Feb 21, 2008

Free yo' mind, yo' ass will follow

Free yo’ mind, yo’ ass will follow.

Brazil has been openly building uranium enrichment facilities for some time, and they’re not pretending it’s for power stations. They want to become a nuclear power, and play with the big boys. Condy Rice hasn’t talked up a storm about that one.

Both India and Pakistan were allowed to become nuclear powers, but no attack by the militant Hindu nationalists of the RSS, nor from the militant Moslems of Pakistan has resulted.

It would have been nice if Article 6 of the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty, under which the nuclear powers undertake to “reduce and then eliminate entirely” their nuclear arsenals, had been honored. That was why the other signatories agreed not to acquire nukes, of course, but now it’s water under the bridge.

Once you catch on you’re dealing with scam artists, you stop giving them more rope.[1]

Meanwhile, the Greenland ice cap, two miles thick (but twice the area of Brazil?) is melting. Far from taking ten thousand years, as previously predicted by our experts, it takes about ten seconds since the melt flows down crevasses to the rock surface under the glacier and creates a slipway.

It’s amazing how quickly being up to the butt in raw sewage concentrates the mind on what’s important. [i.e. NOT being up to the butt and so on.]
[1] Compare “The poor people line up to throw their votes into the box, like pieces of waste paper into the rubbish bin.” Mu’ammar Al-Qhadhafi, The Green Book, with “Every five years, the rich get two of their friends, Mr. A and Mr. B, to stand for election, and you are allowed to choose between them.” Bernard Shaw, Every Woman’s Guide to Politics, and with Ambrose Bierce, “Every four years you’re allowed to detach the full leech and attach a new empty leech.”

New battle zones

For mental orientation, south is the top of the map. (So also is the bottom, of course, and the sides.)

“The Russian media trumpeted the findings of a Moscow scientific mission to the region which boasts "sensational" geological discoveries enabling the Kremlin to make the territorial claim. Populist newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda - a cheerleader for Putin - printed a map of the North Pole showing a "new addition" to Russia, a triangle five times the size of Britain with twice as much oil as Saudi Arabia.

The six-week mission on a nuclear ice-breaker claimed that the underwater Lomonsov ridge is geologically linked to the Siberian continental platform - and similar in structure. The detailed findings are likely to be put to the United Nations in a bid to bring it under the Kremlin noose, and provide the bonanza of an estimated 10 billion tonnes of gas and oil deposits as well as significant sources of diamonds, gold, tin, manganese, nickel, lead and platinum.

Under current international law, the countries ringing the Arctic - Russia, Canada, the US, Norway, Denmark (Greenland) - are limited to a 200 mile economic zone around their coastlines. Currently, a UN convention stipulates that none of these countries can claim jurisdiction of the Arctic seabed because the geological structure does not match that of the surrounding continental shelves. The region is administered by the International Seabed Authority - the authority now being challenged by Moscow.

A previous attempt to claim the oil and gas resources beyond its 200 miles zone five years ago was rejected - but this time Moscow intends to make a far more serious submission to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The head of the government-funded expedition Valery Kaminsky, director of the All-Russian Oceanic Scientific Research Institute, said he has key photographic evidence to prove the geological claims. "These are very interesting facts for the world community," he said.

Yuri Deryabin, head of the Institute of North European Countries, said: "I estimate Russia's chances to gets its piece of the Arctic pie highly enough - but the main battle is just starting." He acknowledged the negotiations would be "complicated".

The claim is likely to provoke an outcry from green groups but there is also Russian opposition. Sergei Priamikov, of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said the notion was "strange" and warned other countries could make counter claims. Canada "could say that the Lomonosov ridge is part of the Canadian shelf, which means Russia should in fact belong to Canada, together with the whole of Eurasia", he observed drily.”

“…Russia has decided that the United States is weak enough, now it has most of military and equipment bogged down in the Middle East, to not put up much of a fight over who owns what in the Arctic Circle, so it has decided to announce a plan to annex an astounding 460,000 square miles of international territory. That's equal to the land mass of Italy, Germany and France, combined.

…the countries bordering the Arctic will fight over the land that is losing its shield of ice and snow, and the North and NorthWest trade routes that are opening up now the sea ice is diminishing. They will fight over it all.

… an ice-free Arctic will be the most coveted prize in the history of modern humankind. Unpolluted, unexploited, unclaimed, undeveloped, unpopulated.”

Flunking the art of war by John Walsh

At the very least China's President Hu displayed a sense of humor in presenting a book, of all things, to George W. Bush on his recent visit to the United States. And the choice of Sun-Tzu's fifth century B.C. classic, "The Art of War" was tantalizing. Since Dubya certainly will not penetrate too far into it, I decided to have a look, so that at least one American would honor the Chinese gift by actually reading it. This provided me a rare patriotic surge, much like the rush when I put my tax return in the mailbox.

Sun-Tzu did not disappoint. At almost the very beginning of the second chapter I found a near perfect description of Dubya's ill-fated war on Iraq. To quote:

"Master Sun said: The art of warfare is this:

"In joining battle, seek the quick victory. If battle is protracted, your weapons will be blunted and your troops demoralized. If you lay siege to a walled city, you exhaust your strength. If your armies are kept in the field for a long time, your national reserves will not suffice. Where you have blunted your weapons, demoralized your troops, exhausted your strength and depleted all available resources, the neighboring rulers will take advantage of your adversity to strike. And even with the wisest of counsel, you will not be able to turn the ensuing consequences to the good. There never has been a state that has benefited from an extended war."

What a simple and concise description of the quagmire in Iraq! Here Sun-Tzu is providing counsel for an invading army. For the invaded, or in our era for the colonized or occupied, protracted struggle and the inevitable atrocities committed by the invader are both keys to victory. It is certain that the military and the neocon architects of the war know these classical principles of warfare even if Dubya is clueless. One is led to suspect that the neocons knew that a quagmire would ensue in Iraq, and in fact there is evidence for this, but they did not care. They had other goals. (Think Mearscheimer and Walt.*)

In the third chapter, Sun-Tzu makes some further pertinent observations.

"Master Sun said: The art of warfare is this:

"It is best to keep one's own state intact; to crush the enemy's state is only a second best. The highest excellence is to attack strategies; the next to attack alliances; the next to attack soldiers; and the worst to attack walled cities. Therefore the expert in using the military subdues the enemies forces without going to battle."

In other words going to battle is a sign of weakness, a sign that other means were not available. The very fact that the U.S. wages war on Iraq is a sign either of weakness or lack of wisdom, the latter a failure to perceive one's own interests. (Think Mearscheimer and Walt again.*)

In Chapter 13, "Master Sun said:

"Intelligence is of the essence in warfare ­ it is what the armies depend upon in their every move."

And this has a dual application. In Iraq the Americans are surrounded by the Resistance; it seeps into their every pore like water even though they inhabit the desert. And so the Americans have no intelligence, and all the Abu Ghraib's in the world will not extort the information they want. One does not readily betray one's family and friends.

Finally, in the very first words of Chapter 1, Sun-Tzu offers perhaps his most important observation which we have left for last:
"Master Sun said:

"War is a vital matter of state. It is the field on which life or death is determined and the road which leads to either survival or ruin, and must be examined with greatest care.

"Therefore to gauge the outcome of war we must appraise the situation on the basis of the following five criteria, and compare the two sides by assessing their relative strengths. The first of the five criteria is the way (tao). The way (tao) is what brings the thinking of the people in line with their superiors."

(Think the polls that show the overwhelming majority of Americans feel that the war in Iraq is a mistake and not worth fighting, certainly not worth dying for. This amounts to bad tao for Bush and his accomplices in both War Parties.)


The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise; military chiefs red-faced Source: dailymail.co.uk Published: November 10, 2007 Author: MATTHEW HICKLEY

When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed. At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.

That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.

Uninvited guest: A Chinese Song Class submarine, like the one that sufaced by the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board. By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.
The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.

One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age. The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.

Battle stations: The Kitty Hawk carries 4,500 personnel. The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines. And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.

According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.

It also led to tense diplomatic exchanges, with shaken American diplomats demanding to know why the submarine was "shadowing" the U.S. fleet while Beijing pleaded ignorance and dismissed the affair as coincidence.

Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its "backyard".

The People's Liberation Army Navy's submarine fleet includes at least two nuclear-missile launching vessels. Its 13 Song Class submarines are extremely quiet and difficult to detect when running on electric motors.

Commodore Stephen Saunders, editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and a former Royal Navy anti-submarine specialist, said the U.S. had paid relatively little attention to this form of warfare since the end of the Cold War. He said: "It was certainly a wake-up call for the Americans.

"It would tie in with what we see the Chinese trying to do, which appears to be to deter the Americans from interfering or operating in their backyard, particularly in relation to Taiwan."

In January China carried a successful missile test, shooting down a satellite in orbit for the first time.

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