Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Nord Stream pipeline leaks whodunit

Here’s a link to a CNBC report on the Nord Stream pipelines: Russian pipeline leaks spark climate fears as huge volumes of methane spew into the atmosphere

Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article about NATO formally blaming sabotage for the leaks: NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage

Here’s a Reuters piece: Putin accuses West of blowing up pipelines as Europe steps up vigilance

Here’s a Washington Examiner piece: Russian ships observed near area of explosions that caused Nord Stream pipeline leaks: Report

Tucker Carlson, the most watched primetime FOX pundit was quick to blame the US for the Nord Stream pipeline leak. He has been against the US and Europeans aiding Ukraine all along. Among right-wing media, this buzz gained traction with the line “Why would the Russians blow up their own pipeline when they could just shut off the gas? This seems like a stupid argument to me. Somehow, these right-wing hot takes that “only this argument makes sense” with no real information seems to be the default right-wing media ecosystem these days.

John Brennan, the former Obama CIA director, rushed to blame Putin.

Here’s the thing, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I will say the argument Tucker Carlson made, rushing to point the finger at the US seems reckless and designed to foment more divides in America and was intended to turn Americans on the right against the US government and against aiding Ukraine. To state that the US or Europeans sabotaging that pipeline is the only possible explanation, with no real evidence, is as reckless as Brennan rushing to blame Putin.

Russia is currently not shipping more gas via that pipeline, but Russia knew there was still gas in that pipeline that will now not be delivered to Europe with winter approaching, is my understanding at this point. I could be wrong. And at the same time Russia was trying to annex parts of Ukraine this week. Russia is not above trying to fuel divides in America over support for Ukraine and certainly not above staging elaborate false flag operations. Russia also is not against sending stronger messages to US and European leaders, that Russia will not hesitate to escalate the economic war.

The gas that was still in the pipeline should be gone by Sunday according to the Reuters article: “Gas will continue to pour out of Nord Stream 1 until Sunday, the Danish energy agency said on Friday, though the leak on Nord Stream 2 is expected to cease on Saturday.” Russia had already shut off the gas – that’s the key part and a short-lived leak, that sent a strong message to the Europeans that Russia won’t be sending more gas, while at the same time blaming the US and the West for the leaks doesn’t seem beyond Putin to me.

I distrust the Biden administration and I certainly distrust John Brennan, but at the same time, Putin has shown himself to be ruthless and there’s a long, long history of Russian false flag operations against the West.

At this point, I’m just waiting to see what happens next.

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Mark Levin explains the growing threat of China

After all the Afghanistan/Iraq military actions for decades, many Americans are understandably tired of sending US troops to foreign countries. However, isolationism isn’t an option in a world with adversaries intent on destroying America in any way they can. It’s not just the left in American that’s pacifist and isolationist now. There’s a loud segment of the “America First,” Trump-right, that keeps bellowing about isolationism too. Mark Levin does a very good job here, explaining why paying attention to China’s military and economic expansion and being militarily prepared to defend America and American interests is important:

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Trump’s take on Pelosi’s trip

Here’s my quote tweet from this morning:

Trump chose the easy name-calling route here, as usual. He’s bashing Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in this video, as if her trip was the problem, because nothing gets the right fuming like mentioning Nancy Pelosi, except perhaps mentioning Hillary Clinton. Whenever I even hear either of them speaking, I automatically cringe. However, American domestic, partisan politics is different than American foreign policy. Trump can’t see beyond the domestic spin sideshow – ever.

Many Americans are worried about the potential for major wars starting and the fear of WWIII features heavily in a lot of commentary on the left and right in America. China may actually invade Taiwan, but if that happens it won’t be because Pelosi went to Taiwan. It will be because China has planned to do that for years and believes the US and West won’t respond. The only way to push back against Russian and Chinese aggression is to work to unite Americans around the belief in freedom and support freedom around the world.

Every time American leaders show fear, buy into our foreign adversaries narratives about events, and most of all escalate the partisan divides here at home, we’re helping our enemies. American weakness on the world stage is seen as a green light by Russia and China to push further. Trump bought into China’s framing of the situation and said Pelosi gave China an excuse. That’s a very misguided view, I think. Pelosi did not cause China’s actions – China did.

I know plenty of people on the right who loathe Pelosi (I react negatively to her scorched earth politics), but stepping back from our domestic politics, when it comes to the world stage it’s not red or blue America – it’s just AMERICA and China wants America cowering and backing down. If even the right in America is now backing down from America’s adversaries, who is left to stand up for freedom in the world?

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Past is prologue: Obama’s foreign policy is calling…

This post is going to be more about the Pelosi trip to Taiwan. China ratcheted up the saber-rattling and today China cut off talks with the US on climate and military matters: China halts climate and military dialogue with the U.S. over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. China wants to make the Biden administration look weak and impotent (and is succeeding).

John Kerry, former Obama Secretary of State and current Biden administration climate special envoy, was on Twitter appealing to China a few hours ago.

China knows full well what a cowardly, groveling bunch this Biden White House is, because they and all of America’s adversaries watched eight years of this during the Obama administration. John Kerry, as Secretary of State, was willing to grovel to Iran in 2016, when Iran captured US sailors. At that time, the Obama administration wanted to make the Iran nuclear deal work – no matter what. Kerry worked out the release of the captured US sailors and hailed it as a new era of diplomacy. And immediately following that Iran released demoralizing videos of US sailors and propaganda to make our American sailors look weak and like crybabies. It was totally disgraceful:

Rather than speak out and support Pelosi’s trip and stand up to China, the Biden administration continued to waffle today and China is playing this for all it’s worth. Kerry will likely sell American dignity and our country down the river again, to try to salvage the climate deal with China – no matter what. And just like with Iran, who never abided by any of the agreements on nuclear issues, China has no intention of abiding by the West’s green energy deals.

Russia, China and our adversaries will continue to bolster their fossil fuel capacities while the US and West rush down this green-energy transformation yellow brick road. Here are some links on China’s energy plans:

China sees biggest growth in energy and coal use since 2011

China continues to snap up Russian coal at steep discounts

This map shows the massive gas pipeline that Russia and China are building

China pays lip service to green energy goals, but China is the world’s biggest polluter Here’s a stat from an article, Most polluted countries in the world: 2022 ranking:

  1. China with 9.9 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, largely due to the export of consumer goods and its heavy reliance on coal;
  2. The United States with 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted;
  3. India with 2.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted.

 I expect John Kerry to sell America down the river again and grovel to China. Pathetic!

8/6/2022 – Afterthought: China is unhappy with increased aid being considered in Congress: Senators slated to take up bill to expand security support to Taiwan amid high-stakes Pelosi visit. My guess is I think China also hopes that their escalated big drama they’re enacting will pressure either the Biden WH to apologize to China for Pelosi visiting Taiwan or that Pelosi will apologize for visiting Taiwan. Either of these actions would signal an American abandonment of Taiwan and send a powerful signal to every other country in that region that America does not have their back.

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Pelosi doesn’t need to appease China

This post is about Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, visiting Taiwan this week. Here’s a NBC report, China begins live-fire military drills around Taiwan:

“On Wednesday evening, Pelosi and her delegation of House Democratic lawmakers departed Taiwan for South Korea, the fourth stop on a tour of Asia that also includes Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.”

“Pelosi, a longtime critic of China’s ruling Communist Party, was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Beijing, which claims the self-ruling democracy of 24 million people as its territory, viewed her visit as an infringement of its sovereignty.”

It’s bothered me a long time how so many Americans these days can’t leave their extreme, domestic partisanship at the door, when thinking about American foreign policy. Our foreign policy is about all of America, not just Republicans or just Democrats.

I am a huge critic of Pelosi, but the idea that her visiting Taiwan is going to “provoke” China into WWIII is so craven and weak a foreign policy position to stake out that I’m flabbergasted. China has been threatening Taiwan (and its other neighbors) for many years. China has been building up its military for decades. China has been threatening and working to undermine America for decades too.

China sensed indecision and WEAKNESS in the Biden White House, when there was no forthright statement that Pelosi can visit whatever country she chooses and does not have to consult Beijing for approval. Here’s a quote from Politico’s, How Biden bungled the Pelosi trip:

“Those arguments began when Biden cast public doubt on the wisdom of Pelosi’s Taiwan visit by suggesting that the Pentagon saw it as too risky. “The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden said last month.”

If the top leaders at the Pentagon are so craven as to cower from China’s saber-rattling over a proposed Speaker of the House visit to Taiwan, one can only wonder what kind of weak, hand-wringing advice they’ll give the POTUS, if China does attack its neighbors? This is a pathetically weak reaction for American leaders to constantly worry about “poking the bear” (in regards to Russia) or quiver in fear about how China might react.

Pelosi (as do other officials in Congress), has every right to make foreign visits and shouldn’t have to run her itinerary past Communist Chinese officials to see if they’re okay with it.

Putin intended to try to rebuild the Soviet Eastern bloc for decades – that’s been his big dream, so his decision to invade Ukraine came after years of setting the stage for that. China has territorial expansionist dreams too and Taiwan has been a source of tensions for decades. Pelosi had nothing to do with any of that. And if China takes military action, it won’t be because of Pelosi’s visit, although assuredly a lot of Americans on the right, who hate Pelosi, and a lot of Americans on the left, who bow and scrape to China constantly, would likely blame her.

If Americans believe our elected officials need to get a green light from America’s adversaries, when deciding their foreign travel plans, to appease our adversaries, we are in a sad state. Weakness is more provocative than strength and failure to stand up to bullies anywhere, but especially on the world stage, will only encourage our adversaries toward more aggression.

What on earth happened to Americans having some spine? Reagan challenged all the naysayers with speaking out against the Soviet Union and never wavered. I wonder how so many people on the right became faint-of-heart, wilting, “oh my God, Pelosi is going to upset Communist China,” handwringers.

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Beware of narrative brainworms

This blog post is going to be about some Ukraine-related happenings.

To say there’s been a great deal of propaganda involved with reporting on what’s happening with the actual war in Ukraine would be an understatement. The Russians and Ukrainians have waged massive propaganda campaigns, that make it hard to even really understand what’s happening in this conflict. I’ve relied a good bit on the UK Defense Ministry assessments, but even there I’m wary. After the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and the bold-faced lies coming from the US Pentagon, it pains me to say I don’t trust the Biden-run Pentagon to be truthful. Along with the reporting on the conflict, there’s been a massive propaganda effort to paint Zelensky as the most noble, heroic leader ever, but here’s a reality check. Zelensky deserves credit for mobilizing and uniting his country to fend off a full-scale invasion by Russia, but he’s also engaged in a massive propaganda effort, creating a staged production that he’s used to influence the world.

In this process, propaganda has masked a whole lot of truths about Ukraine, how the Russian-Ukraine situation has evolved, the US and European roles in setting the stage for this confrontation and the reality that Ukraine has been a massively corrupt country for many years and a lot of money laundering went on there… heck, just look at Hunter Biden and his Burisma deal. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Russia naturally fed stories in western media hyping the Ukraine corruption and no less than Poltifact, that “fact-checker” site run by liberals, who carry water for Democrats decreed: No, Ukraine isn’t the money laundering or child sex trafficking capital of the world. Case closed… well, not really.

Fast forward to July 20, 2022 and this story at liberal NPR caught my attention: Corruption concerns involving Ukraine are revived as the war with Russia drags on.

So, in April if you mentioned Ukraine’s history of corruption, you were subject to being labeled as carrying water for Putin or being a Russian bot, but now in July, NPR is running a story on Ukraine corruption. Here are the first two paragraphs from that NPR article:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s dismissal of senior officials is casting an inconvenient light on an issue that the Biden administration has largely ignored since the outbreak of war with Russia: Ukraine’s history of rampant corruption and shaky governance.”

“As it presses ahead with providing tens of billions of dollars in military, economic and direct financial support aid to Ukraine and encourages its allies to do the same, the Biden administration is now once again grappling with longstanding worries about Ukraine’s suitability as a recipient of massive infusions of American aid.”

This sort of dramatic narrative shift bugs me, because, pardon the bad puns, but the liberal mass media narratives become brainworms, that once the media yammer on about 24/7, quickly destroy all functioning brain cells and people just jump on-board the next narrative train and all memory of the previous narrative is wiped clean from their memory.

Here’s my hunch about what’s happening. The Russians slowed down gas flowing to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline (some turbines needed repair). The Germans were in a panic, worrying that Russia would shut down the flow of gas permanently, so the Germans pressured the Canadians, who had the turbines in Canada where Siemens Canada was repairing them. Some Canadian lawmakers are upset that Canada returned the turbines to Russia. Here’s a paragraph from Harretz (an Israeli news organization) article, Russia Resumes Gas Supply at Nord Stream 1, but a Full Cut-off Hangs Over Europe’s Head, dated July 21, 2022:

“German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in an interview with RND that “The Canadians said, ‘We have a lot of questions,’ so we said, ‘We understand that, but if we do not get the gas turbine, we will not get more gas, and then we will not be able to give Ukraine any support at all, because we will be busy dealing with a popular uprising.'” However, she later clarified that her statement was “perhaps too exaggerated”, but is a possible scenario.”

I think the Germans and French want Ukraine to make a deal of some sort with Russia, as this conflict looks like it’s going to become a long, border war and Ukraine is bleeding NATO countries, the EU and the US dry, with needing a constant, massive flow of military and humanitarian aid. Many European countries also have taken in large numbers of Ukrainian refugees and added to the last round of Europeans being invaded by a largely NGO-orchestrated (imo) refugee crisis from the Syrian conflict, well, let’s just say countries can only absorb so many refugees and when push comes to shove most people become more ethnocentric and take an attitude of “we need to take care of our own people first.” Add in that several European countries rely heavily on Russian gas and oil and they have no feasible plan to deal with what to do if Russia turns off the spigots.

So what to make of all this, well, I think with NPR now speaking what was deemed “Russian disinformation” only a few months ago, that the Biden administration, Germans and French want an off-ramp out of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The UK is an unknown at the moment with their prime minister choice undecided: How Liz Truss, Russia’s Nemesis, Could Change Ukraine War if She Becomes PM. In America, we’ll likely know which way the Biden administration is headed when the liberal media/pundit crowd and blue checkmark Dem crowd on Twitter remove the Ukrainian flags next to their names and replace them with some new climate change flag or symbol. If they bug out on Ukraine virtue-signaling, that will be akin to the Vatican smoke signals... heralding a new narrative has been selected.

Yes, I believe the Ukraine conflict is about to be relegated to old news and go the way of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, never to be a lead news story by liberal media again, unless something unforeseen happens and things escalate. I believe climate hysteria will be igniting the news… and lots of stories pushing eating bugs. Here’s a BBC piece from July 20, 2022: For most people in Europe and the US, the idea of eating crickets and grasshoppers can seem revolting, but they are a popular snack in parts of Africa and Asia. Not only are they packed with nutrients but they are less harmful to the climate too.

Now, you now why I posted the YouTube video at the beginning…

Have a nice day.

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Lots of worries ahead

A frequent commenter on my blog, JK, asked me a question about US military readiness this morning and I’m going to post my response as a blog post. I will be writing more blog posts to expand on several issues in my response. Suffice it to say, way back in February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, many people, including the world-famous Russian chess champion, Gary Kasparov, warned of Putin cutting off gas and oil to Europe and the prospect of a very cold, dark winter across the European continent this year. I am not ahead of the curve here warning about any of the things in my response, but too many leaders in Washington (on both sides of the aisle) got caught up in the “Zelensky Show” propaganda war and allowing that spin drama to cloud their judgment. This is especially true for the Dem retired general crowd who fill mainstream media with their military expertise, in my opinion. Here’s the comment (and there will be more blog posts upcoming):

JK, I was all for aiding Ukraine, because the big picture of Russia steamrolling across Ukraine unimpeded had my Cold War warrior feathers way beyond being ruffled – I was fighting mad and still am on that big picture strategic necessity for the West to remain steadfast against Russian and Chinese aggression. Period…. and then we come to the BUT.

But Western leaders and the Biden WH are craven, wimpy, globalists who have always believed they can cut deals with the Russians and Chinese. With Biden, there’s the nightmares of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle fresh in my mind, which assures me the Biden Team is more like the WeHateAmericaTeam – total sell-outs to America’s adversaries and corrupt nitwits.

But… they still push their crazy leftist pipedreams like their climate change/green agenda, along with all their other pet causes, all while ignoring the cold hard truths about the real world, where the rubber meets the road and military might, national defense and protecting and defending national interests outweighs hand-wringing about cow flatulence. Their leftist agenda has taken priority over actually stopping Russia. Instead, it seems they believed they could “win” by spending more time “fighting” the Ukraine propaganda war, thinking a Hollywood production of the “War in Ukraine” starring Zelensky, with cameo appearances by Western leaders in Kiev was a substitute for the real nuts and bolts strategic planning that real war requires. Most of the rest of the world will cut deals for Russia and China goods if Russia and China can deliver what their own countries need. This is how the real world works.

Unfortunately, many Dem retired generals and some new military “expert” faces started getting heavily invested in the Zelensky Show too. Russia made disastrous mistakes, but they’ve regrouped and too many of the Dem Twitter military experts, who should know better, seem to have gotten high on CNN and MSNBC spin fumes and it’s clouding their judgment. Ditto this for too many leaders in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. I always place American national interests above other countries and I refuse to wrap myself in other countries flag, just like I chafed at the US military ever allowing UN blue hat adventures to supersede over direct US control of US forces. Our top priority should always be US national defense.

That said, I don’t know what the real state of US military combat readiness is, what level our military stockpiles are at, the morale of the troops and the competency of leadership from the top down. All I can say is I’ve seen a lot of warning signs for several years now. Accidents being a huge one. Add in the Biden administration recklessly depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and no one’s asking what are the plans to replenish that reserve stockpile.

Also, add in I have no idea what level our nation’s emergency food and other emergency stockpiles are at, from federal programs to many states have programs. There seems to be no reality-based comprehensive national security assessments – it’s all partisan talking points.

I suspect during the Obama years and now in the Biden administration, federal assets were and are quietly used for humanitarian pet projects, sent to private entities, many of which are religious-based (thanks, GWB), who run these programs to house, feed, transport, illegal immigrants around the country, while making big bucks from the US govt. And who knows where else federal US assets have been sent. No one’s addressed the stockpile issues on vital assets we need for domestic emergencies and national defense.

I’m fleshing out a blog post on what in the Hades, big picture catastrophes, I think, are brewing that no one seems to be talking about. The state of the US military is a huge one, but there are plenty of others.

My main worry is the stage may be setting for massive populist flashpoints in many Western countries, if people can’t heat their homes this winter or afford food or there are strikes, civil unrest and other major disruptions to the food supply. Then there’s the reality that many Dem fools (and probably some Republican governors too) may try to reimpose Covid restrictions this fall, which will add to the chaos. Ditto this for Canada, Australia and in Europe.

I’ll stop here, JK. Should have gone with the short answer – it’s a cluster… you-know-what brewing.

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I was wrong about Sri Lanka

This blog post is about politics, foreign affairs, and some of my thoughts on the global progressive movement.

Today there are reports that Sri Lankan protestors have stormed the presidential palace, so I think this March 5, 2022 article, In Sri Lanka, Organic Farming Went Catastrophically Wrong, from Foreign Policy is very informative on how the global green agenda led to this chaos, just like it led to the chaos unfolding in Europe with the Dutch farmers protesting their government trying to impose new green laws that fall in line with the global green initiatives.

From the Foreign Policy piece on Sri Lanka, the first two paragraphs lay out what happened:

“Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka called off an ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.”

“The result was brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. The ban also devastated the nation’s tea crop, its primary export and source of foreign exchange.”

I want to post this, because I did not know about this green push in Sri Lanka and I was completely wrong about saying what happened in Sri Lanka isn’t an indicator of what might happen here, while the Dutch farmer protests are a good indicator. It looks like the menace of the global green movement is at the heart of the problems in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the tentacles of the global green movement, with the Biden administration working to supercharge their green policy push in America has already caused gas prices in America to sky-rocket and helped fueled inflation in the retail sector.

The global green movement is a huge part of the global elite progressive movement, but there are other tentacles from the pandemic “trust the science” rules, to the alphabet gender activism, the effort to control information on social media, and in America, there’s a massive progressive push to federalize policing, which President Obama made a top-tier policy goal.

What happened in 2020 with the “Defund the Police” effort was a part of that progressive effort to federalize policing. Every time the left in America demands federal control over issues that constitutionally are state powers, it’s a safe bet it’s another power grab, to hamstring federalism, which is a safeguard against a Big Brother, total federal control over Americans’ lives. That “Defund the Police” effort used a massive spin effort to incite public outrage with the George Floyd case as a cover to destroy local control of policing in America and push for federalizing control of policing.

Along with those big fronts of the progressive movement there’s also a massive, ongoing effort to demonize all traditional civic and religious values.

It’s total insanity fueled by epic hubris. These global elitists who fly into Davos, fund and run these big, progressive foundations and think tanks, I think, believe they’re the smartest, most enlightened people in the world. Almost every “trust the science” Covid mitigation effort now has failed to work as promised by the “experts”- especially the remote learning, when schools closed their doors.

For many years, I’ve believed that protecting and bolstering federalism in America will be our best storm surge barrier against these massive waves of global progressive policies crashing against our constitutional republic framework. And that’s why working to build even small pockets of community, especially local community, matter so much. As these insane global progressive policies create more and more chaos, the wealthy globalist elites sound confident that their big ideas will prevail. There’s often a dismissive tone about ensuing chaos their policies cause, like the collapse of some governments, wars, anarchy, and famine. It often sounds to me like many of these progressives believe these problems will be transitory and just growing pains that are worth the cost.

They believe their massive, complex global systems, will prevail and then people all over the world will submit to their new ideas and new ways of living in this new imposed “equitable and sustainable” paradise. At the heart of this is a belief in global governance managed by a bunch of elites.

The inherit vulnerability with large and overtaxed, complex logistical systems applies to progressive globalist movements just as it does to militaries. In military systems, if you overtax your supply system, small guerilla groups will be able to function, while the military reliant on a failing complex supply chain will lose its effectiveness.

In a totally lawful and peaceful effort, I believe working to build local communities and then networking with like-minded people around the country can allow ordinary Americans to share, barter and sell food and other items that become hard to find as the big supply system we’re used to hiccups and sputters. Building local community also provides a social support network, along with people to turn to in emergencies. A national hotline number to call is useless if you’re facing a personal or local emergency situation. You want people who are nearby, know the area, and can pool local resources quickly.

Simple systems always have a resiliency that complex systems lack, is my belief.

Yes, I’ve been reading more Klaus Schwab crapola… oh my word, it’s a dreary slog.

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This is absolutely outrageous

President Biden had been releasing oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and guess what:

Reuters is reporting: Oil from U.S. reserves head overseas as gasoline prices stay high

Here’s the first paragraph:

“HOUSTON, July 5 (Reuters) – More than 5 million barrels of oil that were part of a historic U.S. emergency oil reserves release aimed at lowering domestic fuel prices were exported to Europe and Asia last month, according to data and sources, even as U.S. gasoline and diesel prices touched record highs.”

Just let that sink in. Oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve is being shipped overseas, while American are struggling with soaring prices at the pump.

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Some Ukraine thoughts

Although Ukraine has dominated the news the past month, there’s a lot of important news here in America that’s not getting nearly the same attention – especially in Washington. The emotional and rash ways in which Washington politicians talk about sending weapons system and aid to Ukraine with no concern about the price tag, the sensitivity of handing over advanced technology on a battlefield we have no control over or thinking about the “post-war” ramifications of all that weaponry (another likely international weapons open market bazaar forming) disturbs me. I do support sending more military aid to Ukraine, but I wish more thought went into decision-making, especially in light of the vast amount of military equipment we abandoned in Afghanistan and the 20-year US foreign policy failure of regime-change/democracy-building.

Even more disturbing has been the ways in which our politicians are like lemmings, who mindlessly rush to fall in line with the latest hot talking point. First it was the hysteria about the US and NATO establishing a no-fly zone, which alarmed the heck out of me, because that means being at war with Russia and being willing to shoot down Russian aircraft and taking out Russian anti-aircraft assets. The past week or so, it’s been hyperventilating about sending Ukraine MiG jets. It seems certain there will be more military hardware items that will fuel endless media hysteria with the situation in Ukraine.

The absolute most disturbing hot takes in American political and media circles have been the hysterical politicians and pundits demanding we stop the war immediately, as if there’s some magic off-button to make Putin stop his war of aggression. I have no idea what Putin’s going to do and presently what he does certainly determines how long this war drags on.

Some of the same politicians who called for more and more military action during the past 20 years of our “Global War On Terror/Building Democracy Project” now seem overly eager to beat their war drums about Russia. Senator Lindsey Graham, who gets a whole lot of air time on FOX News, has been saber-rattling about “regime change” in Moscow now and while many people may embrace the idea of Putin being gone, they’re missing the reality that Russia has a vast nuclear arsenal and a coup or uncertain control of a nation/state nuclear arsenal of that size would be a very dire world crisis situation. I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed (we were living in Germany at the time) and there were serious concerns about loose nukes within the US foreign policy and military communities, but it seems a lot of people in Washington, who are old enough to remember that, seem to have forgotten. A country with a vast nuclear arsenal that collapses or where there’s no clear governmental structure poses a huge global crisis, but Graham is always rushing on TV to beat his war drum and sound tough.

With all eyes focused on Ukraine, our own domestic problems have been shoved aside and the people who react emotionally aren’t just liberals who run from one cause to the next to virtue-signal, from masks to wrapping themselves in the Ukrainian flag, it’s Republicans in Washington too.

Yes, I see the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine, but when it comes to deciding how much military aid to send or how America responds, well, I prefer calmer heads to prevail and instead, there are a lot of overly emotional politicians reacting instantly to pleas from President Zelensky and a video intended to pull at our heartstrings. Here’s the reality – we need calm people making carefully thought out decisions, especially when it comes to such a serious decision as war and our elected officials should be weighing America’s national interests over any other interests. Zelensky, understandably, wants every possible means to save his country, but America has national interests here at home and around the globe and those need to be weighed carefully too.

At some point the politicians and pundit crowd in Washington need to seriously look back over our post-9/11 foreign policy military adventures and do some deep soul-searching. We left train wrecks all over the Middle East and beyond with this regime change/democracy-building pipedream and in the process squandered trillions of dollars, military equipment, humanitarian aid, and most of all American lives. There is little to show for any of it. And that’s why I am hoping we think more about how much and what kinds of aid we pour into Ukraine and if we have even thought about what happens down the road.

In our present media-driven, hot takes, political culture another important assessment tool that seems to have disappeared is a lessons learned approach, where after-action reports are compiled, analyzed and studied, looking for things that worked and things that didn’t work, then drilling down to see at which levels in an organization the failures occurred and why. Our military and intel agencies seem to skate by the lessons learned approach now and behave just like the politicians in Washington, using deceptive language and sliding on by, as if the debacles never happened.

I hope the military aid to Ukraine is done in close consultation with US military officials and NATO officials and designed to be things the Ukrainian fighters know how to use and that’s it’s weapons & assets that will bolster the type of battles they’re actually fighting. That means I’m hoping there’s strategic and tactical advice accompanying all of this military aid too.

One last comment about the war in Ukraine – the modernized Russian army sure seems to be way less impressive than advertised. The news keeps reporting high-ranking Russian officers (think it’s five generals so far) killed on the battlefield. I saw someone online posted a link to this story at a news site in Estonia: 12 March 2022 – Estonian expert: Russia is losing generals in Ukraine due to its communication failures. Here’s a quote from that short piece:

“Kunnas says the reason to that is that the Russian encrypted communication system had failed. “In today’s militaries, it’s a standard that communications are encrypted,” he says. “The Russian army uses a system called Era. It’s a very smart solution – all communication relies on 4G and 3G networks. What happened in Ukraine was, the Russians themselves destroyed the communication towers – to cut the Ukrainians off from being able to communicate. But the result is, the messages of the Russian army went into the air openly. Even British radio amateurs have been able to listen to Russia’s ‘secret’ messages.””

I haven’t heard any American military analysts mention this yet, so I’m awaiting more information.

Update 3/20/2022, 5:21 pm – I came across another article about the Russian army communication problems:

Russian troops can’t use Era encrypted phone system in Ukraine after destroying 4G masts, suggests expert

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