Saturday, January 07, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

Strategypage looks at Russian special forces, including their establishment of small forces--the KSO (Special Operations Command)--more like our most elite operators.

Plus Strategypage looks at Russia's economic dive and their violent adventures in Ukraine and Syria. I don't even want to talk to people when they say war can't come because X can't afford it.

The Marine rapid response task force mostly in Spain, already limited to quick responses in northwest Africa by the sheer distance to places in Africa, will have its air contingent slashed. What the heck, the Benghazi attack was a long time ago, right?

One of the reasons I did not like President Obama--even more than his politics and his lack of background to lead America (and I fully realize the latter fully applies to Trump; and I also realize that no job comes close to being a preparation for the job)--is that his fawning worshipers turned him into a God-King in their imagination of what he could and should do. That attitude isn't helpful for a democracy of citizens rather than subjects. And I'm also fully aware that some Trump supporters view him in a similar manner.

Strategypage has their semi-annual wars update.

The spokesman for the incoming Trump administration says there is no evidence Russia's interference in our election affected the outcome. Trump. What can you say? For those on the Left who think Russian interference in our election swayed the election (and this is beyond the notion with no evidence that Russia literally hacked our election machinery to falsify results), keep in mind that the reason President Obama did not retaliate against Russia much earlier is because the administration didn't think the effort would harm Hillary Clinton's campaign. And so the administration didn't want to lend credibility to Trump's charge that the election was being "rigged." Obama. What can you say?

Some nuclear expert complains that Trump's tweets won't be enough to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat (tip to Instapundit). Duh. Yet I remember when the left was all atwitter about the power of #bringbackourgirls to get the jihadi terror group Boko Haram to release enslaved young Nigerian girls.

China is building civilian coast guard cutters that are designed to be converted to warship quality rather quickly.

I was going to comment on a Stratfor discussion of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. But when I read their analysis saying that the "3:1 rule" says China would need to throw 390,000 troops across the strait to win, I decided not to. That rule says no such thing. It is more of a rule for a smaller scale battle to overcome defenders and assumes all other factors being equal between the troops.  German forces won decisively yet barely outnumbered allied forces in the invasion of France. And I disagree that China would have to attack American forward forces to clear the path for invasion. Far better to hold back attacking American forces and count on America taking so much time to intervene in what China will loudly insist is an internal mater that China has won the war against Taiwan. I think my scenario is better, despite the age.

I have no problem with a wall on the Mexican border. Defending your border and letting in those you choose to let in to benefit America is Sovereign State 101. But I prefer to think of what we need as border security. A wall that is undefended is worthless. And we have problems with visa overstays, too, that don't rely on crossing the southern border on a moon-less night. And we have a problem with businesses that find it profitable to illegally hire illegal aliens. I agree with the left that immigration has been good for us. So why can't the left agree on terms that make sure immigration continues to be good for us?

An effort to resolve Russian-Japanese differences (and formally end World War II with a peace treaty) failed. I'm not sure why a Tass article is linked when it does not say that Chinese citizens can get homestead land in the Far East. Regardless, I think Russia is a fool not to settle relations with Japan. By the time China makes Russia nervous enough to make territory concessions to Japan (to return islands taken from Japan in World War II) to get Japanese cooperation, Japan will be less willing to make an agreement with Russia if it just makes Japan more of a target for China.

In an otherwise interesting article, I found this statement by the American author hilarious: "Because of bad air and suspect food, we were often sick while living in China, but the daily vividness of living there made us feel more fully alive." Can you imagine an author saying that about any similar issue--at even a fraction of the severity--and viewing America with such rose-colored glasses? Good Lord, this is Tom Friedman-level worship.

The Navy will deploy their normally ship-based AWACS-type aircraft, the E-2D, to an air base in Japan to help with air defense. Huh. Carrier planes on land. Who'd have imagined that?

What is Turkey up to? The Turks complain that our limited number of aircraft at the Turkish base at Incirlik aren't supporting Turkish troops in contact with ISIL forces; and the Turks hint that maybe we shouldn't be there. Turkey has plenty of very capable F-16 aircraft that could be used to support their own troops. The Turks don't need our planes. So why complain and turn the reaction to "11" so quickly? Is Turkey under Erdogan in the process of laying the ground work to leave NATO and ally with Russia? Seriously, what is going on?

Iraqi forces are pushing toward the Syrian border along the Euphrates River where ISIL forces still hold ground in western Iraq.

I don't understand why conservatives are suddenly so understanding of Julian Assange and his efforts to harm America by leaking hacked information. While Assange publicly denied getting Democratic Party emails from the Russians or the Russian state, that narrow denial ignores that Russia often works through cyber-criminal gangs--who are not part of the state--who freelance such work for the Russian government. Trust me, you can be relieved that Trump defeated Clinton without defending Assange or the Russians. I mocked the suddenly militant Democrats who want to smite the hated Russians--with good reason--but this Republican switch is nearly as ridiculous, even if it is not seemingly as widespread.

Liberals are pretty pleased with a New Yorker cartoon (tip to Professor Reynolds) that is making the rounds which has a proto-rebellion in the passenger compartment of a plane starting: “These smug pilots have lost touch with regular passengers like us. Who thinks I should fly the plane?” Hah hah! Stupid Trump voters! But why would anybody complain about a pilot safely taking them to their destination? Who rebels over that? And if the plane isn't going where it should, why not? Since the passengers paid to have the pilot take them to a destination, don't the passengers have the right to go where they are supposed to go and complain if it is not? And if the pilots have taken a perhaps dangerous detour, isn't this a case of a hostile takeover of the cockpit by pilots who want to go elsewhere--perhaps in a dangerous fashion? Isn't this cartoon in fact assuming a Flight 93 scenario on September 11, 2001?
[continues] Wouldn't the passengers in those circumstances be right to demand a change in the cockpit? Heck, maybe the man standing up to say he should fly the plane is a pilot. I suppose it is just as revealing to see that liberals assume nobody in their section could possibly have the skills to fly the plane and that their role is just to sit there for the ride, whether the plane lands or smashes into a building.

Again, given their new-found zeal to resist Russia over the Russian propaganda effort no doubt intended to harm Hillary Clinton (but which I doubt was intended to get Trump elected) why hasn't any Democratic member of Congress introduced a declaration of war against Russia to match turning up the outrage dial to 11? And why has the president expelled Russian diplomats but left China alone for their hacking? [sound of crickets] Tip to Instapundit.

Young kids should have peanuts to forestall severe allergies. Tip to the Instapundit Borg. All I know is that I quite literally went through 8 years of school only having peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches for lunch and never had a word of complaint that I was putting somebody else's life in danger. [NOTE: My mom wanted to vary my lunch, but I insisted. Loved the stuff.]

Is Poland focusing on a loyal military rather than an effective military? This story does not make me feel better about what must be the NATO main line of resistance to hold in order to stop a Russian drive west (which isn't a capability Russia has now, to be clear) or liberate Baltic NATO states to the north. This is something to watch.

Nixon didn't sabotage a peace deal with North Vietnam in 1968 to aid his election campaign. The North Vietnamese were focused on total victory, which should be clear by the next 7 years.

Will we have any notice at all before Venezuela finally collapses? The Netherlands should hope that's the case, since it would deny Maduro the chance to attack Dutch possessions off the coast of Venezuela to try to whip up a foreign enemy to rally support to him. At this point it would be futile, but desperate men try desperate things.

Back in July, when the FBI wanted to help the Clinton campaign secure their email systems, the Democrats refused to cooperate apparently more concerned that the FBI would see what they did than they were concerned about Russian access to their secrets. That's inconvenient, eh? Tip to the Instapundit Borg.

Should my pucker factor be elevated because I've gotten a recent hits in the Russian language (and one in Ukrainian plus another from Poland) from Ukraine for this post speculating on the potential scope of a Russian invasion of Ukraine?

The news is that Iraqi forces are hitting the more northern parts of eastern Mosul. Interestingly enough, the news confirms that American fires assets are still at that logistics base south of the city: "the U.S. adviser informed them the coalition was preparing to fire 24 long-range HIMAR rockets from a base in Qayara, south of Mosul." I stubbornly cling to my view that the long-quiet southern front, supported by our forces at Qayara, will be the final hammer to smash ISIL in western Mosul against the anvil that holds the Tigris River line from the eastern bank in east Mosul. But I am not, as I've said, the Lord of the Offensive. So who knows?

An army revolt in Ivory Coast is apparently resolved. I hadn't even noticed there was an army revolt in Ivory Coast. Get a couple days behind on your OSAC emails and that's what happens.