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Barbara Ann
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I propose a simple procedure to determine the legal limits for EIT: Congress go to SERE school (the 'R' part). Any technique that a simple majority endure shall be deemed allowable.
Andrey Subbotin, scott s, CP Thanks for your responses. Well if it is surface vessels my guess is we can expect them to be the subject of a real world demo of the Kinzhal if they are used. I think it is worth reminding everyone what SmoothieX12 said on the subject recently: The usage of such a weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed already in Russia’s Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be in the international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off the whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. Russia can also close off the Persian Gulf completely. Is anyone out there listening now?
Colonel Re the Russian assertion that the US now has "Strike groups of naval carriers with cruise missiles" in both the Med. and the Red Sea - is this credible/verifiable? One (Theodore Roosevelt) is already in the Gulf, but short of an attack being launched, how would we learn of the presence of other Naval forces in the area? Is there a recent open source for CSG locations (link below maybe)? I am assuming one cannot sail a CSG between the Pillars of Hercules without being noticed, for example. Thanks
This is not encouraging. SF's last CSG map was Feb. 9th, is it possible one or more has deployed to the Med and/or Red Sea since?
Lars "I would wish that more people as capable as he is would help run the country, regardless of the dumb people that get elected." Niccolo would argue that wise advisers will not help. I tend to agree.
If the Boss surrounds himself with sycophants, were are told what to expect: Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the wise men in his state, and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires, and of none others; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions. With these councillors, separately and collectively, he ought to carry himself in such a way that each of them should know that, the more freely he shall speak, the more he shall be preferred; outside of these, he should listen to no one, pursue the thing resolved on, and be steadfast in his resolutions. He who does otherwise is either overthrown by flatterers, or is so often changed by varying opinions that he falls into contempt.
"Engineers usually come up with neat, clean, packaged solutions.." ingenious adj. characterized by cleverness or originality of invention or construction The people you describe may call themselves engineers, but they don't sound like the kind I know. Perhaps that bridge in Florida was build by one of them.
Roland One significant omission in your list of weak governments; Israel. And this is the one that, at least perceives, the greatest threat to its security. Good point re the apparent dearth of the classically educated among our leaders (Boris Johnson is one exception & has no excuse). I guess this is partly due to the 'modernization' of our Western education systems. After all, of what possible use could be the study of Thucydides, his "possession for all time" and The Melian Dialogue, now that we live in a post conflict, liberal utopia?
David Habakkuk Thanks for the link to the 'Doubts about “Novichoks”' article, this is very encouraging. The second point made by the authors is that"..any organic chemist with a modern lab would be able to synthesize bench scale quantities of such a compound."Now Theresa May is not a scientist and may believe that a chemical compound can be 'Russian'. But you are right to speculate about pressure having been put on the boffins at Porton Down, as they will know better and seem to be choosing not to say so. Given that the means in this crime now seems to be open to a far wider range of suspects, I would hope that the investigation would give at least some consideration to motive and opportunity. But of course the investigation is a side show in this piece of orchestrated political theater - in much the same way as is Mueller's indictment of Russian trolls, who have no prospect of being brought to trial. God forbid they should actually catch the perpetrator. I'd put money on their being a state actor, just not that state.
Smoothie ..even most hysterical (unless they are completely berserk) functionaries get the idea of being evaporated in the nuclear blast.You are a military analyst and a good one from what I read, but I believe that this misses the point here re the danger. The issue is not that the people who matter do not know what nuclear Armageddon looks like, it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events - of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread - can lead us there from here. I think the Colonel is absolutely right in his analysis and historical comparison because we now have exactly the right (wrong) mix of personalities in combination with an already dangerous proxy war. A very dangerous game is being played and I am not at all convinced that one side has the imagination to appreciate how dangerous it is.
@snarwani and other brave people like her, seem to be the best chance to derail the single track 'Assad/Russia uses chemical weapons' narrative.
JohnsonR Yes; imagination. In the era when our species has developed the weapons with which to destroy itself at the press of a button, an adequacy of this commodity in a few key individuals seems to be pretty much all that stands between us and oblivion. As for opportunities to step off the escalation process, 1914 is a sobering reminder that such opportunities can come & go pretty fast.
I pray you are wrong Colonel, but I fear you are not. I have the feeling a far away war just got a whole lot more relevant to my life. Stay safe everyone.
EO ..the Russians were getting frisky in the Black SeaIt's not quite in UFO territory, but this discussion reminds me of the ground-effect vehicles the Soviets developed in the Cold War. One such behemoth dubbed 'The Caspian Sea Monster' could apparently travel at 270kts just a few meters above the sea. I see the Ruskies are considering reintroducing the idea for the arctic.
Re how far gone Erdogan is, this is extraordinary. 'Bozkurt' is the Gray Wolves, whose salute he appears to have made at a rally.
I'll only be shocked if the first people to record my consciousness aren't the NSA.
Would this even have happened under a Clinton administration? I think not. In watching the hearing I'd like to think I could just make out the sound of Congress starting to grow a new spine. However, I think it may take a catastrophe before war-making powers are back in the hands of the Legislative branch. It is the nature of the Executive to resist all attempts at the reduction of its powers, as the Framers knew all too well. I am surprised none of the participants mentioned the fact that the perpetrators of 9/11 were likely aiming for exactly this result - i.e. a huge over reaction, suspension of key controls on democratic government in America, abandonment of the rule of international law and a state dedicated to permanent war, at colossal ongoing cost. This is exactly how empires are destroyed; corruption of core values from within, loss of moral leadership and bankruptcy from imperial overreach. Congress should get its house in order out of self preservation, if nothing else.
Thanks for the update on the critical topic Harper, I've included links to the letter, The Hill's op-ed and Lee's Facebook video of the hearing below.
Afrin is all but gone, but I am not so sure the SAA won't be able to recover Idlib in due course. If the SAA resumes its offensive in Idlib Erdogan must decide how much he wants it & what risk he is prepared to take to take it. Fighting the now highly capable, albeit smaller, SAG forces will not be like the resistance encountered in Afrin. Even if Russia does not provide air support, it may choose to deny the airspace to TAF. Surely Turkey would need to commit very significant regular forces to such a venture - and it should expect high casualties. Timing may be everything. A bloodbath in Idlib will not do Erdogan's election chances any good. Afterwards, who knows what he'll do.
outthere I have similarly not seen any public statement from Putin along these lines. But what is said publicly does not alter the fact that it is in Russia's interests to reassure its ally. I am not really interested in what Putin says publicly or privately to Assad, as I would not in either case expect him to explicitly reveal Russia's exit strategy from the war - especially if that involves 'abandoning' parts of its ally's territory. Whether or not Putin has given Assad assurances re Idlib, the reality is that Damascus would be wise to treat any such assurances with caution, in my view.
Why does Turkey not invade Russia - in order to preempt Kurdistan's access to the Pacific. Erdogan has invaded Syria because his ancestors once rode there and because he can.
It is doubtless in Russia's interests to reassure Assad that they will support his desire to retake all of Syria. However, if the SAG does not appreciate its position wrt Russia's strategic priorities in the war, it is deluding itself. Getting the US out is priority #1 and I expect any deal Russia may have with Turkey re Idlib will be contingent on its support in achieving this goal. Russia may not want to go to war with Turkey over Idlib, but it could continue to provide all kinds of support to the SAA once they return to that front - and they still control the airspace. For its part, Russia is likely realistic about the probability of being able to prize Turkey out of NATO - i.e. near zero, unless Erdogan actually believes his own rhetoric and really is crazy. To envision Turkey's fate outside of NATO, he need only look across the Black Sea. But Idlib & more may be on offer, if Turkey were to make good on its threats to continue Olive Branch east of the Euphrates. Ultimately, I think it comes down to which side Erdogan judges he can get the best deal from. Yesterday Çavuşoğlu announced he had done a deal with US re Manbij & the East - details unspecified. If all Erdogan really wants it something he can win the election with, I'm sure the US can come up with something appropriate - like disarming the Kurds (at least until after the election..). If he really is serious about destroying the Kurdish threat, he's gonna have to take on the US (before he leaves, or is thrown out of NATO) & pray they blink. Given that he is a politician and not, in fact, a warrior Sultan who has earned the epithet 'Magnificent' - my money would be on the former outcome being more likely; he'll settle for Afrin & live to conquer another day.
Alaric You are absolutely right. I do not expect BDS itself to change anything, but the Israeli/Israel lobby's (over)reaction to it will ultimately be self-defeating. Part of me wishes that the legislation would have passed unamended for exactly this reason. The more brazen the attempts at silencing all dissent, the greater will be the eventual reaction against it all. I also think the now near-universal tactic of branding all who oppose Israel as antisemitic could result in a much more serious unintended consequence. Israel is effectively holding all Jews hostage via this policy. Antisemitism is a real issue to be taken very seriously and devaluing the very word in such a way is exceptionally dangerous. Sooner or later ordinary people so-accused will simply become immune to the term and treat its usage in all contexts as meaningless hasbara. Jews everywhere need to wake up to this danger & start distancing themselves from this policy before we lose the ability to describe real antisemites.
And for the Gary Johnsons out there, I of course meant Aleppo.
Turkish forces took Jindires today, seemingly without a major fight. They also advanced on the Azaz front NE of Afrin. According to my reading of the map this this puts them only 3-4 villages on each front from cutting off the remaining roads/tracks to Afrin itself - no wonder the civilian population is leaving. I wonder if the forthcoming siege will get the same Western media attention as Allepo & Ghouta.