Counterpoint: Russia cannot beat NATO. Breathe easy.

April 19, 2015
"I won"

He’s bluffing?

A few weeks ago, I presented a scenario developed by a writer in Ukraine about how Vladimir Putin could break the NATO alliance in a short war: Opening with a surprise attack and seizure of Sweden’s lightly-defended strategic isle of Gotland, Russia would then invade the Baltic states and exploit political indecision in the Western alliance and weak American leadership to consolidate its gains. The end would come when a tactical nuclear strike on Poland revealed the major powers to be unwilling to risk regional or global nuclear war for NATO’s easternmost members. At that point Russia wins and NATO is no more.

Scary, right? And all too plausible, given Russia’s aggressive behavior since the 2008 invasion of Georgia.

Not so fast, writes strategic analyst Tom Nichols. NATO is still stronger than post-Soviet Russia and has more political will than perhaps we assume. In a war, he insists, Russia would lose, though that may not stop Putin from trying:

But this misses some important realities, including the condition and age of that equipment, the frayed infrastructure of Russia’s military commands, and the poor quality of Russian conscripts. The Russian military is a large regional force, and it can kill a lot of people. That doesn’t mean it can sustain a war with a vastly more populous and wealthier coalition of some three dozen nations (or more, if others join the fight).

Moreover, NATO enjoys a qualitative edge that would spell disaster for Russian forces in short order, especially in the air. The Vermont Air National Guard (which for years has intercepted Soviet and Russian aircraft on the U.S. East Coast) is more ready to go to war than the Russian Air Force. Without control of the skies, Russian ground forces stand no chance after whatever initial blitzkrieg might get them into NATO territory, and their commanders know it. World War III will not be like doing stunts at an air show, and taking out NATO’s aircraft will surely not be like blowing up unsuspecting commercial airliners.

Finally, NATO has something the Russians sorely lack: experience. Wisely or not, the U.S. and its allies have been at war in the Middle East and Central Asia for nearly 15 years, and NATO’s armies are salted throughout with men and women who know how to fight, supply, communicate, and remain cohesive in the face of actual combat. Russia’s military, once sharpened by World War II survivors and later by the veterans of the brutal attempt to subdue Afghanistan, now boasts men whose combat experience mostly consists of blowing up apartment blocks in Chechnya and shooting at outgunned conscripts in Ukraine.

But, for all that, Vlad the invader might still try:

The West’s more pressing concern should be whether Putin, for his own reasons, will force Russia’s military into a clash with NATO regardless of the consequences. The Russian president is a neo-Soviet nostalgist who not only craves revenge for the collapse of the USSR, but who still harbors old-school Kremlin fantasies about the weakness of the decadent West.

(…and…)

Putin suffers from the same kind of thinking, but Russia’s generals, who are neither fools nor madmen, almost certainly understand that a sustained war with NATO is an unwinnable proposition. Both Putin and his generals, however, are counting on a political, not military, victory. Putin’s bluster and the Russian military’s continued probes and feints into NATO territory are all predicated on the Soviet-era belief that NATO is essentially a charade, a phony alliance made of spun glass: pretty to look at, but so delicate it will shatter at even the smallest blow. Should Putin attack, it will not be to defend the “rights of Russian-speakers” or some other fantasy, but rather from the delusion that one sharp military strike will smash NATO as a political entity once and for all.

It’s that scenario in the bold text that worries me. Qualitatively, yes, Western militaries are superior to what Russia can field, though Moscow has excellent special forces and excels at “special war.”

But it’s the will to fight of much of the Alliance’s modern political leadership that worries me, especially our own Administration. Obama has been utterly  diffident about the use of force, even in situations that clearly call for it. (Hello? ISIS?) And what will Merkel do, given her nation’s crack-addiction to Russian natural gas? How many leaders would be willing to go to the edge of nuclear war if Putin decides to “de-escalate?” (1)

Still, Nichols knows far more about these things than I, so I’ll take his message about NATO’s resilience and superiority as a comfort. He covers much more in his article, so do read the whole thing.

Footnote:
(1) Apparently Russia has a doctrine called “nuclear deescalation,” in which Moscow uses a limited nuclear strike to convince the other guy to stop fighting — particularly if Russia is losing on the ground. These people are weird.


Hezbollah expects payday from Iran deal

April 16, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

More fallout from Team Smart Power’s “diplomacy” with Iran: enabling the terrorist group that blew up our Marines in Beirut in the 80s. #genius

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Excerpts follow from an IPT report regarding the effect of a nuclear deal with Iran that would lift sanctions against them.  Iranian catspaw terror groups stand to benefit from the money that will flow their way.  Hat tip to El Grillo:

The framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is set to refill Iran’s coffers and enable the Islamic Republic to invest considerable treasure in its regional network of terrorist and guerilla proxies…

They include the Shi’ite Lebanese organization Hizballah – the most highly armed terrorist entity in the world, active in the Syrian civil war – the Shi’ite Houthi forces currently seizing and destabilizing Yemen, a plethora of militant Shi’ite militias in Iraq, the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas, with which Iran has recently mended relations. Iran has begun sending Hamas, which rules over Gaza, tens of millions of dollars for its…

View original 273 more words


California: SEIU demands increase in minimum wage, jobs be damned

April 16, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Obama!!”

Fresno is fifth-largest city in California, the largest that’s not on the coast, and the largest in the Central Valley, that agricultural cornucopia that’s being destroyed by drought and environmentalist idiocies.

But don’t get me started on that.

Anyway, just by its position and population Fresno is important to the state’s economy, particularly our agricultural sector. (Where do you think your raisins come from?) But, like much of the Central Valley, it’s suffered more than the rest of California from the 2008 recession and the pathetic recovery: unemployment in the Fresno area in 2014 was still over 11%, well above California’s statewide average of 7.1% at the end of that year.

So, when your city is suffering from a lack of jobs, what’s the first thing you think of to increase opportunities for work?

That’s right! You demand an increase to the cost of labor!

On Wednesday, according to the Fresno Bee, over 150 people joined other workers around the country marking Tax Day by marching in rallies organized by unions as they demanded the current federal minimum wage of $7.24 an hour be raised, as well as the California $9 minimum wage.

Standing in front of a McDonald’s, the protesters–comprised of home and child care workers, county and state workers, students and community leaders, but no fast-food workers–chanted, “Hold the burgers, hold the fries. Make our wages super-sized.”

Union members from the Services Employees International (SEIU) helped lead the way; one member, Beau Reynolds with SEIU Local 100, told the Bee, “We’re here to stand up. We’re here to join forces and we are here to demand better. To demand better wages, to demand better benefits and to demand the right and respect that all working families deserve.”

Notice that none of those protesting in front of McD’s actually work there: they’re just there in service of SEIU’s political goal, which is to get a general increase in the minimum wage, which would include the union’s members, leading in turn to higher dues-revenues for the union to spend on politics. (And union bosses’ salaries…)

But the fast-food workers on the inside? The ones inside who didn’t march, the supposed beneficiaries of SEIU’s fight for economic justice? Apparently they know what happens when you raise labor costs too high:

Welcome to the future

Welcome to the future

In other words, when government raises the cost of doing business —and labor is a cost!— business owners have just a few choices: pass the cost to the consumer and risk losing their custom; reduce profits to perhaps unacceptably low levels; reduce labor costs by cutting back hours, letting people go, and not hiring; or just getting out of the business. They’re already learning this in progressive Seattle, and it looks like the Fresno McDonald’s workers understand basic economics, too, unlike SEIU.

Or maybe SEIU just doesn’t care that fast food workers can be replaced with kiosks, as long as they themselves get their cut.

Either way, they’re not helping Fresno county’s unemployment problem.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I like a lot of what Carly Fiorina has to say, but…

April 16, 2015
"On the attack"

“On the attack”

I like the relentlessness of her attacks on Hillary Clinton, hitting Lady Macbeth again and again on her record and her hypocrisy. The former Hewlett-Packard executive is the only (almost-) candidate in the race (so far) who can do that without exposing herself to the “sexism card.” That’s takes away one of Hillary’s main ways to dodge any difficult question. Here she is, for example, on the Left’s (and Hillary’s) “selective outrage” over corporate CEO salaries:

She also rapped the Democrat’s recent attack on CEO pay. “I find the selective outrage of the left kind of interesting. They don’t seem to be outraged by the salaries that movie stars make. They don’t seem to be outraged by the salaries that sports stars make. They don’t seem to be outraged by a lot of salaries except for CEOs,” she said.

True enough: they’re happy to fly to California or New York and schmooze the wealthy glitterati (including sports owners). Their salaries are apparently pure as the driven snow. But the head of an investment bank or industrial firm? EVIL!!

Funny, though, how she’s willing to take their money. Perhap’s she has the “Royal Touch” that heals cash payola of its evil the moment she lays hands on it.

Anyway, back to Carly Fiorina and my hesitation. I’d be more comfortable with her as a potential POTUS if she had first won a lesser race, including the Senate race she lost against the eminently beatable Barbara Boxer. If the “feisty Fiorina” I’m seeing now had shown up then, I think she might have taken it. Clinton is likewise eminently beatable, but if Fiorina were nominated and her 2010 version showed up…

That said, and while I don’t doubt the sincerity of what she’s saying, I think Carly Fiorina is running more for vice-president than president.

Still, for however long she’s in the race, it will be fun to see her kick Her Majesty in the shins again and again.

smiley popcorn


ISIS camps in Mexico near Texas and New Mexico borders?

April 14, 2015
Seal of the new Caliphate

They’re here?

That’s the frightening report from Judicial Watch, an anti-corruption group that’s built a good reputation for forcing government departments to give up information they’d rather the public not see. This is a little out of their bailiwick, but nonetheless a cause for concern:

ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.

The exact location where the terrorist group has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm.

During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

That ISIS would like to strike the United States is a given, and the choice of setting for these bases is a good one: Mexico has little control over this area (some would argue the narco-traficantes really run the border region), and the areas on the US side are understaffed for law enforcement, the terrain is hard to monitor, and the routes are already popular with human and drug smugglers, who I’m sure wouldn’t be averse to taking the caliphate’s cash. Once past the border, there’s a wealth of targets, from schools, to towns, to casinos in Vegas and military bases — a veritable smorgasbord for Muslims waging jihad fi sabil Allah.

It’s not as if this is a new threat, either. Representative Duncan Hunter claimed ISIS fighters were caught sneaking into the US some time last year. A Hizbullah network was broken up in Tijuana, just south of California, while jihadist groups are actively trying to gain converts among disaffected Mexicans. And that’s just in Mexico: Hizbullah is active in Venezuela and the border region between Brazil and Paraguay. It shouldn’t be at all surprising that ISIS would look to our southern border as an avenue of attack. We should only be wondering when we’ll be hit, not if.

Is ISIS staring at us from south of the Border? I don’t know, and it’s fair to point out that Judicial Watch’s sources are unidentified. But, given what we know about our enemies and their goals, it’s also all too plausible.

That’s a reason so many of us are border hawks: not so much illegal immigration per se, but who might be hiding among the immigrants.

via The Blaze


To the surprise of no one, Crimea is not happy under Russian rule

April 13, 2015
x

“And then I told them they could have free elections!”

I know, I know. You’re as shocked as I. Imagine the ingratitude for all the efforts Vladimir Putin made to rejoin Crimea with Mother Russia. Writing in National Review, Leona Amosah recounts all the benefits Russian governance has brought: a crashing tourism industry, inflation second only to Venezuela’s,  and food prices through the roof. Whiners.

I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate ethnic oppression and political arrests?

In particular, Crimea’s Tatar Muslim minority is suffering levels of persecution not seen since the Soviet era. This pressure includes “disappearances, sadistic murders . . . attacks on media, and arrests on trumped-up charges,” according to one informed observer. So pervasive has this discrimination been that, back in February, the United Nations took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning Russia’s treatment of the Crimean Tatars.

Political opponents of the Kremlin, too, have found themselves in the official crosshairs. To date, several Crimean lawmakers have been arrested and even exiled because of their opposition to and condemnation of Russia’s takeover of Crimea. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has equated Russia’s conduct in its newest holding to a “reign of terror” designed to both subjugate and pacify the region’s population.

A wrecked economy and political persecution: what’s not to like? Look, if Crimeans have trouble appreciating the benefits of life under Moscow, they could always ask Boris Nemtsov.

Oh, wait.


Global Warming Protestors in the Snow

April 13, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Once again showing Nature has a sense of both humor and irony, and Climate Cultists have neither.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Quebec City Climate Protest Quebec City Climate Protest – Photo credit: © Greenpeace/Robert van Waarden (License Creative Commons “Some Rights Reserved”). Image resized from original.

Thousands of protestors, mostly dressed in high tech nylon and plastic cold weather gear, tramped through the snow in Quebec City last Saturday, to protest against global warming.

According to The Globe and Mail;

The organizers aimed to press provincial and territorial leaders to turn the tide on oil sands expansion and the corresponding development of pipelines.

“They were just really, really there to send a message to get the premiers to focus on climate because it is an important thing to focus on and it’s just not on the political agenda right now,” said Ms. Hassan.

Red-clad protestors formed a thermometer to send a message about climate change. Meanwhile, #ActionClimat was trending on Twitter.

Premiers from across Canada are set to hold a summit on Tuesday…

View original 137 more words


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,967 other followers