Category Archives: War Commentary

OPEC

Here’s your feel-good story of the day: The cartel lost $76B last year due to U.S. fracking.

I’m old enough to remember when Barack Obama told us we couldn’t drill our way out of the energy crisis. Oil reserves continue to climbe every year, as they have for decades.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sort of related: Three reasons natural gas prices may be headed higher.

We just put in a soaking tub in our renovated bath, and now our 40-gallon water heater isn’t quite up to the job. I’d been thinking about putting in an instant heater in the bath, but there’s no gas line to it, and at California prices, the electric bill would be a killer. I could replace it with an instant-gas heater, but I’m starting to think maybe just get a bigger tank, given that it’s almost thirty years old.

[Update a while later]

OPEC is dead.

It’s been a feature of my life for forty-five years. It’s not quite as big a victory as ending the Cold War, but good riddance.

Low-Cost Launch

The military could have it in the next half decade, but it’s going to have to work at it:

Miller argued that taking advantage of the current opportunities is going to require leadership from an organization that doesn’t exist yet in the Pentagon.

“We need an organization that’s not totally there,” he said. “We need an organization that has the right culture to understand private industry and partner with them. It needs to have the right authorities…It needs to have the right leadership and vision to go exercise this plan. We did not find any existing organization that has all the right qualities now, so we recommended creating a purpose-built organization to go execute this strategy.”

Schilling said the study was “not an indictment in any way shape or form” of the work of the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office in New Mexico.

He has to say that, but in fact it is. ORS has been pretty blinkered in its thinking. Of course, it’s not like it’s ever had a huge budget to work with.

[Update a few minutes later]

Funding to defend space systems will be in the next budget:

“Our fundamental challenge is we have to deal with space as an increasingly challenged domain,” he said at a Washington Space Business Roundtable panel discussion in Arlington, Virginia, on national security space priorities in the Trump administration. The problem is that the current systems were not built to withstand attacks, he added.

“What you will see in the budget is measured steps across the enterprise on how we address mission assurance,” he said, without going into details on how much will be proposed.

They will be “measured steps” and the work will take many several budget cycles, beyond the current future year defense program, which projects funding out for five years.

“It took us a long time to build the existing system. It is going to take a significant amount of time to transform it into the mission-assured system that is required in the future,” he said.

Yes. And the sooner they start the better. This is long overdue.

Communism

Commemorating (but not celebrating) a century of it:

It would be simplistic to blame all of these events on ideology. We live in an imperfect world and those imperfections have been unequally distributed. No conceivable government of Russia, or China, or Venezuela would have left no citizens impoverished or oppressed. Nonetheless, a hundred years of communism has presented us with an intimidating record of catastrophe, in a moral, political, and economic sense. Time and again, ambition has exceeded potential. Time and again, coercion has encouraged conflict. Time and again, violence has perpetuated itself. Time and again, absolute power has hardened into tyranny.

These disasters were concealed, excused and exacerbated by Western apologists and traitors. Walter Duranty of the New York Times lied to America about the scale of the Soviet famine. Intellectuals from George Bernard Shaw to Jean Paul Sartre to Eric Hobsbawm rationalised atrocities. Spies in British and American institutions betrayed military and intelligence secrets. As Europe reeled from the horrors of world war, and as the West endured the austerity of the depression, the impulse towards radicalism was understandable. But as the reality of communism was exposed even dull-minded apologists ran out of excuses.

A recent article in the New York Times offers a nostalgic account of growing up as a communist. Its author implies that the reality of Stalinism was made clear by Kruschev in 1956. But two decades earlier, Gareth Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge had exposed widespread starvation in the Soviet Union. The show trials had been reported across America and Europe. The Madden Committee had revealed the truth of Katyn. Orwell had published Animal Farm, and Koestler Darkness at Noon. By 1956, ignorance was abominable.

And it should be even more so today, but it has a sick appeal to something in human nature.

[Update a few minutes later]

I wish this were less related: The Cruelty Of Blue. As goes Puerto Rico, so will go many Democrat-run cities on the mainland.

That Time Of Year Again

It’s Victims Of Communism Day, 2017:

This year is a particularly important time to remember the victims of Communism because of the approaching one hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution – Bolshevik takeover of Russia. The Soviet Union was not the most oppressive communist regime. It probably did not match the even more thoroughgoing totalitarianism of the Khmer Rouge and North Korea. Nor did it kill the most people – a record held by Mao Zedong the Chinese communists. But the Soviet experiment was the principal model for all the later communist states, and it is hard to imagine communists seizing control of so much of the world without it. In addition to the significant material aid that the Soviets provided to communists in other nations, the communist seizure of power in Russia also greatly boosted the ideology’s prospects elsewhere.

Meanwhile…

North Korea

Assessing its war plans:

Recognizing that in war nothing ever goes entirely as expected, and that there are some major unknowns, this is based on what we do know about North Korea’s force structure, its comparative strengths, and terrain and other considerations—along with my own assessment of how Korean War II would initially unfold. But regardless of how it played out, one thing is near certain: It would entail horrific destruction and suffering. Tens or hundreds of thousands could become casualties. In defeat, North Korea would become a 25-million strong humanitarian catastrophe. And that is just with conventional weapons: The possible consequences of attacking Seoul with WMD are almost too awful to contemplate. There is a role for force here—a strong ROK/US posture has certainly constrained North Korean aggression for decades—and in no way should DPRK threats be simply acceded to. But under current conditions, and given the scale of likely destruction, planners should strongly question whether each DPRK provocation—even the imminent development of a ICBM—justifies risking such a war.

As a general once said, war consists of sh***y options, and this is probably the worst problem currently on the global state.

The Iran “Deal”

It just keeps looking worse and worse:

When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.

“They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys,” said one former federal law enforcement supervisor centrally involved in the hunt for Iranian arms traffickers and nuclear smugglers. “And then they didn’t give a full story of it.”

In its determination to win support for the nuclear deal and prisoner swap from Tehran — and from Congress and the American people — the Obama administration did a lot more than just downplay the threats posed by the men it let off the hook, according to POLITICO’s findings.

Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort.

And as far back as the fall of 2014, Obama administration officials began slow-walking some significant investigations and prosecutions of Iranian procurement networks operating in the U.S. These previously undisclosed findings are based on interviews with key participants at all levels of government and an extensive review of court records and other documents.

“Clearly, there was an embargo on any Iranian cases,” according to the former federal supervisor.

It was treasonous, really, and probably at the instigation of Valerie Jarrett.