Sunday, September 30, 2018

Trump's Guarantee

Trump gives Netanyahu guarantees on the freedom of Israeli operations in Syria.  This comes after Russia starts shipping S300 systems to Syria because of the IL-20M shootdown.   What was specifically guaranteed?  It was not said. 

I am assuming that the Trump did NOT pledge direct American support to future IAF airstrikes against the Hez and/or Iranian weapon shipments to the Hez.  But <i>'assuming'</i> is well known to make asses out of many in the past, myself included.   And the <i>'butthead-in-chief'</i> has been known to make do moronic stuff.   So I for one am hoping that his guarantees to Netanyahu are as meaningless as were his many past promises to  voters, veterans, business partners, subcontractors, etc, etc ad infinitum.


  1. Pretty vague.

    I struggle to see what material support the US could give from a practical standpoint and there are only a couple of things I can come up with:
    - selling/giving them weapons. Not sure if there's something we have that they don't already have that they want.
    - Specific intelligence and TTP's for dealing with the S300.
    - Probably political cover as well - guarantees that Trump is more Israel's man than Putin's - but that's just a guess.

  2. Who cares? He's lying all the time.

  3. comment updated.

    Andy - I suspect you are on track:

    - Weapons? I agree that they may not want much of our stuff? There are some possibilities though. Maybe releasing some black program stuff like the future versions (or replacements) of MALD decoys? Or DARPA drone swarm technology? F-22? More F-16s or maybe a few of the unmanned QF-16s?

    - Intel for sure. Although they have probably better data than us on the S300VM in Egypt and older systems in Greece and India. But they would want to know what we have also, especially on the PMU2, V4 and VMD versions. They would also want anything we could give them from space. Tactics & techniques possibly, but they are on the forefront of developing new SEAD TTP themselves and may be way ahead of us. Don't they still attend Red Flag?

    - Political cover they have had for a long time. From Trump and Congress. One thing Trump could do for him is to keep maintaining the Coalition Base and proxies at al-Tanf, continuing the blocking of the Baghdad-Damascus highway to Iranian traffic. Same at al-Qaim?

  4. My two cents based on past Israeli attemps at snagging US information has always been the "whosw doing what to whom."

    One of America's strong suits is our tech, and eavesdropping is one of our strongest hands...and Israel knows this. bet is information Intel.


  5. I think the Israeli's wanted to get a promise that, in case one of their aircraft gets shot down by a Syrian S300, that the USAF would swoop in and take Assad's toys away from him.

  6. After thinking about it some more, I'm betting it is probably primarily intel-related. Can't really go into it further for obvious reasons.

  7. It may also be just a promise of political support, tho what that provides Likud, that already has no fucks left to give for the UN or any other third parties, I can't imagine.

    The only thing about this that strikes me is the pointless antagonism of it. The US has Likud's back whatever? No, duh, seriously? That needs to be said? It's like these dopes look for ways to piss off the outfits they see as enemies, meaning everyone but wealthy Caucasians and Kim Jong Un.


  8. Speaking of which, now that it's officially "love", I'm impatiently waiting for the Trump-Kim romcom - "Must Love Nukes" - complete with adorable montage where Donnie and his Little Rocket Man frolic in the surf, shop for tchotchkes in the Pyongyang mercado, make each other coffee in their morning kitchen, and cuddle on the couch watching films of nuclear tests...

    1. I cracked up at NK's response to Trump's romantic overture..

      "Let's just be friends."

      You know it's bad for Donny when he gets Friend-Zoned by a fellow dictator.


  9. Andy -

    There was an RC-135V off the Syrian coast a few hours ago. As reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

    Unclear to me whether this is new or has been going on since before the Trump-Netanyahu meeting last week? Or even whether it is BS?

    1. Probably routine. East med ISR flights have been going on for decades.

      The Livemap picture doesn't have a date on it, but here is a report on increased activity to monitor a Russian exercise:

      So maybe that particular flight was for that. Or maybe not. Given all the Russian presence in Syria as well as the civil war itself and Israeli activity, I would be surprised if RC-135 flights were not common in that area generally.

  10. You guys almost certainly thought more about this than the entire White House did.
    Bolton is an idiot, Trump is a moron, Kelly is busy.

    Why do you guys pretend that such things are thought out properly, that there's substance? Don't you learn?

    1. Sven -

      I do NOT believe it was thought out at all. There was definitely no contemplation or understanding of the potential unintended consequences in whatever they promised at the spur of the moment. The only thinking going on with Trump was whatever Netanyahu implanted there.

      What I want to know is simple: what did the moron in the White House commit us to; and how much blood and sweat is it going to cost us?

    2. Trump doesn't commit to anything because he's always talking in bad faith in regard to obligations.

    3. Sven -

      You think he will doublecross his best buddy Bibi? That would be a good thing AFAIAC. But unfortunately he will probably follow through with that and save his bad faith for the rest of us.

    4. Trump has no best buddies. He only has people that keep pleasing him.

      Netanjahu may please him in a year, and Trump may give something to Netanjahu in a year. That's utterly disconnected to whether something was promised now, as it would happen regardless.

      BTW, you guys think too militarily. The U.S. can "allow" Israel to bomb some other country with impunity only in one way; maintain the protection in the UNSC.
      I recently saw an article summarising that Netanjahu accused Iran of something nuke-related at the UN meeting.
      Are u guys aware what a crazy narrative such an article represents?
      Iran is NNPT member, getting inspected by the IAEA, not once found in violation of the NNPT (unlike the U.S.) and it hasn't attacked another coutnry in almost 200 years.
      Israel isn't even NNPT member, doesn't allow IAEA in, is an unofficial nuclear power that threatens the world with nuclear-tipped ICBMs (Jericho 3), casually bombs other countries, casually murders people abroad, casually occupies area against decades-old UN resolutions (essentially the same as Iraq did in 1990/91), is approaching apartheid domestically, is the most militarised society in the world (despite Arab Muslim and Orthodox Jewish minorities).
      Yet a reporter thinks it's worthwhile to repeat THEIR unsupported and irrelevant accusations.

      I suppose we all know that all of this is possible only because the U.S. has covered Israel in the UNSC since around 1970. They'd have been embargoed into submission otherwise.

      Icing on the cake: All U.S. military aid to Israel is illegal. There's a law that outlaws military aid to nuclear powers. This law is the reason why the U.S. government doesn't recognise Israel as a nuclear power. Every single administration-including Obama's- effectively lied about it.
      The Republicans claim to hate foreign aid, don't they? Well, why don't they save billions of foreign aid per years? It's easy. Trump only has to say four words: "Israel is a nuclear power." Bam! USD 38 bn expenditures over 10 yrs saved for the public.

      For once, he wouldn't lie.

    5. Sven -

      I have no argument with what you say. Go push that comment on SST. They may be open to it now with all the grief they have against Israel. Or on some other Trumpista site.

    6. Sven -

      Regarding the article you mentioned where Netanjahu accused Iran of something nuke-related at the UN meeting. The IAEA Director General had a response for Bibi. He says his agency does not take intelligence presented to it at face value. This was his first statement after Bibi had urged the agency to visit a specific site in Iran.

      Good for him I say.

    7. Frankly, the ridiculous man-crush the US government has always had on Israel is the worst self-inflicted wound this country had dealt itself since the Chiang Kai-Shek era. As an "ally" they're useless, as a source of trouble in the Levant, endless. Now they the Israeli public has declared they're an apartheid state I'd say that it's past time for the US to wish them well and treat them like any other problematic foreign nation; deal with them cautiously and treat them as what they are; a potentially explosive problem and source of international troublemaking, no different from Egypt or Saudi or any of the surrounding Arab states.

      Will the US do that? No. As Sven points out - that's not a Trump thing - he just does it worse than the usual US POTUS because (for a guy who lies like a rug) he's SUCH a bad liar.

      Nope. As far as Israel and the ME in general, WAJSF.

  11. In re: the whole "Do the Trumpkins actually think?" question, I think I need to post something about the climate change footnote in the recent DOT memo about justifying not raising the CAFE standards that says, in effect, "the world's gonna burn, so let's make money now."

    The politico-military implications of four degrees C increase in global heat balance are huge. So either the DOT memo is pure Trumpian bullshit, or the current administration casually accepts a potentially catastrophic geopolitical future without so much as a thought other than "let's make lots of money". Neither is a comforting thought.

    1. There are two kinds of governments that one should not expect to solve any problems:
      (1) Real conservatives
      (2) People who came to power with politics of aversion

      The U.S. is not the only country that's wasting years. Germany has real conservatives in power - with short interruptions since the early 80's.

    2. What frustrates me is that I get that there always will be "conservative" people; traditional, resistant to change, hesitant and even fearful of "difference". And that those people are going to express those positions politically.

      But ISTM that those people don't HAVE to be wilfully ignorant, rapacious, violently thuggish stooges for plutocracy whose ethic is "if I can't have exactly what I want I'm fine with burning it down". The US GOP has built this subsentient base moron by moron...and now they're captive of their own idiocracy.

      It's like being ruled by pack of wild monkeys with access to high explosives. You KNOW it won't end well.

    3. FD - You should put together a post about current academic reasoning on those politico-military implications of the four degrees increase. My speculations have never been good. But I suppose there are some precedents, even if minor, in history.

    4. Sven -

      Unfortunately for the USA, our current government incorporates both your (1) and (2) types. A double whammy on the American public.

    5. I'd have to check, mike, but off the top of my head 4 degrees C is something on the order of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The effect of that was, literally, world-changing; the rise of extensive semi-arid grasslands that, among other things, helped the evolution of the horse from a little forest critter the size of a Labrador retriever into Mr. Ed. It would make the tropics damn near uninhabitable, I think.

      I'll have to take a look.

    6. @mike:

      The Roman empire was hit repeatedly with climate change (cooling). The climate change was credited with weakening it and leading to its collapse. Climate change may also have been the reason why the Huns were such a power even though Scythian (steppe nomads) people like the Huns had been known since before Alexander the Great, never becoming that much a threat to farming-based societies.
      Other climate changes led to Eastern Roman Empire's near-collapse (6th and 7th century) and its much later revival in the 10th century (which was aided by a series of impressive generals; men like Basil II should really be known much better!).

      China has a history of ups and downs, aligned with agricultural productivity.

      also @mike;

      So past climate changes stories are dominantly about agricultural productivity and about how much high productivity gave an advantage to highly developed ('civilised') societies over barbarians, even nomads. Cooler weather = barbarians or even nomads on the rise.

      This time we expect rather land loss, extreme weather, disaster mitigation costs, ecological disruption, another wave of settlement/exploitation of Siberia, desertification and so on. The classic climate change story so far only plays out in the Sahel zone, where for example in Mali the (Muslim) Northerners who live as nomads or semi-nomads lost grazing grounds productivity and turned (violently) on the central government (dominated by the black, Christian, urban/farming majority of the country).
      As far as I can tell the news media in America painted this as a simple 'evil Muslims attack government' story.

      I think Europe can cope with extreme climate change as long as the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic drift don't collapse - a new real ice age would be a 100% motivation to move to some other continent, I suppose.

      I guess I won't live to see another 2K temperature rise, and I', just barely in 3rd quarter of life (I hope).

    7. So the PETM is thought to have beenore like +5-8 C, so this would be the bottom end of that event.

      But, again...we're talking about something that caused massive, irreversible changes in the global ecosystem. Perhaps the single most significant was the vast diversification of mammals. Before the PETM we were kind of just "what was left after the asteroid strike". Afterwards? We were the new Lords of Creation.

      Needless to say, perhaps the single biggest potential problem will be water. Too much of it, in low-lying coastal regions, where many major cities will drown. Too little, in others, where aridity will force abandonment of traditional croplands and the migration of the inhabitants.

      There's almost no way to envision a 4C global temp rise that doesn't include immense political and related military issues...

    8. BTW, Germany jut had one really dry summer (and almost as hot as 2006 or so).
      The lawns are dead everywhere, I have never seen anything like this. Nor have I ever seen so many agricultural areas that were not harvested, with plants dried out before maturing.
      Summertime in Germany never before looked as yellow-brownish as does summertime in the Mediterranean climate

      The loss in agricultural production on this scale wasn't heard of in Western Germany since WW2. Depending on sources (government or farmers lobby) the losses were around 20% or around 30%. The results varied extremely between different crops. We may have to switch to less thirsty yet also less productive crops, which may make such productivity losses quasi-permanent.

      Upside; Germany is becoming a serious location for wine production again.

  12. Sven & FD -

    Great info, but I'm more interested in the military and geopolitical implications. We think that much of the unrest that started the tragic Syrian civil war came from drought. Probably it may also have been partially responsible for the fighting in the southern Sudan? And maybe the rise of jihadis in the Sahel. I'm sure there are many other examples out there.

    And I believe the Pentagon and others have done some studies on that. Or the many think tanks.

    1. I think the problem is that the variables are both multitudenous and complex other than just "big and difficult". As Sven pointed out, in Eurasian history fairly minor changes in climate affected geopolitical stability. This will not be fairly minor.

      I think the big unknown will be potable water. That's already close to a fighting issue in the Middle East and is already in north-central Africa. The Americas are difficult to guesstimate because of the ocean circulation pattern changes since the PETM. All I think we w can say is that it's very likely that marginally stable areas like Latin America are unlikely to become MORE stable...

    2. A book I read back in the 80's written by a General said that war in the middle East will start, not because of oil, but because of water.

      The problem we're facing, as Chief pointed out is potable water.
      Already the South Florida and the Keys are reporting sea-water infiltration into the ground Wells.

      California is becoming drier, returning to it's orugibor environmentment that it was 500 years ago.
      And with the expected Alantic sea rise of near a foot by 2030...I've been advising people to NOT buy costal property.
      Storm-surges are already pushing deep inland, and even New York City is seeing sea flooding in the lower city.
      Boston is getting sea flooding as well...

      AND THAT is now... imagine what it's going to be like with another foot of Alantic water massing at the shoreline.

      That Greenland Ice sheet is melting far faster than the early models were predicting.

      And it looks lokl at this point none of the models are accurate anymore.

      Shit getting real, but somehow a fuck-ton of electronic wealth is going to stop the water from wiping out property at Martha's Vineyard.