Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Donald trashes NATO

We set up NATO shortly after WWII in order to keep the Soviets from gobbling up western Europe the way they did eastern Europe.  In those years the European countries were still all smashed up from WWII and pretty helpless against the USSR.  The NATO treaty was mostly D'Artangnan's cry from the Three Musketeers, "One for all and all for one".  It told the Soviets that the United States would resist any further takeovers in Europe.
   And it worked.  The Iron Curtain stayed where it was, and didn't move west.
   And in 1989 the Soviets collapsed, ending the threat for many years.  NATO kept going, doing a bit here and a bit there, helping out in Afghanistan.  Until we got Putin in the last few years and all of a sudden, the Russians are looking dangerous again.  Since Georgia and the Ukraine, and Syria, the Europeans can see a need for NATO, especially the eastern Europeans like Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
   I dunno where Trump is coming from when he calls NATO obsolete.  It is an anti Russian alliance, which was needed in the 1950's and look to me like we still need it in the 2010's for the same old reason.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ukrainian Air Disaster

The shoot down of Malaysian Air Flt 17 in the Ukraine is a horrible tragedy with shocking loss of life. My sincerest sympathy to the families of the victims.
The airliner was at normal cruising altitude, 33,000 feet, call it six miles up.  No man pack rocket can reach that high.  By the time you pack that much fuel into a rocket, it is too heavy for a man to carry.  It had to be a bigger missile, probably vehicle mounted.   
   For a regulation SAM, 33,000 feet is easy.  The first Soviet SAM, SA-2 Guideline we called it, knocked down Frances Gary Powers at 70,000 feet over Sverdlovsk in the late 1950's.  We flew against SA-2 in Viet Nam.  The newsies have been calling the missile "sophisticated".  Not really, it's a capability SAM has had for 50 years.  In fact Obama just called them sophisticated on TV.
   The newsies have been speculating that the SAM is so complicated to operate that the Ukrainian "rebels" could not work it.  Not likely.  Plenty of guys were drafted in Russia and Ukraine and got trained on the missile during their hitch in the service.  They ought to be enough veterans with missile training  kicking around the Ukraine to operate a single launcher vehicle. From either side. 
   It could have been an accident.  Figuring out what little dots of light on a radar screen mean can be difficult to get right.  They may well have believed they were launching against a military cargo flight, but zapped the airliner instead.
   I'm dubious about equipping airliners with anti missile defenses.  It would be a windfall for BAE down in Nashua, but I dunno if it would do much good on airliners.  The systems we built in Nashua went on helicopters flying combat in Iraq.  The Common Missile Warning System was four TV cameras looking down and out to see the flash of a missile motor.  When they saw a missile heading for them, the system computer got on the aircraft intercom and cried "Missile! Missile! Missile!".  The pilot then took violent evasive action and launched a bunch of decoy flares.  This worked in helicopters, our shops all featured photographs of big choppers, with the whole crew standing in front of them, and hand written letters to the effect that our missile warning system saved their lives.  No so sure if the violent evasive action works when you are flying a Boeing 777. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What would America fight for?

Cover story from The Economist, a London based weekly news magazine.  Written from the point of view of Europeans, terrified that the Americans will let the Russki's eat them up.  The article reaches no worthwhile conclusions.  They don't know what the Americans might do.  For that matter I don't think we Americans know what we might do. 
   With the exception of the Brits, the rest of Europe has disarmed, and can offer no more effective military resistance to a Russian invasion than the Ukrainians have.  Plus, the Russians can turn off the heat all over Europe if they please, so the Europeans are timid about economic sanctions.  In actual fact the Russians have more sanctions to lay on the Europeans  than the Europeans have to lay on the Russians.
   So far, the Russians are attacking an non NATO member, and are going to some trouble to disguise their land grab as another Anschluss, (the people really want to become part of Russia).  After the Ukraine aggression has cooled off, say in a year or two, the Russians may try the same thing on a NATO member.  Would the US live up to its treaty obligations and defend NATO members?  The Europeans fear that we won't. 
   And if we don't, the Russians will move on Europe, country by country, and in a few years control everything up to the English Channel. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kerry tours the Sunday TV news

I saw Kerry on Meet the Press and later this morning on Face The Nation.  He might have done some other shows too.  The administration is using TV appearances to show concern for the Ukraine situation.  Kerry clearly disapproves of Putin invading Ukraine, but other than outrage, he didn't speak of doing anything about it.  Probably 'cause Obama doesn't want to do anything, and we haven't been able to talk the Europeans into backing up any economic sanctions against the Russians.   The Europeans are afraid to say "boo", lest the Russians turn off their gas and let them all freeze in the dark.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Russians are coming

To Ukraine it looks like.  Ukraine in undergoing a revolution/civil war.  The Russians are mobilizing their army.  They call it "exercises" but it's mobilization, the troops are out in the field moving around, and it only takes a telephone call to send them over the border into Ukraine.  The Russians look upon Ukraine as historically Russian territory.  If it weren't for the strong and lasting reaction to a Ukraine Anschluss in Europe and America, they would have done it by now.  Putin surely thinks Ukraine will fall into his lap, without international repercussions if he just plays a waiting game. So the troops stay in Russia for the time being.  But that could change anytime. The Ukrainians have gotta be really worried, or perhaps scared to death, with the Russian army mobilized on their border. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Can the US keep a secret?

We have insurrections in Ukraine and Venezuela which are on our side.  We ought to be supporting them.  We can furnish money, intelligence, internet access, paperwork (passports and such), favorable publicity, and drone strikes.  And other things.
   Trouble is, support like this has to be kept secret.  Otherwise our supporters get called American stooges and worse.  The insurrections have to be seen as legitimate native uprisings by the opponents, the natives, the EU, and just about everyone in the world, otherwise they loose legitimacy.  Can the US keep support a secret?  Can the US keep anything a secret? We had US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, blow her cover over the phone just a couple of weeks ago.   For that matter will Obama see these insurrections as something he should support?  He was stupid enough to cold shoulder an Iranian insurgency a couple of years ago. 
   For that matter would insurgents dare talk to US agents?  After CIA has leaked all sorts of stuff to the NY Times?  Some years ago we were intercepting Bin Ladin's satellite phone conversations.  CIA leaked that, and Bin Laden scrapped the sat phone and went back to couriers.  Every one remembers that one.