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Belmont Club

It’s Too Late Baby

March 13th, 2014 - 9:10 pm

With Russian forces ominously massing at the Ukranian border, CNN notes that John Kerry has made an 11th hour plea to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “to agree to ‘something short of a full annexation’ of Crimea”.

He suggested a diplomatic effort could continue even if the referendum was approved and if the Russians did not annex Crimea….

But Russia is showing no sign of backing down.

Pro-Russian forces are tightening their grip in Crimea. Well armed men have effectively isolated the Crimean peninsula, which has an ethnic Russian majority, from the rest of Ukraine.

And Moscow’s defense minister announced Thursday the start of massive artillery drills near Russia’s southern border with Ukraine involving 8,500 troops and a large amount of hardware.

The BBC reported that Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that Moscow “does not want war” with Ukraine. Russia is unlikely to get it from any member of the Security Council, for as Senator Ted Cruz noted in his speech, the administration’s policy is to yield at all costs; not only to yield, but to avoid any provocative semblance of resistance.

To use the CNN’s metaphor, the 11th hour has come. It’s too late now, even in Kerry’s 12 hour day  for a fig leaf.  There’ll be nothing Kerry can hide behind, no talking point to spin.  If Russia comes across, Obama’s nakedness will be plain for all to see.

Given the ax is about to fall, the questions that remain unanswered are whether the Russian advance will precipitate a civil war in Ukraine and how far Russia will go before it stops of its own accord. Kerry evidently hopes Russia will restrain itself, since there is nothing else that will stop it. The administration is in the position of hoping the bank robber, in this case Putin, will leave content after only taking fifty bucks from the till. By why should he?  From the robber’s point of view, the risks come in packets. Once you’ve begun the hold-up, you might as well clean out the vault as leave with $50. It’s the same crime.

And then there’s the Ukranians. They may fight or otherwise upset the Kremlin’s plans. It’s a truism that “no plan survives contact with reality” and Putin’s gambit necessarily puts into motion factors that neither he nor Obama — nor anyone — can control.

It might well be true that “it’s too late” to deter Russia from taking part of Ukraine; and it may be too dangerous for America to actively repel it. But that does not mean the danger is past. Once Putin crosses his Rubicon, the wheels of fate start to turn and where they go nobody knows.

So it’s not too late to start planning and preparing for the unintended consequences which no one has foreseen. Tomorrow will come and the question will be whether the Administration will be as unprepared for tomorrow as it was for to-day.

As Ted Cruz points out President Obama has made the dangerous mistake of subordinating national interest to partisan politics. He’s made the conscious strategic choice of fighting the Near Enemy in the hope that the Far Enemy will hold off. He’s weakened the military, hamstrung the energy sector, limited missile defense, and overtaxed the entitlements system at the expense of national security.  He’s done it to buy votes, obtain a permanent majority and remain in power. That is what Cruz essentially accuses the president of doing in the video above.  Obama like Putin, is taking the chance that he can walk the tightrope without falling off.

Obama might well succeed at “fundamentally transforming America” without incident. And Putin might stop at the Crimea. It has been confidently asserted by knowledgeable people that “nothing will happen” or that “people will back off”; that things will be fixed; that the wise men will draw back from the edge. But no one really knows for sure, do they?

If Syria has taught us anything it should have instructed the world that things sometimes take on a life of their own; that when a vortex starts spinning its creators can be sucked down into it .

It’s not too late to foresee the possibility of a growing crisis. It’s not too late to prepare for possibilities. But of course with this administration, perhaps it is. Perhaps it was always too late.

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Top Rated Comments   
If I were actually continuing that potboiler it would go as follows.

The man entered the room without knocking. An elderly man stirred in his bed and blinked at the tall officer abstractedly before realizing who it was.

"Vice President Biden?"

"Yes what is it, son?"

"We're putting the designated survivor plan into action. Come with me sir to the secure site. The President's on the video terminal. He'd like a word with you. But we haven't much time."

"Son, tell me in forty words or less what's going on."

"A 20 kiloton nuclear weapon has just detonated over Tel Aviv, sir. We think it's that missing 777. Also a Russian armored column has just crossed into the Eastern Ukraine. Lastly, Quemoy and Matsu in the Taiwan Straits are under amphibious assault by the Chinese. I guess you can say all hell's broken loose."

"Let me talk to the president," the Vice President said.

The older man walked up to the terminal in the next room, even as he stuffed his wallet, keys and ordinary things of a normal lifetime into his pants pockets. Holy crap, he thought to himself. No time to even change your socks. He stood before the terminal and looked at the president.

The man in in the monitor was hunched over at the head of a conference table, elbows on his knees. There was a yellow pad and a pen in front of him. Beside him was a phone. He looked like all the air had been let out of him. On either side of the table were staffers assimilating a mass of information over their secure laptops while a lurid glare, presumably cast by the wall sized displays off camera, gave the president a rainbow appearance.


"Yes Mister President."

"What'll I do Joe?"

"There's nothing to do Mister President but ride it out."

"They timed it to coincide Joe."

He knew that "they" included the Russians, the Chinese and the bad guys. The only question was would the number in the "they" increase?

"Yep. I'd better get to the secure site Mister President."

"It was all going so well Joe. I had everything under control."

"Yes Mister President."

"Where'd it go wrong Joe?"

"I should be going now. I'll call when I'm secure again."

"You do that Joe. I'll writing a speech. I want to show it to you. If I can convince them ..."

"I'd better go my friend. See you soon."
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a few little curious details:

"The new claims have turned attention back on to the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27."

Again, it's those damn Amish Christians rearing their ugly head again ...

"The Imam of a mosque that Fariq attended, Ahmad Sharafi Ali Asrah would not hear of suggestions that the co-pilot had done anything wrong.
Like his family, the imam described Fariq as a 'good boy' who was devoted to his job as a pilot."

You mean he WASN'T Amish??! Who'd have thought ...

I guess it's just my white racist side coming out, suspecting every Muslim of being in league with every other Muslim terrorist. Hmmm... I can live with that.

"And Captain Zaharie was said to be so keen to maintain his high professionalism that he had even set up a flight simulator in his own home."

Well, duh... It's awfully difficult to train new Muslim terrorist bomber pilots without the aid of that flight simulator! They need to practice somewhere.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>Tomorrow will come and the question will be whether the Administration will be as unprepared for tomorrow as it was for to-day.<<<

I think the betting will be on "Yes".

>>>It's almost as if Putin is sure Obama will blink. Me, I'm not so sure. An ordinarily timid but sensitive individual can sometimes behave unpredictably. The ego can get in the way.<<<

Granting ego, timidity, and narcasistic personality disorder. Not as sure about sensitivity, as he is either massively insensitive to the havoc raised in this country [I won't say "his" country] or sensitive but uncaring and calculating. If he is that calculating, then he will suppress his ego and fold as his plan to destroy this country requires.

Unless his plan involves nuclear destruction of this country.

However, we are focusing on the foreign policy aspects of his reaction. Keep in mind that this could present a basis for a "national emergency" and a "national mobilization". For an unopposed Ermächtigungsgesetz to allow such mobilization.

A prerequisite of such mobilization would be "national unity" and an end to dissent and divisiveness. How con-v-e-e-nient.

Subotai Bahadur

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (118)
All Comments   (118)
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Russia is vulnerable and Putin has miscalculated - if the rest of the world responds forcefully. I doubt that Russia has enough battle ready, armored battalians, much less whole divisions, to invade more than one little country at a time. The Russian bear is beset all along its southern and western borders by a pack of little dogs who have a long memory of Russian bellicosity. They are surely alarmed and have their own plans for what to do in this case. And western Europe must now be awakening from its long slumber. A Russian army invading Ukraine must be fought by Ukrainians with weapons supplied from the west as needed. Long time enemies to the south should be supplied and encouraged to action. Eastern European countries should begin a rapid military build-up now. Meanwhile the west should impose sanctions, banking and business restrictions, asset freezings, visa cancellations - everything short of military action on its own part. Half measures will not do. This is 1939. Ukraine is the Sudetenland. We don't have to relive the 20th Century all over again. But we will if we follow the same path we followed then, offering no resistance against a vulnerable but opportunistic enemy.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tea Partiers again.
Damn those Republicans!
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
50 weeks ago
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"They timed it to coincide Joe."
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Al Gore is selling his patent rights to Al Jazeera.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"knock knock"
>>Who's there?
"Me, Al, listen, i've got cash --can you PLEASE unblock my second chakra now?"
>>Umm, nah, it ain't worth it --go away.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
France has historically been a strong ally of Romania, especially during the early twentieth century. Will France help defend Romania?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
New York Times

Sharp Changes in Altitude and Course After Jet Lost Contact

SEPANG, Malaysia — Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 experienced significant changes in altitude after it lost contact with ground control, and altered its course more than once as if still under the command of a pilot, American officials and others familiar with the investigation said Friday.

Radar signals recorded by the Malaysian military appear to show the missing airliner climbing to 45,000 feet, above the approved altitude limit for a Boeing 777-200, soon after it disappeared from civilian radar and made a sharp turn to the west, according to a preliminary assessment by a person familiar with the data.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment

TWA flight 800

"Only the FAA radar facility in North Truro, Massachusetts, using specialized processing software from the United States Air Force 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron, was capable of estimating the altitude of TWA 800 after it lost power due to the CWT explosion.[99] However, because of accuracy limitations, this radar data could not be used to determine whether the aircraft climbed after the nose separated.[99] Instead, the NTSB conducted a series of computer simulations to examine the flightpath of the main portion of the fuselage.[100] Hundreds of simulations were run using various combinations of possible times the nose of TWA 800 separated (the exact time was unknown), different models of the behavior of the crippled aircraft (the aerodynamic properties of the aircraft without its nose could only be estimated), and longitudinal radar data (the recorded radar tracks of the east/west position of TWA 800 from various sites differed).[101] These simulations indicated that after the loss of the forward fuselage the remainder of the aircraft continued on in crippled flight, then pitched up while rolling to the left (north),[98] climbing to a maximum altitude between 15,537 feet (4,736 m) and 16,678 feet (5,083 m)[102] from its last recorded altitude, 13,760 feet (4,190 m)."

Air France 447

"During the next thirty seconds, the aircraft rolled alternately left and right as the pilot adjusted to the altered handling characteristics of his aircraft.[22] At the same time he made an abrupt nose-up input on the side-stick, an action that was unnecessary and excessive under the circumstances.[23] The aircraft's stall warning sounded briefly twice due to the angle of attack tolerance being exceeded, and the aircraft's recorded airspeed dropped sharply from 274 knots to 52 knots[!!!]. The aircraft's angle of attack increased, and the aircraft started to climb. By the time the pilot had control of the aircraft's roll, it was climbing at nearly 7,000 ft/min.[22]

At 02:10:34, after displaying incorrectly for half a minute, the left-side instruments recorded a sharp rise in airspeed to 215 knots, as did the Integrated Standby Instrument System (ISIS) another half a minute later[24] (the right-side instruments are not recorded by the recorder). The icing event had lasted for just over a minute.[25][26][27] The pilot continued making nose-up inputs. The trimmable horizontal stabilizer (THS) moved from three to thirteen degrees nose-up in about one minute, and remained in that latter position until the end of the flight.

At 02:11:10 UTC, the aircraft had climbed to its maximum altitude of around 38,000 feet. There, its angle of attack was 16 degrees, and the thrust levers were in the Takeoff/Go-around detent (fully forward), and at 02:11:15 UTC the pitch attitude was slightly over 16 degrees and falling, but the angle of attack rapidly increased towards 30 degrees. A second consequence of the reconfiguration into alternate law was that "stall protection" no longer operated. Whereas in normal law, the airplane's flight management computers would have acted to prevent such a high angle of attack, in alternate law this did not happen. (Indeed, the switch into alternate law occurred precisely because the computers, denied reliable speed data, were no longer able to provide such protection - nor many of the other functions expected of normal law).[28] The wings lost lift and the aircraft stalled."

Nose up attitude in both cases leading to a massive loss of altitude.

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have to wonder what NORAD is going to do.

Ask all flights inbound from overseas who won the World Series in 1944?

Have them say "Ex-Lax" to check for a Japanese accent?

No, wait, that kind of stuff won't work nowadays. Maybe ask them who their favorite American Idol winner is?

And if they don't say "Carrie Underwood" blow them out of the sky.

Whoops! Problem! We got rid of essentially all of our SAMs, even the Hawks the Guard had.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Well, we've got at least two hours before he shows up overhead --can we get out the schematics and hire some engineers and machinists and build us some new ones right quick?"
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama's still steaming full seed ahead. He's preparing to spend billions in tax credits for Obamacare (, he's suing states who want to regulate Navigators because some have criminal records; he's easing immigration; he's declaring overtime for people.

It's the Near Enemy he cares about. The Far Enemy he is leaving to Kerry. His goals aren't peace on earth but power over the American public. He's calculated that Americans don't care -- or shouldn't care -- about what happens in the world, so long as they have a new Obamaphone and a healthcard. The difficulty is that neither may be sustainable and in the end people will face the oncoming wave with a shambolic healthcard and and out-of-credit Obamaphone.

Yet that's whom they chose. And so that's who everyone will get.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's happened before. Joseph Stalin was preoccupied with fundamentally transforming Russia and intensifying his power over the Russian public. The Soviet Union was massively unprepared for Operation Barbarossa, and the man who was least prepared for the Nazi invasion was Stalin himself. Stalin kept finding enemies everywhere except where they actually were.

It would be easy to pin this problem upon one man, but there is a general tendency among fanatics to focus their hatred against the enemies they want to create rather than the enemies they actually have. Although it may be too much to ask whether the United States might eventually have a functional commander in chief, or even if the United States might have military strength necessary to live up to its treaty obligations of mutual defense, this situation is what Obama voters prayed for, it's what they voted for, and it's what they got.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
--which brings us to that notorious topic, "social justice".

I'd like to ask, briefly, since i did not vote for this guy, and indeed saw thru him from the get-go, and now that he's busily destroying everything i have tried a lifetime to build, where the f**K is MINE?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Report that The Drone King had one of his toys taken away.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Former GRRR:

Answering your question below: Off the bottom of the page, I suppose, where it's always been (look at the little pictures).
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kerry reports that they are just doing exercises.

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia just moved $100 billion out of US markets, refer to:

Vladimir Putin is getting ready to dance. This weekend will be "interesting".
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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