Saturday, October 27, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

A number of Iranians continue to peacefully protest Iran's expensive foreign adventures. Tip to Instapundit.

The Army ad campaign is really good, IMHO. I was impressed when I saw it. But while it advertises for "warriors" the Army really produces "soldiers" who fight in a system.

An article on the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. Counterinsurgency had worked by then--as the North Vietnamese implicitly conceded. The conventional offensive was contained and showed what might have happened in 1975 if Congress hadn't crippled the ability of America to support the South Vietnamese military that we built to rely on American support. I'm glad Vietnam is seeking our help to block China. But I never forget that their communist government was cruel in their war and in their victory over our ally South Vietnam. Hanoi might want to consider that American liberals (figuratively, of course, although in part literally for the aging cohort from back then) who cheered North Vietnam on in that war will give them the Saudi Arabia treatment if Vietnam is perceived as our ally.

Ruh roh: "Turkey is increasingly unsure about its alliance with Russia in Syria." I've also read that Turkey is again reaching out to Israel. But as long as Erdogan runs Turkey, I don't think this thinking is anything more than intermittent moments of clarity.

Our sealift reserve capacity--already in rough shape--will get worse next decade. I've been going on about this lately. It's a problem. The most advanced weapon out of action because of a lack of a whatsit part lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean is just a pile of expensive junk. Logistics matter.

Twitter released 10 million tweets from 3,800 Russian accounts peddling Russian propaganda since 2013. The Left discovered that Russia (and the Soviets before them) have long conducted propaganda in the West. But it is serious this time because the Left perceived it as directed against them. There was a smaller batch of Iranian tweets, too.

I missed the Navy's 243rd birthday on October 13th. Control of the seas is the foundation of anything we can do with our entire military.

China will be "angered" over two American warships traveling through international waters.

Is the migrant caravan seeking opportunities in America or is it a virtual weapon aimed at America? You decide, if these supporters of the "caravan" are any indicator:

I've read America's fertility rate is continuing to drop. If we need people, we can relax legal immigration. Which is the way it should be rather than just opening up the border to caravans of people who may or may not benefit America.

While effective bullet-stopping body armor is welcome, the weight our troops have to carry into combat causes casualties, too. The weight issue is never solved despite a lot of attention since the war on terror started. Heck, the issue has been around since at least ancient Rome.

Rifle drama.

The idea that the defenders of the EU, which continues toward a supranational imperial state through "ever closer union," see themselves as having a "commitment to democracy, the rule of law, liberty and rights, rational enquiry" (among other things) is just astounding. They are not defenders of a liberal western order. And I hope their EU project collapses into the economic zone it started out as.American-led NATO is the true defender of Western ideals in Europe. And it would be kind of funny if the EU shrank to a core in the west dominated by Germany with a veneer of French window dressing to conceal that domination. The goals of 1870, 1914, and 1940 might finally be achieved.

As a history major, I wouldn't trust this guy to tell me the difference between a hysterical partisan hack and a historian. That is seriously embarrassing. Or should be.

Thailand remains a long-time but problematic ally when it comes to democracy.

Our al Tanf base on the Syria-Iraq border is small but astride a key line of communication between Iran and Lebanon. It does have call on a lot of aerial firepower, but let's hope it doesn't become the frontline in a fight to control the area.

I would very much like to read this.  The mistake of reorganizing the Army because in early 2004 we thought the war would go on a couple years maximum was a good call at the time as the Saddam insurgency faded by February 2004. But the second mistake of thinking Iran and Syria wouldn't dare intervene to begin a new phase of the war made the duration estimate a mistake. Which made the reliance on some less trained Guard units in 2005 more of a problem. Although the Guard units held the line and even in 2005 it seemed like we could turn over the war to Iraqis by the end of that year. It was only the bombing of the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra in February 2006 that ignited serious sectarian fighting that again foiled our hopes prior to the surge (and then the ill-considered withdrawal and Iraq War 2.0) which won Iraq. UPDATE: And the surge was more powerful because of the Awakening that began in late 2006 was the result of persistent efforts to flip the Sunni Arabs who were the base of support for Saddam and al Qaeda terrorists, of course.

France is considering a design to replace their single aircraft carrier. Let's hope it is more reliable than Charles De Gaulle is, which if memory serves me spent a lot of time being repaired.

I have no idea if an electromagnetic pulse attack on America could inflict as much damage as claimed, but I do know that if an enemy does pull off a devastating EMP attack that we'd nuke them in response.And I'm so delighted to have the return of discussions of Fractional Orbital Bombardment Systems weapons. Have a super sparkly day.

MBS pledges to bring the killers of Khashoggi to justice. He will reportedly bring in O.J. Simpson to find the real killer.

I saw news that potential explosive devices were sent to former president Obama and former head of the State Department Clinton. This is horrible and whoever did this must spend some serious time in prison. Although as of this writing there are no details or suspects. But as an optimist, I will note they were futile because they were bound to be intercepted; and maybe now Democrats will stop glossing over attacks on Republicans as nothing much to talk about. This is just politics people, or has that become the new religion that motivated unreasonable hatred for those who think differently? A little tolerance would be welcome. * Already, as more news comes in, they might not be actual bombs. And a suspicious package sent to the White House, apparently. * And then news that there was no package at the White House. The mayor of New York City calls this terrorism. He's banking on this being some white MAGA guy, isn't he? Because normally he would not figure it out a motive that fast. * Now I hear the "bombs" could not work. And another one was found in New York. It doesn't sound like the intent was to injure or kill. An instant of terror upon discovery--rather than lasting terror because of casualties--and publicity seem to be the objective. Unless a real bomb is part of all this--or is added by someone else. * By Friday more "prop" bombs have been discovered. We're up to 12. What is going on? If hate motivated this crime spree, why do it this way? Since when do Nazis pull their punches? * A man was arrested. Was he alone? At this rate I expect Avenatti to be his attorney by nightfall. Motive? Too many American flags to be standard issue lefty but way too many bumper stickers to be standard issue righty. * Hearing they are pro-Trump stickers. NYC major made the right call, I must concede. But he was a "known wolf" for past threats. How long did that record extend? * The man seems more like a loon than a simple partisan.

In related civil unrest news, will the editorial board of the New York Times be arrested if someone takes a shot at Trump, on the assumption this piece triggered a lunatic with eliminationist rhetoric? China is a rising future threat. Russia is a declining current threat. Right now we are the biggest national security threat to America. We have met the enemy and he is us, as Pogo said. Can't we all just get along? Or not attack each other, at least?

This is great progress for women in Iran. Why Western feminists aren't the most hard core anti-Iranian Islamists is beyond me.

Really? Chief nutball proxy Rouhani wants to discuss what rulers are responsible for the murders carried out by other people? Honestly, I can't even count how many times people have excused what the Revolutionary Guards do because Iran's government "doesn't really control them."

Not only that, it smiles too!

Corrupt southern Mali rulers seem to consider French and American (and regional) support since the 2013 French military rescue mission to defeat northern jihadis as protection to continue business as usual rather than as an opportunity to resolve the tensions. Unfortunately, the dangers of terrorists, drug gangs, and human smugglers require foreign forces to remain. And Mali's rulers know that. Honestly, the rulers are making the Tuareg case for independence for the poor north. Interestingly enough, a company-sized French parachute drop was made to surprise jihadis in the northeast.

I'm very disappointed that Hungary, using its position within NATO, is making it harder for Ukraine to resist Russia's invasion.

The article accurately states the plane that crash-landed in California had the markings of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. The headline writer believed that this meant the plane had "Nazi markings." I don't see any actual Nazi markings on the plane. Always use news sources with caution, keeping in mind their subject expertise weaknesses.

I sincerely doubt that America coordinated a drone strike on a Russian airbase in Syria, as Russia's defense ministry claimed. I hope those clowns are simply lying and don't actually believe the crap they pump out.

In the past the Chinese stoked anti-Japanese sentiment. Now China is trying to calm relations.

So it is a story about collusion involving Trump and Russia? Well, that is grammatically close to the original charge. If true, that was and continues to be a severe threat to rule of law and democracy in America. Will people be punished to discourage this in the future? Tip to Instapundit.

The Saudi story on Khashoggi continues to evolve. It won't be long before they're at this stage:

America continues its work to seize or freeze ISIL assets smuggled out of their former caliphate, which ISIL needs to be a terror group with reach and impact.

If the sanctity of the holy INF treaty is so necessary to avoid war, as Gorbachev said, why has Putin been cheating on it? Putin killed the treaty. Trump is just calling time of death.

Who's asking for good versus bad? Are the concepts of bad versus worse or imperfect ally versus dedicated enemy alien to this man? Wow was that idiotic. Even President Carter recognized we had to defend our interests in the Gulf. The USSR may be gone but the interests remain, as the Reagan Corollary to the Carter Doctrine recognized.

Trident Juncture, the biggest NATO (plus Sweden and Finland) exercise since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has begun. Although in one way--the logistics of moving so many troops--a key exercise ended the day the official exercises began.

Being a socialist means never having to say you're sorry. Socialists keep promising paradise yet only produce Hell. But we keep producing new generations of useful idiots.

Sophisticated European nuance? Huh.

I wonder if stock market volatility in October is an election year-only phenomenon? Uncertainty over government policy would make sense as a cause, and the increasing power of the federal government would make that uncertainty grow over time, no? And the complete mystery over who will control the House of Representatives this year makes the uncertainty greater given the contrast in governing views.

The mail "bombs" certainly redirected the media hysteria complex from covering the Khashoggi Affair.

The Putin Youth League: Balkan Chapter. Tip to Instapundit.

Europe: I am Screw you Charlie.

That seems like a major flaw as we shift from counterinsurgency to great power competition against states that could exploit the vulnerability.

A lot of people--especially but not only Democrats--are really upset about America's close relationship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a horrible country domestically and the Khashoggi Affair has highlighted that. But if America punishes Saudi Arabia for their domestic political structure, why wouldn't we have to punish every other Arab country with the exception of Iraq for being autocrats with problematic human rights problems? And if we did that, wouldn't Democrats call the American policy "Islamophobic" because it impacts Moslems disproportionately?

Is John Bolton trying to squeeze James Mattis out of the administration? I like Bolton, but if I have to choose between Bolton and Mattis I choose Mattis.

Russia's military has islands of excellence in a sea of  mediocrity. So boasts of super weapons are likely just prototypes that will never see the light of day. Chest thumping and flinging poo.

The Trident Juncture NATO exercise in the Nordic region has the Marine Corps using their Abrams tanks and anti-tank LAVs. The Marines are worried about conventional battle again.

The warnings are clear. For both humanitarian purposes and to prevent Iran from getting a victory by exploiting mass starvation in Yemen.