Category Archives: Military

Rule Five Japan Defense Friday

Japan (as we’ve discussed before) is continuing to dial its military in, and unsurprisingly, that’s provoking some responses around eastern Asia.  Air Force Intel officer Ryan Ashley has some thoughts.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

Japan’s new defense vision is laid out in three strategic documents: a National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy (formerly known as the National Defense Program Guidelines), and the Defense Buildup Program (formerly known as the Medium-Term Defense Program). In conjunction, the documents commit Japan to gradually increase its defense spending to meet 2 percent of gross domestic product, mirroring the NATO target for defense spending. Within that vision would come 5-year investments of $7 billion in cyber warfare, $7 billion in space, and $6 billion towards a combined sixth-generation fighter aircraft development program with the United Kingdom and Italy, known as “Tempest.”

The highest profile investments in the documents are those for “counterstrike” or “counter-attack” capabilities, referring to the acquisition of long-range missiles capable of hitting ships or ground-based missiles from potentially 1,500–3,000 kilometers away. This would be a significant upgrade from Japan’s current supply of missiles, which are limited to a range of a few hundred kilometers and are predominantly designed for short-range defense. The documents correctly identify that Tokyo’s current missile arsenal and questions about the legality of so-called “left-of-launch” (striking an adversary’s missile before it can be launched itself) strikes have created gaps in Japanese deterrence.

Now consider the implications of this missile-capacity upgrade.  Japan will now have not only a new sixth-generation fighter that may well be on a par with the F-22 and F-35, but they will have a new capability to carry out missile attacks on their neighbors – like, say, North Korea.  They have, correctly, identified a gap in their defense structure, and now they mean to fill that gap.

Diplomatically, the documents pull few punches, declaring that “Japan is finding itself in the midst of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of [World War II].” The NSS unequivocally calls China “the greatest strategic challenge” facing Japan, labels North Korea “an even more grave and imminent threat to Japan’s national security than ever before,” and reiterates Tokyo’s strong stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, few countries face a harsher strategic environment than Japan, in close proximity to China, North Korea, and Russia, and perceived as a threat or adversary by the governments of all three. The new strategic documents reinforce what Japanese security experts have long argued: Tokyo is on the front lines of conflict with two adversarial nations, and at a key vulnerable flank for another.

In other words, Japan is sitting out there alone, and they are concerned with the increasing instability of some of their neighbors – like, say, North Korea.  Here’s the onion:

Observers in the United States should draw three conclusions from this new NSS. First, Japan is indeed committing to its most meaningful boost in defense capabilities since the end of World War II. The three strategic documents identify and attempt to address deterrence gaps that have long plagued Japanese security. Until recently, Tokyo proved unwilling to fill these gaps themselves, preferring to depend on the United States as its security guarantor. For several reasons, including the fear of American disengagement and an increasingly harsh strategic environment, the era of dependence on the United States appears to be over. The Japanese government still wholeheartedly supports its alliance with the United States, yet is simultaneously seeking to couple that relationship with the development of indigenous capabilities.

In other words, Tokyo no longer feels that the USA has their backs, for the first time since the post-WW2 treaty structure went into place.

It’s hard to fault Japan on this estimation.  While the Trump Administration had very good relationships with then-Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, the subsequent Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has been marked with incompetence and indecisiveness.  Add that to the increasing tendency towards nationalism in the USA, and you can see how Tokyo may be concerned that the USA no longer has Japan’s back in the event of a conflict.

But, to my thinking, there’s a much simpler reason for Japan to continue to dial their military in, and that is the fact that a nation should not have to  rely on any other nation for their own defense.  Japan is  no exception, and it’s rapidly becoming apparent to the Japanese that they shouldn’t rely on the USA any longer.  Also, if you read the referenced documents, there’s no indication that Japan is returning to the bad old days of imperialistic ambitions; they are remembering their martial traditions but their aim is still defense and vigorous response, not first-strike.

It should come as no surprise that I’m glad to see the Japanese taking more responsibility for their own defense.  Mrs. Animal and I have spent a fair amount of time in the Land of the Rising Sun; we’re very fond of Japan, and hope to see it remain the unique place it is now.

Animal’s Daily Dying Giant News

I’ve posted videos from Peter Zeihan before (ever noticed how many brilliant and impressive people come from Iowa?) and always find them interesting.  Here is one on the current state of affairs in Russia, both from an economic standpoint and with regards to the war with Ukraine.  Give it a watch:

Thumbnail:  The outlook for Russia isn’t good.  And by “not good” I mean, “potentially catastrophic,” if you take Peter Zeihan’s view.

Now then; Peter Zeihan touches on this, and of course you should watch the entire video to get his take on this, but here’s my concern:  What happens when a dying former superpower, one that has a big stockpile of nuclear weapons, approaches collapse?  What happens when the leaders of that country approach desperation?

There are a number of possibilities, and most of them are bad.

But here’s the upshot:  While it was inconceivable only a few short years ago, it’s beginning to look like the collapse of Russia as a nation and as a culture may be beginning.  Now it’s possible that some new Russian nation may arise from the ashes, but I’m wondering about the likelihood of any such resurgence; the whole thing will depend on how ugly and destructive the collapse is.

It also depends on demographics.  As the saying goes, the future belongs to those who show up for it, and the Russians seem to have opted out.  But then, most of Europe and big swaths of Asia (China and Japan, among  them) seem to be doing the same.

Either way, the next couple of decades are going to be very, very interesting.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It’s coming down to the nitty gritty now, isn’t it?  In a little less than a week we’ll know whether we as a nation have been given a little breathing room or whether the OMG MUH DEMOCRACY crowd has more license to keep running us over a fiscal cliff.

It’s going to be interesting.  I expect by a week from today, we’ll have a pretty good bead on things, although it may be some time before us Alaskans have an idea who will be representing us in the Imperial City, thanks to the ranked-choice voting stupidity.  Maybe now that this election-season mess is over, we can look to getting shut of that stupid idea.

Now then…

On To the Links!

The Mighty Oz has spoken.

With good reason.

No shit, Sherlock.

EVs are not “zero emissions.”  Anyone who understands the Second Law of Thermodynamics knows this.

Less than a week to go now.

Wealthy African-American takes the helm at Twitter.

I love a happy ending.

DUCK!

I’m in favor of this, of course.

In this matter, “Dems and media” should go fuck themselves.

I suspect this won’t work out like they’re hoping it will.

Welcome to three weeks ago.

One week left.

Oh, fuck off.

Kari Lake is awesome.  That is all.

Nothing should stop the Supreme Court from ending affirmative action.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Guardian’s Ross Barkan is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s Emma Gray is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Jill Filipovic is an idiot.

Juan Williams (Repeat Offender Alert) continues his descent into idiocy.

The Atlantic’s Lee Bollinger is an idiot.

CNN’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Vox’s Nicole Naria is an idiot.

The New Republic’s Michael Tomasky is an idiot.

The GOP’s attacks on the Left on crimes are working because they are accurate, you idiot.

The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Boy howdy, if this ain’t all that far off from Saturday nights when I was a teenager.  Brooks & Dunn  have produced some great old country music, but I confess Hillbilly Deluxe is one of my favorites.  While it’s fun to get some boot-scootin’ boogie going on over the course of a small-town weekend, you just plain can’t beat slick pick’em up trucks.  Here, then, is the official video for that tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

My time in Uncle Sam’s colors was mostly at the end of the Cold War.  I remember the purpose of the Army in those days very well, as it was hammered into us in training:  “To close with and destroy the enemy by fire, maneuver and shock effect.”  Now it seems the purpose of the Army is… well, something else.

Yr. obdt. 1991

The Army – no, scratch that, the military in general, all branches, must be mission-oriented.  That means “to close with and destroy the enemy.”  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, all of us.  That’s the job.  If any policy or practice enhances the mission, it’s good.  If it doesn’t, then it’s bad.  It’s not complicated.  But this turn of stupidity?  Army Secretary Christine Wormuth needs to find a more suitable line of work.  Maybe Berkeley needs another Underwater Gender-Fluid Dog-Polishing professor.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Fetterman is a fuckup.  In other news, water is wet.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Maybe, but don’t expect it to change their vote.

A decent blueprint for education reform.

A map of 56,000 galaxies.

Wah wah.

We can hope.

In Pennsylvania, it looks like Dr. Oz v. Uncle Fester is going to come right down to the wire.

No shit, Sherlock.

Eel migrations.  Yes, really.

Lithium price spiking.  I wonder why?

I love a happy ending.

I doubt the open CO Senate seat will flip red, but if it does, it will be as part of a much bigger shift to the right.

More corruption.  Geeze, these people may even be worse than the Clintons.

Grifters gonna grift.

Let’s call this what it is:  Bio-weapons research.  I mean, what the fuck, BU?  First you inflict AOC on us, now this?

Well, this is a surprise.

This Week’s Idiots:

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.  And here he doubles down on stupid.

Washington Monthly’s David Atkins is an idiot.

Newsweek’s Nicholas Creel is an idiot.

Slate’s Lawrence Lessig is an idiot.

The Nation’s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Donna Brazile is an idiot.

The New Republic’s Michael Tomasky is an idiot.

Juan Williams (Repeat Offender Alert) continues his descent into idiocy.

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Bulwark’s Sarah Longwell is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Hat tip to regular reader Andrew Pearce for the suggestion on this week’s song.

Hailing from Louisiana, Tony Joe White, also known as ‘The Swamp Fox’, was one of the progenitors of what became known as Swamp Rock.  He was a talented musician but also a better than average songwriter, producing such tunes as Old Man Willis and Rainy Night in Georgia. 

As you will probably find unsurprising, I do have a favorite tune from among his work.  White’s premiere 1969 album Black and White included his song that made the charts in that year, that being Poke Salad Annie.  It’s an interesting tune, sort of the archetypal story of a poor girl from the Deep South in the mid-twentieth century.

So, without further ado, here it is.  Enjoy.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Daley Gator, The Mad Irishman, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale, Bacon Time and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

On a rather less than optimistic note, over at johnkassnews.com, writer Greg Ganske has some thoughts about a possible overt conflict with China.  Excerpt:

What if China declares a naval and air “quarantine” on Taiwan, not just of weapons but of trade? This past week, Communist China did a dry run of exactly that. They used a diplomatic visit to an independent Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi as a pretext to surrounding the island with its navy, repeatedly violated its air space, and sent 11 live-fire missiles over the island into the Sea of Japan. These military exercises continue.

Why should this send shivers down our spines? What would be the U.S. response? This wouldn’t exactly be an invasion but sure could lead to war. Once war starts there is no telling where it ends. Not too long ago President Biden said the United States would help defend Taiwan should China invade it, though his administration subsequently said the ambiguous “one China” policy was still in place.

Here’s what I see as the major economic concern over this:

Taiwan is Beijing’s 5th largest trading partner and the 10th largest partner of the U.S. at $85 billion. Its importance far exceeds the size of its trade. Taiwan dominates 60 per cent of the world’s foundry market of semiconductor chips. Last year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) alone accounted for 54% of the world’s total foundry revenue. It counts Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia as its customers.

Semiconductors are critical components that power electronics from computers to smartphones to brake sensors in cars. TSMC is even more important because it makes some of the world’s most advanced chips essential to our military like those in our Air Force F-35 fighter jets. Chips are critical to manufacturing of nearly everything. Why are people waiting so long for their new cars? The global shortage of chips has forced many automakers to stop production. Taiwan’s high-tech products simply keeps our global economy moving. Imagine the CCP controlling it, think about the disruption to the supply chain with a war in the South China Sea!

Two things make me skeptical of China making such an attempt, though:

  1. They need us as a market more than they would gain by having us as an enemy.  China’s economy is largely dependent on selling cheap consumer goods to the US and, to a lesser extent, Canada, Europe and the other Western nations.  Without those markets, their own economy would be in trouble – and if the United States’ economy crashed as a result of actions like the invasion of Taiwan and the resulting disruption of micro-processor production, the world’s economy would go with it.  The Chinese have to know this.
  2. While China has been attempting to dial their military in, in particular their Navy, they still aren’t really in a good position to project power.  They don’t have a great deal of sealift capacity, and one would hope that our vaunted fast-attack submarines alone would be able to prevent crossings of the Taiwan Strait.  Otherwise, what do we have them for?  The Chinese  have to know this.

Measure that, though, against the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration’s fecklessness and weakness.  If China were to make an attempt on Taiwan, now would be the time to do it.

The Chinese have to know that, too.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Watch this:

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is an American treasure, and he has more intellectual power on his worst day than either Joe Biden or Heels-Up Harris ever did on the best day they ever lived.  In this clip, he lays out something I’ve been saying for years, only Dr. Hanson does it far more eloquently – and he brings receipts.  Give it a listen.  It’s worth fourteen minutes of your day.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Yeah, he’s running.

Get woke, go broke – the streaming services adjust.

Here we go again.

Arizona, doing the jobs the Imperial City is supposed to do but won’t.

Beef – it’s what’s for dinner.

Abolish the FBI.  Yeah, I think we’ve likely come to that point.

Robot dogs.

Do the elites want to stave us to death?

That’s actually racist.

Good guy with gun.

No shit, Sherlock.

Probably not.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

The New Republic’s Jason Linkins is an idiot.

Dan Goldman is an idiot.

Vox’s Rachel Cohen is an idiot.

This idiot fails to understand:  We want the (un)civil service gutted.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of the most talented songwriters and performers of the Seventies was Carly Simon, best known for tunes like Anticipation and You’re so Vain.  But one of my favorites of her work is the 1971 tune That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, from her debut album Carly Simon.  I enjoy the song in spite of its rather pessimistic outlook on marriage, which I don’t share; my parents enjoyed a happy marriage for 71 years, and while my first marriage ended after only six years, I have been married to my own dear Mrs. Animal for over thirty years and we couldn’t be happier.

Anyway – I still really enjoy this song, and Carly Simon’s vocals.  Here is a live performance, again from 1971, in which Carly Simon shows eloquently how beauty and talent can go together.  And you know what’s great?  Look at that audience.  No cell phones held up, no heads turned down towards their little screens, just a lot of people watching the show.  Enjoy.

Rule Five Rising Sun Friday

While China is showing more and more hubris in the West Pacific every day, Japan is not-so-quietly dialing their military in.  Excerpt:

Japan’s recently published Defense of Japan 2022 booklet outlines a series of critical time sensitive initiatives aimed at strengthening its force posture in the Pacific and specifically increasing the ability of its Self Defense forces to deter China. 

Defense of Japan 2022

The text of the document cites particular concerns with what it describes as Chinese “coercion” and efforts to “change the status quo” in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

This has long been a concern for the US, Japan and its many SouthEast Asian allies, and it is something compounded and exacerbated by increased Russian-Chinese collaboration.

“The country’s ties with Russia, an aggressor nation, have deepened in recent years, with joint navigations and flights being conducted in the areas surrounding Japan by both Chinese and Russian vessels and aircraft,” the text of the Defense of Japan 2022 document says.

Certainly increased training and cooperation between Russia and China may be taking on new urgency in light of Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps of greatest concern to Japan, the Russian-Chinese cooperation has been quite active in the Eastern part of Russia closer to Japan.

“In the vicinity of Japan, Russia has made moves to strengthen cooperation with China, such as through joint bomber flights and joint warship sails involving the Russian and Chinese militaries, as well as moves to portray such military cooperation as “strategic coordination.” These trends warrant concern and must continue to be closely watched in the future,” the Japanese document describes.

What the document doesn’t describe is the almost-certain feeling of unease in Japanese military circles that the United States doesn’t have their backs any more.  While the post-WW2 picture in the West Pacific has been… well, evolving for some time, the weakness and fecklessness of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has to have the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s leadership sweating just a little – after all, they are much, much closer to China and Russia than the U.S. is, even us folks here in Alaska.

And, frankly, Japan should be able to take care of their own defenses.  They may be rediscovering their martial tradition, and that’s not a bad thing in today’s uncertain world.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the report:

“In order to secure technological superiority, Japan has decided to significantly increase investment in potentially game-changing technologies, and has increased R&D expenditure to a record high,” the Japanese 2022 Defense Report says.

Few people do R&D better than Japan these days.

But here’s my concern:  Manpower.  This report, as described, doesn’t make any mention of Japan’s aging population or the demographic cliff the country is jumping off of.  Japan’s young people are not reproducing – not a problem unique to Japan – and while Russia and China face similar issues, both of them have a larger base to start from.  Technology is a great force multiplier and can make up some of that, but not all of it.

It’s no secret that Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. are fond of the Land of the Rising Sun.  We like visiting Japan, and hope Japan stays independent.  To maintain that independence, you have to be ready to defend it.  It’s good to see some in Japan realizing that; but how they deal with their population issues is going to be a whole different problem.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It seems a new bridge has opened in the Los Angeles area, and much like a new proctologist’s office, it quickly started attracting assholes.  Specifically:

The 6th Street Bridge is a downtown Los Angeles viaduct that connects the Arts District and Boyle Heights. It’s been open less than two weeks and has been plagued by “street takeovers,” vandalism, drag racing, and criminal activity. The police have been forced to shut the bridge down twice, including Saturday evening as mobs threatened to get out of control.

Yeah.  Our major cities are pretty much hosed.  Remind me, who’s in charge in all these big cities that are experiencing meltdowns?

As for the assholes, maybe Napoleon had a point, and a “whiff of grapeshot” is in order here.

And now:

On To the Links!

Aww, too bad.

Where are the parents?  Well, Big Daddy Government removed any real need for fathers, so there’s half the problem.

How to erode the world’s greatest military.

Paul Pelosi’s graft spurs call for ban on insider trading.  “Rules for thee, not for me” is the operating assumption in the Imperial City now; it’s past time that stopped.

Kamala “Heels-Up” Harris richly deserves mocking, but honestly, I can’t take seriously some horse’s ass who calls himself “Charlamagne Tha God.”

Is our NATO membership really necessary?

Good guys with guns.

Heh heh heh.

Revenge?  No.  Accountability?  Yes.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

We can hope.

This Week’s Idiots:

The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos is an idiot.

New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Jackie Calmes is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Jessica Glenza is hysterical, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off little runt, and an idiot.

Juan Williams is an idiot.

Tallahassee attorney Bob Reid is an idiot.

Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin is an idiot.

Gabby Giffords is full of more shit than a Christmas goose.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I have many fond memories of Ray Stevens’ unique comedy music over the years.  He immortalized fads such as streaking (The Streak) television adventure drama (Along Came Jones) and service organizations (Shriner’s Convention.)

 One of my favorites, though, takes a few gentle pokes at small-town churches.  That song would be The Mississippi Squirrel Revival.  Here’s the official video.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Battle Rifle News

It seems the USAF is fielding a new rifle, and it’s kind of interesting.  Excerpt:

The Air Force is almost finished distributing nearly 1,500 new rifles to security forces, pararescuemen, Guardian Angels, and explosive ordnance disposal Airmen, the service announced April 16.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is in the final phase of delivering the Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle after procuring approximately 1,464 of the guns.

The SDMR is a semi-automatic, 7.62x51mm-caliber rifle designed by Heckler & Koch, initially developed for the Army to give units the ability to engage targets precisely up to 600 meters away.

For the Air Force, the SDMR will help fulfill multiple missions.

For security forces performing base defense operations, it will replace the M24 Sniper Weapon Systems currently in use.

For pararescuemen and Guardian Angels tasked with personnel recovery, it will replace the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems rifle. The SDMR will save Airmen five pounds in gear on missions.

For explosive ordnance disposal technicians, the SDMR will be used to “to eliminate small munitions in their standoff munition disruption activities,” according to an Air Force release.

“Being able to field one solution that can effectively achieve multiple missions epitomizes Air Force acquisition strategies and shows [Airmen’s] ability to adapt to any situation,” Matthew Hamer, head of AFLCMC’s Small Arms Program Office, said in a statement.

The Army first began accepting deliveries of the SDMR in 2020 and is scheduled to finish fielding the new rifle by the end of 2023, with some 6,000 rifles being distributed.

What’s interesting here is that the new SDMR is chambered for the good old 7.62x51mm NATO round, making it (unlike the M-16/M4 platform) an actual Main Battle Rifle (MBR).

Well Armed.

Frankly I’d hope to see this weapon more widely issued.  In today’s world of mechanized warfare, a rifle cartridge firing a heavier bullet that can penetrate light vehicle bodies would be preferable.  Also, the .30 caliber cartridge – a rework of the famous old Cartridge, Caliber .30, Model of 1906 – has a greater effective range than even the newer, heavier-bullet versions of the 5.56 round.

Granted I’m a big-gun man in my sporting guns as well, so some of this may be my bias talking.  I’m large-framed and not very recoil-sensitive, and prefer the .338 Win Mag and the .45-70 fir hunting.  But I’m nevertheless glad to see an honest MBR being fielded for use.