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Belmont Club

Every Man for Himself

July 27th, 2013 - 3:23 pm

‘Massive Jailbreak: More Than 1,000 Inmates Escape From Prison Near Benghazi’ writes the Blaze and ‘Iraq jailbreak [500 escaped] highlights al-Qaeda affiliate’s ascendancy,says the Washington Post.

Coincidence? Or this? “CIA closing bases in Afghanistan as it shifts focus amid military drawdown” — Washington Post.

The CIA faces an array of new challenges beyond al-Qaeda, such as monitoring developments in the Middle East and delivering weapons to rebels in Syria. John O. Brennan, the recently installed CIA director, has also signaled a desire to restore the agency’s focus on traditional espionage.

“When we look at post-2014, how does the threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan measure against the threat in North Africa and Yemen?” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss government deliberations. “Shouldn’t our resources reflect that?”

It’s back to Syria and the Arabian Peninsula; it’s a return to the Middle East and Africa for the Obama administration which campaigned on the idea that the region was the wrong place to be. And now, without anything much to show for its investment in Southwest Asia it is deja vu all over again. Except this time it is going back to a house on fire. Egypt, once an ally, is in upheaval; Iraq once an American client, is now dangerously close to becoming an Iranian client and Syria and Lebanon are blowing apart.  And in case anyone has forgotten, Yemen is right next to Saudi Arabia.

Detroit dead. Al-Qaeda alive.

When Obama left the Middle East to engage in his “war of necessity” — remember that? — he forgot to turn off the oven, left the flatiron running on a shirt and put a can of charcoal lighter on a smoldering barbecue.

The mainstream media is one of the biggest liabiities of the administration. It allows it to lie to itself; to continue believing that everything is alright long after the last person will have moved out of its decaying cities. The media lets Washington bury its mistakes in print. But as we well know in this Age of Zombies, anything buried that ain’t dead will walk the earth again.

But not everyone reads the Journolist talking points. Two years into the Obama administration, a Japanese Prime Minister made a little noticed statement. “I do not believe that it is a good idea for Japan to depend on the United States for her security over the next 50 or 100 years.” Toward that end the Japanese have redesigned their forces to be deterrents in themselves, capable of pro-active and offensive operations. Tokyo sees China’s challenge over its sovereignty to the outlying islands as one of the most immediate challenges.

“China is definitely planning a strategy to conquer the Senkaku Islands,” claimed senior researcher of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Richard Fisher. The chance of a Senkaku Battle is not “zero” — the question is: “Is Japan ready to respond?”

The U.S. has made it clear that the Japan-U.S. Bilateral Security Treaty is applicable to the Senkaku Islands. However, former JMSDF member, Hideki Nakamura shared, “In reality, I doubt the U.S. would actually fight. I believe their realm of support will be to provide information and logistical support only.”

What are the odds of JSDF winning?

Fisher shared his views, “If the battle is focused around the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands, I believe JSDF will have the advantage. The JSDF members are far more professional, and their level of readiness is superior to that of Chinese military members. The key in this battle will be the Japanese submarines. Japan has the best conventional submarines in the world, and will be able wipe out the Chinese submarines at a stroke.”

“In reality, I doubt the U.S. would actually fight. ”  This represents the collapse of deterrence. It means that in order to convince enemies of American seriousness going forward Washington has to actually fight, which is a whole lot more expensive than simply maintaining a reputation.

When the public thinks of a non-US navy it usually thinks of Britain’s or France’s. But Japan has more submarines as France and more surface combatants than the Royal Navy. And  what its navy actually buys and builds is the best true indicator of what Tokyo actually thinks of Washington.

From its preparations it appears Japan to be preparing to look after itself. Japan, ever mindful of its experience against the USN during World War 2, is well aware of their strategic shallowness. It has no confidence in winning a protracted fight with China. It prefers to deter a fight and if forced into conflict, to win it by aggressive tactics. Japan is to China what Israel is to its Arab neighbors, a sprinter as opposed to a distance runner. This means Japan will either seek to acquire nuclear weapons for deterrence or transform its navy into an Israeli-like offensive sword.

The Royal Australian Navy has long wanted to consider japan’s AIP Soryu-class submarines as a source of technology or outright replacement for its Collins class submarines. The conservative shadow minister for defense wrote:

this year alone we will spend close to $1 billion on maintenance and sustainment of the Collins Class with sometimes two, sometimes one, and occasionally none out of six submarines operationally ready at any one time. So depressingly bad are the figures for Unit Ready Days for the Collins Class that Defence no longer publish them – citing security concerns even though they were regularly published up until 2009.

What they may want are the Soryus — a kind of super U-214 — which combines quiet propulsion with the kind of range that the German boat cannot attain. “Japan is an exception as it has a robust, long-term, continuous, indigenous submarine design and construction program with the latest excellent Soryu class SSK with Kockums AIP. Noteworthy is that Japan has recently announced its intention to increase in its submarine fleet size from 16 boats to 22 by building at a rate of one each year and extending the life of its existing fleet. But Japan is not in the military equipment export game – or at least not yet.”

It may be now, following Japanese announcements that it is revising its laws to permit the exports of certain weapons. What it most notable in all of this is the core assumption:  nations which formersly sheltered under the Pax Americana must increasingly look to themselves.  The tradition the Obama administration represents may not finish up being rejected or overthrown. It may simply be ignored. Every day it seems to proclaim itself in charge of more and more, yet matter less and less.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

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Top Rated Comments   
Conservatives are generally more intelligent and better educated. We wear better clothes and dance better also, also we bathe.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's also the added 'benefit' to sowing the seeds of chaos in the world in that it serves the purpose of justifying the *need* to ratchet up an internal security apparatus that apparently hasn't given an oath to protect some old-fashioned Constitution.

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
- Barack Obama

Hmmmm..." order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set."

It should be fairly obvious by now, to anyone who cares to see, just how he and his crew have used the federal apparatus; They are all about directing the forces at their disposal against their domestic enemies - economic, social, and political alike.

- Gun owners
- People who judge others by the content of their character rather than the color of ones skin.
- Constitutionalists
- conservatives
- Libertarians
- Non crony capitalists
- Folks who believe in the sanctity of life.
- People who pull their own weight
- Energy providers
- Manufacturers of products people actually want.
- America-centric Americans...

Bitter-clingers one and all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is also worth pointing out, in the Obama age of Post-Americana, that nuclear weapons and military force in general become much more useable and useful the more the US declines in power. During the first gulf war, for example, there was no incentive for Saddam Hussein to use his considerable stockpiles of chemical weapons - because US power was so superior such chemical warfare could do nothing but provide the US with a pretext to use Nukes, had we been so inclined.

A benevelont hegemon with overwhelming power and the will to use it can easily keep the peace. Allies have no need to arm up, and potential enemies are deterred, seeing by the occasional example that aggression is futile if the hegemon intervenes. Hence the Pax Americana to begin with.

Now, however, the situation is reversed. Small nuclear arsenals in North Korean and Iranian hands will not only deter the US, but give them an umbrella under which conventional aggression will be not only possible but highly profitable. North Korea will be able to blackmail the world more or less indefinitely.

More dangerously, perhaps, an Iran with nuclear weapons will not only be free to support terrorism worldwide, but will be able to dominate the gulf states at will. Iraq will soon be an Iranian vassal, kuwait and the oil emirates (Baharain, Qatar, the UAE, etc) will follow suit. Saudi Arabia will no doubt try to buy peace (and quite possibly, nukes from cash-strapped Pakistan as well).

Obama will go down in history as the President who made the world safe for aggressor states - but as long as his voters get their Obamacare, Obamafood and Obamaphones, I doubt they will care.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (70)
All Comments   (70)
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Amb. James Mattis has a very nice ring to it. Doubt he wears spandex and windsurfs, so
that could be a showstopper. A competent adult with Generals on speed-dial from Sydney
to Seoul would probably doom Gen. Mattis in Obamaland anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“When we look at post-2014, how does the threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan measure against the threat in North Africa and Yemen?” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss government deliberations. “Shouldn’t our resources reflect that?”

I guess it's beyond these geniuses that both theatres could be two wings of the same fight .... and, of course, no mention of any threat from Iran.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

"...a demonstration nuclear bomb generating steam off the coast'

That brings back memories of the Kiwis going through their own adolescent rebellion within ANZUS.

The got all prissy over the possibility the American naval vessels could be carrying nuclear armed ASROC stand off anti-submarine weapons.

The idea was to create lots of steam around a Soviet sub, but leave the DD or FG shooting the rocket in good condition.

I'd think Fukushima would do two things, desensitize the Japanese to nuclear fallout, and through Operation Tomodachi, it ought to confirm America's support for our Japanese allies in the face of danger to American personnel.

Together, we faced down a nuclear disaster that could have dwarfed Chernobyl.

Today's musical selection courtesy of an American Warrior Princess, Kelly Clarkson

Take that all you misogynist nations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Kiwis nuke demands led to some strange difficulties. On certain missions launched out of VAFB, the only way to get TM coverage was via EC-135 ARIA aircraft. Those aircraft had to recover in NZ; there was no other option.

But the US refused to either acknowledge or deny the presence of nuke wepaons on any ship or aircraft, making it impossible to certify in advance that the ARIA did not have nukes - even though it was obvious to anyone they did not.

So the ARIA launched anyway out of Aussie land and then once the mission was done declared a low fuel emergency and received permission from the Kiwis in real time to land.

Such people never seem to think that maybe they are leaving a sign out that says "The key's under the doormat and we won't be home until Sunday night.'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
TCobb: "The point I'm making is that you don't really need that big of a nuclear arsenal to essentially cripple the Chinese, let alone blow them straight to hell. "

Maybe. Presumably Japan's General Staff has done the analysis and knows what they are up against.

There was a side comment in a news article a month or so ago which mentioned in passing that China has over 1,600 shipyards. (Probably most of them making fairly small boats, of course -- but that kind of industrial infrastructure is reminicent of US pre-WWII; it would not be eliminated by a handful of big bangs). China uses half the planet's coal production, more than Japan, EUtopia, and the US combined -- another measure of the strategic depth of China's industiral infrastructure.

Suppose George Zimmerman had had only an underpowered taser when his head was being smacked into the concrete by Trayvon Martin. Z could have hurt M with the taser, but not stopped him. In fact, use of the underpowered taser might only have enraged M further.

Remember the NRA advice to women with concealed carry permits -- Don't take out your gun unless you mean to shoot; don't shoot unless you mean to kill. The same philosophy probably applies to nuclear weapons -- don't fire them to send a liberal-type message; use them only if you have an excellent chance of sending the target society back to the Stone Age. And prepare to be destroyed if you leave the target bloodied but standing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here is the good news. For 50 years people fretted about the "Free Rider Effect." Europeans and Japanese knew their defense was in the hands of Uncle Sam and they had little to fear from the Soviets. The result was infantilism. They became progressively more Progressive. They Welfare State expanded and their defenses were cut. They European Project was part of the same process. It was intended to make countries less combative and dangerous. Bluntly it was intended to make Germans and everyone else safe for their neighbors.

Now it is time for everyone to grow up.

China has three rivals they are working to destabilize. First is the United States. China's agents in the United States, which is to say the Democratic Party, have been working assiduously for 40 years to turn America into a larger Trudeuan Canada. Obama's vision may be closer to Chavez's Venezuela.

China's second rival is Japan. This is an ancient grudge. It is deeper than China's hostility to Russia, which is suspended under the SCO. While China may resume hostility to Russia if Putin is replaced by a more aggressive nationalist focused on them rather than Europe for the present they can focus more on Japan, America and their third rival.

China's third rival and focus for their military strategy is India. Modern China has repeatedly clashed with India and has been crafting a chain of bases to surround the sub-continent. While India has great potential they remain a complex nation riven by internal rivalries and weaknesses that an enemy can exploit.

If India China and Australia can pull together and lead the smaller nations in crafting a genuine mutual security for the democracies and smaller nations then China may be contained. In the long run this may prove good for political cultures in the Japan Australia India the Philippines, etc. It may aid the growth of democracy in Vietnam. It may even weaken the totalitarians and help the growth of democracy and political maturity of China.

I can see the academics in 50 years giving Obama credit for that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can hardly wait. The NYT is announcing a mini-series on Hillary Clinton.

"The NBC release also said, “The script will begin with Clinton living in the White House as her husband is serving the second of his two terms as president. In the years following, she would eventually become a United States senator, run for president and, ultimately, serve the country as secretary of state.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Will they never quit giving me reasons to continue not watching them?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kevin Spacey in drag
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Japanese reaction to Caroline's appointment, via Chosun Ilbo.

"But Yoichiro Sato with Japan's Ritsumeikin Asia-Pacific University, says that some in Tokyo have questions about her experience.

"I think there is an unspoken concern about her lack of Japan-specific or even Asia-specific expertise," he said.

Kennedy has not worked in government and does not have any Japan-related experience. Even still, Sato says this does not mean she is viewed as unqualified in Tokyo.

"But she's going to have to quickly catch up, with the amount of policy expertise, especially in security matters, in the region," said Sato."

This is one of those wholly gratuitous in-your-face, damn-your-eyes things the President comes up with. He didn't have to appoint her to that post. He could well have appointed her to a domestic political position and acted with some modicum of rationality.

I am reminded of my uncle, who stood four foot eleven and came ashore on Omaha Beach. He was a major in intelligence. "Naturally," he said, "they gave me an M-1 Garand. The Germans shot at me and I shot back." They could have given him a carbine, but of course they gave him the Garand.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wretchard, It isn't the size of the dog in the fight, It is the size of the fight in the dog. Your Uncle is a very brave man to run up that beach and I bet he couldn't remember the weight of that rifle under such extreme stress. GOD bless him and his people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A little more Eliot in the night:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion . . .

God damn the Left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
After The Obama-Xi Summit: Pressure On Japan To Concede On Senkaku/Diaoyu? --

"When Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo traveled to Washington, D.C. in February to meet President Obama, he was given only one hour forty-five minutes of Obama’s time. ...

We are reminded of the scene on the sidelines of the Vladivostok APEC summit last September, when, after the Chinese had refused a formal meeting, when PM Noda Yoshihiko and Chinese president faced off for a tense15 minute “standing summit.” But this time Japan’s humiliation was at the hands his country’s most important strategic partner and ally. "

And so Caroline Kennedy is heading for Japan. But though she may be a nice lady, she has no actual diplomatic experience. Maybe that doesn't matter, but if so why bother to appoint her?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In 1965 my father received orders to the Attache Staff in Tokyo. It took 16 months to finally get there: 48 weeks of language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey 16 weeks of other pre-arrival training.

The then ambassador, at arguably one of the 3 or 4 or so most important diplomatic posts in the world, also spoke the language.

My dad was in his late 30's and worked like a dog to do well with the language. (he did and still does).

Ms. Kennedy, clearly almost as smart as Hillary (the smartest woman in the world!) and a lawyer to boot could probably master it all in the 'quickie' short course (16-20 weeks). It would also be confirmation of her intent to do a good job rather than use it as a stepping stone to domestic politics.

Yeah, riiiight.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obozo, as is his wont, is just giving another ally the back of both of his hands (and the bottoms of his shoes). The appointment of CK is a gross insult. There's another dimension: the Japanese are notoriously sexist; women do not attain positions of public importance like we do in the West. They may well regard this as a double insult.

Of course, the Proggies like to appoint women and (at least one) gay man as ambassadors to moslem countries, so maybe it's their idea of a joke.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder if Obama's next appointment will be Dennis Rodman as ambassador to South Korea? (I believe that we don't have diplomatic relations with North Korea otherwise he'd be the sure choice for Ambassador to North Korea.) Crazily enough, Rodman actually has more qualifications for being ambassador to Korea than Caroline Kennedy does for being ambassador to Japan. At least Rodman has a personal connection to Kim Jung Un and has actually been in North Korea. Plus he's black and plays basketball which surely gives him lots of points in Obama's eyes. The fact that Rodman is an idiot couldn't be that big an obstacle either; after all, there's a certifable buffoon holding the post of Vice President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
From Foreign Policy:

" Kennedy has not the slightest hint of a qualification to be ambassador to Japan. Trained as a lawyer, she has led a worthy life of dedication to family charities, other nonprofit organizations, and writing. But she has no particular experience with Japan, no experience with diplomacy or foreign affairs, and no government experience. Hers is a nomination that reflects more on the president's views toward the diplomatic service and by extension the entire Department of State than it does on anything she has ever done or shown interest in doing. It also by extension illustrates the ever-growing centrality of the White House and more importantly the president himself to the conduct of U.S. international relations. ....

The idea that the principal job of an ambassador is to get the president on the phone grossly undervalues the role of the entire State Department and the rest of the U.S. government in relations between the United States and Japan or any other government. It suggests that all major policy issues travel through the White House, are resolved by the White House, are implemented at the behest of and with the influence of the White House, and that central to each of these is the president.

Giving out ambassadorial posts to those who have personally helped the president but who otherwise have no diplomatic experience or, in some cases, no experience with the countries in which they are being called upon to serve sends a host of lousy messages. One is that real diplomatic experience doesn't matter. Another is that in America cronyism trumps all. And another is this very un-American idea that U.S. foreign policy is more about the president than the actions of an entire government, a system, or national interests. ...

But actions like the Kennedy appointment underscore this in an unsettling way. History and common sense both show that such a concentration of focus around a single individual or seat of power reduces the input of many with vital experience and views, makes it harder to implement policies that require solutions from key departments or the whole of government, makes it harder for those agencies to do their mandated jobs, and, on top of it all, sends a really terrible message about American politics and values."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even if she did get the community organizer on the phone, would he even pick up? Or, would he go to a fund raiser in Vegas?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So she will report to John F. Kerry.

If she's only half as effective as he is ... well half of zero is zero, so there y'go.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kerry was the first slap to Hillary's face.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The idea that the principal job of an ambassador is to get the president on the phone grossly undervalues the role of the entire State Department and the rest of the U.S. government in relations between the United States and Japan or any other government."

So take that, Hillary!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I never thought I'd come to despise just over half of my countrymen. But I do, alas. To have saddled us with this Quisling, this poltroon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Poltroon is a good word. I like to invent words (like conquership and defencicity) but there is another legitimate word from yesteryear that applies to Obama. Mr Obama is a popinjay - a vain or conceited person, one given to pretentious displays.

Poltroon, popinjay, vapourous twit - so many words for a man determined to diminish the Presidency and his country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even Japan publicly acknowledges they cannot depend on this humiliating; the weakest, limpest, maligned U.S. president in history. Barry's reputation from Halstead Street, Chicago, USA precedes himself in world affairs. If you cannot solve the problem with drone strikes, or if you're not a mooslim in need of help....forget about THIS president stepping up to the plate.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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