What Kind Of People Are We Dealing With?

Reuters is now claiming that the story below is not true. It may or may not be, but it is worrisome that the world community’s opinion of Kim Jong Un is such that the story was believed.

Last week a Singapore Newspaper reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek, the No. 2 man in North Korea, by throwing him and his five top aides into a cage with 120 starving dogs. That is barbaric.

Aside from that, the execution is a problem for relations between North Korea and China.

The article reports:

First, China’s own security is at risk. The erratic and ruthless behaviour of Mr Kim Jong Un suggests that China should not underrate the likelihood of a nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

The Internet version of the Global Times carried an article last Monday by Lieutenant-General Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of Nanjing Greater Military Region, saying that the recent incident showed North Korea had become increasingly provocative and was getting out of (Chinese) control. He urged a complete reassessment of security threats originating from that direction.

Second, China’s political and strategic influence on the Korean peninsula has been drastically reduced. China was widely considered to be able to rein in the unruly Kim regime, thus acting as a force for peace in the region. But it now appears China’s influence over its neighbour is close to zero.

China needs to learn an important lesson from this–when you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas!

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The Consequences Of An America That Does Not Project Strength

At some point we all have to grow up enough to realize that everyone in the world does not love us or wish us well. Some of this ill will is related to things we have done, but some of it is related to who we are–we are a free country whose citizens enjoy rights envied by much of the world. The people who are less free want to be us, and the leaders who are responsible for keeping their citizens less free would like us to go away. We are as hated for who we are as much as for what we do. It is possible to make amends for what you do; it is nearly impossible to make peace with someone who hates you for what you are. That has been the challenge to America since World War II.

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that a Russian bomber recently made a practice run simulating cruise missile attacks on U. S. missile defenses in Asia.

The article reports:

According to U.S. officials, a Russian Tu-22M Backfire bomber on Feb. 26 simulated firing air-launched cruise missiles at an Aegis ship deployed near Japan as part of U.S. missile defenses.

A second mock attack was conducted Feb. 27 against a ground-based missile defense site in Japan that officials did not identify further.

The Pentagon operates an X-band missile defense radar on the northern tip of Japan that is designed to monitor North Korean missile launches and transmit the data to missile-firing ships.

The bomber targeting comes as Russia is building up forces in the Pacific by modernizing submarines and building a spy ship specifically for intelligence-gathering against U.S. missile defenses.

We all remember this supposedly off-the-record conversation:

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I understand you. I transmit this information to Vladimir —

President Obama has essentially taken down our missile defense systems in Europe (in accordance with Russian wishes), and now the Russians are making practice runs on our missile defenses in Asia. I really don’t think the Russians want peace, and I really don’t think they are worried about offending us right now. That is unfortunate. I liked it better when we had someone in the White House that the world thought was dangerous and unpredictable–America and the world were safer then.

The article at the Washington Free Beacon points out an obvious contrast in the direction Russia is traveling and the direction America is traveling:

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney said the Backfire targeting is troubling.

“Russia continues to conduct aggressive offensive missile training in the Pacific against U.S. and Allied Forces,” McInerney said.

“We should understand that they look at ‘reset’ differently than we do,” said the retired three-star general, who once commanded forces in Alaska. “They look at it as regaining their previous USSR position as a superpower while this administration is moving towards unilateral disarmament.”

When counties that stand for freedom put down their arms, countries that are not free take up arms. That is not a situation that should be encouraged.

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Interesting Insight From Thomas Sowell

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article by Thomas Sowell with an interesting perspective on the Obama Administration.

The article opens with the following paragraph:

After reading Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father,” it became painfully clear that he has not been searching for the truth, because he assumed from an early age that he had already found the truth — and now it was just a question of filling in the details and deciding how to change things.

Combined with the few bits of personal history of President Obama told by colleagues along the way, this makes perfect sense. The article points out that President Obama, when a professor at the University of Chicago chose not to mingle with the other professors. He wasn’t open to participating in the marketplace of ideas. He still isn’t. When presented with the conclusions of the Bowles-Simpson report, he not only ignored them, he didn’t even enter into negotiations to pass something that would begin to bring the federal government’s spending and deficits under control.

Mr. Sowell points out:

When Obama wrote that many people “had been enslaved only because of the color of their skin,” he was repeating a common piece of gross misinformation. For thousands of years, people enslaved other people of the same race as themselves, whether in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Western Hemisphere.

Europeans enslaved other Europeans for centuries before the first African was brought in bondage to the Western Hemisphere.

The very word “slave” is derived from the name of a European people once widely held in bondage, the Slavs.

Facts can be very inconvenient things.

The article concludes:

Barack Obama is one of those people who is often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.

But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation.

If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster.

We have lived that disaster for the past four years.

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The North Korean Missile Test Was Unsuccessful

Hot Air posted an article tonight about the North Koreans’ unsuccessful missile test. The article reported the basic facts, but had some interesting theories about why the test took place and an interesting idea as to how it was reported.

One source cited in the article wondered if the test after the agreement signed on February 29 was an indication of miscommunication between the political and military branches of the government.

I think the conclusion of the article is very interesting:

Update: Let’s say the NorKs had managed to launch this thing without a hitch and that it completed its 10-minute flight path before landing in the ocean. What incentive would leaders in the west (or the east, for that matter) have to report a successful long-range missile test by NK? All it would do is heighten panic over North Korea’s intentions, and the greater the panic, the greater the risk that South Korean or Japanese leaders would be forced into some sort of brinksmanship with Pyongyang that would end in a catastrophic war. The international consensus on NK has typically been to avoid poking the hornet’s nest for fear of what might fly out if you do. Confirming a successful test would, almost necessarily, require subsequent poking. That’s not to say western officials or anyone else are lying about tonight’s launch having gone bust, but I am curious as to why they’d report it accurately if they could keep it quiet and in so doing keep the public off their back while they plot a strategic response. In the interest of avoiding greater bloodshed, the world already looks the other way at the concentration camps run by the Kim family. If they’re willing to grudgingly tolerate something as filthy as that in the name of “peace,” why wouldn’t they fib about a missile test?

Is it time for a new conspiracy theory?

 

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Some Comments From Someone Who Is There

This entry was posted on Power Line on November 9. I delayed in posting it because I was waiting for permission from the writer. I am posting a small amount of what he said, please follow the above link to read the rest.

Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets For Freedom, is now posted to Afghanistan, where he is training Afghans as well as American and coalition troops. His reports on the situation there are as knowledgeable as any you can find. Here is his latest dispatch, hot off the press:

Pakistan. With haven across the border, the insurgency is literally able to regenerate itself faster than we can degrade it. Likewise, conditions have not yet been made inhospitable for insurgents in either Afghanistan or Pakistan, so insurgents flow back and forth. Insurgent leadership operates openly in many parts of Pakistan, training, equipping, and indoctrinating young fighters to join the so-called “jihad.” Insurgent safe haven in, and support from, Pakistan is the single largest inhibitor to success and stability in Afghanistan.

Afghan Government. As I noted in previous emails, few Afghans view the administration of President Karzai favorably—undermining the national government’s ability to be seen as legitimate. More damningly, the government’s ability to project positive influence to the local level remains minimal. Basic local governmental functions—such as dispute resolution, swift justice, good education, and land management—are going unmet, providing a tailor-made opportunity for the Taliban to fill the void.

Taliban. Speaking of the Taliban, they have proven to be a very resilient, adaptive, and ideologically dedicated bunch. They’re not giants, and not liked by most Afghans. But their militants—along with regional shadow governments—remain potent and influential. The way I see it, the Taliban wouldn’t kill the head of the “High Peace Council” unless they felt fairly confident they don’t need to negotiate with the Coalition or Afghan government. We’re killing lots of them, but they still believe time, history, and God is on their side.

Timeline. The perception of our pending exit looms ever larger, marginalizing our influence by the day. Afghans are already starting to look through, and past, the Coalition (e.g. Karzai saying he’d side with Pakistan if they went to war with us) and hoarding supplies, weapons, and equipment for whatever is coming next (i.e. “gettin’ while the gettin’s good).

Population Response. The people (especially non-Pashtuns) don’t like the Taliban and don’t want them to come back. But, at the same time, they’re quietly terrified that the Taliban’s return is inevitable (and arming themselves accordingly). I’ve yet to meet a single Afghan who believes the situation here will improve once we leave. My orbit is admittedly limited, but I regularly speak with Coalition and Afghan elements from across the country—mostly mid-to-low-level folks—and the answer is universally the same. Similarly, while impressive tactical gains have been made throughout the South, there is limited evidence that the population in those areas have truly shifted their longer-term allegiance to the Afghan government or security forces.

Coalition Warfare. 49 nations are involved in the Coalition—but only a handful contributes on a meaningful scale. This is not to indict the soldiers from the other 40+ countries—most would love to contribute more. Yet, national (political) caveats limit their locations, missions, and activities. These nations therefore become more of a hindrance than an asset; consuming time, energy, and resources that could be spent more effectively. This fact is the worst kept secret in Kabul.

Afghan Capabilities. The lack of education and level of ignorance in Afghanistan is staggering. Literally, only 1 in 10 men who join the Afghan National Army can write his own name, and only slightly more can count. Similarly, the origins of our effort here is an enigma to many Afghans. September 11th is burned in our brains, but is largely unknown to Afghans outside of large cities. That said, Afghans are not dumb—they are savvy, resourceful, and generous people. But they are also prone to conspiracy theories, propaganda, and rumors. It’s no wonder the Taliban are so effective in using local communications mechanisms to shape the narrative—portraying the war as imperial aggression rather than self-defense and support for democratic governance.

Afghan Security Force Viability. In previous emails I’ve discussed this topic in the context of funding and force size. Those critiques remain. However, time has increased my concern about the long-term viability of the force. At a recent press conference, Afghan security forces acknowledged that “their goal is to no longer defeat the insurgency, but to create capable security forces.” Similarly, there is a great deal of doubt—especially at the soldier level where new Afghan combat outposts are being established—whether Afghans will maintain the initiative or just abandon contentious postings when we leave.

Similarly, the lack of Afghan urgency is readily on display at our center. At the end of a recent partnered class (meaning both Coalition and Afghan), and following a robust and engaging discussion on insurgent groups, the hand of an Afghan student shot up. I called on him. He spoke and the interpreter translated—looking very embarrassed. Sheepishly the interpreter said, “he [the Afghan soldier] wants to know when he can go home [for the day].” It was 2:00pm.

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This Happened Because President Obama Voted “Present” On The Keystone Pipe Line

Reuters reported yesterday that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stated that Canada will move to sell its energy products to Asia after President Obama delayed the Keystone Pipe Line that would bring Canadian oil to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

The article states:

Harper reiterated the Canadian government’s disappointment and said he remained optimistic the United States would eventually give it the green light.

“It’s important to note there has been extremely negative reaction to this decision in the United States,” Harper said ahead of a one-on-one meeting with President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, America continues to depend on people halfway across the world who hate us to meet our energy needs.

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