sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fishwrap: The Week in Review

Feminizing Boys

Boy Scouts of America has announced a ban on water gun fights and a limit on the size of water balloons allowed at their summer camps. "Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized,” states the group’s 2015 manual. "Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn."

As for water balloons, they must now be "no larger than a ping-pong ball" and must be biodegradable. It's not your daddy's boy scouts anymore.
The change is not sitting well with many, including Andrea Tantaros, who said on "Outnumbered" today that this is another instance of the "feminization of boys."

It's All About the Weather

Charles Krauthammer scooped me this week because he laid out everything that I was going to say: Ramadi falls, North Korea announces new nuclear missile and the President gives speech to the  Coast Guard Academy on climate change (the weather) being the greatest threat to our national security.

Never in my life as an American administration been so woefully wrong on every single issue that confronted it. A broken clock is right twice a day, but the Obama Administration can't even manage that.

On North Korean Missiles and Nukes

The US and India judge that Pakistan has developed a nuclear warhead for its Ghauri intermediate range ballistic missile. The Ghauri is interesting because Pakistan bought its first Ghauris from North Korea, where they are named the NoDong. North Korea sold the technology base so that Pakistan can make Ghauris. The North also provided missile engineers and warhead artificers to assist Pakistan in fielding this missile and adapting it to Pakistani requirements. Pakistan provided nuclear enrichment centrifuges to North Korea.

The prudent judgment for policy formulators and warfighters is to presume that North Korea has nuclear warheads for its three firing units of NoDong ballistic missiles, as the Commander of NORAD testified in the video clip above.
It's also likely that Iran has copies of those warheads in the same way that it has NoDong ballistic missiles. The US never talks about THAT. It would tend to derail Obama's signature legacy deal with Iran...

Political aspirant, Hillary Clinton, seeks to maintain the Obama record of mediocrity. Carly Fiorina appeared on the Hough Hewitt show. Hewitt asked her what questions she would ask Clinton. Fiorina said (among other things), "I would ask is why were you willing to peddle a fiction about Benghazi starting as you stood over the bodies of four murdered Americans and for a month after that?" But at this point, what difference does it make?

At least Hillary isn't lying to us by telling us that her administration will be the most transparent in history. There are some whoppers that even the progressive mavens in the mainstream media would choke on. I'm sure that Chris Matthews feel that old tingle running up his leg, though.


Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon

Context: America buys almost all of its routine consumer goods from China. We no longer have the capacity to compete with them through domestic production. If you shop at Walmart, Target, Home Depot or Lowes, you are buying products made in China. It's hard not to. I do it too.
China no longer buys American debt because it's "junk paper". We now buy our own debt. Thank you Federal Reserve.
Blogging friends, what are YOU willing to give up in order to stand up to China? Or should we stand down?

The News: Yesterday, the Chinese navy warned a US Navy P8 surveillance aircraft eight times to depart Chinese airspace. The P8 replied that it was flying in international airspace, as it overflew the South China Sea islets where China is building runways and basing infrastructure using dredges. 

The warning apparently came from Fiery Cross Reef, which is now an island with an airstrip that can accommodate any Chinese military aircraft. Fiery Cross Reef now hosts a control tower and an early warning radar system, the latest additions to the runway and other infrastructure construction projects.

Yesterday's warning episode is the second Chinese provocation this week. Earlier the Chinese announced fishing restrictions for the entire South China Sea. The Chinese maritime authorities do this every year, ostensibly to conserve sea resources and to assert Chinese sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Southeast Asian states annually protest the Chinese announcement. Their fishing fleets ignore the Chinese declaration, but also try to avoid Chinese patrols. China lacks the military capabilities to enforce its orders in the Spratly Islands, but its intentions are clear. It will enforce its declarations and will deploy the necessary capabilities after the island infrastructure is ready. In that regard, China also is building a second air base on Subi Reef. They intend to fortify the area and the support infrastructure will lead to an assertion of control once they're ready.

Many of the ships in the Chinese fishing fleet are presently armed. That practice is expanding and will soon apply to all Chinese flagged fishing boats. This makes them (small) warships capable of enforcing Chinese fishing rights in addition to commercial vessels.

China is serious about its claim that the South China Sea is China’s territorial waters. The report that an early warning radar is now operating on Fiery Cross Reef means that air defense missiles and modern air defense radars will follow soon. After those systems are operational, China will station fighter/interceptor aircraft at Fiery Cross Reef, at least intermittently, depending on the weather. 

A number of nations claim control of this area, but China is the only nation with the muscle to militarize it to the extent necessary to hold firm control over it. China’s claims are bold and backed by concrete enforcement actions. Those enforcement actions are becoming increasingly more integrated and comprehensive. They mean that eventually transit of the South China Sea will be with Chinese permission. While other claimants and the US dither about international law, the Chinese are successfully asserting ownership of a vast sea area.

The Chinese are vulnerable in that they have asserted claims they cannot now defend. The US and Southeast Asian states prefer to rely on diplomacy and talks to settle disputes, which the Chinese leadership rejects as irrelevant. China will never compromise on issues of sovereignty.

Chinese leaders will send diplomats, who will be deliberately uninformed, to exploit the conflict aversion tendencies of the current US leadership and the Southeast Asians. None of them want a confrontation with China and they mistakenly ascribe the same attitude to the Chinese leaders. 

The Chinese People's Army's Navy (that's what they call it) is no longer a joke as it is turning into a blue water force that can contest US fleet operations anywhere within it sphere. Land based anti shipping ballistic missiles have been deployed and while their effectiveness is not yet known, present estimates rate it as good.

The Chinese have the measure of the USA and find it lacking. Within that vacuum, they are expanding and will back their expansion with military muscle, confident that the USA will back down like an obedient cur. They've seen our leader and have taken our measure. 

This piece concludes tomorrow with thoughts on China -- "In Search of Modern China".