Sunday, November 30, 2014


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!

Friday, November 28, 2014

After 44

There isn’t any celebration over America’s retreat.

“Underlying this absence was a palpable sense of resignation on the part of many who once had high hopes for 44, and a regretful sense of vindication for those who never expected much in the first place. The collective feeling of the 300 participants seemed to be that he had his shot, messed it up, and will be lucky to get out of office without a major catastrophe occurring.”

Unfortunately, this has been the sentiment both in the U.S. foreign policy community and among international allies for some time. Back in June, Dick and Liz Cheney wrote about their experience overseas:

In a trip to the Middle East this spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to Israel, “Can you please explain what your president is doing?” “Why is he walking away?” “Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought gains you secured in Iraq?” “Why is he abandoning your friends?” “Why is he doing deals with your enemies?”
In one Arab capital, a senior official pulled out a map of Syria and Iraq. Drawing an arc with his finger from Raqqa province in northern Syria to Anbar province in western Iraq, he said, “They will control this territory. Al Qaeda is building safe havens and training camps here. Don’t the Americans care?”


The absence of U.S. leadership and the not-coincidental uptick in violence in the Middle East, increased Russian aggression in Europe and China’s muscle-flexing in Asia should dispel some long-held nostrums of the left and isolationist right. The U.S. makes things worse. Multilateral institutions can handle this stuff. We spend more on defense than practically anyone else, so we should cut back. The Palestinian-Israeli peace process is the most important issue in the region.

In fact, our allies think when America retreats very bad things happen. And they are right. None of the current travails, be they in Iran (boasting now it has brought America to its knees) Ukraine or Asia, result from a failure of U.S. strength. In all three cases, foes have read us as unserious, uncommitted and desperate to avoid conflict even at the risk of our own vital self-interest.
In fact, multilateral institutions are generally useless (as in the Syrian civil war) without U.S. leadership. They don’t take initiative on their own and, if left to their own devices, they act in ways contrary to the interests of Western democracies (most especially in their constant vilification of Israel).
In fact, our reduction in defense capacity has been a signal to other powers that they can out-compete us for influence in the world. We spend more because we have global interests and responsibilities. And when we neglect the hard power that under-girds our diplomacy, we limit our capacity to influence events and stave off bigger problems.
In fact, the trouble in the Middle East has virtually no relation to Israel, except insofar as Iran seeks nuclear weapons in order to destroy the Jewish state. But of course, the nation’s ambitions in the region and efforts to undermine Sunni states would go on with no Israel. Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other terrorist groups that are seeking to undermine the international order don’t care if Israel leaves the West Bank. They want to establish a caliphate and exterminate all non-believers, many of whom are Muslims.
As Cliff May writes that while Hamas and the Islamic State — are not a “single entity or even overtly allied,” they are both committed to “the imperative of Islamic conquest and domination. Both target noncombatants as a means toward that end, and both embrace an ideology based on a supremacist and bellicose interpretation of Islamic scripture. The so-called international community pretends not to perceive these parallels.”  And worse, it expects Israel to use kid gloves in dealing with the local manifestation of Islamist terror, Hamas.
Therefore, it should be clear that detente with Iran, the sponsor of the Shi’a terrorist side, is an impossibility. To the contrary, we should be seeking to undermine and ultimately change that regime. In the near term, as argued in a task force report co-chaired by former 44 adviser Dennis Ross , we must “compete” much more intensely with Iran:

 [A]s elements of its nuclear program have slowed under the interim deal, Tehran has continued its efforts to shift the balance of power on the ground in the Middle East. . . . . To arrest Iran’s regional power play and counter this dangerous perception of retrenchment, the United States could enforce the U.N. arms embargo against Iran, including by intercepting arms shipments to Iraq, Syria (via Iraq) and elsewhere. (The U.S. Navy was prepared to do just that in March 2014 against a ship smuggling Iranian-origin arms through the Red Sea, before the Israeli Navy apprehended the vessel.) Iran is subject to the legally-binding U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747 (2007) prohibiting it from supplying, selling or transferring arms or related materiel directly or indirectly. By assuaging U.S. allies’ fears of Iran’s growing regional influence, such actions could present a more united front against Tehran at the negotiating table, and make a final deal more acceptable to them. By showing that the United States is willing resort to measures beyond just negotiating, such actions could also magnify Iran’s concerns about the costs of diplomacy’s failure.
As Republicans are looking to formulate a post-44 foreign policy, they would do well to avoid 44’s fundamental errors. Like our Western allies, Republicans must go beyond 44. It will fall to them to re-establish American influence, lead and not follow multilateral bodies, restore defense spending and recommit to the eradication of Islamist terror in all its manifestations.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thankful for being an American. Everything else just seems to fall into place.

Pic - "Almighty God - We totally thank thee for raising up this laughing race of free men, avatars of Thy divine deigns that "Whosoever will" - may. That fun and free choice shall not perish from the earth - we are eternally grateful for l'nom d'guerr "Americans" 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Double Standards

In the magical Forever Quest for something something Mid East Peace - ever note the noticable diff betwixt nation/states?

Think about this: Little Satan closes the major crossing point into Gaza. Thousands of Gazans are stranded in other countries and cannot get home.  In Gaza a thousand more people, in need of medical treatment outside, cannot get out. They are “suffering from medical problems including kidney failure, cancer and blood-related diseases [and] seek urgent treatment or further diagnosis….” A health ministry official says “If the closure continues, their health conditions will deteriorate and we may start to witness some deaths.”

Another report states that “Officials of the Palestinian Authority say they are growing increasingly resentful….for continuing the closure of the…border crossing…which has now been closed for over a month.” This report says the number of stranded Palestinians is now 3,500, in addition to the thousand inside Gaza who need medical care outside.

Front page news? “Israel Turns Gaza Into Prison.” UN Security Council resolution? “Urgently demands that the Government of Little Satan open the passage and permit those needing medical attention to reach doctors and hospitals.” The U.S. State Department? Perhaps it says “We are deeply troubled by the humanitarian dimension and believe the passage should be opened immediately….” Marches and demonstrations in European capitals? “This is Genocide!” signs say.

Nope. Because the crossing in question is Rafah crossing, between Gaza and Egypt not Little Satan, and the country keeping it closed is Egypt. The Palestinians are “resentful,” in that story, about the government of Egypt. The health conditions of the people who are “suffering from medical problems” are suffering because of Egypt.

The Egyptian official explanation is that security requires the closing.  Recently the Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. In October, 33 Egyptian security personnel were killed by terrorists; last week, 5 more. Why these events require that people in need of medical treatment may not use Rafah, and how that closure enhances Egyptian security, may be debated.

See: were it Little Satan keeping the key passage closed and simply saying security requires it, this would be a very big deal. The condemnations would be constant.

Instead, near silence. Double standard? The usual uninterest in how Arabs treat other Arabs? The desire not to criticize General Sisi’s government in Cairo? So it seems. A Palestinian would be justified in concluding that the world hasn’t the slightest interest in the fate of Palestinians, other than as a battering ram to use against Little Satan.

Pic - "Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Next Defense Secretary

Adios sir!

News that 44's Pentagon Purge starts at the top is out and the semi avuncular Senator SGT Def Sec Hagel has been cut...

He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Dang it!

No mention of climate change chiz LOL.


Aside from being the first former enlisted combat soldier to run the Pentagon, it’s hard to find any achievement that will highlight Hagel in the history books. He didn’t come into office with a clear agenda. He was widely perceived as having been outplayed by a vast military bureaucracy that he never sought to tame. The brash, engaged, occasionally self-centered ex-lawmaker seemed to retreat inward and practically disappear.

Hagel was never a major player in debates among top national security officials, nor did he have the president’s ear as he prepared to handle the scaling down of wars in the Middle East and grapple with the mandatory budget cuts allowed by Congress and the president.

But the world had other ideas: the president extended the American combat commitment in Afghanistan through 2015, and the rise of ISIS made American plans for a drawdown in the region look like foolish, misguided hopefulness.

Pic - "Hope Michèle Flournoy gets the gig!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Drone War Pakistan

Nishan E Hader!

Everyone's heard the tragic tales - all the babies in Pakistan were in one room and some accursed drone went in and killed them all...

Pakistan has absorbed more drone strikes—some four hundred—than any other country, and has been a test bed for the Administration’s hypotheses about the future of American airpower. Between mid-2008 and mid-2013, C.I.A.-operated drones waged what amounted to an undeclared, remotely controlled air war over North and South Waziristan, a sparse borderland populated almost entirely by ethnic Pashtuns. As the campaign evolved, it developed a dual purpose: to weaken Al Qaeda, and to suppress Taliban fighters who sought to cross into Afghanistan to attack American troops after 44 ordered a “surge” of forces there, in December, 2009. (Drone strikes continue in Pakistan; seventeen have been reported so far this year.)

The drone war in Pakistan took place during an increasingly toxic, mutually resentful period in the long, unhappy chronicle of relations between the United States and Pakistan. To many Pakistanis, including Army officers and intelligence officials in the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or I.S.I., drone strikes have symbolized American arrogance. Within the C.I.A. and the White House, a belief took hold that Pakistani generals and intelligence chiefs were unreliable partners in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Administration officials concluded that since Pakistan wouldn’t help adequately to protect U.S. soldiers and American cities, they would send drones to do the job.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


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 6 1/3 votes!Joshuapundit-A Murder In Jerusalem…And What To Do About It
  • Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes The Noisy RoomThe Subjugation of Christianity and America to the Muslim Brotherhood and Allah
    Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes Bookworm RoomFound It On Facebook: Everything That’s Wrong With A Poster From The Left
    Third place *t* with 2/3 votes The RazorThe Left’s War Against Rural America
    Third place *t* with 2/3 vote The Right PlanetCommon Core and Qatar – Sharia Education for All!
    Fourth place *t* with 1/3 vote Simply JewsThe tortuous un-logic of Will Self, a Jewish un-Jew
    Fourth place *t* with 1/3 vote The Independent SentinelSaving Some Wild Chickens With The Largest Federal land Grabs In Modern Times
    Fourth place *t* with 1/3 vote Nice Deb The Gruber Tapes 1 – 10

    Non-Council Winners
    See you next week!

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Commonwealth Wargames

    Russian jets probing NATO airspace and supersized war drills are spilling Kremlin military secrets and scaring European nations into stiffening their armed forces.

    The alliance said by late October it intercepted more than 100 Russian planes this year, more than three times the number in 2013. A report by the European Leadership Network, a London security research group, termed the incidents "a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles" and "narrowly avoided mid-air collisions."

    Monitoring drills and Russian aircraft flying along NATO or Finnish and Swedish airspace is yielding intelligence on command and control, communications and tactics - plus - non-NATO members Finland and Sweden upgraded their alliance ties in September.

    After suffering initial setbacks in the 2008 Georgia War, Russia has continued investing in its armed forces. The Kremlin increased military spending by 50 percent since 2005 while NATO has cut spending by 20 percent

    NATO, at its Sept. 4-5 Wales summit, shored up its eastern defenses against Russia as the U.S., which makes up two-thirds of alliance military spending, urged European allies to pay more. The alliance agreed to rotate more troops through eastern Europe and to set up a 5,000-soldier rapid-reaction force.

    The Baltic states are bolstering their armed forces with Estonia vowing more troops on its border with Russia after a security officer was snatched and taken to Moscow.

    Alliance states including Denmark, Poland and Germany also plan to increase defense spending, though in the case of Germany only from 2016. Germany spends about 1.3 percent of gross domestic product on the military.

    Denmark is poised to spend more than $4 billion in its biggest air defense upgrade on either Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)'s F-35, Boeing Co. (BA)'s F-18 Super Hornet or Typhoon fighters, built by the Eurofighter consortium of BAE Systems Plc (BA/), Airbus Group NV (AIR) and Italy's Finmeccanica SpA. (FNC)

    Poland, which shares borders with both Russia and Ukraine, will choose suppliers for helicopters and an air-defense system within a year as it begins a $27 billion program to overhaul the military and replace Soviet-era military equipment. It's also bringing forward purchases of attack helicopters, drones and missiles for Lockheed F-16 jets.

    Pic - "The Airborne Assault Forces, which comprises about thirty-five thousand troops and whose commander answers directly to Putin, is Russia's elite crisis-reaction force. A Special Operations Command, also a reserve of Putin, was created in 2013 to manage special operators outside Russian borders."

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Unholy War


    The recent attacks in Jerusalem are something a bit diff from the olde Little Satan is ruining the world by building apartments and bookstores on West Banker turf meme...

    This is something new and dangerous: Allah — or at least some Islamist interpretation of Him — is driving events.

    After weeks of enflaming Islamist passions, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now trying to revert to his old “moderate” pose (he condemned the attack). It’ll be tough to pull off.

    Maniacs wielding butcher knives and a pistol slew four rabbis (three US citizens plus a UK one) and a policeman during morning prayers at their neighborhood synagogue in the undisputedly Jewish part of Jerusalem

    As he landed Tuesday in London, Secretary of State John Kerry said the murders were the “pure result of incitement.”

    For once, he hit it right on the head, admonishing Palestinian leaders to “begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language.”

    Too bad it takes this degree of viciousness for anyone outside Israel to finally awaken to the dangers of the inflammatory language that Abbas and his top lieutenants have favored lately.

    Fatah, Abbas’ party, has for decades been considered the secular, and therefore moderate, faction of Palestinian politics. But lately Fatah’s support among Palestinians, never too high to begin with, has sunk to new lows.

    Worse: ISIS meanwhile sucked the air out of the Palestinians’ old argument that their dispute with Israel tops all others in the Mideast.

    Desperate to find a cause to revive his political fortunes and turn the world’s attention back, Abbas seized on the Holy Mosques of Jeruslaem.

    Was there a crisis for him to confront?

    After Israel captured the entire city in 1967, it vowed to allow equal access to all religions at their respective holy places.

    As part of arrangements made back then, the area at the top of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Holy Sanctuary (Haram al Sharif), is administered by the Waqf, a religious authority appointed by the king of Jordan. Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray there.

    But now, several far-right Israeli politicians are pushing to change these arrangements, allowing  prayers.

    After all, they argue, the Mount where the Temple stood has been the holiest site for Jews since centuries before Islam was even born.

    All too aware of the explosive nature of any change to the status quo at the holy sites, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and much of the Israeli leadership told their right flank (and everyone else, including the Jordanians who manage the site): No dice. Won’t happen.

    Yet the legislative attempts handed Abbas the pretext for the comeback issue he so craved. He started calling on Palestinians to defend the Holy Mosques by “any means,” and assure that Jews don’t desecrate them with their mere presence.

    Some heeded the call by running cars over Jews waiting at Jerusalem train stations and bus stops. Others used guns and knives. At the end of October, a Palestinian man shot Yehuda Glick, an advocate for Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount, at point blank.

    The gunman, Moataz Hejazi, was shot dead at the scene.

    And Abbas, clad in ostentatious righteousness, sent a letter of “encouragement and support” to Hejazi’s family. After all, he was defending the Holy Mosques.

    Misunderstanding the new dangers of a full-blown religious war, Washington and others issued well-worn statements of condemnations to “both sides.”

    The New York Times led its news article on the Glick shooting by describing the victim as “an Israeli-American agitator” (and thus, hint hint, a legitimate target.)

    Abbas, meanwhile, took his “defense” of Muslim holy sites to the world stage. 3

    The Palestinian ambassador at the United Nations, Riad Mansour, convened the Security Council several times, calling on the world to end supposed Jewish “assaults” on Muslim holy sites (and, since a big lie works best, on Christian sites as well.)

    True: Some far-right  flame-throwers contributed, torch­ing a West Bank mosque in the middle of the night. They were immediately condemned by all of Israeli society, from Netanyahu on down.

    Abbas’ incitement, on the other hand, came at an especially sensitive time, with ISIS YouTube videos of triumphant throat-slashers exciting imaginations across the region.

    The Jerusalem murderers could’ve easily exacted much greater casualties Tuesday had they used (readily available) machine guns rather knives and a handgun. But they chose butcher knives because ISIS has made chic again the weapons of the earliest cruelties in wars among monotheistic religions.

    Abbas is no ISIS. He foolishly and irresponsibly tried to ride a religious tiger from which he’s trying to get off now.

    But the Islamist fervors that grow in the entire region make this blunder more dangerous than any of his past, infamous missed opportunities. If he can’t get the religious-hysteria genie back in its bottle, watch out.

    After all, this is Jerusalem, a city too holy for its own good.

    And let’s stop pretending that Palestinians are prepared for a state. It’s not going to happen.

    After the murder of five Jews Israelis (three of them American citizens and one of them a Druze) this week, “people fired celebratory gunshots in the air … and praise for God and the attackers poured from mosque loudspeakers soon after the synagogue shooting,” reported The New York Times.

     Fatah officials in Lebanon chimed in to let us know that: “Jerusalem needs blood in order to purify itself of Jews.” There were congratulatory message on Fatah’s official Facebook page and festive post-murder spree sweets for the kids.

     This celebration of death—whether dead babies or dead rabbis, it matters not—doesn’t only illustrate the colossal moral gulf that exists between these societies, it reminds us that any Palestinian government inclined to entertain a viable agreement with Jews wouldn’t last long, anyway.

    Pic - "Palestinian Pogrom"

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Persian New Clear Dealing

    Pursuing a Persian New Clear deal...

    Odds are good the White House will strike a deal with Iran. All indications are that 44 wants a deal—any deal.

    As 44 has explained in a number of interviews, he is aiming for a new geopolitical equilibrium balancing traditional American allies, like Little Satan and Whahabbi Arabia, against their longstanding adversary in Tehran.

    From his perspective, we need to build up the Iranians’ confidence. Sure, it would be better if they didn’t have the bomb, but maybe having it will make them less paranoid. If the regime is no longer scared of being toppled, from within or without, it can become normal and real moderates might then come to power in Tehran. In short, 44 sees himself sowing the seeds of a Persian perestroika, and if the path to Middle East peace has to start with a nuclear-weapons-capable state sponsor of terror, so be it.

    So much of this administration’s Iran policy has been conducted in secret it’s hard to know what they’re thinking. 44 writes private letters to Ali Khamenei because Iran’s supreme leader makes the final call. Perhaps the American president has come to imagine that he, too, is a supreme leader, who can circumvent the representatives of the American people.

    Fortunately, Congress understands the stakes involved. The new Republican majority in the Senate wants oversight of any agreement with Iran, and it may be joined by Democrats like Robert Menendez in a bipartisan push. To date, the administration keeps telling its critics to wait and see what a final deal looks like—in other words, it’s trying to keep them at bay until it’s too late to do anything about a nuclear agreement.

    Yet the White House has already established a clear pattern of caving to Iran, on the nuclear file and elsewhere. There’s no need to wait.

    Pic - "Iran’s continued duplicity underlines how little faith we can place in any commitments the regime makes. At this point, we can only hope that Tehran saves us from ourselves by overreaching, as it has so often before."

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Future Navy

    Great Satan plots her advanced Naval Chicanery Enablers (Material)!

    The importance of the Asia-Pacific is a major focus in the Navy’s upcoming strategy. Much of U.S. and global shipping passes through this region—especially oil. And many of America’s trading partners are also located here, and that U.S. treaties with many allies are predicated on a strong Asia-Pacific presence.

    U.S. naval presence will be increased in Asia through forward deployment60 percent of Naval forces will be rebalanced to the region by 2020 (from a roughly 50/50 split currently). Much of the fleet will be “homeported” in the Pacific, to areas such as Guam and Singapore, where many ships are currently ported on a rotating basis.

    With China’s expanding Navy and its technological advancements, some have worried that the U.S. might not be doing enough to keep up. In addition, there are concerns that sequestration could further limit the Navy’s presence. While sequestration could likely mean finances will need to be reallocated, currently the Navy is still on plan for shipbuilding through 2025.

    Under the current budget, the objective is to have 308 ships by 2020 and 317 ships by 2025. However, if the Navy is forced to reallocate funds. Navy’s shipbuilding account would be most affected. It is likely that one or two shipbuilders—out of the U.S. Navy’s five remaining—would be shut down. This would also affect mid-grade venders that manufacture valves and circuits necessary for ships and especially important for nuclear ships.

    Advances in weapon technology must also be assessed in the Navy’s strategic outlook. Greenert spoke about directed energy and the Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which will be tested again in just a few days. This could be a major advancement in weapons technology and Navy combat strategy if they are able to increase the amount of energy that LaWS can power.
    Money shot:

    1)      Assess areas in which Navy has opposed access.
    2)      Determine whether the necessary action is “kinetic” or “non-kinetic.”
    3)      Consider options for the Navy to achieve access (undersea,  sea-surface,  air, or perhaps in combination).

    Pic - "If China starts off as the stronger antagonist, then, why wouldn’t she take the swiftest and surest route to success?"

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    A Third Offset Strategy

    Oh, Offset 1 and 2 - we barely knew ye!

    Def Sec recently LOL'd that Collectivist China and Common Wealth Russia are hot for gear and plots “designed to counter traditional U.S. military advantages—in particular, our ability to project power to any region across the globe by surging aircraft, ships, troops, and supplies.”

    Oh No!

    As a matter of urgency, the U.S. military needs to “offset” the investments that adversaries are making in anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities—particularly their expanding missile inventories—by leveraging U.S. advantages in unmanned systems and automation, extended-range and low-observable air operations, undersea warfare, and complex system engineering and integration.

     Doing so would allow the United States to maintain its ability to project power, albeit in novel forms, despite the possession of A2/AD capabilities by hostile forces.

    First, and importantly, is the need for a strategy that provides U.S. leaders with options that can be tailored to address a wide range of anticipated threats.

    Second, the global air warfare capability that emerged from the New Look provided valuable strategic freedom of maneuver, complicating the Soviet Union’s defensive planning while reducing basing vulnerability.

    Third, the threat of asymmetric punishment—the capability and willingness to strike outside the theater of operations chosen by an adversary with flexible means can further increase an adversary’s uncertainty, enhancing deterrence.

    Fourth, when used prudently, covert operations can provide an affordable option for achieving national security objectives.

    Lastly, alliances matter—not only for burden sharing, but also for complicating an adversary’s operational planning and imposing costs upon them.

    Center For Strategy And Something Something unleashes a spirited PDF with a preliminary outline for an offset strategy that exploits and builds upon existing enduring capability advantages to restore and maintain global power projection capability.

    Pic - "This effort is essential in order to improve crisis stability, bolster allied confidence in U.S. security commitments, strengthen conventional deterrence, reduce operational risk in the event of war, and compete more efficiently over the long run."

    Sunday, November 16, 2014


    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!

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    NATO Kaput?

    Saviour Generals cat gives up some hard looks at NATO

    Declaring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dead has been a pastime of analysts since the end of the Cold War. The alliance, today 28-members strong, has survived 65 years because its glaring contradictions were often overlooked, given the dangers of an expansionist and nuclear Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact subjects.

    From its beginning, NATO had billed itself as a democratic Western bastion against Soviet totalitarian aggression—if not always in practice then at least in theory. NATO never had much problem keeping Greece and Turkey in the alliance despite their occasionally oppressive, rightwing military dictatorships, given the strategic location of both and the need to keep the pair’s historical rivalries in-house. If the alliance’s exalted motto “animus inconsulendo liber” (“A free mind in consultation”) was not always applicable, NATO still protected something far better than the alternative.

    The United States opposed and humiliated its NATO partners France and Britain during the Suez crisis of 1956, without much damage to NATO at large. True, a petulant France after 1959, gradually withdrew its military participation—and yet secretly still pledged to fight with the alliance in the case of a Soviet attack. The 1989 unification of Germany progressed without a hitch, largely because an economically all-powerful Fourth Reich was happy to allow its historic rivals and NATO partners France and Britain to remain Europe’s only nuclear powers.

    During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the U.S. managed to leverage a few NATO countries in joining its interventions, while assuming the majority could either stand clear or damn the United States without much consequences to their American-guaranteed security. Ditto the two Iraq wars and the kerfuffle over the 43rd administration’s dichotomy between “old” and “new” Europe.

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall and its arch nemesis, NATO limped on. Some had assumed that the often quoted aphorism about NATO’s mission from Lord Hastings Ismay, NATO’s first Secretary General—“to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”—was no longer relevant and so neither would be NATO. But note that Ismay had said “Russians” not Soviets. He knew well that the historical tensions between an always ambitious Moscow and its vulnerable European neighbors transcended Soviet communism.

    In the 1990s, the alliance had been reinvented as a way to reassure newly liberated Eastern European countries that their embrace of Western social democracy would be safe from the specter of post-Soviet Russian expansionism. Of course, there were NATO squabbles over the decision to bomb Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic out of power—and rumors, for example, that Greek officers stealthily had collaborated with their Serbian military counterparts, apparently out of Balkan Orthodox solidarity. Nonetheless, NATO has always survived its undemocratic members, expansions both wise and foolish, duplicitous insiders, and pouty major players.

    Today, the situation seems different. The current problem is not that NATO will end with a bang, but rather that it will go out with a whimper, given that the insidious forces of the new century are more pernicious than the occasional infighting and turf battles of the twentieth century. So far no one has addressed the modern paradox of NATO. Its present membership and geography mock its title.

    It is hardly a North Atlantic Treaty Organization, given that just two countries, the U.S. and Canada, reside on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Its 28-nation membership is now as much Mediterranean and Eastern European as North Atlantic. And it has no central organizational principles about where and when it should or should not intervene, much less criteria under which a member should be admitted—or expelled. By 2000, NATO had devolved into a sort of quasi-European Union organization that happened to include the United States largely for its money and guns.

    More importantly, the European Union’s strain of post-Cold War socialism was at odds with the original notion of a muscular democratic and anti-communist NATO. This might explain why European NATO members have cut $45 billion from their annual defense budgets in the last two years alone. The EU gradually sought to consolidate many of the NATO members under the aegis of growing cradle-to-grave entitlements that by needs came at the expanse of military readiness. “Soft Power” was the EU answer to supposedly ossified NATO deterrence—a wonderful cop-out that allowed European social democracies to divert budgets to domestic spending while taking the moral high ground of outsourcing quaint and outdated ideas of hard power to a less sophisticated and rather unruly United States.

    Few NATO countries since 1994 have kept their promises to invest at least 2% of their GDP in defense (the alliance-wide average was 1.6%). The few who did like Greece, Poland, or Estonia were not major international players. In the last twenty years, the United States has whined that it has provided a quarter of the yearly military wherewithal of the alliance—more if U.S. training and indirect support are included—even though by the logic of geography and geopolitics, America remains the most secure of its members.

    To square the circle that America needed NATO less than NATO needed it, a sort of abusive parent-teen relationship ensued. The U.S., like the proverbial harping but enabling dad, whined at European NATO members, as if they were petulant teenagers, begging them to at least cool the rhetoric and be nice to their benefactors. Both Democratic and Republican administrations were willing to play along with this charade, understanding the historical consequences (two world wars in the twentieth century alone) of ripping the credit card away from the dependent teen and kicking him out the door.

    44, however, is a president of a different sort from his predecessors. By temperament and ideology he has no special investment in Europe. Indeed, his knowledge of recent European history is patchy (the Americans liberated Auschwitz; Austrians speak Austrian; the “death camps” were Polish, etc.). He envisions European social democracy and pacifism not as a NATO irritant, but as a model. After his own massive defense cuts and imposed sequestration, 44 will be the first president in modern history to see U.S. defense spending dip below 3% of GDP. 44’s retreat from foreign policy—the loud but symbolic “Asian pivot,” “leading from behind,” and the general recessional from the Middle East—are the public manifestations of a deeper reluctance to worry much about European security—or for that matter U.S. military primacy abroad.

    Yet once an American president calls NATO’s bluff—either out of chagrin or ignorance—the treaty will represent little more than a ceremonial organization of epaulettes and ribbons without much will or might. Vladimir Putin understood that reality when he went into the Crimea and eastern Ukraine. He had been slapped in 2008 a bit by George W. Bush for annexing Ossetia, and then rightly understood that newly elected President Barack Obama felt that even light censure was too severe. Hence was born “reset”. But to Putin reset meant resetting an originally weak reset—or apologizing to Putin for Russia pushing about the Georgians.

    The Eastern Europeans also have come to understand that NATO is a toothless nag. Faced with Russian aggression and NATO indifference, it has not been a hard choice for Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and even Poland to about-face and cut deals of understanding with Vladimir Putin. In much of Eastern Europe there is a new opportunistic sympathy for Putin, expressed as a sort of cheap disgust with a supposed trans-Atlantic decadence that has led to a Lotus-eater like Western listlessness. In reality, those living between Western Europe and Russia accept that Vladimir Putin is more likely to bully than NATO is to protect them. Or perhaps it is worse still: there is a greater risk for a NATO power to alienate an adversary like Putin than their supposed benefactors in Brussels.

    Recep Erdogan’s Turkey is an even greater threat to NATO. He represents not the twentieth-century authoritarianism of Kemalist predecessors who at least were secular and anti-Soviet in an anti-Soviet alliance, but rather an Islamism more in sympathy with NATO’s existential enemies than with its ideals. Turkey is now bullying Greek Cyprus over oil exploration, perennially starting trouble with Israel, championing the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, while stealthily colluding with elements within ISIS. Turkey’s enemies—the Kurds, the Greeks, the Cypriots, or Israel—are more likely to be friends of the United States. At home, Erdogan is well on his way to replacing consensual government with an autocratic Islamic state, where wired elections function as they do in Iran, largely as in-house fights among rival theocrats.

    Many observers are worried that NATO might dissolve if Vladimir Putin were soon to invade fellow member states like Estonia or Latvia, if only to dare the alliance to respond. But the organization might equally unwind were a volatile Turkey to start a regional war with almost any of its neighbors, given that many NATO members would prefer to side with Turkey’s enemies rather that with Erdogan.

    In sum, NATO is confronting a tripartite existential danger. First, Putin is a far more sophisticated adversary than the old Soviet apparatchiks—projecting confidence, religion, values, and traditions to appeal to the very states that he would absorb. His argument is that European appeasement and disarmament are not just dangerous for NATO members on Russian borders, but the logical ramification of an endemic social and cultural wasteland for which he offers a confident alternative.

    Second, Turkey is a far more wayward member than France or the old member dictatorships ever were. The past NATO bond was anti-communism; and all members, from socialists to autocrats, agreed. But the new ostensible mission of NATO involves a deep distrust of Islamism and its many anti-Western agendas—from a would-be nuclear Iran to ISIS and al Qaeda. Every member but Turkey would agree. Turkey is not just aberrant in this regard, but increasingly antithetical to the entire democratic and liberal pretenses of NATO itself.

    Third, 44 is not the typical hectoring American president, but a European doppelganger who cannot chide NATO to man up to its responsibilities. Not only does he not believe that its members must step up, but he also does not believe that America should either.

    The epitaph of NATO will be that its many weak members won their half-century philosophical argument over its one strong member. Europe got what it wanted and thereby by its indifference has almost destroyed the very organization that it so opportunistically slighted—and always counted on.

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Shenyang J-31

    Collectivist China popped the cherry on her stealth jet fighter!

    For now - right now - stats look like this here:

    Crew: one (pilot)
    Length: 16.9 m (55 ft 5 in)
    Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
    Height: 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
    Wing area: 40 m2 (430 sq ft)
    Gross weight: 17,600 kg (38,801 lb)
    Powerplant: 2 × RD-93 afterburning Turbofans, 84 kN (19,000 lbf) thrust each
    Powerplant: 2 × WS-13A afterburning Turbofans, 100 kN (22,000 lbf) thrust each
    Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
    Combat range: 1,250 km (777 mi; 675 nmi)
    Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi; 2,160 nmi)

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    al Qaeda ISIS Hookup

    Can't beat 'em?

    Join 'em!

    Or something along those lines. Hot gossip that Sunnilicious time travelers in al Qaeda and the Caliphate are hooking up:

    The merger, if it comes off, would have major ramifications for the West. It would reshape an already complex battlefield in Syria, shift forces further against Western interests, and worsen the prospects for survival of the dwindling and squabbling bands of moderate rebels the U.S. is backing and is planning to train.

    All three of the groups involved in the merger talks—Khorasan, Islamic State (widely known as ISIS or ISIL), and al Nusra—originally were part of al Qaeda. Khorasan reportedly was dispatched to Syria originally to recruit Westerners from among the thousands of jihadi volunteers who could take their terror war back to Europe and the United States. But among ferocious ideologues, similar roots are no guarantee of mutual sympathy when schisms occur.

    Syrian opposition sources say efforts at a merger are very much under way and they blame Washington for creating the circumstances that make it possible. Moderate rebels accuse the  administration of fostering jihadi rapprochement by launching ill-conceived airstrikes on al Nusra while at the same time adamantly refusing to target the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the U.S. military intervention in the region.

    The al Qaeda old guard and the ambitious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who bristled at orders from Zawahiri, fell out over strategy and the attacks that his mainly foreign fighters were mounting against Syrian rebels. But the rift was, not least, a matter of personalities and egos. Al-Baghdadi has since attempted to declare himself the true leader of all true Muslims (by his lights) as the Caliph of the Islamic State. Zawahiri is not about to sign on to that.

    Pic - " It is an organisation that was forged under far greater pressure on its leadership than exists today."

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Veteran's Day Origin?

    For l'appropriate Veteran"s Day Salute - check this out

    For l' inappropriate Veteran"s Day Delights - here ya go!

    Right now, somewhere, students are debating the culpability of Germany for WWI and the dis/proportionality of the Treaty of Versailles. No surprises there. It’s a fundamental question in world history and the dominos of the July Crisis used to be among the most prestigious questions for historians to tackle. Why did the Fashoda Incident and Anglo-German East Africa Crisis remain staid diplomatic affairs and the assassination of an Archduke on the periphery of empire spark a war?

    The answer, or at least a large part of it, is the Schlieffen Plan, and its reordering of national priorities.
    Alfred Graf von Schlieffen

    Following unification, German military thinkers saw the imperative of planning for a two front war against France and Russia. The solution–not to put too fine a point on it–was to pit Teutonic efficiency against Gallic weakness and Slavic disorganization. Using incredibly precise time tables, the German army would overrun France through Belgium in a great flank around Paris. The French defeated, and with Russia still slowly mobilizing its forces, the German army could then shift its full attention to the Eastern Front.

    Schlieffen Plan

    The key here is that for the O-plan to work France had to capitulate before Russia fully mobilized.

    Thus during the July crisis when Russia began to mobilize BEFORE France it put the German High Command in a bind. A pretext for war with France was invented, Belgium invaded, British intervention assured and the rest is why most of us have Monday off of work. Last minute efforts by the Kaiser to put the breaks on a general European war proved feckless. The Germans had a plan, and that plan had to be executed.

    Ultimately German fixation with the O-plan led to an inversion of the political and strategic levels of war. Strategy began to dictate politics. The German High Command’s O-plan had so much influence that Berchtold once exclaimed: “Who actually rules in Berlin, Bethmann or Moltke.” The results were entropic, or as Bethmann Hollweg helplessly remarked “things are out of control and the stone has started to roll.” In 1914 the Schlieffen plan ossified diplomatic efforts and political maneuverability for a dubious military advantage.

    In an age of red lines and war games that’s worth keeping in mind.

    Pic - "Home before the leaves fall!" 

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Dear Supreme Leader

    44's recent letter to a self sworn Great Satan hating Ayatollah, (imagine 44 writing to the victorious GOP - NOT!!) in itself is not a big deal.

    Backdoor communication is a very real part of dipolmacy.

    The kicker is what the letter is about and the re re repercussions it sends.

    ISIS, new clear chicanery and - wait - 'common interests?"

    A sitting President to craft such a letter of that nature, in effect legitimizing a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and threatens the world with terrorism is astonishing.

    To suggest that somehow we could somehow work together is something that is so far beyond the pale.

    It could be said that 44 is taking the Shia side of things in the ME - at the expense of Little Satan and Sunni cats like Aegypt, Turkey and Whabbia Arabi.

    Fact is, Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani now calls the shots in four Arab capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sanaa—makes him the Middle East’s indispensable man - thanks to 44 Jay Vee Team of 'experts' that failed to nail down SOFA with Iraq

    Instead of cooperative letters to Iran, the right kind of approach is to recognize Iran in the way we thought about South Africa during apartheid. We considered it a pariah. Their leaders were shunned, they were not invited to international bodies. We exerted moral sway. To somehow have communications with Iran’s supreme leader about hooking up is an enormous error.

    Pic - "Throughout Khamenei's rule, he has held to five basic tenets that reflect the philosophy of statecraft -- and stagecraft"

    Sunday, November 9, 2014


    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! Tune in Monday for our wild and cutting edge analysis of what the GOP is gon do with their new found majority - and power!!