Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Clarity And Wisdom As True Today As It Was 25 Years Ago

Black Folks Did Not Cancel Scott Adams - "They" Cancelled Scott Adams

detroitnews |  Dilbert comic strip creator Scott Adams experienced possibly the biggest repercussion of his recent comments about race when distributor Andrews McMeel Universal announced Sunday it would no longer work with the cartoonist.

Andrews McMeel Chairman Hugh Andrews and CEO and President Andy Sareyan said in a joint statement that the syndication company was “severing our relationship" with Adams.

In the Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube show, Adams described people who are Black as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get away.” Various media publishers across the U.S. denounced the comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.

Andrews and Sareyan said Andrews McMeel supports free speech, but the comments by the cartoonist were not compatible with the core values of the company based in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate,” they said in the statement posted on the company website and Twitter.

The creator of the long-running comic that pokes fun at office-place culture defended himself on social media against those whom he said "hate me and are canceling me.”

The backlash against Adams arose following comments on “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” Among other topics, Adams used the YouTube show to reference a Rasmussen Reports survey that had asked whether people agreed with the statement “It's OK to be white."

Most agreed, but Adams noted that 26% of Black respondents disagreed and others weren't sure.

The Anti-Defamation League says the phrase was popularized in 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the discussion forum 4chan but then began being used by some white supremacists.

Adams, who is white, repeatedly referred to people who are Black as members of a “hate group” or a “racist hate group” and said he would no longer “help Black Americans."

“Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” Adams said on his Wednesday show.

In another episode of his online show Saturday, Adams said he had been making a point that “everyone should be treated as an individual” without discrimination.





Monday, February 27, 2023

Everyone Is Frustrated With The Race Wars "They" Started And Perpetuated

The people Kanye got cancelled for talking about are the Government. They own the politicans.


Weinstein Got Drunk On Rogan And Said ALL THE QUIET PART About "The Jews" Out Loud



To hear Eric Weinstein's entire "shut it down, the goyim know" drunken rant, - in which he repudiates everything he's professed about the DISC as well as placing himself squarely in the Epstein psy-op camp - go to the 3 hour 30 minute mark on the spotify podcast with Rogan.

Does Scott Adams Have Your Attention Yet?

bloomberg  |  Elon Musk called the media racist after a cartoonist he regularly engages with on Twitter faced blowback for encouraging White Americans to avoid Black people.

While discussing a Rasmussen Reports poll in which almost half of Black respondents disagreed or were unsure about the statement that it’s OK to be White, Scott Adams, creator of the long-running Dilbert comic strip, said during his YouTube show last week that his best advice for White Americans “is to get the hell away from Black people.” 

Newspaper publishers, including Gannett Co.’s USA Today Network, denounced the comments and said they’ll no longer publish Adams’ cartoons, which satirize office culture.

Musk waded into the controversy, first by responding to Adams, who quote-tweeted a Washington Post columnist encouraged by the newspaper dropping Dilbert. “What exactly are they complaining about?” Musk asked in a post he later deleted.

When another account on the social network Musk owns spoke out against coverage of Adams, Musk replied: “The media is racist.”

“For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians,” Musk said in another post. “Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”

Musk unsettled many Black users of Twitter Inc. last year by repeatedly saying past management had gone too far in moderating content on the platform, and had infringed on free speech as a result. Shortly after taking over the company, he made fun of #StayWoke t-shirts he found at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters that dated back to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tesla Inc. is facing a lawsuit by the California Civil Rights Department that accuses the company of engaging in a pattern of racial harassment and bias at its electric-vehicle factory. Tesla published a blog post responding to the allegations before the agency filed suit in February 2022.

In June, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a cause finding against Tesla that closely parallels California’s allegations, according to the company. Tesla said last month that it was in the process of setting up a mandatory mediation with the federal agency.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

As If Obsolete Infrastructure And Thinking Weren't Bad Enough - There's Political Corruption As Well

responsiblestatecraft  |  This week U.S. government officials and defense industry personnel are walking the halls of the UAE’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) to promote some of the latest U.S. defense technology to the UAE and other Middle East buyers. The officials, however, will largely ignore one increasingly risky aspect of the deals defense companies will put on the table.

Typically referred to as “offsets,” these secretive “sweeteners” or investments masks corruption risks that could harm U.S. security interests and help keep millions in a constant state of poverty and conflict around the world. This U.S. approach also seriously undermines the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage U.S. companies and foreign governments to fight corruption and protect democracies.

Big Business

This year’s IDEX will be sure to result in many major arms sales agreements.. The EXPO comes at a time when defense spending is rising globally in response to growing threats and new conflicts. The UAE remains among the top arms buyers in the world. In 2019, the UAE Armed Forces signed 33 deals worth $2.8 billion with international companies at IDEX.

The United States continues to dominate arms sales to the UAE, but it faces competition from major players like China and European countries, as well as the growing defense production capabilities of countries like Turkey and Israel. Defense companies often rely on offsets to make their proposed arms sales more attractive to foreign buyers. Offset packages are essentially the selling company’s promises to invest in the buyer country’s defense industry (direct offsets) or broader economy (indirect offsets).

U.S. defense companies regularly agree to offset packages worth billions of dollars each year. In 2019, U.S. defense contractors reported entering into 31 new offset agreements with 12 countries valued at $8.2 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The value of these agreements often equaled more than half the total value of the arms deal. Some of the common types of U.S. company indirect offsets include agreements to purchase items from the procuring country, subcontract with their businesses, transfer desirable technologies, or provide credit assistance.

At the 2019 IDEX, the UAE announced a new offset policy for their arms purchases, which requires defense companies to include offsets for contracts at $10 million or more. Unlike some previous policies, this one focuses more on offsets to areas outside the defense sector (indirect offsets), including infrastructure, food and water security, and other strategic sectors. The policy encourages defense companies to use cash payments to satisfy offset requirements. The UAE has made it policy not to release any information publicly about its offsets agreements.

Facilitating Corruption

The use of offsets is controversial. In 2007, the European Commission directed European countries to put significant restrictions on companies using offsets as they viewed them as anti-competitive, and pushed member states to outlaw the use of indirect offsets. A common concern is that offsets transfer substantial resources, often to authoritarian governments, with very little transparency and even less accountability. Offsets, especially cash payments, can also serve as bribe money to help win a contract, avoid paying fees/penalties, or serve other corrupt purposes.

The Commerce Department has for years warned U.S. companies about investing in sovereign wealth funds in Persian Gulf countries and beyond out of concern that these funds could easily serve as vehicles for bribes. These funds can also be used to support foreign lobbying of the U.S. government. In 2016 and 2017, The Intercept reported that U.S. companies offset cash payments to the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, Tawazun Holding, resulting in some $20 million reaching the DC-based Middle East Institute, which has promoted expanding sales of U.S. arms to Gulf countries.

The UAE’s refocus on indirect offsets, after a decade of focus on direct offsets, elevates the risks for U.S. companies indirectly supporting strategic sectors of the UAE economy that fuel conflict in Africa and facilitate money laundering. In 2009, an Italian defense company agreed to a joint production project to build a gold and silver refining plant in the UAE as part of its offset deal. Gold trade experts have raised concerns about the central role the UAE is playing in allowing gold acquired illicitly by African armed groups to be refined and resold to European and U.S. markets, masking and reinforcing conflict dynamics and death in Central and Eastern Africa.

U.S. and European defense companies have also invested in the UAE’s real estate markets through offsets. This strategic sector, however, has reportedly been a major source of money laundering for foreign public officials and U.S. sanctioned individuals. Think-tank reports on this sector have described how foreign public officials have invested millions in UAE’s luxury homes with money stolen from national budgets, leaving their own citizens in a perpetual state of poverty. International arms traffickers, such as AQ Kahn and Viktor Bout, have also used the UAE as a base of operations to ship weapons to U.S. adversaries.

The Regressive Thinking Of Cold War Octogenarians Can't Get Outside The Box

austinvernon  |   In a previous post, I covered what the US military is doing to counter China. Both countries have a relatively short-term view of hostilities, opting for complicated weapons and platforms that take years to build. But what happens if a war breaks out and both sides want to keep fighting? The munitions, ships, and planes required might be very different.

Maximizing Destruction Per Dollar

Several useful strategies emerge when fighting an existential war.

  1. Cheap Precision

    In total war, boutique weapons won't be able to destroy enough enemies even if they are tactically successful. It is also challenging to produce and transport the mind-boggling mass inaccurate weapons require. The sweet spot is accurate but cheap weapons. These can be classic smart weapons like GPS-gravity bombs but also include an Abrams tank that can reliably kill adversaries 3000 meters away with unguided shells.

  2. Avoid Unreliable Systems

    An enemy can grind unreliable weapons into the ground by forcing a high tempo. The twenty US B-2 Bombers could deliver a one-time nuclear strike but could not eliminate thousands of Chinese ships, bases, and troop concentrations because of their low sortie rate and limited numbers.

  3. Manage Survivability vs. Expendability Carefully

    There are many tradeoffs when designing weapons. The math tends to push design choices towards cheap, less survivable systems or pricier, long-lasting ones. Survivability can come from the ability to take damage (like having armor) or from deception (stealth, electronic interference, speed).

    The cheap system could lack the capability to score any kill against superior weapons or end up still being too expensive. The expensive one could be more vulnerable or less effective than hoped. What capabilities a country has and its strategic position matter when choosing.

    A classic comparison is the US Sherman tank and the Soviet T-34 in World War II. The Soviets saw that tanks on the Eastern front rarely lasted 24 hours in battle and took planned obsolescence to the extreme to make the T-34 cheap. The US designed the Sherman for reliability and repairability. Engineers carefully designed engines and suspensions for durability. The number of Shermans in Europe kept increasing because mechanics would have "knocked out" tanks back in battle within days.

  4. Focus on Mass Production

    An adversary can make a powerful weapon irrelevant by sheer numbers if it is challenging to produce. Historical examples include the Tiger Tank, Me-262, and sophisticated cruise missiles.

    The need for easy-to-manufacture designs is even more critical for expendable munitions. Neither Russia nor Ukraine have top ten economies, yet they are drawing down global munition stocks. Each side must carefully manage consumption and substitute away from bespoke weapons like Javelin missiles for more available systems. Imagine the top two economies duking it out.

    The enemy can often fight harder than you think and regenerate more forces than you hope. The conflict can rapidly devolve into a lower-tech slugfest with alarming casualty counts if you can't produce enough capable weapons.

  5. Have Appropriate Designs Ready

    The US won World War II by increasing the output of weapons already in production or well into development. It took too long to bring new designs into mass production. And it was much easier to expand the output of systems already in production than ramp up programs coming out of development. The several-year penalty for new designs could cost millions of lives or the war.

The US Army's Cold War Winning Blueprint

The US Army renewed its focus on Europe and countering the Soviet Union in the late 1970s. The challenge was immense because Warsaw Pact forces would outnumber US front-line units 10:1. After some high-profile failures, a new series of programs with narrower scopes gave the US the edge over the Soviets. The overarching themes were crew survivability, repairability/reliability, and using computing advances to fire simple munitions accurately.

  1. M1 Abrams Tank:

    Improved optics and computing allowed the M1 to fire inexpensive shells accurately for thousands of meters. New armor technology dramatically increased protection, especially against anti-tank-guided missiles. And maintenance was as simple as swapping a broken module - crews could change the turbine engine in a few hours. These tanks were almost impossible to permanently disable because field mechanics could get them back in the fight. The result is a tank that keeps its highly-trained crew alive, has nine lives itself, and has enough firepower to shred smaller Soviet tanks. Each tank could conceivably kill hundreds of vehicles over its life.

  2. Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle:

    The Bradley carries infantry into battle and uses it's 25 mm chain gun and anti-tank missiles to support them. It has many of the same design principles as the Abrams around survivability, maintenance, and weapon accuracy but carries less armor.

  3. New Mobile Artillery:

    US artillery needed to be more mobile than traditional towed guns to avoid counter-battery fire from much more numerous Soviet artillery. The M109 self-propelled gun and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (a bigger HIMARS) were the solutions. Both systems could rapidly respond to intel from artillery radars, scouts, and electronic intelligence to target Soviet artillery, troop concentrations, and command posts, then move to a new location. Again, reliability and repairability were at the forefront. US guns had less range than Soviet systems, but that didn't matter in conflicts like Desert Storm. US artillery disintegrated the opposing artillery with counter barrages before they could hit anything.

  4. Efficient Artillery Shells and Rockets:

    Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) disperse cluster bomblets capable of penetrating 3" of armor over a wide area, compensating for the inherent inaccuracy of unguided artillery. They are ~10x more effective than traditional unitary high explosives for a slight cost premium. The new self-propelled guns and rocket systems would almost exclusively shoot this ammo to level the playing field. The First Gulf War put its brutal efficiency on display. The Army kept 10 million+ shells and rockets in inventory, equal to hundreds of millions of shells you see Ukraine and Russia firing today. The US still keeps a significant portion of this stock as an insurance policy because non-cluster alternatives have been challenging to develop.

The emphasis on crew and system survivability paired with inexpensive, accurate munitions made perfect sense for the US with its technology leadership, volunteer army, and faraway industrial base. They all worked to lower the cost per enemy killed. Even if the Russians got to fight in their perfect scenario of an artillery slugfest, the US Army could still defeat the fully-mobilized Soviet Union. US artillery and armor could cut down any combination of human waves and simple tank attacks the Soviets could manage.

America's Cold-War Military Industrial Complex CANNOT Be Modernized (REDUX 2/15/23)

wired  |  “Let's imagine we’re going to build a better war-fighting system,” Schmidt says, outlining what would amount to an enormous overhaul of the most powerful military operation on earth. “We would just create a tech company.” He goes on to sketch out a vision of the internet of things with a deadly twist. “It would build a large number of inexpensive devices that were highly mobile, that were attritable, and those devices—or drones—would have sensors or weapons, and they would be networked together.”

The problem with today’s Pentagon is hardly money, talent, or determination, in Schmidt’s opinion. He describes the US military as “great human beings inside a bad system”—one that evolved to serve a previous era dominated by large, slow, expensive projects like aircraft carriers and a bureaucratic system that prevents people from moving too quickly. Independent studies and congressional hearings have found that it can take years for the DOD to select and buy software, which may be outdated by the time it is installed. Schmidt says this is a huge problem for the US, because computerization, software, and networking are poised to revolutionize warfare.

Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion, Schmidt believes, offers pointers for how the Pentagon might improve. The Ukrainian military has managed to resist a much larger power in part by moving quickly and adapting technology from the private sector—hacking commercial drones into weapons, repurposing defunct battlefield connectivity systems, 3D printing spare parts, and developing useful new software for tasks like military payroll management in months, not years.

Schmidt offers another thought experiment to illustrate the bind he’s trying to get the US military out of. “Imagine you and I decide to solve the Ukrainian problem, and the DOD gives us $100 million, and we have a six-month contest,” he says. “And after six months somebody actually comes up with some new device or new tool or new method that lets the Ukrainians win.” Problem solved? Not so fast. “Everything I just said is illegal,” Schmidt says, because of procurement rules that forbid the Pentagon from handing out money without going through careful but overly lengthy review processes.

The Pentagon’s tech problem is most pressing, Schmidt says, when it comes to AI. “Every once in a while, a new weapon, a new technology comes along that changes things,” he says. “Einstein wrote a letter to Roosevelt in the 1930s saying that there is this new technology—nuclear weapons—that could change war, which it clearly did. I would argue that [AI-powered] autonomy and decentralized, distributed systems are that powerful.”

With Schmidt’s help, a similar view has taken root inside the DOD over the past decade, where leaders believe AI will revolutionize military hardware, intelligence gathering, and backend software. In the early 2010s the Pentagon began assessing technology that could help it maintain an edge over an ascendant Chinese military. The Defense Science Board, the agency’s top technical advisory body, concluded that AI-powered autonomy would shape the future of military competition and conflict.

But AI technology is mostly being invented in the private sector. The best tools that could prove critical to the military, such as algorithms capable of identifying enemy hardware or specific individuals in video, or that can learn superhuman strategies, are built at companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple or inside startups.

The US DOD primarily works with the private sector through large defense contractors specialized in building expensive hardware over years, not nimble software development. Pentagon contracts with large tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, have become more common but have sometimes been controversial. Google’s work analyzing drone footage using AI under an initiative called Project Maven caused staff to protest, and the company let the contract lapse. Google has since increased its defense work, under rules that place certain projects—such as weapons systems—off limits.

Scharre says it is valuable to have people like Schmidt, with serious private sector clout, looking to bridge the gap.




Saturday, February 25, 2023

There Was A Time When I Believed RAND's Value Was As An Objective "Source Of Truth"

Rand  |  This week marks one year since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, igniting the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II.

RAND researchers have been analyzing the war from countless angles, providing insights on Russian and Ukrainian capabilities, the potential for diplomacy, refugee assistance, and much more.

What have we learned? And what might lie ahead?

We asked nearly 30 RAND experts to reflect on this grim anniversary by highlighting notable takeaways from the first year of Russia's all-out war—and sharing what they're watching as the conflict in Ukraine grinds on. Here's what they said.

What stood out in Year One

“The Russian military undermined its prewar advantages and amplified its disadvantages through a faulty invasion plan and withholding war plans from its force until the last minute. These mistakes collided with Ukrainian resolve and Western support.”

What to watch in Year Two

“Russia seems poised to resume limited offensives. Ukraine also seeks another successful counteroffensive. Yet both sides' capabilities are being worn down. Ukraine will need continued and predictable support as Russia digs deep into its reserves.”

What stood out in Year One

“The trajectory of Russia-Ukraine negotiations seems odd in retrospect. The sides came closest to outlining the contours of a settlement in the first six weeks of the conflict. What was nearly agreed to then would be inconceivable now.”

What to watch in Year Two

“I will be watching closely to see if Russia is learning from its mistakes or just perpetuating them.”

What stood out in Year One

“Of the war's many takeaways, perhaps the most fundamental is that large, conventional wars are not just confined to history books. It's a lesson that many only half-believed until February 24, and one that the world must never forget going forward.”

What to watch in Year Two

“The big strategic question is whether the front lines will stagnate and eventually turn the war into a frozen conflict. The answer will ultimately come down to whether Western military aid or the ongoing Russian mobilization gains the upper hand.”

What stood out in Year One

“The strategic failure of the Russian leadership and the incompetence of the Russian military.”

What to watch in Year Two

“The evolving views of the Russian elite and the Russian populace toward Putin and the war.”

Why Hasn't Russia Been Able To Bring Air Power To Bear On Ukraine?

dreizinreport |  Over the months….. 

Many readers have asked…..

Why Russian air power has played only a limited role in this conflict. 

Clearly, Russian manned aircraft have been largely limited…..

…..to frontline “fire support” roles. 

They have seldom penetrated deeper…..

…..to attack enemy convoys, trains, railheads, field headquarters, etc. 

(And when they have, it has often not gone well.) 

(Yes, Russia has cruise missiles, but these can only do so much.  They are usually ineffective against moving targets, and are limited to around 500kg of explosive payload, while one SU-24 attack jet can lift at least six 250kg bombs… multiple times per day… and pursue moving targets, such as convoys and trains.) 

This surely is not what people expected of a modern war….. 

Not after watching the USA bomb various Arabs and Afghans…..

…..since 1991. 

(Of course, those slobs did not inherit a huge, multi-layered air defense capability from the USSR.) 

It seems even more strange…..

…..when you consider that, in numerical terms….. 

…..Ukrainian air defense is only a fraction of what it was at “the beginning.” 

The answer to this “mystery“….. 

…..is that since the initial pummeling…..

…..the remaining Ukrainian systems…..

…..have been, are being hugely “force multiplied“…..

…..by foreign powers. 

For all you civilians….. 

Welcome to the “force multiplier” concept. 

Probably by way of communicating…..

…..with Starlink terminals at regional air defense HQ’s….. 

…..the U.S. and UK provide real-time data…..

…..on the launch and subsequent trajectory…..

…..of Russian aircraft (as well as cruise missiles)….. 

…..thus, allowing the Ukraine to keep its radars off—”invisible”—over 95 percent of the time. 

Then, its air defense batteries can turn on their radars…..

…..for acquisition and targeting purposes….

…..once Russian aircraft or missiles are almost on top of them (relatively speaking.) 

You see, active radars are the “giveaway” to locating and destroying enemy air defenses.

Russia flies electronic warfare aircraft inside its old borders and over Belarus, to detect enemy radar activity.

During the occasional cruise missile swarm….. 

…..it can sometimes (only sometimes) detect such activity and destroy a few air defense targets. 


The U.S./UK assistance has largely blocked this avenue.

Just another form of Ukraine assistance…..

…..that the war-whore, state agent MSM never told you about…..

…..because it hasn’t been “cleared” to do so. 

Obviously, without this help….. 

Hundreds of Russian planes and helicopters…..

…..would strafe and bomb roads and rails 24/7 throughout the Ukraine….. 

…..deciding or even ending the war, within a month. 

Instead, we have large Ukrainian convoys and rail shipments…..

…..being brought to within 10 kilometers of the front line…. 

…..and Russia can’t do anything…..

…..unless it has perfect intel in advance….. 

…..after which it can bring to bear its own “HIMARS” type, precision MLRS. 

The one remaining problem for the Ukrainian side….. 

…..is that it doesn’t have nearly enough air defense missile launchers…..

…..to deal with Russian cruise missile “wave” attacks….. 

…..but, these attacks are typically against fixed targets…..

…..such as munitions dumps and infrastructure…..

…..NOT forces in the field, or hardware on the move.

Russia might have some tricks in the works, but until then….. 

…..barring a mass, one-off suicide mission…..

…..to ferret out and destroy the Ukraine’s entire air defense spectrum….. 

…..or the introduction of new drones….. 

…..or larger quantities of long-range attack drones…..

.….(their shortage being a major Russian weakness)…..

…..Russia’s air force and army aviation will remain limited…..

…..to a frontline combat support role.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Cornpop An'Em Don't Comprehend How Russia's Warfighting Doctrine Differs From The West

simplicius76  |   An important distinction has been long overdue in the making, as pertains to a topic of much confusion and misinterpretation to a great many people.

There’s an inherent misconception about the conceptual differences between Soviet/Russian military systems (read: weapons) and those of NATO/Western equivalents. Endless debate has been made not only about which side’s weapons are ‘better’, but the doctrinal purpose behind their respective philosophies.

The most inane of these debates revolve around the reductive arguments that Russian weapons are made ‘to be mass-produced’ and ‘cheap’, like some chintzy dollar-store toy, while Western weapons are made to be high-value, advanced, but prohibitively expensive, complexes. This is often supported with the usual assortment of examples, like mass-produced Russian tanks in WW2 getting killed in 10:1 ratios against the much more advanced but fewer in number German tanks. And a generous handful of mis-attributed quotes is then sprinkled in to justify this view. Like Stalin’s purported “quantity has a quality of its own”, etc., not to mention the tired references to Soviet ‘human wave’ tactics.

One need only to look at the Leopard 2 disaster that befell NATO-member Turkey, during an incursion into ISIS-controlled Syria:  

The ‘top-tier’ Western tanks were picked off as easily as if they were Saddam’s knock-off T-72 ‘Asad Babils’, presaging the types of losses Western forces could expect against an actual peer foe with modern weaponry.

But going back for a moment to crew sizes, the American M777’s handed over to Ukraine require a whopping 8 man crew to operate properly. Here a ‘speedy’ Ukrainian team shows their operations on the system with all 8 positions. Meanwhile, a comparable Russian D-30 gun crew does a breakdown in roughly the same time, but with half the men per gun. There’s an anecdote about the Somali Battalion legend, commander ‘Givi’, who taught one of his recruits to shoot a D-20 howitzer at UA positions in the Donetsk Airport by himself. That’s right—a single man loading, aiming, and operating the howitzer—because in Total War, necessity is the virtue which begets victory.

In areas where it lends itself to more utility, Russia shrewdly invests in automation, and shuns it in areas where too much of it makes logistics operations overly reliant and vulnerable to breakdown.

Take the instance of Russian autoloaders vs. the cumbersome manual-loading of Western tank counterparts

Russian MBT’s (Main Battle Tanks), too, can be quickly and conveniently snorkeled for safe underwater operation—giving them the rare ability to traverse riverbeds. 

There Are Hypersonic Weapons And There Are Hypersonic Weapons!

smoothiex  |  there are hyper-sonic weapons and there are hyper-sonic weapons. The United States is trying to come up with something like both Avangard (long-range) and Kinzhal (medium range) which are either ballistic or quasi-ballistic weapons which do fly either inside the atmosphere or bounce from its edge, such as those gliders akin to Avangard. Eventually, the United States will be able to come up with something like that and the US desperately wants something like Kinzhal (in effect an advanced airborne version of Iskander). These are weapons which have only a boost phase, after which they fly and maneuver without propulsion. Look also up project Kholod

Now, 3M22 Zircon is a whole other animal altogether because it has a propulsion which works till the very end and thus provides this missile with the atmospheric speed of M=10 and the range of 1000 kilometers, coming modification of GZUR and Zircon will have the range of 1500 km and speed in excess of M=12-13. These weapons can attack both moving targets (like ships) and, obviously, stationary objects. These are the real game changers in a real war. If strategic weapons such as Avangard are what the United States wants, those, like any other deterrent exists to... deter merely by the threat of their use in case shit hits the fan. Kinzhal with Zircon, however, are the weapons of battlefield, because their main task is to sink enemy's ships and blow up military facilities using non-nuclear ordnance, albeit these weapons too can carry nuclear warhead and can destroy a good size city. If Avangard was created to be uninterceptable  by dedicated weapons of (strategic) Anti-Missile Defense, both Kinzhal and Zircon cannot be intercepted by existing air-defense and anti-missile systems such as THAAD or SM3/SM6 variety integrated with the AEGIS.   

While Avangard, and Sarmat (especially Sarmat) render any anti-missile defense useless, Kinzhal and Zircon are the most impactful, because they change modern warfare radically and already made modern surface fleets obsolete even within non-nuclear paradigm. As I repeat ad nauseam about repeating this ad nauseam--this is a strategic catastrophe for NATO (and US) because everything what NATO's "fighting doctrine" was built around in the last 40-50 years has become simply useless. I will give some ASW math on that later, but a single Yasen-class (pr. 885) with 15-20 Zircons "parked" somewhere  in the Atlantic in 1000 kilometer range from D.C. is not only extremely hard to detect and will require enormous forces dedicated to this kind of ASW, but controls the movement of any US naval asset from Norfolk or any other base on the East Coast which in case of (God forbids) real war will not be able to deploy. Granted, of course, that Russia builds 10 of such subs, modernizes couple of pr. 949A to AMs (that is 72 cruise missiles, including God knows how many Zircons) and there you go. So, in other words, it is not going to be a single sub. 

In related news, Russia officially announced the increase of range of venerable X-35 (of Bal complex) to 500+ kilometer, after Russkies were scared shitless by great American "strategist", prognosticator, second coming of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu wrapped in one, really, the great heir to the intellectual prowess of Mahan and Zumwalt, David Axe who promised to starve Kaliningrad by Estonian 300 km range anti-shipping missiles. As you know,  Shoigu and Gerasimov start their every morning by going to Forbes site trying to learn if David Axe has come up with a new stratagem designed to defeat those pesky Russkies. So, they went, saw the article on Estonian missiles, got scared and decided that covering both Baltic and Black Seas with the salvos (each of them) capable to contain between 16 to 32 X-35s is a really bad news for any NATO forces there, especially mighty Estonian ones. I would love to explain to David Axe basic math behind Salvo Equations and distribution of probabilities, but I don't think he wants to lower himself to my primitive level, so I have to live with that and I am sure Shoigu and Gerasimov will continue visiting those "military" sites such as Forbes or The National Interests to partake in strategic and operational wisdom of their "experts".

Thursday, February 23, 2023

China's Xi Jinping Plans To Visit Russian President Vladimir Putin In Moscow

WSJ  |  Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Moscow for a summit with Russia’s president in the coming months, according to people familiar with the plan, as Vladimir Putin wages war in Ukraine and portrays himself as a standard-bearer against a U.S.-led global order.

Beijing says it wants to play a more active role aimed at ending the conflict, and the people familiar with Mr. Xi’s trip plans said a meeting with Mr. Putin would be part of a push for multiparty peace talks and allow China to reiterate its calls that nuclear weapons not be used.

Western capitals have expressed skepticism about China’s diplomatic initiative, the broad outlines of which were first previewed last week by the country’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, at the Munich Security Conference.                                                                                                                           

Arrangements for the visit are at an early stage and the timing hasn’t been completed, the people said. Mr. Xi could visit in April or in early May, they said, when Russia celebrates its World War II victory over Germany, an event that the Kremlin last year used to liken Ukraine’s elected leaders to Nazis.

Since Mr. Putin ordered his armies into Ukraine last year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced millions of people and sent shock waves through energy markets and the global economy.

Mr. Wang arrived Tuesday afternoon in Moscow, in a trip Beijing’s Foreign Ministry had billed as an opportunity to discuss China-Russia relations and “international and regional hot-spot issues of shared interest.” 

Mr. Wang initially met with Nikolai Patrushev, the powerful secretary of the Russia Security Council, according to accounts in both Russian and Chinese state media that both cited cooperation between the countries.  

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, the two sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation and make more efforts to improve global governance, while opposing the introduction of a “Cold War mentality.”  

Xinhua’s brief report said the two sides also exchanged views on the Ukraine issue. It didn’t elaborate.

According to Russian state media, RIA Novosti, Mr. Wang was more declarative. “Sino-Russian relations are solid as a rock and will withstand any test of the changing international situation,” Mr. Wang told Mr. Patrushev, according to RIA. 

Russia’s state news agency TASS said the two men spoke about the importance of deepening Russian-Chinese coordination. The agency cited Mr. Patrushev as saying that “the course toward developing a strategic partnership with China is an absolute priority for Russia’s foreign policy. Our relations are valuable in themselves and are not subject to external conjuncture.”


Who's Winning And Who's Losing The Economic War In Ukraine

commondreams |  With the Ukraine war now reaching its one-year mark on February 24, the Russians have not achieved a military victory but neither has the West achieved its goals on the economic front. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States and its European allies vowed to impose crippling sanctions that would bring Russia to its knees and force it to withdraw.

Western sanctions would erect a new Iron Curtain, hundreds of miles to the east of the old one, separating an isolated, defeated, bankrupt Russia from a reunited, triumphant and prosperous West. Not only has Russia withstood the economic assault, but the sanctions have boomeranged–hitting the very countries that imposed them.

Western sanctions on Russia reduced the global supply of oil and natural gas, but also pushed up prices. So Russia profited from the higher prices, even as its export volume decreased. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that Russia’s economy only contracted by 2.2% in 2022, compared with the 8.5% contraction it had forecast, and it predicts that the Russian economy will actually grow by 0.3% in 2023.

On the other hand, Ukraine’s economy has shrunk by 35% or more, despite $46 billion in economic aid from generous U.S. taxpayers, on top of $67 billion in military aid.

European economies are also taking a hit. After growing by 3.5% in 2022, the Euro area economy is expected to stagnate and grow only 0.7% in 2023, while the British economy is projected to actually contract by 0.6%. Germany was more dependent on imported Russian energy than other large European countries so, after growing a meager 1.9% in 2022, it is predicted to have negligible 0.1% growth in 2023. German industry is set to pay about 40% more for energy in 2023 than it did in 2021.

The United States is less directly impacted than Europe, but its growth shrank from 5.9% in 2021 to 2% in 2022, and is projected to keep shrinking, to 1.4% in 2023 and 1% in 2024. Meanwhile India, which has remained neutral while buying oil from Russia at a discounted price, is projected to maintain its 2022 growth rate of over 6% per year all through 2023 and 2024. China has also benefited from buying discounted Russian oil and from an overall trade increase with Russia of 30% in 2022. China’s economy is expected to grow at 5% this year.

Other oil and gas producers reaped windfall profits from the effects of the sanctions. Saudi Arabia’s GDP grew by 8.7%, the fastest of all large economies, while Western oil companies laughed all the way to the bank to deposit $200 billion in profits: ExxonMobil made $56 billion, an all-time record for an oil company, while Shell made $40 billion and Chevron and Total gained $36 billion each. BP made “only” $28 billion, as it closed down its operations in Russia, but it still doubled its 2021 profits.

The Ukraine War In Light Of The U.N. Charter

counterpunch |   In his book The Great Delusion[5], Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago elucidated principles of international order and the necessity to respect agreements (pacta sunt servanda), including oral agreements.  In his article in the Economist on 19 March 2022[6], Mearsheimer explains why the West bears responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis.  Already in 2015 Mearsheimer had signalled the importance of keeping oral agreements, as those given by the United States to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989-91, to the effect that NATO would not expand eastward[7].  In subsequent lectures Mearsheimer has explained that, whether of not the West considers NATO’s expansion a provocation, what is crucial is how NATO expansion is perceived by those who feel threatened by it.  In this context we must remember that article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits not only the use of force but also the threat of the use of force.  Promising to expand NATO to the very borders of Russia and the massive weaponization of Ukraine certainly constitute such a threat, especially bearing in mind the aggressive campaigns by NATO members in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lybia.

For decades Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have been warning the West – notably at the 2007 Munich Security Conference[8] — that NATO eastward expansion constitutes an existential menace to Russia.  Both Presidents advocate a European security architecture that will take into account the national security concerns of all countries, including Russia. Whether Russian fears are objectively justified or not (I think they are) is not the pertinent question, since their apprehension is a factum.  What is crucial is the obligation of all UN member states to settle their differences by peaceful means, i.e. to negotiate in good faith.  That is precisely what the Minsk agreements were all about.  Yet, Ukraine violated the Minsk agreements systematically.  Russia did make a credible effort to negotiate since 2014 in the context of the OSCE and the Normandy Format.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel[9] and French President François Hollande[10] recently confirmed that the Minsk agreements were intended to give Ukraine time to prepare for war.  Thus, essentially, the West entered the agreements in bad faith by deliberately deceiving the Donbas Russians.  In a very real sense, Putin was taken for a ride at Minsk and during the eight years of Normandy Format discussions.  Such behavior reflects a “culture of cheating”[11] and violates well-established principles of international relations amounting to perfidy, in contravention of the UN Charter and general principles of law.  Notwithstanding, In December 2021 the Russians put forward two peaceful proposals in the hope of averting military confrontation.  Although the treaty proposals were moderate and pragmatic, the US and NATO refused to negotiate pursuant to article 2(3) of the Charter and arrogantly rejected them.  If this was not a provocation in contravention of article 2(4) of the UN Charter, I do not know what is.

Professor Wittner is right in reminding us of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, but these instruments have to be placed in legal and historical context, in particular in the context of Western pronouncements since 2008 to bring Ukraine into NATO, an issue that in no way was foreseen in the two instruments above.

Wittner is wrong in his evaluation of the Crimean issue.  I was the UN representative for the elections in Ukraine in March and June 1994 and criss-crossed the country, including Crimea. Without a doubt, the vast majority of the population there and in the Donbass are Russian and feel Russian.  This brings up the issue of the jus cogens right of self-determination of peoples, anchored in articles 1 and 55 of the UN Charter (and in Chapters XI and XII of the Charter) and in Art. 1 common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Wittner seems to forget that the US and EU supported the illegal coup d’état[12] against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, and immediately started working together with the Putsch-regime in Kiev, instead of insisting in re-establishing law and order as provided for in the Agreement of 20 February 2014[13].  As Professor Stephen Cohen wrote in 2018, Maidan was a “seminal event”[14].

Without the Maidan Putsch and the anti-Russian measures immediately taken by the Putsch-regime, the Crimean and Donbass peoples would not have felt menaced and would not have insisted on their right of self-determination.  Wittner errs when he uses the term “annexation” to refer to the reincorporation of Crimea into Russia.  “Annexation” in international law presupposes an invasion, military occupation contrary to the will of the people.  That is not what happened in Crimea in March 2014.  First there was a referendum to which the UN and OSCE were invited – and never came. Then there was an unilateral declaration of independence by the legitimate Crimean Parliamen, only then was there an official request to be re-incorporated into Russia, a request that went through the due process mill, being first approved by the Duma, then by the Constitutional Court of Russia, and only then signed by Putin.  Had a referendum been held in 1994, when I was in Crimea, the results would surely have been similar.  A referendum today would confirm the will of the Crimeans to be part of Russia, not Ukraine, to which they had been artificially attached by decision of Nikita Khruschev, a Ukrainian himself.  There are no historical or ethnic reasons justifying Crimea’s attachment to the Ukraine. Many international lawyers agree that Crimea exercised its right of self-determination and was not “annexed” by Russia[15].

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin Addresses The Russian Federal Assembly

kremlin  |  President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

Members of the Federation Assembly – senators, State Duma deputies,

Citizens of Russia,

This Presidential Address comes, as we all know, at a difficult, watershed period for our country. This is a time of radical, irreversible change in the entire world, of crucial historical events that will determine the future of our country and our people, a time when every one of us bears a colossal responsibility.

One year ago, to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country and to eliminate the threat coming from the neo-Nazi regime that had taken hold in Ukraine after the 2014 coup, it was decided to begin the special military operation. Step by step, carefully and consistently we will deal with the tasks we have at hand.

Since 2014, Donbass has been fighting for the right to live in their land and to speak their native tongue. It fought and never gave up amid the blockade, constant shelling and the Kiev regime’s overt hatred. It hoped and waited that Russia would come to help.

In the meantime, as you know well, we were doing everything in our power to solve this problem by peaceful means, and patiently conducted talks on a peaceful solution to this devastating conflict.

This appalling method of deception has been tried and tested many times before. They behaved just as shamelessly and duplicitously when destroying Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. They will never be able to wash off this shame. The concepts of honour, trust, and decency are not for them.

Over the long centuries of colonialism, diktat and hegemony, they got used to being allowed everything, got used to spitting on the whole world. It turned out that they treat people living in their own countries with the same disdain, like a master. After all, they cynically deceived them too, tricked them with tall stories about the search for peace, about adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions on Donbass. Indeed, the Western elites have become a symbol of total, unprincipled lies.

We firmly defend our interests as well as our belief that in today’s world there should be no division into so-called civilised countries and all the rest and that there is a need for an honest partnership that rejects any exclusivity, especially an aggressive one.

We were open and sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West; we said and insisted that both Europe and the whole world needed an indivisible security system equal for all countries, and for many years we suggested that our partners discuss this idea together and work on its implementation. But in response, we received either an indistinct or hypocritical reaction, as far as words were concerned. But there were also actions: NATO’s expansion to our borders, the creation of new deployment areas for missile defence in Europe and Asia – they decided to take cover from us under an ‘umbrella’ – deployment of military contingents, and not just near Russia’s borders.

I would like to stress –in fact, this is well-known – that no other country has so many military bases abroad as the United States. There are hundreds of them – I want to emphasise this – hundreds of bases all over the world; the planet is covered with them, and one look at the map is enough to see this.

The whole world witnessed how they withdrew from fundamental agreements on weapons, including the treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles, unilaterally tearing up the fundamental agreements that maintain world peace. For some reason, they did it. They do not do anything without a reason, as we know.

Finally, in December 2021, we officially submitted draft agreements on security guarantees to the USA and NATO. In essence, all key, fundamental points were rejected. After that it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans had been given and they were not going to stop.

The threat was growing by the day. Judging by the information we received, there was no doubt that everything would be in place by February 2022 for launching yet another bloody punitive operation in Donbass. Let me remind you that back in 2014, the Kiev regime sent its artillery, tanks and warplanes to fight in Donbass.

White House Transcript Shows Biden Bit A Golda Meir Line At The 11 Minute Mark...,

Whitehouse |  THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Poland!  (Applause.)  One of our great allies.  President Duda, Prime Minister — Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Mayor, and to all the former ministers and presidents, as well as mayors and Polish political leaders from all across the country: Thank you for welcoming me back to Poland.

You know, it was nearly one year ago — (applause) — nearly one year ago I spoke at the Royal Castle here in Warsaw, just weeks after Vladimir Putin had unleashed his murderous assault on Ukraine.  The largest land war in Europe since World War Two had begun.  And the principles that had been the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and stability on this planet for more than 75 years were at risk of being shattered.

One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv.  Well, I have just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report: Kyiv stands strong!  (Applause.)  Kyiv stands proud.  It stands tall.  And most important, it stands free.  (Applause.)

When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested.  The whole world faced a test for the ages.

Europe was being tested.  America was being tested.  NATO was being tested.  All democracies were being tested.  And the questions we faced were as simple as they were profound.

Would we respond or would we look the other way?  Would we be strong or would we be weak?  Would be — we would — would we be — all of our allies — would be united or divided?

One year later, we know the answer. 

We did respond.  We would be strong.  We would be united.   And the world would not look the other way.  (Applause.)

We also faced fundamental questions about the commitment to the most basic of principles.  Would we stand up for the sovereignty of nations?  Would we stand up for the right of people to live free from naked aggression?  Would we stand up for democracy?

One year later, we know the answers.