Monday, November 29, 2021

For Those Not Keeping Track...

 This is the China that states and entities have been fearing for several decades.

This nightmare story has been making the rounds amongst global leaders, analysts and China watchers for the past couple of days. Lest anyone think this an aberration, it isn't nor is it intended to be by the CCP.

China takes Uganda's only international airport  

Let me rephrase that first sentence. This is ONE of the Chinas. I suspect we'll see more variants in the near future. I suspect many will, particularly in that region. Is 2025-7 still a realistic deadline? It's nearly December 2021. Some generals have been mentioning 2022 throughout the year, some others 2021. Softly. It's nearly 2022. What the future holds... 

超限戰 

Much more has been and can be said about regional and global geopolitical tensions, particularly pertaining to the East Asia region, but I'll just put some links to some things I've posted or written lately.

 

  • China's hypersonics
  • Indonesia stands up to China in the SCS
  • Japan's growing defense budget and Article 9
  • China is about to seriously invest in growing its minute "collection" of international military bases
  • US intelligence leaders issue warning to US companies that China is targeting 5 specific US technology industries -- legally and illegally
  • The US National Counterintelligence & Security Center put out a press release concerning China's US embassy lobbying/pressuring US execs and Congressional leaders to influence pro-China legislations or drop anti-competitiveness (re China) legislation in Congress
  • India defense chief states that "China is the biggest security threat."
  • Duterte finally pulling the plug on China "waffling" as Chinese aggression continues to grow.
  • China builds missile targets shaped like US aircraft carriers
  •  

    Those PLA-built coastal Chinese hypersonics seem even less amusing now... 


     

    Virtually all of these pieces were taken from my LinkedIn page, where I post commentary as often as possible. Meaning those without a LinkedIn account won't be able to access them, for which I apologize. If that's the case and you want to read at least the source pieces, leave messages here, let me know, do something -- or even look them up yourselves! -- and if you can't find the original source, I'll find it for you and post it. These are important and critical times in the world for so many reasons. China's big and the potential problems it presents sometimes seem insurmountable, but with Russia's designs on its neighbors in Eurasia and a US-led NATO stuffing missiles on all of the borders of the newly NATO'd former Soviet satellites, I understand why Putin's feeling threatened and ticked as hell, but the last thing we need is a two front narrative. Of course that doesn't take into account issues in the Middle East, attempts at illegal proliferation with certain states vowing to literally stop at nothing to ensure that doesn't take place, as well as renewed violence at certain places along the China/India border, which happens to be the longest geographic national border in the world -- and it's nuclear -- and when mixed with an illegal nuclear India, the second most populous country in the world behind China -- and catching up -- AND a burgeoning regional hegemonic rival to China ALSO up against their worst energy, an equally illegal nuclear Pakistan that is armed to the teeth, pumping out nukes like crazy, paranoid as shit, lives for basically one thing which is to obsess about India and its nuclear destruction should Pakistan be lucky enough to pull that off, which means that THREE nuclear countries, all hostile, are all sitting there in a row having a pissing contest. The India/Pakistan region is considered by most global military and civilian leaders to be the most volatile and deadly in the world.

    BUT it doesn't stop there! Ever since the US dumped Pakistan and fled Afghanistan with its tail between its legs, predictably, nuclear China and nuclear Pakistan have been growing quite chummy, and -- shocker -- both unstable nuclear states have a Real problem with nuclear India between them. Nice. Something else I've found interesting is that analysts and experts have been writing and publishing on these dynamics all year, but I have YET to see what I'm about to mention -- because I am the "groundbreaker," you know ;) -- but with all of the people around the region/world freaking out about an unstable, tension-filled THREE nuclear state S/SE/E Asia region, why has no one -- and I read hundreds of items daily, probably thousands, from all over the world -- why has no one mentioned the FOURTH just north of all of them -- Russia? Forgotten in the mix of crazies? They're actually not as crazy as some others, but they're damned dangerous and despite the extreme unlikelihood of any worries in the region of a crazed Russia nuking everyone, we all know it only takes one nutjob to set off a chain reaction that couldn't be stopped, so even if Russia is the more "mature" (and I'm not entirely willing to go there) nuclear player in a four-nuke area, it doesn't mean we should forget that the most volatile place on earth doesn't just involve two nuclear enemies, and now possibly a third, but FOUR nuclear states and with the world going crazy, WTH knows what could come of that dynamic? 

    And with that, I'll stop for now because A) I have other things to attend to and B) if I really wanted to drive this or these points home, I could keep going for days and weeks and never come to a logical stopping point so I'm forced to create one of my own -- which I've done. If anyone would like some more substantial resource suggestions (in the way of books, journals, etc.), leave a comment (or look at my Goodreads author page library, as I have libraries on Asia, geopolitics, military, etc.) and I'll be happy to make some recommendations.

    Screenshot of the top of my Goodreads Author Page 

     

     

    Sunday, November 7, 2021

    Some Thoughts Prompted by the Book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

     

    The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

    Not new in terms of primary predictions but just a hell of a lot closer than 20-25 years ago. And it’s scary as shit. Naturally the US is just one of a handful of countries that not only doesn’t give a shit (our conservative owners) but stunningly STILL argues fantasy vs reality. Of course those with brains know what is going on. The uber-rich, banks, massive corporations, the boards, top execs, etc., naturally know all of this is true and they have the whole time. But they fight bitterly to refute reality and the rest of the world — why? There’s a very interesting book out there (Bruce Cannon Gibney’s A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America



    with a premise that baby boomers are literally a generation of sociopaths so selfish and greedy, they’re willing to sell out their kids and grandkids and, hell, the whole damn world, content to let the earth and all on it get destroyed — in large part due to THEM and actions and inactions. Why? What will this accomplish? They’re so unbelievably blinded by narcissism, greed and power that they somehow can’t see, even as they massively fund new institutes to research extending the (their) human life span and much more, yet these big, rich mini-Kings are so fucking stupid that they seem not have realized what every powerful peoples throughout history (the Egyptians? Aztecs?) found out — you can’t take it with you! Yet they act like you can. If they’re not amassing wealth to pass down their family line/corporate descendants—and they’re not because in their continuing denial that the earth is not flat, that the galaxy spins, that humanity has set in motion, already underway, the virtual complete destruction of the earth so there will be NO descendants to speak of to pass on billion dollar inheritances. And they've more than proven they’re just fine with that. So the net result is what exactly? Something as basic and juvenile as the race to reach the finish line and “win” because you’re the richest? That’s brain dead stupid. But leave it to the Me Generation to not think rationally or for the good of others when considering the future.

    As far as I can figure, when you die, you *might* leave one or two things to prove you existed. First, a legacy of some sort. It doesn’t have to involve fame, wealth, anything. Families can pass on heirlooms, admiration for certain religious leaders and a variety of notable people (NOT as defined by Wikipedia's criteria) might leave a famous legacy for a period of time. Writers, artists and musicians can leave various legacies, as can certain inventors, generals, scientists, etc. You get the picture. Do you want your legacy to resemble Donald Trump’s? Cause that’s basically what we’re talking about. People who are often quickly forgotten because they leave no legacy of any real value. Except in some cases, my second example of what people can leave. Wealth, property, investments, inheritances, etc. But we’ve already established those responsible for this crisis or in denial don’t care about that. They’re willingly sentencing their grandchildren to death along with everyone else so the second example is moot. Yet surely some of them must know this. But apparently not care or we would be joining the rest of the world to try to save the planet.

    So the only answer must be none! Pure selfish greed to amass as much money and power as possible despite the fact that A) they really don’t want to pass it on and B) they’ve already ensured that ultimately they won’t since 2–3 generations later, their destruction of the world will have been complete. (The US DNI annual threat assessment of the US Intelligence Community for 2021, given to Congress in April labels climate change as, after dealing with COVID-19 and its aftereffects, the second greatest transnational threat to America’s greatest security and humanitarian threat there is and it provides plenty of recent examples and near-term concerns. And this is not new. I recall one of the leaders on the Joint Staff as early as about 2005 stating that global warming/climate change posed one of America’s greatest national security threats — source forgotten, insufficient time to look it up, sorry. If you don’t believe me and want to see the report or if you DO believe or are on the fence or whatever, you can find it available through the ODNI here.) So anyway this makes Reason A moot too, because what good is it if you leave a legacy of art, music, architecture, writing when it will encounter the same fate as Reason B thanks to the same cause for the same reason. Which again is what exactly? They’re the new Egyptians, Aztecs, whatever, but they’ll be the first successful ones? That’s the only possible reason, it seems, which proves their brilliance and superiority are bullshit. The Me Generation, despite a glut of educated, successful faux geniuses have never given a shit about anyone but itself, proven over the decades by all they’ve done and continue to do. Maybe they should be called The Worst Generation instead, cause Baby Boomers is too generic a term for what they’ve been and done. And honestly that’s hard for me to say considering my spouse, friends, cousins and I myself (as well as other loved ones) are all either Baby Boomers or on the very cusp (technically I’m not a Boomer, but my wife is, as are most relatives, so I guess I am as well), so I’m indicting us as well (though I think a good argument could be made that it was the large percentage of Boomers prior to the last two years of that period who are mostly responsible, but that’s both biased and a subject for a different piece).

    This book? Well written, important book. The subject is more of a horror story to me than simple nonfiction, but we can’t hide our heads in the sand. This is necessary. Recommended.




    Sunday, October 31, 2021

    "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Facebook?"

    "How do you solve a problem like Facebook?" Interesting question. Intriguing. Funny, I was talking with my wife about these very issues, & more, just within the past 24 hours. Finally got around to glancing at email just now, this article was the first thing I saw: https://bit.ly/2ZBGSke. Obviously it's a controversial article, topic, issue, etc., and I literally know, have worked with, have former colleagues and friends and hundreds of connections at Facebook so I want to tread a little lightly, but I'll just say I've not really been thrilled with where they've been going over the past decade for many reasons. Facebook has great power and can use it how it wishes. A decade ago, people were happily playing Oregon Trails, Angry Birds, talking with friends and relatives about all sorts of stuff (music, reading, travel) you literally never seen anymore because the money is where the hot stuff is and that's in ticking people off, engaging in flame wars, encouraging the degradation of once rational humans, etc. Not everyone, but it's been shown that's more than potential - that's been fact & much more (don't have to point just to Haugen. Cambridge Analytics remains a great place to look at the goings-on.) I got off Facebook years ago and was happier than I'd felt in years, because all I ever seemed to do was encounter people who felt their purpose in life was to rip me hard for just about anything. When I publicly intellectually destroyed these bozos every single time, usually within minutes, they resorted to childish name calling and religious threats of eternal damnation. Didn't need it, walked away. Nicholas Carr is one of several to write some interesting books lately that go further than the surface things I've mentioned. One is The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. In fact it was a nonfiction Pulitzer nominee. (Another more recent book of his is The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us.) Don't have to buy into it, but makes for an interesting read. Facebook has done a lot of good. It's also done a lot of bad. Sometimes I view it as a metaphorical Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors.
    (Movie's a lot of fun. Seymour isn't.)
    (Source: The Mary Sue) I really don't mean to Facebook bash. Like I said, I know hundreds of good, decent people there and most people I know are still users. But I think it's good to read pieces you may not always agree with though, just to get other perspectives. So I urge you to think about reading this because it brings up some food for thought. (And don't misunderstand me. Power, potential, do good, power corrupts, rein in -- one of those rare things found in the US that can't be looked at in a traditional American Calvinist black/white construct. I'm not damning Facebook. Just urging thought, analysis and reflection, at a minimum.) (I mentioned there are a number of books and resources out there these days. You can look many up yourselves, so I'm not going to post a list, but another potentially interesting book is Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.)

    Friday, October 22, 2021

    Book Review -- Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

     

    Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in IndochinaStreet Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina by Bernard B. Fall
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Excellent. Superb! Everything I had heard about it. If you're a student of, or even just interested in, the French debacle in trying to recolonize Indochina, as well as subsequently the failure of the US, particularly in my opinion, by apparently never conducting any Lessons Learned sessions and thus repeating the very same damn fool mistakes that cost the French everything and allowed the Viet Minh to win before teaching the US a lesson in UW. BTW, most people don't realize this, but third world, underfunded, no-weapons-to-speak-of (initially) "North Vietnam," under the various names given to and used by those led by Ho and Giap, is the only such country I can recall at the moment, and certainly in more modern times, to defeat THREE (3) major, massive, far more advanced global powers (or at least drive the 3 from Vietnam) AND did so in a 30 year time frame. Doubt me? 1) Japan, World War 2. 2) France. 3) United States. I'm sorry, but even as an American and thus a citizen who grew up during the draft, taught to hate and despise the "evil" (North) Vietnamese, over the years with much reading, study and research, I've learned much about the history of the region, dynamics, propaganda, geopolitical implications, proxies, and especially have remained interested in the entire E/SE Asian question of A) Marxism or B) Nationalism (first and foremost), because it's still a matter of great debate, although I formed a pretty firm opinion some decades ago and stand by it. That issue, of course, applies to many other states in the region, from China to Cambodia and more.

    Regardless, the author of this book gives an amazing detailed account of the horrors experienced by the French (and their opponents) during a specific period of that conflict, and while the author never would have known or expected it would serve as a history text of sorts and a book that should have been required reading at West Point pre-1960ish, that's the least of what he accomplished in writing this. Of course, even though the US didn't learn from the French debacle -- which was funded by the US -- and got its ass whipped to great mass global humiliation, let alone at the cost of tens of thousands of US lives, tragically, as well as literally millions of Vietnamese lives, apparently some people at the Pentagon finally DID decide doing a few Lessons Learned sessions might be of some value, thus resulting in some UW doctrine, later to split into IW/AW doctrine, the irony being that the DoD is shutting down its AW unit literally as I write this and likely when we need it the most. Bozos! "We'll farm those responsibilities out to other units." Yeah. Worked real well in Nam, didn't it? And Iraq and Afghanistan too. Definitely still need doctrine and committed, structured units dedicated to IW but I fail to understand AT ALL how the same doesn't apply to AW. And since official US military focus is shifting to the Baltics (to justify the massive defense budget, and to guarantee only seriously pissing Putin off more, which will have the opposite of the stated effect and goals in sending SOF units into each of those states and countries). I have so many friends, colleagues and connections at every level and in every type of unit within the US Department of Defense (as well as hundreds of defense contractors), that I kind of feel guilty for what I've written and what I could write, but at the risk of offending some people I value, I've just got to say this is total bullshit, beyond stupid geopolitically and militarily, and in a manner of speaking, I would contend it's another case of the DoD NOT having read Fall's book and others like it, and thus likely to make or repeat predictable, avoidable and potentially devastating mistakes.

    I'm sure you didn't expect to get more out of a review of a book from the 1950s, but it still applies directly to current political/military goals, strategies, tactics, doctrine, particularly that of the US. Which I think is tragic. The book? I can't recommend it enough. Very recommended.

    View all my reviews

    Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    Is Taiwan China's Cuba?


    I recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal titled "U.S. Troops Have Been Deployed in Taiwan  for at Least a Year." This was an article someone I know posted on a different site and I made a comment in response. But I've thought more and more about it since, especially considering all of the geopolitical, military, maritime, etc., goings on in the South China Sea, as well as the East China Sea among others, combined with increased aggression by the PLAA and PLAN, particularly toward Japan and most obviously Taiwan. Many experts feel that conflict of an unknown type is very likely to occur this year over Taiwan and all of the events of the past months have been leading toward that, supporting that theory. 

    However, I wanted to throw a few words out there on this, particularly one thought that may be quite relevant with the news the WSJ uncovered and published last week. 

    So, the anti-PLA “porcupine” strategy rears its head once again. In no way do I wish to diminish the importance of the revelation of the possibility/probability U.S. troops have been on Taiwan for at least a year as all involved parties seem to be racing faster and faster toward a seemingly inevitable confrontation of potentially indescribable proportions. I think few have viewed that eventual likelihood as a “limited engagement.” I’ve closely been following events in the region since Nixon/Kissinger’s “reopening” of China, have studied & researched regional history dating back thousands of years, have spent decades studying China from 1900 - present & the future. I’ve been engaging with experts, writing, speaking, debating on related topics this entire century. It’s been impossible to ignore the years of analyzing the unsaid mixed with the spoken now somehow transition to more apparently overt beating war drums this year with more openly stated and less cryptic comments. On the parts of multiple entities. I haven’t hidden my feelings on the regional/global dangers China presents to the world, and certainly not merely the U.S. China has already used its maritime aggression and military to encroach in sovereign waters and airspace of most of its neighbors, literally attacking the Vietnamese and Philippines, angling in that direction in Indonesia, harassing Japan to such a degree that this has never been seen before, ignoring international law AND their major loss in an international court when they tried to assert they controlled the entire SCS so the USN has been conducting daily FONOP operations throughout the SCS, now joined by the UK and soon Australia. Because regardless of what China asserts, they're literally wrong and as an ambitious, growing hegemony, they've been overstepping their boundaries with too many states, resulting in the pushback being seen this year, including the reformation of the Quad, the wooing of India to western democracies' sides, as well as that of their S/SE Asian neighbors so that ideally they will be in a position, of their own choosing, to ensure the Indian Ocean remains free of conflict. Australia and Indonesia have renewed a defense agreement while the US and Vietnam have signed one and the US is watching out for the Philippines. South Korea just launched its first aircraft carrier, a likely needed disincentive to China's program of having five carriers by 2025, at least two to three of which are nuclear carriers. If memory serves me, the third one is nearly complete and ready to set sail. Finally regarding Taiwan, Japan stated as assertively as possible that they'll view a Chinese attack on Taiwan as an attack on them and they're committed to Taiwan's defense. They were joined by the U.S. in publicly committing itself to Taiwan's defense against an invading China. 

    Now, all of that said, I’ve not been eager to jump into any major brawl with the CCP, as unavoidable as that may seem. Regardless, I wanted to mention a comment I saw floating around somewhere in relation to this WSJ article.  A thought to keep in mind is that perhaps Taiwan may be China’s Cuba. No big deal? The U.S. was willing to go nuclear to keep Soviet missiles and troops off of and away from Cuba, OUR Taiwan (in terms of proximity). And we don’t think China will stop at Nothing to ensure U.S. troops and weapons aren’t stationed just some miles from their shoreline? I’ve been thrilled to see the U.S. encouraging Western and Eastern states to form defensive coalitions in the area to discourage increasing Chinese aggression. I'm not sure I’m as thrilled to potentially be goading the biggest darn military in the world, especially with its having just dumped its famous “No First Strike” policy and building nukes like crazy, into a fit that might make them crazy enough to take radical actions that few want. So many variables. Not enough time to go into a fraction of them. But SOF in Taiwan? I doubt this is a surprise to China, but now that it's public, I wouldn't be surprised to see them pitch a calculated fit 100 times bigger than what we're used to. The question I have is aside from their verbal protests, what tangible response is to be expected?

    For Those Not Keeping Track...

     This is the China that states and entities have been fearing for several decades. This nightmare story has been making the rounds amongst ...