A “Gulf Of Tonkin” Moment!

As I research I see a couple of “Gulf Of Tonkin” moments…..I see a couple of situations that could be pushed to the point of no return…..but what is a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident?

I could waste your time with a wordy description or I could make it simple……I chose simple….

Now that we know what I mean where can there be the situations that could be disastrous?

Russia/Ukraine in the Sea of Azov…….

Ukraine, Russia and US Navies are in close contact in this region and a small incident could explode into more troubles……

The jockeying for position goes on……Ukraine wants the West to up its sanctions on Russia…..

Speaking at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the foreign minister of Ukraine denounced the recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russian forces off Crimea, saying it represented another assault on international law.

“It is a matter of urgency to provide a prompt and consolidated international response to this act of aggression. Declarations are not enough. There must be action,” Pavlo Klimkin told the annual gathering of OSCE ministers.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-osce/ukraine-asks-west-to-ramp-up-sanctions-on-russia-idUKKBN1O51J3

There are those that do not think Ukraine deserves undying loyalty……

The recent clash between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait has generated a flurry of alarm. NATO was compelled to call an emergency meeting with Ukraine and the UN Security Council convened an urgent session to discuss the crisis. Exercising their usual tendency to oversimplify murky geopolitical rivalries, Western officials and journalists embraced the knee-jerk narrative that the incident is yet another case of Vladimir Putin’s blatant aggression and “outlaw behavior” against its peace-loving, democratic neighbor. Right on cue, CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets dispatched stridently anti-Russian editorials masquerading as news stories.

In reality, the Kerch Strait incident involves a complex mixture of factors. They include the tense Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relationship, Kiev’s broader foreign policy objectives, and Ukraine’s volatile domestic politics.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ukraine-doesnt-deserve-americas-blind-support/

There is more to watch in region around the Sea of Azov……

No one wants war, but this is how one gets a war. Two angry states are poking and probing at the flammable edges of an extended war zone, each acting in what it believes is a controlled fashion with little risk of escalation, but each ready to risk the next step if the price of retreat seems too high. Here begins the chain of actions and reactions coupled with miscalculations leading to a conflagration neither wants or expects.

The violent incident on the approach to the Kerch Strait is not how many in the West envisage the path to war in Europe. That path is different from Russia using stealth to take a bite out of the Baltic states. It is also not Moscow heating up the war in Donbas before launching an assault on all of eastern Ukraine or conquering a land bridge from Donbas to Crimea. Nor was it Russia using a snap exercise to disguise an attack on a soft portion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s defenses.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nightmare-how-war-ukraine-could-go-regional-37557

That region is a possible hot spot and there is another Gulf of Tonkin incident waiting to happen…..Iran.

There are those that see a war in the making…….

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeated an earlier threat to block ships from leaving the Persian Gulf if the U.S. government continues to seek to block Iranian oil exports. Rouhani’s comments came a day after the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf on Monday in an apparent “show of force,” ending the longest period the U.S. had gone without an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf over the past two decades.

While some – at the time – anticipated that the U.S.’ deployment of the aircraft carrier was an empty threat meant to intimidate Iran, new developments suggest that there may soon be a military showdown in the Persian Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz as Iranian and regional media have reported that the Iranian Navy has deployed a large naval contingent of 58 fleets to the northern waters of the Indian Ocean near the Persian Gulf. According to Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the naval contingent is closely monitoring the area as they await orders from the Iranian government.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/persian-gulf-of-tonkin-ingredients-all-in-place-for-us-war-on-iran/5662075

Seriously?

This seems inevitable……all we can do is hope that calmer heads will prevail…..but with these Neocons in positions of power around Trump….calmer heads are out numbered.

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Weekly Standard–End Of Days

The title does not imply that this will be some sort of religious rant…..have NO fear I leave those commentaries to those that feel it necessary to share……this post is about the impending doom of a pillar of neo-conservatism….the Weekly Standard.

Political magazines depend on the largesse of motivated patrons for their survival. When the patrons lose interest—or run short on cash—the magazines expire unless other moneybags can be located to cover the losses. Following that eternal script, the Weekly Standard appears close to folding because its current patron—and most important reader—billionaire conservative Philip Anschutz, has grown tired of it. He better favors his other conservative political publication, the Washington Examiner, which his company announced plans on Monday to “expand into a national distributed magazine with a broadened editorial focus.” In other words, the Standard is dying so the Examiner can live larger.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/12/06/weekly-standard-never-trump-magazine-222766

Since 1995 the Weekly Standard has been a driving force of neo-conservative thought…..from the mind of Bill Kristol sprang a magazine that became a go to source for just about everything neocon……Neocon?…….but just what is a Neocon?

It appears that the magazine that help spread misinformation about Iraq to help make the case for the invasion and occupation and a driving force in the opposition to Iran….is looking like it is dead in the water……

The rumored demise of the Weekly Standard is yet another of Donald J. Trump’s achievements that will go uncelebrated by his liberal enemies: indeed, they are even now mourning the death of the neoconservative flagship as they never did when it was at the height of its maleficent glory.

And of course neoconservatism’s many fellow-travelers are out there with panegyrics. It “stood up for conservative principle” in the age of Trump, writes Meghan McArdle. What principle this might be, Ms. McArdle somehow neglects to say: perhaps it’s a penchant for perpetual war, the only known characteristic this famously eccentric and variable band hold in common. Both McArdle and the editors of the Standard thrilled their readers with stories of the great danger posed by Saddam Hussein, who they told us had nukes hidden beneath his palace ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Let’s take a look at the three important roles played by the Standard and its editors in the history of the post-9/11 era.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/12/09/the-end-of-the-weekly-standard/

Could this be the death of the rabid neocon philosophy?

I think not….maybe a rebrand….but these warmongering toads will be with us….for now.

Monroe Doctrine Turns 195

Closing Thought–07Dec18

I regret that I missed the day but December is the 195th anniversary of the issuing of the Monroe Doctrine…..this is important because it has been used on various occasions to go to war for this country….

In his December 2, 1823, address to Congress, President James Monroe articulated United States’ policy on the new political order developing in the rest of the Americas and the role of Europe in the Western Hemisphere.

The statement, known as the Monroe Doctrine, was little noted by the Great Powers of Europe, but eventually became a longstanding tenet of U.S. foreign policy. Monroe and his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams drew upon a foundation of American diplomatic ideals such as disentanglement from European affairs and defense of neutral rights as expressed in Washington’s Farewell Address and Madison’s stated rationale for waging the War of 1812. The three main concepts of the doctrine—separate spheres of influence for the Americas and Europe, non-colonization, and non-intervention—were designed to signify a clear break between the New World and the autocratic realm of Europe. Monroe’s administration forewarned the imperial European powers against interfering in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American states or potential United States territories. While Americans generally objected to European colonies in the New World, they also desired to increase United States influence and trading ties throughout the region to their south. European mercantilism posed the greatest obstacle to economic expansion. In particular, Americans feared that Spain and France might reassert colonialism over the Latin American peoples who had just overthrown European rule. Signs that Russia was expanding its presence southward from Alaska toward the Oregon Territory were also disconcerting.

We celebrate the Monroe Doctrine here on IST……https://www.lawfareblog.com/anniversary-monroe-doctrine

Read!  Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Remember Pearl Harbor

Today is 07 December the day in 1941 when the forces of the empire of Japan attacked our naval fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii…..a day we remember….the day our Greatest Generation went to war.

Too many people know the day but not the situation…..and the old professor is here to help…..too many blow the day off and that is just wrong…….

First some myths about Pearl Harbor…..https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-pearl-harbor/2011/11/23/gIQAbdKrLO_story.html

Why did Japan do it? Doing nothing is a viable strategic option, and oftentimes a good one. Imperial Japan would have been far better off had it forgone the attack on Pearl Harbor and confined its operations to the Western Pacific. Had Tokyo exercised some forbearance, it may have avoided rousing the “sleeping giant” that Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto reputedly said he feared so much. And even if it did awaken the American giant, it would have avoided filling him with what Yamamoto called a “terrible resolve” to crush Japan. Think about it:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-japan-failed-pearl-harbor-18638

Japan was clever to come up with this tactic, right?

Well not really they got the idea from the Brits…….

Through the dark skies came waves of aircraft lumbering under the weight of the torpedoes they carried. The date was November 11, 1940, the place was the southern Italian port of Taranto, and the battle that ensued that night was the prelude to the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor .

In the fall of 1940, Britain was in trouble. France had fallen, Nazi Germany ruled Western Europe, and the British Empire stood alone. To make matters worse, Mussolini’s Italy had entered the war. Though weaker than Germany or Japan, Italy had a priceless advantage: it was situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, athwart the sea routes to the Suez Canal and the vital island of Malta, which the British needed to supply as a thorn in Axis supply routes to North Africa. To avoid Italian naval and air forces, British convoys would have to forgo the direct route into the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar, and sail all the way around Africa to come up through the Suez Canal.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/revealed-where-japan-got-idea-pearl-harbor-37952

More history for my reader…..1941 was not the first attack on Pearl…..yep it was attacked 9 years earlier……

No American military engagement has undergone more post-mortems than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Between 1941 and 1946, various departments of the U.S. government conducted nine official inquiries. A tenth inquiry was held as recently as 1995, when the Department of Defense re-examined the culpability placed on Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Major General Walter C. Short for a lack of preparedness prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The investigation, issued as the Dorn Report, absolved Kimmel and Short of responsibility for the devastation caused by the attack and recommended posthumously restoring Kimmel and Short to the ranks they held prior to the attack.

https://www.military.com/navy/pearl-harbor-first-attack.html

There are other facts that are not as well known as the actual attack….and I can fill in the blanks for my readers……

The deadly surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, launched without a declaration of war, made 7 December 1941 “a date which will live in infamy”, declared President Franklin D Roosevelt. Early that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese planes sank or damaged 21 warships and destroyed more than 150 planes on nearby airfields; more than 2,000 Americans lost their lives.

https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/pearl-harbor-facts-date-live-infamy-franklin-roosevelt-japan-surprise-attack-americans/

Finally a perspective from someone who was actually on the ground in Pearl for the attack……

About 7:45 a.m., through the crackle and buzz of interference, gunnery and anti-aircraft officer Benny Mott was jolted by pilots’ voices rising with alarm over the radio transmitter aboard the USSEnterprise. They were shouting to one another.

“Hey, did you see that army plane shooting at me?”

“That’s no army plane! That’s a Japanese plane! Look at the red circles on his wings!”

https://www.history.com/news/pearl-harbor-1941-from-a-sailors-perspective

Where World War One made the world we know today……World War Two solidified America’s world leadership.

If you are going to Remember Pearl Harbor then know all the history not just the nit-picked stuff!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Closing Thought–05Dec18

Before the SEALs….before Delta Force….before Special Forces…there was the 1st Special Service Force (1st SSF)……they were a short lived unit made up of troops from the US and Canada…..they proved their worth in the battle for Italy and went on to fight in Southern France during World War Two…..

I introduced my readers to this group back in 2016……https://lobotero.com/2016/11/11/the-black-devils/

04 December is the 75th anniversary of their attack on the Nazi stronghold of Monte La Difensa……

Today’s Army Special Forces groups trace their official lineage from the First Special Service Force (FSSF), an elite American-Canadian commando unit during World War II. Activated, July 20, 1942 at Fort William Henry Harrison, near Helena, Montana, the 3,000-man FSSF contained a mix of American and Canadian volunteers.(1) Trained and equipped for special operations in mountain terrain, the force first saw combat in the mountains of Italy 75 years ago this week.(2)
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark’s Fifth Army had been pressing northward against the German defenses since landing at Salerno, September 9, 1943, with the goal of capturing Rome. Fifth Army’s approach was blocked by a series of German defensive belts known as the Winter Line. Tough enemy resistance, coupled with rugged terrain, inclement weather, and an inadequate number of Allied troops, slowed the Fifth Army’s progress to a crawl.
The steep slopes of Monte La Difensa presented a formidable obstacle to the Allied advance. In November 1943, the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division tried and failed to seize control of the mountain, despite a valiant ten-day effort. Other 3rd Division units attacked north of La Difensa, but also could not penetrate the stout German defenses. Limited successes along the front were offset by the high casualty rate. November 13, Lt. Gen. Clark called off further offensive operations for the remainder of the month.

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/302175/75th-anniversary-first-special-service-force-monte-la-difensa

I bring this up to help their legacy stay in the minds of Americans….for as it is theirs as well as my unit in Vietnam, the LRRPs, are ate up by the Hollywood story of today’s special ops units.

These men should be remembered for their courage and sacrifice not because they were some part of a greater whole……as the saying goes…”All gave some and some gave all”……

Another Lost Lesson?

They say (whoever “they” are) that each conflict educates our leaders and strategists…..but I find that not so accurate……for what did we learn about our short visit to the battlefields of World War One?  For that matter WW2 or Korea or especially Vietnam?

I know that we learned nothing from our ten years in Vietnam….for I see the same mistakes being made with our cute “War on Terror”…..a cute slogan only….you cannot defeat a tactic….

But I digress.

Will we, the US, make the same mistakes we made in Vietnam?

According to reports, the Army has delayed the publication of a 1,300-page internal Iraq war study commissioned by General Ray Odierno in 2013. The volume, which few in the public were even aware of, was an admirable project. After all, the U.S. military famously ignored and jettisoned any lessons after its defeat in Vietnam. Most of us would agree that simply can’t happen again.

So why the delay? Some fear the Army might be hesitant to publish a study that takes its leadership to task for decisions critical to the execution, and perhaps outcome, of the war. (Basically, while the Army says it wants to learn its lessons, it doesn’t necessarily want to see them in black and white.) One chief Army historian claimed it would “air” too much institutional “dirty laundry.”

Indeed, retired Colonel Frank Sobchack, a study team director, expressed concern about the delay in the report’s release, asserting “that the Army was paralyzed with apprehension for the past two years over publishing it leaves me disappointed with the institution to which I dedicated my adult life.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/will-iraq-become-another-lesson-lost-like-vietnam/

If not then tell me what it all has meant?

Possibly the most poignant line of the 1984 breakout hit “19” by electronic musician Paul Hardcastle was the one it deliberately drove home with synthesized drumbeat repetition: “In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26. In Vietnam he was nineteen…nineteen.”

When this song hit the radio airwaves, much of the Vietnam veteran cohort—those who had seen the worst fighting in that war—had been home for a little more than a decade. They were in their early 30s now—building careers, raising families, and politically active. The war’s horrors and fallout began reemerging in national headlines and sympathetic Hollywood films, along with Agent Orange and PTSD. A page had turned, too, in the national consciousness. Americans were finally beginning to separate their anger at the government from the young men who fought its war. The mantra became internalized: never again.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ten-years-gone-iraq-and-afghanistan-vets-on-what-it-all-meant/

Will there be a lesson learned?  Or will we remain in the arrogant belief that we do everything properly?

Here is something to think about when it comes to Vietnam…..

“I’m going to Saigon,” said Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month before correcting himself. “Ho Chi Minh City – former Saigon.”

It was the fifth time that Mattis would meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, and it marked the defense secretary’s first visit to a former U.S. military base outside of Ho Chi Minh City. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, Bien Hoa Air Base was home to 550 aircraft. Today, it is one of many sites heavily contaminated by America’s toxic defoliant of choice, Agent Orange.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/11/08/misremembering-vietnam/

Now you know!

They Did Not Survive The Cold War

The death of the president that resided over the end of the Cold War got me to thinking about a lot of things especially in the fields of foreign policy and international relations…..

There comes a time when even something as the Cold War becomes history…..so for those youngsters that may be visiting IST let me tell you about the Cold War…..the Cold War was a state of political hostilities between the US and the USSR…..

A few attempts to explain the Cold War to my readers…..it is simple and quicker than trying to write a simple explanation……

Now that you have the background on the Cold War I can move on to where this post is going……

Ever heard of Aceh….or Biafra……or maybe Tibet……those are a few of the countries that did not survive the Cold War and they are NOT alone……

The Cold War spelled the end of numerous countries from 1947-91. Grenada, whose story was featured at the Historiat earlier this week , survived. Poland, Egypt, and Thailand survived, too. The country of South Vietnam, on the other hand, did not survive. On Oct. 26, 1955, South Vietnam declared its independence from Vietnam proper, kicking off a decades-long war that dragged in both Cold War superpowers and the longtime regional kingmaker in southeast Asia, China.

We all know that things ended badly for the rebels. Here are 10 more countries that didn’t survive, either:

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2018/10/25/10_countries_that_didnt_survive_the_cold_war_372.html

I shall keep posting on the history around the Cold War whenever I can find something unusual for my readers……

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!