Closing Thought–13Jun18

How many of my readers have seen the movie “Iron Man”?  That super hero that does not have super powers just a fantastic suit that flies and carries weapons…..very cool to us geeks.

What a dream right?

Maybe not so much a dream as close to reality……say what?

Despite recent reports that Special Operations Command missed the initial deadline to deliver a prototype for the high-profile tactical assault light operator suit, command leadership is confident that it will test a powered exoskeleton by summer 2019, officials said this week.

Five years ago, then-SOCOM Commander Adm. William McRaven set a five-year deadline to develop a working prototype for a suit that would offer greater protection to operators while providing greater mobility and speed in a lighter frame. It is intended for the first commando to enter a room during a raid. Operators kicking down doors are particularly vulnerable to small arms fire and bomb blasts. The death of a special operator in such a screnario inspired McRaven to start the program in 2013.

If this will save lives while helping the mission to be a success then I am all for it…..the problem with it for me is that it may make entering into more conflict attractive….few dead, fewer to protest war.

Making war safer….one weapon at a time.

Any thoughts my friend?

1914–In The Beginning

When I was in college and studying war the First World War was a good study…….we all knew that the knew the origin of the war was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire…..since those dark days of my youth other thoughts about the beginning of the Great War have come to light.

How could the death of one man, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated on 28 June 1914, lead to the deaths of millions in a war of unprecedented scale and ferocity? This is the question at the heart of the debate on the origins of the First World War. Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years.

In July 1914, everyone in Europe was convinced they were fighting a defensive war. Governments had worked hard to ensure that they did not appear to be the aggressor in July and August 1914. This was crucial because the vast armies of soldiers that would be needed could not be summoned for a war of aggression.

Socialists, of whom there were many millions by 1914, would not have supported a belligerent foreign policy and could only be relied upon to fight in a defensive war. French and Belgians, Russians, Serbs and Britons were convinced they were indeed involved in a defensive struggle for just aims. Austrians and Hungarians were fighting to avenge the death of Franz Ferdinand.

AS with most wars….the beginnings are in question depending where you stand in the conflict…

A hundred years on and we are still confused about the First World War…there are so many questions that are difficult to answer or not answerable at all.

The war had been raging for 3+ years when the US entered into the conflict in 1917…..once the Americans entered into the fray there were some “firsts” for America……

World War I was a global battle that lasted from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918. Tens of millions of servicemen from over 30 countries fought on battlegrounds all over the world. Many methods of combat were pioneered in this bloodbath, which ended up killing 16 million people. Technology-wise, it was the first war to see large scale use of poisonous gas, airplanes, and tanks. Also, artillery technology and targeting was perfected to rain death on thousands of soldiers. America tried to stay out of it for years but was pulled in, declaring war against Germany on April 6, 1917. Here are 10 historic firsts in America’s involvement in World War I…

I may be one of the few Americans that actually studied this war and has an interest to see it not forgotten.

I feel that NO war should ever be forgotten by the citizens of America….our young were sent some died….never forget that fact….it is the young that pay a price for war.

What Are The “Summit” Successes?

Let’s be honest….no matter what the next move for these two countries….this meeting was a success….and I admit that I fell for the head fake by Trump….this meeting was always going to happen all the drama was just that drama to build the audience for public consumption…after all the mid terms are just months away.

In the end, diplomacy can work – as a process, not an event. There is no Big Bang theory of nuclear diplomacy. If no further progress is made toward peace on the Korean peninsula, all this – the back-and-forth, the Moon-Kim meetings, the Singapore summit itself – is at worst another good start that faded. It is more likely, however, a turning point.

It is easy to announce a morning-after defeat for Trump: to criticize the agreement as vague and lacking in specific commitments regarding denuclearization. But those critics ignore Kim’s moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing, the return of American prisoners, the closing of a ballistic missile test site, and the shutting down of a major nuclear test facility without opening a new one. It is easy to forget that a few months ago North Korea was still testing nuclear devices to spark fears of a dark war. Calling the Singapore summit a failure in light of more detailed agreements and different efforts from the past ignores the reality that all of those past agreements failed.

The “Summit” is over and I found a piece written by a visiting fellow to the Atomic Scientists…..

The summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is an historic event that could only happen once in several decades. It is the culmination of a 27-year-old diplomatic effort to resolve North Korea’s nuclear problem. But what are its prospects for success? How do we even define “success” (or failure)? What are the two most likely scenarios for a happy outcome? And what recommendations can we make, to help translate the most-desired scenarios into reality?

These are all very knotty questions. To even begin to answer them, we first must look to the past.

Keep in mind these are the insights of a scientist not of myself……this “summit” did what it was suppose to do….it controlled the media for over 48 hours……

Was it a success….that would depend on what was considered a success….

Macedonia-What’s In A Name?

Remember your history?  Macedonia the home of Alexander the Great, that sexual switch hitter, and then Macedonia was part of the old Communist country of Yugoslavia….then with the break up of Tito’s dream Macedonia started fighting for its independence….

Like most international situations I have written a bit on this one also…..

With all the problems in the world these days I find it fascinating that these two countries are in dispute over a name…..

That is right there has been a battle for the name, Macedonia…..and some 25 years or more they are still protesting and fighting over the name….

Macedonians are hoping that it is time for their country to make a step forward in the EU integration process this June. The past EU progress reports have pointed out some significant improvements in certain areas of the country, but there is more to be accomplished in the implementation of necessary reforms required by the European Union – the rule of law remains a must for Macedonian politics. Prime Minister Zaev is convinced that such reforms should be made not only for progress towards EU integration, but also for the country and the Macedonian people themselves.

But there is another key issue that Macedonia should solve before moving forward – its name issue with Greece. The 9th of June is the deadline for a final response. The disputes continue, as both countries are facing strong opposition of their own. None of the versions presented – Northern Macedonia, Upper Macedonia or New Macedonia – seems to have worked until now. President Ivanov has not accepted a solution that can be universally used. He is calling on Prime Minister Zaev to try to reach a national consensus in overcoming the name dispute and find a solution that will not violate Macedonian dignity

That is right my friends the protests are over the name….not some domestic policy that has gone horribly wrong….but rather the name Macedonia….

Tens of thousands rallied in northern Greece on Wednesday to protest against a possible compromise solution to a long-running row between Athens and Skopje over the ex-Yugoslav republic’s name.

Protesters staged separate rallies in about 23 northern Greek cities. They held banners reading “Macedonia is Greek”, “Respect our history” and waved Greek flags.

“Macedonia is our soul! There is only one Macedonia and it is in Greece, where King Phillip and Alexander the Great were born,” said one of the rally speakers in Pella city, adding Greeks would never accept another country was called Macedonia.


Across the border Macedonians held another opinion of the name….

As Macedonia and Greece approach the final stages of talks over Macedonia’s name change, thousands have taken to the streets. Name tensions have stymied Macedonia’s efforts to join the EU, with Greece holding veto power.

Thousands of right-wing opposition supporters in Macedonia protested against plans to change the country’s name in the capital, Skopje, on Saturday.

Protesters waving Macedonian and party flags gathered in front of the main government building, with some holding banners reading “Macedonia will win.”

While I was researching this situation there came word that there was the possibility of a solution to this name quandary…..

Greece and Macedonia are very close to a deal to resolve a decades-old dispute over the ex-Yugoslav republic’s name, government officials in Athens told Reuters.

The row has blocked the tiny Balkan state’s efforts to join the European Union and the NATO military alliance, of which Greece is a member.

Athens and Skopje are aiming to agree the broad outline of a settlement before an EU summit in late June, though any deal would need to clear a referendum in Macedonia and win approval from lawmakers in both countries.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev are expected to discuss the issue over the phone on Tuesday.

Could this decades long dispute be close to a solution?

I will watch and write….as I always do…..

It’s Africa

Nothing rings more true than a line from the movie Sahara…..the evil colonel when asked if they could get away with their evil plan said…”It’s Africa.  No one cares about Africa.”

Why is that?

Could it be that the continent is made up of what some have called the “Third World”……small underdeveloped countries or is that the rest of the world just does not care?

US involvement in Africa came to light with the ambush and deaths of American special ops troopers in Niger….this incident brought about the knowledge that the US is ass deep in Africa…..and the ambush has made the US do some reassessment on our operations within the continent…..

A sweeping Pentagon review of elite United States commando missions is likely to result in a sharp cut — by as much as half over the next three years — in Special Operations forces in Africa, military officials said.

Ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in recent weeks, the assessment of Special Operations units worldwide follows an ambush in Niger that killed four American soldiers last fall. The review is an outgrowth of a Defense Department strategy that focuses on combating rising threats from Russia and China.

How different is the Trump approach to Africa from that of his predecessor, Obama?

Truth is there is very little differences between the two approaches…..

One of the adjectives most often used to describe Trump and his administration is “unprecedented.”

What people perceive as the shock and horror of living in a country whose commander in chief regularly denigrates his own citizens and dehumanizes immigrants feels most perfectly articulated as a fresh aberration on the American scene.

Of course, it isn’t entirely true.

Since foreign policy seems to be a subject that this president does not want to deal with we can expect nothing to change in the manner that Africa is dealt with.