Beyond the Cusp

December 12, 2016

How Bad do Americans Want to be First in Space?

 

It has been a while since NASA and space have been much of a news item. With the cancellation of the Space Shuttle, which really did not go into SPACE Space, NASA has kind of fallen by the wayside. President Obama had set the target as Mars, an Asteroid, but definitely not the Moon; as we have “Been there, Done that.” Well, right about now being capable of getting American Astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) using an American rocket of any sort would be a step in the right direction. Many of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering where did this idea stem from. Well, I read that NASA has a plan for a space station, all American this time would be nice, in Moon orbit from which to go Mars, Moon, Asteroids, just about anywhere. They want to use this station to test some theoretical shielding systems which should protect against radiation. Yes, radiation, a real set of shields like real science fiction spaceships have. They want to power the station for correcting the orbit with, wait for it, electronic drive systems. Can you say Ion Drivers? I knew you could. Their plans reach into the 2030’s but I bet Americans do not want the race to place an orbiting station in Moon orbit or a real underground Moon Base to be anywhere near or close to the Chinese who claim they will have a Moon base by the early to mid-2030’s. My bet is knowing that the Chinese, yes, the Chinese building on American and Russian know-how, are screaming at their monitors about now, “What’s the holdup?” Well, the usual, funding.

 

Let’s talk NASA funding. Anybody have an idea on the percentage of the budget NASA used to go to the Moon, assist with building the ISS, the entire Shuttle fleet? Not the actual cost in dollars as that is too relative, the percentage? Was it 10%, 15%, 20%? Too low or too high? Well, believe it or not too high so let’s try under 10%. Was it 8%, 5%, 3%, how low would we need to go? Perhaps we should first figure out what it would be worth for the United States to build a Space Wheel with central hub serving as a dock for building any size ship for any destination desired with the ability to tow Asteroids for the metals, ceramics, gold, silver and any other necessary materials including enough water to power the entire venture and transmit power back to fixed Earth stations from space? All of this with a proper Moon Base with the vast majority of the base safely underground protected from Asteroid and Meteor strikes and the Space Wheel and Moon Base entrances all self-sealing from anything smaller than decent rock size holes and a system of lasers, both pulsed and pulse types for differing requirements which automatically fire to destroy larger or even down to as small as an inch projectiles keeping them from striking the sensitive areas where people can even live. A Space Wheel spinning at the correct speed would give five or six levels of near Earth gravity and the central hub could be used for zero gravity manufacturing which allows for perfect crystals and electronics and electronic miniaturization with precisions not possible on Earth due to gravity of the situation. Any ship build from workers based on the Space Wheel could use smaller grabber craft with ion drivers and a pulse driver to assist in gaining return velocity and stopping for fetching Asteroids for materials and resources which would pay for everything in time and give the Earth needed resources of precious metals and who knows what else would be discovered. It all is a dream but would you be willing to invest 3% or maybe, dare we suggest, 5% of the budget set aside just like military spending for NASA and other space related activities by private enterprises which could be subsidized just like General Electric, Chrysler, General Motors and the Banks but actually accomplishing something. This could be done in style at 5% of budget as NASA has rarely cleared 1% of budget.

 

Space Station Double Wheel from Stanley Kubrick Arthur C. Clarke 2001 A Space Odyssey

Space Station Double Wheel
from Stanley Kubrick Arthur C. Clarke
2001 A Space Odyssey

 

You are amazed now, right? Well, there is a reason they always told you how many billions of dollars were “wasted” on NASA and Space things, never going to Mars or propulsion systems for interstellar exploration, or a Moon Base and Space Wheel. No, it was space junk or wasted on space with nothing to show for it. Well, at less than 1% of the budget and often floating around ¾% of the budget, yes, that is 0.75% of the budget, what did you expect, miracles? Well, considering their budget you did get miracles like first men on the Moon, only people to land on the Moon, and with some effort it could be first woman on the Moon, first whatever you choose on the Moon, first Mom to Mars, first family born in space, at 5% of budget we bet NASA could wow the world again. Of course there would be one other item, NASA should be returned to their parent, the Air Force with a General running the show so as to keep things real, just a suggestion as NASA has done some boneheaded things such as crashing a Mars probe because somebody did not transfer the European specifications from meters to feet and thus the speed was grossly underestimated and BOOM! Well, no boom as Mars atmosphere would only transmit a loud clap, yes a series of loud rapid claps as it crashed into Mars way too fast for survival. We all know that many missions NASA had launched were for the Military or the CIA or other even more clandestine agencies so why not quit hiding the link and make it official, the American Military is running the space program and be done with it. Still, 5% or even 3% would seem like they hit the Lottery at NASA and the Military could now put their “black ops space items” onto NASA missions with far less argument, not that NASA ever said no that we know about, nor would we ever know such things or talk about them if we did. Alright, enough with the paranoia and back to Earth or at least Earth bound orbits.

 

Image of NASA Space Vehicle Concept Ship

Image of NASA Space Vehicle Concept Ship

 

The above picture depicts a NASA prototype of the Orion space vehicles. These would sit upon the new heavy lift rocket systems with smaller support more likely contracted out to Space X, Axiom Space, Bigelow Aerospace, Virgin Galactic or any of the literally dozens of other venture space companies. These other space companies could also place their own experiments or modules onto the Moon Base or Space Wheel as long as they would meet certain specifications as it helps if the seals fit tightly and do not leak because they were made to the wrong size. There could even be an additional wheel with set asides for such projects which required livable requirements with Earth gravity and add on space to the Space Doc built to orbit within workable distance from the Space Wheel central hub unit for anything requiring zero gravity and possibly everything inbetween using the service legs of the wheel. The hardest part, as proven by the landing on the Moon in under a decade starting from more rocket failures at launch with some of the most spectacular and impressive explosions in the early 1960s and the Moon in July 1969, America can do whatever they wish in space if only they commit to do whatever they want in space.

 

There are always those who do not believe that the Human Race must conquer space and claim it is all a waste of money. These people can be vocal while the dreamers are often the quiet sort leaving their noise for cheering launches trying to out shout the deep rumbling grumble of the first stage rocket and boosters. The supporters of active and daring space development programs, despite knowing that the ultimate fruits are not going to materialize in their lifetimes, are committed and hope to make such developments as a driver for interstellar missions become a reality before their grandchildren’s, or to be bolder, children’s lives end. The obvious secret about such grand ventures is that the sooner we, as a people, begin to venture towards these goals, the sooner we will overcome the difficulties we will encounter. NASA has developed a projected mission profile for the initial Orion Mission (see below). Their claim is they may, if all proceeds as well as expected, to have the craft orbit the Moon instead of a single trip around using a free return gravity driven return orbit just in case their craft has problems as they intend for it to return to Earth. All we can say is, “Decent start, now what?”

 

NASA Orion Flight Trajectories Including Lunar Orbits

NASA Orion Flight Trajectories Including Lunar Orbits

 

Now for our dreaming part of this article. We would like to see a spaceport launch facility built in the Negev Desert and for an ambitious Israeli space program built near the 31o Latitude (see map below). While 31o Latitude is somewhat too far north for optimum, but when your country is slightly smaller than New Jersey with largely populated northern half and a more sparsely populated southern desert, then this is perfect for a spaceport launch facility. Israel definitely has more than sufficient technological sophistication for an advanced space program and such a facility would free Israel from dependence upon other nations to launch communications and special satellites and doing so without having to proclaim their launches to the world unless required by treaties. Israel partnering with the United States on certain missions and reserving space on the space wheel for Israeli modules would be one more economical approach and building an Israel space wheel, likely smaller with a higher rotation speed, would be beyond any expectation. Israel having an operating launch facility could also allow other nations to utilize and launch from the spaceport in order to defray costs. Even a partnership with a dependable and consistent ally would be beneficial. Israel reaching into space would also serve to be deterrent to military ventures against Israel especially should Israel launch sufficient spy and mapping satellites as such craft would give early warning capability to Israel allowing early responses which could allay an attack. The secret to forging a well-ordered peaceful planet is the need to control all the high ground, that being space, and that could be something within the reach of Israel. There also exists another reason that Israel should build a spaceport capable of multiple launches in rapid succession possibly as many as six to ten rockets in a single day and perhaps a dozen to a dozen and a half per week and far more than any probable need would arise per month. Such a launch schedule potential would make Israel a preferable launch platform than Europeans or Russians currently possess or are even likely to possess. This capability would make Israel a space center which the developed space-faring world who could come to depend upon Israel thus making Israel even more intertwined with the world and thus having even greater impetus for good relations with all. As we stated, this is our dream space where we fantasize and paint pretty pictures of the future and perhaps also to work to plant a seed, an idea which grows until it has a life of its own. Once that stage is reached more than half the battle has been won. As stated above, the most difficult time is getting the idea accepted and started, once there your dream has a great potential to be realized. Israel in space, almost sounds like a Mel Brooks comedy (see video below map).

 

Israel Space Port Launch Facility

Israel Space Port Launch Facility

 

 

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March 30, 2016

Not as Simple as America Safe Europe Not

 

There has been much discussion over the lapses in security follow-through by Belgium Security Forces which may have contributed to both the Paris attack and the more recent Brussels bombing as Molenbeek neighborhood produced both terror cells and much of the planning for both attacks were carried out there. Additionally, the leader of the Paris attacks was captured by Police in that same area. We have heard that Turkey had deported a number of Belgians who had been arrested attempting to enter Syria presumably to join the Islamic State and that the Belgian authorities did little if any follow-through and allowed these people to slip from view of enforcement personnel. There was told that the United States and Israel had both warned Brussels of the coming attack with some information pointing to Molenbeek and bombing of the airport and main subway station, the exact targets. Still, the Belgians did little if anything.

 

From this one might think that the situation in Belgium in general and in Brussels particularly was excessively lax considering the warnings received. What many may not have caught is that much of Europe and the world are similarly not well protected from terrorism. Egypt had a Russian jet loaded with a bomb explode over the Sinai and just this week had another aircraft hijacked by a disturbed individual. Though the hijacking was not technically terrorism, the people suffered through an ordeal which for all intents and purposes was an act of terror. The number of attacks across Europe since 9/11 has far outstripped that of the United States, a fact that almost every news coverage stressed, especially those based in the United States. This begs a few questions as to what are the differences between Europe and the United States which might account for this difference.

 

Could it be as simple as availability as most terrorists can walk to Europe from the Middle East or Northern Africa (MENA) where the United States would take a deal of swimming. That makes entry into the United States more regulated despite its presumed porous southern border with Mexico. One fact many are not aware of is that the southern border of Mexico is heavily guarded and short of bribery one does not cross without proper authorizations which in a strange manner makes that porous southern border of the United States a little safer. But there is a greater difference and it has to do with dividing the authority and assignment for responsibility to prevent terrorist strikes. The fact that the United States has an overriding security apparatus which operates nationally while each state operates locally makes all the difference. When one police force in Europe gets any evidence of a terrorist cell operating within their area, they would hopefully monitor them. But what if their plans are being sent cryptically to a cell the other end of Europe, what would the interaction appear as. Would it be as the Turkish, Israeli and American security warned the Belgians. Even with warnings, would there be in existence the infrastructure in their police to handle such intelligence. Very likely not and this needs to be made evident to those in the United States of their good fortune for being a republic binding the fifty states together in cooperation with set rules and assignments and this is their security which is lacking in Europe.

 

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine the United States never did become one nation and instead became fifty nations just as Europe has different nations. There would be different languages spoken in some of the nations due to the primary immigrants and no universal English preferred as was the case for over two centuries. How well would the individual nation states be at handling security? Would they have in place a unified method of securing their airports? Would they have the funding for expensive scanners and detectors for every air terminal? What would they do with individual bits of information from the many varied individual nation states to figure out a grand scale the targets for terror strikes? Remember that the United States had the CIA, the FBI, Military Intelligences, all the individual state, county, city and rural police. All together they might have been able to piece together the 9/11 attacks and prevented them. They had all the pieces and even the computer of one of the conspirators along with all their levels of security and they missed it! Europe has no overriding law enforcement which can operate freely and without any interference from local authorities. Don’t even try to claim INTERPOL which puts out its Ten Most Wanted lists and attempts to coordinate two hands clapping patty-cake from two people across the room from each other, it does not mesh well.

 

 

INTERPOL shield

 

 

That is the problem in Europe, no coordinating body which can gather all the information and coordinate efforts. Even if INTERPOL had the smoking gun they would still require local police and security personnel to act to prevent any catastrophe. There was one article which got the solution correct, but it will require the nations of Europe to make a decision. Will the nations of Europe actually make an effort to cooperate if an overseeing agency is activated and placed responsible for tracking all things terror related and to whom these individual police and security agencies would necessarily need to report all leads and respond to any inquiries. Without their agreement in advance there is no reason for going through the actions as full coordination and cooperation is the key to success, just as it works, mostly, in the United States. What would rankle the nerves of the Europeans the most is that the overriding group would be NATO and would necessarily coordinate with Israeli security services in order to gain the whole picture. There would also be coordination with Egypt, Jordan and any other government willing to share solid and good information and intelligence. We all know that the European will do almost anything not to appear to react as Israel acts. They view the Israelis as paranoid lunatics who howl at the full moon and other imaginary threats. The Europeans are convinced that through respect and deference they can avoid terrorism like has been levelled against Israel, justifiably by most European thinking. Well, that same snake which the Europeans have been financing for decades has finally come home to roost and is killing Europeans and not just Jews. The time has passed where Europe needed to awaken to the threat levels they are facing and it is not too late, but it is imperative that action start and start soon to fight this rising menace. Either Europe will learn from the United States for coordinating across state lines and from the Israelis on how to implement smart security.

 

A final note on air safety. We have done our share of international flying in the past five years and have seen differing levels of security in the United States and elsewhere. We also have had more than sufficient relations with others including one friend whose plane landed in Brussels minutes after the terror attack, their ordeal was harrowing at best and maybe, just maybe, their luggage will find them again some day in the not too distant future. United, American, Southwest and whatever airlines you care to mention with one exception rely on whatever security the airport at which they fly from provides. That is pure insanity as that does not guarantee a level of expertise or efficiency that provides a safe environment for their passengers and employees. Many of these airlines met with Israeli representatives who described the means by which very few El Al aircraft has ever been successfully hijacked. The solution explained by El Al have always been regarded as the best methods for protecting passengers and aircrews but also too expensive and man-hour intensive to be utilized by these other major carriers. They claim passengers would refuse to pay the extra required for such screening while El Al does the multi-layered screening of passengers and background test their crews leading to the safest flying experience possible. Even further, the El Al aircraft are fit with Elbit Systems C-MUSIC anti-missile Protection systems, and that alone is worth the price of the fare.

 

 

 

 

The people at El Al take these incidents very personally. One of the most daring and astonishing stories is well worth reading titled How to thwart a gunman at 29,000 feet, by the only pilot who ever did. Please take the time and read this true story of one pilot who asked the right questions and used every bit of resources he had to foil an armed hijacking using guile, skill and a large dose of chutzpah. Meanwhile, if Europe is going to get a handle on the terror threat they prefer to pretend is not real, they are going to have to accept facts and deal intelligently with the threat and find a means for a coordinated effort by whatever means. NATO is simply the best suited with its current configuration and technical abilities and was designed to protect Europe from threats, that may as well include current terror threats, and let us all realize that maybe the Israelis actually know what they are dealing with and one might learn a thing or two.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 31, 2014

The Conflicting Duality that is American Foreign Policy

Filed under: 2016 Elections,Administration,Afghanistan,al-Qaeda,American People,American People Voice Opinion,Amnesty,Appease Islamic Interests,Appeasement,Appointment,Arab Appeasement,Armed Services,Cabinet,Campaign Contributions,Chinese Pressure,CIA,Conflict Avoidnce,Congress,Covert Actions,Department of Defense,Disaster Response Teams,Domestic NGOs,Earthquake,Ecology Lobby,Elections,Emergency Aid,Eminent Domain,Equal Responsibility,Equal Rights,Equal Treatment,Equality,Europe,European Council,European Governments,European Pressure,European Union,Executive Order,Federal Government,Foreign Aid,Foreign Funding,Foreign NGOs,Gender Issues Lobby,George W. Bush,German Pressure,Government,Hispanic Appeasement,History,House of Representatives,Humanitarian Aid,Illegal Immigration,Inteligence Report,Internal Pressures,International Politics,Iran,Iranian Pressure,Iraq,ISIS,Islamic Pressure,Israel,Israeli Interests,Military,Military Advisors,National Security Agency,Palestinian Pressures,Peace Process,Pentagon,Politics,Power,President Obama,Pressure by Egyptian People,Regulations,Republic,Russian Pressure,Saudi Arabian Pressure,Secretary of State,Senate,Terror,Union Interests,United Nations Presures,United States,United States Pressure,US Marines,WMD,World Opinion,World Pressures — qwertster @ 2:33 AM
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American foreign policy is often a result of the struggle to assist people in need or under duress and the American people’s desire to mind their own business. America is often the reluctant warrior when using her vast military might abroad and even when using that might there is a definitive reluctance to unleash her entire might and fury. The problem is that even the measured and restrained use of American military might does not appear to be such as even that is well beyond the capability of any other nation on the planet and often more destructive than the entire forces from the combined forces of an entire region in which it is used. A typical example was the American use of force to take Panamanian strongman and international drug dealer and facilitator General Manuel Antonio Noriega into custody and to stand trial on charges in the United States. The force utilized to bring him to face charges in America were very limited by American standards yet were likely capable of not only overwhelming the Panamanian military but also that of the several surrounding nations if that had become necessary. The troops and forces represented by a single United States battle group attached to a single aircraft carrier and supporting ships which includes a contingent of United States Marines would be capable of conquering most nations on the face of the earth without needing to call for reserves or other reinforcements. The United States was probably the sole power in the history of the human race since the first city states brought civilization into existence and led to the formation of nations which had the capability and the opportunity to literally conquer the entire globe. Had the United States been a colonizing power in the ideals of the great European colonizers such as Spain, England, France, Portugal, and the Dutch; then perhaps the President and Congress would have acted on the suggestions of two of the greatest American Generals from World War II and as General George Patton suggested taken Russia and as General Douglas MacArthur suggested have taken China and as there were more American troops in Germany, Italy, France and England at the end of World War II, the world today might look vastly different with everybody throughout the globe voting for the President of the United States and for their own members to its Congress and there would be no United Nations other than the United Nations of America. That is the upper limit of American power at its zenith at the end of World War II. Every use of American military might since World War II had been but a small contingent of the potential strength America is capable of fielding and since she has done so on only the most dire of occasions, we can only hope we do not need her maximum efforts ever again.

 

On the other hand, and as was witnessed in both World Wars, America is the reluctant warrior and only enters into the fray as a final resort or in response to an actual attack on her people or threat thereof. More often we witness American military might bringing aid to areas struck by the most horrific catastrophes, be they the result of natural catastrophe or the result of human indifference. The American people are mostly of a mind to allow the world to decide on their own policies and to fight their own battles as long as they have no direct effect or bring harm to the Americans themselves. The Americans have often been called isolationists who more often than not withdraw from the rest of the world’s problems only acting by invitation or as a last resort to restore a balance they perceive has been lost. There was a period after World War II where the United States would respond and act to prevent the spread of Communist influence which was being spread by military means and most often against nations which had limited military ability to resist the forces backed by the Soviet Union on their own and without assistance. After the fall of the Soviet Union the United States also retreated from its use of military might throughout the world. This calm was broken by the attacks of September 11, 2001 when terrorists from al-Qaeda struck the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and were prevented from striking a fourth target when the passengers brought United Airlines Flight 93 to the ground in western Pennsylvania. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq followed these events and America once again used a portion of her military might to avenge herself and strike at those they perceived had struck them. Before this vengeance was completed by many American’s ideas of what should have been accomplished and who held the strongest of angers the American military was brought home and once again the United States began to withdraw into her solitude until being required again to answer the call. We saw the other side of American military might in Haiti after the horrendous earthquake and again in Japan after the disastrous trio of an earthquake, followed by a tsunami and then the explosive failures of nuclear power reactors as a result of the flooding and force of the tidal waves. These are the more common examples of American use of her military might, that of bringing relief to those in dire need resulting from natural disasters. The United States is unmatched in her ability to provide such aid though a few other nations also spring to mind who are amongst the first to respond when the calamity of natural forces strike and wreak their havoc. The majority of Americans, that so-called silent majority, would be pleased if the world would never require the deployment of American military might except for the hopefully rare natural disaster where such military force is used to relieve the pain and suffering of the victims of the whims of Mother Nature and her forces often unleashed from within the planet herself.

 

The dichotomy the American military is often accused of suffering from is actually a dichotomy found in the American public. Trying to classify the American public is a fool’s effort as it is comprised of individuals as diverse as any population anywhere, partially because they come from almost everywhere originally. The secret of America has been that they take the best from each culture and merge it into the whole of American culture just as they would merge the people from every culture into the American body public. While the customs from the old world, as it is often referred to, would remain within the family at gatherings and at home while each generation would slowly meld into the American ethos while still remembering their roots and knowing that a small part of what they brought was now part of the greater whole and this allowed them to feel at home and a part of a greater whole. This is how the multiethnic American people can unite and believe they are one. It is also why it is near impossible to read the American people as simply being from a single culture and background. Where the British are known for their stiff upper lip, the French for l’amour, and all the other stereotypes can be found among the American peoples because they are not a single, harmonious identity. Instead of their familiar background, the American slowly fits into their new identity such as the western cowboy ethos, the cosmopolitan New Yorker, the proper Bostonian, the unrestrained and experimental Californian, the middle America farmer and almost countless others all of which might describe a few but nothing is that straight forward. The same comes to bear when attempting to figure the American foreign policies. First off is that with every new President the person who shapes foreign policy the most is replaced often with somebody with a completely different point of view. This could not have been more evident than when President Obama followed President Bush and the interventional policies of President Bush were replaced by the regressive retreat which was enacted by President Obama. The other side of the equation is that even though President Obama and President Bush could not have had any more disparate foreign policy goals, one trying to right the grievance from the September 11 attacks and the other trying to reverse everything and retreat from the world and give the United States a smaller and more passive world presence, President Obama had been unable to completely reverse every last iota of the policies of President Bush most evidenced by the inability to close the Guantanamo prison as President Obama likely realized that not everything is controllable, even for the President of the United States.

 

The one sure and unalterable truth about the American foreign policy will change direction, not completely though possibly more radically than can be predicted, every change of the family occupying the White House. Still, there are certain core principles which even a President is obliged to follow; the will of the American people should they ever unite behind a cause or as a reaction to events, especially a perceived assault on the United States or her interests or allies. That is the one power which is capable of taking American foreign policy to its furthest extremes. The other truth is that it is near impossible to predict when or where the American people might demand a President respond. Where a President can resist or even deny the desires and demands of the American public, if their positions are strongly felt the next President will be elected to carry out their exact desires. It is this strange mixture of the whims of the people, the regular changes in the leader of the United States, and most of all, the fact that for the large part the American people have very little if any interest in most foreign policy and could not care or find a reason to follow foreign affairs and largely only care about domestic policies and their own expectations of the government. That means that when it comes to foreign policy decisions and setting the priorities the American people, probably the best regulating control over government ever invented, have little desire to use their regulatory control over the foreign policy of the United States. That means that the only real controlling and limiting influence on American foreign policy is the five hundred and thirty-five members of Congress, the one-hundred Senators and the four-hundred-thirty-five members of the House of Representatives who are mostly concerned with assuring their reelection as many are not capable of honest work. Many of these representatives of the American public are simply walking through their assigned paces, repeating lines fed them by their advisors, and attempting to satisfy those who finance their next campaign as well as attempting to meet any needs any of their constituents may request their assistance with right down to tracking down their errant Social Security check as each voter satisfied could mean another hundred votes the next election and an unsatisfied voter definitely means a few thousand lost voters support simply from viral word of mouth and social media. Mostly though they just read their teleprompters or recite memorized positions which often they have no knowledge or concept of their position beyond what they have been instructed. Yet these are the main and often only people with any power to affect the American foreign policy from simply being the result of some ulterior motives and schemes of the President or that of his handlers and advisors. The people and functionaries who hold the uppermost positions in the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security, the National Security Administration and the military, especially in the Pentagon, have the most direct influence on the President as they also control much of the research ordered by the President’s closest advisors and those who the government assigns the responsibility for crafting and influencing American foreign policy. Is it any wonder that it often appears as those controlling the American foreign policy are clueless or many on opposing pages all talking at once and the resultant output is pure gibberish, gibberish, a decent definition for American foreign policy if ever I heard one.

 

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