Sunday, September 23, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

Kerry knew Assad kept some chemical weapons. But I knew that, too, because it was predictable. And so did the Russians. The man is a moron and it was a crime to trust our diplomacy to that man.

Seriously, I don't know why people keep saying Russia's Vostok 2018 exercise in the east of Russia is about NATO. Vostok 2018 is about finding out if Russia's military stands a chance at stopping the Chinese; and Chinese participation is just to pretend it isn't focused on China--not a signal that China is an ally. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, eh? Also, Russia is grossly over-counting the troops actually doing something other than breathing while wearing a uniform. Stop over-analyzing things. Sometimes an exercise facing China is about China.

Indian casualties in their counter-insurgencies, combat and noncombat; with a detour into America's novel experience in the Long War.

Helping someone else be evil is apparently within their mission statement. I retract my retraction of my "Gulagle" judgment. Google wants to shift American views via search results toward their left-wing views. And Google is fine with supporting China's communist government with a controlled search engine. One wonders if that is no mere coincidence.

It isn't quite accurate to say that China's J-20 "can't touch" our F-22s and F-35sThe J-20 is designed to race in protected by frontal stealth, fire salvos of air-to-air missiles against outnumbered F-22s, and then flee at high speed. So it is true that the J-20 does not match our planes in 360 degree stealth. And given the number of F-35s that will be fielded, China will need many more for dealing with a fleet of F-22s and F-35s.

NATO land forces have a formal cooperation deal with Ukraine's land forces. Which will help Ukraine fight and help NATO learn from Ukrainian experience fighting Russia.

A Japanese destroyer shot down a ballistic missile in an exercise. That's a useful skill to demonstrate.

Good, infantry need food to help strengthen their bones given the ridiculous amount of weight they must carry.

I'm not happy with more tariffs. I have hoped that our tariffs are all about reducing tariffs on both sides. But the article does at least establish that tariffs are in fact tilted against America.

Why I worry more about car bomb footprints than carbon footprints. Although it is unclear to me whether Syria's outsized portion of the death toll includes deaths caused by Assad's secular dictatorship and its allies.

Well, Putin did say that it was a darned shame the Soviet Union collapsed and disappeared.

The helmets pilots wear.

Israel warned Lebanon's military not to stand too close to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

I don't understand how the Air Force is too small for the relatively minor air efforts against ISIL and the Taliban. If that's a strain given the resources the Air Force has, the Air Force really does have a readiness problem that has not been corrected.

Air supremacy is defined by awarding a Distinguished Flying Cross to a pilot for shooting down a fighter plane. We speak of the Long War against jihadis at 17 years since 9/11. But it has been 19 years since an American pilot last shot down and enemy plane. I hadn't realized that.

American and British naval forces practiced mine countermeasures. Good.

Brexit continues to stumble along. And I worry that somehow opponents will reverse the referendum and keep Britain in the European Union. And now I worry that even if Britain does get out, Britain has been a member of the EU long enough to do real damage to British liberties that will outlast membership. Although perhaps it isn't fair to blame the EU for this outrage. Or did Britain eliminate crime and so the police are free to move on to other issues?

Banning eating cats and dogs here is fine, but urging other countries not to do it is wrong. What will we say if other countries urge us not to eat cows or pigs?

Socialism is bad for pets and other innocent creatures. I'm sure pet food was a key part of these discussions. God help the other innocent creatures.

Iran remains exposed to air attack and the Iranians don't like it. I guess all those "wonder weapons" products of Iranian design genius that the Iranians periodically announce had no effect on the situation. Basically, Iran has a lot of weapons and personnel that are almost a complete waste against a modern attacker. Although their existence at least means that if an attacking aircraft goes down because of a mechanical failure the Iranian can claim to have shot it down.

Russia's CAR involvement confused me. I'm starting to suspect that Russia's entry into Africa is almost purely about gaining weapons customers as India and China fade as customers. Because otherwise, Russian attempts to gain influence in Africa are a waste of money in a tertiary theater.  Gaining diplomatic support in the UN General Assembly seems like a weak reason.

At a Michigan football game last week I was surprised to see some police armed with M-4s scattered around at ground level That was a first for me. Is this a new normal or in response to something specific? Entry to the stadium seemed to be the usual process. Sad.

We suspect Iran (via their Iraq hand puppets) of lobbing mortar bombs at our embassy in Iraq and warned them we would respond if they try something like that again and any Americans are injured.

America might impose sanctions on China over their mass mistreatement of Moslems. Any action at all would be a big deal in contrast to the deafening silence coming from the Islamic world and their leftist allies in the West who are usually quick to pounce on a perceived microaggression.

Russia is waging a disinformation campaign in Macedonia to block their NATO membership. But don't elevate this to an example from the Disinformation Age. All that is new for an age-old practice is the use of the Internet.

This is pretty silly. As if people won't kill over the tiniest of differences.

Is the tariff war a serious danger to China's economy? This American analyst seems to think China has a serious problem in effectively resisting American pressure.

If Maduro thinks he can have a short and glorious war against Colombia to rally his people around him, he is sadly mistaken.

America will apparently pick up the slack after Greenland rejected a Chinese bid to invest in Greenland.

There is some Congressional opposition to an independent Space Force. Apparently the Air Force is quietly lobbying against it--can you blame them? I'm on record as wanting an Aerospace Force, with a truly independent Space Force (or Space Navy) waiting until we move beyond the Earth-Moon system.

The Marines can turn down that kind of request?

The French have the nerve to wonder if they can count on America? France, which withdrew from NATO during the height of the Cold War and which refused to help us in Iraq in 2003 wonders about America? The America which bailed out the French in the Libya War and in Mali with logistics support? Sure, we haven't given a blank check to France, but nobody gets that kind of automatic support.

I really don't think we are waging war on a tactic. The war on "terror" is a polite fiction to soothe the feelings of the majority of Moslems who are not the enemy and who must win the two-part war. Our part in the war has to emphasize military means--which the author agrees has been fairly successful in protecting our homeland--while the bigger part is really an Islamic civil war about who defines Islam--jihadis or reformers. I'd rather see critiques about our effort to support the good guys (and girls) in the Islamic Civil War because it is easy to forget that our part is just a holding action while the real war is waged.

America won't let Russia use enhanced sensors over the United States under the Open Skies treaty and both countries are not allowing the other to conduct reconnaissance flights under the treaty.

Japan carried out naval exercises in the South China Sea in open defiance of Chinese territorial claims. That was a big freaking deal of a freedom of navigation exercise. It was very clearly not innocent passage.

The Saudi coalition restarted their drive to take rebel-held Hodeidah in Yemen.

You have to admit the Poles know how to pitch an idea to our president.

Lots of oil plus socialism equals gasoline shortage.

It doesn't look like Trump's effort to get North Korea to give up nukes will work. Nor does it look like North Korea's efforts to get a pretend deal (as North Korea got before and as Syria and Iran--temporarily--got) for needed aid will work. North Korea's Plan B is to wait for someone in the White House willing to pretend. Is our Plan B to wait until after the mid-term elections to strike North Korea? Or could we get lucky and see North Korea collapse? Would China try to stage a coup?

Is a ground-based anti-UAV capability sufficient to protect forward troops? Congress wants to see an Army plan to protect against all types of aerial threats.

Secretary Mattis dismissed reports of tensions with Trump.

I've long been worried about the F-35. But when it was introduced the credible good reports of the plane in flight led me to set aside my worries. Other than normal new product teething problems, the plane looks like the real deal. I then read that Russia had for years mounted a propaganda campaign disparaging its capabilities to prevent the plane from being produced. The propaganda effort is still having an impact on false reporting, it seems. I should note that I have a small amount of Lockheed Martin stock.

Japan's military self defense force has serious recruiting problems because of their aging and declining population. With a bonus appearance by (in my judgment, but with no proof other than long observation) a prolific Russian troll in the comments who I see everywhere in Yahoo news.

Brexit news is really worrying me. Pro-Brexit people need to get out of the European Union and worry about the details later. Once out, as a sovereign nation, details can be amended by Britain. But if Brexiters let pursuit of the perfect be the enemy of the good, Remainers will win and there will never ever be another referendum on leaving. And the EU proto-imperial state will have learned how to entangle subject states even tighter in a web of regulations to discourage the attempt.

Hiftar sure sounds like he has set his sights on ending the division of Libya by marching west when he can.

Nobody should celebrate that Iran suffered a terrorist attack. But Iran has a lot of nerve accusing America of being behind it, stirring up their subject people against the cruel regime of the small rump empire.

The number is actually pretty small for 4 years of Coalition air strikes. Remember, it is not illegal to kill civilians as long as the military mission is reasonable and care is taken to avoid deaths. In addition, if the enemy uses human shields, the deaths are the enemy's responsibility despite the bombs being ours. Amnesty International's charge of war crimes is nonsense.