I just couldn't resist. LOL.
"It was a very difficult year for all of us". (c) Jennifer Anniston.
Yet, I still can sense a rebel, in a good sense, spirit and some seeds of possible revival. No, not of the "Western Civilization" as they try to sell to us today--it has no relation to anything "Western"--but of humanity in general, granted that it is not easy to remain human nowadays. "Western Civilization" as it really is, is not what passes today for it. The Western Civilization which I love is not what it is today--there is nothing "Western" in it--but there was a time when a free spirit was almost free and not in a sense of "third wave feminism" finding "empowerment" in baring itself and behaving like sluts, or men becoming metrosexuals, but in a sense of freedom of thought which still had a very clear understanding between right and wrong, between tasteful and despicable, between beautiful and ugly. For some reason, on the eve of fvcking 2020 (and decade) departing I want to recall some really good, in aesthetic sense, things I personally consider to be those still glowing cinders of human free artistic spirit and goodness. You know that I am a rocker, so, you may as well enjoy (or otherwise) some things I enjoy, from the time it was good to be...well... free. Yes, it was that stunning and I was there, on ELO's 2019 American Tour, Hallelujah;)))
Depends, of course, for who this commissioning is ominous. Today, Russian Navy received yet another ship. The flag was raised on Project 20385 Corvette Gremyaschiy (Thunderous) and this is not an ordinary delivery. Not to speak of this ship joining fast modernizing Russia's Pacific Fleet.
Obviously project 20385 are designed for A2/AD primarily but the funniest thing about this A2/AD "thingy" is that with new missile complexes such as 3M14M and 3M22 even couple of such ships can completely control all of Japan and Okinawa and can strike from Bering Sea anywhere in Alaska, Northern Canada and parts of the US Pacific Northwest. But here is the main point--for anyone who didn't spend last 10 years under the stone--it will come as no surprise at all that the shipbuilding program for the Russian Navy accelerates, especially after Russia removing her dependency on Ukraine in power plant. Next 7 years will see 70 new major combatants (I exclude here Russia's Coast Guard which is being thoroughly modernized) ranging from brand new SSGNs of Project 885M (Severodvinsk-class), SSBNs, large amphibious assault ships and newest frigates and corvettes. In her combat shipbuilding today Russia lags only behind China and the US. But don't be surprised seeing Russian Navy hitting number two spot in the next few years. But, in the end, these are not just platforms and their numbers which, of course, matter--these are weapon systems and sensor suites which make all the difference. Project 20385 embodies this philosophy--a lone ship of this class can destroy anything with a single salvo at the ranges which seemed inconceivable even 10 years ago. All that--in about 2500 tons of a displacement. But then again, take a look at the Karakurt-class to get the idea. Ah, yes, Russia is a shipbuilding yard, masquerading as a country. She is also an aircraft and space ship station masquerading as a country. So, you get my drift.
In related news, 10,000 tons of high-tech self-propelled polar institute has been floated 10 days ago. LSP North Pole is Russia's major return to Arctic research.
In a humiliating insult to Canadian pride, rumor has it, Russians are toying with the idea of a Russian Zamboni production. This is an atrocity, really, but that is just a rumor. Hopefully Russia will abandon this reckless idea in order to save Russian-Canadian relations at some point in the distant future.
Then Lucy Thomas is one of them. Her outward and internal beauty, not to speak of an absolutely breathtaking singing, is what must be defined as one of standards of human and artistic beauty if we ever want to come to our senses. I agree, the beauty is in the eye of a beholder, but this girl's "message" in a variety of ways is so powerful that it must be recognized, especially in the post-modernist world of visual, sonic and behavioral ugliness sold as the next "big thing".
So called "realists" in the US have no real chance to change US foreign policy no matter what they do and no matter how they try to convince themselves that they have a shot at it without addressing a fundamental issue of the American nationhood and economic system. To start with: large portions of the American "realists" are beholden primarily, not exclusively, to GOP, which is a party of cowards well entrenched with the military-industrial complex and values of Washington Consensus. So, do bees hate honey? Moreover, American "realists" have no real narrative, because they cannot have one in the only framework they know--and this one, yet again, assumes America's primacy in economy and military matters. This is not to say that "realists" do not understand a simple fact that the United States simply cannot fight and win modern wars against even mildly competent enemy--some of them do understand that--it is just that any appeals to "restrain" or attempts to engage overwhelmingly dominant neocon interventionist D.C. establishment in some "scholarly", presumed to be "rational", discussion is a waste of time. This is not to say that "realists" do not try.
A week or so ago there was a tempest in the ideological teacup of America's "strategizing" circles when utterly neocon and incompetent Foundation for Defense of Democracies (I know, I know--it is hilarious) released yet another, in the long list of the US geopolitical wet dreams, "strategy" on how to "defend" the US by means of "forward defense", which is, when translated from pseudo-academic lingo of "specialists" in US security means simply--more money and more interventions. This whole collection of essays is duly noted by Daniel Larison who writes:
Panetta sets the tone for the document right away: “More than ever, Americans must go abroad to remain secure at home.” This is the interventionists’ axiom from which everything else follows, so it is important to start by explaining how wrong it is. To the extent that American security is threatened by other states and terrorist organizations, a forward policy invites more attacks and challenges and exacerbates the dangers it is supposedly combating. Our militarized engagement in many parts of the world is simultaneously destabilizing and provocative, and it makes us far more enemies than we would have otherwise.
This is all true but how about we follow my advice from a long time ago and concentrate not on the same old, regurgitated constantly, America' "strategies" which simply do not work--US military record in the last 20 years is abysmal across the board--from technological dimension to operational and strategic ones--but on personalities. Show me any tangible result, any attainment of serious political objective by the United States anywhere, under any conditions, including having sometimes overwhelming material preponderance over American "enemies", many of who are not enemies at all. Right. But then Larison makes a crucial mistake--he begins to "negotiate" with such characters as former national Security Advisor H.R. McMaster or other sinecures' abusers such as Jonathan Schazner or shady pro-Israeli "venture capitalist" as Mark Dubowitz. Larison engages:
Not surprisingly, the consistent misreadings and distortions of history are some of the biggest flaws in the report. Bradley Bowman and Clifford May rattle off historical “facts” about wars throughout history that elide far more than they reveal. For instance, they speak of “Persian-Roman wars” running from the battle of Carrhae between the Roman Republic and the Parthians to the battle of Nineveh in the seventh century between the Byzantines and the Sasanians. That lumps together many different regimes and dynasties in very crude fashion, and it also misleads the reader into thinking that conflict was incessant when it was not.
This is a mistake. Or, rather several mistakes by Larison.
1. You cannot argue with neocons, or, for that matter with majority of US punditry, but especially neocons, based on the merit of historic facts because:
a) History is not a valid "science", because often it barely can present even a limited number of causalities, which can still be challenged by opponents. If that wouldn't be the case, we wouldn't have had a vibrant and, actually, prospering field of gross revisionism, some of it reaching a full blown grotesque.
b) For any person with a mildly decent education and being an avid reader it would be not difficult to produce even on the bases of exhaustive research several mutually contradicting narratives on the single event.
2. So, when even very recent history, well documented and archived, including using modern means of movie documentaries, photographs etc. produces this:
If the United States "history" field saw it as totally normal and natural to steal valor from USSR in WW II, I guess even most recent events in which the United States claimed "victory" over ISIS, merely prove my point. Remember? Two years ago:
"We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly," Trump said in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday night. "We have taken back the land and now it's time for our troops to come back home." "Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back," Trump added, expanding on a tweet he sent out earlier in the day. "And they're coming back now. We won. And that's the way we want it. And that's the way they want it."
What "history" are we talking about here? And WHO are those "historians"? McMaster who still cannot resign himself to the fact that the United States sustained humiliating defeat in Vietnam and still tries to "replay" the war? Does he, or Ben Hodges even have a clue on what it means to be under sustained fire impact in real war? I don't think so, as I repeat ad nauseam--no American soldier fought in defense of his motherland. None, zilch, nada. McMaster is altogether a comical figure who apart from commanding a tank regiment against supremely incompetent Iraqi military, has no serious operational experience commanding a division, corps, let alone army or army group. These people are losers primarily on the merit which only matters in issues of polices and actual strategies which work--being a true statesman. Many of them, actually, know or sense this about themselves and that is why they are dealing in Bullshit, not reality. I remind you again--remember my advice? Do not argue with them on the merit, especially of such a propaganda-driven "history" as it is taught in the US--go for ad hominem. Yes, question human, academic and other relevant qualities of people most of who wouldn't qualify in normal country to run a gas station or maintain an apartment block. None of them have any grasp of what will happen to them when their families and livelihood, their country will come under fire. Let's face it--all of them are a small league doctrine-mongers. As I wrote more than three years ago:
I can explain why USA loses its wars and what is a unbridgeable, irreconcilable difference not only between Gerasimov and McMaster but between Russian and American military thinking: US Armed Forces never fought in real defense of their homeland in the last two hundred plus years. Never. Russia does it for millennium. All US warfare is expeditionary in nature with US proper remaining completely oblivious to the realities of the wars it unleashes elsewhere. That it is the reason American soldier inevitably loses an interest and stake in fighting American wars since, in the end, his (her) family at home, his property, everything he (she) loves and treasures remains untouched by brutality of the warfare and other things which come in this terrifying package. Russia and her soldiers and generals (as well as the nation as a whole) think in a completely different plane, because know, on a genetic level, what war can bring to their homeland.
There is no point whatsoever in arguing with those people. Only pointing out to a pathetic state in which the United States resides today, as well as constantly proving those people ignorant on the account of the modern warfare to which US Armed Forces are utterly unprepared and exposing those people's incompetence and corruption, not discussing with them some irrelevant ancient history's minutiae, only then some effect could be achieved. But I don't hold my breath: for starters most of "realist" people in the US suffer from the same historic and military ignorance and, finally, very few of them have courage to admit to themselves that the United States is not this irresistible hegemonic superpower but a country which is in a dramatic, precipitous decline, across the board and no amount of attempts to draw grossly inaccurate parallels to ancient history, not to speak of learning all the wrong lessons, will change the dynamics of global military and economic balance in which the United States finds itself increasingly marginalized, not to speak of being laughed at. The United States got lucky in 1945, it blew it. As for "forward defense", boy--same shit just the view from a different angle.
In related news, Shaposhnikov, meanwhile undergoes trials and shoots good ol' X-35 Uran in the Sea of Japan. Kalibrs, I guess, are next.
Project 971 subs (NATO: Akula, in reality--Schuka, Pike) are great ships, always were. Extremely silent, reliable and overall one of those things which belong to the category of "if ain't broke, don't fix it" technology. Modernize? Sure, but don't "fix" it. Now, one of these subs Leopard underwent totally expected modernization with adding to her this nasty ability to launch Kalibr family missiles and who knows what else. But this is not what is funny about the ceremony of getting her out in the open. Listen to the music.
Meanwhile, yet another corvette of pr. 20380--Hero of Russia Aldar Tsydenzhapov--is officially commissioned to Pacific Fleet. Recent maneuvers with MiG-31Ks carrying hypersonic Kinzhals with them relocating to Far East bases, shows that Russia increases her options and shows support to China... just in case. I am sure when Admiral Nakhimov with all her 174 VLS tubes packed with Zircons, Kalibrs and a variety of AD missiles will be re-commissioned to Russian Navy they will be playing this:
In what country the Commander of the Air Force has the name of.... Sergei DRONov. This is really ominous when the guy in charge of the only air force which can destroy pretty much anything globally has a second name like this.
Second only on record Russian-Chinese strategic bombers patrol, escorted by Russian VKS SU-35Cs.
MOSCOW -- Russian and Chinese bombers flew a joint patrol mission over the Western Pacific Tuesday in a show of increasingly close military ties between Moscow and Beijing. The Russian military said that a pair of its Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Chinese H-6K bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the joint mission was intended to “develop and deepen the comprehensive Russia-China partnership, further increase the level of cooperation between the two militaries, expand their ability for joint action and strengthen strategic stability.” The ministry added that the patrol flight “wasn't directed against any third countries.”
Generally speaking, when you have two TU-95MS capable of carrying 16 X-101/102 cruise missiles with a range of 5000+ kilometers--the message cannot get any clearer.
It follows Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement in October that the idea of a future Russia-China military alliance can’t be ruled out — a signal of deepening military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tensions in their relations with the United States.
It is, certainly, a very high level military cooperation once one considers that both types of bombers are nuclear capable and this joint patrol gives a taste of Russia's involvement with China, and vice-versa. of course, traditional Western media routine followed with headlines like this: South Korea scrambles jets as Chinese, Russian aircraft enter air defense zone. But it is a pretty routine thing for aircraft to cross many countries' "air defense zones" while not violating national airspace. Once one considers a concentrated dysfunction on the display in the United States, some reminders about red lines become necessary because today, with the United States--who knows. The country is, for all appearances, collapsing in a sense that it is a perfect storm of a systemic and institutional disintegration. One MUST ask questions about what is going on when the law of the land is being gang-raped, together with common sense and morality, with none other than former AG Barr entering the mode "nothing to see here, folks, move along, move along".
The Votes of Black Americans Should Count Twice. Vote reparations would empower us to replace oppressive institutions with life-affirming structures of equality.
The US sanctions list, published by the US Department of Commerce, includes the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Intelligence Service.
This is a famous (in fact, genius) Georgi Sviridov's music piece Time, Forward.
You may not know it, but at least half of this clip is not Soviet--it is American. Here is a full "American version" of it dedicated to the builders of... Hoover Dam.
There was a reference recently to CNA (Center for Naval Analysis) paper titled Russian Forces In The Western Military District on combat ratios between Russian and US divisions. There, on page 17 such statement was made.
In a classical sense, the Russians assess that they need to possess at least a force ratio of 3:1, preferably 4:1, to defeat a US division (three brigade combat teams)in an open battle. Naturally, the outcome of a battle also depends on asymmetrical means of combat, such as electronic warfare; however, in terms of force correlation, Moscow would like to possess enough fire superiority in the initial period of war to ensure an immediate breakthrough of front lines. Before 2012,the Russian Land Forces would have required at least seven to nine combined arms brigades just to defeat a US division. As a result, and given the complexities of commanding combined arms brigades, a decision was made to return to the pre-Serdyukov model of C2 of regiment-division-army to match NATO’s potential in the western operational direction.
It needs to be stated that this conclusion is made based on the assessments, as the end note suggests, of Marek Depchinsky who passes in Warsaw for military specialist on Russia. Let's start with legitimate assessments: Russia's divisions are smaller than American ones. This is a hard cold fact, not to mention the other fact that US division can fluctuate between one to five Brigade Combat Teams, in this case US division can range anywhere from 14,000 to 27,000+. That is why it is always a fool's errand trying to figure out the actual size of any US division. It could be 15,000 it could be hell knows what, depending on the circumstances. Russian divisions are also capable to be augmented but they are pretty hard-set in terms of numbers of personnel and TOE. Here is an example of Russian (4th Tank) Division.
But, of course, main point in Depchinsky's analysis is the fact that, as he himself defines it, this whole thing is about "classical sense". What is this Depchinsky's "classical sense"? I will go out on a limb here and state that the "classical sense" is a two opposing divisions taken out of the overall structure of armed forces, placed on the imaginary huge plateau and being compared on purely isolated TOEs in a hypothetical battle with each-other. Obviously, this is not how real war works, not to mention the fact that any references to brigade-structure are absolutely irrelevant, since Russians decisively returned to a division structure. Depchinsky writes about "open battle"--I have news for him, "open battles" ended up with the WW II. Today's battles are not only conditioned by the strategic aims--strategic offensive, strategic defense--but by the fact that some "abstract" Russian division today, in 2020-2021, can do what American division can not--it has a separate air-defense regiment. In fact, Russia has what is a separate air-defense arm for her ground troops--Troops Air Defense system (Voiskovaya Systema PVO).
Why it is important? Because the air component of US 1st Tank Division, as an example, 501st Aviation Regiment of the US 1st Armored Division, which is a a striking stand-off force for US division (as an example) never operated in the environment where it had to face such systems as S-300V4, Buk-M3 or Tor-M2, and others, which are a standard issue for Russia's ground troops. When taken into "NON-classic" combat consideration, among many other things, including integration into combat networks, the picture changes dramatically. Including the fact that no American unit ever fought with an enemy capable to strike to operational and even strategic depth. In other words, US Army never experienced the situation where its rear logistic, headquarters and other C4 systems are attacked and destroyed. But this is precisely what fighting Russian abstract division entails not in a "classical sense" but in reality. And this is just a brief shallow overview of only some key capabilities which turn modern warfare into a stochastic process with myriad of variables popping up and disappearing from combat reality.
As per ratios--this is what General Staffs do, including, "in a classical sense", but the reality of the warfare which will be fought is always shrouded by secrecy and is never disclosed. So, all those 3:1 ratios are just talking points required for public discussion and, as I already stated, Russian divisions are smaller and the actual force required is calculated quite differently from comparing TOEs of respective units. Ask yourself a question: can US division fight without its air component or how effective is air-defense of any US division, or the ground troops in general? I'll give you a hint--it is not even in the same league with Russian ground troops air defense. Not even close. If you think that you can stop Iskander with Stinger, think again. So, when I wrote my second book I peeked not into the "classical sense", but into the actual war with all its modern complexities. That is why I called my book The Real Revolution in Military Affairs. I hope this short clarification on ratios helps. So, in general, Depchinsky's own clarification in terms of complexity of factors influencing force ratios is a correct one but any warring side ON the offensive will always try to create a large numerical (force) superiority at the breakthrough point and this is nothing new--enough to take look at Red Army's Deep Operations in WW II.
You know, this gas station pretending to be a country. I think Bombardier, whose legendary but nearing obsolescence Q-400s turboprops fly many Russia's regional routes do not have a good day. After yesterday's flight of MC-21 with PD-14s, Russia flew today her brand-new (and thoroughly Russian, from avionics to engines) but long-awaited IL-114. As all Ilyushin machines, 114 is elegant. Here is a full report, including presence of Borisov, Chemezov and Manturov who are visibly happy.
Pat Buchanan, for all my respect for him, shows tiredness and lack of imagination when writes today about this proverbial Suez Moment for the United States. Of course, he is entitled to it and I myself used this expression when writing of America's decline. Pat writes:
Three decades ago, historian Paul Kennedy used the term “imperial overstretch” to describe what happens to great powers when their global commitments become too extensive to sustain. This happened to the British at the end of World War II when, bled, broken and bankrupted by the six-year war with Germany, she began to shed her colonies. In the fall of 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden, Churchill’s foreign secretary, was ordered by President Eisenhower to get his troops out of Suez under an American threat to sink the British pound. The British Empire was finished.
That is all true and there is no better eyewitness and chronicler of British imperial demise than Corelli Barnett. But each overstretch, and each decline is different. Pat got one thing right about Soviet demise:
The USSR then disintegrated along ethnic and tribal lines into 15 nations. Its diversity tore the Soviet Union apart.
It wasn't Afghan War which doomed the Soviet Union. But Pat's "history" was always fuzzy, to put it mildly, and he demonstrates it again by presenting this rather bizarre interpretation of it.
Indeed, NATO was formed and its war guarantees were issued to Western Europe in 1949, seven decades ago. War guarantees to South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Australia were all issued from 1950 to 1960. These commitments to go to war for other nations were issued when Stalin was in the Kremlin, a 400,000-man Red Army sat on the Elbe in Germany, and Mao and his madness had just come to power in Peking. How long must we sustain all these alliances and soldier on in the “forever wars” of the Middle East? Do we Americans still have the national unity, sense of purpose, and disposition to sacrifice for the cause of Western civilization we had in the early days of the Cold War?
Pat is a peculiar man and if very inaccurate with his numbers since in 1945 the number of Soviet troops facing West, in Germany alone, was 1.5 million, in 1949--the year of NATO's establishment--this number grew to 3 million. I wonder why did it grow, wink, wink. I guess Russians were a little bit queasy about this "democracy" thing. As per "sacrifices for the cause of Western Civilization", I am not sure Pat really lives in a real world anymore. If there were "sacrifices" they, certainly, come across as fully unnecessary and, in fact, grossly harmful when one observes today the current state of the Western world and principles on which it operates. Chimera of "democracy" and "human rights" was needed for the realities of the Cold War 1.0 and, at some point, many did believe in it, yours truly included. Once the Soviet Union was no more and the Sword of Damocles of "Soviet global conquest" disappeared, the mask started to come down. It cam down in full in 1999 with West's gang-rape of Serbia.
Encore with attacking Iraq which had nothing to do with 911 fully demonstrated full hypocrisy and insanity of the empire and all that was accompanied with what seems then as a "positive" development of House Resolution 4444 China Trade Bill in May of 2000 and next, 2001, year China's ascendance to the World Trade Organization--all of it enthusiastically supported by GOP and Clinton Democrats. So, for the US which was dramatically more powerful than British Empire, at least on paper, the "Suez Moment" started around that time. This IS the start of disintegration of the United States and of the aggregate force of sins of the past, from Vietnam to segregation, starting to catch up with the US. Tragedy of 911 was an important symbol but it had primarily a psychological, if not psychiatric, effect. Economically and militarily the United States started to decline even before that. By the end of Obama's Administration the United States was thoroughly deindustrialized, militarily not-impressive and growing in leaps and bounds in terms of incompetence of her elites across the full spectrum of ideological preferences. So, in all, because of the America's size and importance globally, there was no single "Suez Moment"--it is a process of about two decades in making and warnings about America's decline have been heard from many quarters ranging from Orlov, The Saker, me, Patrick Armstrong, Daniel Davies among many others for many years.
Those warnings were issued not because we wanted Empire to survive, but precisely because of a grave danger Empire posed for the American nation which was being dismantled from within since wrongly perceiving itself a "victor" in the Cold War 1.0. So, as of 2018-2020, especially after international disgrace of America's election process, the United States does not exist as such. It ceased to exist and the country which we have today here is some geographic location in which what used to be known as the United States of America existed. Andrei Raevsky today was to the point when wrote a piece titled:
But then again, we all warned that the death wasn't coming--it was already here. And what we have today is a corpse. Yet, recall the last four years and ask yourself a question--the nation which for 4 years was being fed an utter BS of Russiagate and no one even faced a single charge of perjury, lying and treason, speaks volumes about "health" of such a nation, doesn't it? 20 years in historic terms is a very short period of time. The United States self-destructed in a matter of an hour, if not a minute, when compared to the time-scale of human civilization. So, there you go--another one bites the dust. The Saker, however, is still semi-optimistic, or philosophical, when concludes that:
Things will only begin to really change when a new generation of US leaders will begin look at themselves and at their own responsibility for the catastrophe which has now happened.
I can only add that one must learn lessons but present crop of America's "top people" is not capable of doing so. They lack in every department required for true leadership. New generation must emerge, but we all know that "thingy": bad times give rise to good people, good people give rise to good times... and on, and on, and on. So, if you ask me about America's Suez Moment, here it is: 1999-2020. This "moment" also saw a meteoric decline of the American "elites" into psychosis and dumbfuckery not seen in many generations.
In related news, as Laurent pointed out in the other thread, Russian MoD ordered 6 corvettes for Pacific Fleet with only 2 of them being pr. 20380, while 4 being pr.20385--Oniks and Zircon carriers. There is a lot of news coming out of Russia nowadays re: Russia's technological development. This report by NTV is in Russian but it gives an excellent view of Zvezda shipyard and Catherine the Great (Ekaterina Velikaya) newest ice-breaking supply multipurpose vessel being floated, including her impressive Russian-made azipods, not to mention the fact that Zvezda's portfolio for today is 50+ vessels, all of them ranging from major size vessels to super-tankers and LNG carriers.