Sunday, October 27, 2019

Weekend Data Dump

The stateless--by choice or order.

I don't know why Gabbard enjoys respect from Republicans. She may be against Hillary, but she backed Bernie and is otherwise a leftist. Thanks for her military service, but let's halt her government service right there.

Squad cohesion is very important to the Army. This effort to improve tactical skills will be especially important as smart rifles that the Army wants spread to even militias and terrorists. Which I wrote about on the USNI Blog in regard to the Marines.

Socialism effed up an oil-wet dream in Venezuela. Even clean drinking water is becoming a thing of the past.

I just don't see Trump's Ukrainegate accusation as impeachable. I hope that he didn't seek help against Biden for political reasons (and I doubt Biden can win the nomination anyway, so why focus on Biden politically?). He shouldn't do that. But there are reasons relating to the whole 2016 collusion folly for making the request. Further, I think this is common. I figure the Obama administration had the sophistication to use cutouts, and lacked partisan leakers. And it had a media willing to minimize anything if it came out. As I've noted, foreign aid is obviously intended to shape recipient actions in exchange for that aid. Less obvious, we are so big economically that decisions we make can have major if unintended effects on smaller states. So smaller states seek favor with us. Censure Trump and save it for the election campaign if you want (and if you can make the clear case Trump tried to trade aid for help against Biden for political purposes). Put requirements in the foreign aid appropriations for reporting requirements on aid to Ukraine to make sure it goes where Congress intends on time. But impeach? Over this? Give me a break.

Christopher Columbus haters have no use for nuance. But you don't believe Howard Zinn wrote history rather than political propaganda, did you?

Lately with China building big carriers I've heard people say that the carrier must still be important and not vulnerable to precision missiles because why would China be building them if they are too expensive and vulnerable? I noticed I addressed that back in 2011. No individual lemming in a herd heading over a cliff has superior knowledge to justify the direction of the herd.

Seriously, Master Beto is running for a MSNBC time slot and not the Democratic presidential nomination--or even a cabinet position.

Save the Russian red sports cars battlecruisers! And while they're at it build those carriers!

From sexist, homophobic (and, naturally, racist), plutocrat who hates dogs to hero of the people! The not-so-strange case of new Democratic respect for Romney (tip to Instapundit).

I'm seriously considering throwing out a half dozen single socks I keep in the hope that their mates will show up one day, perhaps stuck to some little-used shirt in a drawer somewhere that is finally brought out to use.

I remain upset that our budget deficits continue to go up during the Trump era.
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That is a major failure on his part. Although the rise began from 2015 to 2016, and the effects of the Trump tax cut can't be blamed for the continued rise in the deficit despite the claim by some that it was the cause. As I've said before, whether we raise or reduce taxes, the one constant seems to be that the deficit continues to rise. The exceptions were after the Cold War (and tech bubble) and after the Iraq and Afghan campaigns were wound down, thus reducing military expenditures.

I was skeptical of the notion of the "deep state." Even before Trump was sworn in I noted that the logic of bureaucracies meant that any really out-of-bounds ideas would face push back. But honestly, the push back has gone beyond that to unethically opposing a duly elected president. The deep state became self aware and created itself over the last three years--and boasts that for the good of the people it is a good thing.  One might say they consider themselves the "vanguard" of the people, I suppose. Civil servants need to be fired and their pensions taken away to nip this in the bud.

China concluded a secret 75-year lease deal with the Solomon Islands. Not that it could remain secret for long, of course. I used the Guadalcanal campaign as an example of multidomain synergy when the services focus on their core competencies. But maybe we should update our ancient plans for taking the Solomon islands. Never mind, a little light led to the cancellation of the Tulagi deal. Good.

I hate to have to state the obvious, but the State Department works for the president.

Full-rate production of the F-35 is being put off again. We really need to get this plane right. It's basically the only game in town.

I think Hillary likes stuff like this floated purely to bring in money from people who hope to gain favor if the ancien regime is restored that gives her influence (that can be bought) again.

Democrats, a lot of Republicans, and the Russians all agree on this. It's way more nuanced than that, if you'll excuse the term.

False woke feminism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

I should have brought this up amidst the Giuliani Ukrainegate Kerfuffle, but it was such an obvious reality that I didn't even think of bringing it up: shadow diplomacy with private individuals is a common thing.

Pulling our troops out of Syria where they were scattered among the Kurdish troops will harm our intelligence which drives counter-terror strikes on ISIL in Syria. I mentioned that key relationship between ground intelligence and killing jihadis in the long debates over counter-insurgency versus counter-terrorism in Afghanistan.

American F-35s will soon begin to flow to Europe to deter Russia. NATO F-35s will outnumber the American jets.

We're from the (California) government. And we're here to help. Tip to Instapundit.

Sadly, all too true. I know because I'm a heretic. And more sadly, ACK! didn't recognize her worth as a human being until she heard of Bernie Sanders. The state does not have the power to grant or deny worth as a human being. Why would any "liberal" take that position?

The CPFB should be struck down as an unconstitutional body that lacks oversight.

Russia has more strategic nuclear weapons than they should have had under the New START treaty. And they are expanding their arsenal. I wonder if Russia can afford this--despite needing more bang for the ruble in defending Russia--and wonder how many of Russia's nukes actually work. Really, why would a country confident of its nuclear arsenal send nuclear bombers to visit South Africa?

So ... what? Beware of what you long wished for?  Tip to Instapundit.

Despite rising prosperity in Chile, riots have broken out--apparently over the belief that opportunities are not equal.

Catalan separatists are still a threat to Spanish territorial integrity. Personally, I think the European Union likes these separatist movements.

Donor fatigue in corrupt and violent Somalia. The sainted international community--after nearly three years of pretending that having a UN seat means the place is a country--should formally break up that geographic area called "Somalia" and sell it for parts.

There is more clarity on the Syria situation. In addition to withdrawing our troops from the border strip across from Turkey, we pulled out our troops from the rest of eastern Syria except the al Tanf garrison in the southeast. And we could reinforce that outpost. Reinforcements could include armor, which after the refusal to send armor to American forces in Somalia prior to the Battle of Mogadishu, I doubt will be refused by the White House if the Pentagon requests that asset. I remain unclear if any American special forces remain in or will return to the non-border areas of Syria in support of the Kurds (and to provide intelligence), given that we usually don't count them in with discussions of troops numbers or movements. Also, we shall certainly give all due considerations to and file Russia's objections.

Iraq's struggle to build a democracy with economic growth is running into a problem of a growing population of young people who lack opportunity. Young people with opportunity are an asset. Young people without opportunity are a threat to democracy--by making the government willing to clamp down to stop the protests and by making the young people more vulnerable to recruitment by radicals. Strategypage has more on the failed battle against corruption--with the important detail that the pro-Iran militias (PMF) are the units shooting at protesters. Now whether the government told them to do what is necessary to suppress them is another question. Also, the anti-corruption protests have an anti-Iran angle. Which the shootings won't nullify.

You absolutely knew the latest frenzy of outrage against Trump would show him to be no different than Democrats who didn't inspire outrage, right?

South Korea is having success exporting its K9 self-propelled artillery.

Personal feuds among the Arab monarchs get in the way of policies to resist Iran. There are no deep states to rein in that kind of power.

Woke privilege: Justin Trudeau won reelection in Canada (despite winning fewer votes than the Conservatives, so I assume Democrats here will declare him illegitimate--don't be silly, I kid!), as Canadians forgave a left-wing politician of repeated acts that would have led to a witch hunt had the black face incidents been by a conservative. Of course, Democratic privilege is a thing, more generally.

More on the Kongsberg innovations to build smaller warships more cheaply using containerized system modules and civilian construction standards and automation. The company has a good history of innovation. I noted that innovation earlier and related it to my "The AFRICOM Queen" article in Military Review.

Brexit delayed (again) is Brexit denied (as Remainers want).

It is taking longer for the Europeans to get over Russia's invasion of Ukraine than it did for them to get over Russia's invasion of Georgia and get back to business, but of course (political) Europe is getting over the whole Ukraine inconvenience.

This is a totally legit inquiry, no doubt. "If they’re not telling you things it’s because they don’t want you to know them. And if they don’t want you to know them, it’s because they know you’d be angry if you did." I honestly think House Democrats believe they can put Trump on double secret probation (I'm not sure what representative that is. I just know that the eyes don't bug out enough to be Schiff):

They'll finally kick those punks off campus! Animal House, indeed.

Is America's trade war responsible for China's slowing economic growth? Not really. Which is no surprise given China's labor problem. I think our "trade war" is simply well-timed to exacerbate China's predictable labor issue.

Ten African countries have agreed to work together to combat Ebola. Good.

I'm honestly shocked that Bernie's support hasn't cratered after his heart attack. Maybe people really aren't paying a lot of attention this far out? Is it partly name recognition and a re-upping of support from the last campaign?

Peak Stupid recedes to the horizon.

Note that Europeans hated our Guantanamo Bay detention facility. But with the risk of ISIL jihadis from Europe in custody in Syria escaping back to Europe, European countries are suddenly willing to pay Iraq to try, convict, and execute "their" ISIL members. Getting hit with the clue bat sometimes works.

Hong Hong protesters continue to defy authorities, with protests edging to resistance.

If older white males had a major say on who can entertain us, let me just say that (tip to Instapundit) keeping Kathy Griffin off the air would be way down the list on changes. I'd go with hula hoops.

While I certainly want America to exercise leadership in the world to promote our interests, I don't think that Trump is abandoning our leadership as much as he is retrenching our military commitments. I do have differences with him on this issue, but the details are certainly debatable. The idea that every other president until Trump sought to provide leadership founders on the whole Obama "leading from behind" philosophy, doesn't it? And what about Carter? Trump is warping a lot of judgments out there. And I don't think I'm part of that problem.

Egypt still worries about Ethiopia controlling the flow--implying the flow could be cut off--of the vital Nile River.

The Army is worried about its reliance on a wifi network. It had best be secure if we are to reach back for the squad, as I argued for in Infantry magazine.

Hey! I just noticed that my OSAC subscription went back to email links rather than requiring users to log in!

Trump is asking his 2016 supporters if they are still with him. This is important given the latest media question of whether voters are tired of the drama of the Trump presidency. But both questions are off the mark. I did not vote for Trump in 2016 (in the belief that my vote was meaningless to the outcome and given my long history of despising Trump as a blow hard and a liberal Democrat). I was nonetheless ecstatic that Hillary lost. And I was outraged at the demonization of Trump supporters by Democrats and their media allies. The question of being tired of the drama mistakenly assumes that Trump is at fault. Yes, I'm tired of the drama. But it is drama that the turn-it-to-11 nonstop resistance to Trump has caused. On policy, Trump is fairly normal. Including on foreign policy--although obviously details can be debated. And without the drama of the resistance--as opposed to mere loyal opposition--his Tweets and off-the-cuff remarks would be occasional eye roll moments and not Constitutional crises. So I don't have to be with Trump in 2020. I simply cannot reward what the Democrats and media have done the last three years (and by election time four years) to create the kind of internal divisions that Putin could only dream of achieving with his amateurish and low-cost interference in our election campaign in 2016--interference that Obama failed to stop, recall. I will figuratively crawl across broken glass to vote for Trump this time. And I have no need to like him or "still" be with him. So bravo, Democrats. Thank you for clarifying my choice.

Pakistan won't be able to hold off paying a financial price for their support of terrorism

Nothing says "Please help us, our good hosts" like rioting and burning cars.

For those worried that our decision not to fight Turkey over the Syrian Kurds means we are abandoning eastern Syria, fear not: "'We've secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,' Trump said Wednesday while discussing the pullout of all but 200 to 300 U.S. troops in Syria. 'And we're going to be protecting it, and we'll be deciding what we're going to do with it in the future.'" Obviously we will continue to work with local allies in the region. And don't get your panties in a twist, this isn't "blood for oil." This is about depriving ISIL, Assad, and Iran oil revenue to fund their activities. And remember that the Russians and Turks are just in a border strip less than 20 miles deep along the Syria-Turkey border. I'm not sure about where Syrian forces are allowed under the Kurd-Assad deal.

Are we having fun yet? Syria said its forces clashed with both Turkish (and local allied militia) forces and Kurdish forces in the northeast border region. Neither Russia, Turkey, nor Syria are eager to suffer casualties. This might be a target-rich environment for the Syrian Kurds.

Freeze-dried blood saves lives in combat zones. Thank you France, for that innovation.

While this list of questions intended to defend Trump's pull out from northeastern Syria is justified (without endorsing all of them), I totally disagree with the idea that elections in Iraq were destined to put anti-American leaders in charge of Iraq. Iraq is corrupt--as it was before we got involved--but does have a highly imperfect democracy. Our help can improve that over time. How easily our victory is overlooked as Iraqis host American troops, resist Iran with our backing, and kill jihadis every day.

Vice President Pence condemned China's actions in Hong Kong and praised Taiwan as a true model for China rather than the autocratic "surveillance state" that China has built. Taiwan should get on my League of Democracies idea, and America should help build it.

I really tire of liberals saying Trump is dividing the country when they have spent so many years calling Republicans Nazis who hate women and want grandma to die, calling Republicans "deplorables," and even calling Democratic primary voters bitter bigoted clingers (to God and guns).

China likes people who ask "How high?" when China tells them to jump, so working on the NBA's loyalty to Peking makes total sense. Tip to Instapundit.

As Democrats go to full panic mode about the possibility that actual ISIL terrorists escaped in the Syria border region, they ignore 100 criminals a day being released in Los Angeles. And don't forget that Democrats were keen on closing Guantanamo Bay and releasing al Qaeda terrorists held there.

Only CNN could suggest that Trump was "not immediately clear" about whether the Kurds should move forces or masses of people to the desert oil fields in eastern Syria. In the context of the Kurds removing fighters from the border zone with Turkey and our decision to help defend those fields, obviously he is referring to their fighters. CNN really can't distinguish between apples and bananas anymore, can they?

It isn't that our alliance with Turkey is untenable, it is that our alliance with Turkey run by Erdogan is untenable. Don't be so eager to expel Turkey from NATO when Turkey controls the Turkish Straits that block Russian movements into the Mediterranean Sea and allow our movements into the Black Sea. I'm hoping we can wait out Erdogan without too much damage in the meantime. Hanson doesn't think much of waiting for Erdogan to leave office so that democracy will be restored. But I don't know what choice we have other than to rule out a change for the better and force a crisis with a full break. I'd cauterize the wound and isolate Turkey quietly within NATO while hoping for better days (without Erdogan).  Let's take one step at a time and hope for democracy after Erdogan is gone. And we should be looking for other basing options as a backup to Incirlik air base, of course. Oh, and somehow remove or disable the nukes there.

Biden apologized for his past use of the word "lynching" to complain about an impeachment effort against Bill Clinton, while claiming Trump's use of the word is a "dog whistle" to racists. I'm confused. Trump used the term lynching like it's a bad thing to complain about Democratic efforts against him. So Trump is the one figuratively being lynched (well that alone might explain Biden's confusion). But somehow that context is a "dog whistle" to racists that lynching is something they should do to people of color? I'm going to need a dose of nuance, stat.

Remember, if you are worried about Russia in Syria, that Russia was able to get into Syria because Obama checked the tide of resistance against Assad with the 2013 chemical weapons deal; and then watched as Russia intervened directly in 2015, assisted by the Obama decision to fight ISIL in Syria while walking away from supporting opposition to Assad.

Why would Harry and Meghan try to claim the victim mantle when they are fabulously wealthy and privileged? I mean, isn't it a bad idea to give the peasants the notion that royalty can be victimized?

Russia's SSNs have a new lease on life with an anti-ship missile that finally works.

"They" don't want to save the planet, "they" want to punish you for existing. And also so "they" want to feel morally superior to you.

A battle for geographic data used to fight World War II and the Cold War. Would any modern Ivy League academic help our country the same way?

Well that's embarrassing.

I remain disappointed with liberals in the Trump era. I had hoped that Trump in the White House would convince liberals that it is a bad idea to have a powerful president. But no, instead liberals have launched an assault on rule of law (proposing packing the court, proposing eliminating the Electoral College, killing the idea of a neutral civil service, using security services against political opponents--off the top of my head) to get rid of Trump and regain their own control of a powerful presidency directing a powerful federal government. I think our political divisions would be reduced greatly if the power and reach of the federal government was scaled back to true national issues and leave other things to states and local governments.

One of the unintended side effects of the whole sex-confusion movement will be to reduce the disparity of male-initiated violent crimes, no? Bad violent arsonist woman! Related humor.

The idea that the Obama administration had that it could turn a murderous Iranian regime into a responsible regional power was and always will be nonsense as long as fanatical murderous mullahs run the place. And the idea that the EU will recognize the murderous nature of the Iranian regime is even more far-fetched.

The only mystery about this secret, super Russian stealth bomber is why anybody thinks Russia can design and build it, let alone put it into production. The Russians are getting as bad as the Iranians who regularly report the development of a super weapon that will kill us all and restore the glories of Persia.

Unlike the author, I have no problem with North Macedonia joining NATO. It's not like it has a border with a hostile country intent on invading it, thus committing NATO to a higher risk of war. And it gives NATO territory to project power into the Aegean Sea as a backup location. And membership prevents a hostile power from one day using the territory as an outpost. So I really don't see the downside here. As an aside to a major complaint in the article, NATO really doesn't have an open door policy in practice, as the status of Georgia after Russia invaded (raided) it in 2008 demonstrates.

I'll be shocked if the Air Force actually equips any of its units with these light attack planes. The slow pace of buying a simple prop plane speaks volumes, no?

This is parody, but how long before California decides that their burning forests require their government to periodically shut down electricity (for other people--not for them, of course) not for safety but as carbon offsets to make up for the fires?

Financing your city by fining your poorest people really just pisses me off. It sounds more like a version of medieval tax farmers who grab money from the easiest targets.

One thing that continues to crack me up given the left-leaning media's relentless campaign against Trump is that during the Republican primaries that same media bolstered Trump relentlessly in the apparent belief that they were playing a clever game by getting Trump as Hillary's opponent. Oops.

Who does he think he is? Ted Kennedy?

North Korea is trying to build a conventional ballistic missile submarine. It might get there eventually.

How can we blame the NBA for sucking up to Communist-ruled China when our friggin' Smithsonian Institution can't help but publish loving words for a murdering communist bastard?  Tip to Instapundit.

Banning straws is one thing, but if global warming panic played a role in the safety failures of the Boeing 737 MAX it is high time we told those eco-scolds to take a long walk off a short pier. Although it might be something floated by Boeing to reduce their liability. Stay tuned, I guess.

Contrary to what Turkey says, switching from Western weapons to Russian or Chinese weapons would disrupt their military to some degree as it transitions, trying to mesh different concepts and multiplying logistics headaches. Not that it can't be done. But it isn't just switching your brand of coffee.