Beyond the Cusp

April 20, 2014

Ukraine Slowly Devolving Into Revolution

The eastern Ukraine continues to churn and twist between its two polar opposite camps, one centered in Kiev and the other centered in Moscow. The Russian influence appears to be the favored side but this could simply be the result of the people being too afraid to be visibly seen to take a stand opposing the thugs who are violently taking control of government buildings and demanding there be a referendum which they are assured will reflect the desire of the majority wishing independence from Kiev and possibly becoming part of Russia answering to Moscow. The likelihood of having a fair election on any referendum is virtually nil as those wishing to remain loyal to Kiev and remain a part of the Ukraine would doubtlessly fear expressing such views in the presence of the thuggish pro-Russian militia being present. How to resolve this dilemma to honestly represent the people residing in the eastern provinces of the Ukraine is behind the debate in the Western nations. None of the NATO or other Western nations appears willing to implement any viable alternative to the fifty-thousand plus Russian troops currently sitting on the borders of the Ukraine, this being up from the mere thirty-thousand reported just a week ago.

 

Between the inactivity and fecklessness of the Western powers and the apparent resolve of Russian President Putin to force a bad situation further making it worse and worse until Russian intervention is recognized as a preferable and stabilizing necessity thus making any solution other than the eastern half of the Ukraine being annexed by Russia impossible one can realistically expect this to end in a Russian invasion. Realists watching the situation are basically taking pot shots at guessing the exact date when the Russians pull the trigger and march across the eastern Ukraine under the guise of liberators freeing and caring for the Russian speaking population living there, whether they actually desired being swallowed up by Russia or not. Then comes the question that everybody is hoping beyond hope will never need to be asked, will the Russian intervention take just half the Ukraine now or swallow up the entirety of the country right up front. It is becoming untenable to continue to believe that the Russian designs on the Ukraine will be satiated by anything less than annexing the entirety of the nation bringing it once again under Russian rule.

 

We are among those who believe that once the Russian troops enter the Ukraine their goal will be total annexation of the Ukraine and that they will meet an immediate response from those in power in Kiev. The final outcome of such a war is not really in doubt but the numbers of casualties should be unacceptable to those who Kiev has begged for assistance in defending their country. Europe will claim they had no idea the situation had gotten so dire and act totally surprised when the Russians make their move. They will gnash their teeth and rub their hands expressing great sympathy and regret and will resolve to emotionally support those Ukrainians desiring their nation freedom and borders be restored but that will be the full extent of the European resolve. Their warm wishes will afford the Ukrainians no relief whatsoever. What is really sad is that the Europeans will show more regret and emotion than will come out of the White House. Anybody expecting even the tiniest squeak from President Obama have greatly overestimated is ability to feel sympathy, at least anything resembling honest sympathy. Expect that President Obama will be far too busy making arrangements to meet and greet the recent winners of the college basketball championships with special mention of the women’s team which just finished a perfect season. After all, a President has to have his priorities straight and recognizing important and life-changing events such as the college basketball championship is at least far more fun than it is being the leader of the free world. After all, which would any normal person rather do, face down a former KGB colonel and verifiable megalomaniac itching for a confrontation or meet and greet some college basketball players and their coaches, including the women’s team, and share in their victories pretending that some of their accomplishment will rub off on you and thinking of all the good press and photo-ops one can generate by such an event on the White House lawns. I did mention that there was also the attendance of the women’s team, right? That is important as it makes the invitation to former President Clinton more likely to be accepted and of course Obama’s former Secretary of State will be unable to avoid being in front of the press cameras in a favorable and happy event such as this, even if she will need to keep one eye on Bill. So, Europe is deathly afraid of any necessity to stand up for anybody against Putin and the Russian military and United States President Obama has absolutely no clue how to stand up to any real threat and also needs to keep his word to Vladimir, aka Vlad the Invader, that he would be able to be more flexible after his reelection. After all, promises are promises and especially if doing nothing is all that is required from Obama as nothing appears to be his strongest character trait.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 18, 2014

The Foreign Policy Conundrum in America

The apparently few Americans who truly worry over world affairs, along with those who live in that world, realize and try to explain that a world in which the benevolent power of the United States is in remission will necessarily facilitate the spread of evil and oppression in the world as the despots and oligarchs extend their malicious iron grip on their neighbors or even further afield taking advantage of the American absence. The last six years has been an in-depth lesson on how a world without a strong American foreign presence makes the world a far more dangerous place. Looking around the examples are everywhere with the return of al-Qaeda into Iraq with the country reverting to a Sunni-Shiite Civil War; the ongoing strife in the Syrian Civil War where chemical agents have been deployed, where torture and summary executions have become a common occurrence, civilians are subjected to barrel bombs designed to maximize horrific injuries as well as snipers shooting to injure children aiming for their spines not to kill them but to render them permanently paralyzed and a life of agony; Russia making military moves on the Ukraine and potentially implementing as policy the reinstitution of Russian hegemony equal to that enjoyed during the reign of the Soviet Union over the Warsaw Pact nations; the loss of central authoritative leadership in Libya instituting a condition of tribal warfare engulfing the entirety of the nation outside of the Capital of Tripoli; a resurgence throughout the Arabian Peninsula and Northern and Central Africa of Islamist extremists from al-Qaeda in Yemen to Boko Haram victimization of Christians in Nigeria to Muslim Brotherhood targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt; to Angola placing bans on Islam shuttering most of the nation’s mosques. Many have commented that under the lacking foreign policies of President Obama guiding the United States presence in the world that the world has been consumed by the flames of wars, violence and persecutions. Who is to blame is not as important as is the reality gripping the world while the United States is in the grip of an overwhelming introspection blinding her to the needs in the world for her strength and fulfilment of premises she had made to many nations, promising protection and guarding against their adversaries in order to allow, or demand depending on who you ask, their demilitarizing freeing them from the onerous demands retaining an ample military always ready to defend against outside threats. Now some of these nations are feeling it was folly to believe the American promises and believing they have been betrayed and left vulnerable before their traditional enemies. This is the direct result of an America in remission on the world stage.

 

This problem poses the question of who is there who is evident on the political stage of the United States offering leadership which includes the acknowledgement that the United States obligation to the rest of the world, especially the free world of nations with representative governance, to provide them with the assurance of her strength against any threat which they may face from those wishing to impose unrepresentative governance forcing their will against the desires of the majority of the people. There will be Americans who will immediately protest such an idea that the United States must be the savior, the policeman of the world and that the world needs to take care of itself. The problem with that view is it ignores the many treaties and conventions to which the United States is the principle signatory and the guarantor of the terms and promises these agreements represent. Many nations made deep sacrifices directly related to the guarantees and even demands of these treaties and agreements. An example was the Ukrainian surrender of the entirety of the nuclear arsenal within their borders after the fall of the Soviet Union. Does anybody really believe that instantly turning the Ukraine into the world’s third largest nuclear power overnight would have been prudent or that Russia would be threatening the Ukrainian borders and have annexed the Crimean Peninsula if the Ukraine retained those nuclear weapons? Of course the absence of those nuclear warheads are making the current threats to the Ukraine possible and the treaty did obligate the United States, and also Russia and much of NATO, to come to the aid and rescue of the Ukraine in any situation where she was threatened by any outside force, especially if that force was applied by the Russians. In lieu of the Ukraine possessing the nuclear weapons left within her borders by the Soviet Union they were promised the full might and abilities of the United States military to protect their borders but apparently that promise was contingent upon the mood of the President of the United States and President Obama is feeling timorous and refusing to extend America’s military might even when such is called for in treaties. How does that leave the numerous other nations who rely upon American promises and commitments, often in treaty or other agreements, for their continued safety? They likely feel much as do South Korea and Japan who both have expressed feeling naked before the threats and saber rattling emanating from North Korea as Kim Jung Un bares his military prowess with missile and nuclear tests combined with military exercises and launching of artillery and missiles into the maritime waters of his neighbors. With the United States slumbering over threats from everywhere on the globe, both these nations are seriously considering remilitarizing and developing their own nuclear arsenals as a response and safety against the machinations of the threats from the madman in North Korea. This possible further proliferation of nuclear weapons is a direct result of the United States passivity on the world’s stage and would never have been even considered, especially by Japan whose peoples are extremely sensitive and disdainful of nuclear weapons after World War II, developing and producing their own nuclear arsenals.

 

The real problem of a world without the American presence is not so much the development of nuclear weapons by generally peaceful nations who pose little to no threat to their neighbors and are not financiers or propagators of terrorism. The real problem is when nations who are guilty of both propagating terrorism and posing threats to their neighbors and beyond also developing nuclear weapons exemplified by Iran. The deliberations and negotiations between the P5+1 which consists of Germany, Russia, China, France, Britain and, of course, the currently in remission United States, with Iran presumably having their announced intention of reaching an agreement which will deny Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons while respecting their rights to nuclear power generation have also evidenced the lack of resolve of the United States. This was made obviously evident when it took France imposing their veto and France and Britain informing Israel and Saudi Arabia respectively of the threat posed by the United States proposal being so weak and lacking resolve that it was a virtual invitation for Iran to proceed and develop nuclear weapons with the blessings of the United States. This was in contraposition of events from when the United States was fully engaged in the world and had hunted and brought Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to trial and Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi voluntarily disassembled and turned over his previously unknown nuclear weapons program which definitely turned a few heads both by the unexpected capitulation by Gadhafi and the fact that Libya possessed an advanced nuclear program.

 

The final question is where is the world’s Winston Churchill who will address and take the principled stand and lead the world’s response to the ever growing menacing threats which have blossomed and grown exponentially during the Presidency of Barack Obama. Even if such a person is to be found anywhere, the rest of the question is will the United States gain leadership in the near future that would be receptive to retaking the mantle of the world benevolent superpower and protector of freedoms and liberties and the nations who treasure individual human rights. Is there somebody who in 2016 will be the candidate standing for an attentive and ever present American force behind the promises in treaties and agreements which America signed promising to be the preeminent guarantor of international peace and integrity of international relations between nations. The people who have either been profiled as potential Presidential candidates or who have expressed their own desires to vie for the position appear to fall into two categories. The first category are those who propose using the power, strength and treasures of the United States in expanding the Federal Government’s footprint in the daily lives of the average American citizens and taking over more of the economic interests such as healthcare, education and other daily concerns in the name of fairness and equality, that is equality of outcome guaranteed and provided free of the onerous obligation of individual efforts. The other group are libertarian and propose slimming the government and removing as much of its interference in the lives of the American people. They stress the limitations placed on the government by the United States Constitution and the trespass of the plethora of government agencies and officials against those restrictions. Their view when it comes to foreign affairs they mostly appear to support the ideal expressed by George Washington of trade with all and ally with none. Where that was an exemplary policy at that time, the current world is far smaller and the United States has a far greater importance as a superpower and has made agreements and promises with other nations which even according to the Constitution are obligations which she is demanded to fulfill. Where, pray tell, is the American candidate for President who will loudly state that the United States has obligations as a signatory to numerous treaties, accords, organizations, alliances and various other legally binding agreements where American military might was the principle enforcer promised to the world and the many nations within and until the United States becomes incapable of providing her support, she is obliged Constitutionally of honoring those commitments. Please, for the continued benefit of the free world, America must seek a leader and then support that leader in all efforts of returning the steadying influence of the American presence and active participation on the world stage. Even if such is done solely because eventually any evil allowed to blossom in the world will eventually, if not sooner, come to the shores of America so she might as well confront these threats when they are in their diminutive infancy as that is better than allowing them to fester, grow and metastasize into a monstrous threat that even rivals the power of the United States. The world should never again come as close to falling before totalitarian threats as it had during World War II, never again!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 15, 2014

Iran Negotiations Continue Going Downhill

United States Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with reporters about the negotiations with Iran which presumably are aiming to prevent the Iranians from becoming a nuclear power by producing nuclear weaponry. Sometimes I wonder which causes a larger headache, thinking of a world containing a nuclear armed terror state such as Iran or having to discern what in the world Secretary Kerry means as he often speaks in such vagaries likely in order to always claim that any quote is not what he meant by his words. Before getting to Iran I thought it might be almost as interesting to examine the exact words Secretary was quoted delivering. Secretary Kerry stated, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.” He further stated, “So six months to twelve months is, I’m not saying that’s what we’d settle for, but even that is significantly more.” So, according to Secretary Kerry, he can claim when questioned how he came to the conclusion that Iran might be but a two months from reaching nuclear weapons breakout point, he can deny having said that but that such was “public knowledge today.” If a reporter were to follow-up asking if Secretary Kerry honestly believes that extending that timeframe from two months to six to twelve months was actually much of an improvement, Kerry could claim that he had plainly stated that was “not saying that’s what we’d settle for.” Examine almost any Kerry speech and you will find that almost every sentence contains multiple streams with dissimilar meanings which provide him with sufficient wiggle room in order to deny any particular quote by claiming he really meant to emphasize the alternative expressions and that he may have said the other while thinking of a more relevant phrase. It is always acceptable for our leaders to claim that they were reaching and pondering the phrasing and substance when speaking despite their vagueness and contradictory circular logic is almost always intentional to allow them denial capabilities. Enough said about the infuriating vagaries of the speech patterns of for too many of public officials and their always seeking to give themselves room to deny anything said which later may come back to haunt them. Maybe with all the Kerry meddlesome interferences and one sided helmsmanship of the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis and his seeming to back more of the Palestinian demands and positions and pressing the Israelis for more concessions has infuriated me to distraction on all things Kerry.

 

Back to Iran and the problematic statements and assumptions of the leadership of the P5+1 nations (United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) that Iran is anywhere from a few months to as much as a couple of years from acquiring nuclear weapons and the lack of evidence validating their claims. The Iranians had started their nuclear program under the Shah back in the 1970’s. After the revolt that brought the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his theocratic governance to power in 1979, the nuclear program was suspended due to opposition by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini on religious grounds. After the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 it is currently believed that the new Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei restarted the Iranian nuclear research with the development of nuclear weapons as one of the main aims of the program. In August 2002, a spokesman for an Iranian dissident group National Council of Resistance of Iran, Alireza Jafarzadeh, revealed the existence of two nuclear sites under construction. The two sites he named were the heavy water reactor facility in Arak and the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. These sites had not been revealed to the IAEA and thus elicited suspicions of the intent of the Iranian nuclear research projects. These revelations caused the start of IAEA inspections of these sites and calls for complete disclosure by Iran of their intents and all sites where nuclear research and development including any enrichment productions of uranium and the degree to which stores may have been already achieved. The lack of full disclosure and other suspicions led to sanctions and eventually the current P5+1 negotiations with Iran following several levels of sanctions being passed by the United Nations Security Council despite Russian and Chinese initial oppositions.

 

We are now easily two and a half decades into the Iranian nuclear program where their aim has been to develop nuclear weapons. The United States Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear bomb took less than five years starting completely from scratch without even a guarantee that such a weapon was truly possible. There was so much uncertainty that some scientists opposed the entire project fearing that such an explosion would ignite the atmosphere ending all life on planet Earth. Any research with the aim of producing a nuclear weapon in modern times has the advantage of, at the very least, a basic knowledge of the necessary technologies and necessary principles and requirements to develop nuclear weapons. Additionally, any nation or individuals with sufficient revenue would be able to procure exact schematics and blueprints of actual existing warheads which have been available from clandestine sources such as the Pakistani Physicist Abdul Qadeer Khan as well as others. Given all of the available information and evidence it is difficult not to believe that the Iranians have had the ability, knowledge, technologies and components to produce their own nuclear weapons and have been for likely close to a decade. When one includes the fact the existence of uranium ore within Iran the probability that they could have produced nuclear fuel for a weapon without having to go beyond their own borders and arousing any suspicions makes the suspicion that Iran is already nuclear armed even more likely. The final suspicion that Iran has already produced some undeterminable number of atomic weapons, even if only low yield basic World War II ending style weapons is the claims during President George W. Bush’s administration that Iran was less than two years from attaining a breakout ability to produce nuclear weaponry. If one simply believes that this was an accurate approximation of Iranian abilities, then how could anybody now accept that the Iranians are still two months from being able to produce a nuclear weapon and could be pushed backwards to a point where they would need as much as a whole year to reach breakout capabilities.

 

The question should not be how to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon as such is probably impossible if not mute as they have already developed and produced as many as a dozen operative nuclear devices which are deliverable by available missiles some of which are ballistic missiles capable of reaching most if not all of Europe. Additionally, Iran will have ICBMs within the next two years and more likely even sooner, probably within the next six months. They have already managed to place satellites in low earth orbit with limited ability for sustained orbits. Add to this the known capabilities they have as they were supplied with by the Russians which they could utilize to attack the United States through a known and recognized hole in the United States defense grids which were designed to detect a Soviet launch and are vulnerable of attacks coming from a polar orbit making a southerly approach. This vulnerability has been at the center of much of the debates about the possibility of a North Korean EMP attack using an orbit approaching the United States coming from the South Pole heading northward aiming to explode a low yield high gamma radiation nuclear device at between one-hundred-fifty to as high as three-hundred miles altitude over central states over the general area above Omaha, Nebraska. As evidence exists that North Korea and Iran have been working together on missile technology and sharing research and intelligence, it is also highly likely that the Iranians have also been made aware of this vulnerability of the United States which has been further confirmed by the fact that many of the Iranian missile tests have launched in a manner to take advantage of the same approach trajectory as would be utilized by the North Koreans in such a scenario. Additionally, the cooperation between Iran and North Korea it can be assumed that at least one of the reported North Korean nuclear tests may have been carried out utilizing an Iranian designed weapon providing vital technical and experimental data for the Iranians. There is a definitive probability that the Iranians are already a nuclear armed state and have the capability of delivering such a weapon easily striking much of Europe, Israel, as well as United States assets throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East. When also including the tactics of firing ballistic missiles with a range of as much as two-thousand miles from freighters or possibly from bases in their allies such as Venezuela or Nicaragua all of which place the mainland United States vulnerable to an Iranian first strike be it an EMP device or simultaneous launched nuclear tipped missiles from numerous sea based nuclear armed freighters, the truth of the extent and abilities of the Iranian nuclear programs is made all the more critical. Perhaps there needs to be more direct and unequivocal proof of the exact state of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and whether there exists now ready Iranian nuclear weapons stores. The health and future of civilization as we know such may depend upon knowing the real truth. The existence of doubts over what we have been told by governments and world bodies all completely lacking any solid evidence and based completely dependent on expedient political opinions should cause any prudent person pause and have worries over what is not being said. The current efforts do not appear to be earnest and as urgent as one would suspect if Iran was still incapable of having produced nuclear weapons. It is for these and also my general suspicions that a nuclear armed Iran is something I take as fact and hope those who have definitive evidence are taking the necessary steps to face such a challenge.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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