Friday, July 30, 2021

A Whiff Of Sadness. Friday.

I never was INTO the ZZ Top, per se, but I liked some of their songs. What ZZ Top always were for sure--they were always over the top and you knew from the first sounds that it was them, they always were absolutely unique. In the rock-world dominated at some point of time by British rock, you wouldn't need to be told that ZZ Top IS an American band, they were a consummate American band. In fact, anyone could guess that they were also a band from Texas.  One of ZZ Top's legendary three, their bass-guitar and voice, Dusty Hill passed away few days ago at the age of 71. RIP Dusty. 

But I don't want it to be a downer, so, to mark Friday, what can be better than the latest from Iron Maiden. Ah, damn--it is a philosophical downer again)))
Irons are again at the top of their game. And they still warn about the coming of a brave new world. Maiden is more than a band, they are a cultural institution. Yes, we can see the writing on the wall.

Off She Goes.

 Krasnoyarsk is afloat today (in Russian). 

She is Yasen-M class, pr. 885M, and she carries P-800 Oniks, 3M22 Zircon and 3M14(M) Kalibr. Novosibirsk is next to be transferred to the Russian Navy, this year. They are really nice looking ships. 

Their firepower... well, no need to repeat myself. 

UPDATE: just now Russia's Channel 1 (in Russian) confirmed that new Yasens carry 3M14M with a range of 4,500 kilometers. In other words, they are undetectable in the launch areas and it also means that these updated Kalibr TLAMs are installed on all ships with UKSK VLS and other new subs.

If This Is "Intelligence", Then I am...

Pope. Rebekah Koffler has an "impressive" (for DC) resume and she is "from the former USSR" and she is an embodiment of why the United States finds itself where it finds itself today vis-a-vis Russia and pretty much the rest of the world. There is very little about this Koffler lady on the internet, say how old is she and where in the USSR was she born precisely (she states she was born in Kazakhstan), but there is very little doubt in that she read too much of Solzhenitsyn and, judging by her appearance, she does look like my peer and that is why she is full o' shit. No, I am not talking about her book and "Russian hacking", I am talking about her urban myths and BS about the USSR she spews on the air at Fox (and elsewhere) and here is the latest this "Russia expert" delivers three days ago. 

Born and raised in a totalitarian state, I am intimately familiar with government spying on ordinary citizens. Recent revelations about possible actions surrounding government surveillance by the NSA took me back 30 years ago to a place that no longer exists, my birth country, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – the USSR.  In the course of daily life in the USSR, we assumed all our communications were monitored by the state. Back then, it was phone calls and snail mail. Speaking in code over the phone was common for ordinary Russians in order not to get in trouble with government authorities. We even had a special phrase, "This is not a phone conversation," to end a discussion veering into dangerous territory. Any criticisms of Soviet leaders, government control, or the socialist system could get you expelled from school or fired from work.

I am not claiming that the USSR was a "free" country in Western understanding but it is clear that I and millions of my peers and Rebekah lived in a different USSR and that this intelligence "professional" is milking her "Soviet" biography for some kind of gain, most likely monetary, and tells fairy tales about USSR popular among former Soviet (primarily Jewish, but not exclusively) Brighton Beach populace. For starters, why she lies: criticism and anecdotes about Soviet government and Communist Party were not just common, but they were spoken openly from smoking rooms to diners to even barracks in Soviet military (and she certainly has no experience with that) and nobody were persecuted let alone "expelled from schools", because the only reason to be expelled from any Soviet school was two fold--discipline and academic failure. Period. Hundreds of my peers, who entered naval academy with me in 1980, same as before that, or after, were political anecdotes and jokes telling, American jeans wearing, rock-music listening and long-haired dudes, have been checked by KGB (namely counter-intelligence) before even allowed to apply, well...

Never in my life have I heard of any kid "expelled" from the school on the bases she proposes and I met and studied with very many peers who were border-line asocial and anti-Soviet. One of my academy classmates made it into the KGB organization NEVER being in Komsomol, let alone  being a member of Communist Party and... had no problems in advancing along the career path. Koffler, obviously, when she left USSR at a young age, had only Soviet dissident narrative, much of it hearsay and outright BS, and urban myths to sell in the US, which was eager to listen to any contrived BS as long as it was instrumental in drawing a caricature of a country, they had no real understanding of. It is not surprising then, when having such "analysts" and "experts" as Koffler, who sounds like a keynote speaker at the regional Communist Party gathering and who deliberately oversells this "totalitarian thingy" for own benefit, that the US "intelligence community" has become a butt of a jokes around the world, especially in anything related to Russia. 

She claims that she was an analyst of "Russian strategy and cyber warfare", well, strategy is a very broad term, but Koffler's feeble attempts to sell her Soviet high school experiences as a valuable contribution to the intelligence field while having zero experience and education with Soviet institutes of state power and security, be that military or security services are telling, as are her misguided and incompetent attempts to draw parallels between the USSR and modern USA. She is no big thinker. She is also utterly militarily incompetent. Here is a proof from her book:

This is the "level" of "experts" who consulted and continue to consult on Russia inside the US and who think that two technological catastrophes such as F-35 and LCS are "capabilities" for the United States, then there is no surprise with the outcomes we all observe. You can extrapolate the rest of the skill-set for such "analysts". I am not gonna buy her book because I don't have time to review yet another pseudo-intelligence drivel (Koffler states that Steele Dossier was a Russian operation, face-palm) about Russia from a person who has zero background in both USSR and Russia and has only her past security clearance to wave around and use big words and catch phrases. I will just remind you of a superb piece by our esteemed guest Mark Hackard about another dissident BSer Yuri Bezmenov, who was selling exactly what Koffler sells--a hot air. Here is Mark's succinct conclusion about Bezmenov, which applies fully to Koffler:

Today Bezmenov is clearly useful to US media and political elites, and so his assertions of Soviet subversion are dusted off and given a new lease on life. It’s much easier to ascribe the failure and dysfunction of an entire political system to “Kremlin meddling,” or an even older KGB plan just now being realized, than to shine light on the predations of an oligarchic superclass that has misruled America into civilizational breakdown. Anti-communism is a sure hit with the right, and liberals are programmed into a newfound hatred of Russia; each side is manipulated via dialectics in order to further obfuscate the truth and obscure any viable resolution to real cultural, political and economic challenges. There very well may be a resurrected Bolshevist spirit of subversion present in the current disorder, a phenomenon that infused the Frankfurt School’s transvaluation of all values in the West. In our twenty-first century that spirit animates neither communism, an ideological corpse long-buried, nor the SVR, modern Russia’s intelligence service. Rather, the ruling class itself, with its panoply of media organs, multinationals, academia and government agencies, seems possessed by a force spiraling towards destruction.

This also explains why those "analysts" cannot find their own ass with both hands in a brightly lit room. They call it "intelligence."

I am still puzzled with the role Koffler ascribes to "advanced" Littoral Combat Ships in the "war with Russia". Unless she means to build so many of them that Russians exhaust completely their stock of anti-shipping missiles sinking them and then surrender? Then several thousand of LCS should be built. I am sure it was Russian clandestine operation too, to convince Pentagon to invest innumerable billions into shitty technologies, such as F-35 and LCS. It has got to be Russian operation. How else can you explain this clusterfuck. I am sure Koffler will write a book on that too. Nah, I am screwing with you. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Byron King On Wargames.

Last few days were excellent in terms of many people of repute, and who I, personally, keep in high regard professionally and writing-wise. First Commander Salamander went full broadside on the latest developments, now Byron King, eloquent as ever, wrote a superb piece on war-gaming and the issue of governance. It is my pleasure to let him talk. In his piece:

“It Failed Miserably” – What If the US Lost a War and Nobody Noticed? 

He makes some crucial observations which expand on what Sal wrote few days ago. And mind you, these people are not some YouTube fanboys who make videos heavy on military porn and light on knowledge. These are senior (serving and former) American naval officers who know what operational and strategic level of warfare looks like and how it manifests itself in military organization. Byron also opens with a broadside:

I have a friend who teaches at the university level — at a U.S. service academy, no less. The other day he was running a class and posed a short (but profound) question to a group of students. Namely, what was the most recent strategic disaster suffered by the U.S. military? “Blank expressions,” noted my friend. After a period of time, one student offered an answer… “Afghanistan?” (And yes, the student’s answer was in the form of a question.) Dutifully, my professor-friend led the students in a discussion of what happened in a war that began before they were born and whose outcomes will affect them for the rest of their lives. There’s a Whiskey tale to tell just based on this anecdote alone. But wait, there’s more! Because America’s loss in Afghanistan has already been overshadowed.

After that he meticulously lists factors which influence what he identifies as the main problem:

In this sense — that sense of reaching out to bomb people far from U.S. shores — America’s long wars are not just a military issue, easily dismissed by civilians as some sort of niche problem for the Pentagon. No, because closer to home, the long wars reveal seismic flaws in the very nature and character of U.S. governance. The long wars reveal a deep weakness in the American form of government itself. Indeed, we’re a long way from the sage advice of President John Quincy Adams, that “Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.” And look at it this way. It’s not as if the U.S. ever had a series of national referenda on 30 years of continuous warfare. In fact, the past three decades of war overseas were based on the geopolitical ideas of a relatively small, self-perpetuating cabal of elite elected players and policy wonks, in Washington and various brain-tanks. Many familiar names, to be sure.

The problem is political, it is on the level of governance. Recall Branislaw Malinowski's 1941 observation: "Another interesting point in the study of aggression is that, like charity, it begins at home." In general, read Byron's excellent piece, it is worth your time and that is why I bring it to your attention.  

You Get Gorbachev Only Once a Century.

Or even millennium. Cowardly, very narrow-minded and hollow. He is, certainly, one of the most outstanding dumbfvcks in history who managed to destroy his country, granted it needed some changes, and who became an embodiment of human incompetence. Despite leading Soviet scientists and military people telling him that Strategic Defense Initiative (aka Star Wars) was mostly smoke and mirrors, Gorbachev and his cabal of "reformers" decided that they can use SDI as one of the excuses for entering negotiations with the United States on matters of Strategic Arms Limitations, Anti-Missile Defense and humiliating and grossly disadvantageous for USSR INF Treaty which was presented by Gorbachev as an "achievement", when in reality it was nothing more than surrendering already emerging decisive Soviet advantage across the whole spectrum of weapon systems. The problem, of course, was the fact that Gorbachev being a door mat for his late wife and being a stubborn village jackass, wouldn't know the difference between shit and shinola, nor could recognize, despite multiple warnings, that he was played as a preschooler by the West.  

Gorbachev was dealing with cartoons and a lot of speeches ABOUT SDI, while having under his command what already then was becoming not only the best Air Defense system in the world but some of the most advanced and breakthrough technologies in both weapon systems and their enablers. But the guy was a moron with agenda and he, probably, wasn't that disposed against being duped to start with. He had a "plan" and we all know how well it worked... for the West. But time never stands still and tables tend to be turned once in a while. Obviously SDI turned out to be nothing more than a PR trick and once the heritage of tractorist Gorbachev and alcoholic Yeltsin was dealt with, new strategic and technological reality begun to emerge, being the sum of all things described above and more, not least a complete loss by Russia and Russians of any trust to a combined West. All this resulted in Russia declaring a new era of warfare and of global balance of power shift on March 1, 2018.  I wasn't melodramatic or driven by pathos when wrote then:

As it turned out, I haven't been dramatic enough. I did, however, predict already then that the new task of the United States in a face of a radical shift in power balance will be to mount a concerted effort to drag Russia at the negotiating table and try to push as many of new Russian weaponry as possible under the umbrella of one or another type of the treaty, which should mitigate somewhat a strategic catastrophe (from the Western point of view) which real revolution in military affairs brought about. First Russian-America meeting on strategic stability took place yesterday and voila'. As Interfacx reports:

Москва. 29 июля. ИНТЕРФАКС - Москва готова обсуждать с Вашингтоном свои новейшие системы вооружений, включая "Кинжал" и "Посейдон", но не видит оснований для постановки вопроса о потенциальном ограничении возможностей России в этой сфере, заявил "Интерфаксу" в четверг замглавы МИД РФ Сергей Рябков. "Для американцев эта тема представляет интерес, мы, естественно, от разговора не уходим. Суть нашей позиции в данном вопросе: для постановки вопроса в такой плоскости, а именно потенциального ограничения наших возможностей в сфере этих новейших систем, никаких оснований нет. Мы все уже давно объяснили американцам, какие из наших новейших систем подпадают под действие продленного в феврале ДСНВ. Когда эти наши системы будут ставиться на боевое дежурство, мы, разумеется, будем действовать в полном соответствии с требованием договора, в этом нет никаких сомнений", - сказал он, отвечая, в частности, на вопрос, обсуждались ли российские новейшие системы вооружений на переговорах в Женеве.

Translation:  Moscow. July 29. INTERFAX - Moscow is ready to discuss with Washington its latest weapons systems, including the Dagger (Kinzhal) and Poseidon, but sees no reason to raise the issue of a potential limitation of Russia's capabilities in this area, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Thursday. "For the Americans, this topic is of interest, we, of course, do not avoid this conversation. The essence of our position on this issue: there are no grounds for bringing this issue in this plane, namely the potential limitation of our capabilities in the field of these new systems. We already explained to the Americans long ago which of our newest systems are subject to the START Treaty extended in February. When these systems of ours are put on alert, we, of course, will act in full compliance with the requirements of the treaty, there is no doubt about that, "he said , answering, in particular, the question whether the Russian advanced weapons systems were discussed at the talks in Geneva.

In other words. you want to talk about those systems? Sure, let's talk, but we are not putting, say, Kinzhal up for negotiations and the United States has practically nothing to offer in return to start with. Sure, there is the issue of anti-missile "defense" in Europe, but it is not the "defense" part which worries Russia, because the West has no systems which can intercept even meaningful part of Russia's missile salvo. The issue are MK-41s VLS which can accommodate TLAMs. Simple as that, but even if to imagine that the United States will be ready to bargain, neither Kinzhal nor Poseidon are "strategic" weapons in a traditional sense. Neither are Tomahawks, BTW. But let's cut all Bullshit and face the reality. Of course, Kinzhal even when carries a conventional warhead, can shift military balance in any theater of operations as fast as the first half-squadron (6-8) of MiG-31Ks could be deployed there, which is the matter of hours, half-a-day tops. Soon all military districts and fleets will have their own squadrons of those; then, the time is cut to a half-hour before on duty "couple" gets airborne. After that ANY surface fleet of any configuration which is within 3,000 kilometer radius of those MiG-31Ks, forget about TU-22M3(M) (that could be an overkill, with each of them carrying 2-3 Kinzhals), has nothing left to do but disperse and hope not to be near capital ships, such as DDGs and CVNs. 

Ryabkov's words in conclusion speak volumes: 

"Мы будем прежде всего заботиться о том, чтобы мы гарантированно были защищены от любой агрессии со стороны любого потенциального противника, включая США, а уже потом, когда мы будем иметь стопроцентные гарантии в этой сфере (сейчас они есть, но их нужно поддерживать на должном уровне дальше), уже потом мы будем смотреть, возможно что-то дальше, невозможно...это вопрос открытый, он очень сложный, и в любом случае США должны понимать, что никаких односторонних уступок, никаких просто шагов навстречу им, просто их пожеланиям без готовности США идти на компромисс, учитывать наши интересы, наши озабоченности в разных сферах, связанных с тем, что США проводят в плане развития собственной военной организации, создания новых систем, появления их в разных регионах, - без этого ничего у них не получится с точки зрения "постановки под контроль" наших новейших систем вооружений", - сказал высокопоставленный российский дипломат.
Translation:  "First of all, we will make sure that we are guaranteed to be protected from any aggression from any potential enemy, including the United States, and only then, when we have one hundred percent guarantees in this area (now they are, but they need to be supported at proper level further), only then will we look, at a possibility of something further down the road... this is an open question, it is very difficult, and in any case, the United States should understand that there are no unilateral concessions, no simple steps towards them, just their wishes without the willingness of the United States to compromise, to take into account our interests, our concerns in various areas related to what the United States is doing in terms of developing its own military organization, creating new systems, and their appearance in different regions - without this they will not succeed with the point of view of "putting under control" our latest weapons systems, "said a senior Russian diplomat.

In diplomatic language it is called "fvck off". Russians are damn aware of what is coming next for Russia's Ministry of Defense, and considering today's contract for the first 10 battalions of S-500s signed, with first battalions being deployed in early 2022 (in Russian), we may only guess what is in works. Newest Yasen M-class Krasnoyarsk will be floated out tomorrow (yes, I know, it is The National Interest):

Russia's New Yasen-Class Submarine Is Here and It Looks Fierce. Yasen-M’s arsenal will be headlined by Russia’s new 3M22 Tsirkon winged anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, which has a top speed of up to Mach 9 and is capable of performing mid-flight evasive maneuvers.

Now they are talking about the new generation of Peresvet laser-weapons coming soon and it is also clearly stated that navalized version of S-500 is in works and I can bet my ass on this thing being installed on Peter the Great during his (her) upcoming modernization. The only real subject of negotiations today regarding genuine strategic weapons are RS-28 Sarmat and Avangard and only in terms of some (emphasis--SOME) limitation on their deployed numbers and, as you may have guessed it already, IF Russia will discuss those, the price for the American side will be very steep. Because unlike Strategic Defense Initiative, these Russian weapons are not cartoons and PR-tricks. Those are already on combat duty or in IOC and if I would have been asked to characterize those people who run Russia today in two words, my characterization would have been: not Gorbachev. And really, how often you get a leader of a nuclear superpower who is a complete moron and a door mat. Once a century? 

Ischenko On Ukraine (At Saker's Blog).

Thanks to Andrei Raevsky (The Saker) and his people who translated a very good piece of Rostislav Ischenko on Ukraine, which, I think, is important for understanding the context of current geopolitical realignment. Especially after Vladimir Putin's article about Ukraine which was interpreted and misinterpreted so much in the last few weeks, that it is worth reminding of the current state of the affairs in Ukraine and Russia to fully grasp what Vladimir Putin was saying. Ischenko's piece gives an excellent insight. Here is one quote from it, the rest you can read at The Saker's blog. 

Many people still continue to ignore what I wrote for years now about Russians in general not viewing Ukrainians anymore as "brotherly" people. Here is one of many descriptions I provided, this one is a year and a half ago.

This is precisely the attitude of overwhelming majority of Russians both in Russia and around the world, not to the shithole of a country which Ukraine is...but towards Ukrainians. I was going to do a separate write-up on Ukraine, but this whole thing is so surreal, that I had to comment on it. Rabinovich is, obviously, delusional, which is a normal state of not only Ukrainian "elites" but majority of "Ukrainians", who, in addition overwhelmingly consider Russia to be a hostile state (in Russian), while large parts of their society still think that Ukro Army fights Russian Army in Donbass. I will omit here the description of Ukrainian media as an asylum run by patients, but I have to state a thing which I repeat ad nauseam: Ukraine is anti-Russia. It cannot exist in ANY other form for a number of major historic, geopolitical, economic, cultural and other reasons. I do, however, give Ukrainian "nation" the right for metaphysical existence, because this nation did coagulate around central idea as a political nation. This central idea is primarily a combination of kindergarten-level fantasies, down right delirium and and of radical Russophobia. 
Putin has a very good grasp of the mood of Russian people and his article is better understood after reading Ischenko's piece.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

If Not For the US Nuclear Weapons...

Russia, at this stage, wouldn't give a flying fvck about what Biden and his Administration think about Russia. But when even the inventor of non-existent "Gerasimov Doctrine" and polymath in wide-range BSing without any real life and professional qualifications in issues he tries to cover, such as Mark Galeotti, has to react to Biden's utterances about Russia as having only oil wells and nuclear weapons (you know, the gas station masquerading as a country), it tells you something. Galeotti writes:

First of all, it’s bad analysis. Presumably Biden, aware of the continued anti-Russian sentiment in his Democratic party and concerns about his recent decision to acquiesce to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, wanted to throw his base some red meat. However, if he actually believes this, then perhaps it is unsurprising that the Kremlin has so often managed to outmanoeuvre the world’s last ostensible superpower. While Russia is still over-dependent on hydrocarbons, its service sector actually accounts for the largest share of its GDP, and there are all kinds of bright spots, including software and IT (it’s not all hackers and ransomware).Even in military terms, Russia has demonstrated its capacity to project its forces into Syria against everyone’s expectations, and it has sustained that commitment.
Galeotti, being a humanities "educated" hack still doesn't get the message though--he should read up on that, but I don't hold my breath--that THE issue here is the fact that Russians are afraid of America's weakness which is not recognized and that eventually, when considering a precipitous decline of mental faculties and professionalism of the Western "elites" (Galeotti is an Exhibit A of such a decline, despite his prolific writing on subjects he doesn't understand), the US will decide to, as Galeotti himself suggests:

When the Kremlin demonstrates aggression or perfidy, this needs to be called out. But over-heated rhetoric encourages woolly-thinking at home, and a backlash in Russia. By all means let us make sure we carry a big stick – then we can also speak softly.  

And here is the problem, neither Galeotti not his ilk of alleged "Russia experts" have any ability to assess this proverbial "stick" nor establish the causality (it is there, alright) between increasingly hysterical tone of anti-Russian rhetoric in the West with this "stick" which long ago lost any capacity to realistically hit anyone and if not for nuclear weapons, nobody would pay attention to it. So, when Galeotti states that Russians will be "annoyed", he doesn't know what he is talking about. Russians are intimidated by a bunch of monkeys with grenades who run the combined West and that requires an extreme caution on Russia's part in handling this menagerie of mental pathology exhibits in order to avoid a war in which this combined West will cease to exist. Why I am positive about it? Well, because...

Unlike Galeotti, Commander Salamader is a military professional and, unlike Galeotti, has a required background to pass judgements on matters of war and of this proverbial "stick" which allegedly allows its carrier to "speak softly". I do not frequent Sal's blog anymore as I used too, but somebody sent me a link to Sal's last post and it is an outburst (objectively justified) in response to this piece of news.

‘It Failed Miserably’: After Wargaming Loss, Joint Chiefs Are Overhauling How the US Military Will Fight. In a fake battle for Taiwan, U.S. forces lost network access almost immediately. Hyten has issued four directives to help change that.

Apart from some wowsers of operational "thought" in this piece, one thing which attracted my attention was the use of...spaceships in  US Navy's operations around Taiwan. I am not screwing with you, read it yourself:

Contested logistics. Creating new ways to deliver fuel and supplies to front lines. U.S. Transportation Command and the Air Force are working on using rockets and a space trajectory to get large cargo spaceships into and out of battlefields. 

No shit. I had to read several times and go and research the issue before being able to move my popped out eyes back in their sockets. This is desperation. Sal, however is not so polite, he has the right to be:

Sal also uses such terms as good ol' "Bullshit" plus other  strong wording but he is ultimately correct:

I'm sorry, but in spite of all the warnings provided about building an exquisite Tiffany force and shoveling billions in to critical peacetime capabilities that in war immediately are converted in to critical vulnerabilities with zero benefit and uncounted risk ... we are shocked? Study for 20 years? Bullshit, you can see our vulnerabilities in open source in 20 minutes. If we had a culture that allowed aggressive critique as opposed to obsequious agreement, we wouldn't be here. We let the military industrial complex sell of a bill of peacetime-only concepts about networks, real time video, invulnerable satellites, the whole transformational offsetting grabassery that no intelligent person expected to survive any near peer adversary.

Moral and judicial issues of situation around Taiwan apart (that is another story altogether), the United States simply has no resources to fight modern war, especially with naval force which will be detected, tracked, the targeting developed and it will be annihilated even before its properly deployed. One can play with CONOPS whatever he wants but you cannot fight without having proper weapons and enablers. Modern war tactical-operational truism is simple, even Galeotti can grasp it--if you are seen by the enemy with advanced weapons, you will be killed. ANY US force is seen today across the whole electromagnetic spectrum and that means it becomes a target, EMCON or not. The US Navy still deals in weapon systems which reached their modernization limits already by early 2000 and if it thinks that launching good ol' Harpoons and their longer-range subsonic iterations such as LRASM will provide the edge, I have a bridge to sell. 

With 3M22 Zircon finishing its state tests this August, it enters IOC and then in early 2022 it begins to be deployed to the first line ships and subs. But that is not all, Russia tested few months ago an item which is known as GZUR, it is a 1500 kilometer range Mach=6+ missile and a single TU-22M3(M) is capable to carry 20 (twenty!!) of those. Do you know how many SU-34 capable to do the same out there? The 3000 kilometer range M=12 version of this weapon is in works. Make your bet on how fast the first version of this weapon will end up in Chinese hands. Good luck developing air-defense system which can handle such a salvo, granted it even is capable to detect it. I totally understand when US officer has issues, but reading some British subject with degree in economics and history, bloviating on some stick, with UK being a secondary, if not tertiary, military and economic power is risible. That is why he doesn't understand the issue, that is why I write my books and post in this blog--to warn that what the combined West knows about Russia is mostly propaganda BS and when it will have its ass handed to it militarily, which will happen, if it decides to commit a suicide due to hubris and ignorance, the only thing which will be left to this loser is to launch nukes, and that will be it. 

I know how hard it is to face the reality of own weakness and obsolescence, it takes real courage to do so, and there is a huge deficit of this courage in the West. But it is better that such admission is made by real professionals than leave this necessary step to people who have no understanding of this subject at all and have no business in passing their judgements on this matter in the first place. For Galeotti, however, some news, selling hydrocarbons accounts today for only 15% or Russia's budget, but, as Sal concludes his angry rant:

As a military, we have learned absolutely nothing.

No Sal, the problem is much deeper than that, West as a civilization learned absolutely nothing, and that is a much-much bigger problem. Like this:

I don't know how to react or comment on that. Maybe we should get scared all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Can Anyone Explain To Me...

this propensity of the US politicos for getting emotional for no fvcking reason whatsoever. I thought the guy was talking about losing his closest buddy, or a family member, or dear and favorite dog. Or he was telling the history of his incredible survival over Macho Grande. But NO! Adam Kinzinger is emotional because...

He loves... self-governance and cannot take criticism. This sappy sentimental "conservative" is crying because he flew tankers during US operations in Middle East and Afghanistan? So, he never faced a raging and armed mob (no, I am not talking about this cretinism on January 6), never was shot at, never was severely wounded but he cries because of what? What is going on with these overly sentimental and sensitive congress people and other politicos? This is not the first time they are crying a river. Remember this? 

Yeah, I can see how these sensitive and teary guys whose only difficulty in life was overcoming a confusion and doubt in choosing which the Ivy League school they want to attend, can "lead" the nation. Exhibition (probably for show) of those "emotions" is becoming tiring and cringe-inducing ordeal for anyone who didn't lose self-respect. And for these "sensitive" BSers I have only one advice: you knew what you were getting into--a cesspool of America's politics, a euphemism for media whoring and selling oneself to a highest bidder, so, find some remnants of masculinity and stop goddamn crying about things others find inconsequential. It is disgusting.    
I remember when I was crying, it was when children were being slaughtered in Beslan, I wept in full voice, almost uncontrollably because of what was done to innocents. Because of a complete helplessness to do anything about it, to save a single life.

People tougher than me cried too. That is when you cry. This Kinzinger's spectacle, however, designed primarily for public consumption in the best tradition of lack of taste and class of US media, is not just disgusting but shows a dangerous level of infantilism permeating the whole American political discourse. Wanna them cry about it? Don't hold your breath. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Few Words In Defense of the West.

You all know how critical I am of the modern combined West in general and the United States in particular. Being a United States citizen I am absolutely appalled by the direction America took in mid-1990s and where is she heading both in foreign and domestic policies. My political creed is that of the real Realist which could be summarized by a desire to see a moderate and cooperative foreign policy and in domestic economic policies I am somewhere in between of proper state regulatory functions and free enterprise, culturally, however, I am not only Russian but I am a man who recognizes not only West's crimes and failures but also an enormous contribution to human civilization, some of which is simply without parallels in the history of humanity. I am talking about the finest art, incredible scientific achievements and humanism before it was reduced to a complete absurd by Western "elites". In this sense I am a Western man too. And here is the deal: some idiot started to apply an old cliche' about Afghanistan as a "graveyard of the empires" to modernity. 

One guy tries to explain why Afghanistan has this title attached to it. I get that, but the reality of this "graveyard" in a modern era is not supported by facts in the least. This propaganda BS was overused in the West during and after the Soviet War in Afghanistan, wrongly and deliberately attributing the collapse of the Soviet Union to that war. Reality is, Afghan War has been a minor factor in the collapse of the USSR and the Soviet Union exited Afghanistan not as a "defeated" side. I am not the only one who writes about it. Soviet collapse was due to a completely different set of reasons but the combined West needed a credit for this collapse in fields in which no credit could have been given. It is the same BS myth as US-made Stingers "winning" the war for mujahedin against Soviet Air Force, which actually adapted well to a new threat and found a counter, largely neutralizing it. Nor, as the history tells us, were British necessarily unsuccessful in their Afghanistan adventure and the collapse of British Power had nothing to do with British wars there, because Great Britain lost the Empire de facto on the battlefields of the WW II and that was long after British adventures in the mountains of Hindu-Kush.

Now comes the United States, which actually wraps her Afghanistan adventure on a very minor note, to put it politely, but the truth is--never in the modern times (starting from the times of Dr. Watson wounded in Afghanistan and before him getting together with Sherlock Holmes, wink, wink) did Afghans, in their wild ethnic variety, from Pushtu to Tajik, realistically best Western soldier in non-guerilla warfare, they simply can't. They surely had their share of tactical successes, everybody does once in a while, but they simply never caused any modern Empire to collapse or in any way have proven that Afghanistan is a "graveyard of (modern) empires" by influencing such a collapse in a significant way. America's loss in Afghanistan is primarily a PR and financial disaster, which is very bad as it is, but even if the United States were to collapse tomorrow, this collapse would have had very little to do with Afghanistan and would be a consequence of a sum of the America's failed military commitments and downright insane foreign and domestic policies and, to be sure, the graveyard for Pax Americana (a euphemism for American Empire) is NOT in Afghanistan. Not even close. 

But the risible cliche endures and is very detrimental, in fact, to a sober military-political analysis which is badly needed in our media-driven sensationalist (and grossly incompetent and ignorant) times. Western Cold War propagandists and politicos, such as Zbig, didn't have enough intellect and foresight to grasp a simple fact that they were doing a disservice primarily to themselves by spreading an utterly false but gratifying, in a short run, cliche about "the graveyard of empires". Nor did they have an idea what they were doing fanning the flames of Islamic terrorism, which ultimately resulted in the tragedy of 9/11 and de facto attack on the Bill of Rights, America's most important and valuable treasure. All three: British Empire, Russian/Soviet Empire and modern American one have collapsed largely because of the problems of their own making and primarily domestically and they surely haven't been buried in Afghanistan. In the end, even the best of the bestest Pushtu warrior needs a night vision scope and googles and good radio if he wants to survive on the modern guerilla battlefield and last time I checked, those are not produced in Afghanistan, if you know what I mean. 

You Cannot Help Them, Or Captains Obvious.

When I write about US crisis I constantly stress that it is systemic and it is institutional. Very few American institutes are as tragicomical and popular as being butts of the jokes around the world than the so called America's "Intelligence Community". It's failures to assess or to predict anything are so spectacular, that one must question a validity of their "analytical" methodology. To illustrate this, it is enough to take a look at a comment to a release in 2012 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Global Trends Projections 2030. 

Report projects U.S. as "first among equals," but the "unipolar moment" is over.

Well, here we are in the year of 2021, 9 years before the end date of these "projections", and, boy, are we in for a surprise. I am not talking about "unipolar moment" which was over in 2007 after Putin's Munich Speech and wiping the floor with the US client of post-Soviet country of Georgia in the five day war in 2008. That it was over was clear already then. No, I am talking the "first among equals". There is a lot of wrong with statement, because seeing the size of America's real economy today, and yes, I am talking about actual manufacturing, one is forced to concede that American economy is nowhere near the Chinese one and continues to deindustrialize at accelerated rate. Yes, my brand new refrigerator is made in Mexico, the new stove is made in China, and pretty much any consumer good sold today inside the US is NOT made in America. And these are consumer goods only, there are other goods and resources which have non-US origin and are critical for what remains of the US productive economy. Be that China's rare earth elements, Russia's titanium for US aerospace, or many other things and the list is long. 

So, no, the US is not "first among equals" since China dwarfs the United States economically, while Russia neutralized most of US military capabilities by making systems which the United States simply can not and it is doubtful will be able to close ever-increasing military-technological gap with Russia both in enablers and weapons which shape modern geopolitics. No doubt, this year, yet another Captain Obvious "assessment", on Threats to the US no less, has been produced with an "intelligence insight" of such a profundity that one really begins to scratch the head.

If this is the "level" of "intelligence" assessments, I need to call on Mr. Lavrov. 

Neither USSR, nor Russia in post WW II time ever wanted "a direct conflict" with "US Forces", which wouldn't be able to survive it to start with, but tried to avoid escalation towards conflict knowing simply way more about real war and how it looks like than any US policy-maker or general. Truth is, in terms of "undermining" US influence, the United States does a swell job itself. In fact, Russia couldn't even dream about undermining the US influence with such incredible efficiency than the US does on its own. Posting trite obvious facts or, on the other hand, elaborate, but easily debunked, lies by the so called US intelligence community IS the part of this undermining and if anyone wanted to see a complete dysfunction and a monstrous BS-producing machine, one doesn't need to look further than Trump's Presidency and Elections 2020. 

Of course, no one should expect any public domain assessments even from the top notch analytical orgs to be perfect. One will always find inconsistencies and, sometimes, obvious half-truths, but in the American case it is an absolutely defining feature of exposing oneself as simply ignorant on the culture and intentions of those who the United States counts as enemies. American enemies are those who are better at things America thinks they cannot be. Well, that's exceptionalism for you. But the US National Intelligence Council, certainly, thinks that it is smarter than  anybody else and does this:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Intelligence Council (NIC) today released the seventh edition of its quadrennial Global Trends report. Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World is an unclassified assessment of the forces and dynamics that the NIC anticipates are likely to shape the national security environment over the next 20 years. Global Trends 2040 identifies four structural forces that will shape the future – demographics, the environment, economics, and technology – and assesses how they affect decisions and outcomes. It further describes five potential scenarios for the world in 2040, based on different combinations of the structural forces, emerging dynamics, and key uncertainties. It ends with a series of graphics displaying key demographic trends in nine geographic regions.

Oh, boy, economics and technology are "identified" as "likely to shape the national security environment". In related news, water is wet, wind blows and the sky is blue. But never mind, these two factors have been decisive factors in anything for much longer than the United States exists, good that somebody noticed now. I will omit here commenting on important but grossly de-scientified in the West issue of environmental change and, correctly assuming, the level of wokeness and social and cultural insanity affecting ALL US institutions today, I will leave this important issue outside of this discussion. For now. So, here is this latest Global Trends 2040. The opening salvo is devastating in one of the four scenarios of the future:

I believe this scenario was written by the same people who shot CIA recruitment videos and people who graduated "economics" programs in Ivy League schools and know Modern Monetary Theory. Of course, you will not find anywhere in this assessment how to reindustrialize the United States and concentrate resources on real innovations, other than discovering new genders and fields of "study" such as Queer studies or Constructing the Grievance Industry. Of course after this wowser they go for the favorite term in the US military-intelligence-media complex: disruptions and disruptors, meaning anything that "undermines international order", that is disappearing US, primarily self-proclaimed, hegemony.

The world is fragmented into several economic and security blocs of varying size and strength, centered on the United States, China, the EU, Russia, and a few region-al powers, and focused on self-sufficiency, resiliency, and defense. Information flows within separate cyber-sovereign enclaves, supply chains are reoriented, and international trade is disrupted. Vulnerable developing countries are caught in the middle

Actually, "Vulnerable developing countries" in Eurasia will be doing just fine and will feel very safe from being bombed by "democratic", if not queer, stand-off weapons and have their regime changed. Being caught in the middle is not such a bad proposition after seeing how successful "democratization" by the US went in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. But then they suddenly come to a sensible conclusion, surprise!

Material Power. Military capabilities and economic size will remain the foundation of state capacity and power projection, compel-ling other countries to take a state’s interests and policies into account. These two areas of power allow states to maintain their security and to amass resources that enable other elements of power. 

In related news, water is wet, the sky is blue...well, you know the routine. And then comes the BANG!

Other major powers, including Russia, the EU, Japan, the United Kingdom, and potentially India, could have more maneuvering room to exercise influence during the next two decades, and they are likely to be consequential in shaping geopolitical and economic outcomes as well as evolving norms and rules.Russia is likely to remain a disruptive power for much or all of the next two decades even as its material capabilities decline relative to other major players. Russia’s advantages, including a sizeable conventional military, weapons of mass destruction, energy and mineral resources, an expansive geography, and a willingness to use force overseas, will enable it to continue playing the role of spoiler and power broker in the post-Soviet space, and at times farther afield. Moscow most likely will continue trying to amplify divisions in the West and to build relationships in Africa, across the Middle East, and elsewhere. Russia probably will look for economic opportunity and to establish a dominant military position in the Arc-tic as more countries step up their presence in the region. However, with a poor investment  climate, high reliance on commodities with potentially volatile prices, and a small economy—projected to be approximately 2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) for the next two decades—Russia may struggle to project and maintain influence globally. President Vladimir Putin’s departure from power, either at the end of his current term in 2024 or later, could more quickly erode Russia’s geopolitical position, especially if internal instability ensues. Similarly, a decrease in Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, either through renewables or diversifying to other gas suppliers, would undercut the Kremlin’s revenue generation and overall capacity, especially if those decreases could not be offset with exports to customers in Asia.      

My beef here is not with BS written about Russia--by now, there are no real professional Russoists in US "intelligence community" (speaking Russian doesn't make one a "specialist in Russia") and one should expect such idiocy, plus always consider a severe butt-hurt factor when speaking about Russia to American exceptionalists--they are still pissed off  with Russia defeating Hitler, flying first to space, having better education system, superior weapons and military history and now fast closing the gap in terms of living standard. No, you would expect that. My beef is with the bunch of morons who consider the UK a "major power". Really? How, can anyone explain it to me? Country devoid of any serious natural resources, with economy consisting primarily of FIRE, with no independent aerospace industry capable out of own resources to produce a basic commercial let alone combat aircraft, having no space program, drowning in the cesspool of multiculturalism and insidious Islamization, having a PM who is a certified idiot and being on the verge of disintegration, with Scots having a different views on the UK altogether. And yes, UK has a lone operational destroyer and her two carriers deploy a terrifying weapon--F-35B which is a...well, flies not that well, to put it mildly. 

But that doesn't prevent this "Intelligence Council" from publishing an absolutely risible, and traditionally wrong, yet another pack of BS which is filled with catch phrases and buzzwords of increasingly detached from the reality and grossly ideological American discourse in any serious professional field ranging from politics to war, to intelligence or the so called "diplomacy". If you wanted to see how decreasing intellect and professionalism manifest themselves in a society which does not produce anything but wet dreams--read this document. You cannot help them, that is how they were brought up--to be ignorant.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday: The Shaggs Were Huge Influence...

On Kurt Cobain. I kid you not. So, you know now where this whole grunge thing came from:

The Shaggs were definitely pioneers in making independence from talent a very cool thing and gaining a cult status, which, I think, translates well into the affordability of hot dogs in COSTCO. Of course only the Legendary Stardust Cowboy could compete with Shaggs' musical profundity (I am screwing with you) and his drummer sounds very much like me in my school 9th grade band named Sour Cream (why, it is a separate story) and it is an amazing piece of music. 
Yet, I think that the greatest music of them all in its raw enjoyment of own inability to play and hold the time and pitch is still this:
The best praise to this amazing performance is the comment which says that:
Does anyone know how to contact this band? I want to book them for my ex-girlfiend's wedding.
I am absolutely not surprised with the fact that Frank Zappa got interested in Shaggs. Poor Frank, should he be alive today, boy, what kind of music would he be writing, one can only dream about. Yet, as it turned out, Dave was the real deal from Nirvana and, as my hypothesis goes, the better you become as a musician the more you go back to real roots of great pop and rock music. Foo Fighters, certainly, outgrew the cheekiness of grunge and are doing what I never thought I would ever see--playing great pop-music. But Dee Gees is a thing we all needed. 
The thing Dave and Foos do is life-affirming and is absolutely amazing, because the guys know what good music is and I praise them for that. 

They Just Can't Get A Break.

Syria's Air Defense is just doing its job. 

All four missiles fired by Israeli warplanes at Syria’s Homs province early on Thursday were shot down by the Syrian Army using Russian-made ‘Buk’ air defense systems, the Russian military has revealed. Two Israeli F-16 jets fired the guided missiles from Lebanese airspace, around 01:11 local time on Thursday.“All four missiles were destroyed by on-duty Syrian air defense units, using Russian-made Buk-M2E systems,” the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria said in a statement.

Syrians are getting really good at it.  It is easier to do when you have Buk-M2E, which is a fairly new (mid-2000s) technology. By now, Buks saw so much combat use, that they merely add to the already high demand for Russian air-defense systems on the international market.