From the BBC:

Britain’s armed forces risk falling behind Russia without more investment, the head of the Army will say.

General Sir Nick Carter will say the British Army’s ability to respond to threats “will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries”.

When I first read this story about an hour ago, they used words to the effect of the British Army not being able to match the Russian Army in battle. Since then the BBC have updated it to the above, perhaps realising they were making stuff up.

But leaving that aside, when have the British armed forces ever been able to match Russia’s? Sure, a platoon from 2 Para or a troop from 42 Cdo would likely make short work of a Russian infantry platoon, but the military as a whole? There may have been a period around 1992 when Russia’s military officers hadn’t seen any pay in over a year leaving half of them flogging weapons out the back of the camp and the rest passed out under a missile silo having drunk a litre of distilled shoe polish, but otherwise the British Army hasn’t been a match for the Russians probably since the Crimean War – and especially not on their turf.

For a start the Russian forces have an overwhelming numerical advantage in terms of men and kit, and even if we allow for the fact that their organisation and logistics is likely shambolic and spectacular SNAFUs will be the norm, they still know how to deploy highly effective artillery and air defence systems when they have to. In addition, even though the average recruit in the Russian Army might be uneducated, undertrained, underfed, and ill-disciplined he will probably have the stomach for a decent fight. By contrast, the British Army is fast turning into a social welfare programme where recruits fret over battlefield prayer facilities and a unit’s success is measured not on how many battles it’s won, but on how much diversity it has in its ranks.

Any role Britain has in opposing Russia will consist in its entirety of supporting the Americans as best they can, assuming our Yank friends are interested in getting involved. Otherwise, if Russia is a genuine threat, we’re probably better off learning a few words of Russian and learning how to drink vodka neat from tumblers than increasing the Army’s budget.


Fighting Men Obsolete

I don’t really have a problem with this:

Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment could merge as part of plans to cut the Armed Forces by more than 14,000
Whitehall sources have dubbed the plan ‘ugly’ as top brass face pressures of plugging a £20bn shortfall in the MoD budget

I mean, on the one hand it’s an absolute travesty: these two units represent the epitome of Britain’s long tradition of being able to field a small but capable body of soldiers. But it’s been quite clear for some time that the purpose of Britain’s armed forces and MoD is not to go around fighting and winning but to provide social welfare to various favoured groups and cushy jobs for the upper-middle classes and establishment types. We therefore don’t need units of tough, aggressive fighting men. Rather than merge the two units, we should get rid of them along with the rest of the MoD. True, it would mean we can’t patrol open sewers in disaster zones or get involved in pointless wars in the Middle East, but I can live with that.


Chelsea Manning and the British Army

I’ve written before about Chelsea Manning, and more recently I wrote about how the US military is now the a vehicle for progressives to enact their deranged fantasies.

Via Twitter I came across this article written by someone who went through basic training with Bradley Manning, as she was then called. It’s worth reading in full, but the following excerpts give a flavour of what sort of character she was:

Every recruit had the same packing list with the same items in that green duffel bag. They all weighed the same amount. Whether you were 6’4” or 5’4”, male or female, all recruits had to carry their own weight. Understand, that no one breezes through this exercise – everybody hurts, everyone drops their bag at least once, and everyone pays the price for it, including myself. During this exercise, Manning’s problem wasn’t that she was too small or not strong enough. The problem was, she quit. As the rest of the platoon faced one way, gritting their teeth and baring it, whispering words of encouragement to each other, she stood at an about-face the opposite direction, and said she simply could not pick up her own bag.

For the trainees of Charlie 82d, the sound of Chelsea Manning’s voice may forever elicit the two words so commonly overheard from her during her six weeks: “I can’t.” In our comparison of memories over the years, fellow recruits in C Co. have confirmed for me: when the going got tough, Chelsea said, “I can’t.”

At the end of the field exercise, that holdover was walking up to groups of us, offering to sell us candy for $20 a package. We all knew to keep our distance from him – he was untrustworthy, he was in trouble, and he was only going to get you in trouble too if you associated with him. And yet, Chelsea Manning bought a package of M&Ms from him for $20. I remember that scene, because Manning was not quiet about it. She was practically bragging out loud that she had contraband candy. At six weeks into basic training, it just wasn’t worth it, and yet that scene has stayed with me all these years, because for Manning, it somehow was worth it. Maybe by then, she thought she had nothing else to lose.

So why wasn’t she weeded out? The article explains:

In 2007, the U.S. Army was habitually failing to meet its monthly recruiting goals; the application standards relaxed and a great cross-section of humanity ended up reporting for duty that warm October at Fort Leonard Wood. In the company, there was a 17-year-old who had enlisted with a waiver, and there was: a 42-year-old mother of three who was terrified of needles; a new grandmother to a brand-new infant granddaughter; and a former coffee distributor in South America in his mid-thirties who everyone still called “Grandpa.” One recruit ironically named “Goesforth” went AWOL within 48 hours of arrival, deserted the military, and was never seen again. One recruit in fourth platoon had been homeless before he joined, and another had blown his entire first university semester’s tuition on OxyContin before he dropped out and enlisted. One recruit was a Mexican citizen who was willing to go to Iraq and fight for the United States in exchange for expedited citizenship. Another was a female with dual German/American citizenship who was so short, the German Army wouldn’t take her, so she joined up with the Americans instead. Charlie 82d had dads in their mid-thirties, and it had dads not yet old enough to buy beer. My platoon had a single mom who had been working as a an exotic dancer before she raised her right hand and took the oath; another had married young, got divorced and wanted to get as far away from her Ex as possible.

Does this sound like an army which intends to win battles any time soon? Alas, it seems we’re no better in the UK:

The Army is launching a £1.6m advertising campaign to demonstrate it can “emotionally and physically” support recruits from all backgrounds.

The radio, TV and online adverts seek to address concerns potential soldiers might have about issues, including religion or sexuality.

They ask: “What if I get emotional?”, “Can I be gay in the Army?” and “Do I have to be a superhero?”

This sounds less like an army than a social welfare programme to accommodate the most fragile of Britain’s population.

In one, a Muslim soldier explains how the army has allowed him to practice his faith.

Was there ever a time when it didn’t?

These are not the kind of recruitment adverts most people would probably expect from the Army.

The emphasis is on the emotional rather than the physical, a sense of excitement, and the usual images of military hardware.

Some will see them as a sign the Army has gone soft by focussing on people’s worries. They will question whether it’s another sign of pandering to political correctness.

Well, yes. They will also, like me, ask how this army intends to fight anyone in future.

But like most large organisations, the Army wants to be seen as modern and a reflection of the society it represents.

What was I saying about the purpose of modern militaries? It’s nice to see my views confirmed by a national broadcaster.

That means an emphasis on being open to all – regardless of gender, race, religion or class.

And ability, I’ll wager.

It fits in with the head of the Army General Sir Nick Carter’s mantra of “maximising people’s talent” regardless of background.

But he also insists that combat ethos and fighting power remain the Army’s priority. These adverts just might not give that impression.

Who to believe, eh? Then there’s this:

Last month, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson blocked an attempt to drop its longstanding “be the best” recruitment logo and its crest logo.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the the Army was considering changing the phrase after criticism it was “dated, elitist and non-inclusive”.

The British military is a bit like the Church of England: in order to arrest collapsing numbers in recruitment and attendance respectively, they have abandoned all pretence to discipline, standards, and seriousness – the very things which attracted people in the first place – in favour of progressive identity politics. It’s good to see the new Defence Secretary, himself a former soldier, is pushing back a little and so are others:

Colonel Richard Kemp – the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who served in the in the Army until 2006 – said while the adverts were aimed at a number of minority groups, they missed out the Army’s core recruitment pool.

“I think what the army needs to do in order to deal with its recruiting problem is not to specifically appeal to minorities – of course, the more people from all parts of society who join the better.

“But it’s even more important than that to fill the army up with people who want to fight and want to be soldiers. And this, I don’t think, will do that.”

Instead, he called for the Army to focus on retention problems and deal with its “impenetrable” application process and the “horrific bureaucracy” surrounding it.

Major General Timothy Cross, who retired in 2007, said the Army was “really struggling” with recruitment and should not be trying to be “jolly nice to people”.

I suspect it’s too late, though. Like every other western institution, the British military has been captured by a cabal of its worst enemies who are well on the way to destroying it from within.

Army research also found its crest – depicting crossed swords, a crown and a lion – to be “non-inclusive” and recommended replacing both with a union jack with the word “army” in bold underneath.

Why people spend time worrying about Vladimir Putin and the Russian army is beyond me. They’ll win without even getting out of bed.


The EU Army

Staying on the theme of a military’s true purpose, the EU is rushing forward with plans to create an army now they’re free of Britain’s long-standing objections:

An EU army moved a major step closer today as 23 member states signed up to an historic pledge to join forces despite warnings it could undermine Nato.

Poland demanded the new organisation not be ‘competitive’ with Nato before signing up to the plan. The agreement is set to be finalised at next month’s meeting of EU leaders.

To be honest, I think there is absolutely no chance any EU army would be competitive with Nato: the latter is basically the term used for an American army fighting off invading Russians (or, more recently, meddling on Russia’s borders) and there is no way in hell any soldier marching under an EU flag is going to fight Russians. They may put on a nice parade as Russia occupies a Baltic State or two in a hastily-agreed ceremony marking “joint sovereignty”, but that’s about it. They pretty much admit as much here:

The EU can also bring its political and financial weight to bear on security challenges, such as the use of development aid in Africa, where Nato has no real foothold.

By which they mean they can document tribal massacres as they occur.

EU officials insist this is not just bureaucratic co-operation, but real investment that will help develop Europe’s defence industry and spur research and development in military capabilities that the bloc needs most.

Under Pesco, EU countries will commit to increase military spending, but not to specifically adhere to Nato’s bottom line of moving towards 2 per cent of gross domestic product for defence budgets by 2020.

Even assuming this money materialises – a big assumption – note what they want to spend it on. Not main battle tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, or heavy-lift aircraft but R&D. I doubt they’ll even manage this: whatever dribble of money actually gets allocated will be swallowed up by sprawling, squabbling bureaucracies with the rest going to French and Belgian defence companies to protect jobs.

To explain this, one needs to understand what this army is really for. The first deployment of an EU army in an action involving a weapon larger than a rifle will be within the EU’s borders and the enemy will be people the EU considers citizens. This is an EU army after all, and its first role is to protect the interests of the EU – and by that I mean the political body that sits in Brussels, rather than citizens of the member states. If they need to go and shoot some uppity civilians to maintain their grip on power that’s what they’ll do, and indeed I suspect that’s what this army is really for.

My only surprise is that Hungary and the Czech Republic signed up to it. You’d have thought they’d see the dangers of this a mile off, but apparently not. Time will tell if they come to regret it.


The Purpose of the US Military

A few stories have caught my attention over the past day or so, all on the subject of the US military. Here’s the first:

Facing low recruitment levels, the U.S. Army quietly lifted its ban on allowing people with a history of mental illness, self-mutilation and drug abuse to serve in the military – despite warnings from the industry about the risks involved.

The new rules green-light recruits who have bipolar disorder, depression and issues with cutting – a process in which a person takes a knife or razor to his or her own skin – along with those who bite, hit or bruise themselves intentionally.

What could possibly go wrong? Then there was this:

An active-duty service member has received gender-reassignment surgery, the Pentagon said Tuesday, amid ongoing debate over whether transgender troops should be allowed to continue to serve in the military.

Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said the surgery was done Tuesday in a private hospital and was paid for by the military’s health coverage because the doctor deemed it was medically necessary.

Thirdly, this:

A leading organization of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to change its motto because, the group’s leaders say, the words first issued by Abraham Lincoln — “To care for himwho shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” — are outdated and, more important, they exclude the many contributions made by military women.

“By excluding women,” Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Executive Director Allison Jaslow wrote in her letter to VA, “it … communicates to women veterans that they are unwelcome outsiders.”

If a woman feels that her service is not valued, her sense of deserving mental health care also will suffer. This is not to say that feeling undervalued necessarily leads to suicidal thoughts, but rather that feeling this way can create barriers to seeking support.

Developing a sense of belonging, through specific outreach from VA and by using more inclusive language in its motto and messaging to veterans, would help close this gap.

Okay, what these three stories show is the real purpose of the US military, at least in part – a part which is growing larger as time goes on. One would be forgiven for thinking, as traditionally was the case, that the purpose of the US military was to defend America’s interests against foreign enemies. Even if we’re going to buy into the NeoCon rubbish about spreading liberal values throughout the world by bombing places like Iraq (I confess, I fell for it), you can at least make the argument that bombing places and killing people is what the military is for, even if the causes are somewhat questionable. Whatever you thought of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the military appeared be doing what militaries do: wreck stuff and kill people.

I suppose the US military still performs that role in some capacity, but a large portion of it now appears to have been turned over to something different. In part, the purpose of the military is to serve as a vehicle (one of many) for progressives to enact their deranged fantasies as part of an overall aim of undermining society and the institutions on which it depends as far as possible. Now perhaps I’m wrong in this, but one thing is for sure: the purpose of the US military is no longer fighting enemies in the hope of winning. It may still do so, but this will be in spite of the new direction, not because of it.

But the story doesn’t end there. Obviously America is still keen to go around smashing things up and killing people and they’re not daft enough to think they can do that if they have a load of drug addicts, trannies, and anxious women making up the squads and platoons. So they’ve sort of separated the military in two, from what I can tell: on the one hand you have the military the public hears about which is basically a social welfare program with all its attendant progressive virtue-signalling; on the other hand you have bands of special forces roving around in places like Niger for decades at a time doing whatever they like without the civilian government in Washington having the slightest idea why they’re there (or even where Niger is). The ZMan has talked about this in one of his podcasts, and when he said the government – meaning Congress – has lost all control of the military he is right. But you can be sure that wherever there are American forces in places we’d find surprising, killing people and blowing stuff up, there won’t be many lunatics, transexuals, or women around.

The other effect of this split in the military is the increased use of mercenaries, contractors, and foreign troops to carry out what would previously have been done by regular American forces. Proper fighting is best done by tough, young, aggressive men and that doesn’t change just because progressives have filled the military with just about everyone else. One way or another, the fighting will still be done by those who do it best and if that means those who would ordinarily join the army go and become mercenaries, that’s what they’ll do. If the US military is deploying somewhere it will still need fighting men, and if they’ve been forbidden from including them in their ranks they’ll simply hire them on location or enlist their services by other means. But as we saw in Iraq, this leads to even less transparency, accountability, and control over what is being done in America’s name. Occasionally I hear rumblings about the use of contractors and mercenaries, but we haven’t had anything like the Blackwater scandal for a while. I suspect this is because senior people in the military know they are now more dependent on these people than ever before and are keeping a lid on things. Eventually something will go horribly wrong and there will be a public outcry (especially from the SJWs whose policies have brought this about), and everyone will be reminded how the US military operates in practice. Until then, it’s worth remembering that the US military is not what people think it is, and it doesn’t serve the purpose they think it does.


More Civil War Revisionism

Lately there has been a lot of historical revisionism surrounding the US Civil War, the latest of which is outrage over General John Kelly’s remarks that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War”. This led to howls of outrage from people who believe the only words anyone is allowed to say on the subject are “Slavery is evil!” over and over until our brains melt, but Streetwise Professor has done us all a service by pointing out that what Kelly said was factually correct and would make sense to anyone who knew what they were talking about.

This group would probably not include the author of this thread which I came across this morning on Twitter:

Now I understand that a lot of the pro-Confederate views in the South were a reaction to the Civil Rights movement, but that notwithstanding, what is this chap on about? “Black people were thrown under the bus of revisionist history?” Were they? How? By whom?

And the South was allowed to keep it’s “pro-slavery culture and institutions”? Well, other than having their institutions as well as homes and property utterly destroyed by the Union forces and slavery being abolished along with the economic system the South relied on, presumably.

What he means, of course, is Southerners were permitted to live and express their opinions rather than being forced to adhere to the narrative of the victors. Actually no, scratch that: he means they weren’t forced to adhere to the narrative of modern-day SJWs bent on historical revisionism a century-and-a-half later. I don’t know a lot about the Reconstruction of the South, but I understand it was a period of considerable hardship and humiliation for those involved. One doesn’t need to sympathise with the South to point out this is hardly compatible with a cosy compromise which allowed them to carry on as before, as this chap implies.

Even assuming this compromise is what Kelly was talking about – and it wasn’t – what were the options open to the US at the time? They fought a horrific war to prevent the Confederate states seceding, and somehow had to reincorporate them and the population back under the Federal umbrella. Other than mass murder or repressions along Soviet lines, what choice did they have other than to reach a compromise? The only people who have had that demanded of them were the Germans after Nazism, and look how that’s turned out: seventy years they’re so lacking in confidence they’ve voted to replace their own population. Even the Japanese weren’t required to hang their heads in shame in perpetuity, and nor have they paid much more than lip service (and financial reparations) for what they did in Manchuria and Korea before and during WWII. What this man is demanding is the descendants of everyone who fought for the South to grovel at the feet of the Permanently Aggrieved to atone for holding the wrong opinions about events long in the past which few seem interested in understanding any more.

And this amused:

Pa Smith has been telling Sonny Boy that their family is so woke they knew slavery in the US was wrong and would have fought against it, even though they were living in Lithuania at the time. That any Lithuanian migrant drafted into either army would have had the first idea what they were fighting for is laughable, let alone the suggestion that their opinions on blacks and slavery would have aligned perfectly with abolitionists – or contemporary SJWs.

What’s more worrying is idiots like this believe it is they who have the solution to the widening rifts in US culture, whereas they are more likely to send the US headlong into serious civil conflict.


North Korea and Nuclear Proliferation

Via Mick Hartley, this piece on North Korea:

But what North Korea wants is South Korea. It has always wanted South Korea, and it has never stopped saying that it wants South Korea. Its messianic vision of reunification has always rested on its express promise of reuniting Korea under its rule. You can try to pretend that away, but North Korea won’t be content to sit behind its borders and watch its legitimacy eroded away by unfavorable comparison — made vivid by every smuggled DVD of a South Korean TV drama — to a superior model of Korean nationhood.

This is consistent with a piece I quoted before, also via Mick:

North Korea would not need intercontinental ballistic missiles to strike South Korea, whose capital sits just 35 miles from their shared border. Pyongyang has had the ability to detonate nuclear devices in Seoul via short- and medium-range ballistic missiles for years. There’s also reason to question the wisdom of nuking a proud, democratic city of 25 million people before attempting to rule it.

What an ICBM does for North Korea is establish deterrence in the event of a reunification campaign.

Kim Jong Un thinks “the nuclear weapons will prevent US from getting involved,” Sun said. “That’s why we see more and more people making the argument that the North Korea’s nuclear development is not aimed at the US, not aimed at South Korea, but aimed at reunification.”

It should hardly be surprising that North Korea seeks reunification of the peninsula. When I was working in Seoul in 2005 I talked to some South Koreans about this, and they all agreed that reunification would happen one day. The only problem is Kim wants the unified Korea to be a Communist hell-hole, the South Koreans want it to look like South Korea, and the Chinese want to be sure they don’t have a hostile or (more likely) embarrassingly rich and democratic state on its borders raising awkward questions among its own population. As the BBC says:

China is key but it is a conflicted party. On the one hand it does not want to see a nuclear-armed North Korea and it has made its view clear to Pyongyang on many occasions.

Something which always gets left out of the reporting is that a nuclear North Korea is largely a problem of China’s own making. First they supplied Pakistan with the technology and materials to build nuclear weapons:

Since the 1970s, China has been instrumental in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs. China provided Pakistan with highly enriched uranium, ring magnets necessary for processing the uranium, and education for nuclear engineers. Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, in fact, is widely believed to be based on Chinese blueprints. Worse, in 1990 and 1992, China provided Pakistan with nuclear-capable M-11 missiles that have a range of 186 miles. China reportedly has provided the technology for Pakistan to build a missile that could strike targets within a 360-mile range.

A key figure in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme was one A.Q. Khan, known as the father of the Pakistani bomb. To cut a long story short, this chap (and/or others in the Pakistani military) then wandered around the world flogging the technology to anyone who wanted it, chiefly Iran, Libya – and North Korea:

The story of the world’s worst case of nuclear smuggling took a new twist on Thursday when documents surfaced appearing to implicate two former Pakistani generals in the sale of uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in return for millions of dollars in cash and jewels handed over in a canvas bag and cardboard boxes of fruit.

The source of the documents is AQ Khan, who confessed in 2004 to selling parts and instructions for the use of high-speed centrifuges in enriching uranium to Libya, Iran and North Korea. Extracts were published by the Washington Post, including a letter in English purportedly from a senior North Korean official to Khan in 1998 detailing payment of $3m to Pakistan’s former army chief, General Jehangir Karamat, and another half-million to Lieutenant General Zulfiqar Khan, who was involved in Pakistan’s nuclear bomb tests.

It is unlikely that the proliferation of their nuclear missile technology and capabilities into North Korea via Pakistan was the intention of the Chinese government when they set out to assist Pakistan, but here we are. With Kim Jong-Un now testing hydrogen bombs, the proliferation horse has well and truly bolted.

The most logical step, although one that would horrify most people, is for South Korea to go nuclear, enabling it to retaliate in the event of a North Korean first use. The nightmare situation for South Korea is for the North to attack and before the South can eliminate the North (using conventional means) in response the Chinese step in and ensure the regime’s survival for their own ends. Yes, we’ve been here before. If the South was nuclear-armed, they could remove the regime before the Chinese could intervene and/or dissuade the Chinese from doing so in the first place.

If South Korea goes nuclear, and we’re fast approaching the point that they have every right to, Japan will quickly follow – and possibly Taiwan. This would cause the Chinese to go apoplectic, but it would be too late and their own fault. If I were the US, I’d be putting this scenario in front of the PRC and telling them it is both very much of their own making yet still within their powers to prevent it.


The Dangers of Antifa Overreaching

In the comments beneath my most recent post, MC writes:

We might laugh at snowflakes, but when they are making the rules and have the power of the state to enforce their will, then we will be in trouble. We know that for them contrary opinions equal violence, so the imposition of violence on the opposition will come easily to them.

I would argue that the snowflakes are already making the rules and have large swathes of the state on their side, plus the whole of the media and academia. As Streetwise Professor notes:

[I]n some jurisdictions, law “enforcement” is ceding ground to violent individuals and organizations, which will beget violence and the Weimarization of America.

From what I can tell it is not so much the police that are ceding the ground but their political masters ordering them to. Quite what they think about that I don’t know.

Antifa is a violent organisation for the simple reason that it has tested the waters and found they can get away with violence. Much the same is true for the BLM movement, and Antifa probably learned a lot from BLM, not so much by watching them riot but by observing the response of the authorities and noting the support the violent elements had from the media and other useful idiots on the left. At the moment Antifa has no real opposition: they can outnumber any groups that meet them head-on, and know that if they started losing badly the police would step in and bash up their opponents. But this depends on their operating only in friendly jurisdictions, where they can count on the local mayor or college administration to take their side. Provided they keep to these areas, they probably won’t do much permanent damage. Antifa are easily avoided: just don’t go to protests taking place in liberal college towns or cities with mayors who want to tear down Confederate statues to score brownie points with their liberal friends. The average American simply isn’t interested in going to these protests, so they’re not directly affected by Antifa any more than the average Brit is affected by football hooligans.

What will be far more dangerous is when the movement, buoyed by their success on friendly turf, start taking on ordinary people. I suspect a quick foray into unfamiliar territory in a town where they don’t enjoy state protection would have them fleeing back to Berkeley and Brooklyn in absolute terror leaving behind multiple casualties, but unfortunately the war isn’t only being waged on the ground. Powerful campaigns are targeting providers of social media, email, web hosting, payment processing, and other services demanding they drop individuals and organisations the protesters don’t like. A combination of cowardly management and sympathy for the protesters’ views has meant the service providers have acquiesced to the demands far too readily: allegedly far-right websites have had their hosting accounts closed without warning and their domain names effectively stolen. Twitter is banning people faster than new people are joining, and PayPal has also got in on the act.

As ZMan has pointed out both on his blog and in his podcasts, people might shrug off a few fringe elements being denied access to the internet, effectively silencing them, but if ordinary people are getting caught up in it, things could get ugly. YouTube/Google has gone into full-on panic mode over the past month or so, demonetarising tens of thousands of perfectly innocuous videos with no political content whatsoever having set their automatic filters to align nicely with Antifa’s core beliefs. Ordinary people suddenly found a handy source of income has been cut off simply because the tech giants were unable or unwilling to stand up to a gaggle of hard-left thugs. It’s only a matter of time before ordinary Americans find themselves denied access to the website or payment processing platform their livelihoods depend on, without ever knowing the reason why. If that happens, people will start throwing their support behind whichever outfit professes to be on their side and against the people responsible, regardless of how nasty and thuggish they are.

I’ve long thought the authorities in Europe have demonstrated considerable irresponsibility by pandering to the sensibilities of Muslim minorities, thus luring them into a false sense of security that the state will always protect them from the native population regardless of how they behave. My fear has been that they will overreach and the much-predicted backlash will finally come to bear, and it will be devastating. The same applied to the BLM movement under Obama, and I thought there was a real danger they’d riot in the wrong city and casualties would run into the hundreds. We’re now seeing the same danger of overreach with Antifa.

If Antifa start to disrupt the lives of ordinary people, either online or in the real world, they are going to make some very dangerous enemies. People will realise that tackling Antifa head-on won’t work, given the support and protection they enjoy from the state, so they’ll have to be more creative. A thousand years of guerrilla warfare has shown that if you can’t beat the main force you pick off the stragglers sending fear through the whole group. The Antifa warriors are brave when ten of them are beating the shit out of some bloke on the ground, but probably less so when walking home alone from the bus station that night. They’ve declared war and are more or less in uniform complete with a flag, so they’d not be hard to spot.

If the American authorities don’t get a handle on this situation soon, we’re going to be reading stories of youths with Antifa hoodies in their backpacks being brutally beaten or worse in alleyways far from any protest. One of the remaining adults in Washington DC ought to take the Antifa leaders (and those who fund them) to a quiet room and tell them that war is unpleasant and rarely works out in favour of those who start them.


Charlottesville and Robert E. Lee

From the BBC:

The “Unite the Right” march was called to protest against plans to remove a statue of a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

The statue in question, located in Charlottesville, VA, is of General Robert E. Lee. Whilst the BBC’s description is technically accurate, the description is misleading, probably deliberately so: their coverage of Charlottesville is a litany of innuendo and smears, including Trump being a white supremacist. One wouldn’t expect anything else from the BBC of course, but it’s worth looking closer at Robert E. Lee and the reasons why he fought for the Confederacy.

When I was in Nigeria I read James McPherson’s excellent Battle Cry of Freedom, which tells us (pages 280-81):

Lee had made clear his dislike of slavery, which he described in 1856 as “a moral and political evil.” Until the day Virginia left the Union he had also spoken against secession.

But with Virginia’s decision, everything changed. “I must side either with or against my section,” Lee told a northern friend. His choice was foreordained by birth and blood: “I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children.” On the very day he learned of Virginia’s secession, April 18, Lee also received the offer of Union command. He told his friend General Scott regretfully that he must not only decline, but must also resign from the army. “Save in defense of my native State,” said Lee, “I never desire again to draw my sword.”

Most officers from the upper South made a similar decision to go with their states, some without hesitation, others with the same bodeful presentiments that Lee expressed on May 5: “I foresee that the country will have to pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation perhaps for our national sins.”

In other words, Lee didn’t fight for slavery and secession – and actually opposed both – but regretfully resigned from the United States army in order to defend his native Virginia – the same State that now wants to tear down his statue. I found the reasons various people gave for choosing sides in the American Civil War fascinating, but the complexities of each choice have largely been ignored in contemporary discussions on the subject. I guess the BBC and their ilk prefer to stoke the flames of a race war by implying Lee was fighting to preserve slavery.

Well, they’re getting what they wanted, aren’t they?


Commentary on North Korea

There has a been a lot of commentary over North Korea during the last few days as Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump let each other know their respective policies. Naturally, this has prompted people who know nothing about North Korea (or at least, hide their knowledge well) to score points against Trump. I was rather disappointed to see that Mick Hartley, who is usually pretty sound on North Korea, approvingly quote this garbage:

President Trump is an impulsive egotist with a lot to prove and he’s generally surrounded by yes-men. His threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” sounds very much like the nutball threats which the current leader of the Kim family and the North Korean state news agencies frequently make – various rage-and-threat-speak about seas of fire and other such nonsense.

This is a really bad and dangerous situation to start with. It was bad when President Obama left office. It’s gotten much worse since – through some mix of US threats and North Korean testing out the new administration. The worst possible thing is a President who is stupid, impulsively emotional and has something to prove, which is exactly what we have. (You think his litany of failures as President so doesn’t make him eager for a breakout, transformative moment?)  At the risk of stating the obvious, threats like this from a country that has the ability to kill everyone in North Korea at close to a moment’s notice can set off a highly unpredictable chain of events. What if North Korea issues more threats? Presumably Trump fails to respond with a nuclear attack and reveals his threats as empty or – truly, truly unimaginably – he launches a nuclear attack. These are not good choices to face.

The situation with North Korea would be an extreme challenge for a leader with ability and judgment. President Trump is simply too erratic, unstable and dangerous to be in charge in a situation like this.

This piece is not about North Korea at all, it’s about what the author thinks of Trump. North Korea is simply the excuse to write the words down, and adds no value whatsoever. Trump is surrounded my yes-men? Like James Mattis? And hasn’t a rather defining attribute of Trump’s presidency been that he can’t seem to get anyone around him to do what he wants? If any article you read on North Korea focuses mainly on Trump and his supposed inadequacies, it can be safely ignored.

North Korea has been an intractable problem since its formation. Many people are leaping up and down blaming America for Kim Jong-Un’s behaviour and that of his father and grandfather, but this is reflexive ignorance or anti-Americanism, especially now Trump is involved. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, and a host of other places in which America has meddled, the problems caused by North Korea can be laid squarely at the feet of the ruling Kim Dynasty, the Soviets who created it, and the Chinese who support it. Blaming the Americans for antagonising the North Koreans is like blaming West Germany for antagonising the Soviets.

It’s not as though America hasn’t tried every approach it could. The idiots wringing their hands over Trump’s rhetoric seem to have missed that every president since Bush Snr. tried and failed to get North Korea to behave, and often acted in full partnership with the UN and China, Russia, and other partners. Every one of them failed, and Trump has inherited a problem which has arguably been made worse by his predecessors’ failures either to take it seriously or to believe the lies told by Kim Jong-Il. At the very least, Trump is trying to deal with the same shit-burger his predecessors did, only now it’s nuclear-armed. The problem is not one of Trump’s own making, and is not being made worse by language, but we can be sure half the west will fall over itself to criticise Trump and downplay the nature of the North Korean regime in order to score political points, undermining any attempt to solve the problem.

Sensible commentary has been provided, as usual, by Streetwise Professor:

North Korea represents one of the most daunting challenges imaginable. Although the North Korean military has aged and obsolete equipment, and would lose in an all out war, it could inflict massive casualties on whomever it fought. Further, it has the Sampson option: with massive conventional and chemical artillery forces in range of Seoul, before it was consumed in the inevitable retaliatory strike, North Korea could kill tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of South Koreans.

As I said, any commentary that emphasises Trump and downplays the enormous challenge North Korea represents can be safely ignored. I think there’s going to be a lot of rubbish written on this subject in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully Mick Hartley will adjust his filter and give us more stuff like this:

All of which sounds fine, but negotiations with North Korea have never worked in the past, simply because they never stick to their side of the bargain.

More importantly, it’s simply not true that Kim only wants to survive. What he really wants – what he’s working towards – is reunification of Korea, on his terms. Not to grasp that point is to fail to understand the dynamics behind Pyongyang’s aggression.

And this:

North Korea would not need intercontinental ballistic missiles to strike South Korea, whose capital sits just 35 miles from their shared border. Pyongyang has had the ability to detonate nuclear devices in Seoul via short- and medium-range ballistic missiles for years. There’s also reason to question the wisdom of nuking a proud, democratic city of 25 million people before attempting to rule it.

What an ICBM does for North Korea is establish deterrence in the event of a reunification campaign.

Kim Jong Un thinks “the nuclear weapons will prevent US from getting involved,” Sun said. “That’s why we see more and more people making the argument that the North Korea’s nuclear development is not aimed at the US, not aimed at South Korea, but aimed at reunification.”

Rather than this:

And, despite the promise of a firmer hand on the tiller in the shape of the president’s new chief of staff, General John Kelly, the crazy tweeting persists, and casual threats of war erupt from a man on a summer golfing break.

This could, in other words, all turn out much worse than even the president’s wary advisers, who know war (though far less ferocious war than this would likely be) may think. And if the war hype is all a Trump fake, it will be shown to be such. And as is usually the case with Trump fakes, others will pay the bill while he continues to golf.