…Fred Thompson‘s never run for president.
…every problem starts to look like a nail. Europe’s self-mesmerization with “soft power,” encapsulated perfectly:
“What would it take,” I asked, “for Europe to stop treating Putin like a democrat? If all opposition parties are banned? Or what if they started shooting people in the street?” The official shrugged and replied that even in such cases, there would be little the EU could do. He added: “Staying engaged will always be the best hope for the people of both Europe and Russia.”
This and more from the invaluable and always interesting Garry Kasparov.
If the Georgians want to fight, Stuart Koehl has some ideas on how we can help. He doesn’t mention it, but we should be preemptively providing this kind of military assistance to other democratic countries in Russia’s sights, particularly Ukraine.
…The return of strongman rule to Russia, and particularly one who regards the demise of the Soviet Union as a historic catastrophe, is now a fact of international life to which we will all have to adjust to.
Second, Putin and his government are attempting to establish the legitimacy of a Russian sphere of influence that looks very much like a reestablishment of the old Soviet empire. This is the core of an enormously sophisticated information campaign that is having some success — at least around Washington — in appealing to the realpolitik crowd who look for excuses for inaction in the case of a Russian invasion of their democratic neighbor. …
From a military perspective, the first impression is that the Russians laid an effective “strategic ambush” …. For historians, a retrospective on Nazi Germany’s offensive to “protect” the Sudaten Czechs shows a striking similarity of purpose and method.
… U.S. military assistance has been focused on preparing Georgian soldiers for duty alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, not in larger-scale, combined-arms warfare, and it shows….
… The Russians have “got” modern war, however outdated their “kinetic” operations may appear. In their operational concept, the information war preceded, and is superior to, actual combat operations on the land and sea. Western military authorities, whose ability to influence information operations of this type are nonexistent, can only look on in frustration….
The first, obvious, lesson is that great-power competition is back…. Russia is now an active menace. Whether “old Europe” quite understands the problem is for the moment moot — the newly-formed ex-Soviet democracies have the message loud and clear, as their timely and courageous support for the Saakashvilli government shows. As scholar Fred Kagan said recently, there is a “new axis” of anti-Russian democracies around the edge of the old Soviet empire. Supporting those states and securing their future must be a top priority for the U.S. and NATO, while Russia passes through the Putin phase and perhaps into a more benign future — the encouragement of which should be the top priority for U.S. and Western diplomacy. If this sounds like containment, well, it is.
For military strategy, the U.S. should immediately revamp its foreign military assistance programs to those countries, including a post-invasion Georgia. …. Advanced integrated air-defenses (the Georgians had none), antitank munitions, precision weapons all must be provided …. Military assistance groups should be stationed in frontline states, and military exercises conducted…. The Russians will cry foul, but their military authorities will understand what they are seeing — no more easy campaigns. Military aid must include methods and training in our best techniques for computer network defense…
Finally the U.S. government, even in this time of political transition, must be steadfast in exposing for the world’s media the true story of what is happening here…”
So the forces of PC have managed to get this ad yanked as allegedly homophobic. I find that reading way too much in it. But I present it here for Ghettoputer’s delectation, as it’s entirely possible that he wrote the script for it.
Congrats to good guy Radek Sikorski (a friend of a friend) and the Polish government, as well as the USG, for getting this done.
A joke from the Polish ministry of defense I heard second-hand:
Q: When invaded simultaneously by Germany and Russia, whom do you fight first?
A: The Germans.
A: Business before pleasure.
Here’s a good piece on their apparently incompetent strategists and ignoble recent history in South Ossetia pre-Rose Revolution.
Continuing on with the loathesome unions and their smarmy factotums in Congress, I give you unfree elections! That’s right, our Congress is giving serious consideration to amending the National Labor Relations Act to require that any vote authorizing a union be public. The Democrats want to remove your right to a secret ballot on union authorization votes. The unions can be trusted not to intimidate voters. Just ask Chief Panderer-in-Waiting Sen. Obama, who has vowed to sign such legislation if it comes to his desk, should the peons recognize in November that his is the Chosen One.
As Dr. Sowell notes in his article linked, when you can’t compete on the merits and are losing the game, change the rules. In this case, buy up members of Congress through liberal gifts of members’ dues to reelection funds.
I await a reporter’s question to Speaker Pelosi as to why she thinks it’s OK to remove a person’s right to the secret ballot. I expect one will not be forthcoming. Perhaps Speaker Pelosi can ask citizens of Cuba and Zimbabwe how the lack of secret ballot is working out for them?
March on, unions and your fellow travelers!
And there you’ll find corruption and un-American acts. ‘Puter will take a look at two separate items that recently caught his attention, one from his adopted dysfunctional home state of Nueva Jork (motto: “What’re you lookin’ at?”), and the other involving the universally beloved U.S. Congress.
First, New York. In order to deal with a looming budgetary crisis, Governor Patterson has called the legislature into special session to trim $600 million out of a $124 billion state budget to deal with a projected $6 billion budget gap, projected to balloon to $26 billion in the next three years. This is a half of a percentage point in overall spending, which has increased 5% this year alone, twice the rate of inflation, despite ominous projections prior to passage that revenue would likely not match spending. But to hear the union hacks tell it, we’re killing children and the elderly. To wit, from the New York Post,
“These are staggering cuts that would devastate New York’s health-care infrastructure and severely threaten access to care,” said Local 1199 President George Gresham and Greater New York Hospital Association President Ken Raske in a joint statement.
This request for a wee bit of fiscal restraint has caused the public workers’ unions, among the biggest lobbyists in Albany, to squeal like pigs. Mind you, Governor Patterson has not proposed spending less than last budget year, only a decrease in the rate of spending growth. The public workers’ unions nicely epitomize the greed summed up by John Fogerty’s anti-war anthem Fortunate Son, because “when you ask them, how much should we give, … they only answer more! more! more!”
Another union ploy to hang on to its ill-gotten pelf has been to fight a proposed property tax cap related to school taxes. The proposed tax cap has passed the Senate and awaits action by the Assembly. The Senate’s property tax cap restricts growth to 4% a year. However, taxpayers can vote to override the cap with 55% of votes for a budget exceeding a 4% increase. New York State United Teachers (proudly spending your money on contract featherbedding since before Tammany Hall) reacted with anticipated hysterics. As noted in the Buffalo News,
“The message is that the tax-cap legislation proposed by the governor and supported by the Senate would decimate our public schools, and we can’t ask our members to work for candidates who would take such an action,” said Richard
Iannuzzi, the union’s president.
Mr. Iannuzzi further explained that controlling spending by implementing a cap is a “moral issue.” I couldn’t agree with Mr. Iannuzzi more. Lowering property tax increases to a rate that doesn’t send young workers and businesses fleeing the state, and that permits retired citizens to remain in their homes, is a moral issue. I fear though that Mr. Iannuzzi was really talking about preserving his minions’ seven hour per day jobs with a 180 day work year, constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits, exorbitant health benefits and a job for life. No one thinks that teachers have it easy, but is it really immoral to ask teachers to feel the pain every private citizen is feeling? ‘Puter thinks not, and knows that deep in his heart, Mr. Iannuzzi knows it as well.
So, in sum, New York public sector unions think that taxpayers should continue funding their pet projects (primarily high salaries and benefits unrelated to merit) regardless of the sustainability of maintaining spending at such a level.
Perhaps all the state level union leaders should take a page out of Adam Urbanski’s book (president of the Rochester Teachers’ Association), who, when asked about the crushing tax burden on Rochester taxpayers is rumored to have responded “If you kill the cow, no one gets any milk.”
This post is already too long, so ‘Puter will save his wisdom on Congress’ kow-tow to the unions for later in the day.