'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


If you are a student of history and human nature, you understand that man hasn't really changed that much in 4,000 years since my man Thucydides postulated that all human interaction was driven by fear, honor, and interest.
"It was in keeping with the practice of mankind for us to accept an empire that was offered to us, and if we refused to give it up under the pressure of three of the strongest motives, fear, honor, and self-interest."
This has been a particularly harsh time for the ol' Grouchy Historian, as this weekend I saw what is without a doubt the single most asinine example of American foreign policy EVER.

Well, like most of America, I was shocked, SHOCKED, that the Islamic Jihadi Thugs didn't immediately bow to the inevitable Twitter cavalcade of vapid celebrities posing for selfies with that sign and release those girls with a heartfelt apology.

I mean seriously, can you imagine Eleanor Roosevelt posing with that sign after the fall of Bataan saying #Returnourboys?  Or even Laura Bush posing on September 12 with a sign that said #bringbackourtowers?

HOW absurd has this administration come?  How low can they go in trashing America's image and standing in the world?

In case anyone in the White House or State Department wasn't paying attention...and apparently they haven't been....Boko Haram is an ISLAMIC JIHADI organization...let me repeat that so I am good and politically correct ISLAMIC JIHADI terrorist organization that is not a bunch of poor, misunderstood boyz n the hood that are being oppressed by the Koch Brothers.  They are a bunch of neanderthals from the 7th century that hate CHRISTIANS, the WEST, STARBUCKS, WHOLE FOODS, and everything except their own interpretation of Islam.  And holding up stupid signs for First Lady Selfies isn't going to change that.

Of course, anyone who has studied history knows that Islamic Jihadis can't be reasoned with...you won't be sitting down to a latte with them to understand why they hate us...is it our weird Christian beliefs (don't worry liberals hate those too!)...is it our rock and roll and iPods?  Is it because they haven't had the chance to sign up for Obamacare?  

NO, they hate use because we are not Muslims...period.

You can no more reason with them than you can with a rabid dog.  I mean seriously..how do you reason with people willing to DIE TO KILL YOU.  You don't...you just use the joy of superior firepower to exterminate them...like the vermin they are. 

This is kinda mysterious to me....President Selfie loves his drones....loves killing Al Qaeda with drones...shoot he would probably use a drone strike on ol' Donald Sterling if he thought he could justify it....why don't we have about 4 or 5 drones and Seal Team Six looking for these kidnapped CHRISTIAN schoolgirls?  After all, now Obama's celebrity buds think this is important....today...in the polls....and since Boko Haram is not going away, and is, like most of the ISLAMIC terrorist groups reconstituting and getting stronger...why not blow them to hell while world opinion is on our side?

Certainly the Nigerians aren't up to the task...and probably don't care anyway.  At least not until Boko Haram starts to seriously disrupt Nigeria's oil business, graft, and corruption.

But don't take my word for it...as always, there are seasoned foreign policy gurus and ACTUAL historians to wreak havoc on the ludicrous status of American diplomacy.

A Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration

Eliot Cohen is a master historian who has written one of the seminal books on political and military leadership in time of war, so he is very qualified to deliver this scathing critique of the poltroons currently driving America's world leadership and standing into the dirt.
Often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers. When officials roll their eyes at Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea with the line that this is "19th-century behavior," the tone is not that different from a disdainful remark about a hairstyle being "so 1980s." When administration members find themselves judged not on utopian aspirations or the purity of their motives—from offering "hope and change" to stopping global warming—but on their actual accomplishments, they turn sulky. As teenagers will, they throw a few taunts (the president last month said the GOP was offering economic policies that amount to a "stinkburger" or a "meanwich") and stomp off, refusing to exchange a civil word with those of opposing views....If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults. They may be charming, bright and attractive; they may have the best of intentions; but they do not look serious. They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is "unacceptable" or that a dictator "must go," that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met.
Yup, couldn't have said it better myself...the narcissists are in charge and how dare you racist, bigoted rubes disagree with their utopian "Hope and Change" nonsense.

Meanwhile Putin is laughing all the way to the streets of Kharkiv.... 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Booo Frickin' Hooo---even Obama can't escape history

So as we continue to watch the train wreck that is the second term of the Obama Presidency (peace be unto him, our great progressive Messiah), even some members of the "main" stream sycophant media are beginning to wonder "Woah, he's gonna be in charge another three years?  DUDE!!

And, of course, there is, as always, that pesky history thing, that even the Obamasssiah in his awesome coolness can't escape.  This is a fascinating article I read in the New Republic, of all places....I mean, who knew?

The Inconvenience of History Obama abandons another country to its fate 

I mean this is a pretty steady liberal rag supporting progressive Democrats...ooops, I repeat myself, but somehow this incisive little article slipped through:

The tiresome futurism of Obama, his dogmatic views about what this ritualistically ballyhooed century will be like and what it will not be like, are only a part of what lowers his vision. The bigger problem is that the president feels inconvenienced by history. It refuses to follow his program for it. It regularly exasperates him and regularly disappoints him. It flows when he wants it to ebb and it ebbs when he wants it flow. Like Mr. Incredible, the president is flummoxed that the world won’t stay saved, or agree to be saved at all. After all, he came to save it. And so the world has only itself to blame if Obama is sick of it and going home. 

WOW, them's practically fighten' words from a lefty journal...maybe all of a sudden they've become racist, homophobic, xenophobic misogynist Fox News watchers? OR, maybe they've figured out that the narcissistic empty suit is in the Oval Office is making such a hash of everything that it can't be ignored any more...even our so-called European allies are wondering why Mr. Cool isn't smiting Putin so they can begin their six weeks of summer vacation.

Oh, but there's more...so much more:
Obama’s surprisability about history, which is why he is always (as almost everyone now recognizes) “playing catch-up,” is owed to certain sanguine and unknowledgeable expectations that he brought with him to the presidency.  But the richest of the ironies about Obama’s foreign policy is this: the world that in his view wanted to be rid of American salience now longs for it. It turns out that Obama’s Iraq-based view of America’s role in the world, according to which American preeminence is bad for the world and bad for America, is not shared by societies and movements in many regions. They need, and deserve, support in their struggles....There are many places in the world where we are despised not for taking action but for not taking action. Our allies do not trust us. Our enemies do not fear us. What if American preeminence is good for the world and good for America? Let’s talk about that.  
 WOW, looks like this guy won't be going to any Upper East Side cocktail parties anytime soon...I mean he really nails it...American weakness is simply that...weakness, not a diplomatic strategy.  ANY DECENT student of history knows that to be able to influence foreign affairs, you need to be able to not only persuade, cajole, and sometimes buy, but also bomb the crap out of countries.  It ain't pretty but it's the truth and REAL statesman and leaders from Thucydides to Machiavelli, Metternich to Bismarck, Caesar to Ronald Reagan...knew that.  But apparently our community organizer-in-chief figured that "cool" and being the "anti-George W. Bush" was enough of a foreign policy to get his way.

Sadly, I don't think Putin, Asad, or the Iranian Supreme leader really care if MSNBCBSABCNBC would consider them racist because they mock and disrespect our country and our cool President....they just understand that tanks, planes, and missiles trump a teleprompter.

AND, if this wasn't bad enough, expect our Dear Leader to retreat into even more platitudes of "living wage", "war on women", "the sky is falling and weather changing" as foreign policy continues to flummox him for the next three years:

Obama Biographer: 'The World Seems to Disappoint Him'

This buffoon from the New Yorker (enough said) had this to say:

"And that's what's frustrating to me sometimes about Obama is that the world seems to disappoint him," he continued to laughter from others on the TV set. "Republicans disappoint him, Bashar al-Assad disappoints him, Putin as well. And the fighting spirit sometimes is lacking in the performative aspects of the presidency."
 Oh, yea.  It's a laugh a minute there chuckles....the world burns cuz Obama is disappointed that he can't just rule the world like some Chicago mob boss....ooops, that was probably too close to home...yea, being President is hard cupcake, deal with it...that's why all those poltroons voted for you twice...HOPE AND CHANGE baby, HOPE AND CHANGE...how's that working out for all you Ukrainians, Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis....

Thursday, May 1, 2014

East Asia---revisited.

History is a funny, funny thing....as I have written before, the ongoing debate about the "Pacific rebalance" and the new, improved Air-Sea Battle concept (not really new, we'll see about improved) has prompted me to look at what has been done before to see if there are any lessons to be learned.

And, lo and behold, here is an excellent, if somewhat detailed book describing the LAST time the U.S. Navy faced a rising adversary in East Asia.

Mr. Miller has written a deeply researched  look at how the US Navy spent 50 years planning to go to war with Japan.  He provides almost a blow-by-blow account (sometimes a bit overdone in the details) of the debates that occurred within the Navy on how to defeat the Empire of Japan, expected to be America's main adversary in the Pacific after the Spanish-American War of 1898.

So, here's the key takeaways I gleaned from this book.

  • Just like today, the Navy was faced with the prospect of trying to defend an essentially indefensible ally--the Philippines before World War II and Taiwan today.   Both of these countries are geographically isolated from the US, and near enough to their mortal enemy (Japan and China) to make it nearly impossible for the US to defend.  Cynically enough, the US high command pretty much wrote off the US military in the Philippines after December 7, expecting them to be a sponge and soak up the Japanese attention while the US struggled to rebuild.
  • The Navy faced the daunting challenge of how to fight a two front war.  After the beginning of World War II, the Navy faced the challenge of how to fight the German U-boat threat to keep Britain in the war while facing their primary naval challenge from Japan.  FDR and Churchill correctly decided to defeat Germany first, a decision that was not popular within all circles of the Navy, leading to some testy strategic planning sessions in late 1941 and early 1942.  This will not be any different today, as the US is faced with multiple strategic challenges and a rapidly shrinking fleet.
  • The US will have to fight alone.  Although the British had substantial interests in the Far East, their primary focus would always be Europe, as would the US Army, so the Navy was essentially left to fight the Japanese on their own, that whole pesky MacArthur thing notwithstanding.  It is very likely the US will have many fair weather allies in a future conflict with China, but it would be hazardous to count on any country beyond Japan and Australia to really stand by the US.
  • On the whole, the Navy pretty much followed the pre-war plan.  This was the most interesting part of Miller's thesis.  Although major adjustments were made because of the needs for a "Two-Ocean Navy", for the most part, the Navy and its Marine component fought their way across the central Pacific to Okinawa (interestingly mentioned in pre-war planning) to undertake the final blockade and defeat of Japan.  Certainly the Navy did not plan for the year-long struggle up the Solomon Islands from August 1942 to about August 1943, but then again the awesome power of American industrial capacity (completely gone today, sadly) allowed the military to undertake simultaneous campaigns that the 1930's planners never dreamed.
I thought this book was very well written, but certainly not for the casual reader.  HOWEVER, for the naval strategist, strategic thinker, or serious student of naval history, it does provide wonderful insights into the thinking of the US Navy prior to World War II and how a small group of determined and dedicated officers can lay the ground work for their nation's victory in war.