This gallery contains 9 photos.
To all True Believers who have served, in any way, shape or form. This is your day.
This gallery contains 9 photos.
To all True Believers who have served, in any way, shape or form. This is your day.
Uh oh. Military Conflict ‘Looms’ between China and Japan. Excerpt:
The spat over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands has escalated dramatically in the past month with violent protests across China.
But with a national election approaching in Japan, and a change of leadership in China, politicians on both sides have refused to step back from the brink, afraid that they will appear weak.
“There is a danger of China and Japan having a military conflict,” said Yan Xuetong, one of China’s most influential foreign policy strategists, and a noted hawk.
“One country must make a concession. But I do not see Japan making concessions. I do not see either side making concessions. Both sides want to solve the situation peacefully, but neither side can provide the right approach,” he added.
“Generally speaking, according to the theory of international relations, unless one country makes concessions to the other, the escalation of a conflict between two countries will not stop until there is a military clash, like between the UK and Argentina,” he said.
He added: “China takes a very tolerant policy elsewhere, with smaller powers. But the case of Japan is different. There is history between us. Japan is a big power. It regards itself as a regional, and sometimes a world power. So China can very naturally regard Japan as an equal. And if we are equal, you cannot poke us. You cannot make a mistake.”
How, one wonders, does China intend to strike at Japan? China, in spite of their
new refurbished Russian-built Cold War-era aircraftless aircraft carrier, can not project power across the East China Sea. Their Navy, such as it is now, is little more than a coast guard. They can harass Japanese shipping but they can’t strike at the Japanese homeland – unless they want to use ballistic missiles. That’s an unlikely step; with or without nukes, a direct attack with missiles on Japanese civilians represents a step across a big, fat red line that China is unlikely to want to take.
At least not yet.
China also predicts that, in the event of a conflict, the United States would not intervene. In spite of treaty obligations with Japan obligating us to do just that, it’s not at all clear that the U.S. would do more than protest. With our military drawn down to near pre-WW2 levels, exhausted by repeated deployments elsewhere, and the Imperial Federal Government’s coffers sucking wind, it’s not at all clear that we could intervene if we so desired.
Were there a conflict, the U.S. would be put in a most uncomfortable situation economically and politically, as well. Japan is a treaty partner, a major trade partner, and our best ally in the western Pacific, a fact that probably bemuses some surviving WW2 veterans. China, on the other hand, is likewise a major trade partner and an ascendant Asian power.
Both countries are creditors; China and Japan, as of July 2012, hold 19% and 15.8% of our foreign debt, respectively.
A few more relevant stories from the region:
It’s hard for me to be completely objective here; I lived in Japan for a while and love the place, the people and the culture. Mrs. Animal speaks and reads Japanese, and our youngest intends to go to college there. So we have a dog in this fight, so to speak.
The original linked article concludes:
Mr Yan said he expected whoever wins the US presidential election to continue to toughen policy on China.
“In terms of the economy, China and the US are partners. But in terms of security, they are rivals. We both know we cannot get along. Both sides are always alert to the other’s military policy,” he said.
“In the future, the military relationship will become more important. There is a simple reason for this: American hegemony is based on military capability and the military gap with China. When China narrows that gap, it will scare the US,” he said.
However, he added that China increasingly needs to change the ideology that guides its foreign policy. “Deng Xiaoping said China should not take a leadership role, make no alliances, and focus on the economy.
“This gap, between China’s international status and its foreign policy is widening. We have reached the point where China needs to seriously consider having a new policy consistent with its international status. I do not know when it will happen, but it will not be too long,” he said.
In other words: “We’re here. We’re getting stronger. We will get stronger still. And sooner or later, our interests will be in conflict.” And they don’t intend to come out of that conflict in second place.
Want to see a hero? Forget the comic books. Forget Superman, or Spiderman, or even Captain America. Take a look at the young man to the left. This, True Believers, is the photo of a real hero.
This is Dipprasad Pun, recently awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by Queen Elizabeth II for his actions in combat in Afghanistan. Excerpt:
Sgt Dip Pun, 32 of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, was one of four soldiers at a small outpost when he spotted two insurgents less than 100 metres away creeping towards his position.
Realising they were about to be attacked he radioed his commander and then fired his weapon at the advancing insurgents, triggering Rocket Propelled Grenade and small arms attacks from at least two positions.
One RPG struck the parapet just in front of the roof he was standing on, knocking him backwards. The ensuing attack went on for 15 minutes.
Seeing a further three armed men running towards his position from 20 metres away Dip fired his machine gun. One of the insurgents appeared on the rooftop, less than ten metres away, before Dip knocked him over the wall with a burst of machine gun fire.
Moving around the roof he saw two more men moving 20 metres in front of him. However as he tried to return fire from his exposed position he found his weapon damaged. Looking around he found a heavy steel machine gun tripod that he hurled at his immediate attacker, before throwing a grenade towards another insurgent who was fast advancing on him.
Dip then saw a further four insurgents in a field 80 metres away. In full view of the enemy’s fire support position he poured a hail of fire on the attackers until his ammunition ran out. Only then did he move into the safety of the sangar.
“In that situation 15 minutes is a long time,” said Dip, who lives in Ashford with his wife Shobha. “But at the time I didn’t worry about anything, I was just fighting. I didn’t get a chance to think. All I knew was that the Taliban were going to overrun our checkpoint, so acted to save my own life and also my friends.”
Dip’s citation states: “That he survived unscathed is simply incredible. He never sought the cover of the sangar position, but despite the danger, consistently moved in the open towards the enemy to reach the best position of attack.
I will point out that 30 Taliban against one Gurkha is hardly fair – to the Taliban.
Seriously, though. It fills me with hope that there are young men like Corporal Dip out there. His steadfast courage and ability to think under fire should be an inspiration to all of us. We need more young men like him, and I suspect if you look at the soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other danger spots, you’ll find them.
This is a man, people, in the best and truest sense of the word. I would buy him a beer any time – a mark of high esteem in the Animalverse.
I’ve always thought she was hot. And she’s a good actress.
This leads me to believe she might be a good person, too. And that’s a good thing.
So is cleavage, which is the reason for the purely gratuitous photo of the Hollywood hottie to the left.
I found this interesting; it seems the French press are reacting with some shock at the fact that American cops will perp-walk the rich and famous. Tres gauche! Excerpt:
“Brutal.” “Cruel.” “Chilling.”
These are some of the terms French officials have applied to the Strauss-Kahn case — but not to the alleged crime itself. Rather, they are reacting to photos and videos of Stauss-Kahn being subjected to that American ritual known as the perp walk, being handcuffed and escorted by a phalanx of New York police detectives in response to charges that the IMF head sexually assaulted a hotel maid.
Even French journalists have been stunned at the sight:
“Last night, the chilling image of DSK handcuffed nailed our mouths shut,” wrote Stéphane Jourdain, a French reporter for Agence France-Presse, using Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s initials, his familiar French moniker. “Not one journalist asked him for a reaction when he came out.”
This shock on the part of the French may be a pose, of course, but it is far more likely to be real. In this country we’ve become accustomed to such sights, but not so in France, especially when the high and mighty are involved:
“The heart can only contract before these humiliating and poignant images that they’re giving of him,” Jean-Pierre Chevènement, a leftist senator and former minister, wrote on his blog. “A horrible global lynching! And what if it were all a monstrous injustice?”
That latter concern — that the person undergoing the perp walk is, after all, only an alleged perpetrator, and that he or she may actually be innocent — is certainly a valid one. Even in this country, the suitability and possibly prejudicial nature of the perp walk has long been a matter of debate, although courts for the most part have generally upheld the legality of the practice.
In the Strauss-Kahn case, the French are reeling not only from the unaccustomed sight of a perp walk itself, but from the fact that so august and powerful a figure has been subjected to it. French society exhibits more consciousness of class, status, and rank than ours, and its legal system reflects this.
Personally, I would much rather live in a nation where a rich, famous man will be perp-walked than in one where the famous are treated with deference. This is America, where the ideal is that all people are equal before the law – no one is treated better or worse. That’s the ideal, anyway; we aren’t perfect about it, but if you want a perfect society, first you have to find some perfect people to run it.
I think the Strauss-Kahn perp walk is a good precedent.
We’ve been working long days here in Puerto Rico, and I have to be off to the site for another, but stay tuned, True Believers – it’s Wednesday, and that means WTF Wednesday, later today.
Denver is famous for 300+ days of sunshine a year, but not today. It’s a rainy, snowy day along the Front Range, although this time of year, what snow we get won’t last. And that’s not great right now, because I’ve got the fishing bug in the worst way.
The upper Colorado river near Parshall offers some good trout fishing, even this time of year. The Blue north of Silverthorne is good, too. Both rivers are usually home to lots of fly-fishermen, but I don’t fly fish; it seems too much like work to me, and I like to actually catch fish. Years ago an AnimalPal tried to teach me the art of fly-fishing. After an hour or so he commented that I looked like ‘an old lady trying to kill a bat with a broomstick,’ so I gave it up. I’ll stick with my spinning tackle.
Let’s move on to the news.
The Navy has a new laser weapon that may soon be turned on Somali pirates. I’d as soon see the pirates hanged and their ships sunk; hemp rope and a few .50 caliber rounds would be a lot cheaper. But I’ll settle for disabling their boats/ships and leaving them adrift. Excerpt:
A ship-based laser tested by the Navy’s research arm could put the heat on Somali pirates.
The Navy for the first time last week successfully tested a solid-state high-energy laser from a ship. The beam, which was aimed at a boat moving through turbulent Pacific Ocean waters, set the target’s engine on fire.
The Office of Naval Research says the laser traveled over “miles, not yards.” For now, the test is a proof of concept, and it’s not yet known when it might be deployed as a weapon.
The baseball-sized laser beam, though, could be used to stop small crafts from approaching naval ships. It could also target pirates.
“You can use the laser to ward off an attack, or you can dial it down to a non-lethal level where it basically becomes a very bright light so they know they are being targeted,” Michael Deitchman, the director of air warfare and weapons at the Office of Naval Research, said Wednesday.
Deitchman said the laser provides two benefits not seen in other military weapons. The laser is precise, unlike bullets that can ricochet and hit unintended targets, and the laser’s strength can be dialed down from a lethal level to a nuisance level.
Also, President Obama gave a speech on the Federal budget issue. Nobody seems to have thought much of it; the Atlantic, which is anything but a right-wing publication, panned it, and the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes ripped it up (expectedly.) The Unreligious Right blog summed it up as follows:
Government is what makes America great.
Republican ideas are bad
Make minor budgetary changes and pretend they’ll solve our problems.
I read the transcript, and I agree with the Atlantic; like many politicians, President Obama has mastered the art of talking a lot and not saying anything.