Tag Archives: Ukraine

U.S. to close 15 military bases in Europe, as Russia’s presence grows

Dr. Eowyn:

After provoking a new Cold War with Moscow — imposing economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, specifically Crimea — the U.S. is retreating from Europe with the closure of 15 military bases.

At a minimum, Obama’s foreign policy is a mess of confusion and mixed messages. At a maximum, he’s doing this by design.

Remember his whispered words to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, March 26, 2012? Not realizing his words would be picked up by live microphones, Obama signaled to Medvedev that — wink, wink, nudge, nudge — he’ll be much freer to act as he pleases after he’s won reelection: “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility” to deal with missile defense by tearing down America’s missile shield. Then he asked for Russia’s patience — for more “space” and “time.”

See also “U.S. physicist Tom Fife: Obama was groomed to be President by Soviet Communists

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

U.S. European CommandClick map to enlarge

Adam Kredo reports for The Washington Free Beacon, Jan. 9, 2015, that the U.S. military is set to shutter 15 sites across Europe and reduce the number of active personnel stationed in these areas as the result of a wide-ranging restructuring that aims to consolidate some operations on the continent, according to Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

The European restructuring is the culmination of a two-year consolidation plan known as the European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) that is reminiscent of a previous decade-long realignment following the Cold War.

The following changes will take effect in the coming years:

  • 15 sites in all will be returned by the United States to their host nations.
  • “Approximately 1,200 U.S. military and civilian support positions will be eliminated, and about 6,000 more U.S. personnel will be relocated within Europe,” said John Conger, the acting…

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Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2014

Dr. Eowyn:

Here’s the full text of Obama’s speech to the UN on Wednesday, or does anyone care? LOL

I’m reblogging this only because Roger Cohen (who he?) of the New York Times quoted from the speech and lauded Obama on his “new resolve.” Gag….
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/opinion/roger-cohen-obama-leads-on-isis-he-is-right-to-take-the-risk.html?_r=0

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

O's UN chairObama at the UN General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2014

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by President Barack Obama
Address to the United Nations General Assembly
September 24, 2014
New York City, NY

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: we come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.

Around the globe, there are signposts of progress. The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted; the prospect of war between major powers reduced. The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half. And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.

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What time is it?

Did you know that prophecies account for nearly one third of the Bible?

Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

Two recent essays point to the unsettling and troubling times we live in. Is the time near?

~Eowyn

Helm's Deep

Victor Davis Hanson, “Are the Orcs Winning?,” PJMedia, Sept. 7, 2014:

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was sometimes faulted by literary critics for caricaturing the evil orcs as uniformly bad.  All of them were as unpleasant to look as they were deadly to encounter. There is not a single good orc or even a reformed orc in the trilogy. The apparent one-dimensional assumption of men, hobbits, dwarves, and elves is that the only good orc is a dead orc. So the absolutist Tolkien tried to teach us about the enduring nature of absolute good and evil. Apparently he did not think that anything from his contemporary experience might allow him to imagine reforming or rehabilitating such fictive folk.

Tolkien’s literary purpose with orcs was not to explore the many shades of evil or the struggle within oneself to avoid the dark side; he did that well enough in dozens of once good but weak characters who went bad such as the turncoat Saruman the wizard, his sidekick Wormtongue, a few of the hobbits who had ruined the Shire, and, best of all, the multifaceted Gollum. Orcs, on the other hand, are unredeemable. Orcs, goblins, and trolls exist as the tools of the even more sinister in proud towers to destroy civilization, and know nothing other than killing and destruction. Their reward is to feed on the crumbs of what they have ruined.

In the 21st century we are often lectured that such simplistic, one-dimensional evil is long gone. A ubiquitous civilization has so permeated the globe that even the worst sorts must absorb some mitigating popular culture from the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook, as if the sheer speed of transmitting thoughts ensures their moral improvement.

Even where democracy is absent, the “world community” and a “global consciousness” are such that billions supposedly won’t let Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan reappear in our postmodern lives. To deal with a Major Hasan, Americans cannot cite his environment as the cause, at least not poverty, racism, religious bigotry, nativism, xenophobia, or any of the more popular –isms and-ologies in our politically correct tool box that we customarily use to excuse and contextualize evil behavior. So exasperated, we shrug and call his murdering “workplace violence” — an apparent understandable psychological condition attributable to the boredom and monotony of the bleak, postmodern office.

But then suddenly along comes the limb-lopping, child-snatching, and mutilating Nigerian-based Boko Haram. What conceivable Dark Age atrocity have they omitted? Not suicide bombing, mass murder, or random torture. They are absolutely unapologetic for their barbarity. They are ready to convert or kill preteens as their mood determines for the crime of being Christian. In response, the Nigerian government is powerless, while the United States is reduced to our first lady holding up Twitter hashtags, begging for the release of the latest batch of girls.

Is the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab worse? It likes the idea that it is premodern. In addition to the usual radical Islamic horrors of beheadings, rape, and mutilation, Al-Shabaab even kills protected elephants, perhaps thousands of them, to saw off tusks and fund their killing spree. They seem to make the medieval Taliban look tame in comparison.

Roger Cohen, “The Great Unraveling,” New York Times, Sept. 15, 2014:

(Note: my words are colored teal)

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?

It was a time of beheadings (ISIS). With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.

It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation (in land mass) on earth (Russia) pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part (Crimea) of a neighboring country (Ukraine), the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane (MH17). The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.

(See “Was it really a Russian INVASION of Crimea?” )

It was a time of breakup. The most successful union (United Kingdom) in history, forged on an island in the North Sea in 1707, headed toward possible dissolution — not because it had failed (refugees from across the seas still clamored to get into it), nor even because of new hatreds between its peoples. The northernmost citizens (Scotland) were bored. They were disgruntled. They were irked, in some insidious way, by the south and its moneyed capital, an emblem to them of globalization and inequality. They imagined they had to control their National Health Service in order to save it even though they already controlled it through devolution and might well have less money for its preservation (not that it was threatened in the first place) as an independent state. The fact that the currency, the debt, the revenue, the defense, the solvency and the European Union membership of such a newborn state were all in doubt did not appear to weigh much on a decision driven by emotion, by urges, by a longing to be heard in the modern cacophony — and to heck with the day after. If all else failed, oil would come to the rescue (unless somebody else owned it or it just ran out).

It was a time of weakness. The most powerful nation on earth (USA) was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader (POS) mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

It was a time of hatred. Anti-Semitic slogans were heard in the land that invented industrialized mass murder for Europe’s Jews. Frightened European Jews removed mezuzahs from their homes. Europe’s Muslims felt the ugly backlash from the depravity of the decapitators, who were adept at Facebooking their message. The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms. Politicians, haunted by their incapacity, played on the fears of their populations, who were device-distracted or under device-driven stress. Dystopia was a vogue word, like utopia in the 20th century. The great rising nations of vast populations held the fate of the world in their hands but hardly seemed to care.

It was a time of fever (Ebola). People in West Africa bled from the eyes.

It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”

Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it had wrought.

Americans are sick of U.S. wars – here, there, and everywhere

mad as hell

Poll after recent poll find that the American people are simply sick of it.

We are sick of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

  • A USA Today/Pew Poll from January shows that Americans now believe by a 50%-38% margin that war against Iraq was stupid.
  • Support even for the Afghanistan war has collapsed. Only 35% of all Americans support the Afghanistan war, according to a 2011 CNN poll.

We are sick of the never-ending “war on terror”:

We are overwhelmingly opposed to more war in Ukraine, Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

We don’t want the U.S. to go to war for the “heroic rebels” (who really are Muslim jihadists) in Syria:

We oppose the U.S. getting into a war with Russia in Ukraine:

  • A Pew/USA Today poll conducted over the weekend found that Americans  oppose – by a 2-1 margin – any U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
  • A YouGov poll conducted last month found that only 14% of Americans said the U.S. has “any responsibility” to get involved in Ukraine, and only 18% think the U.S. “has any responsibility to protect Ukraine if Russia were to invade.”
  • Huffington Post reports that pluralities of Americans — whether Democrat, Republican, or independent — agree that the U.S. does not have a responsibility to protect Ukraine.

We don’t want the U.S. to go to war against Iran.

We are sick of the “war on drugs.” A new Pew poll found:

  • 63% of Americans think that we should stop mandatory prison terms for drug law violations.
  • 54% are in favor of marijuana legalization.
  • 67% say the government should focus more on providing treatment for people who use drugs like cocaine and heroin, and only 26% think the focus should be more on prosecuting people who use such drugs.

We are sick of the interminable “war on poverty” (which Obama renamed a “war on inequality“) at home — a war, begun half a century ago by Lyndon Johnson in 1964, which we’d obviously lost because there are more “poor” people than ever before:

We are simply sick of being the policeman for the world:

  • A Pew poll from December found a majority of Americans – more than ever before in Pew’s 50-year history of polling this question – think the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along as best they can on their own.”
  • A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington. In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.

But the Obama administration and the elites of both ruling parties want all these wars not only to continue but extend to places in which the U.S. currently are not in a war. Every day, they beat their war drums, agitating for a war in Ukraine and in Syria.

All of which mean that the American people are profoundly disaffected with the governing elite. Neither mainstream political party represents the interests of the people, as revealed by polls:

H/t ZeroHedge and Washington’sBlog

~Eowyn

Obama sends 600 troops to E. Europe as warning to Russia

Dr. Eowyn:

Having just removed the last U.S. battle tanks from Europe, the U.S. is not ready for either a cold or hot war with Russia over Ukraine, and Obama had already said that the U.S. and NATO have no plan to use force in Ukraine.

So why is he sending 600 troops to 4 E. European countries bordering on Russia and Ukraine?

Does he actually think the Russian Army, with 360,000 soldiers, would be deterred by our 600?

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

To EE

Ben Watson reports for Defense One, April 22, 2014:

The Pentagon is sending about 600 U.S. troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia in a show of support for Eastern European countries uneasy with Russian forces still lingering near Ukraine.

Eastern Europe Map

“Nothing we’ve seen out of Russia or their armed forces, is de-escalating the tension, is making things any more stable in Ukraine or on the continent of Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.

The first steps of the increased U.S troop presence will occur in Poland and involves approximately 150 paratroopers from the 173rd, based in Vicenza, Italy. Those troops are expected to arrive Wednesday.

The 173rd, which has deployed once to Iraq and four times to Afghanistan since 2003, was already on call to help with NATO security in Europe, led by the alliance’s top military…

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Obama removes all U.S. battle tanks from Europe

Dr. Eowyn:

That, in turn, means the United States, henceforth, will not be able to fight a land war in Europe.

H/t John Rolls of the Rolls Report

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

Amidst the still-ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the Obama administration is moving the last U.S. battle tanks from Germany and, thus, from Europe.

At the same time, the Pentagon also is disbanding two of the U.S. Army’s heavy brigades in Germany. Last year, the 170th Infantry out of Baumholder disbanded, while the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade at Grafenwöhr is in the process of doing the same.

Abram tank out of GermanyOne of 22 Abram battle tanks, bound for South Carolina, being loaded at the railhead in Kaisersalutern, Germany (photo by Alexander Burnett/U.S. Army). 

John Vandiver reports for Stars and Stripes, April 4, 2014, that the U.S. Army’s 69-year history of basing main battle tanks on German soil quietly ended last month when 22 Abrams tanks, a main feature of armored combat units throughout the Cold War, embarked for the U.S.

On March 18, the remaining tanks were loaded up at the 21st Theater Sustainment…

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10,000 Russian troops conduct massive nuclear exercise

Dr. Eowyn:

This is ominous, especially in view of Putin’s military doctrine that states Russia would use nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation,” that is, even if Russia proper hadn’t been attacked.

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

map of Ukraine

In January 2014, Russia carried out a large surprise ad hoc military drill around the Crimean Black Sea. No one at the time thought anything of it. But, of course, we know now the drill was a prelude to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Three days ago, on March 27, 2014, ten thousand Russian troops began a military drill simulating the massive deployment of nuclear missiles.

Zachary Keck reports for The Diplomat, March 29, 2014, that while much Western attention has been bestowed on Russia’s conventional military buildup along the borders of Ukraine, Moscow also began a massive nuclear offensive exercise on Thursday.

According to the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, citing multiple senior Russian military officers, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) began a massive three-day exercise involving 10,000 soldiers and 1,000 pieces of equipment from more than 30 units. The major purpose of the drill, according to the report, is to…

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