Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Poland Needs Fords, not Ferraris

Jerry's classic from '09 came to mind when I read the following about plucky, brave Poland's drive to grow its defense budget and recapitalize their air arm;
The Polish Ministry of Defence is analysing a possible purchase of 50-100 aircraft to replace the Polish Air Force's aging Sukhoi Su-22 strike aircraft and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter aircraft.
Yes, NATO still has SU-22.
"We consider various possibilities that would be beneficial, [including purchase of] F-16 aircraft; used or new or another solution. The optimal solution would be a purchase of 50-100 aircraft," Bartosz Kownacki, deputy defence minister responsible for defence procurement, told the government-owned Polish Press Agency (PAP).

"I think that during a month and a half we will have a clear idea if is worth buying used F-16s from the United States or new F-35s," he added. According to Kownacki, the aircraft Poland has been offered are older variants than the F-16C/D Block 52+ models currently used by the Polish Air Force. The F-16 option being considered would see Poland purchase 96 used F-16s (six squadrons) for PLN100 million (USD24 million) each to replace Poland's aging 32 MiG-29s and 32 Su-22s.
Poland needs additional firepower now, and every platform counts. They are not going to march on Moscow, so they need something - in numbers - to fight and hold the line at home.

A well trained pilot in a Block 52+ F-16 can handle anything the Russians can throw at them. They do not need now, nor can afford the F-35 in the appropriate numbers.

Something else besides the trusty F-16, I would also offer that the Swedes are about to have a fire-sale of some slightly used Gripens;
Last year the Swedish defense company SAAB made its final delivery of 96 Gripen planes ordered by the Swedish government. Now, despite having thousands of flying hours and many years left, the fighter jets are destined for the scrapheap. The Swedish government is buying even newer Gripen planes.

Gripen C/D is an advanced fighter jet with attack and surveillance capabilities, which unlike its Gripen predecessors is also compatible with NATO standards and thus more easily exportable. SAAB has sold or leased the plane not only to the Swedish government but to South Africa, Hungary, Thailand, the Czech Republic and even to the United Kingdom, which uses the plane for pilot training.

But in 2012, the Swedish parliament voted to place another order, this time for sixty new Gripen E aircraft, to be manufactured with immediate effect. “The government’s order was connected to likely sales to Brazil and Switzerland,” Swedish defense analyst Robert Dalsjö told me. “Because other governments were likely to buy it as well, the idea was that the Swedish government would get the planes more cheaply than it otherwise would.”
That is a nice bit of kit that the Swedes might make a good deal on. As the Poles already fly the F-16, there is some economy on just getting more of them - but there is something to be said for having two sources for your fighter aircraft and making nice with a neighbor who also does not like the Bear all that much.

Either way, the smart move for Poland would be to buy "good" in bulk, and wait for the "perfect" to mature a bit and be a bit more affordable.

Hey ... well look at that;
...Kownacki suggested that now would be the wrong time to purchase the F-35, should that be the route the country opts for. In his view, had Poland enterer the programme five years ago, then Polish industry could have been involved. However, given the current price of the initial aircraft remains high it is worth Poland waiting a few years until "F-35 availability rises and the prices drop".

Anything we can do to help the Poles, we should. Last year, they crossed the 2% of GDP threshold and continues to grow in their investment in their defense. We should reward them as much as we can. 

You know the theory; reward behavior you approve of - punish that you don't. When you look at her former Warsaw Pact allies now in NATO to her south - an example of positive behavior is very much needed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fighting Seablindness is an All Hands Effort

Navalists have the wind at our backs. 

We have not had an opportunity like this in over 30 years to make our point to the American people why it is so critical that our republic own a powerful navy of global reach.

The need has been clear and well documented even before our republic was free of the British Crown, but to most outside the seapower fraternity it is not self-evident.

It is a sale that must be made to each generation. It is a story that must be told and retold; repackaged and redelivered by as many paths as possible. When a crisis brings its need in to focus, it is too late.

A strong navy cannot be built, trained and manned overnight and be effective. It must be ready on day one.

If we don't tell that story enough and in the right way - when her nation calls for her navy, she will not be ready. Even though she will not be ready, she will still answer the call. When an un-ready, under-capitalized, and poorly trained and manned navy gets underway against a challenger that is ready; the seas are filled with your own dead Sailors, it seabed littered with your ships, and your nation is opened to strategic risk to an enemy emboldened by victory.

One fellow retired Commander is more than carrying the load. As we discussed in his visit to Midrats late last year, Bryan McGrath is conducting a speaking tour on seapower in his corner of the republic. He recently put his video series on YouTube. Highly recommended.

As you get yourself ready for the next President and wonder what new directions we may take, during the course of the week, watch a video or so a day. Send a link along to a friend.

If we want our nation to understand why she needs a strong Navy and Marine Corps team, all must do a part. We can't all be Bryan, but we can introduce him to a few friends.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fullbore Friday

What more can you say: thanks.
He was 16 when he shipped off to France in 1917 to join the ambulance corps with the serial No. 15577 -- one of 4.7 million Americans to serve in "The War to End All Wars" against Germany.

"I always knew I'd be one of the last because I was one of the youngest when I joined," Buckles said in his interview with the Daily News, after he became the last surviving member of those 4.7 million.

"But I never thought I'd be the last one."

Even after the war, Buckles couldn't escape the battlefield. In 1941, Buckles was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines while working as a purser for a steamship company. He languished for more than three years in prison camps before he was rescued in a military raid.

"I was never actually looking for adventure," Buckles once told The Associated Press. "It just came to me."

He also wasn't looking for the fame that came his way in 2008, when the second-to-last American veteran of World War I, Harry Richard Landis of Florida, passed away. But once he achieved the status of last surviving veteran, Buckles helped lobby to rededicate the existing District of Columbia World War I memorial on the National Mall in Washington as a national memorial.

With Buckles' passing, there are only two documented surviving veterans of The Great War left - 109-year-old Claude Choules and 110-year-old Florence Green, both of whom are British.

"Somebody has to pass it down. If I'm the last one, then I have to be the one to do it," Buckles told The News.

  Hat tip URR.

This FbF first posted March 2011.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Diversity Thursday

As usual with diversity advocates, there is no discussion on qualifications or merit. There is no discussion about why at no time in the near future - due to huge disparity in high school, college, and grad school graduation rates and scores between racial and officially recognized ethnic groups - will senior levels ever "look like America." 

If you are new to these facts, we've covered them in detail in previous DivThu. Just follow the diversity tag.

Now and then you just need to listen to the diversity commissariat pitch to remind you of the narrow minds you are faced with when they go on the warpath. They are the most base kind of racialists - only looking at people skin deep. Anyone who is not in full alignment with their program of active discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin (which you have to be if you want to meet their mindless metrics) - then naturally, you are a racist. You know the drill.

So, let's go over to the diversity funny-farm at WaPo where Joe Davidson demonstrates his grasping, race-based rent-seeking for all to see;
...the fate of the Obama administration’s diversity efforts all the more concerning. What will become of them when this administration ends next week and that of President-elect Donald Trump begins?

The tenor of Trump’s campaign and his history of racism (note his championship of the birther farce to undermine Obama’s presidency) and ethnic degradation (note his Mexican rapists slur during his campaign launch) provide no confidence for diversity advocates.
There it is.
And national security intelligence staffers generally have reason to be wary, given his disparagement of their finding that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered cyber hacking to promote Trump’s election campaign, thus tainting the legitimacy of his electoral college victory.

“Clearly, President-elect Trump lacks a history of sustained serious attention to inclusion and diversity,” Ernest J. Wilson III, University of Southern California dean of journalism and communications, said with restraint. He edited the book on this, called “Diversity and U.S. Foreign Policy.”
Ahhhhh...the best theories the 1970s have to offer, for you today!
If diversity is a national security imperative, statistics indicate an unfinished national security duty persists. Two blatant examples — 90 percent of the State Department’s Senior Executive Service is white. The Senior Foreign Service is 87 percent white.

The Senior Foreign Service feels “less diverse in terms of racial and ethnic background today than it was 20 years ago when I started serving in the State Department,” Rice said during an interview. She didn’t have statistics on that point, but the anecdotal observations of the veteran ambassador and diplomat are telling.
The presidential memorandum she was instrumental in drafting focuses on data and directs agencies to take a series of actions to promote diversity. It calls for a report to the president no later than 120 days after its Oct. 5 date. That would be two weeks after Trump takes over, but Rice is confident it will be ready before Obama leaves.

Ruth A. Davis, a retired pioneering black career diplomat gives Obama a B+ for his national security diversity efforts, saying they “might have been a bit more pronounced.” He missed an A in part because he could have selected more African American national security political appointees. She was the Foreign Service Institute’s first black director and the first woman of color appointed director general of the Foreign Service.
After the election, Rice met with midlevel career staffers to ensure the president’s memorandum is actually implemented. Other administration officials met with career employees from across government in November.

“Given the nature of this campaign on this issue of diversity and inclusion,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan told them, that is “all the more reason” they “should be thinking about how you step up, how you join together in the coming months and years to make sure that this issue gets carried on.”

That’s the challenge.
As we mentioned after the memo was drafted in DEC, one of the first actions of the Trump Administration should be to revoke it root and branch. It is officially sanctioned racism and has no place in a free republic.

There is no place in a modern society for a system based on active discrimination by acts of commission or omission against citizens based on race, creed, color, or national origin. It is wrong and it is immoral.

Again - watch the incoming Administration. This memo - along with so much of the racialist mindset in our government - must be rolled back.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Running Rust Tells a Story

So, you are about to get a bag'o'cash to buy some ships ... but is that really where you should put that money first?

I'm thinking that through a bit with the help of the VCNO over at USNIBlog.

Come visit and ponder with us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Corvettes of Winter

Don't get me wrong, I love the Baltics - it's beautiful, the people are great - but, well, there are the winters...

As such, I don't know about you, but even for a Russian, there has to be a better place for a Black Sea ship to overwinter than that sad, little, abused, and threadbare corner of the former East Prussia;
“Your greetings and the warmth of your hearts to Kaliningrad!!” — On October 26, the DFR Lab revealed that two Russian Buyan-M class corvettes of the Black Sea Fleet, armed with Kalibr-NK long-range cruise missiles, had entered the Baltic Sea. The deployment was a surprise, because only three weeks earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) had announced that the ships were to be attached to its Mediterranean squadron.
Read the whole thing over at medium.com, they've done a great job with OSINT to geo-locate exactly where these two exceptional corvettes are located.
The Russian MoD has not officially confirmed the transfer of the two corvettes to the Baltic Fleet. Its latest official statement is the one from October 5 in which it announced their attachment to the Mediterranean squadron.
However, on October 26, Russian media outlet “Izvestiya” ran a report quoting an anonymous “official source from the Russian Ministry of Defense” which appeared to confirm the deployment.
Baltic or Med? Who knows. I do know Sailors though ... and I think they'd rather winter in Tartus or Sevastopol.

There are other issues with Russian plans for the enclave;
The article reported that the Baltic Fleet would soon be reinforced with a division of Buyan-M class missile corvettes, armed with Kalibr missiles. It went on:
According to Izvestiya’s information, the first two small missile ships — “Zelenyy Dol” and “Serpukhov” — are being transferred from the Black to the Baltic Sea, and will soon join the newly formed division. Three more missile ships will be constructed and sent to the Baltic Fleet by the end of 2020.
“The formation of a small missile ship division and brigade within the Baltic Fleet has already started,” an official source from the Russian Ministry of Defense told Izvestiya. “We are planning to finish the job in two to three years. Currently, the newly-formed divisions have already received their first missile complexes and ships.”
And no, I don't think this is part of any Russian dis-information campaign. Russian PAOs are just not that well organized in the Baltic right now. They do plan to build up the Baltic Fleet, and Kaliber capable surface combatants are no longer needed near Syria.

If you are a geography geek like me, enter 54.637778, 19.945833 in to GoogleEarth and play around the port of Baltiysk (nee Pillau) and the neat old Swedish star-fort ruins. Kind of sad the mis-use of the land you can see from the air over then entire enclave - but such is war and Soviet/Russia misuse of once productive land.

To get a better view of the issues, take some time to follow the Kaliningrad/Polish border. Though not a Bavarian landscape, the Polish side is full of small farms, functional villages, and a people trying to make the most economic good of the land. On the Kaliningrad side? Yikes. The Russian part of East Prussia is to the former East Prussia what the NYC of "I am Legend" is to NYC of today.

Oh, and that island at N54 36' 37.31" E19 56' 53.1" - I'd like to know its history. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Germany is Turning Itself in to What it Didn't Want to Be

As the waves upon waves of migrants from the Arab world and Africa started to break in greater and greater numbers across the shores of Europe a few years ago, I warned that if they did not find some way to keep these teeming millions out - and return as many as possible back that were already there - that eventually this would force the European nations to be something that they did not want to be. The mainstream Center-Left and Center-Right parties would have to become more nationalistic or the people would continue to turn to parties and individuals who did not share liberal ideals.

No one, not the indigenous population nor recent legal immigrants would be better for it. All is unfolding with almost mathematical precision.

The problem of growing pockets of unassimilated colonies was already there and growing. Merkel's suicidal decision to look like a great humanitarian by welcoming in over a million military aged unemployable men only threw accelerant on to the swelling discontent of the indigenous population who felt they were losing their nations - which they are.

It is 2017 now, and we find Germany, the heart of Europe, here;
In a guest editorial for the influential daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the federal interior minister surprised his party and the entire country with his concept of a "strong state." At almost the exact same time, Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Merkel's junior coalition partner, presented a paper with his own ideas for a revamped security policy. Gabriel, who is Merkel's vice chancellor, demanded a tougher approach to potentially violent Salafists. "I am in favor of zero tolerance," he told SPIEGEL in an interview this week.
Germany, de Maizière wrote in his op-ed, is not sufficiently prepared for the crises and catastrophes of our times. The interior minister currently oversees more than 60,000 people working for the Federal Criminal Police Office, the federal police force, the domestic intelligence agency BfV and other agencies, and he believes changes are necessary. The federal government, he now believes, needs greater leverage to control all of the country's security agencies. He says that more video surveillance is needed as is the expanded use of facial recognition technology and beefed-up personnel. The state, he believes, must become stronger.
The image of the gray semi-truck in the middle of an idyllically decorated square marks a turning point for Germany. Islamist terror has arrived in full force. It is no longer merely apparent in the form of arrests and investigations, no longer present in speeches about "abstract threats" and the serious expressions on the faces of security agency heads following the comparatively minor attacks of last summer. Islamist terror has now struck at the heart of German culture -- a Christmas market shortly before Christmas Eve.

And the facts speak for themselves: German security agencies were unable to prevent the attack despite the fact that its perpetrator, Anis Amri, had been known for months to be an Islamist threat. Numerous agencies had files on him, they were aware of his contacts to Islamic State and they knew that he had searched the internet for bomb-building instructions.
Even the Green Party is calling for more security and police presence, something unthinkable just a few years ago. Party co-chair Cem Özdemir has said that his party will play a constructive role in the discussion over Interior Minister de Maizière's proposals.

The shift was also noticeable in the relative lack of criticism aimed at Cologne police for resorting to racial profiling to prevent a repeat of last new year's eve sexual assaults. The debate's paradigm has shifted.
Unlike past terrorist problems in Germany with The Red Army Faction and similar Communist cells that were political in nature - the latest threat is religious and ethnic. It is easier to undermine the Strategic Center of Gravity for political terrorist organizations; you just remove the political underpinnings and people will adopt a new political philosophy with less militant aspects - in this case, the Green Party or Die Linke.

It is a completely different effort to go after religious and ethnic based violence. One is exceptionally difficult to change - the other almost impossible to change inside generations of assimilation - if that.

To one degree or another, this totally avoidable disaster is playing out roughly along the lines expected. The post-war global Western liberal consensus is being torn apart by its own internal contradictions that keep its political mechanisms paralyzed to inaction.

If not for the political and personal cowardice by politicians from both sides of the aisle who were afraid of being called names or not being invited to the right conferences and dinner parties, the present situation would not exist. Sure, certain newspapers and magazines would call them nasty things, paint them as uncaring, and the usual suspects would tut-tut them to try to hurt their feelings  - but the nation they are trusted with would not be subject to a permanent deployment of military forces policing streets from a threat coming from within. Large segments of their major cities would not be "no-go" areas for public services. Rape would not become common.

How can a nation focus on a growing Russia when their own people cannot walk the streets in fear of a self-isolated foreign power holding sway in large parts of their cities?

Why did this come to pass?

Is starts with more than a little willful disregard for human nature and history in the modern era's governing class. In a strange alignment with various socio-political power centers - lessons learned by previous generations' blood and treasure is ignored.

This disregard is driven by three well meaning mental aspirations, and four malignancies.

First of all there is simply a desire not to address uncomfortable questions driven out of "polite conversation" by the same people who caused the discomfort.

Second, we have a certain narcissism in our governing class who feel they are better than those generations that came before. They can shape things better because they are smarter. With just enough money and virtue signaling, they can make it so that we can all live in a rainbow world powered my unicorn poop.

Third, tied in with that narcissism of virtue, is a narcissism of the now. "What are people saying about ME now? What support am I getting NOW." There is little desire to look at 2nd and 3rd order effects - what the compounding in time will do. Even less is a desire to make decisions that will create positive effects for their citizens in the future if it does not help their virtue signaling now.

Indeed, for some, they don't even like their fellow citizens and don't care about those people's future - they want a New Citizen. 

That leads to the malignancies.

Those three aspirations all have to do with a desire for social acceptance and popularity - an adult version of middle school social positioning. There are also reasons that have to do with a darker side of the psyche that lead to the four malignancies.

First, as you have here in the USA, there is the cultural self-loathing from the left and those seduced by the social capital that comes from being on the "good right" (see David Brooks). They want to pull themselves up as separate from their host culture by doing all they can by bring that culture down to a lower level. For whatever reason, they hate the nest they were born to. Unable to find self-worth in themselves, they can only hope to destroy that which they blame for their own inadequacies. All the good of the West is ignored or smeared - every mistake or bad point brought in to focus, exaggerated and used as a club to beat to a pulp all that is good.

Second are the grasping seekers of cheap labor. Squeezing every possible bit of margin to compete against the sweat shops of the world. Industries can gain only so much by automation in the face of a developed society's wage pressures. As such, they use their influence to bring in "guest workers" who will do for low wages what native born will not do. They never leave, and their children won't do that work, so more imports need to come. That is easier to do than attacking unfair trade practices - and is easier to get allies that will support for other reasons than economic ones.

Problem is, these low-cost, unskilled labor come from cultures that are not compatible with their host nations, they do not assimilate, and are not encouraged to. A manageable issue with the 1st generation with a small number, but when that unassimilated mass becomes 10%, 20% and the 50% of cities? Then what? Well, the people who first invited them made their money and are dead. Their children and grandchildren will have to deal with Molenbeek.

Third is something related to cultural self-loathing, and that is compassion pimping. Like those who feed their dog cheap food and lock them in a kennel - yet give money to the ASPCA - the compassion pimps want to show how much they care about others far away, while ignoring those already in their care. Not the poor down the street or in their own family - no that is too close and uncomfortable. Better to show how much you care by inviting in masses of problems that will live in "other people's" neighborhoods, go to school with other people's kids, go to public swimming pools - not in your gated community, not to your private school, not in your personal pool, not dating your daughters and sons.

Fourth and most cynical is voter replacement. One of the best ways to control populations is to keep them distinct. Give them something arbitrary that keeps them in a box, and then have that box as a reliable part of your voting block. If you don't like the fact that the French speaking part of Belgium isn't growing as fast as the Dutch speaking part? Simple fix; import French speakers from North Africa. Keep them isolated, but make them citizens as soon as you can so they can vote. Or, in the USA - like California - issue them drivers' licenses even before the become citizens so they can vote. In all cases, bring them in from cultures that see the government as a source of patronage - and reinforce that fact. Make sure you are seen as the party of government. Make sure they know who is on their side - and who is not.

History shows this never ends well - but if no one is encouraged to look at history and you don't teach in anymore - who is going to warn you? How will you know?

Of course, none of this happens in isolation. Eventually there is a reaction. The original inhabitants will, if ignored by mainstream and responsible politicians long enough, look to other places. They will begin to radicalize if they feel they need to in order to have their concerns addressed. Pressure will build and can only be contained so long.

This has been coming for a long time - that evening of drinks I had with a table full of Scandinavian military officers a decade ago, listening to them discuss what is not discussed openly in polite society, made that clear to me. The migrant crisis has only quickened things.

One little note; a major reason Europe has enjoyed so many decades of peace following WWII is the huge amount of state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing that took place from the Volga to the Rhine. This removed many of the simmering problems related to ethnic minorities stirring up trouble.  Poles were forced at the end of a bayonet to Poland. Germans to Germany. Italians to Italy ... and for the most part that is what happened. Ugly, but effective and probably already saved the lives of tens of millions.

Not content to enjoy the good harvest from the bloody sacrifice of the post-war migrations, the Europeans decided to import an even harder problem.

The solution is not going to be pleasant for anyone - and the bad stuff hasn't even happened yet. Anyone who thinks this has a happy ending is a fool. 

You can have your liberal welfare state, or you can have mass 3rd World immigration. You can't have both.