No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for the 'International relations' Category

July 3, 2009

Who’s Zoomin Who?

President Obama is headed to Russia next week.  The visit is planned to allow discussions on a host of topics: trade, North Korea, missile defense etc.  Amongst the laundry list of issues, I find one group’s request to be most interesting.  From Reuters:

CEOs use Obama visit to press Russia on rule of law

I suppose it would make sense to talk to Russia about business relationships.  Of particular interest to this group of CEOs is this:

“Stability and sanctity of contracts — this is what worries us, given what happened to some Western firms in Russia,” said an industry source with a major U.S. firm.

Come on!  You’re kidding me right?  President Obama is supposed to teach, coach, lecture the Russian government on the rule of law and the sanctity of contracts?  Let’s see….

Automobile Industry – I don’t remember the rule of law or the sanctity of contracts being followed as bond holders were summarily removed from their preferred lender positions so that the Obama could “not run the auto industry.”

Financial Industry – I don’t remember the rule of law or the sanctity of contracts being followed as companies were told they had to take bail out funds or would be subject to audits, forced contracted compensation to be paid back or forced “healthy” institutions to absorb “toxic” institutions thereby making them a toxic institution

Credit Card Industry – I don’t remember the rule of law or the sanctity of contracts being followed as mortgage companies were forced to provide credit to a broader population without regard for their ability to repay the credit.

While never close friends, The Russians used to listen to the United States due both to our military capabilities and our financial strength.  I’ve got to believe that any sentence in Russia that begins with “President Obama says…” ends with a roomful of Russian belly laughs.

July 2, 2009

Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Today’s headlines:

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Baghdad

Um, did someone forget to tell joltin’ Joe:

The vice president’s visit comes just two days after the United States withdrew troops from Iraqi cities.

Now that the troops have gone, Joe gets to play with Iraq:

The White House on Tuesday appointed Biden to oversee Iraq policy.

I guess even President Obama recognizes it’s not safe to let Biden play while there’s live ammunition around!

In honor of Joe:

H/T the Athletic Shoe

July 1, 2009

You Should Have Been Here Last Week

As a reasonably avid fisherman, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, or told someone else, “You should have been here last week!”  In fishing, this usually means one of two things.  Either the fish were really biting the previous week or you’re trying to convince the other fisherman that you’re not completely inept.  Interestingly, this phrase is also applicable in politics.

Glenn Garvin from the Miami Herald lays out the explanation of events leading to the Honduran “Coup.”  Garvin doesn’t really provide any information that hasn’t been explained elsewhere, at least in terms of the events. He does however, correctly refocus the debate from what happened last week to what happened in the week(s) prior to last week:

Here’s a question for all these new-found defenders of Honduran democracy: Where were you last week? Perhaps if some of these warnings about sticking to the constitution had been addressed to President Zelaya, the Honduran army would still be in the barracks where it belongs.

Garvin correctly calls out the United Nations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama asking why, if they are so concerned about the constitutionality of the new President of Honduras, they weren’t raising concerns about the activities, clearly unconstitutional, of President Zelaya during the previous weeks. 

While Garvin doesn’t address it, I would also ask why, if President Obama doesn’t believe the US should “meddle” in other country’s affairs, he has chosen to insert himself in this situation.  Let’s see, Iran, don’t meddle, Honduras, meddle.  Cuba, don’t meddle, Israel, meddle.  I’m beginning to wonder if Obama’s “don’t meddle” policy only applies to countries that have a current or an heir apparent dictator at the helm?

Like in fishing, “You should have been here last week” has multiple meanings in politics.  It can either mean, “Things went really well last week,” or it could mean that the person you’re conveying the sentiment to is inept and should have been paying attention to and engaged in the events of the previous week.

From the people of Honduras, “Hey, President Obama, you should have been here last week!”

June 29, 2009

Honduras – short version

by @ 9:51. Filed under International relations, Politics.

I have to give major props to Fausta for staying all over the top of this, and to most of her readers for a very lively discussion in the post. For the benefit of those who have been following the likes of The News Organization That Cannot Be Quoted™ instead of the likes of The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady, allow me to give the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • Honduras President Mel Zelaya, dismayed to learn that his country’s Constitution precludes him from serving a second term (Article 239), and indeed prohibits any changes to that Article (Article 384), tried to hold a referendum for the purpose of calling a second referendum to be held in November, at the same time as the general election and the Presidential election, to rewrite the Constitution and remove that limitation (despite the National Congress having sole power to create and approve any legal amendments). That referendum was to be held yesterday.
  • Prior to that, specifically this past Tuesday, the National Congress passed a law prohibiting referendums within 180 days of a general election.
  • Honduras’ Supreme Court declared the referendum illegal, and Honduras’ armed forces, which typically help deliver ballots, refused to deliver ballots.
  • Zelaya fired the chief of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vásquez, in response, and refused to reinstate him after the Supreme Court unanimously ordered his reinstatement.
  • The Supreme Election Tribunal similiarly refused to participate, so the Venezuelan Air Force was brought in to distribute ballots.
  • At 6 am Sunday, Honduras’ armed forces, operating with a court order issued by the Supreme Court, under another part of Article 239 of the constitution that specifies that any public officeholder who calls for a change to the one-term limit for President immediately give up the powers of that office and be barred from any future public office for 10 years, removed Zelaya from the country. After an initial stop in Costa Rica, the Venezuelan Air Force delivered him to Nicaragua.
  • Among those calling for Honduras to ignore its Constitution and allow Zelaya to complete his Chavista Venezuelan takeover are Venezuelan President dictator Hugo Chavez, the Organization of American States, the European Union, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For those that wonder why such a strong one-term limit is in Honduras’ constitution, they’ve had a long history of strongmen who overstayed their welcome. After the last bout of strongmen ended in 1982, they decided, never again.

In a few minutes, Fausta will take up this topic in her Monday-Friday 15 Minutes on Latin America podcast. I highly recommend you listen.

Revisions/extensions (11:22 pm 6/29/2009) – Corrected the number of the article that prohibits any change to Honduras’ constitution that would affect the one-term-only President provision; somehow mistyped.

June 26, 2009

In other news,…

I’ve been focused on the state budget almost as much as the national presstitutes have been focused on Michael Jackson’s death, but Ed Morrissey has been keeping eyes on the larger picture. First stop – government-run health care. Our friends at ReasonTV have created a commercial on that…

Next stop – Iran. Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami called for death to protestors. Things are going to get even bloodier.

Last, but definitely not least, is a familiar battleground, Gorebal “Warming”. The tactics employed by the Dems, including a last-second 300-page amendment to a 1200-page bill, are all-too-familiar. Just as a reminder from Ed, “This bill will lose the US 2.5% of its GDP each and every year in the years after the first decade of implementation.” (emphasis in the original)

June 18, 2009

The Fly of Evil

First, in case you haven’t see it, the video:

Note President Obama’s fixed stare. Note the unblinking eyes. Note how he focuses all of his thoughts and his entire being on the fly that had dared to invade his personal space.

As Russia unilaterally rolled in Georgia, than Senator Obama, was unable to determine the oppressive side and said:

“I think it is important at this point for all sides to show restraint and to stop this armed conflict.”

President Obama and his team were caught surprised and flat footed as North Korea test fired three rockets and test detonated a nuclear device.  The best President Obama could muster was this statement:

“We will work with friends and allies to stand up to this behavior.”

In the past week another sham election was held in Iran.  At least 7 Iranians have been killed in protests focused on demanding fair elections.  Obama’s response:

“It is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations to be seen as meddling – the US president, meddling in Iranian elections.”

Three examples where human rights and human lives were/are clearly being destroyed.  Yet, President Obama can barely manage a frown of discouragement let alone clear and concise statements in support of those being oppressed.  When it comes to human life, President Obama seems unable to recognize evil or attain a level of righteous indignation on behalf of those oppressed or yearning for freedom.

No, no indignation for humans but let a single fly invade his personal space during his time, in his interview and Obama becomes singularly focused like Tiger Woods with an eagle attempt for the win on the final hole of the Masters. 

President Bush saw three countries that promoted evil in the world.  President Obama only sees a fly.

June 14, 2009

Weekend hot read – Michael Totten on Iran

by @ 18:19. Filed under International relations, Politics.

All I have to say is, read Michael Totten now. He’s been on top of the Iran blow-up since before they actually blew up. Today, he sees a bit of what happened in 1979 happening now…

The great Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski witnessed and wrote about dozens of revolutions in the course of his life. He has, perhaps, seen more revolutions than anyone in the history of the world. He knew, while he lived, revolutions better than anyone.

In his book Shah of Shahs, about the Iranian revolution in 1979, he describes the beginning of the end for the Shah Reza Pahlavi….

(Lengthy excerpt of the book describing a 1979 encounter between a policeman and a protester removed; the policeman backed off after failing to convince the protester to go home)

Now take a look at this video uploaded from the city of Isfahan. A ferocious-looking unit of armed riot police officers is shown running away in terror from civilian demonstrators.


Believe me, there’s a lot more there than I can bring over here.

Related to that, Jon Ham wonders where the Obama administration and CNN are. Good question.

May 21, 2009

Cartoon of the day

by @ 1:00. Filed under International relations.

Nate Beeler over at The Washington Examiner nails the Middle East situation…

April 21, 2009

The Loneliest Number

During his most recent “U.S. apology tour of the world,” President Obama made this statement to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s diatribe on the U.S.:

“To move forward, we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements. I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old. Too often, an opportunity to build a fresh partnership of the Americas has been undermined by stale debates. We’ve all heard these arguments before.”

Again, the person who the Left claims is the smartest President ever seems to have some challenges working with math.

First, according to the alleged certificate of live birth that he has posted, Obama was born in August of 1961.  My history books show the the Bay of Pigs occurred in April of 1961.  It would seem like his living presence missed the event he referenced by nearly 4 months.  Before you claim that Obama was “In Utero” and therefore, assuming a 9 month gestation, he would be somewhat right, remember that Obama has shown through his legislation and votes that a baby is not alive, or even a life of any kind until after it is born and than survives attempts by the delivering physician to kill it during the first few moments after being separated from its mother.

Another problem with Obama’s math is this:  Obama seems to believe that because he wasn’t born he holds no responsibility for the specific event.  He somehow separates himself personally from the fact that he is THE representative of the United States and what it stands for.  If Obama can do this, shouldn’t the same hold true for other Americans?

In 1961, with a few exceptions, you need to be 21 to vote for elected office.  I would proffer that using Obama’s logic, anyone who was not yet 21 in April of 1961 had no responsibility for the Bay of Pigs.  After all, they weren’t able vote in the administration that launched the attack.  Obviously, anyone born after April of 1961 also would not be responsible for the Bay of Pigs.  Roll the calendar forward and the extension of Obama’s logic suggests that only people who today, are 69 or older could even possibly be responsible for the Bay of Pigs.

Bear with me as I walk through this next part.  The 1960 election determined the administration of the Bay of Pigs.  In 1960 there were 170 million people in the US, approximately 65% were of voting age.  Of that, approximately 64 million voted.  Of those that voted, approximately 50% voted for the Kennedy administration.  Today, approximately 12% of the population are 69 or older.  If you do the math, it turns out that just 3.5% of the US population, alive today, could be responsible for the Bay of Pigs.  With a current population of approximately 303 million people, only 10.6 million Americans alive today could be responsible for the Bay of Pigs.

60 million people voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin in the last election.  60 million people voted against having Barack Obama as President.  While we can argue as to what degree, 60 million people voted for a smaller government with less interference than what we have with President Obama.  If President Obama can routinely ignore 60 million voters whom he has sworn to represent, why is he worried about what some third world dictator and thug thinks about decisions made nearly 50 years ago that may, in the best case, have been enabled by a mere 10.6 million voters?

The answer of course, is all to apparent.  While President Obama isn’t able to do simple math of any kind, he is able to do the simplest of math.  In President Obama’s mind, 10.6 million people aren’t the issue, 60 million people don’t matter.  For Obama, all history, US and otherwise, begins and ends with him.  If an event happened before he could be accountable for it, it didn’t happen.  If an event happened when he could be held accountable for it and he can find a way to avoid accountability, than George Bush did it.  In the mind of Obama, the only number that matters is the loneliest number, 1.  Obama’s comment had nothing to do with the impact on the US, the country he is supposed to represent.  His comment was all about a potential reflection on him, personally.

The only math that President Obama has successfully mastered is the function of 1.

April 3, 2009

Call Me Puzzled

One week ago, the President of Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, blamed the world financial crisis on “whitey”:

“this was a crisis that was fostered and boosted by irrational behavior of people that are white, blue-eyed, that before the crisis looked like they knew everything about economics.”

He further removed any misunderstanding about the nature of his comments when he added:

“I’m not acquainted with any black banker,” Lula said. “The part of humanity that’s responsible should pay for the crisis.”

Today, President Obama praised President Lula:

“That’s my man, right here, love this guy. He’s the most popular politician on Earth. It’s because of his good looks,” Obama said.

I saw Obama greet the Queen of England, I didn’t hear him make a comment about how well she looked.  Obama met Sarkozy and didn’t mention his looks.  Obama met Brown last month and didn’t mention his looks. 

Why would Obama mention Lula’s looks? 

I’m left with two possibilities.  With his comment, either Obama was saying:

Lula, you’re speaking truth to power, brother.  The man is just trying to keep us down!

or he was saying:

You can tell by looking at me that I didn’t cause this problem.  But, that guy I inherited this all from?  He was sure enough a honky cracker!

The problem is that I’m not really fluent in victimese so I’m puzzled on the exact translation.

March 26, 2009

It’s Our Fault. It’s Always Our Fault!

According to American Pravda:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that America’s “insatiable” demand for illegal drugs and its inability to stop weapons from being smuggled into Mexico are fueling an alarming spike in violence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Yes, it’s our fault:

“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” she said. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”

Let me get this right.  According to Hillary, our inability to control our borders is causing people in Mexico to sell us drugs and allegedly (this one is open to dispute) buy nasty weapons from us.  As a result, Hillary is suggesting that we should up our contributions to the Mexican government so that they can solve their problems.  Oh yeah, that will work.  It will work because of course, there’s no corruption in the Mexican government.  There’s no corruption that might be involved in aiding and abetting the drugs and weapons.  There’s no corruption that’s taking the money we’re already sending to Mexico and using it for any personal enrichment.  No, no corruption.

I have to wonder.  I wonder if Hillary would accept her logic tossed back at her.  Based on Hillary’s logic, if we’re causing the problem in Mexico because we aren’t controlling our borders, would Hillary accept that the hoards of illegal aliens who are in this country after crossing the Mexican border are a result of Mexico not enforcing their borders?  Can we go after the Mexican government to pay for their citizens that they allowed to live in our country?

Actually, Hillary’s message to Mexico is just a Trojan horse.  Hillary has taken the role of “good soldier” and is using this opportunity to set up another opportunity for Obama to format America into the country he wants it to be.  While Hillary for now, is talking about the Mexican/American relationship, this issue will soon be used as Obama’s lynch pin for removing drug enforcement and expanding gun control regulation.  After all, we don’t want to cause anymore problems for the well run, highly ethical government of our 59th state!

March 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad and Ortega, sitting in a tree

by @ 12:55. Filed under International relations.

There has been a lot of focus on Iran’s growing ties with Venezuela, specifically their dictator-for-soon-to-be-life Hugo Chavez. What has been left unexplored is a budding relationship between Iran and Nicaragua. Todd Bensman has been exploring that relationship, and he sees more than a few parallels between that and an earlier Iranian effort in Argentina that culminated in a Hezbollah twin bombing.

Fausta had Bensman on her podcast today. I highly recommend listening.

I wish I could explain why the Nicaraguan connection is going mostly unexplored. Their dicta…er, President, Daniel Ortega (yes, THAT Daniel Ortega, Communist), does have a decades-long hatred of the US.

March 13, 2009

China now “worried” about US Treasuries

(H/T – Instapundit)

I believe that Dad29, Asian Badger, Shoebox, and I have been warning about this for a while. The AP reports that China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, is getting a bit queasy about his country having half its $2 trillion in currency reserves be US government debt. Wen said this at a news conference after China’s annual legislative session – “We have made a huge amount of loans to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I’m a little bit worried…. I would like to call on the United States to honor its words, stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets.”

The Obama administration is hoping to finance its massive increases in spending through continued sale of those instruments. There’s two problems. First, the publicly-held portion of the debt is expected to double to something north of $22 trillion in the next 10 years. Given the expected anemic growth in the economy, that would put the debt over 100% of the GDP. Second, Social Security is expected to start running in the red inside of 10 years, which means all that loan paper that makes up the Social Security “Trust Fund” will start to be called to make up for the shortfalls. Meanwhile, nothing’s being done about it.

That isn’t exactly a recipe for guaranteed payback of issued debt. It’s a sad day when Communists understand the debt market better than the Gorons in DC.

This Is The Group That “Cares” and “Bombs”

Earlier this week, President Obama said that the United States should open discussions with the Taliban.  You know, the folks who find honor killings and the mutilation of women fun sport.  Today, Vice President Joe Biden attempted to explain the Administration’s new view on the Taliban:

Biden makes his insight sound as if it’s new, unique, somehow profound. However, we know Joe is a consummate plagiarist, prone to taking other people’s ideas and stating them as his own. His Taliban position is just another such plagiarized thought. Note here how way back in 1977, John Landis and David Zucker first submitted the idea of segmenting your opponents into identifiable groups:

I wonder if Joe Biden will be able to get the Taliban sorted into the right groups? My bet is that he’ll find some that “care” and “bomb” sorted into the wrong group, at least on his first try.

February 2, 2009

Work Americans Won’t Do!

In his first two Executive Orders, President Obama began the process to close Gitmo and revoked President Bush’s order that allowed enhanced interrogation techniques. During the signing, President Obama explained:

“The message that we are sending the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, and we are going to do so vigilantly and we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.”

Today the LA Times reports  that President Obama has left himself a tiny, little, minuscule really, but never-the-less important loophole in dealing with people he thinks are bad:

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

That’s interesting.   I didn’t know that our “values and ideals” included asking other countries to do things we find objectionable.   I guess this is what they mean when they refer to “work Americans won’t do!”

January 7, 2009

But There’s Just One President At A Time Dammit!

Al-Qaeda deputy calls for strikes on Israel


Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command has called on Muslims to strike Western and Israeli targets around the world in response to Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Ayman al-Zawahiri made the announcement in an audio tape posted on Islamist websites.

“This is Obama whom the American machine of lies tried to portray as the rescuer who will change the policy of America,” al-Zawahiri said, according to SITE. “He kills your brothers and sisters in Gaza mercilessly and without affection.”

Even Al-Qaeda recognizes that Obama’s words have expiration dates!

September 17, 2008

When “Partisan” becomes Prickly

by @ 8:53. Filed under International relations.

According to the News Agency Who Shall Not Be Named, Hillary Clinton was scheduled to take part in a protest organized by several American Jewish groups to decry  a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the UN.

According to her spokesperson, Clinton declined attending when she heard that Sarah Palin was also attending.

“Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event,” said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines. “Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending.”



an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.

Since when did an event become partisan simply because there are people of different political perspectives attending it?

I’m pretty sure there are Republicans, Democrats and Agnostics like myself at the Club when I run each day. Does that make my run a partisan event?

The only partisanship I could see in the protest is that the people there should be “emotionally biased” and be “supporters of a cause” that supports a non nuclear Iran or human rights in Iran or (and this is really going out on the partisan ledge) the right for Israel to exist!

In late October, 2002 Paul Wellstone, one of Minnesota’s Senators, was killed in a plane crash. His memorial service became a tasteless, partisan event. There is no doubt that the way some Democrats politicized that event allowed Norm Coleman to be elected to the Senate.

I don’t know that Hillary’s exit from this protest rises to the level of the Wellstone memorial. However, I’ve rarely seen a more partisanally calculated response than her refusal to participate and denounce the positions of someone who openly supports genocide.

July 2, 2008

Deciphering Mugabeese

by @ 5:51. Filed under International relations.

After being challenged about the validity of the recent “election,” a spokesman for Robert Mugabe, “president” of Zimbabwe said that any one who questioned the election could “go hang!”   He followed up that simple retort with one that was more illustrative:

They can go and hang a thousand times.”

Some reporters have been puzzled as to the meaning or the need to “hang a thousand times.” After all, shouldn’t one hanging do the job? The answer is quite simple: Yes, most brutal, thug dictators would find it sufficient to silence their critics with one hanging.   I believe “presidential ” spokesman George Charamba was just recognizing the obvious and trying to cover his bases. I mean if you’re a brutal, thug dictator and you can’t manage to rig an election to get 99.9% of the vote on the first try, how likely is it that you’ll be smart enough to manage to kill someone on the first hanging try?

April 27, 2008

And I thought they were serious….NOT

by @ 7:28. Filed under International relations.

On Thursday Hamas offered a six month cease fire to Israel.   Yesterday, Israel rejected that offer saying that the offer did not “appear serious.”

Not serious?   How could they possible come to that conclusion?   Could it have had anything to do with Khaled Mashaal, the Damascus-based Hamas leader  saying,

“It is (the cease fire)  a tactic in conducting the struggle … It is normal for any resistance … to sometimes escalate, other times retreat a bit. … Hamas is known for that. In there was a cease-fire and then the operations were resumed.”

or maybe it was this reassuring comment that gave the Israeli’s pause:

“We are ready to cooperate seriously from a place of power,” he said. “If Israel does not accept, then we welcome confrontation,” Mashaal said in the interview from Doha, Qatar.

Wow, those Israeli’s are pretty sharp. I’ve never had the pleasure, but I’ve been told that their airport security folks can just look at you and know whether you’re up to no good. They must have needed every one of them to poor over these comments to cipher out Hamas’ real intent.

As a parting shot, the same Hamas leader warned,

“If the blockade is not to be lifted from Gaza, then the Gaza Strip will explode.”

I don’t normally hold populations responsible for their thuggish governments. In most cases they had nothing to do with the thugs being in power. However, as Jimmy Carter pointed out last week,  the Palestinian people, fully aware of who they were and what they stood for, elected Hamas into power.   Until the Palestinian people awaken to the fact  and change  having a ruling party with a goal of exterminating another soverign country, they may get our sympathy but should not get anyone’s assistance.

January 23, 2008

Comment of the Year nominee plus Condi going squishy on Iran?

by @ 19:34. Filed under International relations, War on Terror.

No, it’s not here, and it’s definitely not from me, but Wineaholic left this gem about Paul-Nuts on a Hot Air thread on a Condi-endorsed “grand compromise” in Iran:

Siren song? Come on, it’s not like people are going away anytime soon"¦ once the rEVOLution is over, they’ll just shift back from whence they came. Like white-power groups, the Democratic party, mental hospitals with liberal policies about internet usage. These people (and their message) are here to stay, bless their delusional little hearts.

Since this post is likely going to generate a trackback there, I may as well throw in my two cents on that “grand compromise. I wish I could believe the Iranians would be honest, but we’ve been burned before.

January 2, 2008

The PLAN continues to grow and modernize

by @ 15:17. Filed under International relations, War.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to Duncan Hunter, and to a leser extent, Fred Thompson, pay attention. Jeff Head has been tracking the growth and modernization of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (that would be the Red Chinese), and he’s come out with his beginning-of-2008 update. There are two big areas of concern from where I sit:

– The biggest is the explosive growth in the amphibious capacity. Many naval observers have said the only thing that has kept Taiwan from being absorbed by Red China has been the inability of the ChiComs to get their massive army over water; they’re rapidly rectifying that oversight.

– Almost as troubling, especially with the de-emphasis on ASW in the US Navy, is a modernization of the PLAN’s submarine fleet, both attack and missile subs. Those quieter attack subs give them the theoretical ability to make the Western Pacific a very dangerous place for the 7th Fleet, while modern missile subs give them a second-nuclear strike capability.

I’m not as concerned, at least yet, about the continuing work on the ex-Varyag. At the point the Red Chinese are in their quest to be the worldwide empire, it does not really enhance their offensive capability. However, it does in the interim give them another way to bloody the 7th Fleet and in the longer term, it gives them expertise in carrier operations that, barring another paradigm shift I can’t yet forsee, they will need to march beyond what the Japanese called the Southern Resource Area 70 years ago.

December 3, 2007

Iran stopped its nuclear program?

by @ 16:20. Filed under International relations, War.

(H/T – LGF)

Or so says the unclassified version of a fresh National Intelligence Estimate. I’m certain the Left half of the blogosphere, like the media already has, is seizing upon the opening phrase of the ‘Key Judgements’ section – “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons
program;…”. Allow me to point out a couple of key equivocations.

The first is the footnote to that phrase – “For the purposes of this Estimate, by ‘nuclear weapons program’ we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.” Given that the particular method of “declared civil work” selected by the Iranians is at the least approximating one of the popular methods used to create weapons-grade uranium rather than simply the much-less-militarily-useful reactor-grade uranium, I have to strongly question the claim that the program has been completely stopped.

The second is the phrase immediately following – “…we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.” That is an understatement. Judging by what the Iranians have claimed about that “declared civil work” noted above, Iran has transitioned the semi-open portion of its nuclear program to a “turn-key” nuclear weapons program, requiring upon full implementation simply a directive to assemble nuclear weapons.

Interestingly, the NIE notes that the Iranians had spent “considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons.” I don’t exactly remember hearing too much about the Iranian nuclear weapon program until after the fall of 2003. Related to that time frame, I also remember another WMD program not in a country that started with an “I” that very-publicly stopped, rather than the covert “stop” the Iranian program supposedly had, right about that 2003 timeframe, and that stoppage was directly attributed to a unique certain event that happened in 2003.

This part is chilling; “We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.” Given that a possible American pincers movement from Iraq and Afghanistan undoubtedly weighed in on the “cost-benefit approach” the NIE claims the Iranians are using, given the kick-the-can-down-the-road assessment of 2010-2015 for sufficient HEU uranium, and given the claim that Iran was spending “considerable effort” on its nuclear program through the 1990s, I’ll guess that the election of a Democrat or Ron Paul would be all the criteria Iran would need to resume a full “Manhattan Project” program.

The laugh of the day, however, comes from point F, which says that the Iranians might use covert facilities, had in fact used covert facilities in the past, and stopped using covert facilities in 2003. Wasn’t that the assessment of North Korea’s nuclear program between 1994 and 2002, which was completely invalidated by the discovery of said covert facilties and their use between 1994 and 2002?

Revisions/extensions (4:48 pm 12/3/2007) – There’s a lot more linkage to the Right half’s react over at Hot Air.

November 1, 2007

Dhimm stragedy to lose WOT, African edition

Patrick Poole over at PajamasMedia reports on the latest attempt by the DhimmiRATs in Congress to systematically kill this country’s relationship with every country that continues to help fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliated Islamokazi groups. This week’s target, Ethiopia.

Ostensibly, the proposed prohibition of the American arming of Ethiopia as well as travel to the US by Ethiopian leaders is a delayed reaction to intimidation after Ethiopia’s 2005 elections. This ignores significant steps undertaken by the Ethiopian government to atone for that.

I strongly suspect the real reason was because the Ethiopians liberated Somalia from the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic Courts Union with a bit of backing from American air power. Not only did they dare oppose the Islamokazis successfully, but they succeeded where their hero Bill Clinton failed spectacularily.

October 31, 2007

Buckingham Palace band equates King Abdullah to Darth Vader

by @ 13:16. Filed under International relations.

(H/T – Uncle Jimbo)

When Saudia Arabia’s King Abdullah stepped out of his limo on the first state visit by a Saudi king to Great Britain, the Buckingham Palace band broke out “Imperial March” from “Star Wars” (the first 35 seconds of the linked YouTube slice of Britain’s Channel 4 coverage).

Bravo Zulu.

October 16, 2007

The enemy of my class enemy is my friend…

by @ 8:23. Filed under International relations.

Soviet Premi…er, Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from ignoring a “threat” on his life in Tehran, joined the Mad Mullahs and their sock puppets in reasserting Sovi…er (damn, there I go again) Russian control over its former empire by threatening Azerbaijan should it help the United States in any response to Iran’s attempt to get nuclear weapons, as well as any country that wants to get Caspian Sea oil and natural gas out of the area without going through either the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (ah, tahellwitchit, if Pooty-Poot wants to go back to the Cold War, let’s bring back all the old Soviet terms) or Iran.

The Cold War’s back on the menu, boys.

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