Saturday, February 11, 2023


A balloon, which the Chinese did not hesitate to say is theirs, wandered into US territory, unmolested because NORAD saw it coming and evaluated it as a weather balloon which posed no threat. The news media became aware of it when it when it got to Montana and surmised that, while China claimed it to be measuring weather, it might also be a spy balloon and be sending sensitive military information along with, or instead of, weather data.

The military, NORAD, apparently had not thought of that, because they had not used balloons for intelligence gathering since the Civil War, what with satellites and supersonic aircraft being so much efficient. Among other things, you can steer those puppies, and you can’t steer balloons, making them rather seriously inefficient at taking pictures of targets that are 6000 miles away. NORAD, not unreasonably, assumed that the Chinese are living in the 21st Century.

The US Executive branch, which routinely ignores our military, but which never ignores the media, decides that the balloon is such a dire threat that it must be destroyed before it can reveal all of this nation’s vital secrets. The ones, that is which have not already been revealed by all of the secret documents hidden in Trump’s basement. Um, and the ones in Biden’s basement.

So the Teleprompter Reader in Chief tells the military to shoot the balloon down. They do so, using a missile no less. To shoot down a balloon. They may have sent all of their bullets to Ukraine.

They wait to do so, however, until the balloon has left US territory and is out over the Atlantic. This is not like the metaphorical locking the barn door. This is more like ignoring the barn door and shooting the horse after it has been stolen.

The military is recovering the dead corpse wreckage, and NBC news is excitedly telling us that is has lots of antennas, so that it could have been sending information back to China. They don’t mention that it might have nothing more than weather data, or that a weather balloon that could not send data to the organization that launched it would not make much sense. Of course it has antennas.

You’d think that the story was sufficiently embarrassing, but no, there’s more.

Another flying object appeared over Alaska and we did not know what it was so what did we do? We shot it down. Yep. If you don’t know what it is destroy it.

Like a bunch of nasty little kids moseying through the woods who come across a little creature rooting around in the undergrowth. They cannot identify what it is. Their response? “We don’t know what it, so let’s kill it.” The US in a nutshell.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Why Russia?

I have been trying for some time to imagine why Russia is portrayed as a threat to the United States in the 21st Century, as an enemy who we think wants to “undermine our democracy,” and I have been able to come up with no reason that makes any sense.

It’s not about the Cold War and a reawakening of hatred of the Soviet Union as some pundits claim. That might be the issue if the hostility had persisted since the Iron Curtain days, but such is not the case. The two nations were getting along very well as recently as the Obama administration.

Remember Obama sitting next to the Russian President at an international conference and getting caught saying to him that they could work together after Obama’s reelection was complete?

Some, many today, attribute it to the “fact” that Putin “invaded and occupied Crimea,” but that is not the cause either, because the concept of Russia as our enemy preceded the overthrow of the Crimean government in 2014. Whatever led to Crimea becoming part of Russia, it was after the Crimean government was overthrown by whomever overthrew it.

Then I watched a podcast on a website called “The Saker.” The discussions and podcasts on that site vary quite a lot as to quality, but some of them are very worthwhile. This one was a discussion with Douglas Macgregor, formerly of the US Army, and he seems to know what he is talking about. It’s about 20 minutes long and is, in my opinion, worth listening to.

It’s a discussion centered around the war in Ukraine, and is mostly about NATO’s role in that conflict. The part that interested me was toward the end where he gets into the nature and the basic role of NATO. He quite properly describes it as a defensive alliance and goes into the futility of employing it in an offensive manner, since it is simply not created or structured to fulfill that role.

The part that rang the bell for me was when he referred to NATO as a “sacred cow” and cited the aphorism that, “Sacred cows are seldom slain, they usually simply disappear.” He went on to say that since NATO refused to disappear, that the war in Ukraine would probably be the cause of NATO being slain. Brilliant.

That led me to think that Russia as an enemy was the cause of NATO refusing to disappear. NATO was formed as a mutual defense against the Soviet Union, and when that enemy dissolved, NATO either needed a new threat or it needed to disappear. It was only a few years before Russia was the new threat, solely to preserve NATO.