Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Serious Damage"


"Heck hath no fury like a hoochie scorned" - totally true - yet can this ancient adage hook up with nation states in the new millennium?


Everybody knows the drill about the double Chinas. Long as Taiwan acts like a distant, hot! and rowdy province of the great collectivist mommieland, things are relatively cool.

China is totally tripping over Taiwan. Long considered a rebellious province that would one day be welcomed back in to Mother China (ala Hong Kong) China has a jealous eye towards her democratic, successful, rich, little sister. And a crazy intolerance for a hip, free and fun sister (who hasn't bothered anybody) to be independent. Or a homie of Great Satan.

President Hu's '5 No's' explain everything. Perfectly clear what will unleash Collectivist anger

"...a formal declaration of independence or a military alliance by Taiwan with a foreign power, or foreign intervention in Taiwan's internal affairs.

" Delays in resumption of cross-Strait dialogue, and an unwillingness to negotiate on the basis of 'one China'. Taiwan's acquisition of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction internal unrest or turmoil on Taiwan

Oh Snap! Taiwan's blinging on 6.5 Billion bucks worth of super hot weaponry - like tons of short and intermediate range missiles - which for an island nation mean only one thing:

Annihilating a D Day style amphib invasion!

"The US plan will definitely undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchange and cooperation in major areas between the two countries"

"Revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling any weapons to Taiwan"

This is an excellent example of Smart Power - enabling sister democracies to fend for themselves.

If Red China is really that tore up about it - maybe she could deploy some 'Smart Power' herself - and put NoKo's rocket rich starvation regime out of biz, effectively offering up something in exchange for Taiwan's return to the Cross Straight Dialogue.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh! Albion!

"Oh! Albion remains...Sleeping now to rise again...Yeah!"

Is Great Britain going batty? Great Satan's coolest Uncle ever, takes to the stand to handle certain elements worried about the wrong thing:

"When in doubt - knock 'em out"

Illegit regimes, with a track record of tormenting their own people, their neighbors, fiddle about with WMD and blow off Internat'l requests hammered out in good faith - then the 'calculus of risk' changes significantly - the burden is on those illicit regimes themselves to prove they are safe as milk in the new millennium.

This is absolutely correct (aside from being a wonderful reminder to such regimes of how the largest Arab army in history passed right out in 20 days when confronted with fully crunk democratic militaries created with a new, laughing race of Voltiguers).

Blaming Great Satan and Great Britain for not having 20/20 behind sight in the aftermath of 911 is, well, decorum prohibits tons of adjectives, let's just say highly questionable.

Uncle Tony wanted to make sure lottie dottie everybody got the memo - including (yet not limited to) NoKo, Libya, Syria and Iran and that pre emptive preventive war would sweetly fire off unconflicting signals - a really...

"Powerful, clear and unrelenting message that if you were a regime engaged in WMD - you had to stop"

Uncle Tony also offered up a copy of Dr Kenneth M. Pollack's fully crunk "Threatening Storm: The Case For Invading Iraq" (which the committee already had several copies)

Internat'l concensus fanboys were blindsided with they pants on the ground when ex PM Blair reminded everyone that when doing Iraq

" the issue was very, very simple. It was about the need to make very clear that you did not defy the international community on WMD."

Blame the League of Hot! Democrazies for the Iraq war? Tore up from the floor up over it's legality or illegality?

"History will judge whether deposing Saddam Hussein was a good or bad thing. But the Chilcot inquiry should focus on what happened in 2002 and 2003. The efforts in 2010 by those who supported the intervention to re-write history have Stalin as well as Saddam laughing in their graves."

Pic "We can't get them all, but when we can - we should" with Jade Ewen

Friday, January 29, 2010

American Exemptionalism

44's underwhelming wartime SOA conjures scary visions of American sovereignity slipping off the pole like a xanx'd down, liquored up stripper:

"Undisguised indifference to repeated diminutions of that sovereignty is entirely consistent with the views of his European admirers, who, at their level, would like to see their nation-states dissolve into the European Union."

"In the end, however, the United States is exceptional and will not melt into any larger or global union; it will simply become less able to protect itself and its constitutional decision-making system. That is clearly where our first post-American president’s policies will take us."

Great Satan built the modern world. Putting paid to Europa's penchant for open combat and creating the after the show ho system of global governance and not hopping off the world stage:

American Exemptionalism!

"A key challenge was to overcome the isolationist legacy of the 1930s and to ensure sustained U.S. engagement in achieving and maintaining a stable international order.

"Old world power-political reasoning in support of that mission held little allure for the American people – protected by two oceans, with friendly and weaker neighbors to the North and South, and pulled unwillingly into two costly world wars by that system’s breakdown.

Great Satan's hot plot for winning the peace is a broader vision that tapped into America’s own sense of self as a nation:

"The promise of an international order based on rules and institutions promoting human betterment through free trade and American-led collective security, human rights and decolonization, as well as active international involvement by the private and voluntary sectors.

The rub of course is to avoid restraints that are too confining, especially from suspect and corrupt players. Thankfully, American Exceptionalism is at hand.

"A perceived need to safeguard the special features and protections of the U.S. constitution from external interference. And it also taps into a core element of American identity: ours is a civic nationalism, defined by the institutions and practices that bind us, not by blood and soil, and none is more foundational than the constitution itself."

Pic "Love me! Hate Me! But Can't you see what I see?" by Britney

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Persian Trap?

Cato's Stanley Kober gets outside the box:

"In this chess game, the Iranian nuclear program is like a pawn Tehran relentlessly pushes forward. In chess, a pawn that reaches the end of the board can be exchanged for a more powerful piece - a queen. But that almost never happens. No skilled player would allow an opponent to advance a pawn that far.

"Could that be Iran's strategy? Could the nuclear program be a sacrificial pawn, designed to provoke an attack, which Tehran hopes would then set in motion a series of events that would lead to its triumph? The idea seems fantastic. Nevertheless, it deserves some consideration, especially since there is a recent precedent that may be relevant.

"In the 2006 war in Lebanon, Hiz'B'Allah stunned Israel when it fired an anti-ship missile at an Israeli gunboat that had been shelling Beirut.

"Significantly, Hiz'B'Allah did not use the anti-ship missile to deter an attack. It did not tell the Israelis: You keep your ships away from Beirut because we can sink them.

"Instead, it kept the presence of this weapon secret - not an easy thing to do. It lured the ship into a trap, and almost succeeded in sinking it.

"But to do that, it made a conscious decision to sacrifice, albeit to a limited degree, the people of Beirut. Hiz'B'Allah allowed the ship to shoot first, taking advantage of Israeli overconfidence, and then unleashed its response.

"Could the nuclear program be following the same pattern? Certain aspects of Iran's behavior suggest the idea needs to be considered.

"First, there is the very provocative Iranian program of Holocaust denial. One would think that if Iran's leaders were serious about getting the bomb, they would stay quiet until they had the bomb.

"Instead, they are behaving in a way bound to antagonize those sitting on the other side of the chess board. The Israelis, in particular, view the campaign of Holocaust denial as an implicit threat, which reinforces their determination that Iran should not get the bomb.

"In addition, Iran has been engaging in a vast conventional arms buildup- at least according to the Iranian press, which regularly reports on new weapons and military exercises. Iran has also re-supplied Hezbollah, which now is better equipped than it was in 2006.

"Iran cannot win a nuclear war; it would be destroyed in retaliation. A conventional war holds no such danger, and any attack would likely unite the Iranian people in defense of their country.

"The political impact in the region could also be profound. This would be the third attack by a Western country on a Muslim one in just a few years. Whatever the justifications for each war, three in such a short time would almost certainly enhance the impression that Islam itself is under siege.

"That impression could be bolstered by developments in Jerusalem. In the past few weeks, there have been confrontations around the holy sites.

"If there is an incident in Jerusalem at the same time there is an attack on Iran, it is difficult to see how a regional explosion could be avoided. Israel might then truly face an existential threat.

"In attempting to prevent the crowning of the Iranian pawn, we should also be conscious of the dangers of a sacrificial pawn. That is, after all, what any good chess player would do.

Art "Sacrifice" by Gaia

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surgin' General!

P4 - Great Satan's Surgin' General hangs with Dr Kimberly Kagan at the daemoneoconically delish Institute For the Study of War!

Like We Really Care

As Great Satan announced her troops engaged in the benign intervention Haitian Invasion would prob be there for a "six-month window ... of intense support," Madame Sec HRC expressed distress about foreign faux pas that dissed Great Satan as she helped out pitiful Haiti in her hour of need:

"I deeply resent those who attack our country, the generosity of our people and the leadership of our president in trying to respond to historically disastrous conditions after the earthquake"

Aside from the Eyetye guy that has dissed events in Haiti, or the previous gossips of frienemies that were worried about the wrong thing, it all points to an incredible fact about Great Satan and American Exceptional Exemptionalism when viewed through jealous foreign eyes.

It also explains why Americans overwhelmingly do not really care what the heck foreign state or non state actors think of Great Satan.

"This inclination to do right has been virtually unique among the nations of the world, and for this reason we have been often misunderstood. How could a country so rich and successful be so unselfish and caring? We must have darker motives, critics say."

"We must be seeking to create an empire, to dominate everyone else, to grab the oil or the trade or whatever else for our own selfish purposes. People from more grasping, less-idealistic societies find it impossible to accept that we honestly believe that giving everyone opportunity is the recipe for abundance and happiness everywhere, not merely in the favored reaches of the United States of America."

Perhaps, instead Great Satan should think about implementing James S Robbins' recent idea:

"Make a useful point by cutting foreign aid going to the countries that are criticizing America's efforts and sending it to Haiti instead."

"Let's see how well some of the ingrates can get by without getting their cut of "Gringo imperialism."

Pic - "Like we give a flip what unproductive critics think!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Audie Murphy Day

For those of us born betwixt the Fall of the Wall and 911, we had never seen Great Satan unbound. Until Operation Iraqi Freedom, battles and history were to be avoided as old school stuff that would probably never happen again.

As "Rock of The Marne" blitzed through the largest Arab army in history in 20 days, her combat power was unparalled:

"An infantry division in name only, fielding 270 Abrams M1 tanks with mobile infantry that could be hastily formed into adhoc battle groups to handle a variety of missions"

Thunder Running into downtown Baghdad, even phoning up the Iraqi Minister of Misinformation at Palestine Hotel to request "Parking for 88 tanks" seemed like the debut of audacious American war fighting.

Actually - "Rock of the Marne" was following in the footsteps of their spiritual great grandfathers

"On 26 January 1945, 2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone.

"Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods.

"2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy.

"He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank.

"Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw.

"His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the MEDAL OF HONOR to LIEUTENANT AUDIE L. MURPHY, UNITED STATES ARMY

Today is the anniversary of Lt Murphy's heroic achievement - Americans everywhere should get on their knees and thank God Almighty for raising up this laughing race of free men.

Art - "Lt Murphy" by A. Reid

Monday, January 25, 2010


Conversion! The adoption of new beliefs that differ from previous beliefs.

Like CFR's Pres Dr Richard Haass.

The old Dr Haas was a real live realist - oh, it's true! As a Realpolitiker Rex, Dr H often pointed out something blah blah 'unintended consequences' blah blah 'stauts quo' and other equally underwhelming diplopolititary dirges that seemed totally suspect in the new millennium.

"Two schools of thought have traditionally competed to determine how America should approach the world.

"1.Realists believe we should care most about what states do beyond their borders—that influencing their foreign policy ought to be Washington's priority (GsGf - compare with Weenie Hut Junior's freak out of Dr Haass' conversion).

"2.Neoconservatives often contend the opposite: they argue that what matters most is the nature of other countries, what happens inside their borders. The neocons believe this both for moral reasons and because democracies (at least mature ones) treat their neighbors better than do authoritarian regimes.

(Note that the illogical, impossible immoral isolationism of the goofy Paleoconservative
worldview was not included - an incredible diss!)

The new Dr Haass admits that realism is sooo passe'

"I've changed my mind"

"The nuclear talks are going nowhere. The Iranians appear intent on developing the means to produce a nuclear weapon; there is no other explanation for the secret uranium-enrichment facility discovered near the holy city of Qum. Fortunately, their nuclear program appears to have hit some technical snags, which puts off the need to decide whether to launch a preventive strike. "

"Instead we should be focusing on another fact: Iran may be closer to profound political change than at any time since the revolution that ousted the shah 30 years ago.

"The authorities overreached in their blatant manipulation of last June's presidential election, and then made matters worse by brutally repressing those who protested. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lost much of his legitimacy, as has the "elected" president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The opposition Green Movement has grown larger and stronger than many predicted.

"The United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights. President Obama did this on Dec. 28 after several protesters were killed on the Shia holy day of Ashura, and he should do so again. So should congressional and world leaders.

"Iran's Revolutionary Guards should be singled out for sanctions.

"Lists of their extensive financial holdings can be published on the Internet. The United States should press the European Union and others not to trade or provide financing to selected entities controlled by the Guards.

"Just to cite one example: the Revolutionary Guards now own a majority share of Iran's principal telecommunications firm; no company should furnish it the technology to deny or monitor Internet use.

"New funding for the project housed at Yale University that documents human-rights abuses in Iran is warranted. If the U.S. government won't reverse its decision not to provide the money, then a foundation or wealthy individuals should step in.

"Such a registry might deter some members of the Guards or the million-strong Basij militia it controls from attacking or torturing members of the opposition. And even if not, the gesture will signal to Iranians that the world is taking note of their struggle.

"It is essential to bolster what people in Iran know. Outsiders can help to provide access to the Internet, the medium that may be the most important means for getting information into Iran and facilitating communication among the opposition. The opposition also needs financial support from the Iranian diaspora so that dissidents can stay politically active once they have lost their jobs.

"Just as important as what to do is what to avoid. Congressmen and senior administration figures should avoid meeting with the regime. Any and all help for Iran's opposition should be nonviolent. Iran's opposition should be supported by Western governments, not led. In this vein, outsiders should refrain from articulating specific political objectives other than support for democracy and an end to violence and unlawful detention.

"Sanctions on Iran's gasoline imports and refining, currently being debated in Congress, should be pursued at the United Nations so international focus does not switch from the illegality of Iran's behavior to the legality of unilateral American sanctions. Working-level negotiations on the nuclear question should continue.

"But if there is an unexpected breakthrough, Iran's reward should be limited. Full normalization of relations should be linked to meaningful reform of Iran's politics and an end to Tehran's support of terrorism.

"Critics will say promoting regime change will encourage Iranian authorities to tar the opposition as pawns of the West. But the regime is already doing so. Outsiders should act to strengthen the opposition and to deepen rifts among the rulers.

"This process is underway, and while it will take time, it promises the first good chance in decades to bring about an Iran that, even if less than a model country, would nonetheless act considerably better at home and abroad.

"Even a realist should recognize that it's an opportunity not to be missed.

A heartfelt shout out to Dr Haass on his conversion and welcome to the sexyful select daemoneoconic democrazy intelligentsia!

Pic - "Road to Damascus"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Benign Intervention

It's true! Great Satan's plan to take over Haiti has been a killer success so far - and a blue print for knocking out Iran, according to Venezuelan wanna be President for life Hugo Chavez.

France's Cooperation Minister pointed out Great Satan's benign intervention was not so much rescue as a take over. Both French President Darling Nikki and Foreign Minister dissed that kinda talk - pointing out the Cooperation Minister may not be so cooperative after all.

Wahabbi Arabia's state controlled media dissed Great Satan in Haiti - laughingly lecturing America about 'shameful delay'. Gee, thanks for taking time out from bombing Yemen to notice. Expletive deleted.

Truth is, Great Satan is doing her best -

"to alleviate suffering in Haiti and to begin the process of reconstruction, along with assistance from other countries and non-government organizations. America is donating hundreds of millions of dollars to the relief effort, money that may make its way to the people who need it, or may be siphoned off by Haiti's durable culture of corruption or by opportunists who emerge to profit from human suffering.

"America brings resources to the effort that other countries simply cannot match, particularly airlift, sealift and communications capabilities. Many of our troops sent to Haiti had been enjoying time back with their families after being deployed to combat zones overseas, and many are facing another deployment within the year.

"The United States deserves credit for this humanitarian effort, not blame for imagined invasions and secret earthquake weapons. The Obama administration could make a useful point by cutting foreign aid going to the countries that are criticizing America's efforts and sending it to Haiti instead. Let's see how well some of the ingrates can get by without getting their cut of "Gringo imperialism."

Art - "Benign Intervention"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pretty On The Inside

Oh Snap!

Revenge Of The Drones

Talk about unintended consequences! The hit by al Qaeda (probably with some ISI assistance) on Great Satan's spy lair in Afghanistan is going to ramp up those wild, wacking 'Drones Gone Wild!" in Land of the Pure ops - and beyond.

"Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties. The assault has included strikes on a mud fortress in North Waziristan on Jan. 6 that killed 17 people and a volley of missiles on a compound in South Waziristan last Sunday that killed at least 20."

"Today, officials deny that vengeance is driving the increased attacks, though one called the drone strikes “the purest form of self-defense.”

"Officials point to other factors. For one, Pakistan recently dropped restrictions on the drone program it had requested last fall to accompany a ground offensive against militants in South Waziristan. And tips on the whereabouts of extremists ebb and flow unpredictably.

"A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, declined to comment on the drone strikes. But he said, “The agency’s counterterrorism operations — lawful, aggressive, precise and effective — continue without pause.”

"Critics have contended that collateral civilian deaths are too high a price to pay. Pakistani officials have periodically denounced the strikes as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty, even as they have provided a launching base for the drones.

"The increase in drone attacks has caused panic among rank-and-file militants, particularly in North Waziristan, where some now avoid using private vehicles, according to Pakistani intelligence and security officials.

"Fewer foreign extremists are now in Miram Shah, North Waziristan’s capital, which was previously awash with them, said local tribesmen and security officials.

Well, that's the rub.

In wartime, Great Satan is kinda crazy and unpredictable.

A wonderful lesson for other enemies, state or non state, to carefully consider.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soft Power Regime Change

The sexyful, sticky seductive power of 'Soft Power' - the ability to get other nation states or illegit regimes to do what ever Great Satan desires without deploying the dreaded (but still totally cool) 'coercive diplomacy.'

Since changing the nature of unfree, unfun and nigh unhinged regimes will most often mean regime changing them - can 'Soft Power' dial up a hook up that took up regime changes?

Oui m'seur!

"It is Iran, a supporter of terrorism now developing the capacity to fire nuclear-tipped missiles, that may pose the greatest threat to global stability and American security.

"That threat can be diminished three ways: by military action, by compromise by Iran's regime, or by a new, less bellicose government taking power in Tehran. The first two appear unlikely, but the third, at least since protests broke out last June after the presidential election, seems more and more realistic. Yet so far the United States and its allies have shrunk from seriously encouraging that third way.

"Immediately after the post-election Green Revolution protests began in Iran, some policy makers argued that overt U.S. support would allow the regime to claim that those in the opposition were somehow our agents. Even with no evidence, the regime did that anyway—to little effect.

"So how can the U.S. support the opposition? The key is strategic communications that integrate words and deeds to achieve a major political goal—in this case, changing the character of the Iranian leadership. Everything that we do, everything that we say—and everything that we don't do and don't say—should be coordinated to meet this goal.

"Such a policy would have four separate tasks:

• Provide moral and educational support for the Green Revolution. Here third parties, rather than the U.S. government, should play the main role. Dissidents should be reminded that others have succeeded on the same path they are travelling.

"We should, for instance, publicize reports on what worked in Ukraine or Georgia, spread testimony by leaders like the Czech Republic's Vaclav Havel, and distribute, in Farsi, guides to nonviolent change like Gene Sharp's "From Dictatorship to Democracy" and Peter Ackerman's "A Force More Powerful." It's time to dub into Farsi documentaries on the fall of Ceausescu, Milosevic and Pinochet; the transitions in South Africa and Poland; and the achievements of the U.S. civil-rights movement.

• Tighten sanctions on the Iranian economy and publicize the connection between regime belligerence and economic malaise. Despite Iran's oil wealth, the economy has for years been in miserable shape thanks to bad management, corruption and the squandering of funds on Arab terrorist groups and the nuclear program. The slogans of the protestors demonstrate that they are connecting the dots between the regime's foreign policy and economic privation.

• Do all we can to increase communications within Iran, as well as between Iran and the outside world. Opposition movements succeed through sharing and disseminating information. Broadcasting by the taxpayer-funded Radio Farda and Voice of America satellite TV should be ramped up, and we should encourage the U.K. to do the same with the BBC. We also should vigorously protest attempts by Iran to jam broadcast signals in defiance of international law, back private media—from satellite TV pitched at young people to cell-phone messaging to social networking—and help Iranians get the technology to overcome regime attempts to block and censor.

• Finally, we should refute, in campaign style, the four key propositions of Iranian propaganda. These are that the reformers are unrepresentative and unpatriotic; that the U.S. is in decline and wants to cut a deal with Iran and extricate itself from the Middle East; that Iran's nuclear program will advance the country technologically; and that international opposition to the program is a Western plot to keep Iran, as a Muslim nation, poor and backward.

"For this last task, America's comparative advantages—our technology and imagination—are the best tools. For example, to counter the claim that the West wants to hold Iran back, the U.S. government, using a private foundation, could rally CEOs in Silicon Valley (and Japan, India and Indonesia, for that matter) to offer Iranian engineering students seminars on high-tech entrepreneurship. We could saturate the airwaves of Iran with messages from, say, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seeking applicants for the seminars. The Iranian government would likely oppose such a program and the message would be: "Your regime, not the West, wants to keep you down."

"Similarly, we should be using all our tools, including intelligence, to track the individuals responsible for cracking down on the protesters, and to publicize their identities. Naming and shaming perpetrators would put the regime on the defensive and assure the protesters that their sacrifice will not be forgotten. As we know from Soviet dissidents, moral support works.

"A serious strategic communications program for Iran could have dozens, even hundreds, of programs like these. It should extend across government agencies with clear leadership and include private-sector participation.

"Too often in foreign policy our interests demand that we compromise our core values. With Iran, however, we have been blessed with remarkable luck: Our strategic and moral imperatives stand in perfect alignment. And Iranians like Americans.

"The Iranian challenge appears more amenable than any other serious national threat to a soft-power solution. Let's get going.

Pic "Regime Changes the fun way"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Need For Power

As Great Satan's own dear sons and daughters rescue the perishing in Haiti the result on the shores of Port au Prince

"...has had a galvanizing effect. But that is largely because of the incredible capacity of the U.S. military to give substance to words. More than just “hard power” or “soft power” or “smart power,” our military capabilities are the tools of action. It’s good to have them. It would be better to have enough of them, now and in the future."

As provocative (for the easily provoked) as a thong in Church - daemoneoconic philospher king Dr Robert Kagan makes the case that the only thing hotter than power is Great Satan 's power.

"If there is one thing that 2009 confirmed, it is that the U.S. under Barack Obama remains a martial nation.

"Americans, who went to war, officially or unofficially, at least 10 times under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, show no sign of abandoning their substantial reliance on military power. Nor does the current president, for all the rhetoric of diplomacy.

"In many circles it has for years been fashionable to argue that the U.S. has relied too heavily on the military and paid too little attention to diplomacy and the so-called underlying causes of terrorism or other forms of aggression.

"The events of 2009 have revealed the limits of such facile observations. Even the present administration evidently believes, with good reason, that whatever the value of diplomacy and reform, they are no substitute for hard military power.

No End In Sight

"Amid the hubbub over the failed Christmas terrorist attack, it might be easy to lose sight of a few facts about the past year.

"For instance, Americans spent over $500 billion on the military, over $600 billion if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are included. As was true in the Bush and Clinton years, this is more than the rest of the world combined.

"This large budget remains too small to meet America's many commitments around the world, which is an old problem that the previous administration also did too little to repair. But the Obama administration made no cuts in overall spending and is not likely to make any next year either. Nor was there public clamor for reduced defense spending in 2009, unlike during, say, the Reagan years, when cutting the defense budget was a major plank of the Democratic Party.

"The U.S., of course, remained very much a nation at war in 2009, with no prospect that it will enjoy peace anytime soon. At year's end, over 100,000 U.S. troops were still serving in Iraq, and although that number is supposed to decline to roughly 50,000 by the summer of 2010, Mr. Obama so far has stood by his pledge not to make a hasty and irresponsible exit from Iraq.

"At the same time, he doubled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2009 and ordered a further increase in the coming year from nearly 70,000 to nearly 100,000 by summer.

"Unnoticed by many people, as usual, was the fact that the U.S. in 2009 also remained the world's only global military power, with forces deployed in every theater: in addition to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 80,000 in Europe, more than 70,000 in East Asia and the Pacific, and roughly 12,000 in North Africa, the Near East, South Asia, sub- Saharan Africa and the Western Hemisphere. There was no call in 2009 for America to "come home" from any of these global deployments.

"If anything, by year's end, it appeared that American military involvements were likely to broaden in the future, with military actions in Yemen and Somalia not inconceivable should local struggles against al Qaeda and its affiliates falter.

No Utopianism

"In the activity formerly known as the war on terror, there was no evidence of slackening by the Obama administration in 2009, at least when it came to using military force to address the terrorist threat.

"In Afghanistan, a central front in the battle against al Qaeda and its supporters, Mr. Obama substantially increased the military component of the struggle. In Pakistan, too, the Obama administration stepped up American military activity. As Bill Roggio reports in the Long War Journal, the Obama administration has sharply increased the number of drone attacks on targets in Pakistan, with 53 such attacks in 2009, compared with 36 in 2008.

"Indeed, the Obama administration carried out more drone strikes in its first year than the Bush administration carried out in the previous five years combined, and these strikes produced a record number of enemy casualties. While the Obama administration may be more generous in providing legal defense to captured terrorists than the Bush administration, it has also made a greater effort to assassinate them, thus obviating the need for trial.

"American attitudes toward the phenomenon of war remained sober in 2009. While at other times in American history—at the end of the 19th century, in the decade following World War I, and again after the end of the Cold War—leading thinkers promising a new era of peace gained a wide audience, today there is no hint of utopianism.

"Mr. Obama's well-argued case for the continuing relevance of military power in an era when the prevalence of war shows no sign of diminishing—delivered to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, no less—was a sign of the great distance that still separates Americans and Europeans on the issue of war and peace. The year 2009 showed that the U.S., perhaps alone among the world's democracies, still sees war as an unfortunate but unavoidable fact of international life

Pic "Embracing America’s global responsibilities"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wings Over Iraq

Way back in the last millennium, Great Satan's intelligentsia plotted the ancient PNAC raison d'etre - that Great Satan should dominate in every field of human endeavor - everything from cruise missiles to electric pencil sharpeners.

Often called 'Vulcans', they knew a future worth creating would create a new, future cadre of 'Vulcans' to carry on in their stead to maintain Great Satan's 30 year in the future military in the Long Small Wars.

Enter Wings Over Iraq. As one of the ever growing circle of something known as 'Mil Blogs' - weblogs by military cats, "Wings Over Iraq" created by 'Starbuck' is totally off the hook - "A Black Hawk pilot recently returned from Iraq who takes time to post articles on counterinsurgency, defense policy, Fourth-Generation Warfare, strategy, the latest Internet memes, and Megan Fox pics."

Aside from being capricorn and a COIN cat, Starbuck adds a dash of much needed Clausewitz to the mix. He's also kinda hot.

WOI consistently fronts unconventional and irregular tactical designs into analysis and also broke Brit military sites into the mainstream like the essential "Kings Of War"

Starbuck does not blunt the edge, never snarky and adds a sexyful military dimension to events along with a healthy dose of 'Star Wars' memes that proves with "Generation Kill", Great Satan will continue to follow the Vulcan's lead.

Aside from adding "Wings Over Iraq' to your blogroll, check out WOI on twitter and Facebook too.

Pic - "She's fast enough for you, old man"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

R.O.E. Redux?

Is it time to wipe clean and draw again Rules of Engagement?

Heck yeah - especially since al Qaeda recently threatened Great Satan's Navy.

Non state (they are working on it - give them time! ) Hiz'B'Allah fired off non traditional weaponry for T groups at Little Satan 's Navy during the retarded Rocket War of '06.

"INS Hanit was patrolling in Lebanese waters ten nautical miles (30kilometers!!) off the coast of Beirut. It was damaged on July 14, 2006 on the waterline, under the aft superstructure by a Chinese-designed C-802 fired by Hiz'B'Allah. Reportedly, setting the flight deck on fire and crippling the propulsion systems inside the hull. However, INS Hanit stayed afloat, got herself out of the line of fire, and made the rest of the journey back to Ashdod for repairs on her own. Four crew members were killed during the attack."

Serious shiz.

It's high time dude, to like, reconsider Rules of Engagement:

"This is not a law enforcement issue. It requires all the elements of our national intelligence agencies working with those of our allies to defeat the threats.

"Our Rules of Engagement (ROEs) should also be reviewed. "Don't shoot until shot at" is the terrorist formula for success. We must assume that al Qaeda has information on our current ROEs and how we react to high-speed craft - for example, Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval boats aggressively maneuvering in the direction of our ships with their guns unmasked. The Iranians paid no attention to warnings issued by our ships.

"These aggressive actions cannot be accepted. The decision on whether actions by an approaching craft or boat are threatening must be left with the on-the-scene commander. He must not be bound by a rigid set of rules that he must go through before he can open fire. It must be his call and he must be confident that he will have the backing of his superiors in the chain of command.

"For our domestic ports and facilities, the U.S. Coast Guard is charged with the responsibility for the security of our ports. With their limited resources, they do an excellent job; however, they are stretched thin and additional resources to counter a serious terrorist threat are required.

"In the near term, consideration should be given to augmenting existing U.S. Coast Guard resources with civilian professional security assistance personnel (former SEAL and Special Forces personnel) and additional armed patrol craft. We must remain proactive if we are to be successful in defeating the al Qaeda threat.

Pic - "Every unnecessary expenditure of time, every unnecessary detour, is a waste of power, and therefore contrary to the principles of strategy."

Monday, January 18, 2010

China Loves Rogue States

When it comes to uncool or unfree nations - often the same - China got game!

"Looking out for its own interests, this line of reasoning goes, it won't push Khartoum to curb attacks in Darfur, it won't deploy carrots or sticks to bring North Korea back to the Six-Party Talks, and it won't scold the Burmese junta for crackdowns against monks. Just this week, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman reiterated her country's commitment to distancing itself from the West's attempts to thwart Iran's quest for a nuclear bomb: "We don't believe sanctions could fundamentally solve the problem."

"China's investments and weapon sales to Iran made this seem largely about lust for Iran’s oil. But the truth is that in Iran, as in all of those other places, China's behavior is about more than just money. It actually has a soft spot for maverick nations that buck the international system, oppress their people, and threaten regional stability. In the end, China needs rogues.

"Not that long ago, China was itself a rogue. During the Mao TseTong years, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, China's seclusion rivaled North Korea's. So it naturally gravitated toward its rogue peers; they could offer each other things they couldn't get from nations that ostracized them. After working its way back into the international system in the 1980s, China suffered a setback for cracking down on pro-democracy protestors at the end of the decade.

"China was isolated after 1989, and Myanmar is isolated, so that gave the countries a natural sense of intimacy," says a foreign policy analyst working in Beijing who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of relations between those two countries. Like Sudan today, China faced widespread opprobrium after waging war against its own people during the Cultural Revolution and for the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

"As China slowly recovered its status in the years after 1989, it gained political and economic power and leveraged them by forging relationships—often by aid or investment—all over the world. "There's a tradition in Chinese foreign policy for being a leader in the developing world," says Abe Denmark, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. It also used that power to help other pariahs: Supporting Myanmar's military government, delaying sanctions to Iran, propping up North Korea with donations, and sending a high-ranking envoy to visit Sudan during Obama's recent visit to Beijing are all examples of China's diplomatic love notes.

"Naturally, some of this is simply about minding the store: there are huge resource-extraction opportunities in these places. China imports about 15 percent of its oil from Iran and about 5 percent from Sudan. No doubt China's economic planners sleep better at night knowing that 20 percent of their petroleum is as likely to flow tomorrow as it did yesterday. Even North Korea has untapped minerals wealth worth up to $6 trillion. (South Koreans sometimes refer to North Korea as a Chinese province because of Chinese corporate designs on resources there.)

"Moreover, it behooves China to invest in places that the West won't, because it doesn't have to compete against bigger, richer, and more technologically sophisticated corporations practiced at the extraction of hard-to-reach resources. The diplomatic isolation of rogue states means that Chinese companies are often the biggest game in town.

"Yet there's more at work here than money. Beijing has "done some good by urging Sudan to take peacekeepers," said Denmark. It has tried to set up a border economic zone with Burma, and some interpreters even think it has caused North Korea to rethink its nuclear ambitions. By leading with its own success story, China is attempting to show rogue leaders that they can liberalize their economies (which would redound further to Chinese benefit) without liberating their people. Beijing may not merit a Nobel Peace Prize, but at least it contributes to the stability of these regimes and prevents a Somalia-like descent into chaos.

"In fact, that is the animating spirit of these friendships. China needs rogues because their collapse or, even worse, their democratization, frightens the government. On the stability front, a failed North Korea would send countless thousands of refugees fleeing into China. On the other hand, a reunified Korea would put a U.S. ally—and some 25,000 U.S. troops—on China's border. In Sudan, it's true that increased human-rights abuses might damage China's image. But in the opposite scenario—where Sudan becomes a tolerant and conflict-free member in good standing of the community of nations—Sudan would attract much more Western investment, bringing competition for Chinese companies.

"On the democratization front, if Iranian protestors overthrow their government, it will be another reminder of the power of protest—a lesson that the government in Beijing is not eager to teach its citizens after the collapse of the USSR and color revolutions in Eastern Europe. Already, nationalist cyberactivists in China are supporting the Iranian regime. Beijing knows that, if anything happened in Iran, the greatest worry wouldn't be the spike in oil prices but the domestic instability it might face at home.

"China's relationship with these countries might be hitting a rough patch. On January 11 the Archbishop of Sudan condemned China's involvement in his country: "China is looking only for minerals, they are looking for economic benefit. That is all. That is damaging the country." Iranian cyberhackers hacked into Baidu, China's largest search engine, and displayed an Iranian flag on the homepage.

"Still, some bonds are unbreakable. On a recent visit to North Korea, China's defense minister, Liang Guanglie, reminisced about his time as a soldier during the Korean War, when the two impoverished Communist allies fought against the American imperialist aggressor. "No force on earth can break the unity of the armies and peoples of the two countries and it will last forever."

Pic "Big or small - China loves 'em all!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Freedom House unleashed their annual reportage' about the State of Freedom in the world - so far - nom d'guerre'd "Freedom in the World 2010: Erosion of Freedom Intensifies”

"In a year of intensified repression against human rights defenders and democratic activists by many of the world’s most powerful authoritarian regimes, Freedom House found a continued erosion of freedom worldwide, with setbacks in Latin America, Africa, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East.

"For the fourth consecutive year, declines have trumped gains. This represents the longest continuous period of deterioration in the nearly 40-year history of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual assessment of the state of political rights and civil liberties in every country in the world.

Autocrazies of the World Unite?

"Matched by the rise of a neo-authoritarianism abroad that, while not an ideologically coherent threat like international communism, has united undemocratic states around the world in a concerted effort to weaken the influence of the United States and suppress those who look to it for leadership on the world stage."

Great Satan should adhere to her own long time agenda - constantly confronting illegit regimes and their fanboys in every endeavor of Weltpolitik as codified in Uncle Tony's fashion smashing raison d'etre to focus on freedom and bear in mind the unfree existence experienced by the over 3 billion who endure under the absolute heel of wicked men who torment their own people:

"There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that Milosevic was Serbia's savior.

"These are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit, and anywhere--anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.

"The spread of freedom is the best security for the free. It is our last line of defense and our first line of attack.

Pic "Erosion of Freedom Intensifies"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Courting Disaster

Courting - To attempt to gain; seek. To behave so as to invite or incur.

One of the top cats privy to all the hottie naughty deets about enhanced techniques to quiz enemy agents in a leisured, thorough endeavor conducted in a controlled environment is Marc Thiessen.

"Virtually everyone the Obama administration wants to put on trial in civilian court was captured as a result of the CIA interrogation program that Obama shut down"


This is significant - aside from SOTH Pelosi's harpy act about misleading CIA spy guys, the AG openly thinking about linking attorney brigades to American agents and 44's constant slamming of what Madame Sec Dr Rice proudly pointed out as a penchant to go anywhere and do anything to prevent another 911.

"Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack" is Thiessen's book - to be unleashed Monday and it looks to be a thorough, leisured look into the danger zone and how Great Satan is at risk with an admin seemingly distracted with stuff - that frankly - wouldn't really matter that much compared to protecting the homeland.

"White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen was locked in a secure room and given access to the most sensitive intelligence when he was tasked to write President George W. Bush’s 2006 speech explaining the CIA’s interrogation program and why Congress should authorize it.

"Few know more about these CIA operations than Thiessen, and in his new book, Courting Disaster, he documents just how effective the CIA’s interrogations were in foiling attacks on America, penetrating al-Qaeda’s high command, and providing our military with actionable intelligence.

"Thiessen also shows how reckless President Obama has been in shutting down the CIA’s program and releasing secret documents that have aided our enemies. Courting Disaster proves:

"How the CIA program thwarted specific deadly attacks against the U.S.

Why “enhanced interrogation” was not torture by any reasonable legal or moral standard

"How the information gained by “enhanced interrogation” could not have been acquired any other way

"How President Obama’s actions since taking office have left America much more vulnerable to attack

"In chilling detail, Thiessen reveals how close the terrorists came to striking again, how intelligence gained from “enhanced interrogation” repeatedly stymied their plots, and how President Obama’s dismantling of this CIA program is inviting disaster for America.

"Knowing more than almost anyone outside the CIA about what went on at CIA “black sites” and at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As chief speechwriter for President Bush, he was given unprecedented access to some of the most sensitive intelligence our government possessed on al Qaeda terrorists.

"He has since spent countless hours interviewing the men and women involved in the interrogations at every level—from Vice President Dick Cheney to the interrogators themselves.

"What he reveals is a shocking, thoroughly documented account of just how close we came to suffering follow-on 9/11 attacks, how so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (including waterboarding) were directly responsible for unearthing the actionable intelligence that foiled them, and the extraordinary measures the Bush administration took to stay well within the bounds of what was not only legally but morally right.

"Courting Disaster shows how America’s dedicated intelligence professionals went head-to-head with the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and won—only to have Barack Obama expose America’s secrets to the enemy, endorse smears against our intelligence officers, and put them at risk of prosecution for defending our country. In Courting Disaster, Thiessen reveals:

"Why “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not qualify as torture by any objective standard

"Specific terrorist plots foiled by the CIA, based on information that came from “enhanced interrogation”—ranging from attacks against Los Angeles and London to the breaking up of an al Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for terrorist attacks inside the United States

"New evidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about and approved CIA waterboarding

"The real stories of abuse at Guantanamo—not of the detainees by the guards, but of the guards by the detainees, and how released detainees have returned to the jihad

"How the Obama administration is giving captured terrorists more legal rights than are granted to legitimate prisoners of war—and denying our intelligence officers tools that police officers use everyday to question common criminals

"How information released by Barack Obama has aided our enemies and put America at greater risk of another terrorist attack

Pic "Courting disaster is way more dangerous than flirting with disaster!"

Friday, January 15, 2010

USNS Comfort

Medical aid for the Haiti earthquake is now a military-style op. At least 19 countries, including Canada, Great Satan, Mexico, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Little Satan, Nippon, China, Portugal, Commonwealth Russia, Spain, Great Britain, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador provided manpower, supplies or financial aid to Haiti, while the most immediate foreign assistance was being provided by military and humanitarian contingents from neighboring Dominican Republic.

And nothing comes close to USNS Comfort (T-AH-20)

No near world competitors have anything like her - and no diss meant - no Chinese or Iranian Carrier Groups or Pakistan flotillas have yet arrived.

She is the third Great Satan Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy Class Hospital Ship to join the navy fleet. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, USNS Comfort and her crew do not carry any ordnance and firing on the Comfort is considered a war crime.

Like her sister ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), Comfort was built as an oil tanker in 1976 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company. Her original name was SS Rose City and she was launched from San Diego, California.

Her career as an oil tanker ended when she was delivered to the Navy on December 1, 1987. Now, as a hospital ship, Comfort's new duties include providing emergency, on-site care for U.S. combatant forces deployed in war or other operations. Operated by the Military Sealift Command, Comfort provides rapid, flexible, and mobile medical and surgical services to support Marine Corps Air/Ground Task Forces deployed ashore, Army and Air Force units deployed ashore, and naval amphibious task forces and battle forces afloat.

Secondarily, she provides mobile surgical hospital service for use by appropriate US Government agencies in disaster or humanitarian relief or limited humanitarian care incident to these missions or peacetime military operations.

When not actively deployed, Comfort is kept in a state of reduced operations in Baltimore harbor. She has been used many times over the years and has been ready to ship out of Baltimore with 5 days' notice.

Patient Capacity:
Intensive care wards: 80 beds
Recovery wards: 20 beds
Intermediate care wards: 280 beds
Light care wards: 120 beds
Limited care wards: 500 beds
Total Patient Capacity: 1000 beds
Operating Rooms: 12
Departments and Facilities:
Casualty reception
Intensive care unit
Radiological services
Main laboratory plus satellite lab
Central sterile receiving
Medical supply/pharmacy
Physical therapy and burn care
Dental services
Optometry/lens lab
Oxygen producing plants (two)
Medical Photography
Four distilling plants to make drinking water from sea water (300,000 gallons per day)
Flight deck can handle world's largest military helicopters (CH-53D, CH-53E, MH-53E, Mi-17)

Pic "USNS Comfort"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nuclear Barbarians At The Gates

"Weakness is provocative! Weakness invites people into doing things they wouldn't otherwise think of."

So sayeth the once and future avuncular Vulcan, formidable hand gesturer and former Def Sec "America ain't whats wrong with the world" Rumsfeld.

Consorting that idea straight into the (often boring, even with the best host around) idea of nuclear something policy wonking 'liferationing, daemoneoconically delish Foreign Policy Initiatives policy advisor Christian Whiton puts steel on target - and carebeful! It's hotter than a freshly ejected M203 carcass:

"Nuclear threats have drawn steadily nearer and Washington’s polices to counter them have failed. North Korea has a nuclear capability and Iran seems close to one. The current and prior two administrations share blame, but President Obama is making matters worse with his profound weakness and unrealistic talk of nuclear abolition. Without change, the U.S. will spend the 2010s reeling from these expanding threats

"The risk posed by North Korea or Iran unchecked and armed with nuclear weapons is immense. The regime of Kim Jong Il has proliferated virtually every advanced weapon system it has possessed. It was caught red-handed helping Syria build a replica of its Yongbyon plutonium-producing reactor in 2007. North Korea’s arming of terrorist-sponsoring regimes will likely continue as long as the regime exists

"The Iranian government is more dangerous still. It has already developed reliable missiles with which to deliver a future nuclear warhead. At this moment, Iran’s proxies are already fighting wars against the governments of Lebanon, Israel, Yemen and Saudi Arabia—and also against the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. These activities and the list of targets will increase once Tehran has a nuclear arsenal.

"While this may look like irrational conduct, both regimes have in fact been conditioned to act this way. The prior two U.S. administrations talked big about these threats, warning of “serious consequences,” but never followed through.

"The ‘sum of all fears’ has been that Iran or North Korea will proliferate nuclear weapons or materials to terrorists. But an even more alarming scenario is possible: these regimes may conclude they can win a regional nuclear war by firing the only shot. How is that possible given the specter of U.S. nuclear retaliation? Because Tehran and Pyongyang may infer from U.S. actions that no serious retaliation would come.

"Neither regime has felt sustined pushback despite decades of belligerence. Furthermore, they have undoubtedly noticed Mr. Obama’s profound weakness in his first year, including his betrayal of Poland and the Czech Republic in a failed attempt to “reset” relations with Russia, his repeated apologies for America’s purported sins, and his cuts to missile defense and other systems.

"Then in Prague last April, despite assuring the crowd “I’m not naive,” President Obama announced “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” His implementation strategy: “We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’”

"Do we believe this man would have the fortitude to order a nuclear retaliation against an assailant who shot first at a country other than our own? Would he follow through with a subsequent invasion to depose a belligerent regime? Our enemies may have concluded this is implausible, which poses high a risk for the U.S. in the 2010s

"We need a defense posture based on strategic deterrence, conventional military counterforce, economic pressure, information warfare and political subversion. This should include fielding a countervailing nuclear force adjacent to Iran and North Korea, reversing Mr. Obama’s cuts to missile defense, running intelligence operations that are not paralyzed by risk-aversion, and realizing we will need ample conventional forces based in East Asia and the Middle East indefinitely.

"One day the Iranian and North Korean people will end the illegitimate regimes that oppress them—the best path to our own long-term security. The U.S. should get back in the business of aiding and cheering them without hesitation. But no one knows how quickly they will succeed and we need to secure our own defense in the mean time. Taking these steps, rather than talking nuclear abolition while undercutting our defenses and alliances, is a better strategy for the dangerous 2010s.

Pic - "We Will Rock You"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Their Hour Of Need"

44 just promised to intervene in Haiti - "The Department of State, USAID and the United States Southern Command have begun working to coordinate an assessment and any such assistance."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Satan's Battlebots

"Sixty years of near-constant war, a low tolerance for enduring casualties in conflict, and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world's leading innovators of military robotics."

Interesting piece that makes the left handed case that only fun, free functional democracies with their future militaries can create, deploy and upgrade unmanned or robotic war fighting systems - intelligent force multipliers that cannot bleed or suffer - though they can certainly make an enemy bleed and suffer.

Some of the battlebots that wicked Little Satan is currently enjoying include:

"Uunmanned ground vehicle, which now drives itself along the Gaza and Lebanese borders. The Guardium was deployed to patrol for infiltrators in the wake of the abduction of soldiers doing the same job in 2006. The Guardium, developed by G-nius Ltd., is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. It was put into the field for the first time 10 months ago.

Protector SV:
"Unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet. After bomb-laden fishing boats tried to take out an Israeli Navy frigate off the coast off Gaza in 2002, Rafael" put her into service. Even Singapore is buying them up now

"Military analysts say unmanned fighting vehicles could have a far-reaching strategic impact on the sort of asymmetrical conflicts the U.S. is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel faces against enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

"In such conflicts, robotic vehicles will allow modern conventional armies to minimize the advantages guerrilla opponents gain by their increased willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to inflict casualties on the enemy.

"However, there are also fears that when countries no longer fear losing soldiers' lives in combat thanks to the ability to wage war with unmanned vehicles, they may prove more willing to initiate conflict."

Hmmmm, that is suspect. It's the hardest thing in the world to get a democracy to go to war - even harder to keep them focused and engaged in it to win it. Though, of course the autocratic customers of free inquirey may not face such issues

"In coming years, engineers say unmanned air, sea and ground vehicles will increasingly work together without any human involvement. Israel and the U.S. have already faced backlash over civilian deaths caused by drone-fired missiles in Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Those ethical dilemmas could increase as robots become more independent of their human masters.

Pic "The more society adheres to ethical norms, democratic values, and individual rights, the more successful a warfighter that society will be.”

Guns For Peace

Looking down the road vis a vis Taiwan/China 'Cross Straight' sitch - what happens if re unification with China takes longer than China wants?

"Threatening war with xenophobic, impoverished Maoist China in the midst of the Cold War was one thing. Contemplating war with increasingly capitalist and modern China, economically dominant in East Asia, tied by trade to most industrialized states, and deploying increasing economic and diplomatic resources throughout the Third World, is a very different matter. Pull that trigger and the twenty-first century looks a lot uglier, even if the United States handily wins round one.

"And round one no longer would be a slam dunk. While the PRC cannot—in the foreseeable future, at least—match American military power, it can create a substantial deterrent capability, sharply raising the potential cost of U.S. intervention. Beijing’s increasing ability to sink U.S. carriers with submarines and missiles alone would force any president to think very hard before sending the Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait for battle.

"Nor can American air dominance be considered a given any longer. Warns the Rand corporation: Taiwan’s proximity to China “combined with China’s growing capabilities and the lack of basing options for U.S. forces in the vicinity of the strait, call into question Washington’s ability to credibly serve as guarantor of Taiwan’s security in the future.”

"As protecting Taiwan goes from being a guaranteed freebie to a potential catastrophe, Taipei will no longer be able to rely upon America. Taiwan has been a good friend for many years, but few presidents would decide to protect Taipei if doing so put Los Angeles and maybe New York at risk. Calls for increased military cooperation between Washington and Taipei by Taiwan’s American friends can’t change this underlying strategic reality. Arms sales offer the best path out of the Taiwan thicket.

"In 2001 the Bush administration offered Taiwan a $12 billion weapons package. Foolishly, the KMT-dominated legislature blocked the purchases as part of internecine political warfare against the Chen government. Then the Bush administration showed its pique with President Chen by apparently freezing arms sales to Taipei.

"The result was to accelerate the already disturbing erosion of Taiwan’s defensive capabilities against the PRC, which has invested in precisely the capabilities—amphibious, missile, and naval—that would be particularly useful in threatening Taiwan.

"Taiwanese weakness could be dangerous. China’s Deng Xiaoping talked about taking a century to resolve the Taiwan issue, but today’s Chinese leadership has demonstrated its desire for a much quicker resolution. Should the PRC grow impatient—whether as a result of a perception of growing military prowess, grab for advantage as part of a struggle for power within Zhongnanhai, or feeling that the communist leadership had waited long enough—the regime might be tempted to strike.

" If Beijing believed that victory would be swift and bloodless, the temptation to act could prove overwhelming.

"America should not be expected to risk major war with nuclear powers to protect other states, however friendly or democratic.

"However, Washington can help other states defend themselves. Selling weapons to Taiwan will empower the island state without inserting the United States into any cross-strait crossfire.

Pic - "Coming War With China"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unintended Consequences

In the domain of the diplopolititary there is a concept described as unintended consequences. Generally applied to Great Satan as in this particularly interesting bit proffered up @ Weeny Hut Jr's

"...any serious effort to deal with our terrorism problem has to be multi-faceted, and has to include explicit consideration of the things we do that may encourage violent, anti-American movements.

"Only a complete head-in-the-sand approach to the issue would deny the connection between various aspects of U.S. foreign and military policy (military interventions, targeted assassinations, unconditional support for Israel, cozy relations with Arab dictatorships, etc.) and the fact that groups like al Qaeda keep finding people like al-Balawi to recruit to their cause.

"By itself, that mere fact does not mean that U.S. foreign policy is wrong. One could make a case that our policy is mostly right, and that these problems are just the price we have to pay for them. But instead of having a serious debate on this question, we mostly ignore the possibility that our own actions might be making the problem worse, or we accuse anyone who does raise it of trying to "blame America first."

While Dr Walt is somewhat masterful in distortion - the old trick quiz about Great Satan being way more 'evenhanded' in her dealings with the eternal ME Peace Process comes to mind. Truth is, Great Satan should be radically tilted towards Her interests - over and above anyone else.

It may be best to consider all that has been unleashed in the last decade as unintended consequences for Great Satan's enemies.

Pic "OMG! Sorry 'bout that. Won't happen again!"