Winning and Losing Wars

Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won. – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Got into a little bit of a Twitter scrape with Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom). I’m afraid he took exception to a comment I made. The start of it was Nichols condemning Trump for his “we’ve lost our wars” comment. I put in that as a matter of fact, we haven’t won a war since World War Two.

I know, I know; I probably took that too far. I must repeat to myself again and again: never get into a Twitter argument as it is impossible to have an argument when you’re limited to 140 characters. And it can get a bit sticky if you say anything which can be construed as other than critical of Trump. Trump = bad. I dig that – and am in favor of that sentiment. I feel bad that I apparently angered Mr. Nichols as I hold him in high regard for his knowledge. But, still, a busted clock is right twice a day. To be fair to those who took exception to my comment, Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War and Kosovo were victories. And the Iraq campaign until 2009 was also a victory. But Grenada, Panama and Kosovo are not the same scale of actions as, say, a Spanish-American War – even though that war was quite short and the loss of life was mercifully low. The First Gulf War was, in my view, an unfinished war – we did eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait (a worthwhile activity), but as long as Saddam was in power in Baghdad, a resumption of the war either in Kuwait or elsewhere was always in prospect. We could have compelled a complete surrender by Saddam, and we didn’t – we didn’t impose our political will on his regime in a permanent manner. As for the Iraq campaign – well, it was won, but then it was lost…it doesn’t matter that it was Obama who lost what Bush had won, it was still the United States losing.

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Brexit Triumphs!

I just want to say how delighted I am – I didn’t think the Brits could pull it off. I was flat wrong – patriotism and a desire for liberty still live in the United Kingdom. I can only imagine how patriots in Britain feel today.

Make no mistake about it, this is a revolt of the people against a tired, worn out, corrupt, globalist Ruling Class which doesn’t give a darn about the people. Progressives will have a lot of hard words to say about those who voted to leave – but that is just Progressives, as usual, missing the point. The entirety of this is a simple desire of people to run their own lives – that if they must have rulers, at all, they want rulers who are responsible to them…and can be punished by them if they screw up. The European Union, in spite of a few fig leaves of democratic trappings, was nothing more than un-elected, self-appointed bureaucrats deciding how everyone else gets to live…and, of course, raking off a swell lifestyle for themselves. The British have decided that whatever happens to Britain, it will be the British people who will decide.

Foreign Policy of Fools, Drunkards and the United States of America

That title is a bit of a paraphrase – a quote attributed to Bismarck:

“There is a special Providence for Fools, Drunkards and the United States of America.”

Bismarck, of course, lived in Europe at the acme of it’s power in the world and was dealing with a host of Nations in Arms, all competing furiously for wealth and position. Looking across the Atlantic, he probably envied the position of the United States…harmless neighbors north and south, oceans east and west…no need to play a deep game of power. To be sure, Bismarck was the ruin of a civilization – he instructed Europe that lying is ok, that increasing the power of the State is the only reason for living and that calculated military aggression is a useful tool in securing diplomatic ends. As a genius, Bismarck could handle that sort of thing easily – but genius only shows up every now and again, and his successors (and imitators in other lands) simply couldn’t do it, and so they unleashed Armageddon in the form of World War One. But he at least had a rational foreign policy. We don’t.

I bring this up because of a revealing article about how Obama’s foreign policy (so called) was presented to the American people by Ben Rhodes, described as someone who has a “mind meld” with the President:

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SOTU/Iranian Hostage Crisis Open Thread

Wonder if this will put a damper on Obama claiming success in the Iran deal during the State of the Union?

Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy boats Tuesday and are holding them in custody on Iran’s Farsi Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf, senior U.S. officials told NBC News.

Officials said it’s unclear whether the 10 American sailors who were aboard one of the small riverine boats had strayed into Iranian territorial waters before they were captured.

The officials said the Americans were on a training mission around noon ET when their boat experienced mechanical difficulty and drifted into Iranian-claimed waters and were seized by Iranian Coast guard.

Iran is claiming they were in Iran’s waters – naturally, our government is appearing to go along with this claim. Even if true, the proper response from a civilized power is to just warn them off, not seize them. This could, of course, just be one of those things that happen – but it could also be Iran seeing just how far they can go. They are already routinely insulting us and challenging us and seeing that Obama is willing to put up with anything rather than put his “legacy” deal with Iran in jeopardy. This just might be more in that game – and if it is, then expect some very aggressive Iranian action in the area soon…if we back down on this, Iran’s government will pretty much know for certain that Obama will not, under any circumstances, take on Iran.

Perhaps Obama should set up an empty chair for our national honor…

Clash of the Titans

So this Iran-Saudi Arabia thing could get interesting if not outright dangerous. This tribal battle has two deadly Muslim components; Arab/Persian and Sunni/Shia, and both countries have the power to either devastate and/or rearrange the entire Middle East. While Saudi Arabia is not the most ideal ally, they are still an ally and they believe we have completely abandoned them. Iran has already broken the “unsigned” agreement, which Obama is so proud of and apparently unwilling to enforce. Obama drew a red line in Syria that he was unwilling to enforce. Obama allowed Putin to take Crimea and invade Ukraine. And Obama is allowing the Chinese to choke off trade routes. Saudi Arabia is not the only ally to think that we have abandoned them, and they have good reason. A.B. Stoddard said it well when she stated that all the world powers know that this is Obama’s last year and they consider it to be open season. I think she’s right and that’s frightening. I think we could see some bad players making a lot of bad moves over the next year. Question is; does that bolster Trump even more? And how does Hillary handle it? More gun control? Your thoughts.

Weekend Open Thread – Gross Negligence Version

Democrats are desperately trying to paint Hillary’s server debacle as simply a partisan attack with no “there there” following Kevin McCarthy’s comment, but the FBI has another term for it – Gross Negligence, which carries a possible ten year sentence and there is no doubt that she is guilty:

Under 18 USC 793 subsection F, the information does not have to be classified to count as a violation. The intelligence source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the ongoing probe, said the subsection requires the “lawful possession” of national defense information by a security clearance holder who “through gross negligence,” such as the use of an unsecure computer network, permits the material to be removed or abstracted from its proper, secure location.

Through deleting emails after being notified to turn over her server, to allowing her attorney, without security clearance, to have a flash drive of those sensitive emails, Hillary has violated federal law through those two actions alone. But I think what Hillary is really trying to cover up more than anything else is her communiqué with long time friend Sydney Blumenthal who was on the ground in Libya and allegedly encouraging Hillary to push Obama to move forward and depose Gaddafi. Why? Sydney felt that he could financially benefit from working with the new government in Libya, and if proven to be true, this would be the greatest scandal in American history. At the very least, Hillary helped depose a foreign leader who posed no imminent threat and left the country in complete shambles and a vacuum of which was filled by jihadists. Judgement like that is a complete disqualifier for POTUS.

On another disturbing note, the weakness of Obama continues to make life miserable for people around the world and he could care less. Obama’s indifference to the full out assault on Israeli’s by emboldened Palestinians is shameful and lays to rest the question of whose side Obama is really on. There is no question that through his actions, Obama has turned his back on Israel and has abandoned the long established relationship we have with the Middle East’s only democracy.

These are interesting times and decent civilized people had better wake up, pay attention, and do what is needed to defeat the current assault on democracy, personal freedom, common sense, and civility. And the greatest threat resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Turns Out We Can’t Beat the Russians

Anyone thinking that Obama might find his backbone and actually stand up to Putin’s imperialism better think again:

“Our question was: Would NATO be able to defend those countries {the Baltic states}?” Ochmanek recalls.

The results were dispiriting. Given the recent reductions in the defense budgets of NATO member countries and American pullback from the region, Ochmanek says the blue team was outnumbered 2-to-1 in terms of manpower, even if all the U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Europe were dispatched to the Baltics — including the 82nd Airborne, which is supposed to be ready to go on 24 hours’ notice and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“We just don’t have those forces in Europe,” Ochmanek explains. Then there’s the fact that the Russians have the world’s best surface-to-air missiles and are not afraid to use heavy artillery.

After eight hours of gaming out various scenarios, the blue team went home depressed. “The conclusion,” Ochmanek says, “was that we are unable to defend the Baltics.”

The active Russian Army is stated at 395,000 – Poland, the closest nation with a large military force has 120,000 troops. Germany, next closest, has just under 61,000. The French army, a little further off, has 115,000. That works out to 99,000 less than the Russian army, when you combine them all together. Small wonder that even with the US Army in Europe augmented by the 82nd Airborne that we can’t get the job done – and this probably supposes that we could get the French and Germans to go along (getting the Poles to go along wouldn’t be difficult).

The thing about an army is that you just never know when you’re going to need one – which is why you’re supposed to keep a top-notch one in being at all times, even when it doesn’t seem particularly necessary. For decades now the Europeans have continually reduced the size of their military force – they got it into their heads that there would never be another major European war. Now we’ve got the Russian bear trying to rebuild the Russian Empire and no one has an army in being capable of stopping the Russians. The only way to actually stop Putin if, say, he decided to occupy Estonia is to declare war on Russia, build up a massive army, and then invade. This is not something which is going to recommend itself to European and American politicians.

Welcome back to the real world, folks. We’re in quite a pickle, right now. Not only does no one respect of fear us, but we simply do not have the military power to make anyone respect or fear us. On the other hand, our military is now almost perfectly politically correct – with only a few Marines still to be forced into line. Great, huh?