Podcast: Air Power and It’s Limits

This podcast discusses Air Power and its limits.  Specifically I expose the myth that it is possible to win a war with airpower alone.  The example of Kosovo often held up as showing airpower can win wars is discussed as well as the utility, or lack thereof, of airpower in the current fight against ISIS in Syria. Download this episode (right click and save)

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 … More after the Jump…

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 … More after the Jump…

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

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 … More after the Jump…

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.

 

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 … More after the Jump…

Finnish Exceptionalism – Sisu

American exceptionalism is no myth. The 19th century saw some of the greatest minds produce a vastly modern civilization out of a wilderness. Since then we have been in intellectual decline – we have consistent party purges of anyone who doesn’t toe the party line in all areas of life from academia to the military, and narrow ideological constructs such as political correctness have rendered the 1st amendment a relic and a sideshow. How about our performance in the Second World War? The greatest fighter pilot was a German, the greatest tank ace was a German, and the greatest sniper was a Finn. The greatest military performance of all time … More after the Jump…

Russian Military Equipment Advertising

Here is a comical advertisement for Russian military hardware disguised as a news story.  Russian military hardware best in the world.  Just a reminder, Pravda is Russian for truth and was, probably still is, the official government news organ.  One of the amusing tidbits is their trumpeting of an Iranian claim that a Russian-made ground attack aircraft, the SU-25, took out an MQ-1 Predator drone as an example of the equipment’s superiority.  To repeat, a manned aircraft shot down a drone.  Lastly, as far as I know, all of Russia’s high tech eqipment exports and foriegn licenses are for what are called “chimp” models.  That is, model that do not include all the latest equipment upgrades that enter Russian service.

I  will never forget the look on the Russian soldier’s face in Bosnia in 1996 when we showed him our M3A2 Bradley’s and what they could do.  When he looked at us and said “and we thought we could beat you,” it was priceless.

Barbarossa/Eatern Front Timeline in WWII

Over the past few days I have had an email conversation with Mr. George Toomes, one of my readers, and he brought up a very interesting question. It started with asking if I had or knew where to find a map of the Russian counter-attack outside Moscow in the winter of 1941. In a follow up he mentioned that he was trying to get an idea of when and where the Germans and Russians stopped in their various offensives and counter-offensives in the war in the East. I don’t think I have ever seen a video or graphic that lays out the back and forth of the eastern front in … More after the Jump…

Book Review: July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin

I have probably read 30-40 books exploring the origins of World War I in the past 5-6 years and I thought that just about everything relevant there was to be known about the events of the month leading up to the war were known and historians have just been stirring the ashes and finding trivia in trying to determine a more accurate chain of causation. July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin disabused me of that notion.  This work has made me aware of several things about the critical month between the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of World War I that I am amazed have not … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Death in the Baltic by Cathryn J. Prince

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author for purposes of reviewing it. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] The Wilhelm Gustloff was a German built pleasure ship built by the Nazis to bolster their public image both at home and abroad in the late 1930’s.  It is remembered today because when it was sunk by a Soviet submarine in early 1945 as it was evacuating civilians and wounded military personnel from East Prussia to Kiel its sinking became the ship sinking with the highest loss of life in recorded history.  Nobody knows for sure but … More after the Jump…

Battle of the Nations Monument – Leipzig, Germany

I had the opportunity to visit Leipzig this past weekend and while there stopped briefly by the monument to the 1813 Battle of the Nations from the Napoleonic Wars.  At the Battle of the Nations the Sixth Coalition consisting of Prussia, Britain, Russia, and Austria fought the French Army of Napoleon and over the course of three days defeated him and forced him to retreat back to France. I only had about 20 minutes at the monument and Leipzig is on my list of places to see again as one day was not enough to see all that I wanted to see.  The monument is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the Battle next year. It is … More after the Jump…