Ooobie on Everything

A Veritable Cornucopia of Revenge

I’m smiling. Of course, the revenge I refer to is not that of the “Resistance,” that motley crew of smuggies and losers, but that of the staid old conservatives. We knew from the very moment the story of Russian conspiracies with Trump was birthed that those stories were lies. On so many levels, this was transparent. Hey, tell me: how many people do you know who didn’t make up their mind on how to vote in that election within moments of Trump’s nomination? If Putin himself had shown up on Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s doorstep, with roses and caviar and minks and under-the-table pay-offs and birth control protection, could he have swayed her? How many illiterates are swayed by FB? How many illiterates are Democrats? Egad, the questions are like no-see-ums in August in Florida.

I’ve just been biding my time for the truth to out, after all my blogs that explained the duplicity involved, based on my long experience. I am nevertheless amazed that the truth is outing. The Orcs (no relation to “trolls”) are being routed from the heart of our sacred and ultimate defender of truth and law, the FBI, and its parent agency, the Department of Justice. So far, there is no movement to clean out the CIA, the other key participant in the Russian Fairy Tale. I see that ex-CIA honcho Morell, who was a True Blue Clintonite, is starting to distance himself from the conspirators in his agency. Perhaps he was innocent, just another rah-rah Dem who thought that being progressive still encompassed the idea of fairness and truth. Not like the new breed of Dem Socialists, who think all truth is relative, fairness is stupidity, and lies can be sold as the truth to the “Masses”as easy as pie.  And by gum, these incredibly ugly precepts seem to be selling like hotcakes to today’s youths and spinsters and men who are mentally transgendering to the point of wearing pussy caps and marching with hate-filled women.

Okay. What else? Oh, yes. That stupid shut-down. I worried a bit about it. My often right hubby said that the GOP would be blamed no matter what. I said, “but the Dems are doing it, so I think you’re wrong.” Then I read that the Dems had based their shut-down on polling, and I knew we were a shoo-in for victory. Gee, guess who was right this time? Big win for Trump, yuuuuuuge loss for the Dems and personally for Schumer. And then Schumer, unnerved by being upstaged by Trump, turns face and withdraws a common-sense deal to trade status for the illegals brought as children for the fortification of American security. Now he rejects the latter as virtual anathema and demands all the Dem wishes be fulfilled for free. No borders, no border controls is the Democrat Party Anthem. (And if a baby happens to survive an assassination attempt, they think it’s okay to put a knife through his heart.)

Whew. The Dems are having a Party-wide breakdown. They think the rest of us are brain-damaged by left-wing parents or from surviving assassination attempts as infants.

Let’s look at N. Korea. Still no nuclear conflagration, as Kim what’s him name studies photos of Trump’s multiple buttons. The response is to send cute N. Koreans south to wow the entertainment-starved world at an Olympics that has excluded some of the world’s best athletes on what were transparently political grounds. Kim aka Rocket Man said to be practicing pole vault.

Let’s look at Russia. Still going strong, still mightily miffed at being endlessly smeared by Americans who do not know that communists are Putin’s likely successor in an overthrow! In Syria, and predictably, the Turkish Air Force is pounding the Kurds whom the US briefly wanted to turn into an army to unseat Assad and Erdogan. Of course, the US by then had actually abandoned the Kurds, so there was no need for Erdogan to be so rude. The Russians meantime watch to see at what point they might usefully reinsert themselves into Syrian defense, and pressure their ally Assad to negotiate a safe status for Kurds within an integral Syria.  This is all good news for global stability.

I think Trump is learning in foreign policy, and here is something else I think: a lot of the global leaders who supposedly cringe at Trump’s overly-direct words are not at all offended. In fact, they love it, they approve of it, they encourage it. The truth, and the most powerful man in the world is saying it! Listen to the president of Uganda, who just loves Trump’s willingness to cut through the crap. I am pretty sure that every Latin American leader, from Mexico to Peru, envies Trump for the freedom and power to say truth. And applauds it, because for once an American president isn’t talking about taking responsibility for Latin America out of their (hapless) hands. I drank a lot of beers and vodkas with a lot of tough male politicians south of the border, and I never heard one of them praise a wuss. I guess the only places where leaders are cringing are those headed by women.

How could I close without a fond adieu to the Me-Too Movement, which is fading like the Wicked Witch of the West. I see the Wall Street Journal has run an article on the Weinstein brothers and how they founded an empire. I’d say rehab of the grabbers is underway, while the stupid, stupid women who blabbed are being silenced by the simple act of denying them work (who wants to work with backstabbers and crybabies?). The few women who were really heroines, such as Courtney Love, will probably get it in the back, as well, while the savvier, such as Streep, will get a free pass. Ho-hum, another day in Sodom and Gomorrah.




The Deed is Done, the Die is Rolled

crimea russiaIf Russia needed a boost to its national spirit, the Crimea has provided it. No matter what the reality turns out to be, and for sure there are going to be problems — as many as Kiev and the West can throw at them — the Russian majority in Crimea is ecstatic to have the direct protection of Holy Mother Russia.  A reported 96.77 percent of those who voted in Crimea voted to rejoin Russia and 88 percent of the eligible population voted. Many people reported that it was like a holiday, they felt they were returning to their mother’s bosom. Amy Kellogg of Fox News is skeptical of the percentage win reported by the electoral commission, although she has no doubt that the pro-Russian vote did carry the day handily. And she admitted that turnout was very high. But she said the concern is that the ethnic Russians are hounding the ethnic Ukrainians and that there was a lot of pressure on people to turn out, including by armed men. On the other hand, the armed men were not in the voting booths to determine which box was checked. If you were angry or opposed, that was your moment: vote for Ukraine. I watched ballot-counting and the vote counters held up each ballot to show how it was marked before recording it. One western observer tweeted that he was watching the voting, with ballots cast in transparent boxes, and all those he could read were checked in favor of annexation. And voters were happy and laughing. It’s pretty clear that those opposed were by and large not bothering to vote both because the outcome was obvious and to protest. An actual protest vote would have been better, as their abstention gives Russia real crowing rights. As for Russian hounding of Ukrainians, Kellogg should have added that this was a mirror-image of western Ukraine, where the Ukrainians are hounding the ethnic Russians.

It was clear the Russians had a plan ready to go when what Russia feared would happen, happened: NATO decided to draw Ukraine into what Russia considers in many respects an enemy organization. Russia knew the lay of the land and knew how to deploy propaganda to complement the anti-Russian actions in western Ukraine and the threats from the West. The pro-Russian population was good and riled as well as frightened by the mob violence in Kiev and the emerging evidence that NATO member nations trained the snipers who shot into the Maidan crowd. The EU/US rush to embrace the coup leaders, a good number of whom are far right figures who hate Russia, left the pro-Russians feeling they needed their own protector, and that protector was obviously Russia.

russia conundrumUkraine and Georgia are the only buffer Russia has left between itself and the NATO military pact today. Buffer zones give a nation a trip-wire that allows for the mobilization for war. Think of it this way: the entire eastward expansion of NATO is an effort to get a buffer zone between western Europe and Russia thus giving greater protection to the big NATO powers of Germany and France and allowing NATO HQ in Brussels time to mobilize. No great power dares to leave itself no time to react to military aggression and Russia has been given ever greater reason to fear an aggressive NATO since 1991. The moment NATO started casting lustful glances toward Georgia and Ukraine, Russia’s hackles went up. We had the brief Russian set-to with Georgia when the Georgian army tried to retake the pro-Russian secessionist region of South Ossetia. And now we have Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This could be a point where an arrangement is made with Russia or we move into an inevitable trajectory of war.

I see that the western protectors of western Ukrainians are setting up an “observer mission” in Ukraine. I served in such a mission. This is what they are for: military reconnaissance, target acquisition, channeling support to the opponents’ enemies, gathering propaganda material to be used by Brussels and national capitals, and arranging military liaison with those who will form a puppet government following NATO’s military action. The big media are always co-propagandists, no surprise. Observer missions, with their noble stated goals, are always an intended direct threat to whomever NATO is opposing, and if you don’t believe it — ask Serbia. If NATO is planning on wandering around in eastern Ukraine under the guise of observer missions, it is deliberately looking for a direct NATO-Russia confrontation. The outcome will be the occupation of eastern Ukraine by Russia. All hell is going to break loose. NATO, so keen on the Ukrainian prize, has put its big boot in the door and thus is driving up the stakes dramatically. We won’t need to wait for the western Ukrainians to respond with military action against Russia to set off the next global war. And it will be global, because every bad actor in the world is going to use our distraction over Ukraine to go for whatever it is it wants that the US doesn’t want it to have. Look for early reactions in Syria and Venezuela and Iran and North Korea.

solzhNATO doesn’t give a damn what damage its expansionism is doing to international stability. Contrary to their smug assumptions, threatening a massive nuclear state with an arms industry to rival that of the US will not bring peace and happiness to the planet. Once NATO decided to jettison the earlier NATO promise to Russia not to expand eastward in recognition of Russia’s genuine security concerns, it covered its treachery with fine words. Every country can decide which alliance it wants to belong to, NATO said (and says). My response was always this: that may be true, but NATO also has a right and an obligation to make a choice between being provocative and threatening, and thus destabilizing international security, or encouraging some other way to give greater security to the petitioning countries — things like regional defense organizations rather than NATO membership. NATO made its choice, preferring its own aggrandizement to stability. Now the US is responsible for all those countries who have entered in an endless procession and at NATO prodding and encouragement. At this moment, we are in peril of being taken into a war we are not going to “win” — just like we haven’t won a war since WWII. Only this time, the homeland is going to be the field of war, as will be the homelands of everybody else involved.

naziI read that one of the leading right-wing figures who loomed large in the putsch in Kiev has now publicly said he thinks the Ukrainians should blow up all the pipelines in Ukraine to punish the Russians. It’s true that the Russians depend on those pipelines to send oil to Germany and other European nations, including those from the former Soviet Union, but it was just breathtaking that this man doesn’t realize he would also be blowing up Ukraine’s only reliable source of energy, from Russia, part of which has been regularly siphoned off by the Ukrainians ever since the pipelines were built. That’s in addition to not paying a market price for the fuel they get legally and not paying a lot of the bill at all. This right-wing thug is the kind of idiot the US supports, as long as he is useful. I’m not sure anybody will view his suggestion as helpful, least of all Kiev’s supporters in Europe. But this is what we have let loose. And one thing is leading to another and that to another, until we have a snowball rolling downhill. Angela Merkel’s indignant hysterics are not helping either. As the head of a country that took so many millions of Russian lives, she might want to let someone else take the lead. Fat chance.

Keeping the Kettle on the Boil

Just a word on Syria, the US, and NATO.  A video has appeared on You-Tube showing Syrian opponents of the Assad regime using a weapon that looks very much like one used by US Navy Seals, the British- made AS-50. According to one report, the instrument of war was being wielded by rebels aligned with the Al Qaeda school of government. According to Zee

The Free Syrian Army has been receiving weapons from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – all close allies of the US…But the US has repeatedly stated that it has sent no weapons to the opposition forces. 

The Financial Times also reports stepped up weapons shipments to the rebels from a number of “foreign backers” that include both Middle Eastern and Western governments, although France seems to be getting the willies over unintended consequences and is most recently a bit less keen than the Brits to jump in with both feet.

As far as the US goes, it does indeed say, don’t look at us. This is what I refer to as proxy arming; put in the word to your so-called friends (as we like to say, the US has no friends, only interests), keep your hands apparently clean and your plausible deniability intact, and still get what you want.

Keep tuned to this channel. The blood flow is about to increase dramatically in Syria, which will continue to provide wonderful sound and video bites for our 24-hour news services. We haven’t quite made up our minds to go whole hog against Assad, witness our decision that chemical weapons weren’t used in Syria despite Israel’s claim that they were (it doesn’t matter by whom) and Russia’s claim that they were (by the Syrian opposition). It’s a little dicey when you set a hard and fast red line and then somebody crosses it before you’re ready to make good on your threats. Never fear. If the big guns are making their way to Assad’s opponents, it is only a question of time before our brave president agrees to provide a little NATO air support to stop the bloodshed, but only after we increase it.

Meanwhile, North Korea plays at increasingly mad nuclear weapons-rattling and Iran works feverishly to get its own nukes, while to our south the madmen of Venezuela and their allied communist regimes throughout Latin America flatten any remaining civil rights. But by all means, spend your time and treasure making war throughout the Middle East, destabilizing countries, upping the body count, swelling the ranks of the jihadists and proclaiming your virtue. I’m sure history will be kind to you. Or maybe not.

We, Robots

God is with Us

God is with Us

The Wall Street Journal today carries an article by Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff and Patrick J. McCloskey on drone warfare, or more accurately, robot warfare, that should be obligatory reading for every thinking American. It raises some of the concerns I have expressed in past blogs about the use of drones, at home and abroad, but adds fodder for more worry with the warning that we are moving toward a world in which the robots will choose what and whom to destroy, with little or no human input.

massed militaryI remember when I was still sitting behind a desk in the State Department, in the Bureau of Political and Military Affairs.  It was the 1990s and the great debate in the military at that time was small and fast or big and slow. Briefly, it was a debate between the advantages of a smaller, more mobile military force that could be moved around rapidly in response to threat development, versus those of a larger, better-equipped, more numerous force that was slower moving, but able to do the job more thoroughly. That debate was finally hashed out in Iraq, where the small and fast school of thought championed by such men as General Eric Shinseki won, leading to the disastrous pillaging and bloodshed in the post-invasion period when we had too few men and too little equipment to do all the jobs that needed to be done.

At the time of this debate, pre-Iraq, I had serious doubts about small and fast. The Pentagon had plenty of arguments to support one view or the other, but proponents were arguing (quite rightly) the military merits of their positions. I, on the other hand, was the political part of Pol-Mil and I looked at things through a different prism. I argued with anybody interested in listening (not many) that the fast part was inherently pernicious because it would present politicians with an almost irresistible temptation to deploy its military too often and carelessly to achieve short-term fixes to long-term and complex problems. Big and slow forced decision-makers to consider the costs of proposed actions and gave time for serious debate. Small and fast precluded all of that. What politician, save the rare statesman, can resist the splashy victory, the bragging rights, the short surge in poll numbers, the feeling of being the toughest guy on the block? In short, I argued, the relatively easy use of force would inevitably lead to an abuse by politicians of our military might that over time would erode the prestige of the US and its honor without commensurate payoffs. I would contend that the United States reached that point some few years ago.

Arobot warriorsnd now, as the authors of the WSJ article point out, we have arrived at the age of The Robot Warrior. Now not only can we wage war (by any name we choose to call it) small and fast, we have actually reduced the use of force to its easiest and least risky form, war-making that requires little beyond the investment in research and development. Furthermore, robots are relatively cheap, much less expensive than human beings, and are thus all the more attractive. Robot warriors are the ideal solution for a country in economic decline, but still bound and determined to have its fingers in everybody else’s pies. Here is an excerpt from the authors’ vision of the future:

These machines will bring many benefits, greatly increasing battle reach and efficiency while eliminating the risk to human soldiers. If a drone gets shot down, there’s no grieving family to console back home. Politicians will appreciate the waning of antiwar protests, too…The problem is that robotic weapons eventually will make kill decisions on the battlefield with no more than a veneer of human control. Full lethal autonomy is  no mere next step in military strategy: It will be the crossing of a moral Rubicon. Ceding godlike powers to robots reduces human beings to things with no more intrinsic value than any object.

I don’t have any hope that the men and women who make our national security decisions, whether the president or the most junior member of Congress, will reconsider what we are doing and where we are leading the world. I don’t expect a correction of course, and no doubt it is already too late to change this country’s trajectory or try to put the genie back into the bottle. We are addicted to the use of force and to the unlimited exercise of power. We will continue to batten on the misery of other nations, brought to them by our small, fast and inexpensive robot forces, until such time as we are stopped in our tracks.

We created nuclear weapons because they could be created and they could be used and they could give us a quick solution to what was genuinely a terrible problem that was inarguably our own. The nuclear threat was a good solution while it lasted, and it lasted a lot longer than anything lasts in our modern world, but eventually the dike burst. Today we watch impotently as the world’s most erratic, unstable countries join the growing list of those that are already stockpiling nuclear weapons or are rushing to create them. Similarly, and without any sign that we learned the lessons of history, we created robot warriors because they could be created and they could be useful and they could give us quick solutions to problems. Unfortunately, we now use our deadly machines to solve problems that are not ours at all and that would better addressed through other means. But launching the machines is so easy to do and the mayhem they cause is such an immediate gratification that we are as likely to refrain from our next strike as the heroin addict is to kick the monkey off his back.

captured droneTaking into consideration the various lunatics who have the nuclear button at their fingertips, I think it’s a pretty good bet that sooner rather than later one of them is going to launch against a perceived enemy. But before we see the mushroom cloud, it’s another good bet that any number of countries ill-disposed to us will have reproduced our robot technology, thus dramatically reducing the risks and costs of waging war. My only question is: who will launch their deadly drones against us first — Iran, North Korea, China or the US government?

Not a joke, no matter what Lindsey Graham believes.