sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Influence of Seapower on History (China)


The shameless, elite, smug, corrupt, nasty, myopic US mainstream media either ignores what's happening around the world, or they've been coopted. In one scenario they are useful fools - and in the other they are useful tools. The cynic in me is unable to decide.

Choke Points - And President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

     Context and Precedence

(Reynolds Peele Parameters (US Army War College), Summer 1997, pp. 61-74.)  Sir Walter Raleigh once observed, "Whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself." Unimpeded sea lines of communication are as important to us today as they were to Raleigh, his peers, and their successors who created a mercantile empire that was sustained by the Royal Navy's control of the sea lines of communication linking England, its colonies, and its trading partners.

More than 80 percent of global trade still moves by sea, and the United States depends on the free and unimpeded movement of its share of that commerce. Further, with its power-projection land forces and seemingly unending international commitments, the United States and its allies depend on access to the seas to ensure their security. 

The concept of unimpeded sea lines of communication underpins the very meaning of a national security strategy based on the twin premises of global enlargement and engagement. Yet one must ask whether US strategy adequately addresses the security of the various sea lines of communication and the associated chokepoints so essential to its own economic well-being and that of its principal allies. 

     Mahan and Seapower
Alfred Thayer Mahan was born in 1840 at West Point, New York, where his father was a professor at the US Military Academy. The future admiral graduated from Annapolis in 1859, served in combat during the Civil War, and in 1885 was assigned to the Naval War College as a lecturer on naval history and strategy. He later was its president (1892-93) and retired from the Navy in 1896. Recalled to active duty in 1898, Mahan served as a member of the Naval War Board and as a delegate to the Hague Peace Conference, retiring a second time in 1906 as a rear admiral. He continued to develop his concepts of naval strategy until his death in 1914. 
Mahan's analysis of history convinced him that lines of communication determined the outcome of many battles and campaigns: Napoleon severing enemy supplies at Marengo (1800) and Ulm (1805), and Farragut holding the lines of communication of the forts on the Mississippi, which eventually contributed to their conquest during the Civil War, stood out in his mind. Equally significant was the US Navy's decisive blow to Confederate commerce by seeking out its ships on the high seas shipping lanes and by blockading and closing ports. The essence of Mahan's theory was that a nation could be strong only if it had the means to control the seas against any threat; seapower was the only way to attain that strategic objective. 

Mahan identified three attributes relevant to much of the history and policy of nations bordering the sea: "production, with the necessity of exchanging products; shipping, whereby the exchange is carried on; and colonies, which facilitate and enlarge the operations of shipping and tend to protect it by multiplying points of safety." Relationships among the three were underscored by Mahan's conviction that the United States had to develop a strategy that would allow it to compete with the European powers in the first two categories, if not in the third. While his words are those of 19th-century imperialism and colonialism, there is not a great difference between his conclusions and those that motivate practitioners of enlargement and engagement today. 

Mahan concluded that there are "two classes of powers: those whose communication is by land, and those who depend upon the sea. The sea lines are the most numerous and easy, and they will probably be determinative of the course of trade," one can examine his criteria for sea-going powers when contemplating war. 

Mahan's views on seapower were followed closely in Great Britain, Germany, and Japan; they directly affected the Allied victory in World War II, and they sustained those whose concept of seapower contributed to victory in the Cold War. Mahan recognized the geopolitical significance of sea lines of communication and of the chokepoints defined at various places along them. His insights about maintaining sea lines of communication for one's own benefit and preparing to deny them to adversaries are as relevant to strategists today as they were a century ago. One of the objectives of this article, then, is to reflect on how others might apply Mahan's theories against the United States to impede our ability to intervene in regional conflicts.

     Sri Lanka

The Chinese study history in the same way that everyone else should.

Reuters reported on 25 July that Sri Lanka's Cabinet approved a deal to grant China 80 percent control over commercial operations at the southern port of Hambantota, but it withheld giving Beijing majority control over port security, 

Sri Lankans, India, the US and Japan protested an earlier version of the deal because of concern that it could have allowed the port to be used for military purposes. The new version of the deal addresses that concern. One remaining point that is to be negotiated is whether Sri Lanka will grant more than 6,000 hectares near the port to China for development purposes.

The Sri Lankans and the Chinese have been working on the development of this port since 2010. When the development is complete, it will be the largest port complex in the Indian Ocean. 

China is the major developer, as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Every mayor development project associated with the BRI includes sales, grants or beneficial use of vast tracts of land for development and use by Chinese companies. This is one of the very sensitive and less well-publicized features of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

China is surrounding India with massive Chinese infrastructure projects and workers. To India’s east, the Chinese are building a major port on the Indian Ocean coast of Burma. To India’s west, they have already built the port of Gwadar in western Pakistan, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Hambantota is the Chinese-built port south of India. The new Chinese military logistic facility is at Djibouti, which marks the western terminus of the BRI in the Indian Ocean.

China has promised not to use the commercial ports for military purposes, but military ships can use commercial ports for refueling and resupply. Hambantota is a critical link in the BRI initiative because it is mid-way across the Indian Ocean, bypassing India to the south. With Hambantota complete, Chinese ships will have friendly ports all the way to the Mediterranean Sea via Djibouti and the Suez Canal.

These ports are also strategically located on or near the choke points that US Admiral Mahan addressed in his 1890 book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1660–1783

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Veteran's Administration (VA) and ObamaCare Revisited

This from CNN:
"The Arizona senator makes a poignant return to the Senate on Tuesday, less than a week after learning he has an aggressive form of brain cancer, just in time to boost tricky GOP vote math on the wobbling bid to replace Obamacare."
This from Virtual Mirage:
Can anyone explain why Senator McCain didn't go to a VA hospital for treatment?  Obviously CNN is missing THE STORY again, aren't they? That's a frigging shock.
It would have been emblematic of the changes that we've been hearing about (mostly in the "planning stages") at the VA if the famous veteran and US Senator had chosen the treatment options available to his fellow service members. 

Since ObamaCare's trumpeting the virtues of government run "free" healthcare, I haven't heard of one veteran serving in Congress checking into the VA hospitals to have their life-threatening illnesses managed. NOT ONE. I wonder why?

It's true that you could point to me (your illustrious blogger) and ask why I don't receive medical treatment at the VA. I haven't had the need for extensive medical treatment, but when I do need some care, I choose other options (that I personally pay for since I don't have government medical insurance). There will come a time in the near future when I will qualify for Medicare and I'm sure that I'll be enrolled in that entitlement. That sort of machine is rolling. Along with Social Security it accounts for over half of the federal budget. And in my humble opinion, it's part of why healthcare is so impossibly expensive.

"Standard of Care" is the buzz isn't it?

Senator McCain must not have been all that impressed with the Phoenix VA, where thousands of veterans were standing in line for care when they died. I'm sure that Sen. McCain would have been shoved in front of other veterans because he's more famous. Even at that, he didn't take the option.

It's telling.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Memes

He's Back

This is a subtle and sensitive look at the important issues in the news. You may have other favorites and while that's nice, this is my it begins with 'the Juice', so loved by the inner city that they gave him a walk. Yes, it was a jury of his peers.

If it had been a jury of my peers, it would have turned out differently for the rich and famous celebrity murderer who may end up marrying one of the Kardashian daughters. It would make me watch their show in hopes of seeing nature take its course. No, just kidding, I wouldn't waste my time.

When you take a moment to reflect, OJ is responsible for the rise of the Kardashians. Is he also responsible for tranny daddy? I don't know about that but I'm sure that he learned some neat tricks in prison.

The Funeral

Why does funeral food always taste as if they'd picked it up at the homeless kitchen down the street? 

I attended a funeral last week (briefly - showed my face during the snack portion and then left) to make sure that a person who I didn't like when alive was genuinely dead

Because I missed the viewing some aunt or old mistress showed me a photo of the deceased laying in his box and asked me, "Didn't they make him look lifelike?" 

I told the old bat that he never looked that good when he was alive. He had all of the virtues that I found annoying and none of the vices that I admire.

Should I spray Round-Up on the grass over his coffin? I'm just thinking about it at this point. Remember that this is the kinder and gentler LL now.

Maybe piss would be more appropriate - if less effective - unless it's a LOT of piss. Or perhaps a blend of urine and Round-Up, finding the best of both worlds and combining them in a spray bottle. When people remark on how the grass won't grow over his grave, I'm sure that I'll have some pithy comment about it - along the order of the Devil snatching his toxic soul and leaving the waste container behind.

Selling the House

I don't know why it's like that, but it is. 

Sand People are completely predictable, and they're moving into the neighborhood (in numbers). Everyone who has had to deal with the rug drivers has similar stories to tell. Mine is not the only Sand People drama.

Hillary wanted to import a lot more of them. Trump put the brakes on in a move to Make America Great Again. God bless President Trump.

The New Press Secretary

I keep wanting to ask Anthony Scaramucci if he can do the fandango.  I'll bet he gets that a lot.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

I know, it's a song. It's also true. 

The Russians have been scrupulous in their control over nuclear weapons, even when the Soviet Union fell.

Iran, like North Korea, promises to use them to wipe out their neighbors and everyone else who pisses them off. While I can appreciate that general sentiment, it's problematic. The US can turn Iran, the Norks and pretty much everywhere else into a sea of radioactive glass with the push of a button. We don't have to get close. We can do it with submarine launched ballistic missiles or land based weapons. So can the Russians. Which is why I'm so confused .

The threats to peace and stability come from Iran and North Korea. But the corrupt, wicked, elite, smug, lying, nasty, foolish mainstream media only have one story. Only one. (well, two if you count "IMPEACH TRUMP") They have only one concern for the US and the rest of the world and that's Russia. Dear readers, we have a lot more in common with the Russians than we do with Iran or North Korea. 

I haven't been watching TV at all. During the move I didn't have TV or Internet, which was a good thing. I didn't miss it. But eventually I relented and when the cable guy was plugging things in. He flipped it to Channel 2 and the first thing I saw was CBS News ranting about the Trump-Russia connection. I thought they would have moved on in the intervening week or so. Yeah, right.

So I turned the TV off.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

An Occasional Curmudgeon (Sunday Sermonette)

Yes, it's Sunday in some part of the world.

I've been very busy with several things in the life-changing department. Ok, not that life changing, but change and moving means that I couldn't find the toothpaste. And the work schedule tilted this way and that irritating me as I tried to stuff 30 hours into 24.
"LL, I need to move the meeting on Friday to Monday (Friday morning), that won't be a problem will it?"
"Not a problem at all, let me kidnap your children and hold them for ransom so the thing works out on Monday."
I sat down to write a blog and it turned out to be mean and possibly a little unfair to a Fox News contributor who made his way into my crosshairs. Mind you, I have no problem sniping from the hills when it's needed, but I always try and reflect on the fact that nobody (including me) likes a 'keyboard commando'. 

There are some truly contemptible people out there. Hillary Clinton comes to mind as do a number of spineless politicians in both parties. They are always fair game. They deserve far more than my puny words of derision.

The swamp is exceptionally deep and America knows that, which is why the nation thrust President Trump into office - to try and bring about needed reform. The government's gross and enduring dysfunction frustrates me and when that happens, I pull myself back from the edge and say "circle of influence, circle of concern". That cuts some of the curmudgeonliness because I focus on things that I can do something about rather than the myriad of things that I can't.

I'm trying to be nicer. Really, I am. Yes, it's true that I made a telephone call and it resulted in a person being put on the NO-FLY-LIST. Shit still happens. I can't go from jerk to saint in a single day.

(Saint) Augustine of Hippo is quoted as saying, "bring me purity, but not yet." AND -- That's as close to a polemic as this sermonette is going to get. And I'm sorry all this can't be more profound. At the same time, I'm trying to be more circumspect, more compassionate, and less critical. Is it working? 

Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Local Flooding

A flash flood about 1,500 ft lower in elevation than the White Wolf Mine (WWM), but within about forty-five miles of the property hit national news because it wiped out a family who was swimming in one stretch of the upper Verde River.

National news picked up on it, and I've waited to share the footage until we knew the total body count. Ten people were killed, and a few more (including a dog named "Lucky", escaped with bruises.

The Central Arizona highlands are very wet during the late summer because of the annual monsoon. It's not uncommon for flat-landers to flee the summer heat and swim in some of the ponds and pools that exist in the slot canyon rivers that I and others like to fish in. There are number of waterfalls that you can ride over slick rock down into pools below that can be as deep as forty or fifty feet.

City people often walk up Fossil Creek and then drown in non-flash flood water because they can't swim. Don't ask me to explain it. Self-given Darwin Awards. The Gila County Sheriff's Department has go up and remove the bodies and 'rescue' the distraught relatives.

But no matter who you are, you need to watch the weather. Up stream cloud bursts can complicate your day.

A couple of days ago, this particular flash flood hit about 3 pm, which is typical in terms of time-of-day for cloud bursts. The rain pattern is very normal. The WWM gets between 8 and 12 inches of rain on an annual basis in July-August. This year it may be closer to 16 inches of rain as global warming has led us to cooler and wetter weather. Last year's snowfall set records.

The photo (above right) shows a cloudburst yesterday, about six miles south of Payson, AZ and illustrates how the volume of water can generate flooding. The photo (left) illustrates a rush of water down the WWM canyon that is about as large by volume as it's likely to get.

The WWM is on bedrock, in the pines, just down from a ridge line. Because we're just about as high as you can go in elevation in the area, the momentum of flooding is not as significant on the property (which extends from the ridge about a quarter mile into a canyon and up the other side), as it is in other areas. Fishing is from dawn to noon and after that, best head home for lunch and a nap while the rain falls on the hovel's metal roof. At night, the air, now cleared, shows the stars in all their glory in a region (Southern Colorado Plateau) that is not polluted by light from cities. 

However in an area that has been mined in the past, there are piles of tailings. Those will be planted upon next spring to mitigate everything. Then I have to post "Warning MINES" signs around to keep the hikers from trespassing. I realize that in the flat land people might think that signs like that are a joke, but in the remote high country, they don't. I don't define what sort of mines they are, but people tend to think in terms of worst case.

After the sand people built a mosque down the street from my house in my nice neighborhood - essentially forcing a move at some point because many people don't like their culture and have been moving out, I really don't want more sand people up in the area of the WWM.

Higher Education

“White heteromasculinism,” a new tag, is being defined by progressive freaks in academia as a “system of oppression” that benefits only those who are “white, male, able-bodied, economically privileged, heterosexual, and cisgendered*.” 
* "Cisgendered" describes people whose gender identity matches their birth sex.
I think that it's humorous that the progs send their offspring (who by the very circumstances of birth are the joining of a male and female) to university to learn this sort of thing. They pay upwards of $60K per head per year, to have their young filled with this sort of vile race-baiting hatred and then express surprise when those (now freaks) offspring move back into the basement with their four year degree in social justice studies (major) with a minor in art appreciation. 

Is it any wonder that visionary leaders are concerned about robots taking the jobs of future college grads