Closing Thought–25Jan18

Warnings Issued All Around!

The South China Sea is an active and popular spot…..China is flexing its muscle in the region…..most warnings are aimed at the US……

The Chinese government on Saturday accused the US of trespassing in its territorial waters when a US guided missile destroyer sailed near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, the AP reports. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China would take “necessary measures” to protect its sovereignty after the USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday evening without China’s permission. Scarborough is a tiny, uninhabited reef that China seized from the Philippines in 2012. Known in Chinese as Huangyan Island, it lies about 120 miles west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, and about 370 miles southeast of China.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said a Chinese missile frigate moved to identify and verify the US vessel and warned it to leave the area. “We hope that the US respects China’s sovereignty, respects the efforts by regional countries, and do not make trouble out of nothing,” Wu said in a statement. The South China Sea has crucial shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds, and potential oil, gas, and other mineral deposits. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has carried out extensive land reclamation work on many of the islands and reefs it claims. The US does not claim territory in the South China Sea but has declared it has a national interest in ensuring that the territorial disputes there are resolved peacefully in accordance with international law. The Navy regularly sails through the area to assert freedom of navigation.

This is a region that the common person needs to keep an eye on because it will get hot quickly and without a warning (no pun intended).

Political Insanity

I could be writing about a fellow blogger whose site, “Finding Political Sanity”….but in this case it is more about political rhetoric.

This is an observation on the use of different terms to describe things we see and read……

A constant thread running through all of these “politicals” is that they are fraudulent. They are concepts that subvert, displace, and weaponize that which they profess to represent.

“Political Islam” is anti-Islamic. “Political Christianity” is anti-Christian. “Political Humanitarianism” is anti-humanitarian, and “political feminism” is anti-feminism.

“Political Islam” as represented by Wahhabism is an anti-Islamic extremist ideology that is grown nurtured and sustained by US imperialism which imposes mass murder, destruction, chaos and sectarianism on prey nations such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

Keep in  mind that social media plays a large roll in politics these days….as long as a leader can use 35% of the populace to help spread his brand of lies and misinformation……anything is possible.

USS Pueblo

Unless you are an old fart then the USS Pueblo means nothing.  During the Vietnam War a US naval sigint ship was captured by the North Koreans……

Fifty years after it was seized by North Korea, the USS Pueblo is the only US Navy ship held captive by a foreign government. And though mostly forgotten in the United States, the “Pueblo Incident” for North Korea remains a potent symbol of military success. The spy ship, attacked and captured 50 years ago this week, sits in the frozen Potong River on the edge of the sprawling “Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum” complex in central Pyongyang, the AP reports. Amid an escalating flow of rhetorical attacks on Washington for allegedly trying to sour North-South relations ahead of next month’s Winter Olympic, North Korea’s state-run media have played up the anniversary as a milestone in the country’s struggle against the US.

The Pueblo was ill-equipped for the fight it got on Jan. 23, 1968. One US sailor was killed when the ship was strafed by machine gun fire and boarded. The 82 survivors were taken prisoner. The US sent carriers to the Sea of Japan and demanded the captives be released. North Korea, for its part, forced members of the crew, who say they were beaten frequently, to make public confessions. Former POW Stu Russell says their treatment worsened when their captors realized the meaning of the middle finger gesture they had been making when forced to pose for propaganda photos. The incident came to an end and the crew members were freed on Dec. 23, 1968, after Maj. Gen. Gilbert H. Woodward, the chief US negotiator, signed a statement acknowledging that the Pueblo had “illegally intruded into the territorial waters of North Korea.”

A little slice of American Naval history……

Fifty years ago, on 23 January 1968, the North Korean Navy opened fire on the U.S. Navy in international waters off North Korea’s east coast in the Sea of Japan. The one-sided battle lasted almost two hours and left one U.S. sailor dead, more than a dozen others injured, the ship captured, and the surviving crew taken hostage. The first shots were fired at about 1332 (local time). The Koreans brought two sub chasers, three torpedo boats, and a couple of MiG fighters to the battle. The U.S. Navy brought the USS Pueblo (AGER-2)—virtually unarmed and outfitted as an electronic surveillance platform.

Live and learn…..the history lesson is over…..class dismissed.

ISIS With a “D”

Dan’esh….the Arabic acronym for ISIS….or ISIL…..or IS…..or wealth of other names by which the barbaric extremists labor under.

The pack of rabid dogs has been fought to a mere shadow of its former self….but from the rubble the dreams of importance still remain…..

It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

Many people are writing ISIS off as a defeated foe…..this I feel is a flawed dream…….ISIS could make a comeback at any time….maybe not in the Middle East buy elsewhere for their tentacles are everywhere as long as the extremism is exported out of Saudi Arabia….

The past year has witnessed a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, which suffered a stunning series of defeats in its former strongholds.

From Mosul to Hawija in Iraq, and from Raqqa to al-Bab in Syria, ISIL has been driven from key territory, leaving the group’s expansive vision of a caliphate in tatters. To date, more than 98 percent of the areas it previously held have been retaken, and more than seven million Syrians and Iraqis have been freed from the group’s control, according to the US-led coalition battling ISIL.

It will be foolish to proclaim ISIS as defeated.