Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bush Plays Chinese Checkers

Based on his staggering strategic failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is an obvious fact that as a kid our President GW Bush never played battle checkers or chess; his current dangerous economic debacles indicate he never played Monopoly. Now it is obvious, despite his privileged background, he never learned to play Chinese Checkers. His China policy so favors the ravaging trade exploitation of the USA by the Chinese, I fully expect his presidential library to be built at SMU in Texas in the form of a Chinese pagoda, illuminated by Chinese lanterns, festooned with banners of red five-toed dragons chasing pearls in the sky. Ears of Texas will be upon Chinese bongs, gongs and exploding fire crackers.

On this Thanksgiving eve the Red Chinese blocked a port visit by the aircraft carrier battle group USS Kitty Hawk to Hong Hong. This was a previously sanctioned visit by the Chinese. This battle group was under steam to Hong Hong when it was ordered to return to Japan. After the ships had turned around, the Chinese recanted and re-extended the invitation, but the Navy Admiral in charge understood Chinese Checkers and took the action that really said SCREW YOU CHIANG. He knew the US Navy was being jerked around... This decision was complicated. It was made after the Navy had flown hundreds of families to Hong Hong to unite them for a four-day holiday with the crews of the US ships in the battle group. Bravo for the US Navy. It even would have been a better response had the task force redirected itself into Keelung Harbor, Taiwan and buzzed the Straits of Formosa with its carrier aircraft for a week.

This Chinese rebuff followed the rejection of requests by two US minesweepers three to four weeks earlier to put into Hong Hong in a storm. The sharpness of the incident is brought more into focus by the fact the Chinese Navy had been welcomed to Pearl Harbor and San Diego for port visits last year. This was on top of SECDEF Gates recent visit to China that allegedly ended with a warm fuzzy hotline agreement between US and Chinese defense establishments

Stressed Condoleezza and her clueless State Department are still trying to figure out why the Chinese behaved the way they did. Bet they wet their pants in dismay over the affair. For explanations, they are tossing out reasons such as tensions caused by the US Freedom Medal presentation for the Dali Lama and recent US anger and umbrage over many toxic Chinese imports. Wrong as usual. The Chinese simply do not want the US Navy near the Chinese Coast or Taiwan; from their perspective these are Chinese waters despite International law to the contrary. Bumbling GW Bush de-facto swallowed this contention when he meekly appeased the Chinese on the force down of a Navy US intelligence reconnaissance aircraft over international waters early in his first term.

A week after the incident, the US State Department launched a formal protest over the mess to the Chinese government.

Show the flag port visits are usually frosting on a diplomatic cake that signifies warm relations between two countries – sailors have a good time, shopping, drinking, getting tattooed, and chasing women. The Navy has shore patrols that manage the visits without serious incident. The host country enjoys a financial boomlet of free spending by the sailors and local dignitaries are hosted by the Navy aboard ship. Rarely a visit goes haywire when the host country is offended, because it perceives some sort of territorial violation, but in most cases the visits go off without a hitch. Both parties win. So it is even more mysterious why the Chinese intentionally sabotaged the agreed visit after all the planning.

Inscrutable Chinese? Nonsense, their checker game is obvious: first take Macao; second Hong Hong; third take Taiwan. In this last case the US Navy has to be neutralized and that has already started. Number 4 will be Southeast Asia where the Chinese have a score to settle after the Vietnam war. Historically they believe this region belongs in their sphere of influence. The Chinese are relentless and patient. They believe time is luck...

You can also expect to have the Chinese leverage their enormous dollar holdings to curb the employment of the US Navy. Right now the dollar is worth about 49 cents on a Euro – the Chinese are watching their astounding 1.4 trillion US dollar holdings dwindle in value each day, but are stuck with them. If they dump some, they destroy what is left of the dollar and cut their own throats on their remaining dollar reserves. So they are trying to buy anything of intrinsic value world wide with their cheap dollar over flow. It is equally obvious GW Bush is trying to discourage the Chinese on converting their dollars to other currencies by treating them generously diplomatically, in trade, and looks the other way on national security issues.

How the US got itself into this pickle really started under FDR and Truman on who lost China? At that time pro-communist US envoys stationed in China did their best to promote Soviet sponsored Communist Mao as a agrarian reformer and Nationalist Chiang Kai Shek as a crook. US finally dropped aid to the anti communist forces in China. Under the Republicans, the US finally woke up, and resumed military aid to Chiang Kai Shek, but only after he retreated to Formosa... Communist Chinese gradually consolidated power as the US stood by – Nixon kept the ball rolling with detente as he tried to develop a Chinese ally against the Soviet Union. Clinton opened the trade doors with NAFTA, encouraged by eager Republican cooperation. The Chinese built factories in Mexico and dumped cheap goods tariff free across the Rio Grande. GW Bush drove the trade nail deeper into our coffin with the admission of China into the World Trade Organization; this move permitted the Chinese to dump their cheap, substandard products on US markets directly, almost unrestricted, without even going through Mexico. Remember the Clinton administration was so eager for Chinese trade that he permitted technology transfers that improved the reliability of Chinese long range missiles. Mr. Clinton and now his wife's presidential campaign have major problems with illegal Chinese sourced campaign donations; may explain much about the problems with excessive Chinese influence in the US.

That China is a rising military power is unquestionable; they have greatly developed their general purpose forces, missile forces and deep water Navy with Russian military aid, espionage and through US foolishness with commercial technology transfers. The Chinese successfully tested a missile defense weapon against a space satellite. The FBI considers the Chinese espionage threat the most dangerous foreign menace to the US long term security.

Russian Communist Vladamir Lenin, attempting to defend his hypocritical position on selling raw materials to capitalist countries, said that Soviet Russia would sell the West the rope to hang themselves. Well, Vladamir never came close to watching the West swing on his rope; but now this proposition seems to be working well against the US as instituted by the Peoples Republic of China. The noose is now tightening on GW Bush's neck.

See you at the Olympics in Peking – just do not drink the water, visit a Chinese coal mine, or participate in a Chinese fire drill at your hotel... Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Asbestos Suit & Other Presidential Candidates

NEVER CALL FOR A NEW CZAR is a Russian proverb that projects the risks from any new national leadership as possibly worse than the existing one. Despite GW Bush's over the top, damaging and incompetent leadership, the next crop of presidential candidates in both parties makes the American people cringe from low expectations and despair.

Presidential debates have presented both parties' candidates as scripted, dehumanized robots, pandering to values that escape most of the US population. They are theatrical productions that have sound bites passing as wisdom. The Republicans, except for Ron Paul, want more war and most Democrats, except Richardson, Dodd and Kucinich want it too, but in another form or with a different strategy. About 70% of Americans finally understand the expensive and deadly folly of the Iraq war and want out immediately. They do not give a rats ass over what big business, the Neocons and the Israeli Lobby want, but the Congress and party leadership on both sides jump through hoops to please these special interests. The American people listen and watch with consternation as the illegal immigration issue is booted around with more concern over the illegal immigrant, by the majority of candidates, than over the welfare of the working American. The gap between the Republican and Democratic leadership and the American people widens with each illegal alien crossing into the US; with each person dying in Iraq; and with each dollar wasted in a corrupt Iraqi occupation.

The last debate was a CNN staged production in Las Vegas designed to promote Hillary Clinton. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was a biased moderator who stood by as the audience erupted into a prepped cheering section for Hillary and booing her opponents when they attacked Bill's wife. Questions by Blitzer and his team were framed to help Hillary by projecting her as a victim. Obama and Edwards, if they had a sense of moment, should have walked off the stage rather than endure such crass manipulations – they probably would have boosted their poll numbers by 10 points for that action. But, since when do Democrats face stress with sang-froid? Kerry and the Swift Boating are cases in point. Governor Richardson, who believes human rights are more important than national security, is another frightening face of the Democratic Party. The guy should not be governor of a state, or VEEP – not even a dog catcher, because he would figure out a reason why he should not catch dogs. On his last trip to North Korea, as an envoy for GW Bush, he officially visited the the captured US Pueblo, now a North Korean War Museum that represents a 20th Century US Navy humiliation for surrendering a ship to the enemy under fire.

When confronted by a question of how Hillary contends with criticism during the debates, she replied with the answer that she was wearing an asbestos pants suit to protect her from such onslaughts. It is uncertain how much asbestos or testosterone you can put into a pants suit, but ladies who wear them regularly often are trying to hide an expansive backside or unsightly legs. If Bill's wife is media savvy, that is the last place she wants the American public to rivet their attention. Anyone who has to broadcast how brave or tough they are is usually neither. Bill's wife is the candidate of choice for the Republicans for good reason. Without her husband, Hillary would not be the senator of New York. Should she succeed as the Democratic candidate for the general election, Bill Clinton will be the stalking horse for the Republicans who will tear at Hillary's mask in quick order. There will be an assault on Bill's lust for life with his record of peccadillos, past and present. All the sleazy Clinton pardons, and Hillary’s Rodham brothers' influence peddling and pilfering of the White House will be be gleefully paraded by the Republicans. President Bill Clinton's foreign policy team of stuffing-his-bloomers with documents Berger and Clueless Holbrook would return to face the next looming Balkan war stemming from their mishandled last one. Many of the Clinton faithful would return to business as usual with all the moral turpitude attendant to his past administrations. Maybe there would be a review of White Water all over again. Some of Clinton's new and old bimbos might write books and be interviewed by Larry King. All this is a public relations nightmare for the Democrats that smart party leadership should avoid. Clintons are screaming tabloid material that could make sorry GW Bush look saintly by comparison. Hillary's complaint over Obama's and Edwards' criticism of her policy as mud-slinging is only a rivulet, compared to the slimy deluge the Republicans will launch on the very vulnerable Clinton couple. Before the election is over, the Republicans will paint them as Bonnie and Clyde.

Bill's wife at this moment is the national front runner for the Democrats; 9/11 Rudy presently heads the pack for the Republicans. Rudy has almost the same potential for the tabloids as Bill's wife. His NYC gaomba, Berny Kerick, was recently indicted by the federales. All his warts will be glued to Rudy's bad judgement, despite Rudy's repeated mea culpas. Harpy Judith Regan, believing herself a woman wronged and scorned, has a lawsuit pending that is certain to keep Rudy's name linked with the doomed Kerick. Rudy’s NYC firemen are after Mr. 9/11's scalp for the mayor's inept actions during the Jihad strike on the Twin Towers. Rudy's sybarite life stye is unattractive to at least 25% of the Republicans despite Pat Robertson's Judas embrace. Rudy talks a good game, but still has not faced the main assault by the Democrats and his many enemies. As with GW Bush's Neocon adviser Wolfowitz during his first campaign, Rudy has a Super Neocon Podhoretz as his National Security advisor. So it explains Rudy's fixation on promoting wars and his blind spot for Israel. Rudy has been in Israel's pocket for a long time: e.g. he stopped Arafat from attending a concert in NYC and rejected serious Arab donations of financial assistance to the city after 9/11.

At this stage I cannot endorse any candidate as the political situation is still flipping and flopping. There are, however, some guidelines that I will apply. No part of the Clinton or Bush tribe should be elected. The next President should end the Iraq war immediately with no long term US troops based in Iraq. I would reject any candidate who takes Israeli Lobby money. Next President must close the southern borders to illegal immigration. Any politician who would make human rights a priority over national security is unqualified for the US presidency. Admittedly, with these requirements my chances of voting are less than that of a snowball in Hell.....

Too bad CNN wasted a canned softball question on Hillary at the last debate on whether she preferred diamonds or pearls. It should have been saved for our cross dressing pal, 9/11 Rudy, during the next Republican debate this November in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Friday, November 16, 2007

Out of Control – GW Bush Against the World

About the only light at the end of the tunnel for our country is the fact that GW Bush's presidential term of office is coming to an end soon. His father, former President HW Bush is fretting over the fact that his son, aka The Chimp by nasty bloggers, is so despised by the American body politic that he has taken to defending sonny boy publicly – his plea is: would you prefer Saddam Hussein in power rather than the 5-year inconclusive war? My answer is YES. I would prefer Saddam alive rather than the catastrophically idiotic war in Iraq and I will tell you why.

The Iraq War has destabilized the Middle East. It has enhanced the power of Iran; fanned and strengthened terrorism against the US; killed nearly 4,000 US troops and wounded nearly 30,000 more, half of whom will require long term care; and wrecked Iraq. There are over 2.5 million Iraqi refugees and over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. The price of a barrel of oil has gone from 38USD to close to 100USD. It has cost the US close to a 611 billion dollars, with more being spent daily. We have over-stressed the National Guard, Reservists, Marines and Army to almost a breaking point. Due to Iraq, the military resources have been diverted from what really should be our focus: Afghanistan; that has resulted in weakening Pakistan and encouraging the regeneration of Taliban and al Qaeda. Major quantities of US military equipment are worn out or destroyed and need replacement at enormous costs already beyond those of the war. There is no viable central government in Iraq as corruption is the rule, not the exception. Lost weapons and billions of dollars remain missing in the accounting records. With these consequences of the war, only a guilt ridden father with misplaced parental sympathy could try to defend such cataclysmic results. If we could bring Saddam back, we should do it in a heart-beat even if it would restore the bad old status quo... If Daddy Bush has tears to shed, let them be over the dead and maimed in his son's foolish war of choice. There are no second chances once you pull the trigger of war; the country must live with GW Bush's bad judgement. At least his father could spare us his vexing crocodile tears.

With the steep economic decline in the US, signaled by a plunging stock market and the devaluation of the dollar, there appears to be an effort to change our focus from the Iraq war to the economy. The fact is that both issues are linked. Economic woes are mainly caused by deficit spending for Bush's war and the war itself that threatens oil supplies... For the record, the military spending for Afghanistan is a very small part of GW Bush's war spending. Every time you fill your gas tank with $3.00 plus gas and pay 25% more for an airline ticket, thank the incompetent Republicans and GW Bush.

Republicans by no means bear all the blame for the out of control political and economic situation in the US. Democrats now share the burden for continuing the Iraq war after failing to cut off funds. Like it or not, the Democrats now own one year of the Iraq war by failing to curtail it. Democratic presidential candidates Obama, Edwards, Dodd and Kucinich appear to want to end the war, with all the Republicans except Ron Paul wanting the war to go on forever, or until victory, however defined at that moment.

Despite the fact that 2007 has brought the highest US KIA of the Iraq war, it appears the situation has recently temporarily stabilized with fewer attacks and casualties – the US changed its tactics by joining the Sunni insurgents to chase al Qaeda but, al Qaeda amounted to only 7% of the insurgency. If the US believes the Sunnis, once armed, will sit still with the Shiites controlling Baghdad and parts south with the Kurds controlling Kirkuit, there is a big surprise coming for us. The US is now building more bases with one on top of an oil rig in the Gulf; and that, is an insurgent target that will be too tempting to pass up. I thought the Navy was smarter; fixed platforms do not maneuver out of harms way. Do you think Halliburton gets to build the base? Any good news in Iraq is certainly offset in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and, at the rate Bush is spending billions in Iraq, if he does gets oil out of the ground to the US, it will cost about 3000USD a barrel in the end.

That things are out of control in the US is not in question, does not matter whether you look at it politically or economically. The pathetic part is that neither party has the solution for the wars, immigration and the out of control spending. Most of the presidential candidates on both sides appear feeble: Hillary cannot do it without venal Bill; 9/11 Rudy cannot do it without mad man Pat Robertson; Edwards needs corrupt trial lawyers; Romney needs the strange Mormon Church; Bomb, Bomb McCain needs his mother and a psychiatrist; and, Obama needs a transformation that only experience brings. Ironically, since the Black Caucus will not support him as well as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Obama may win some of the white vote. Too bad Senators Webb and Hagel cannot team up and run for president. Unlike McCain, who was badly dented by his war experiences, they have mentally survived under fire in combat and understand war and its consequences – that is more than the other flaky candidates.

Will someone please advise HW Bush, that if he does more free-fall parachuting, not to be a girlie boy but a big boy, and not strap himself to an Army Golden Knight parachutist. That is just plain candy assed and just supports his already wobbly earned image. Reminds me of another US president who said he smoked marijuana but did not inhale.

Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Photograph: Scream (Skrik, 1893) by Edvard Munch

Friday, November 09, 2007

GW Shooter Bush Rolls Craps in Pakistan

I never had much respect for GW Bush's specious messianic foreign policy, riddled with nincompoop neocons and Israeli firsters; but for them to misplay their diplomatic cards on Pakistan has to be their biggest display of incompetence in what is already a sad trail of failure. About the only spark of sanity in this episode so far was the rushed statement by the Department of Defense that the Pakistani internal situation will not impair the war on terror. This statement was mandated to counterbalance Condoleezza's very public swooning over Musharraf's iron fist imposition of martial law. Her petulant threats to review military aid must have scared the hell out of the Pentagon that is still trying to capture bin Laden somewhere over the Pakistani rainbow.

You are going to have to ask GW Bush and Condoleezza why they pressed reforms on Musharraf that would loosen his political control on a country that borders on anarchy. If Musharraf and his army lose control, there appears to be no opposition that could govern; the members of the secular legal community that stands firmly against Musharraf, squabble endlessly among themselves. Poor Benazir Bhutto, who rushed back from Dubai as martial law was declared, better disguise herself as a man; otherwise she will be caught up in the Musharraf's dragnet of ex-cricket players turned politicians, squawking lawyers and judges... Currently she sits in her fortified home talking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN via video tape hookup.

Musharraf was never heart and soul against the Taliban and al Qaeda. It took about 11 billion dollars in military aid to put him in the US camp. Additionally Bush had to break a log jam by the Israeli lobby to release high tech military equipment to Pakistan. Musharraf was partial to the Taliban, because it fought the Northern Alliance that was an Indian client. Despite this background, Musharraf, eventually provided invaluable aid to the US in its war against terror. Over half the logistics for the Afghan war are funneled through Pakistan. The problem developed that from a US standpoint, it was not enough. Musharaff under tribal pressures within his army, Jihadist attacks on his troops, and opposition political parties on the streets of his cities, attempted to pacify certain areas along the Afghan border through truce agreements; and, it backfired. The US searched for more pro-American political elements in Pakistan that would take stronger action and picked the corrupt Benazir Bhutto. It mistakenly believed that forcing Bhutto and Musharraf into a power sharing arrangement was democracy, and this would be good for the US and the people of Pakistan. Instead it blew the country apart, as Pakistani judges would not certify the arrangements. Musharraf saw his power slipping – saw chaos as the alternative – so he reasserted his power with martial law.

People who know Musharraf characterize him as a moderate moslem. They all make the point that he is a Pakistani patriot and that he is not corrupt like the Bhutto clan who were skimming ten per cent off national contracts. Musharraf has made an effort to redistribute wealth to lower parts of the Pakistani society – he does not pay attention to constitutional law because he believes it does not work. At least the US knows what it has in Musharraf; that is better than an alternative pack of thieves who would have control of WMDs.

The US made two big errors that dashed Musharraf's trust: it undermined the Afghan war by shifting its main combat emphasis to Iraq thus limiting forces'; and put the Afghan command under a Katz and Jammers NATO Command. It further enraged Musharraf by supplying and augmenting India's nuclear fuel supplies for domestic use, thus permitting the Indians to make more nuclear weapons from their own uncontrolled, limited resources. So Musharraf made his own way, which upset the US. The US response, pathetically, was to force more democracy. Though Bush has not cut military aid, he wants Musharraf to proceed with an election and restore constitutional order so Bhutto can take power. He wants Musharraf to be President, but with no military power. If this would happen, Musharraf would be a dead duck. The Army will not support Lady Bhutto. The Jihadist would win as the Army stood aside, and that would be catastrophic for US interests. So what else is new with GWB and his neocon lightweights?

Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fires, Firemen and Firebugs – GW Bush’s Conflagrations

Whether massive forest fires in Southern California or a framed wooden structure going up in flames at the South Eastern shore, when comparing events, there is a quantum difference in scope and economic damage; they each killed about the same amount of people – several. Some fires started accidentally or as an act of God; others were apparently intentionally started by a pyromaniac.

Ever since GWB has held office, he has been surrounded by fire. Early in his term two balls of fire knocked him off his feet: Jihadists commandeered commercial aircraft and crashed them into NYC’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon. GW Bush disclaims responsibility – blames the Clinton Administration for his unpreparedness despite ignored warnings. Our self proclaimed Decider who is Commander-in-Chief, apparently ignored the military maxim that The Commander is responsible for everything his men do or failed to do. Bush, like FDR, will bear the historical yoke of opprobrium for failure to protect his country. FDR used the Pearl Harbor attack to declare war on Japan and Germany. It is obvious now FDR had smarter generals than GWB... When he did that he split his forces into what developed into two separate wars. Bush used the 9/11 attacks and also split his forces; he attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. It is clear now that the attack on Iraq was a war of choice as Iraq was no threat to the US. Conclusion is that it was a colonial war for oil in a post colonial period. Bush is still not close to wining either war. With oil at close to 100USD a barrel and the destruction of Iraq, the war looms as a costly tragic failure. The whole region is now destabilized with Turkey moving to war in Kurdistan.The Afghan War persists without end. It has now destabilized Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan also are regionally destabilized. GWB has spread the fires of war until they are out of control.

Bush has unsuccessfully attacked two Islamic countries. He further has caused political turmoil in Pakistan by sponsoring the return of Benazir Bhutto because he wanted a more pliable client than Musharraf. After a deadly bombing at her homecoming queen parade that killed well over 100 people and wounded hundreds more, she has decided to escape to Dubai from where she came. There she can play romantic revolutionary without her or her followers being blown apart.

Not that he has not caused enough chaos, Bush appears determined to attack Iran. Congress apparently has provided him the necessary cover to initiate hostilities with Iran. According to a recent Zogby pol, over 50% of those polled Americans agreed that GWB should go get 'em. What is another Islamic country attacked here or there? Iran will be number three – of course. Bush will eventually try to stabilize Pakistan as it falls apart. This number 4 will soon be on the Israeli/Neocon schedule. Madness pure and simple...

War in Iraq grinds on. US KIA in October was a low 39. Whether the number of US killed is a measure of victory is moot. By this standard the war in Afghanistan with roughly 460 KIAs total should be won; it is not by a long shot. US command in Iraq claims al Qaeda is on run, especially in Anbar, the Sunni strong hold. No US troops were killed in Anbar last month. Does this mean The US can end the occupation soon? Of course not. The troops must remain to protect Israel from Iran and on and on – GW Bush is a firebug. The only fire he did not start was Afghanistan; the rest he set. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET