Monday, December 30, 2013

MMXIV

2014 will have similar themes to its predecessor.

The wider Middle East will continue to be convulsed by the uprisings of recent years, the Iran/Great Satan relationship will require close attention, the rise of China and re-emergence of Japan should mean headlines coming out of the South China Sea.

The possibility of war between Iran and Great Satan receded across 2013.

Now 2014 throws up the possibility of detente between them, but it will be a difficult road.

If the interim nuclear deal becomes a comprehensive one, detente is possible, if it falls apart then war will again begin to feature in the headlines.

China is emerging on to the world stage at a steady rate, and under the Premiership of Shinzo Abe Japan is re-emerging almost 60 years after the end of the World War Two.

They will bump up against each other with ripples washing up against the US Navy and countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

China is building a blue water navy, pushing out into the Pacific. To do that it has to sail past Japan and there things get a bit crowded.

At the same time there is a fledging arms race between China and India amid continuing tensions between the two along the Himalayas.

In 2014, Aegypt will hold parliamentary and presidential elections.

Whoever wins - their power will be limited in a fractured country in danger of becoming bankrupt.

Next door in Libya, the state didn't fall apart because it has yet to come together following the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

Tripoli was the scene of many gun battles as different militia took on each other and the fledging official armed forces in what is a capital city in name only. The second city Benghazi saw similar scenes amid fears that Libya might disintegrate.

Like Syria. Now some Syrian opposition groups are fighting 'Al Qaeda in Syria', who are fighting the Syrian Kurds, who are also fighting the Syrian opposition, who are still fighting Assad.

Damascus has held yet it's hard to see how it will ever again dominate the whole country. The state lines drawn in the sand by the colonialists a century ago are disappearing.

Al Qaeda does its best to make things worse. We will hear more from al Qaeda in 2014, but its stated aim of creating an Islamic caliphate from which to dominate the world has advanced little since the AQ declarations of war in 1996 and 1998.

The Xian Nakbah will reach a horrifically low depth that will finally spark some kinda action from the Xian West like militarily and economically enforced tolerance

The Strip's Suicide Regime will act out with yet another Intifada and the World will study their fingernails like they are the most interseting thing ever as Little Satan annihilates HAMAS fighters and their innocent human shielding

Brazil will continue to rise, Russia will continue to dominate its 'near abroad' after a string of policy successes clawing back the influence it lost in the aftermath of the collapse of communism.

Iraq will hold an election which will show how fractured the country still is two years after the Americans went home.

And Afghanistan will hold a presidential election showing how fragile it is ahead of the troop pull-out at the end of the year.

Speaking of fragility, the elections for the European Parliament in late May will show the strength or weakness of loyalty to the main stream post-war consensus across the continent. 

The National Front will win huge numbers of votes in France, and UKIP is likely to do well in the UK. The former may well be a reflection of voting intentions in French domestic elections, the latter will frighten the three big British political parties.

Scottish independence? Unlikely, but possible, however that's the future, and if you want to make God laugh - tell him your plans.

The most threatening and most likely conflicts include some to expect: limited military intervention in Syria's deteriorating civil war; a cyberattack on critical infrastructure in America; military strikes against Iran if nuclear talks fail or Tehran advances its nuclear program; a North Korean crisis sparked by military provocation or internal political instability; a major terrorist attack on Great Satan or an ally; and greater turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan as American and NATO troops unAss the A.O.

And I'm too crunk to write anymore. Happy New Year!



Pic - "Threats and threats of threats"

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Flot Rossiyskoy Federatsii

Tovarisch!

Federal Russian Navy is fixing to get semi sorta re crunk up in the near time future

"This year, 36 combat ships, fast attack crafts and support vessels will join the Russian Navy. This has never happened before."

The Navy would receive eight nuclear-powered strategic submarines, 16 multirole submarines and 54 warships of various classes by 2020 as a result of the implementation of the state rearmament program.

The eight strategic missile boats include three Borei- and five Borei-A-class vessels armed with Bulava ballistic missiles, which are to become the mainstay of the Navy's strategic nuclear deterrent, replacing their aging predecessors.

The 16 multi-purpose submarines include eight Granei-class nuclear-powered attack submarines and improved Kilo- and Lada-class diesel-electric boats.

In addition to submarines, the navy will receive Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates and Steregushchy-class corvettes, Buyan-class corvettes and Ivan Gren-Class large landing ships.

Even tho the new Russian Navy ain't all that - she's  getting more bigger

For the first time in Russian history, the Russian Navy is modernizing courtesy of a NATO partner as Moscow has purchased two all-purpose 26,000 ton amphibious ships of the Mistral-Class from France.

To note that this expansion is enduring growing pains would be an understatement. The most glaring defect is the continued failure of Bulava, the solid propellant submarine-launched missile, to be fitted aboard the Borei-Class submarines. Without it, these submarines cannot conduct their primary mission of strategic nuclear deterrence. Additionally, the A190 gun for Steregushchiy-Class corvettes has delayed deliveries of this class. Delays in the production schedule for a number of ships and submarines for engineering failures are still commonplace as are instances of overall shoddy workmanship.

 In fact, retired Russian Navy admirals see the problem as systemic by criticizing Russia’s centralized shipbuilding organization under the United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK), comparing it to a “pieman stitching shoes”.

Even with all its warts, Russia’s navy is a force in ascendance, growing in size, sophistication, and ubiquity. It is experiencing reasonable growing pains, some of which could be considered scandalous in proportion. Given the centralized state control of its shipbuilding industry, it is not likely that Russian naval industrial capacity will ever be marked by either flexibility or creativity.

However, the Russian navy ensign, the St. Andrew’s Cross, will increasingly be seen in the world’s harbors and maritime choke points, a sight vaguely reminiscent of the good old days of the Cold War.

Pic - "As NATO and Great Satan deprioritize a former strategic center of gravity, Russia eagerly moves in to fill the void. "

Friday, December 27, 2013

WoW!!

The Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

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

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What If Germany Won WWI?


Won't be much longer til ebberdobby "YaYs!" the 100th Anniversary of the Guns of August.

What if Imperial Deutschland had won the First World War? 

The first world war came to an end in November 1918, when the German armies surrendered near Compiegne. But it could plausibly have ended in a very different way in spring 1918, if Ludendorff's offensive on Paris and towards the Channel had succeeded. It nearly did so. And what might 20th-century Europe have been like if it had?

Obviously, it would have been dominated and shaped by Germany. But what kind of Germany? The militaristic, conservative, repressive Prussian power created by Bismarck? Or the Germany with the largest labour movement in early 20th-century Europe? German history after 1918 would have been a contest between the two – and no one can say which would have won in the end.   
But one can say that a victorious Germany, imposing peace on the defeated allies at the treaty of Potsdam, would not have had the reparations and grievances that were actually inflicted upon it by France at Versailles. As a consequence, the rise of Hitler would have been much less likely. In that case, neither the Holocaust nor the second world war would necessarily have followed. If Germany's Jews had survived, Zionism might not have had the international moral force that it rightly claimed after Hitler's defeat. The modern history of the Middle East would therefore be very different – partly also because Turkey would have been among the victors in 1918.

In the kaiser's Europe, defeated France would be the more likely seedbed for fascism, not Germany. But with its steel and coal still in German-controlled Alsace-Lorraine, France's military and naval potential would have been contained. Meanwhile, defeated Britain would have seen its navy sunk in the Heligoland Bight, have been forced to cede its oil interests in the Middle East and the Gulf to Germany, and have been unable to contain Indian nationalism. In practice, the British empire would have been unsustainable. Today's Britain might have ended up as a modest north European social democratic republic – like Denmark without a prince.

Meanwhile America, whose entry into the war would have been successfully pre-empted by Germany's victory, would have become a firmly isolationist power and not the enforcer of international order. Franklin Roosevelt would solve America's postwar economic problems in the 1930s, but he would never fight a war in Europe – though he might have to fight one against Japan. The Soviet Union, with a wary but powerful neighbour in victorious Germany, would have been the great destabilising factor but it might not have been invaded as it was in 1941. And with no second world war there might never have been a cold war either. 
A parlour game? Obviously. But at least we can see that the outcome mattered. Europe would have been different if Germany had won in 1918. It would have been grim, repressive and unpredictable in many ways. But there is a plausible case for saying many fewer people would have died in 20th-century Europe. If nothing else, that is worth some reflection. The first world war was a catastrophe in the mud. But it was about something more than tragic sacrifice too. The outcome – what happened and what did not – made a difference. In 2014 we need to get beyond the rival national perspectives and learn to see the war more objectively and thoughtfully than has yet happened.


Pic - "It would have been in the military's interest to push for more democracy in the Reich government, since the people would have been conspicuously pro-military."



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pyongyang Purge


GsGf's Nippon Defense Advisor gives up hot deets on alla cray cray chiz in NoKo

Consider what happened on December 17. Choe Ryong-hae, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Korean Workers’ Party, was conspicuously present on stage at the commemoration of the second anniversary of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il’s death – the first major ceremony following the purge and execution of Jang Song-thaek, the former vice chairman of the National Defense Commission. Choe’s speech, with its threats against Great Satan and South Korea, seemed to set the stage for his political elevation.

Jang Song-thaek had been seen as a kind of regent to Kim Jong-un, the young successor to the Kim family dynasty, and was thought to be number two in the regime. But he owed his position to his wife, Kim Kyong-hui, the only sister of Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s deceased father.

Jang's tact, as well as his usefulness as an interlocutor with China, enabled him to keep his position, despite his long-term separation from his wife. But in North Korea, blood is paramount: everything, including ideology and the national interest, is subservient to the maintenance of the Kim dynasty. The “legacy” of the “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung and his son, “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, determines all major decisions.

The true holder of power since Kim Jong-il’s death has been his sister, Kim Kyong-hui, and no one else. North Korean culture would suggest that women do not take positions of leadership, but it appears that she was the only family member whom Kim Jong-il could trust. When he was incapacitated by illness, it was she who called the shots.

Her blood tie to the Kim dynasty is the reason why, even after her husband was purged and executed (and the rest of his family rounded up), she maintained her political position. It has even been suggested that she made the decision to purge her husband. Though it cannot be known whether she also proposed killing him, it is not surprising that she believed that, with her own health failing, she could not leave the family dynasty to her husband’s care.

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of Jang’s execution is that it appears to be part of a feeding frenzy that has claimed the lives of a number of senior officials and generals. And the bloodletting has been extremely personal: In August, Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the execution by firing squad of an ex-girlfriend and other members of her musical ensemble; the killings are said to have been carried out in front of their families.

Elsewhere in the communist world, such murderous purges were renounced long ago, first in the Soviet Union by Khrushchev, following his denunciation of Stalin, and then in China by Deng Xiaoping, following his rehabilitation and return to power in the late 1970’s. This “reform” did not make these regimes any more beneficent or efficient, but it did bring a degree of stability and predictability to their behavior. North Korea, always the least predictable of totalitarian communist states, remains in a twilight world.

More disturbing is the question of whether China is going down a parallel path under President Xi Jinping. Ever since Deng’s rule, there has been an understanding that members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo are not to be touched, even in retirement. But Xi, under the pretext of his anti-corruption battle, has targeted retired Politburo member Zhou Yongkang, who is now reportedly under house arrest, facing graft charges – and lurid allegations not only that he murdered his first wife but that he tried to assassinate Xi.

China’s emphasis since Deng on rule by consensus may not have made the country any more democratic, but it at least prevented the re-emergence of a new cult of personality à la Mao Zedong. The question today is whether Xi’s flouting of this internal party convention is another step in re-creating one-man – and thus completely arbitrary – rule in China.

In North Korea, of course, arbitrary rule – no matter how bizarre and inept – is always the norm. And now, with Jang purged, responsibility for economic failure in North Korea has been shifted to Choe. All officials and people related to him now live under the shadow of the executioner, for he is certain to bear the blame when the dynasty needs a scapegoat for its mounting problems.

And Jang’s purge may make those problems worse. While China lost a convenient point of contact with the Kim regime, North Korea may have lost the only channel by which to sustain itself. The economy cannot be revived so long as international sanctions are maintained, and the sanctions seem certain to remain in place so long as the regime continues with its nuclear brinkmanship. China, which has been the Kim dynasty’s lifeline, no longer appears willing to offer it a blank check.

So the day is fast approaching when Kim Jong-un and his clan will have to take responsibility for the country’s dire condition, and it may come soon after Kim Kyong-hui dies. If so, the Kim dynasty’s last chapter may have begun with the current spasm of executions, though the ending – for the Korean Peninsula and East Asia alike – remains very much in doubt

Pic - "Juche!"

Monday, December 23, 2013

Killing Our Enemies On Xmas Day Since 1776

"...You, the officers and men of this American Army must remember that you are free men fighting for the blessings of liberty. 

"...At this fateful hour the eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us. The eyes of the world are watching. Let us show them all that a freeman contending for Liberty is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.

"...And when the hour is upon us fight for all that you are worth and all that you cherish and love. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct that you show."

Pic - "It is a great stake we are playing for."

Nippon Defense Plan

Nippon's New Defense Plan is off the hook!

Japan plans to go way beyond the last millennium's 'Self Defense Force" chiz and be all bulking up for regional puissance!

Japan’s navy—the Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF)—will see a  boost in ships. The number of diesel-electric submarines is set to rise from 16 to 22. Submarine construction is holding steady at one per year, and the rise will be accomplished, at least in the short term, by refurbishing submarines of the Oyashio class that would otherwise be retired. Japan’s submarines are typically retired after 18 years in service, so its older submarines are actually rather young compared with those of other countries.

The MSDF will also receive a boost in destroyers, with seven more to be acquired, including two Aegis destroyers. The new procurement plan will bring Japan’s total number of destroyers from 47 to 54, and Aegis destroyers from six to eight. In order to accommodate the extra destroyers within the MSDF’s force structure an additional escort flotilla will be formed. Each flotilla consists of two escort squadrons, with each squadron consisting of 4 destroyers. There are currently four escort flotillas, based at Yokosuka, Sasebo, Maizuru, and Kure.

Additionally, there reports that the MSDF is studying the purchase of littoral combat ships of its own. The Mainichi Daily News reports that small, high-speed escort ships to counter the threat of mines and submarines are being considered. Such ships would be ideal for operating in and around the Ryukyus, especially the Miyako Strait.

Finally, four Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft will be purchased, bringing the total number in service up to six. The P-1 is an indigenous design meant to replace the Lockheed P-3C Orion. It is similar to the P-8 Poseidon, the most notable difference being that it retains a magnetic anomaly detection boom. Up to 70 P-1s will ultimately be procured.

The Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) will see both a reorganization and injection of new aircraft. The number of ASDF intercepts of foreign aircraft has sharply increased, particularly over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. In response Japan is not only shifting aircraft southward, but is increasing the number of support aircraft and ground radar systems. Fighter aircraft will also see a modest boost.

The airborne early warning group, which oversees Japan’s four E-767 AWACS and 13 E-2C Hawkeyes, will purchase an additional four AWACS aircraft and increase the number of squadrons from two to three. One squadron will be based on Okinawa, where it will be able to monitor the Ryukyus and East China Sea. In addition to aerial radar platforms, the number of ground radar warning squadrons will be bumped to 28.

Fighter squadrons will increase from 12 to 13, with the number of fighters set to grow from 260 to 280 units. Japan will acquire 28 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters during the five-year period covered by the Mid Term Defense Plan, with another 14 to follow later. Japan is considering a second F-35 purchase, possibly including the F-35B vertical takeoff and landing version for deployment on Japan’s Izumo and Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers.

Japan’s Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) will see the most change, with sweeping alterations to force structure. The new GSDF will feature three rapid-deployment divisions, three rapid-deployment brigades, one airborne brigade, one helicopter brigade, and one amphibious brigade.

The amphibious brigade will be built on the Western Army Infantry Regiment, a battalion-sized marine infantry unit based at Nagasaki on the southern island of Kyushu. The regiment has served for the past decade as Japan’s test bed for amphibious warfare, and has participated in the joint Iron Fist and Dawn Blitz exercises with United States forces.

National Defense Program Guidelines represent a significant change in Japanese defense policy. New capabilities, such as ISR assets, joint operations, and amphibious units will go a long way toward addressing gaps in Japan’s existing defenses. The reorganization of the Self Defense Forces, as well as procurement initiatives for equipment such as the Osprey and Global Hawk will create a foundational basis for the defense of Japan’s southern islands.
Pic - "Rising Sun!"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

WoW!!

The Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

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

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Al Qaeda Versus Hiz"B"Allah!

Oh No!!

Say it ain't so!!

LOL

Noth like watching two creeps battle it out - wishing they could both lose, right?


Ev since Syria went all bloody and batty, cats have warned bout the regional aspects of insurrection and civil war on the surrounding environs.

Specifically Leb Leb Lebanon.

One thing is increasingly clear in a wider context: Al-Qaeda’s reaffirming itself regionally, especially in a swathe of territory stretching from Iraq to Syria and now extending increasingly to Lebanon. This has been characterized by the effort of Al-Qaeda franchises to seize territory and systematically eliminate all those, including Sunnis, who might stand in their way.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, which is active in Syria, is an extension of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, so their actions in Syria and Iraq must be viewed as part of a coordinated strategy. In Syria, ISIS and the Nusra Front have, from the start, been concerned less with fighting the regime of Bashar Assad than with carving out spaces in areas under the control of the Syrian rebels and the Kurdish community. This territory, particularly Syrian oil fields, has provided them with a steady source of income, therefore leverage over other rebel groups.

In an effort to consolidate an alternative Islamist alliance to Al-Qaeda, the Saudis formed the so-called Islamic Front in November, made up of seven Salafist rebel groups. Its ambition of creating an Islamic state in Syria worries Western states, which believe no transitional political project is feasible if it ignores the fears of Syria’s minorities. However, in a sign of the confusion permeating American and British policy on Syria, the Obama administration and the Cameron government have just suspended aid to Syrian groups they had been supporting, guaranteeing their further marginalization.

The only problem is that Hezbollah now finds itself transformed into cannon fodder in a battle against Al-Qaeda, when its initial goal was merely to defend Assad rule. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has claimed that his party’s aim is to fight the “takfiris.” However, far more effective forces than his have failed to triumph over Al-Qaeda. The only success came when Great Satan collaborated with the Sunni Awakening movement in Iraq to push the jihadists onto the defensive.

Hezbollah doesn’t have that capacity. The party has imported the Syrian war to Lebanon, even if it is not the only one to do so. Its hubris has been a curse to the country, and will remain so for some time.

Pic - "Well, if paradise is in the shadow of the blade - shouldn't both sides be happy?"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Palestine, Again

Of all the intractable intractables amidst Nation States and Observer States in the New Millennium - none is more boring than something something Palestine.

For eons the twin Palestines (your choice - The Strip or Westerbank) have punched far above their weight class in ME Diplopolititary chiz. For eons, Great Satazn fans have been lectured to that Little Satan - and support for Little Satan - are ruining the whole world and queering the mix on Peace.

And.

Must.

Stay.

Awake.

And now comes Palestine Peace Deal #69.

West Palestines President For Life (heck - when was the last 'lection - like a decade ago?) Abu Mazen/M"Moud Abbas was reportedly incensed by the latest  proposal.

 In recent days PA spokesmen have accused Mr Kerry of “appeasement” and of failing to be “a neutral mediator"

The criticism looks more than justified. Under cover of a vision for peace, the US secretary of state is offering an Israeli security plan at the expense of meaningful Palestinian statehood.
That is not entirely surprising given that the plan was drafted by John Allen, a general formerly in command of US forces in Afghanistan, who has spent months quietly liaising with Israeli counterparts.

The main sticking point is the Jordan Valley, an area that was expected to comprise nearly a quarter of a future Palestinian state.

Gen Allen has indulged the Little Satan demand that she be allowed to continue a long-term “military presence” in the Jordan Valley, with a reassessment by the US in 10-15 years’ time.

That is a retreat from Washington’s earlier commitment at the Annapolis talks of 2007 that no Israeli soldiers would be stationed in the West Bank following an agreement. Security guarantees were to be provided instead by Nato troops, under US command.

According to Gen Allen’s plan, Little Satan’s security also requires that Palestinian security forces be only lightly armed, that it has control over the airspace and all borders and the US to install spying technology – euphemistically called “early warning systems” – throughout the West Bank.

In other words, the US vision of a Palestinian state looks remarkably like the model Little Satan has already implemented in Gaza.
Oh! The Horror!!

Welcome to the new argument - Little Satan is jamming up Palestine Democrazy.

Little Satan’s presence in the territories deprives Palestinians of their democratic rights, the argument goes, and if Little Satan does not give the Palestinians whatever territory they demand, she will have to choose between her democracy and her Juice character.

Au Contraire!

The problem with the democracy argument is that it is entirely disconnected from reality. Israel does not rule the Palestinians. The status quo in no way impeaches Little Satan’s democratic identity.

It is true that the Palestinians are not represented in the Knesset. But Little Satan residents of Judea and Samaria are similarly not represented in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Simply put, both the Palestinians and Little Satan  vote for the legislature that regulates them. That is democracy (though obviously it does not play out as well in the Palestinian political system).

The Palestinians have developed an independent, self-regulating government that controls their lives as well as their foreign policy. Indeed, they have accumulated all the trappings of independence and have recently been recognized as an independent state by the United Nations. They have diplomatic relations with almost as many nations as Little Satan does. They have their own security forces, central bank, top-level Internet domain name, and a foreign policy entirely uncontrolled by Little Satan

The Palestinians govern themselves. To anticipate the inevitable comparison, this is not a Little Satan controlled-puppet “Bantustan.” From their educational curriculum to their television content to their terrorist pensions, they implement their own policies by their own lights without any subservience to Little Satan . They pass their own legislation, such as the measure prohibiting real estate transactions with Jews on pain of death.

If Little Satan  truly “ruled over” the Palestinians, all these features of their lives would be quite different. Indeed, the Bantustans never won international recognition because they were puppets. “The State of Palestine” just got a nod from the General Assembly because it is not.

This is no longer a dispute about democracy; it is a dispute about territory.

Pic - "Accidental Empire!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Enemy Of My Enemy


Extraordnary dangers calls for extraordnary measures 

Saudi Arabia and Little Satan may be mortal enemies, but both countries are unequivocally opposed to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

Little Satan has similarly been frustrated by recent U.S. foreign policy, especially in regard to Iran. After the agreement with Iran was announced, the Little Satan prime minister described it as an “historic mistake.”

To counter Iran, Saudi Arabia and Little Satan could inaugurate a detente of convenience. The detente need not be overt or ratified in a formal alliance, but the two countries could clearly communicate their new understanding by concluding a temporary non-aggression pact; Saudi Arabia would cease all overt and covert hostilities against Israel in exchange for protection under the latter’s nuclear umbrella. Furthermore, the two countries would begin covertly collaborating on all measures to subvert the Iranian nuclear program as well as preparing for joint military operations.

While less optimal than securing a new major ally or acquiring a nuclear arsenal of its own, Saudi Arabia’s pact with Little Satan would arrest Iran’s momentum in the region.

The kingdom would regain the initiative and be privy to a nuclear deterrent without the risk of becoming an international pariah. Little Satan would obtain additional options to conduct a military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites. Moreover, Little Satan would preclude another neighboring hostile regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Great Satan would probably be shocked by such a development and have to contend with a variety of domestic reactions, ranging from vehement opposition to enthusiastic acceptance. Whatever the reaction, though, America would not end its bilateral alliances with either country.

Europe, in general, could welcome the pact as a positive step toward regional peace.

China, as noted above, is more concerned about the security of Gulf energy supplies and, if detente appeared to ensure the continued flow of oil, it would probably welcome the pact as well.

Russia could worry how the Saudi-Little Satan detente impacts Iran and Syria. It might decline to react publicly, but it would probably begin exploring how to respond if the relationship became operational.

A Saudi-Little Satan non-aggression pact may be speculative, but both countries know the American-Iranian nuclear agreement, like the unexpected opening of China in 1972, only marks the beginning of a deeper and consequential alignment.

Pic -"Egypt’s counterrevolution and Syria’s civil war could herald the arrival of a new superpower coalition, an unlikely alliance between Little Satan and Saudi Arabia, one with great political clout and the other with vast financial wealth, together flexing their muscles across the Middle East"

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sino Navy Recog Guide

As the world's most biggest Collectivist State ever flexes, prisses and preens her new found Naval chiz - GsGf's War Game Advisor gives up hot deets on way more than Chinese subs and carrier!

Type 056 Corvette

The Type 056s are classified in the West as corvettes—small ships useful for patrolling territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones. If China decides to start sending non-Coast Guard ships into the disputed Senkaku Islands area, the Type 056s will likely be the first ships sent in.
 
The Type 056s have a good mix of self-defense weapons, plus powerful anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities. The ships mount a 76-millimeter main gun up front for blasting ships and aircraft plus two 30-millimeter close-in weapon systems similar to the American Phalanx.
 
For missile defense, the Type 056s are equipped with a FL-3000N Flying Leopard missile system similar to the American Rolling Airframe Missile. Each launcher includes eight Flying Leopards.
Each Type 056 packs a formidable offensive punch in the form of four YJ-83 Eagle Strike anti-ship missiles. These munitions can attack targets more than 124 miles away with a 350-pound high explosive warhead. In the terminal phase, moments before impacting the target, the missile flies 15 feet above the wavetops at twice the speed of sound, making it difficult for defenders to shoot it down.
 
Capable of hunting submarines, the Type 056s are fitted with a helipad and hangar for one Z-9 helicopter plus six anti-submarine torpedoes mounted on the deck.
 
Type 052D Destroyer
 
This series of destroyers resembles the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class both externally and in mission. Like the Burkes, the 052Ds have distinctive large, flat-faced radars just under the bridge—and are designed to provide air defense to naval battle groups, particularly carrier battle groups. Beijing has built four Type 052Ds, so far.
 
The Type 052Ds are equipped two banks of 32 missile silos each, located for and aft. These primarily carry HQ-9 Red Banner air-defense missiles but some analysts, including author Eric Wertheim of Combat Ships of the World, speculate the silos could also pack land-attack cruise missiles similar to the American Tomahawk.
 
The HQ-9 is a derivative of the Russian S-300, similar to the American Patriot missile. With a range of 124 miles, it intercepts its target at speeds of up to Mach 4. The HQ-9 is capable of hitting low-flying aircraft and missiles all the way up to some ballistic missiles. The Red Banner packs an unusually heavy warhead of 400 pounds.
 
Other than the Red Banner missiles, ship armament consists of eight Eagle Strike missiles, one 100-millimeter dual-purpose gun, two close-in weapon systems and six anti-submarine torpedoes. The ships also mount four multiple rocket launchers, each capable of attacking submarines at a distance of three miles.
 
The new destroyers have a helipad and hangar to accommodate one medium-sized helicopter.
 
Type 071 Amphib Landing Dock
 
The Type 071 class can carry up to a battalion of marine infantry, roughly 400 to 800 troops, and has two vehicle decks capable of storing up to 18 armored vehicles. The dock ships can get troops and vehicles to shore by helicopter and landing craft. They have a flight deck capable of simultaneously operating two Z-8 troop-carrying helicopters, and can store another four in a large hangar.
 
The ships also have a very large well deck—think of it as a hangar for landing craft that can be flooded with seawater—that can store and launch amphibious vehicles, rigid hulled inflatable boats and four transport hovercraft similar to the American LCAC.
 
The ships each have limited self-defense protection in the form of a single 76-millimeter gun and four 30-millimeter close-in weapon systems. As defenses go, that’s not much, and the Type 071s will rely on other ships in a naval battlegroup to defend them.
 
Appropriately, the new dock ships based with China’s South Seas Fleet, where they can threaten Taiwan. They have also been sent to the Horn of Africa to serve in China’s anti-piracy force.
 
 Dongdiao super spy ship and Daishandao - China's only hospital ship get an indepth hello too 
 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

War Weary Myth


Yowza!

Virtually every poll on the Iran issue, from Pew surveys dating back to 2009 up to a Washington Post/ABC poll post-Geneva, gives clear evidence that Americans want a negotiated settlement. But they show just as plainly that a majority of the American public does not believe the Iranian regime is negotiating in good faith. According to the Masdar/Tower poll, 77 percent of all respondents distrust the mullahs who, according to 69 percent, constitute a greater threat to U.S. national security than all other threats in the Middle East combined.

In other words, the American public prioritizes its strategic concerns. They believe that the regime in Tehran is hostile to America. The public doesn’t trust it to bargain in good faith and doesn’t believe it will stop in its march toward a nuclear bomb.

Further, the surveys show that Americans by a large majority mistrust the mullahs and, as much as they’d like a negotiated settlement, believe that it’s unlikely. In other words, the broad American mainstream is more judicious and more sensible than elite liberal opinion, which is still caught up in its Rouhani-fever-induced fantasies of a “historical reconciliation” with a state sponsor of terror that has been targeting America, our interests, and our allies for 35 years.

Just as telling, the latest polls push back against the conceit that in the wake of two wars, Americans—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—no longer care about the larger world around them, especially not the Middle East. As it turns out, the American people are not isolationists, nor are they “war-weary,” as 44 has described them.

Rather, it seems that they’re wary of their leaders, and of the yawning gap between the White House’s public posture and its real intentions. These polls show that the public has taken an accurate accounting of the world, and identified the issue that most troubles us and threatens the security of our allies—Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Yes, Americans are weary—of a president who takes a cavalier attitude toward national security.

Pic - "Could be the start of a more peaceful era in the Middle East — or the beginning of a new round of bloodletting."

Friday, December 13, 2013

WoW!!

The Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

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

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Strike Iran Now to Avert Disaster Later

"The only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb."

Ancient wisdom now out of date, nicht wahr?

Today hardly anyone disagrees with those who say that the only thing worse than letting Iran get the bomb is bombing Iran. And in this reversal hangs a tale.

The old consensus was shaped by three considerations, all of which seemed indisputable at the time.

The first was that Iran was lying when it denied that its nuclear facilities were working to build a bomb. After all, with its vast reserves of oil and gas, the country had no need for nuclear energy. Even according to the liberal Federation of American Scientists a decade ago, the work being done at the Iranian nuclear facilities was easily "applicable to a nuclear weapons development program." Surprisingly, a similar judgment was made by Mohamed ElBaradei, the very dovish director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The second consideration was that the prospect of being annihilated in a retaliatory nuclear strike, which had successfully deterred the Soviets and the Chinese from unleashing their own nuclear weapons during the Cold War, would be ineffective against an Iran ruled by fanatical Shiite mullahs. As Bernard Lewis, the leading contemporary authority on You Know What, put it in 2007, to these fanatics "mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already [from the Iran-Iraq war] that they do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. . . . They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights."
 
Nor were the rulers of Iran deterred by the fear that their country would be destroyed in a nuclear war. In the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who brought the Islamist revolution to Iran in 1979: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. . . . I say let this land Iran go up in smoke, provided You Know What emerges triumphant in the rest of the world." (The quote appeared in a 1981 Iranian collection of the ayatollah's speeches. In later editions, that line and others were deleted as Iran tried to stir up nationalistic fervor amid the war with Iraq.)
 
And here, speaking in particular of a nuclear exchange with Little Satan—that "cancer" which the mullahs were and are solemnly pledged to wipe off the map—is the famous "moderate" Hashemi Rafsanjani, in an Al-Quds Day sermon at Tehran University on Dec. 14, 2001: "Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in m"Hammedist world." Mr. Rafsanjani, an earlier president of Iran, is the sponsor and mentor of its current president, that other celebrated "moderate," Hasan Rouhani.
The third consideration behind the old consensus was the conviction that even if the mullahs could be deterred, their acquisition of a nuclear capability would inevitably trigger a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. Because the Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere throughout the region were all terrified at the prospect of being lorded over and held hostage by an Iran ruled by their ancestral enemies the Shiites, those regimes would rush to equip themselves with their own nuclear arsenals.
 
Just as almost everyone agreed that Iran must be prevented from acquiring a nuclear capability, there was a similarly broad agreement that this could be done through a judicious combination of diplomacy and sanctions
 
Yet as the years wore on, it became clear, even to the believers in this strategy, that the Iranians would not be stopped either by increasingly harsh sanctions—or by endless negotiations. One might have expected the strategy's proponents to conclude, if with all due reluctance, that the only recourse left was to make good on the threat of military action. Yet while they continued to insist that "all options are on the table," it also became increasingly clear that for Western political leaders as well as the mainstream think tanks and the punditocracy, the stomach for the military option was no longer there, if indeed it had ever been.  
Learning to love the Persian New Clear Bomb  

The first step was to raise serious doubts about the old consensus. Yes, the Iranians were determined to build a bomb, and, yes, the mullahs were fanatics, but on further reflection there was good reason to think that they were not really as suicidal as the likes of Bernard Lewis persuaded us. That being the case, there was also good reason to drop the idea that it would be impossible to deter and contain them, as we had done even with the far more powerful Soviets and Chinese.

Adherents of the new consensus would have us believe that only two choices remain: a war to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or containment of a nuclear Iran—with containment the only responsible option. Yet as an unregenerate upholder of the old consensus,  remain convinced that containment is impossible, from which it follows that the two choices before us are not war vs. containment but a conventional war now or a nuclear war later.

The destruction would be far worse than any imaginable consequences of a Little Satan conventional strike today when there is still a chance to put at least a temporary halt, and conceivably even a permanent one, to the relentless Iranian quest for the bomb.
Pic - "Iran! Le Choix Des Armes"

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Next Gen

Oh! Pakistan!

As the most risible fakebelieve 'nation/states' concocted since Great Britain gave up empire to focus on upgrading Rock n Roll to Rock to Metal, Land of the Pure's history has essentially been one self inflicted heartache after another ('cept of course natural disasters that seem to periodically strike a country that is half and half floodplains and mountain tops). 

Official stats as a 'frenemy' nation/state' (of sorts) aside - Land of the Pure - for whatever reasons seems to host myriad T groups, creeps and head choppers:

The numerous terrorist groups operating in Pakistan have tended to fall into one of the five categories laid out by Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in a Congressional testimony:
  • Sectarian: Religiously motivated groups such as the Sunni Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Shia Tehrik-e-Jafria that are engaged in violence within Pakistan
  • Anti-Indian: Groups focused on the Kashmir dispute that operate with the alleged support of the Pakistani military and the intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Harakat ul-Mujahadeen
  • Afghan Taliban: The original Taliban movement and especially its Kandahari leadership centered around Mullah Mohammad Omar, believed to be based in Quetta
  • Al-Qaeda and its affiliates: The global jihadist organization founded by Osama bin Laden and led by Ayman al-Zawahiri;
  • The Pakistani Taliban: A coalition of extremist groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), led by Mullah Fazlullah
Other militant groups, include secessionist groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army in southwest Pakistan.

Pic - "With an average of more than one suicide bombing every week, 35,000 Pakistanis have died since 9/11."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shaking Hands With The Devil


As best ubderstood, diplopolitical protocols often require a lo five of sorts in the tradition of the traditional handshake.

Of course, the obverse is also true - dissing an out stretched hand denotes the innate uncoolness of the proffered shake and disaproval of th regime rep'ed.

Like 44's handshake with the cruel despot of unfree Cuba.

The brief handshake was delivered with the world watching as 44 greeted leaders assembled to make remarks at the memorial service here for Nelson Mandela. But the image — captured by photographers and television cameras — instantly raised questions about its deeper meaning.

Was 44 trying to signal a new effort by the American government to reach an accommodation with Cuba 50 years after the Communist revolution that put Fidel Castro, Raúl’s brother, in power? Or was 44 simply trying to avoid delivering a diplomatic snub at a memorial dedicated to forgiveness?

As Natan Sharansky preached in the essential "Case For Democracy" - despotries use photo ops and shout outs from Free World cats to LOL and crush dissidents and dissident spirits.

"Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant"

See, the hand 44 just lo fived is also the very same hand that has signed long time prison terms and death warrants for freedom fighters and cats struggling to be like Great Satan

Ironic and UnCool

Pic - "44 shook hands with Moammar Gadhafi,  Libya’s ruthless dictator. Less than two years later 44 sent hundreds of cruise missiles and months of air strikes to oust him"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Containment

Handling a new clear Iran is a prob from Hello.

So saith Persian Puzzle.

Now, it's more like there are two awful choices - and we gotta pick one.

War - or - Containment?

Tehran already has significant uranium enrichment capacity, sophisticated missile technology and other technical requisites. This knowledge and capability can’t be bombed out of scientists’ heads by either Litttle or Great Satan. Even a perfectly executed American attack would delay matters only a few years. Inevitably, Ayatollah Khamenei would reconstitute the program and make future facilities far less vulnerable. He would also shut down current international inspections under the nonproliferation treaty, severely hampering American intelligence.

What’s more, Great Satan would have to expect a sharp spike in Iranian-­sponsored international terrorism. And then what? Great Satan would retaliate and escalate, all as “a prelude to invasion,” with Marines storming the beaches of the Persian Gulf. This prediction is extravagant taste, but foreign policy is no stranger to the power of idiocy.

To avoid this nightmare, look to the cold war model of containment that was successfully used against the Soviet Union: that is, employ all means necessary to limit a hostile nation’s influence until it collapses from within. In Iran’s case, this would include economic sanctions, building up regional allies militarily and encouraging internal opposition to the ayatollahs. Great Satan has been containing Iran in this way since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and should continue to do so regardless of her nuclear status.

Preventive war is dangerous.  Yet a policy of containment would probably be too fragile to succeed. Soviet leaders were essentially risk-averse (the Cuban missile crisis was an exception). Some present Iranian rulers seem more inclined to take chances that could bring a strong American response. Further, any one of a number of fierce conflicts between Great Satan and Iran could derail containment and jump to preventive war.

Pic - "The logic of nuclear deterrence has not yet failed in the 64 years since the world acquired its second nuclear power. This logic does not guarantee certainty"

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Democrazy Promo

Since alla cool kids know Great Satan's accidental on purpose gig in the World is to promote, protect and prefer democrazy, capitalistic desires are like totally hip and haunch with it.

See,

In the minds of American foreign policy elites, there are both moral and strategic imperatives for spreading democracy.

Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, believe that liberal democracies are morally superior to other forms of government. As for the strategic rationale, American elites point to the fact that liberal democracies don’t go to war with one another, even if they aren’t any less warlike (and may be more warlike) when interacting with non-democracies. One can quibble with these rationales, but they are deeply held by American elites and, to a much lesser extent, Americans in general. Thus, as Suellen Aguiar pointed out this week, Great Satan is likely to continue promoting democracy despite the setbacks she has encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the American foreign policy community is going to continue trying to promote democracy, it must come to terms with one simple irony: it has become less successful at spreading democracy even as it has made democracy promotion a greater priority in U.S. foreign policy.

Consider that the centerpiece of America’s post-WWII commitment to Europe was the Marshall Plan, which sought to shore up Western European allies economically. Similarly, the U.S. supported repressive regimes in South Korea and Taiwan that were led by economically-forward looking dictators.

The advantages of promoting capitalism over democracy are manifold. First and foremost, it’s quite difficult to get the leaders of authoritarian regimes to buy into democracy promotion. This is not necessarily because they are power hungry egomaniacs (although they certainly could be). Even if a perfectly benign individual was ruling an authoritarian state, they would have significant incentives not to advocate democracy. After all, swift transitions from authoritarianism to democracy often result in leaders of the former not only losing their power but also their lives. Indeed, the lives of their families are often jeopardized by such a transition

By contrast, forward-thinking authoritarians can be persuaded to adopt capitalism and integration into the global economy, which can often shore up support for them domestically. Even as it does, economic growth and a modern economy gradually strengthen the institutions and new power brokers who will later be needed to rule in a stable democracy. In that way, capitalism not only gradually supports a transition to democracy, but it creates the conditions necessary to ensure a fairly stable transition to democratic rule. These same conditions are lacking in authoritarian states that seek swift transitions to democracy. A stable transition, in turn, means that the democracy that does take root will be more sustainable and entrenched in society. Just compare the democratic transitions that took place in countries like Taiwan and South Korea with those that occurred in the former Soviet Union and Egypt.

The major drawbacks of supporting democracy via capitalism promotion are the length of time it takes and the uncertain outcome involved. Regarding length of time, although it can be painful for those involved, as just noted, this time usually ensures greater success in the long-term. Democracies or any political systems are not meant to develop overnight.

Regarding the uncertain outcome, it is true that embracing capitalism doesn’t automatically lead to democratic rule. The People’s Republic of China seems to be evidence of that. However, these are the exceptions to the rule, and it’s quite possible that in time democracy will take hold in a country like China. Moreover, while the human rights situation in China is certainly condemnable, it has without question improved drastically since China’s reform and opening up period began. What reasonable person could argue that ordinary Chinese were freer under Mao than they are today?

The bottom line is that if the U.S. is going to promote democracy, it has to get better at it. It is irresponsible and immoral to promote democracy if it is likely to lead to anarchy, no matter how pure initial intentions were. And if the U.S. wants to get better at promoting democracy, a good place to start would be by promoting forward-thinking authoritarian leaders who base their legitimacy on economic growth and integration into the global economy.

Pic - "Breaking the REAL Axis of Evil!"