Monday, November 27, 2017

This is NOT normal

I'm sorry. It's just...not.
Here's an excerpt from the Thanksgiving oration that the 45th President of the United States gave to a group of servicepeople:
"But, I mean, we have equipment that -- nobody has the equipment that we have. And it's sad when we're selling our equipment to other countries but we're not buying it ourselves, okay? But now that's all changed. And the stuff I said -- the stuff that we have is always a little bit better too. You know, when we sell to other countries, even if they're allies -- you never know about an ally. An ally can turn. You understand. You're going to find that out. But I always say, make ours a little bit better. You know, give it that extra speed. A little bit -- keep a little bit -- keep about 10 percent in the bag, because what we have -- nobody has like what we have, and that's what we're doing."

1. We were selling our "equipment" to other countries but not buying it ourselves...but now we are.

2. Our "allies" are treacherous bastards that will turn on us - "you're going to find that out".

3. So we ensure that whatever of this "stuff" we sell to our "allies" is 10 percent worse - slower, weaker, less accurate, something that's not "in the bag" - than what we kit ourselves out with because, well, treacherous bastards.

I know that we tend to lose track of the moron signal amid the blabbering noise from this joker, but...c'mon. Seriously?

Scene: Office of the Ministry of National Defense, Seoul, Republic of Korea, afternoon. A tall, severe looking man enters and crosses to his desk, staring intently at his phone. He presses a button on the intercom panel.

Voice (translated from Korean): "Yes, Minister Song?"
Song Young-moo: "Sang-mi, can you please ask Vice-Minister Lee to come in for a moment, please?"
Sang-mi: "Certainly, Minister."

The Minister of Defense leans back against his desk, staring at his phone with an irked expression. Several moments later the main door opens and a shorter, plumper man enters. The Minister looks up at him and holds out his phone.

Song: "Did you see what that fucking Yankee idiot said last week?"
Lee: "Which fuc..oh, Trump? I dunno. What particularly idiotic thing was it this time?"
Song: "The...he...oh, hell, just look at this."
He passes the phone over to his subordinate, who scrolls down quickly.
Lee: "Oh, c'mon, boss. That's just Trump. His mouth moves while his brain is in neutral. You know that. Don't mean nothing."
Song: "Nothing? Really?"
Lee: "Sure. You know Americans, they just talk and talk with their head up their ass, and this Trump, well, you met him. He's like the lights are on but nobody's home. He can't possibly mean that guff. If it was true he'd be killing every arms deal Lockheed and General Dynamics and Raytheon will ever make. Not even that spray-tan dope could be that fucking stupid."

There's a long pause. Both men look at each other with growing horror.

Lee: "No problem, chief. I'll call our people in California right away. One of my guys is bonking one of the QA/QC people at BAE Systems; he'll have an answer for us by morning. Oh, and I'll get the PVO to give me a quote for S-400s, and see if the Israelis are still interested in selling Arrow-3s. I've got some people in Johannesburg, too, I'll see what they're willing to move."
The Vice-Minister is already pulling out his phone as he heads for the door. Minister Song slumps back against his desk as the door closes behind his subordinate and punches the intercom button angrily.
Song: "Where did my wife tell you to hide the soju, Sang-mi?"
Sang-mi: "Minister...I..."
Song: "I'm in no mood for fucking around, Sang-mi. Dig up that bottle or I swear, Imma walk down to the bodega down the street and pay cash for the cheapest, nastiest booze I can find and you can explain that to my wife."
Sang-mi: "I've got it right here, Minister."
Song: "Good. Straight up, and call the Air Force Chief of Staff and tell him I want to talk to his zoomie ass most quick smart. Thanks."
He sighs, and stares out the window as he waits for his drink.


  1. As Chris Cilliza says: "Hey allies! We are watching you! And we don't trust you! Eyes on you, Australia."

    I believe there have always been export models and certain other-export-models, depending on which allies were buying them. But nobody ever had the shallowness of mind to say it out loud before.

    And WTF does his Coast Guard audience care? It does not mean squat to the Coasties. They care less about what we are exporting. Yah, I get it, he wasn't speaking to them, only using them to speak to his pepe-the-frog followers.

    Plus I guess he could not afford turkey with trimminngs. He brought sandwiches, fruit, juice, cookies, muffins and sodas to the Coasties. Cheap bastard should have stayed at Mar al Lago or on the golf course.

    1. Oh, no question that there are "export models" of great power weapons systems for sale to their clients - wasn't there a Soviet tank that was built specifically for Middle Eastern sales that was called the "monkey model"? - but the official explanation is always a matter of matching a lower technology base or cost control. To blab that it's so that you can crush the "ally" when they "turn on you"? That's fucking nuts. If Trump had anyone left at State worth a lick they'd be tearing their hair over this.

      We tend to notice the really socially idiotic stuff, like the "Pocahontas" thing, he does. But it's things like this that point out what a truly whack worldview this joker has. With Republicans like Ryan it's cynical. But this guy? He really IS this looney.

    2. You can bet that the Saudi F-15s are worse than the F-15s the Israelis got.
      The Egyptian M1 Abrams and their APFSDS aren't the real deal either.
      The U.S. stopped selling true high end equipment to non-Western countries (save for Japan and South Korea) after the 1979 revolution.

      Ryan and Paul are crazy as well. Their upbringing was fucked-up with Ayn Rand's antisocial childre3n's book ideology. I'm so glad that that antisocial and delusional author is practically unknown where I live.

    3. I've never been sure whether Ryan is really as much of a nutjob as he pretends to be. ISTM that a lot of his nonsense is a smokescreen for his simple plutocratic greed. But IF he's really that nuts...well, yeah.

    4. I think that question was settled when he told the press that the ACA was bad becuase it made healthy people pay for the healthcare of sick people. He described the very idea of an insurance, and he thought it was evil stealing scheme that exploits those who weren't stupid enough to get sick.

      His moral compass points in an altogether wrong direction.

    5. While the "Monkey Model" anecdote seems to be factually true, the downgrades were often not as bad as popular wisdom holds... ;)
      But then, the Soviet Union was a dictatorship, living on institutional paranoia and supression. "Allies" like the Czechoslovaks and Hungarians were indeed 'better' given "lower edition" weapons... ;)

      Apart from that: It's not secret, that US military export equipment differs strongly, indeed was public knowledge from the beginning, that the original Saudi F-15S were a lot worse equipped (technologically) than US or Israeli examples of the time. Though it seems the recent contract for the upgraded F-15SA does not share the same drawbacks.
      It seems nowadays the Russians are also still offering multiple equipment fits for their export equipment. Though it seem, that it's mainly about giving the "customer" the posibility to mix and match as he sees (financially) fit. The new Egyptian Mig-29M2 share the same radar, avionics and weapon fit as the latest RuAF examples, and would be even more modern had the improved AESA radar been finished on time...

      I will not comment on the lunatic members of Big Donny's "Politburo"... ;)

  2. Trump tweet 3:05 PM - 2 Jan 2017 @realDonaldTrump

    "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!

    Kim must have have known about Trump's export versions of the THAAD and the SM-3.

    1. That "It won't happen!" thing happened today afaik.

      It still doesn't amtter. To actually use a nuke is 180° against the interests of the Kim dynasty.

  3. And the actual strategic positions on the Korean peninsula haven't changed; any military options for "doing something" about NORK nukes are hugely likely to result in a bloody hammering of Seoul...while as Sven points out, Kim only benefits from his nukes if he doesn't throw one first.

    I guess what depresses me about all this is that after a year there isn't any doubt about what American "conservatism" is. It's plutocracy, vulture capitalism, racist nationalism, fundamentalist Christian theocracy, and anti-intellectual Know-Nothingism.

    If they were all ignorant populism that'd be one thing. Or white Christian nationalism. But combine those with oligarchic crony capitalism? How does that help some ignorant goober? If his company offshores his job or rapes his insurance, who cares if he can buy four more AR-15 knockoffs or the taco truck guy gets deported, or that liberal slut can't abort her little bastard? The stuff the GOP offers their base is risible while what they're stealing is appalling. In a nation whose citizens understood their "national interests" Ryan and McConnell and Trump and Pence would be dangling from lampposts. Nobody making less than 100K would defend them.

    And we are.

  4. Again; that the U.S. sells lower-grade versions of its weapons systems overseas is unsurprising. But the grownup explanations involve things like cost or strategic balance or suiting the client's tech base. Not a paranoid fantasy about the ally "turning on us". Even if you believe that, the diplomatic convention is you keep it to yourself and plan quietly for the eventuality.

    But this dope doesn't seem capable of what a well-behaved ten-year-old can do. He blurts out whatever like a toddler, and even with a year on the Job isn't getting any better...

    1. To be fair, the Soviets/Russians very much regretted to have sold good quality MiG-29 with R-73 missiles to East Germany, for example. NATO learned A LOT about air warfare in the early 90's from it.

      It's also not totally unrealistic to think of the Turks as leaving NATO and joining an alliance with Russia. Turkish cabinet-level are saying as crazy things as Trump these days, they are clearly not "Western" in any way.

      Finally, it's very much possible that -if Trump consolidates power- the U.S. may actually leave NATO itself,. which means that European NATO would almost by default have to 'turn against' America. Suddenly, the EU would need to prepare defences against the U.S., too - which means a huge naval expansion right at a time when the U.S. may be in a naval arms race with the PRC.

      The crazy thing about Trump's thinking here is him thinking of others initiating trouble, when in fact he is - or supporting troublemakers like Erdogan. It's always the others whoa re at fault, at least in the mind of an eight year-old.

    2. Like I said; every Great Power has, or should have, contingency plans for things like a former ally or client being "turned" by a rival power, or falling to an internal change of government. That's why the "revelation" that the NSA was spying on friendly nations like Germany was utterly unshocking to me. Of COURSE the U.S. was snooping on our "friends"...because today's "friend" is tomorrow's neutral is the day-after-tomorrow's enemy.

      But adults in positions of power don't say things like that out loud. Because if you do you make it considerably simpler for that "friend" to make that choice - after all, they didn't trust us to begin with!

      Add to that the Trumpkins noisy disregard for any sort of international "deal" that isn't lopsidedly favorable to what they see as the short-term enrichment of themselves and you have a perfect scenario for what you describe; former allies deciding that their supposed pal Uncle Sam is really a paranoid, trigger-happy sonofabitch, and better off to make the break now than to get blindsided by the sucker.

  5. CIA started a major recruiting effort for Korean speakers the day of the launch.

    CIA tweet 11:49 AM - 27 Nov 2017 @CIA

    "Speak Korean? US citizen w a college degree? Interest in national security? Your skills are needed here. "

  6. The media and Trumpkin hysteria every time his Porcine Majesty shoots off one of these missiles or tests one of his nukes is really frustrating to me.

    The strategic situation hasn't and doesn't change; there's no good military solution to the DPRK "problem" outside the same calculus the Great Powers played during the Cold War. The first minor nuclear power that throws a nuke gets glassed, and since Kim isn't suicidal or insane, and knows that his survival depends on the fear the he WILL throw a nuke or some bugs or gas if someone cocks a snook at him, he's going to do what Saddam and Gaddafi didn't and sit on his nukes.

    There's nothing we can do about the Tangerine Toddler. But at the very least the news media could start reporting this for what it is; just another meaningless round of simian chest-beating and branch-throwing. "Today Trump said some dumb shit about the pointless missile launch by North Korea yesterday. We'd show you some film, but, really, who cares? It's all just posturing, anyway, and nothing has changed. So, what's our weather today, Sally?"

  7. Sven -

    Still in NATO or not, I am of the opinion that the Turkish Air Force have already given Russian engineers carte blanche to reverse engineer their F16 and AEW&C aircraft. That was probably part of the penance they had to pay for the murder of the Ambassador Karlov and the shootdown of the SU-24.

    And perhaps that is why Trump made the comment?

    1. Trump seems to think that Erdogan is his BFF; they're both all in on personal power and persecution complexes. And for Littlefingers it's all about disrespect and how he sees other people not giving him the love and deference he deserves. So IF he's hearing now that Erdogan is snuggling with the Russians and giving Trump the finger I can see how he'd take that as "our ally turning on us (ME!!!)".

      That doesn't make it any more sane, mind you...

    2. The F-16 tech is ancient. The Russians no doubt have had F-16s since the 80's.
      They may even have gotten Block 60 F-16s from the UAE.

      The Turks have only four Boeing AEW aircraft. It would be most conspicuous if one of their radars was taken off for reengineering. I doubt this would have eluded Western intelligence, and I don't think the Turks would have done it knowing that they couldn't keep it secret.
      They may have handed over the specs and software as well as a couple pieces (emitter/receiver modules), but not the whole radar.

      And taking into account that turkey is in the best possible position to fuck up Russian plans in Syria I do think that the Russians may rather have given something to the Turks than the other way around.

    3. Some more about the F-16 and Russia: Venezuela has F-16s and purchased Su-30s.
      Now given teh relationship between Venezuela and the USA at the time and the apparent presence of all Venezuelan F-16As in Venezuela I consider this a hint that the Russians were disinterested in the Venezuelan F-16s at that time because they likely had some already. It's super-unlikely that the Venezuelans/Chavez would not have given away a single F-16 for that Su-30 deal.

  8. Sven -

    From the UAE? I did not realize Abu Dhabi was so close to Moscow. When did that deal go down? Or was it an undercover op?

    1. I wrote about a possibility. Keep in mind the UAE operates Russian (BMP-3 IFVs), French (Leclerq tanks) and American (F-16E/F) military equipment. Their relations with Russia are fine.

  9. Apparently His Fraudulency has decided that Fuhrerprinzip is the model he wants to use for his administration.

    I don't have anything but the lowest of expectations of this crew, but this is a truly bad thing. Trump is an idiot, and without someone smarter than he, wait, that's nearly anyone with a hindbrain...without someone smarter than he is and smart and experienced enough to understand diplomatic and intelligence complexities he's gonna be worse than he is already, hard as that is to believe.

    Every time I think "Wow. This is really bed. This has got to be rock-bottom." this crew manages to dig the hole a little deeper.