking--that so many on the Left think that the military should call the shots instead of the elected Trump, and that the military should resist lawful orders from Trump that it does not like. We haven't heard from the looniest and least thoughtful of the left advocating a military coup to "cure" Trump in a while, but this line of thinking is not much better.

The United States retaliated with cyber attacks on Iran following Iran's attack on Saudi oil export infrastructure.

One model predicts a Trump victory next year, absent a dramatic change that could harm him. Who knows if it will work? He defied the models in 2016. But this aside bugged me: "But recent history would suggest a majority of voters have stopped believing the press -- devastating for democracy but good for Trump." I think that the way this should have been written is that "the press has forfeited its credibility for a majority of voters." And yeah, that is bad for democracy. But the press is at fault for deciding to be partisan stenographers rather than reporters. That's why so many voters have stopped believing the press.

Sixty-three years ago Britain and France invaded Egypt in cooperation with Israel. Notwithstanding Egypt's budding hostility to the West and the fact that Britain and France were NATO and World War II allies, America turned against Britain and France with financial and oil supply pressure. So put the hyperventilating about "betraying" the Syrian Kurds (who helped us fight ISIL) by not going to war with our formal NATO ally Turkey in perspective.

While there is no mechanism to expel a member of NATO, that does not mean that NATO could not expel a member. NATO would have to wing it and make the mechanism, but nothing precludes it. And international law on treaties provides a reason. In regard to Turkey under Erdogan, my view is that we need to cauterize the wound rather than amputate the problem. One day Erdogan will be gone and we can reintegrate a hopefully better Turkey into NATO.

If the facts are so bad for Trump, why does Schiff try to bend reality to his objective? Remember, he said there was clear evidence of Russia collusion that we now know was a fantasy. Tip to Instapundit.

The Army is seeking to restore the ability lost in 2015 to be able to airlift by helicopter one complete brigade.

Before Erdogan began consolidating authoritarian power in Turkey, Israel and Turkey--as two non-Arab powers--had close diplomatic and military relations. Erdogan destroyed that relationship. So voting in the UN to condemn Turkey for invading Syria's Kurdish region had to give Israel just a little satisfaction.

Note that the Democrats suddenly think they have to defend the Syrian Kurds from Trump's decision not to fight Turkey. Yet Pelosi and Schumer walked out of a White House meeting on that issue because they felt insulted (and those two haven't insulted Trump publicly and often?). Their level of caring for the Kurds is epic. It reminds me of Democrats' sudden worry about Russia--which will end the moment a Democrat holds the White House. But for the Kurds, Democrats couldn't even pretend for more than a week.

The difference between condemning sports entities for entering domestic politics and condemning the NBA for rebuking a criticism of China is that the China dictatorship issue is not a domestic political issue. Politics stops at the water's edge, right? We should be proud to stand up for American values of freedom and liberty that all Americans should support.

The Chinese Communist Party might not be able to survive backing down or cracking down in the face of Hong Kong protests. But what about the option of continuing what they are doing and outlasting the protests? And continue the ethnic cleansing of mainland immigration along with quiet subversion of the police and legal basis of Hong Kong's government. Oh, and with targeted violence against identified protest leaders (tip to Instapundit), possibly subcontracted to gangs for the wet work.

One thing that drives me nuts about the whole Ukrainegate junk is that the left especially argues that foreign aid is money well spent. I agree with them over America First types who see foreign aid as foreign welfare programs. And why do we send aid to other countries? To get them to act as we want. If not, why send them money--except for certain humanitarian aid. And that aid is still going to improve our image, so it benefits us as well as being the right thing to do. So the idea that our leaders might make that implicit bargain more explicit--and I don't think the Ukraine "transcript" shows anything explicit--on occasion is perplexing to me. If you opened up our entire foreign aid record from World War II on, I'm sure Trump would look like an amateur in quid pro quo.

If I thought end times were coming, I'd be out there having one Hell of a time, I think. Thank God these were sophisticated Europeans living in a cellar and not red state Americans. Otherwise it would be really big news here. That man surely is committed. He should have applied that skill to one of those "last one to maintain their touch on the car wins the car" contests.

And another thing, being lectured for abandoning our Syrian Kurdish allies (which I don't think we are doing, and as our military people explained--we're just refusing to go to war with Turkey to defend the Kurds in northern Syria) by people who insist we have an "exit strategy" for any war is a bit much for me to take. An exit strategy--which as a concept I despise--is just an excuse to abandon allies when the going gets tough with a specific threshold of pain that we establish before the war. Plenty of Democrats were fine with abandoning the Iraqis, the Afghans, or the South Vietnamese if you want to go back to Exit Strategy Prime. And if a fight to save the Syrian Kurds got too tough, those Democrats would be arguing for retreat and defeat. You know that is true.

I know I linked to a story about the horrors of Spongebob last week, but this take on the issue bears highlighting: "One of the more ridiculous aspects of life in early 21st-century America is that we spend a fortune to send our kids to schools to be educated by people who are complete morons." Peak Stupid can't come a moment too soon for my sanity and liver.

Hopefully this new reporting requirement will slow down Chinese espionage in America down a bit. Who knows if the Chinese officials will obey it or if we can monitor the Chinese.

Yeah, after four years of being told by Democrats they are racist, hateful people for supporting Trump, I think there will be a lot of "ef you" votes for Trump in 2020. I know I'm far more sick of the hysterical Democratic attacks than I am of Trump--and I have a long history of despising the man--and will register my ef-you vote in 2020. I will not reward the behavior of the Democrats. They should be ashamed. Tip to Instapundit.

Uh oh.

As I often say, always check the definitions section. I don't know why colleges that do this aren't sued--based on the assumption that those statistics are as accurate as the colleges claim--for failing to maintain a safe environment for their female students.

The idea that western aid for reconstruction will provide leverage over Assad who destroyed his country in order to save it for him is nonsense. I say that simply spares Russia and Iran from paying the price to rebuild their prize. I say our leverage is improved by letting our foes pay for Assad's spoils--if they can. When you strike a king, kill him--not strike him and then pay him to recover.

I'm not sure how refusing to fight for Syrian Kurdish independence against our NATO Turkish ally harms are reputation as a reliable ally. Would fighting for the Kurds have bolstered our reputation for standing by allies? The author wants America to recommit to the Indo-Pacific region. I have no idea why the author uses the Kurdish Incident as a hook for that completely separate issue. Nor am I aware of any diminishment of our post-Cold War slow pivot to the Pacific. But sure, focus on China.

I wasn't happy with diverting Department of Defense money to building the "wall" on our southern border to control immigration on our terms, what can you do when Congress won't live up to such a basic responsibility of our government and legislature?

Ah, glorious memories of past quid pro quo:

With Russia, no less! I must have missed the impeachment frenzy that followed.

No. Way! "The Washington Post reports that a career State Department officer tried to warn officials in the Obama administration about the conflict of interest that Hunter Biden’s work created in Ukraine and with efforts to target corruption. When those warnings reached the Vice President’s office in early 2015, Biden’s team shut them down[.]" Tip to Instapundit.

Democracy dies in darkness, to coin a phrase.

In America, being in favor of killing jihadis is "Islamophobic." In Afghanistan, murdering more than 60 in a mosque is somehow "authentic" Islam.

Japan isn't going to join the US-sponsored coalition to protect oil tankers in the Gulf region, but will send their own warships to protect their oil imports. I'm sure the latter is easier to justify as purely self defense.

Sod off, bug lover--I'm not happy with cauliflower crust. These people might not be push-overs in that effort to get us to welcome our new insect oven loaves.

If China isn't in a strategic arms limitation treaty, there is little point to negotiating a new one between America and Russia that leaves China free of constraints. Lack of a bilateral US-Russia treaty should push Russia to side with us on this issue lest America and China build more weapons than broke Russia can handle. I dsagree with the idea put forth that it makes sense for America and Russia to cut a deal and later bring in China. I disagree. I think China has more incentive to deal now to get Russia and America to reduce nukes, allowing China to avoid the expense of building more, than when China has built up a lot of nukes and won't want to give up any.

I'm reading that Americans think our reputation for supporting allies took a hit by failing to stop Turkey's incursion into Syria to go after the Kurds. Pray tell, how would fighting our NATO ally Turkey have shown us to be stand-up guys ally-wise? I know Turkey under Erdogan isn't the best NATO ally. But Turkey is a formal ally and Erdogan won't last forever.

In the last data dump I noted the French police terror attack by a radicalized jihadi policeman seemed like a case of "better dead than rude." That's what happened. And has been happening.

I always thought a bucket list was for things you should do before you die--not things that would be the cause of your death. What planet does that publication live on?

With its military strength and backing by Iran, the sub-state actor Hezbollah is trying to veto government decisions.

Pakistan is our black-sheep ally whose problems are starting to outweigh their benefits. Luckily, Pakistan is too broke to sustain their military as is. Pakistan's problems will increase as they peg their military needs to the potential threat of far larger India (which doesn't want to invaded Pakistan), which in turn pegs their military needs to the large Chinese threat.

The Army wants to use AI to revolutionize tank warfare. Which is interesting enough. And I am on board the black box idea of fire+ support. But I am stunned by the complaint in that article that the 2003 Battle for Baghdad took the Army (and Marines) a whole week, which is too long for the wars of the future. Are we forgetting the 9-month Battle of Mosul more recently or the bloody, lengthy history of urban warfare in general? WTF? At some level an enemy willing to die in place is immune to the technology we want to apply to that problem, as I noted in 1997 (p. 17) in this Land Warfare Paper.

Yeah, Trump didn't do anything wrong on policy in the Turkish Incursion Crisis, but he needs to be more deliberate and serious in his public words. What apparently works domestically to inspire supporters and knock back political opponents doesn't work abroad.

The clue bat had an effect on Merkel. Now how do you go from "utterly failed" multiculturalism to assimilation? I assume the American left won't consider her the leader of the West any more.

It is clear that Master Beto is running for an MSNBC show and not the presidential nomination. Tip to Instapundit.

From popular demand, the 2.75" laser-guided APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System) has gone into mass production. It is small, cheap, and precise.

One thing odd about the frenzy of the Turkey Crisis is that I have not heard any reports of casualty numbers in the Syrian border region as the result of Turkey's move into the region.

We are worried that China's investments in key ports globally will interfere with our use of those ports in wartime. I've been worried about the military applications of China's port investments for a long time.

Yeah, I don't remember the 24/7 obsession with this quid pro quo, either. Tip to Instapundit.