Closing Thought #2–24Jul18

Yesterday the White House had its much publicized “Made In America” event……and you just know that something had to go wrong right?

The White House hosted a “Made in America Product Showcase” Monday, and one of the attendees was Matt Roberts, president of the last US manufacturer of forks, spoons, and knives. That his Sherrill Manufacturing from upstate New York snagged an invite to the event wasn’t a surprise—but Syracuse.com reports that Roberts soon spotted an anomaly in the State Dining Room. Everybody had just eaten with flatware made from China. The utensils were made by Oneida Ltd., which once manufactured its products in New York, but no more. In fact, Roberts’ company now uses a former Oneida plant.

“With all of the things going on in the world, forks and spoons in your kitchen are not exactly the top priority at the White House,” says Roberts. But the story suggests that might soon change. It notes how New York Congresswoman Claudia Tenney has been pushing for the White House to make the switch, once even getting an assurance of it from President Trump himself (see the video). While Trump wasn’t at Monday’s event, two of his top economic advisers, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, were in attendance, as was Tenney, who was making sure they knew the full story.

Really?  I cannot make this shit up!

I love this stuff…….and the best part is that these people have NO idea just how imbecilic they look……

Late Night will make use of this idiocy……I mean the comedy writes itself…..

Have a good evening…be well and be safe….chuq

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Closing Thought–24Jul18

I have on numerous occasions tried to let my readers know that I am a staunch supporter of the A-10 in close combat support for our troops…the Air Force is trying to replace the “hog” with a flying brick, the F-35.

https://lobotero.com/2016/04/29/a-10-vs-f-35/

https://lobotero.com/2018/03/05/a-10-vs-f-35-remix/

I bring this up because the Air Force promised to have a contest between the two planes to determine their exact capabilities…..the problem is that they, Air Force, are trying to keep the results a secret……

The U.S. Air Force has, without any apparent public announcement, begun a much-awaited comparative evaluation of the close air support capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter versus the venerable A-10 Warthog. The event was already controversial before it even began and there is now evidence to suggest the service maybe be manipulating the test parameters to favor the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet.

The Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) was the first to reveal the tests have already started, according to a copy of the schedule that it got a chance to review. The evaluation began on July 5, 2018, and will last just one week, ending on July 12, 2018. Only four of those days involve actual flying. The Air Force had previously said the event would occur sometime in 2018, but did not offer a fixed timeline.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22077/the-u-s-air-force-is-hiding-its-controversial-flyoff-between-the-a-10-and-f-35

The only reason I can think of to hide the results is that the F-35 is a piece of crap after spending billions on it….it does not do the job as intended.

The F-35 was always too damn expensive for what we were getting in return……but that could be why the F-35, Flying Brick is “Too Expensive To Fail”…….

The United States Air Force is reportedly considering cancelling orders for as many as 590 F-35 fighter jets because the aircraft is proving too expensive to operate and maintain. Nevertheless, with so much money already invested, production ploughs ahead. Julian Turner reports on the controversy and whether ongoing cost issues will affect purchase commitments.

controversy and whether ongoing cost issues will affect purchase commitments.

In March, it was revealed that the United States Air Force (USAF) may cancel orders for as many as 590 Lockheed Martin F-35A jets – a third of its planned fleet of 1,763 – due to long-term cost issues. The news that one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter jets may be too expensive to operate and maintain in its current form comes at a critical juncture in its evolution. In April, F-35 flight test programme concluded System Development and Demonstration testing, a major milestone.

https://www.airforce-technology.com/features/f-35-project/

Keep in mind that this plane was one of the programs that the Pentagon was forced to accept even though they stated that it was not needed.

I stand by my assertion that the A-10 is by far the best plane for the close combat ops with our troops.

Top Terrorist Attacks

Most people know that 9/11 and the attack in England a couple of years later were bad terrorist attacks……so I thought that since I do like me some history that I would look for the top terrorist attacks and put it in my post……

When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, the American government officially stayed neutral, and while many in Washington and along the eastern seaboard harbored strong feelings for the United Kingdom, the U.S. government found it hard to convince the general American population of the war’s benefits, mostly due to the presence of a massive German population in the republic’s middle section (America’s first “silent minority,” the Germans encompassed roughly one-tenth of the entire population of the U.S. in 1914).

To make matters worse, the German government established the first terror cell in the United States in 1915, two years before the two countries would officially go to war with each other. The German terrorists were targeting munitions factories, horse farms, and railroads due to the fact that the United States, while officially neutral, was sending massive amounts of supplies to the British and French.

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2018/07/05/top_10_terrorist_attacks_in_history_332.html

Terrorism has been a tactic for centuries….nothing new just the weapons employed to carry out the attacks.  History is full of terrorism….that is if one has the time to research the topic.

Forecasting The Future

Nope I am not going to be some soothsayer to tell you your magic lotto numbers…..not this time….as a student of conflict I am always looking for indications of a coming conflict that the US will have to fight and our young will have to die.

Our cracker jack leaders seem to fail at learning from their mistakes in past conflicts…they fail to comprehend the true nature of armed conflict…..

In August 2014, I interviewed a group of shell-shocked Christian refugees from the town of Qarakosh — then, the largest Christian city of Iraq — in a makeshift refugee camp in Erbil following their harrowing escape from the terror group Islamic State (ISIS). ISIS fighters had just occupied Qarakosh a few days prior and immediately set out to systematically destroy any evidence of Christianity in the city. What struck me the most when I was interviewing the refugees was their sense of impotence. They wanted to fight but did not have the necessary arms. As their ancestral homes and churches were razed to the ground 80 kilometers west of Erbil, there was nothing they could do.

After covering the war in Afghanistan for two years, for the first time I could see the direct results of a battlefield defeat: Assyrian and Kurdish militias failed to fight off ISIS and as a result Qarakosh was taken. It was plain and simple. There was no need for abstractions to drive home the point of military power to those Christian refugees; no need to invoke complex concepts such as the “Domino Theory” or the “1938 Munich analogy” to justify a fight. The linear results of their military weakness were plainly obvious and the consequences absolute.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/is-the-us-suffering-a-war-gap/

An old adage about war is that it is violent politics……a some seem to ignore this when trying to analyze future conflicts…..

Wherever U.S. forces have deployed in recent years — be it Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere — they have faced political and strategic realities that their military training and education prepared them poorly for. Similarly, wherever its interests are most threatened — in the South China Sea or Russia’s Near Abroad — the American government has faced strategies chosen by adversaries precisely because the United States has no response to offer.

In all cases, the United States has remained overly reliant on the strategic utility of military force and struggled to translate such martial abilities into political progress. Despite some advances in terminology — most recently the rise of “hybrid war” and “the gray zone” — the fundamental understanding of war in the West remains replete with theoretical barriers and unfounded presumptions, with real implications for how resources are distributed and strategy is conceived.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/warfare-as-violent-politics-an-integrated-framework-for-analyzing-armed-threats/

The US military is trying to come to grips with the track of conflict these days……

The Army’s decision to create a “Futures Command” is long overdue, well-intended, and absolutely necessary if the Army is to emerge from the malaise that has held modernization in its vice for all of this new century. But accelerating the pace of modernization without a rigorous understanding of how militaries anticipate the future of war might run the risk of creating an accelerating engine with greater thrust, but no vectors.

I’ve spent almost three decades studying the art and science of future gazing. The high point of my immersion as a futurist began in 1991 when then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan, entrusted me with writing the Army’s official history of the Gulf War, Certain Victory. Three years later, in 1995 another chief of staff, Gen. Dennis Reimer, gave me the mission of looking into the deep future of warfare, beyond 2020 to 2025. As head of the Army After Next project, I had access to an enormously talented group of young officers, many of whom are still doing great work today. With the assistance of my deputy, Col. Bob Killebrew, we invented the Army’s first strategic game, which continues today in heavily modified form as Unified Quest.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/04/forecasting-the-future-of-warfare/

I feel that our future leaders and generals are not getting a complete education into war and conflict management…..these days it is all out military knows and it must be understood completely…..maybe with a better more complete education we could avoid some of the entanglements that keeps us forever fighting.

Commandos Sans Frontieres

Ever heard of Doctors Without Borders (MSF)?

Good….then you can understand what this post is about…..the US has an organization that knows no borders and we call it…Special Ops.

America’s previously “elite” Special Operations forces — once small, specially trained units in a large military — have now essentially become a military in their own right, all 70,000 of them (larger, in fact, than many national armed forces). And they are more or less everywhere, more or less all the time. They aren’t just “elite” forces anymore; they’re America’s secret military, which, as Turse has shown, is increasingly deployed to something startlingly close to all the countries on the planet (aside from a few obvious ones like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea). They are raiding and fighting from Syria to Afghanistan, Somalia to Niger. They are training allied special ops types and other forces across the globe. It’s increasingly hard to think of places where they don’t show up, even, for instance, in a rain-soaked cave that recently trapped 12 Thai soccer players and their coach. And here’s the good news: if a bill sponsored by Congressman Richard Hudson, whose North Carolina district includes Fort Bragg (home of U.S. Army Special Operations Command), passes in Congress, the more America’s special operators deploy in combat-like ways to places that the IRS doesn’t consider war zones (but indeed are), the more likely that they and their families will… yep, get a special tax break for their efforts! (War, what is it good for?)

And they aren’t just “operators” anymore. They’re path-breakers in the “science” of war. As they fight terrorists around the globe, for instance, they’re developing “loitering munitions” in their Maritime Precision Engagement program that will act as “suicide drones” (operated from speedboats). Hey, if ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the rest of that crew have their version of suicide drones — humans with explosives strapped to them, not to speak of off-the-shelf drones — why shouldn’t the U.S. military have the technological equivalent? Or what about the “talking paper” for which the special ops group that focuses on “psychological operations” already has a prototype? That paper, somewhat thicker than the usual kind and embedded with micro-circuitry, dropped into the jungles or backlands of the planet, should prove a perfect way to deliver a 30-second recorded message to illiterate enemy troops in some embattled country about how to defect or surrender.

(antiwar.com)

https://mondediplo.com/openpage/commandos-sans-frontieres

The days of massive divisions may soon be a thing of the past….we have the world covered by small units…the large units seem to be poised for some sort of social upheaval on the mainland…instead of on the international stage.

Let’s Look At NATO

Now that the hoopla about Dear Leader’s dress down of NATO is in the past….I would like to take serious look at NATO away from the Trumpian BS spin……

If one knows anything about foreign affairs then they will know that NATO, like it or not, has done well at protecting a peace in our time…..the problem is that it becomes a political hot button when few realize just what NATO does in this world…..

NATO is slowly unraveling…….

Human beings often choose self-delusion over painful reality, and so in the days and weeks to come, we will hear reassurances that the NATO alliance is in good shape. After all, there have been spats in the past—over the Suez crisis in 1956Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s, missile deployment in the Reagan years and, of course, Iraq. American presidents have been complaining about shortfalls in European defense spending for decades. President Trump is not wrong to criticize Germany’s pipeline deal with Russia. As for this week’s fractious summit, we are urged to focus on the substance, not the rhetoric. U.S. forces in Europe have been beefed up in recent years, and new plans are in place to resist Russian aggression. On the ground, the alliance still functions.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/07/15/natos-global-peace-is-unraveling-and-we-cant-see-it/

Is it possible that we could witness the end times for NATO….an organization that the US and Western allies formed to protect the world from the USSR….

These days, Europe’s NATO observers are a bit like members of a doomsday cult waiting for the end of times. Many are bracing for this week’s NATO summit with grim determination, all the while counting down to the apocalypse by collecting the insults that President Donald Trump is lobbing at NATO. Within a week, he has proclaimed that the alliance is “as bad as NAFTA” (the North American Free Trade Agreement that Trump loves to hate), that “NATO is killing us” and that the European Union is “as bad as China.” And, of course, there was his already infamous statement at a rally in North Dakota late last month: “Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends and allies.”

Only the most devoted NATO fans are likely to know the alliance’s official motto, “animus in consulendo liber” – a phrase so obscure that even NATO admits it doesn’t have a satisfactory translation (what does “man’s mind ranges unrestrained in counsel” even mean?). But almost everyone is familiar with the alliance’s unofficial motto, coined by the first NATO secretary-general, Hastings Ismay: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Today, however, European attitudes are much more complex than Ismay’s tripartite formulation. In April and May, the European Council on Foreign Relations sought to track the views of political elites in European Union member states through a survey of researchers that incorporated interviews with more than 150 policymakers and analysts, along with extensive research into policy documents, academic discourse, and media analysis. This scorecard suggests that stakeholders in the EU member states, 22 of which are NATO members, – disagree – in some cases with one another, but almost always with Trump – on each vector of this once-unifying narrative: the role of the United States, Russia, and Germany.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/07/watching-for-signs-of-natos-end-of-times/

There is more on the possible demise of NATO…….

President Donald Trump’s recent journey to a NATO summit in Brussels and to a summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki turns the page on an epoch of American foreign policy that traces back to Harry Truman, George Marshall, Dean Acheson, George Kennan, and the other founders of the post-World War II U.S.-created international security order. The grand strategy that dates from roughly 1947-48 is no more; all that’s left is eroding institutional habit and some optical detritus that takes the form of what will prove to be akin to the ephemeral lingering images one sees on occasions of flash photography.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/20/is_this_the_end_of_nato_113630.html

Dear Leader has made economics the center stone of his attacks on our allies and NATO……

“Disastrous,” was how the Financial Times yesterday described Donald Trump’s visit to Europe. Were you to extend Trump’s influence indefinitely into the future, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the bedrock of US foreign policy for the past seventy years, would be finished.

If, on the other hand, Trump is repudiated in 2020 – my guess is that he will be – the future of NATO depends on what happens in the Congressional elections of 2018 and 2020, and the presidential elections of 2020 and 2024.

That means the discussion of NATO can go forward, at least tentatively, pretty much without reference to Trump’s boorish behavior in Belgium and Britain last week. That future has relatively little to do with whether member nations will spend more of their gross domestic product on defense.

http://www.economicprincipals.com/issues/2018.07.15/2134.html

The whole story of NATO has yet to be written but if Dear Leader has anything to do with it it will be written out of history books.