Syria – What’s Really Going to Happen?

This is my inaugural podcast.  I plan on making this a regular feature.  Generally they will be about current world events and should usually run 10-15 minutes in length.  The length is because I record them in my truck on the way to work so you will hear background noise and probably get to hear me swear at other drivers on occasion.  Yes, other drivers irritate me as well, especially folks that are in such a hurry they pass unsafely such as on blind curves or inclement weather. I will relate current events to historical antecedents and try to explain my view of how I think the history of various regions … Read more…

Book Review: Future Crimes by Marc Goodman

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Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman is one of those non-fiction books that is both scary and reassuring at the same time. I picked this up mainly because I have a slight IT background and I try to stay abreast of what is going in the world of digital insecurity; only an idiot thinks that something online is secure. I knew the connected world was unsecure and full of risk, I did not fully appreciate just how unsecure and full of risk it was until reading this book. The book itself is 392 pages of text divided into … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 32

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   Iraqi Military Makes Gains North of Baghdad in Conflict With ISIS:  It will be interesting to see how the response to the ISIS offensive plays out both in Iraq and in the wider world.  The INA is a broken reed and any gains they make will be fleeting.  I fully expect a stalemate to ensue shortly wherein Iraq is effectively partitioned.  We are saying the beginning of bloody fighting.  Think of it as Sunni Triangle II. Ukraine Says Russia Has 38,000 Troops on Border Amid ‘Invasion’:  The biggest news out of this story is not that … Read more…

Book Review: Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate by Newt Gingrich

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Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would probably have been a more interesting book if it had introduced some new ideas.  Sadly, it does not.  The book is nothing more than a rehashing of the tired ideas that have been floating around in conservative circles for years. One would think that in 209 pages of text at least one original idea would appear.  The book is separated into 13 topical chapters with an introduction and a conclusion.  There is an extensive notes section and a surprisingly good index. The topics cover everything … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 31

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine battles militants, Russia demands cash for gas:  The hijinks continue.  I am very curious to see what happens in the Elections on 25 May.  If the current regime is selected they gain instant credibility and legitimacy and I would expect them to double down on their efforts to crush the eastern separatists. Hard for NATO to defend Baltic states from Russia – Spiegel:  This should not be news for anyone who has paid attention to the anemic state of the militaries of mos NATO countries.  The question is will Russia even go after the Baltic states? … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 30

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine Falters in Drive to Curb Unrest in East:  Perhaps the biggest mistake the Kiev government could make right now is to make threats they are unwilling or incapable of following through on.   Nothing could damage their credibility and legitimacy more than doing so.  It would seem they have done just that in regards to the protester seizure of government buildings in the eastern part of the country. Fragile Europe Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions:  Who would have thought the current US admin could demonstrate more resolve than the EU right now?  Of course, Obama must follow through or he shows himself … Read more…

Book Review: Rise of the Warrior Cop – The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

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I picked up Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces because the book looked interesting and I was shocked at what happened in Boston during the search for the two bombers.  The sight of police officers kitted up like my platoon and I was in Iraq on TV pulling people out of their homes at gunpoint and then searching those homes without a warrant shocked and dismayed me.  Therefor the title of the book was at a minimum intriguing and I decided to read it. The book itself is separated into 9 chapters in what is essentially chronological order.  There are 31 pages of endnotes by chapter and an … Read more…

Ukraine Update

I am about half convinced a this point given the level of rhetoric that the first open Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine will happen by the end of the month.  I would guess it will be an aerial incursion, probably a helicopter gunship that crosses the border and penetrates 15-20 km’s.  At this point I would not b surprised if Russia orchestrated somebody firing on said incursion to give causus belli.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 29

Russian Troops Ukraine

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Crimea referendum: Voters ‘back Russia union’:  Yep, That had to be a fair election.  It’s not like the Russians don’t have armed troops all over the place there.  I stand by my prediction that the US and EU will meekly submit to whatever Russia wants and go no farther than sanctions despite the Western Guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty from the 90’s.  Ukraine will probably continue to dominate the news this month as well. NATO general warns of further Russian aggression:  So, what led NATO’s commander to just now acknowledge the danger that the Crimea will not be … Read more…

The Desert Fox (Turtle) Loses to the Toxic Dragon

The Desert Turtle is not an endangered species. It is arbitrarily designated as “vulnerable” but not endangered.  They are inactive during most of the year and only come out during seasonal rains. At least 95% of their life is spent underground. Adult tortoises can survive a year or more without access to water. Their natural predators include ravens, gila monsters, and ants. But the BIGGEST threat to the desert tortoise’s habitat are WIND AND SOLAR FARMS. Do you care about the Desert Tortoise? I know I do. I believe in preserving living biodiversity. Therefore, any environmentalist worth his salt should be up in arms about the idea of the Chinese … Read more…

How History Repeats Itself

I apologize in advance for the blatantly political tone of this piece but I am flabbergasted by what I see happening on the eastern periphery of Europe and the anemic reaction to state on state aggression by the rest of the world.

I read this piece by Justin Logan from the Cato Institute this morning and was struck immediately on how similar in tone this piece is to the rhetoric of the pre-WWII America Firsters.  Is Estonia Worth a War?

I just ask myself are people so blind or so willing to seek peace at any cost that they will not stand up to tyranny until the cost of stopping it is orders of magnitude greater than if they had stood up for principle at the beginning?  The same kinds of arguments against involvement in WWII were made by isolationists in the US and appeasers abroad as Hitler’s Germany slowly re-armed and swallowed its neighbors in the years prior to WWII.

Largely the same process is in action in Russia today.  Whereas Germany felt slighted and unjustly treated after WWI modern Russia feels slighted and mistreated after the unsatisfactory (from their perspective) end to the Cold War.  It is interesting that roughly a generation passed between 1918 and 1939 and roughly a generation has passed between 1989 and 2014.  Russia was stripped of large swaths of territory in the wake of the fall of communism and Germany was stripped of territory, actually split into two separate blocks by the Danzig Corridor, in the wake of Versailles.  The German people felt they were not defeated, (hence the popularity of the stab in the back myth), while many Russians today feel that they were betrayed from within by Gorbachev and Co.  Hitler was an ideologue that fed on and amplified public perceptions of being unjustly handled by the Allies and Putin has done the same in Russia.  As Germany expanded it was only weakly opposed by the Allied powers and we are seeing the same sort of reaction in the West to Putin’s actions.

History seems to be repeating itself before our eyes as yet another European ideologue and dictator forges ahead towards war and an attempt to dominate its neighbors.  Is the West going to stand idly by and allow it to happen again until the cost of stopping it is immeasurably higher?  The stakes are higher this time around because Russia is a nuclear power.  The time to stop Putin and Russia is now and a serious demonstration of Western resolve would achieve without bloodshed what will costs thousands, if not millions of lives later on.

Has the West learned nothing from history other than that War is bad?  There are things worse than war, and if the Western leadership does not find their spine soon they will see what those things are.


Memorial to Allen Mosteiro

Mosteiro Paver

In the early 90’s I served with Allen Mosteiro in the scout platoon from 1/8 CAV, 1st Cavalry Division.  We were roommates and party mates and served together for three years.  Our platoon was called the Ghostriders and as a platoon we worked hard and played hard.  My three years there from 92-95 were some of my best years in the army and I have stayed in contact with many of my brothers in the Ghostriders since, both those who stayed in the Army and those who got out.

Mosteiro Paver

Mosteiro was one of those who stayed in.  We did not serve together again but I did run into him a few times over the coming years.  In 2007 while serving as a Platoon Sergeant in 1/7 Cav he was killed in Taji, Iraq by a sniper.  The word quickly went out to our fellow Ghostriders.  He was buried in the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery just outside of Killeen, Texas.  I happened to be stationed at Forth Hood at the time and could go to the funeral as a representative of his old platoon, the Ghostriders.

Last year, I discovered the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Museum was conducting a fundraiser to help defray the costs of building their new museum and selling memorial pavers.  I quickly contacted all my old Ghostrider brothers to float the idea of buying one for Allen.  It was not a question and we all came together and purchased one.  Last week, I got the miniature paver in the mail to show what the full-size paver will look like.

Allen is not forgotten by his former comrades and will always remain our brother.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 28


The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp:  The question on everyone’s mind: Is this the start of the Ukrainian Civil War?  I would guess no but still put the likelihood of Ukraine descending into civil war around 50%.  It would appear that the president is hoping he can wait the protesters out.  A hope that appears misplaced since the coldest part of the winter is about over and warmer weather is on the horizon.  The return of warm weather will actually bring out more protesters and if eh fails to dislodge the protesters now he … Read more…

The Evolution of Warfare and the Crimea

“History” is a problematic concept because it is very much tied to a specific culture. History departments derive from the medieval university culture of Europe and we have to accept that most people, at most of the time, have lived without any notion of it. Perception is a key to understanding this phenomena: in the history of warfare, violent confrontations have in large part been endemic. Two parties confront each other and display a show of brutal force and often the conflict is resolved symbolically by a single dual or one side is hidden behind a fortification, while tribute is discussed. A perfect example of endemic warfare would be the … Read more…

The 9th Company – Film Review

The 9th Company is the Russian Full Metal Jacket. It starts of in bootcamp and ends in an inhospitable landscape fighting guerillas in unconventional warfare. It is a fictional portrayal of The Battle for Hill 3234. That being said, the value of this film lies in what can be gleaned not from the similarities with the former film, but with the differences. First of all, we are introduced to Russian culture in the form of dedovshchina, a term which encapsulates the institutions of the former Soviet Union ( and which continue to this day). Russian hierarchies have their cultural inheritance in the gulag, and in The Bitch Wars. A brutal, … Read more…