Thursday, July 31, 2014

Imperium!

 
 
 
 
As to whether imperialism is good or bad, it all depends on which type of imperialism one is talking about during which time in history, and what aspect of which empire. The truth is that both nationalism and imperialism are such broad categories that they can be good or bad depending upon the cultures and circumstances involved. After all, nationalism and imperialism have been present in one form or another throughout much of the world and throughout much of history.  
Neither nationalism nor imperialism is altogether good or altogether evil. For nationalism and imperialism are not primarily ideologies but rather organizing principles of group pride and of vast territorial administration. Ideologies, on the other hand, entail a degree of abstraction and are in the main utopian.  
Not only can nationalism and imperialism play out differently depending upon the circumstances, so obviously can broad phenomena such as religion and democracy  
But we know all that!, you might say. Yet apparently we don't. For spreading democracy no matter what the local circumstances has been a philosophical feature of a significant branch of the American foreign policy establishment for decades now. Of course, one can argue that since in most circumstances, imperialism is bad and democracy is good, we will oppose the former and support the latter. But while that might work as a broad consensus-driven goal, the messy specifics require more nuance in application.

For example, there are clearly imperial-like aspects to the worldwide deployment of American warships and fighter jets, and yet we value those assets as a global force for good just the same. And while democracy might be a good in and of itself, no responsible policymaker in Washington should ever want to topple the monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Morocco. Again, beware of simple categories.

The point is to get away from abstractions and deal in the concrete world at the ground level. Journalists and historians are generally better at this than political scientists and others who adhere to certain conceptual viewpoints of human society. Journalists and historians are driven by the very messiness of reality, along with the many contradictions, and are therefore less prone to so-called laws of how interstate relations play out. They also recognize the signal importance of personalities in world history so that Winston Churchill, though an imperialist, was arguably the greatest man of the 20th century and Deng Xiaoping, while a dictator, was also one of the great men of that century.


Concepts such as nationalism and imperialism will continue to be highly relevant in upcoming debates about U.S. foreign policy because, in arguing about them, we define what the values of American foreign policy should be.


An imperialist view might seek to rejuvenate American society through a reduction of the tax burden and immigration reform. At the same time, in this view, America would adopt a more robust posture around the globe in order to continue to ensure safe and secure sea lines of communication for the sake of a liberal world order, and to support American allies against the imperialism of non-democratic states.

The two views are not mutually exclusive and could be combined in several ingenious formulations. Because America has been both a nation and an empire of sorts, the debate will go on -- even as journalists and historians hopefully provide a reality check.

Pic - "The Price Of American Indifference"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strip Grind

 
 

As Peace Mongers pose, reflect and earnestly dither Cease Fire chiz about conflict in the Strip, maybe - instead - the Strip Blitz should be allowed to play out.

All the way out.

Little Satan must be permitted to crush Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

This is the lesson of previous rounds of fighting between the Israeli Defense Forces and terrorist strongholds. In Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008 and again in 2012, Israel responded to rocket attacks on its cities with fierce counteroffensives. Fighting against a deeply dug-in enemy that both blended in with the local population and used it as a shield, Israel’s best efforts to avoid civilian casualties invariably proved limited. Incensed world opinion generated immense pressure on governments to convene the U.N. Security Council and empower human rights organizations to censure Israel and stop the carnage. These measures succeeded where the terrorists’ rockets failed. Israel was compelled to back down.

And the terrorists, though badly mauled, won. Admittedly, their bar for claiming victory was exceptionally low. While Israel must achieve a clear battlefield success to win, the terrorists merely had to survive. But they did more than survive. Under the protection of cease-fires and, in some cases, international peacekeepers, they vastly expanded their arsenals to include more lethal and longer-range missiles. While reestablishing their rule in the streets, they burrowed beneath them to create a warren of bombproof bunkers and assault tunnels. Such measures enabled Hamas, as well as Hezbollah, to mount devastating attacks at the time of their choosing, confident that the international community would once again prevent Israel from exacting too heavy a price.

So the cycle continued. Allowed to fight for several weeks, at most, Israel was eventually condemned and hamstrung by cease-fires. The terrorists, by contrast, could emerge from their hideouts and begin to replenish and enhance their stockpiles. That is precisely the pattern established in the second Lebanon War and repeated in Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Hezbollah and Hamas sustained losses but, rescued and immunized by international diplomacy, they remained in power and became more powerful still. Israel, on the other hand, was forced to defend its right to defend itself. Jihadist organizations no different from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda gained regional legitimacy, while Israel lost it in the world.


The cycle can end, now and decisively. As Operation Protective Edge enters its third week , responsible world leaders can give Israel the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus. They can let the Israeli army ferret Hamas out of its holes and make it pay a prohibitive cost for its attacks. They can create an outcome in which the organization, even if it remains in Gaza, is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all thousands of innocent lives will be saved.

Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.

And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest.

To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.
Pic - "Managing conflicts or “Mowing the Grass” is preferable to hoping for a silver bullet that doesn’t exist."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

HMS Illustrious

God Save The Queen!

HMS Illustrious, the second most famous commissioned warship in the Royal Navy, returned to Portsmouth naval base for the last time July 21, marking the end of a 32-year career for the helicopter carrier.

Having handed over duties as the Navy’s helicopter carrier to Ocean, the 22,000-ton Illustrious, affectionately known as Lusty, is scheduled to be officially decommissioned by the end of the year.

The carrier has clocked almost 890,000 miles and seen service in the Falkland Islands, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Iraq and elsewhere. Her final public role was to play a part in the naming ceremony of the Royal Navy’s new 65,000-ton carrier Queen Elizabeth on July 4.

Unlike the other two Invincible-class carriers, which ended their days in the breaker’s yard, Lusty may have a more dignified future. The Ministry of Defence has invited tenders to turn the warship into a museum.

The ship was launched in 1978, the second of the three light carriers built to deploy BAE Systems Sea Harrier jets and helicopters.

Britain axed its fleet of Harriers in the 2010 strategic defence and security review, controversially leaving the Royal Navy without a fast jet capability — a gap that will only be filled in 2020 when the carrier Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to become operational, deploying F-35 Lightening II jets.
Illustrious underwent a refit to take over the task as the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier when Ocean underwent a £65 million (US $million) refit.

In Royal Navy fleet fame, Illustrious is second only to HMS Victory, the 104-gun flagship of Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar, which despite being launched in 1765 is still in commission as the First Sea Lord’s flagship

Pic - “We have set a standard for others to follow as the Illustrious now takes on the responsibility as the nation’s on-call helicopter and commando carrier.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sino Air Power


Zhōngguó Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn Kōngjūn!
Given China’s moves to police its near seas in recent years, it is important to understand the role that air power might play in China’s military playbook. Since it seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines, China has grown increasingly provocative in the South and East China Seas. However, it has generally done so with the use of non-naval maritime assets, including coast guard ships. The PLAAF has played a more limited role in China’s provocative episodes. With the exception of too-close-for-comfort flybys over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the PLAAF has generally sat on the sidelines.

10 things Americans need to know about the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

Money Shot #4:

The PLAAF is a secondary element within the PLA, comprising just 17 percent of China’s total military. The PLA, staying true to its origins as the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive arm, remains largely a ground force. As such, the PLA continues to have a “ground force-dominated culture,” says Kenneth W. Allen, a retired USAF officer and expert on the PLAAF. Another important aspect of why air power doesn’t feature at the top of the PLA’s agenda is due to the bureaucratic path dependencies of Chinese military leadership.

The PLA falls under the purview of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party itself. As such, not only is the PLA the largest military force in the world by the number of active duty personnel, but it is the largest militant arm of a political army. Furthermore, given the PLA’s overwhelming focus on ground forces, the CMC’s leadership tends to be primarily comprised of former army officers.

To be sure, China is actively grooming its air force into a more formidable fighting force. Projects such as the Chengdu J-20 highlight the strategic and budgetary emphasis given to air power in China.

Despite these trends, air power continues to sit on the sidelines of Chinese military strategy with important implications for how China’s regional competitors should think about potentially countering Beijing’s growing military might. Analysts have been right, for the moment, to focus on China’s growing anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities, which have little to do with air power per se. In the South China Sea, Beijing has strategically chosen to limit its use to naval assets and instead opt for careful “salami slicing.” On a budgetary level, the cost-benefit ratio for China is significantly better with its A2/AD technologies than any aerial technologies (with the exception of remotely piloted aircraft).

One can imagine a major role for the PLAAF should matters escalate around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. In any amphibious assault on the islands involving Chinese ground and naval forces, air supremacy would prove crucial. Japan keeps its fighters stationed at Okinawa at the ready for precisely such a scenario. To answer the titular question here, China does care about air power and is likely to care more as it continues to increase its military spending. External factors, such as the material capabilities of Japan and the United States, seem to be an important driver of the PLA’s shift from a ground force-centric military to a more diverse fighting force. As long as there are signs that Great Satan and Japan will remain proactive about air power (including Great Satan's controversial Air-Sea Battle plans), China should care about air power.

Pic - "Amazing combat capability of China’s sixth-generation J-28 fighter jet: An accurate hunter of nuclear missile from solar system!!”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shijaiyah!

As Little Satan grinds up HAMAS in a grinding attrition close quarters battle in the Strip's Shijaiyah neighborhood - the olde chiz about Little Satan again scoring a tactical vicory orver a strategic victory certainly comes to mind.

Only it may be the other way around.  

Seems all those Invasion Tunnels from the Strip into Little Satan proper has been a game changer.

What if Little Satan plans on driving HAMAS out of Dodge and out of biz, then sticking around to plant a tolerant egalitarian style democracy?

Regime Changing they calls it!

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, one of the coalition government’s hard-liners and a former company commander of special forces, said, “There is a world of weapons tunnels penetrating into Israel, creating the possibility of a mega-attack, do not rule out the goal of toppling the Hamas regime”
Pic - "Under Construction"



Monday, July 21, 2014

Valkyrie Tag

 
Valkyrie is an ancient viking superstition. When brave Norsemen fell in battle (often raiding parties) these hotties with their mammoth shields would appear on winged horses and tote off the fallen to heathen heaven - Valhalla.

Despite oathbreaking, defacing images of gods and wickedness in general - all would be forgiven by success in combat - especially if the offender died a heroic saga inspiring death.

Claus Schenk was a real European blue blood aristocrat. Awarded nobility back in the Holy Roman Empire days ( funny though - HRE was a triple no go - it was neither Holy, Roman or an Empire) the family became von Staffenberg.

In WWII time Deutschland, Valkyrie was code for the Nazi party to maintain control of the Reich in the event of a catastrophic disaster that killed or incapacitated the leadership.
By summertime 1944, 3rd Reich was facing the horrible modern era manifestation of von Gneisenau and von Scharnhorst's ultimate nightmare - the multi front war.

Allies had captured Rome and were grinding their way up the bloody Eyetye boot of Italy, Allies were fixing to bust out of the Normandy bocage and unleash Great Satan's panzer General Patton. And the largest defeat in modern history - the destruction of Armee Gruppe Centre saw the annihilation of 20 irreplacable German divisions in a massive Soviet blitz that drove Germany out of Russia and vaulted the Red Army right outside Warsaw.

Despite Allied claims that only unconditional surrender would satiate the Allied and Russian thirst for righteous payback, a clique of Wehrmacht officers plotted a coup d'tat' against 3rd Reich in an effort to spare Germany ultimate defeat and dismemberment using the contingency plan of 'Valkyrie'.

Germany's armed forces had to swear a 'holy oath' - not to the state or nation or a constitution - but to der fuhrer personally. In order for the plot to work - der fuhrer had to be killed. Valkyrie also planned trying the wartime leaders of 3rd Reich for war and humanitarian crimes, working out reparations with the allies and bringing Germany back into the family of nations.

Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was a panzer officer that had fought in Poland, France, Russia and with the famous 'Afrika Korps'.

Suffering debilitating wounds from combat - losing an eye, a hand and three fingers, Claus and his co conspirators - facing the truth of the regime they so valiantly served - tried in their own way to rectify their sins - singular and collective.

Valkyrie energized the evil leaders of 3rd Reich, anyone connected with the cats of the coup were ruthlessly hunted down, tormented and slain. The ground ran red with German blood. The regime was determined to fight to the last and like Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" heralded the final lo down ho down like Wagner's viking final, apocalyptic battle - "Gotterdammerung"

In the next 9 months Deutsche military fought until there was literally no country left to defend. The Third Reich - she died kicking and screaming, finally crashing down in an orgy of pulverized, burning cities and a river of blood — civilian and military, German and non-German. Military history knows no year quite like 1944 -45 and if lucky, will never see another.

Pic - "2 field marshals, 19 generals, 26 colonels, two ambassadors, seven diplomats, one minister, three secretaries of state, as well as the head of the Reich Police - all perished in the failed Coup d"etat of 20 July 1944".


Friday, July 18, 2014

China's Biggest Threat

The world's most biggest Collectivist Mommieland faces a real threat.

Great Satan hooking up with Nippon, SoKo, Philippines, Viet Nam and Taiwan?

Whale, maybe - one day LOL.

Yet for now - right now - Red China military is being threatened by the big C...


Nowhere else has corruption become as much a national security priority as in China. General Liu Yuan, political commissar of the PLA’s General Logistics Department, which services the 2.3-million-strong PLA, delivered a fiery speech before his department in 2012 criticizing the unchecked mentality of "malignant individualism” that beset the PLA. Officers openly sold their services at “clearly marked prices,” followed orders only suiting their professional interests, purchased promotions, and blackmailed CCP leaders.

While actual numbers are unattainable, corruption has become so profuse that some experts consider it a conservative estimate to assume that even 10 percent of procurement contracts and administrative spending—accounting for 0.65% of China’s $8.27 trillion GDP—are used as kickbacks or bribes, if not simply stolen!

On the one hand, greater civilian participation and transparency in the military would send a positive signal to the U.S. and Japan about their intentions to democratize, in addition to opening channels for mutual understanding, information sharing, and dialogue.

On the other hand, further indictments without reforming an institution permissive of corruption will undoubtedly cause China’s military to atrophy over time, if not implode from domestic protest.

That’s a scenario that could prove dangerous not only for Beijing, but also the rest of the globe.

Pic - "Probable future course of military-technological development of the People’s Liberation Army  and probable development of Chinese security strategy and military strategy and operational concepts supporting such development over the next 20 years. "

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Weapons Persia Should Fear From Little Satan


One thing the highest levels of Persia's Preacher Command may keep in mind RE: open conflict with Little Satan is Little Satan's combatty prowess...

Should hostilities erupt, Iran will have to confront one of the most capable militaries in the world. Here are five Israeli weapons that should worry Iran:

F-35 Stealth Aircraft
Little Satan  has bought 19 F-35s, which are scheduled to begin arriving in 2017. There are actually two what-ifs regarding the expensive and controversial U.S. stealth strike aircraft. The first is whether the F-35 will prove to be an immensely powerful weapon, or an overpriced, unreliable aircraft that will devour huge chunks of the American and Israeli budgets.

Even if the engines don't catch on fire or the aircraft's stealth design can avoid radar detection, the F-35 is not an awesome bomb carrier: to preserve stealth, it has to forego external weapons and carry just two 2,000-pound JDAM guided bombs in its internal bomb bay.

Yet the F-35's capabilities are actually the smaller what-if. The bigger question isn't what the F-35 can do, but rather what Iran thinks it can do. If Great and Little Satan can't be sure how effective the F-35 is, then neither can Iran. In which case, they will have to assume that Israel possesses a cutting-edge stealth aircraft that can penetrate Iranian air defenses undetected and strike nuclear facilities with precision-guided weapons.

Or, weapons even more powerful. There are reports that Israeli F-35s will be configured to carry nuclear weapons.

F-15I Ra'am Strike Aircraft
Unlike the F-35, the F-15I-- the Israeli version of the F-15E Strike Eagle -- is a known and highly capable aircraft. Heavily armed with Python 5 air-to-air and Popeye air-to-ground missiles, as well as electronic countermeasures, Little Satan's 25 F-15Is should be more than a match for Iran's handful of MiG-29s and Mirages, and its elderly fleet of F-14 and F-4s.

Israel has gained experience in long-range strike operations, including raids in Sudan against arms factories and truck convoys carrying weapons for Hezbollah and Hamas. The distance between Tel Aviv and Khartoum is almost 1,200 miles, even further than the thousand-mile distance between Tel Aviv and Tehran.

Of course, bombing Sudan is much easier than bombing Iran, which has a fairly sophisticated air defense system. But Little Satan 's Ra'ams are a powerful weapon that would be in the forefront of any attack on Iran.

Jericho III Missiles
While Iranian missiles have received all the attention, it is worth remembering that Little Satan  also has ballistic missiles of its own. The three-stage Jericho III reportedly can lob a 2.2-ton warhead intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a 1,000-kg (2,204-lb.) warhead more than 3,000 miles. A solid-fueled missile, which should enable it to be launched quickly if needed, the Jericho III almost certainly can carry one of the nuclear warheads that Israel has never admitted to possessing.

Such missiles, or at least those carrying conventional warheads, probably aren't accurate enough to destroy a pinpoint target like a nuclear weapons research facility. Little Satan  would also be reluctant to launch a missile barrage for fear of international backlash, unless the situation were really critical, such as Iran firing WMDs. Still, in addition to a potent threat from Little Satan  aircraft, Tehran also has to reckon with powerful Israeli missiles.

Dolphin-class U Boats

Little Satan recently received her fifth German-built Dolphin-class diesel submarine. The fourth and fifth subs, plus a sixth under construction, have advanced air-independent propulsion that uses fuel cells to enable them to stay submerged for far longer than earlier diesel subs.

In addition to their formidable capabilities as anti-surface and anti-submarine vessels, these Israeli subs are widely considered to be equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles. They may not be as sophisticated as U.S. or British nuclear subs with Trident missiles. But on the other hand, it's not like Iran has much in the way of anti-submarine warfare capability, let alone the capacity to deploy it in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Red Sea, from where Little Satan  subs could operate close to Israeli waters while still remaining within firing range of Iran. Much like U.S. missile subs, the Dolphins give Israel a second-strike capability to retaliate with nuclear weapons, even if a surprise attack on the tiny nation were to destroy Israel's other nuclear arms.

Arrow Missile Interceptors
 Little Satan recently tested its U.S-funded Arrow III missile, designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles. Given the problems the U.S. has had with successfully intercepting missile, it's not clear how well the Arrow system would intercept Iranian ballistic missiles (though the Iron Dome hasn't done badly against short-range Hamas rockets in the recent fighting). Considering we could be talking about Iranian WMDs, a leaky missile defense shield isn't exactly reassuring.

But this is only part of the equation. Just as in the Cold War, uncertainty is everything in nuclear deterrence. While Iran could undoubtedly overwhelm Little Satan's missile defenses by firing enough rockets, the Arrow system means Tehran can't be sure how many missiles would get through, or which targets would or would not be hit. The effect may be more psychological than physical (no less for providing psychological reassurance to the Little Satan  public), but it is still significant.

Pic - "Iran is a far less modern military power in comparative terms than it was during the time of the shah or during the Iran-Iraq War. Nevertheless, it is slowly improving its conventional forces, and it is now the only regional military power that poses a serious conventional military threat to Persian Gulf stability"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Long Arm Of ISIS

ISIS!!

Not so far back, 44 LOL'd the would be caliphaters.

Now, the Attorney General warned that the group is now partnering with Yemeni bomb makers to create weapons he called “more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.”

See,

ISIS fighters in Syria, according to new intelligence reports, are working with the terrorists who created the underwear bomb that a Nigerian national failed to detonate over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. These reports have prompted the Transportation Security Administration to increase security at foreign airports. Passengers are now required to power up mobile phones and other electronic devices before people can board, a precaution that hints at the possibility of a cell phone or even a hair dryer could be used as an explosive device.

For weeks, ISIS has stood on the outskirts of Baghdad, seemingly content to declare the formation of a caliphate and control the territory stretching from eastern Syria into western Iraq. There are new indications, however, that the group’s ambitions reach far outside Iraq.

In a recent video, ISIS sets its sights on Jordan. In the video, the group calls the country’s moderate pro-Western King Abdullah a “tyrant” and threatens to “slaughter” him.

If ISIS were to move on Jordan, it could prompt Israel to get involved in the fight. Jordan and Israel have a peace treaty and in the past have pledged cooperation in the fight against Islamic extremism.
“There is a very good cooperation between us regarding ISIS’s growing presence in Iraq and Syria, but also on issues relating to other radical forces in the Middle East which have their sights set on Israel and Jordan,” a Jordanian diplomatic source told Yedioth Ahronoth, a newspaper in Tel Aviv.
 
There are also new reports that ISIS has infiltrated the Iraqi military. An article in The New York Times says an internal DOD assessment found that American military advisers could only advise half of Iraq’s military; the other half have either been influenced by Sunni fighters loyal to ISIS or Shiites from Iran.

The assessment does not contain specific recommendations for what the Pentagon can do to turn back ISIS. However, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already said that Iraqi forces are incapable of retaking territory held by ISIS. “They would be challenged to go on the offense, mostly logistically challenged,” Dempsey said.

ISIS has also managed to get its hands on low-grade uranium. It captured Mosul University, which has roughly 90 pounds of uranium, according to Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim.

A statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the materials posed no proliferation risk. But concerns about the uranium promoted the State Department to assure the public that the material could not be used in a dirty bomb.

State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki said the materials were “used for scientific and medical purposes…an important contextual point on our level of concern.”

Pic - "As a consequence, there are no good options in Iraq or Syria."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Temporary Chaos?

Song Remains The Same?

Are Arabs forever doomed to alternate between dictatorship and religious extremism? Is there something about their culture and beliefs that makes them uniquely unable to build stable and prosperous civil societies?

It can’t be blamed on religion alone (the largest Muslim countries, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh, have no such problem) or geography (non-Arab African and Middle Eastern countries have fared much better).

It’s an old notion – that there is something about the 400 million people living in the 21 countries between Mauritania and Oman that makes them uniquely ungovernable, except harshly: In this view, if they’re not under the thumb of autocrats, they will choose religious extremism. That belief was what kept the region’s postcolonial kingdoms and dictatorships in power for decades – and caused countries keep recognizing and providing aid to them.

It is something about Arabs. Or, perhaps, something about the way Arab countries and populations have been treated. But is it permanent?

Temptations of Power sees a paradox created by six decades of dictatorship: Because the ideas of liberalism, equality and secularism were so badly poisoned by Arab autocrats, who used the concepts to attract aid and as foils for their self-empowerment, the post-autocratic alternative is bound to be an “illiberal democracy.” Religious faith became the main form of popular dissent (it wasn't always that way) so, in an alarming downward spiral, the Islamist parties become more popular among voters the more they promise to restrict rights and limit equality.

 In this view, Arabs at the moment can choose either freedom or democracy, but not both.

“Just as economic cleavages became entrenched in Western democracies ideological cleavages around the role of religion in public life are solidifying themselves across the Middle East.”

Despite what we may think, Islamist movements become more moderate, liberal and pragmatic when they are repressed and limited in their ability to act: Unrestricted power virtually forces them to become extreme (as was the case with Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi). As a result, Western countries should intervene with sanctions and, more importantly, incentives and rewards (such as promises of free-trade deals for rights-abiding states) to constrain them.

The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East, concludes that the Arab revolutions are now where the French Revolution was in 1852, and where Eastern European democracy was after the Prague Spring was crushed in 1968: trapped between thesis and antithesis, waiting for the next generation to step in.

That (huge) young Arab generation, is less prone to fall for the logic of illiberal democracy versus undemocratic faux-liberalism: It is far more literate, urban and connected and, crucially, measurably less religiously observant or interested in sharia law. Or most of it is: There is a “polarization” of Arab millennials “with most of them tending to be less observant but a significant number supporting fundamentalism. Some of the vehemence of the religious right may be in part a reaction against this decline in the proportion of observant Muslims in this generation.” Fundamentalism tends to be a response to a wider secularization of society.

From these studies comes an image of a region that, for the moment, is trapped between extremes. But it is only a moment – 2011, whatever its price in blood and instability, at least allowed change to begin, and created an opening for something other than dictatorship or religious extremism.

The Arab countries are not descending into chaos, but rather passing through it.

Pic - " The Future Of Freedom"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Prokhorovka!

"It. Must. Not. Fail"

Elefants, Tigers and Panthers, oh my!

By spring time 1943 das Dritten Reiches was in a hexen kessel of scary dimensions. In the last year Great Satan and Great Britain had driven the vaunted Afrika Korps into extinction, sortee'd several "Thousand Bomber Raids" that carpetly xformed ancient Deutsch cities into flaming craters, Battle for the Atlantic was looking kinda iffy and worst of all - the encirclement, destruction and ultimate surrender of wehrmacht's nearly 1 million (550K to 900K - depending on the source) combat truppen of vPaulus' 6th army at Stalingrad.

Despite the ferociously fearful mauling wehrmacht took on the Volga, Deutschland recovered and thanks to savage fighting hooked up with vManstein's famous back hand b slap, the ultimate Aryans retook Kharkov and inflicted amazingly horrific losses on the best Red Army could juggernaut.

As spring's thawing muddy rasputitsa sunk in - both sides frantically roused themselves out of exhaustion and prepped for the coming summer campaign.

The forced reinstatement of the forced retired "Klotzen, nicht kleckern" cat - the newly minted Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen tripped out on a ruthlessly relentless reinvigoration of the panzer franchise by blitzing factories, design firms, unit creation/rebuilding ubungsplatzes and shooting ranges in a new blitz of genius born of desperation.

Even Luftwaffe got all panzer happy - sexing up something something sturzkampfflugzeug Stuka
with dual 37mm rapid fire cannons and deploying Henschelicious Hs-129

STAVKA knew their bulging bulge in the lines around Kursk would prob be the spot the hated NSDAPers would schwerpunkt in the coming months and conscripted anyone they could get their hands on to erect a formidable deep defensive belt - 500 miles of barb wire, over a million anti ppl and anti panzer mines remixed in a web of of ditches, scarps, counter-scarps, hedgehogs, roadblocks, minefields, fixed artillery impact areas, bunkers and a myriad of panzer obstructions, traps and general purpose nastiness on a colossal scale. Plus Comrade Stalin had spy sources at the highest levels of enemy command.

Sev months of infighting at OKH/OKW bout doing another Kharkov backhand - allowing Red Army to attack first, roll with flow and launch a crushing counter attack - or doing the fourplay forehand pre emptive attack - conterminously coalesced with quality control/production probs with the Panther (her 1st production engines enjoyed bursting into flames at the most inopportune moments), stubborn refusal of the sturmgeschutz to die on the vine and manpower in general held up Operation Zitadelle for months.

Purveyors of pre emption won out and on 5 July Germany attacked. The southern front of Zitadelle featured a combat rock star line up of 3rd Reich's finest panzerteers - all rebuilt, rearmed and reconstituted to Generalinspekteur specs - Großdeutschland, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th Panzer divisions and the newly created II Waffen Ss Panzer Korps

Featuring the lavishly equipped and fully crunk Ss Panzer Grenadier divisions of Liebstandarte, Das Reich and Totenkopf - vManstein formed 'Panzerkeil" - an uparmored wedge with Tigers at the tip, Panthers and Mk IV's fanning out behind with a creamy centre of inf armed with automatic weapons, mortar mounted or SP gunned SdKfz looking thingies with the base built of heavily armed panzergrenadiers in tracked vehics.

In contrast Zitadelle's northern commander Model used Montgomery's El Alamein idea of using inf to poke holes for the panzers to exploit - with disastrous results for his 9th Army.

These panzerkeil wedges were designed to crack open tender, sensitive portions of the southern defensive perimeters, break free and fan out for a fun fast trek like France 1940.

And they did. Chopping through an immense junkyard of trashed Soviet material, General Hausser's Feldpolizei Po Po hauled off columns of dazed and defeated Russian POWs, the final breakthrough was at hand on the morning of 12 July when II Ss breached Psel river - the last obstacle to Kursk - and collided with the Russian armored reserves at a place called Prokhorovka.

For over 8 hours this enormous armored brawl raged unabated, slashing the orchards and churning the lush, green cornfields of a few square miles of upper Donetz river valley into a blackened inferno of exploding armor, wrecked burning vehicles and charred corpses - drenched intermittantly by downpours from violent thunderstorms.


The controversial climax of Zitadelle involving over 2K panzers - as the largest panzer battle in history - has acquired mythic stats - heroic Russian stories of Russians ramming Deutsch Tigers, the 3 premier Waffen Ss fighting shoulder to shoulder, death ride of the panzers and a glorious Soviet victory suffer from hard facts as Prokhorovka gets re examined.

"...Closer study of the losses of each type of tank reveals that the corps lost about 70 tanks on July 12. In contrast, Soviet tank losses, long assumed to be moderate, were actually catastrophic.

"...In 1984, a history of the Fifth Guards Tank Army written by Rotmistrov himself revealed that on July 13 the army lost 400 tanks to repairable damage. He gave no figure for tanks that were destroyed or not available for salvage.

"...Evidence suggests that there were hundreds of additional Soviet tanks lost. Several German accounts mention that Hausser had to use chalk to mark and count the huge jumble of 93 knocked-out Soviet tanks in the Leibstandarte sector alone. Soviet sources say the tank strength of the army on July 13 was 150 to 200, a loss of about 650 tanks.

Germany's Lost Victories indeed, nicht wahr?

Regardless of appearance - Deutschland lost the initiative and despite desperate counters like Zhitomer, Totenkopf's amazingly tenacious blunting blow outside Warzawa or Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen, never again held the initiative. Red Army did. And they never let it go until 3rd Reich died kicking and screaming.

And it happened today - at Prokhorovka.


Pic - "Backhand or the forehand?"courtesy of Uncle Theo

Saturday, July 12, 2014

WoW!!

The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pentagon's New China Strategery


Is Air/Sea getting semi up crunk?

Or is Great Satan concocting an especial strategic elixir of Selevtive Confrontation? 

One element of the emerging US strategy was evident in March when the US flew P-8A surveillance planes over the Second Thomas Shoal, an uninhabited atoll in the South China Sea. Chinese ships there were trying to prevent the Philippines from supplying marines who were trying to get essential supplies to a ship that in 1999 was deliberately run aground on a land-feature claimed by both countries. The US planes flew at low altitude to make sure they were visible to the Chinese.

More extensive use of surveillance aircraft in the region could be coupled with a greater willingness to publicise images or videos of Chinese maritime activity. Some US officials believe the Chinese might be given pause for thought if images of their vessels harassing Vietnamese or Filipino fishermen were to be broadcast.

The US military’s Hawaii-based Pacific command has also been asked to co-ordinate the development of a regional system of maritime information, which would allow governments in the western Pacific detailed information about the location of vessels in the region. Several governments say they have been caught unawares by the surprise appearance of Chinese ships.

The Pentagon has also been working on plans for calculated shows of force, such as the flight of B-52s over the East China Sea last year after China declared an exclusive air defence zone over the area. The potential options involve sending naval vessels close to disputed areas.

US officials say that there is little appetite within the administration for some of the more confrontational ideas that have been proposed as a means of deterring China. These include deploying the US coast guard to the South China Sea to counter the activities of Chinese civilian vessels and using US-led convoys to escort fisherman from the Philippines and other nations into areas where they have been expelled by the Chinese.

Pic - "Lonely Hegemon"


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Operation Protective Edge

deja redux?

It begins with a single Qassam rocket, one of the thousands of homemade projectiles fired in recent years by the Islamic radicals of Hamas from the Gaza Strip into southern Little Satan. The rockets have made life nightmarish for many in Little Satan but have largely missed their targets. But this one gets "lucky": It smashes into an elementary school, wounding 40 children and killing 15.

Little Satan's government, which had heretofore responded to the Qassams with airstrikes and small ground raids, cannot resist the nationwide demand for action. Within hours, tens of thousands of Israeli troops and hundreds of tanks are rushing into Gaza, battling house-to-house in teeming refugee camps. Just as swiftly, Palestinian officials accuse Little Satan of perpetrating a massacre and invite the foreign press to photograph the corpse-strewn rubble. The images flash around the Middle East on al-Jazeera TV and trigger violent demonstrations in Arab capitals.
Risking War is getting very real!

Everything depends upon what happens now. Maybe the signal sent by the mobilisation of reservists will encourage some second thoughts on the part of Hamas military commanders, encouraging them to constrain rocket fire into Israel.

Maybe the behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts of the Egyptians and others may bear late fruit.
 
Even a mobilisation of reservists does not mean a ground war is inevitable. During the last Gaza flare-up in 2012 - Operation Pillar of Defence - Israel massed its forces on the border with the Gaza Strip but after eight days of Israeli air attacks and Palestinian rocket-fire, a truce was agreed without a major Israeli incursion.

It is hard to see what benefits there might be for the Palestinian side in pushing this crisis over a precipice.

Beyond a much-trumpeted opportunity to resist the Israeli military, the Palestinians will almost inevitably come off worse and Palestinian civilians in particular will suffer.

There are significant risks for the Israelis too.

The military goals of any Israeli operation are inevitably vague. Bringing quiet to Israel's south - "re-establishing deterrence", as the Israelis put it - means essentially causing damage to Hamas' military infrastructure.

How much damage depends crucially upon the duration of any operation.

And that is likely to be short - especially if things go badly wrong and Palestinian civilian casualties mount.

The Gaza Strip is a tiny cockpit - especially for mechanised forces.

There are significant areas of dense population which are likely to be largely bypassed by Israeli forces, who - if past evidence is anything to go by - would seek to cut key highways to disrupt Hamas logistics and operations while scouring locations believed to house Hamas military infrastructure.

What has been notable about some of the Israeli military pronouncements so far has been the detail that has been provided of specific targets and the names of the Hamas actors alleged to be involved.

It is almost as if the Israel Defense Forces were signalling: "Our intelligence is good. We know a lot more about you than you might think. Is it really worth pushing this towards a slugging match on the ground?"

During Operation Pillar of Defence, both sides avoided a confrontation on the ground. But Israel's earlier Operation Cast Lead in 2008/09 by contrast, was a bitter three-week struggle that saw considerable fighting on the ground.

Either way the risk of civilian casualties is significant. Palestinian groups might resort to firing longer-range missiles that are more than capable of reaching major Israeli population centres.

All the outside pressure will be on halting any escalation. But the clock is ticking.
Reserves - once ready - cannot remain ready indefinitely. The rocket trails will determine what happens now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Post Pax American Myth


Imperial Designs!!

All of this post-American boosterism now seems quaint. Yet here’s something else that’s strange: American pre-eminence isn’t being challenged by emerging powers. The challenge comes from an axis of weakness. Russia is a declining power. China is an insecure one. Groups like ISIS and other al Qaeda offshoots are technologically primitive and comparatively weak. Iran is a Third World country trying to master 70-year old technology.

Where does their confidence come from? It isn’t the objective correlation of forces. The GDP of New York City alone is nearly three times the size of Iran’s. Some demographers predict that Russia’s population will fall to as low as 52 million before the century is out. The anticorruption campaign being carried out by Xi Jinping in China smacks of similar efforts by Mikhail Gorbachev and suggests an equal amount of internal rot. A contingent of French Foreign Legionnaires easily turned back an ISIS-like challenge in Mali last year.

But upstart countries and movements don’t operate according to objective criteria—if they did, they wouldn’t operate at all. Rather, they act on an intuition about their adversaries, a sense of their psychology, a nose for their weaknesses. “When tens of your soldiers were killed in the streets of Mogadishu,” wrote Osama bin Laden in his 1996 fatwa declaring war on the U.S., “you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation and your dead with you.”

This was not an indictment of the excess of American power. It was mockery of its timidity.
Pic - "Unfortunately, absent from current discussions about U.S. foreign policy has been a hardheaded assessment of what it will actually take to rejuvenate and compete."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tease Or Threat?

After the new Caliph's sudden press conference, ISIS's self proclaimed Caliphate gets a hard look.

Is it a tease?  Nothing to worry about? Or, is it a real threat ala al Qaeda?

To be clear, the idea of a recrunk up Caliphate may be appealing in jihadist circles, but most of the Sunni leaders in Iraq and Syria are mobilizing behind ISIS because it is their best opportunity to achieve clear political goals, not because they have bought into the notion of an Islamic Caliphate that is governed on the basis of an extreme variant of Sunni Islam.

While al-Baghdadi’s vision may be that other layers of political consciousness, namely nationalistic, ethnic and tribal identities, can be superseded and expunged via violent jihad, this will not be compatible with the aspirations of most Sunnis or their leaders in either Iraq or Syria. Unless ISIS is able to revolutionize the social and political landscape in a ruthless Khmer Rouge fashion, its notion of a Caliphate will be problematic and rife with internal contradictions.

In other words, it will be virtually impossible to erase centuries of deeply embedded nationalist and ethnic identities and supplant them with ISIS’s virulent ideology.

Another part of ISIS that is likely to prove a mirage is the notion of expanding (the Caliphate) beyond Iraq and Syria, a goal the group recently announced, and is now reflected in its new name, the Islamic State (IS). ISIS’s territorial gains are impressive so far, but keep in mind that they have taken place within already weakened environments like Syria and Iraq. Unless ISIS can blunt what are likely to be efforts by Syria’s Assad and Iraq’s al-Maliki (or his successor) to roll-back its territorial gains, can consolidate its current positions, and can attract legions of more fighters, further territorial expansion could prove difficult and even lead to overextension.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the most likely targets for expansion, are countries that are not hobbled by civil war, despite some internal challenges, and have greater defensive capabilities against a possible onslaught by ISIS. Moreover, they also have military ties with the United States to draw on in case their territorial integrity is endangered.

Moreover, it is likely that ISIS will be challenged by the region’s major powers, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and possibly even Turkey. And there seems to be evidence that these efforts will be augmented, at least indirectly, by the United States and even Russia, which has its own Islamic problems.

It is unlikely that ISIS, whose proven strengths have been the ability to capture territory from weak states using a combination of terrorist and insurgency methods, could withstand a military onslaught that might come from a concerted effort by the major powers in the region.

Pic - "Team 44 was told, over and over, that the Iraqi army couldn’t stop a terror group that was ready to pounce. Alas, 44's posse was held prisoner to their paradox of an Iraq policy."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Drones Gone Wilder!


UAV!!

Stimson Center Something Something has unleased a provacative PDf about Drones Gone Wilder


Easy to believe Great Satan's Drones Gone Wild is like a silver bullet you know? Sweetly buzzing about on location for hours, patiently awaiting the moment to pounce and no chance of losing military cats in the process. Awesome!


Yet, inappropriate handwringers have often decried Drones Gone Wild with imposs to verify tales bout millions of children and innocents getting vaporized along with assorted creeps, jerks and killers.

Oh The Humanity!!

Consider how those drone strikes appear if you are an ordinary civilian in, say, northwestern Pakistan. Members of Al Qaeda are fair game, of course, but what are their neighbors and cousins and grocery suppliers to do? And if something goes awry, there's no one to complain to; the CIA doesn't have a customer service desk, and the government of Pakistan claims (falsely, in most cases) that it has no control over foreign missile strikes.
Yeah. What a dang shame.

Especially for enemy enablers, sympathizers and actualizers.

It's also called a triple win sitch

Pic - "Targeted Killings"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

WoW!!

The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)


Council Winners

First place with 5 2/3 votes!Three Funerals.. And The End of The Beginning
  • Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes The Right PlanetGut Check Iraq

  • Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes VA Right! - An Analysis of the US Senate Races – Who Will Win Control in November?

  • Third place with 1 1/3 votes The Noisy RoomDoubling Down On Operation Choke Point

  • Fourth place with 1 vote Bookworm RoomJohn Oliver manages to pack all the Left’s stupid Hobby Lobby arguments into one “comedy” shtick

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ask MarionObama Racks Up a String of Judicial Losses at Supreme Court

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote The Glittering Eye -What Do You Want Judges To Do?

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Rhymes With RightDoes Barack Obama Understand The Constitution?

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Simply JewsPresbyterian divestment from Israel: The Dying Swan dance or a marketing gimmick?

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteThe Independent SentinelWatch Out Fishermen, Obama Is Planning a Seafood Fraud Crisis

  • Non-Council Winners

    See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

    Friday, July 4, 2014

    Born On The 4th Of July!

    4 July 1776 fired off a crazy rocking rolling ride that hasn't stopped 'stirring things up' on a global scale.

    Advancing arrogance into an art form with a remarkable relentless risque commitment to liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, and laissez-faire values. 

    America differs qualitatively from all other nations, because of her unique origins, nat'l credo, historical evolution, and distinctive political and religious institutions.

    Great Satan is magically especial because she was a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy. 

    Loud, proud and rowdy - early America forecast future stuff with a provocative lingo that still fits today. "Don't Tread On Me!" "Liberty Or Death", "Live Free Or Die" 

    Great Satan's superiority of the American xperiment is reflected in the perception among Americans of America’s role in the world. That American foreign policy is based on moral principles is a consistent theme in the American hot diplopolititary gossip – a phenomenon recognized even by those who are skeptic of such an assessment. 

    This inclination to do right has been virtually unique among the nations of the world - and for this very reason - America has been totally misunderstood. How could a nation so rich, so successful actually, really be so unselfish and so caring?

    Unconvincing (and either historically igno - or deceitfully dishonest - either term will do) critics cry Great Satan must have darker motives! America must be seeking imperium - to dominate everyone else, suck up all the oil, to trade and rob blind for America's selfish purposes. 

    People from more grasping, less idealistic societies find it nigh impossible to accept that America honestly believes that giving everyone opportunity is the real roadmap for abundance and happiness everywhere - not merely in the magical Great Satan.

    Americans honestly believe that securing other people's freedom is actually like the best guarantee that America can keep her own.

    Great Satan does not want to dominate the world. Americans want to live in peace and hope other people will too.

    Great Satanwill go out into the world, redress errors, stop uncool unacceptable behaviour, to first challenge, then annihilate threats to our liberty.

    Creative destruction is Great Satan's middle name. It is her natural function, for she is the one truly revolutionary country in the world for more than 2 centuries. 

    She does it automatically, and that is precisely why creeps and tyrants hate her guts, and are driven to attack her. An enormous advantage, despots fear her, and oppressed peoples want what she offers: freedom. 

    Amazingly, some suspect states, illegit leaders and some people have not yet comprehended that America's primary intention is to preserve and keep our own land and liberty and all it's prosperity and that America will do anything and go anywhere to make it happen.

    Great Satan built the modern world.

    And She knows her way around.

    Happy BDay America!

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    NoKo Military Report 2014

    Juche'!

    Since way back in the Before Time the world has been magically blessed with 2 Koreas -
    the yankee part is little more than a starving, slave trading underground rocket factory with an unfree, unfun new clear weaponized nation state attached.

    And now Pentagon just unleashed the 2014 Tell All PDF'ing about NoKo's Military chiz

    Money Shots:

    Forced to make do without traditional weaponry, North Korea is expanding her "asymmetric" forces, including nuclear weapons, commandos, and hackers, the report concludes.

    The Pentagon is remarkably downbeat on the state of North Korean conventional forces — to the point of being dismissive and repeatedly referring to the North Korea People's Army as "antiquated" and "outdated."

    While the report notes newly identified NKPA tanks, artillery, and other panzerlicious vehiculars, it doesn't even bother going into detail. This suggests Great Satan doesn't think much of the new vehicles' potential to shift the balance of power on the ground.

    The North Korean air force gets slightly more attention. The report notes that the air arm hasn't received any new fighter planes in 15 years, when it purchased decades-old used MiG-21s from Kazakhstan.

    The Pentagon is equally unimpressed with Pyongyang's apparent new surface-to-air missiles, which are outwardly similar to Russian S-300s and Chinese HQ-9s.
     
    Swarms of mini subs, cyber attacks and especial commando ops along with her New Clear capable rocketeering aside - NoKo's new asymmetric military posture reflects economic realities.

    Impoverished Pyongyang has no choice but to get creative.

    Regime survival has overtaken the strategery bout Koreunification of the peninsula
     
    Pic - "조선인민군"