Periodic World Craziness Update # 15

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Pressure builds in Iran nuclear stand-off:  It is quite simple really.  Nobody wants to do anything with regards to the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons that can really stop them because that would entail Iraq style regime change and there is not a single country willing to go that far that has the capability.  (That would be the US)  The diplomatic dancing will continue until Iran tests a weapon at which point it will be too late.  I also think that at that point Israel will have no choice but to unilaterally attack Iran as they are the country … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 14

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Mali & Central Africa – West faces ‘decades’ of conflict in N Africa, Death Toll Climbs Past 80 in Siege in the Sahara:  My only question is when are we going to get serious about stamping out terrorism?  My guess is never because a true solution would cause most Westerners to blanch in disgust.  It will take several attacks similar in scale to 9/11 in most Western countries for people to really come to grips with the threat of terrorism and then develop the resolve to do something effectual. Why Algeria Didn’t Warn the U.S. About Its Hostage Raid:  We are supposed to wonder why any 3rd World Country distrusts the … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 13

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Egypt’s Islamists aim to build on constitution vote:  We are now starting to see the logical outcome of the “Arab Spring.”  I would guess that more Islamist regimes will come to power but they will at first cloak themselves with legitimacy of Democracy.  We are seeing a repeat of the patented Arab “one man, one vote, one time” phenomenon that occurred in the wake of WWII. Mexico urges US court to block part of Arizona law:  I just wonder why we don’t hear any US politicians or the administration telling a foreign nation to stay out of internal US affairs. I also find … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 12

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Red Flag Over the Atlantic:  Everyone who follows China understands that China wants and is trying to increase their influence in the world.  They are doing this by exercising their considerable economic clout in places such as Africa and South America and also by increasing defense spending an acquisitions.  This year they launched their first Aircraft Carrier and have increased defense spending by double digit percentages every year for the past dozen years or so.  That they would be interested in an Atlantic base should surprise nobody.  If they aspire to regain the Great Power status they lost hundreds of years ago they must have a … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 11

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Greece, Spain ‘in depression’: Nobel winner Stiglitz:  The slow motion death of the Euro continues and the only people that seem to not recognize it are the technocrats in charge of the various EU government.  At some point, probably too late, the signs and symptoms will be so overwhelming that the EU’s leaders will have no choice but to stop trying to apply band-aids and have to do something that will actually work.  That end is probably the dissolution of the Euro. China’s increasing military spending unnerves neighbors:  Count me among the people who is alarmed by the growth in Chinese … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 10

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. U.S. military suspends joint patrols with Afghans:  All I can say is that it is about damn time one of the higher ups realized that the joint patrol and living policy is a failure.  Absent a robust vetting process, which is obviously lacking, it is unconscionable to have our troops living side by side with Afghans who cannot be trusted as far as we can throw them. Pakistanis Try to Storm U.S. Outpost; One Is Killed:  I expect that demonstrations supposedly in outrage over the video will continue for a another week or so.  I am more and more … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 9

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Afghanistan: a ragged retreat threatens to turn into a slow-motion rout: Afghanistan is increasingly in the news again. I don’t know if that is because the US Presidential race is entering the final stages or that the war does in fact seem to be turning into a slow motion disaster. I suspect a little bit of both with some other factors thrown in. What ,most journalists and commentators fail to acknowledge however is that the war in Afghanistan went south a long time before Obama came into office. It went out the window when the US invaded Iraq and … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 8

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Heavy clashes hit Syrian capital for second day:  The unrest, hell call it what it really is, the Civil War in Syria seems to be entering a new phase as the rebels gain in strength and/or competence and are actually starting to bring the conflict to the capital Damascus.   The big question mark is not can the rebels win but what will the international community do?  As things now stand they will offer only condemnations of the Assad government because they are stymied by Russian and Chinese support for Assad and his government.   I don’t see that … More after the Jump…

Victory, what is it?

This question came up for several reasons mainly because of the news out of Afghanistan and Iran plus the book I am currently reading about the Second World War . Victory is an elusive thing because in war defining victory is perhaps the major strategic goal of the belligerents. I suppose that one could take the Clausewitzean the ideal of destroying the enemy’s force or means to fight  as victory but that really isn’t it. As we saw in Iraq the destruction of the enemy army does not necessarily mean that the war is over.   Unless the population of The enemy country, nation, or tribe is convinced that they … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 7

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. An Authoritarian Axis Rising?:  Perhaps more people should be talking about this.   This article asks the intriguing question of whether world events over the past year or so, but particularly since Putin’s return to power, don’t highlight the beginning of a new bipolar world order.   These supposed Axis states are China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela.   Interestingly, as the article points out, half of them rely on oil money and thus lower oil prices are seen as a threat.   Is the world once again aligning along authoritarian lines?  That is a good question, … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 6

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Europe rocked by Spanish banking crisis, Time to Admit Defeat: Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit:  At the top of the news for a week or so was the impending meltdown of the Greek economy and Euro experiment. Greek euro exit looms as G8 gathers:  The question in my mind is not if Greece will leave the Euro, but when and what will be the wider consequences for the EU as a whole?  As I understand it, there is no mechanism for an EU country to exit the Euro without repudiating the EU treaty itself and also leaving the … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 5

The last month’s wackiness in the world of international relations and brinkmanship. Israel becomes a target in Egypt’s presidential vote:  Stories such as this highlight two things.  1. The true nature of the supposed Arab Spring of 2011 and the way Islamists are subverting an infant democratic process if one ever existed and… 2. Why Israel should be worried.  Even supposed moderate candidates gain political traction from demonizing Israel thus illustrating the level of mainstream support for what the west like to call extremists but who are actually not within an Arab context. Can Obama Safely Embrace Islamists?:  I don’t quite know what to think about this quote from the state department informant. “The war on terror … More after the Jump…

The Moral Quandary?

Lately I have been somewhat preoccupied thinking about the geostrategic position the US and even the wider Western world find themselves in.  While I do not believe that the world is on the cusp of some massive catastrophe, it does seem to me that the rise of Militant Islam in the last ten years presents problems that are new or that at least have not been faced on such a scale by Western countries since before the rise of the modern nation state. Essentially, I think that Islam is facing the West with a crucial choice, one the West would rather not have to make as it goes against all … More after the Jump…

Honey or Salt?

There is an old adage that “you can catch more flies with honey than with salt.” The truth of that adage is being put to the test daily in Afghanistan and being to shown to be false under certain circumstances at least. ISAF is not winning currently, but they are not exactly losing either. At best from what I read, see, and hear ISAF is fighting a delaying action against the inevitable fall of the central government and rise of whatever Islamic extremist group bubbles up out of the morass of internal Afghan politics. I can almost guarantee it won´t be the Taliban, but probably someone very much like them. … More after the Jump…

Tactical Aspects of Battle: A Discussion

There is a very interesting pair of essays in the Baen free non-fiction compendium for 2011. The essence of these two pieces is the geo-strategic position of the United States in the early 21st Century and what the American prospects for maintaining global dominance are. This piece is not necessarily about geopolitics but it did get me thinking about another idea I have been tossing around in my head for the past few years, and that is tactics. Specifically tactics and the way their use affects the course of battles both classical and contemporary. Too often, tactical considerations are given short shrift in accounts of battle. For example, it is … More after the Jump…