Friday Follies for May 29, 2015

This story could correctly be entitled, “Cycles.” For most of the 20th Century and the first decade and a half of the 21st, we’ve watched this cycle occur in our foreign and defense policies. It began with Wilson, continued with FDR, Carter, Clinton and now Obama. Each iteration of liberal polices led to disaster. It always seem to require a conservative administration to put our house back in order…until the next liberal administration betrays us once again.

Disavowing the appeal of the appeaser

The next president will be forced to face down tyrants whom Obama ignored

– – Wednesday, May 27, 2015

For a time, reset, concessions and appeasement work to delay wars. But finally, nations wake up, grasp their blunders, rearm and face down enemies.

That gets dangerous. The shocked aggressors cannot quite believe that their targets are suddenly serious and willing to punch back. Usually, the bullies foolishly press aggression, and war breaks out.

It was insane of Nazi Germany and its Axis partners to even imagine that they could defeat the Allied trio of Imperial Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States.

But why not try?

Hitler figured that for a decade America had been unarmed and isolationist. Britain repeatedly had appeased the Third Reich. The Soviets initially collaborated with Hitler.

Hitler met no opposition after militarizing the Rhineland. He annexed Austria with impunity. He gobbled up Czechoslovakia without opposition.

Why shouldn’t Hitler have been stunned in 1939 when exasperated Britain and France finally declared war over his invasion of distant Poland?

Six years of war and some 60 million dead followed, re-establishing what should have been the obvious fact that democracies would not quite commit suicide.

By 1979, the Jimmy Carter administration had drastically cut the defense budget. President Carter promised that he would make human rights govern American foreign policy. It sounded great to Americans after Vietnam — and even greater to America’s enemies.

Then Iran imploded. The American embassy in Tehran was stormed. Diplomats were taken hostage. Radical Islamic terrorism spread throughout the Middle East. Communist insurrection followed throughout Central America. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. China went into Vietnam.

Dictators such as the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev and Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed that Mr. Carter no longer was willing to protect the U.S. postwar order. Or perhaps they figured that the inexperienced American president was too weak to respond even had he wished to do so.

Then, Ronald Reagan defeated Mr. Carter in 1980 on the promise of restoring U.S. power. At first, both America’s friends and enemies were aghast at Reagan’s simplistic worldview that free markets were better than communism, that democracy was superior to dictatorship, and that in the ensuing struggle, the West would win and the rest would lose.

Foreign media damned Reagan as a warmonger for beefing up the U.S. defense budget, reassuring America’s allies and going after terrorists with military force.

The column continues onto a second page with Hanson’s analysis of Obama. The pattern is well established. Liberal, i.e., democrat administrations, weaken the nation, creates choas within our military with massive cuts and misappropriation of funds, thus allowing our enemies to become emboldened. The problems resist until a conservative administration is elected to fix the problems the liberals have created.

The column ends with this final statement:

The Obama foreign policy cannot continue much longer without provoking even more chaos or a large war. Yet correcting it will be nearly as dangerous.

Jumping off the global tiger is dangerous, but climbing back on will seem riskier.

Now you know why I said this section could rightfully be titled, “Cycles.”

***

Here is an item where the ACLU and Missouri conservatives agree. The use of ‘StingRay’ technology should be banned within the state. The St Louis Post Dispatch published this editorial on Wednesday.

Editorial: Secret use of StingRay technology could backfire on St. Louis police

May 27, 2015 4:07 pm  • 

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/stltoday.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/1e/e1e8581f-afef-5885-bf81-13720cd549d9/55319997d8573.image.png?resize=620%2C368

Last summer, as the American Civil Liberties Union was standing side-by-side with Missouri Republicans supporting the passage of a constitutional amendment that sought to protect “electronic communication and data” from unreasonable search and seizure, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was sitting on a secret.

In cooperation with the FBI, the St. Louis police had been using a cellphone tracking device known generically by the brand name of one such device: StingRay. The high-tech gadgets allow police to mimic a cell tower. They screen and track nearby digital data, determining the specific location in a building, for instance, of the cell phone they are tracking.

Last month, as first reported by the Post-Dispatch’s Robert Patrick, prosecutors dropped more than a dozen charges against three defendants in a case where the technology was employed. Defense attorneys believe the charges were dropped because police don’t want to reveal details about their new high-tech toy.

But in Missouri, there may be a bigger problem. It has to do with that constitutional amendment that the strange bedfellows of the ACLU and Missouri Republicans were promoting.

A plain reading of the language of Amendment 9, passed by 75 percent of the voters who turned out on Aug. 5, suggests that it is now unconstitutional in Missouri to use a StingRay device — at least without a warrant that offers significantly more detail about the data being sought.

The column continues at the website. As the editorial admits, the Post-Dispatch opposed the passage of Amendment 9 last year. They are reconsidering that opposition now that it appears the St Louis Police Department is actually using StingRay technology in defiance to Federal, and now, Missouri law.

What could you do?

South Kansas City was aroused yesterday afternoon to the sound of sirens, police and ambulances. In an upper-middle class neighborhood, five people were shot, three fatally in the quiet of the afternoon. The shootings occurred, if I understood the reports correctly, in five different homes. The five people were victims of a single invader, so we’re told.

It is a tragedy and it leads to a number of questions.

  1. Could it happen here, where I live? Yes, it could. No neighborhood nor home is invulnerable.
  2. Can the police protect me? No. I have no doubt the police desperately wish they could but there aren’t enough to post a cop in every home. The old adage, “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away,” is still true. I live only a few hundred yards from the police station and it would STILL take minutes to reach my home.
  3. I don’t like guns, isn’t a phone call to 911 sufficient? No, see #2 above. First, you must have your phone on you, second you must dial 911…and wait for them to answer, and third, you must be calm enough to tell them what is happening. Few people, in a personal emergency, can do all that in the few seconds they have.
  4. I have a gun in the house, that should be enough. No, it isn’t. Do you know where it is? How quickly can you get it in your hands? Is it loaded? Many families with small children won’t keep loaded weapons easily on hand. Is it in a safe? Can you open the safe in a few seconds, absolutely in less than a minute?
  5. Well, what can I do? Carry a weapon and either keep it within arms reach or on your person at all time. Practice with it, get training in how to defend yourself and how to use your weapon, practice until you needn’t have to think in an emergency, you react.

I hear so many women claim, “I couldn’t shoot anyone!” Stop and think of the consequences. Could/would you shoot someone to protect your children? Your husband or family?

Some men say the same, with all the usual responses. The actual answer for both men and women is that you will do whatever is necessary to protect your family and yourself—or you and they will die.

It’s a harsh statement but that doesn’t change the reality. The world is not safe. It has never been and never will be. We can prepare ourselves for the reality. We can train, teach our family to prepare and train them how to defend themselves and others even if it is nothing more than to train your children to flee and seek protection. Know your neighbors, communicate with them, ask if your neighbor will watch out for you, your children and family, watch your home when you’re away and be a place of shelter if necessary.

I carry a weapon. It is something I put on when I dress in the morning, and it is next to me on the nightstand when I go to bed at night. If someone breaks in to my home, I have a weapon within reach in seconds. I am determined I will protect myself and my family. So can you. You needn’t be a victim waiting to be found.

If one of those five victims had a weapon close at hand and knew how to use it, perhaps one or more of the others would have remained unharmed. More and more police chiefs and sheriffs are admitting they are powerless to protect anyone. The first responder for your personal defense is you.

***

I wrote an article a week or so ago about the parallels with current events in the Ukraine and China to those just prior to WW2. Obama, like the bungling Chamberlain, is placing the United States into harm’s way and our military is woefully unprepared, undermanned, undertrained and underequipted. The democrats/liberals/socialists have been all too successful in emasculating the US armed forces.

Obama Authorizes Sending Additional Troops To Iraq

Posted: Updated:

President Barack Obama has authorized a State Department request for additional troops in Iraq.

Obama ordered approximately 350 additional military personnel be sent to Iraq “to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad,” according to a Tuesday statement from the office of the White House press secretary. The statement notes that the troops will not be serving in a combat role upon arrival.

The Defense Department confirmed that 405 troops will be deployed to Iraq, allowing for 55 military personnel who have been in Iraq since June to redeploy outside of the country and resulting in a net increase of 350 troops on the ground.

“This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President’s commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” according to the White House statement.

The numbers being sent are too few to be effective. In reality, all they can be…are targets. There are few good troops in the Middle-east. None of them are in Iraq.

But Obama isn’t placing our troops in harm’s way only in Iraq, he’s sending them to the Ukraine as well.

U.S., allies to stage exercises in West Ukraine as battles rage in East

By Peter Apps. WASHINGTON Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:41pm EDT

(Reuters) – As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.

The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.

The annual exercise, to take place in the Yavoriv training center near Ukraine’s border with Poland, was initially scheduled for July, but was put back because early planning was disrupted by the crisis in the eastern part of the country.

“At the moment, we are still planning for (the exercise) to go ahead,” U.S. Navy Captain Gregory Hicks, spokesman for the U.S. Army’s European Command said on Tuesday.

NATO stepped up military activity in its eastern member states after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March, and is expected to agree at a summit in Wales this week to create a new rapid reaction force of several thousand troops.

In addition to staging air force exercises, the United States is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for joint maneuvers in October, replacing a more lightly armed force of paratroopers.

But Rapid Trident will entail the first significant deployment of U.S. and other personnel to Ukraine since the crisis erupted.

President Barack Obama will visit Estonia on Wednesday to reassure the former Soviet Baltic states of U.S. support, and Estonia’s prime minister on Tuesday called for a more visible NATO presence in eastern Europe.

Washington has promised Ukraine $52 million in non-lethal security aid and has already provided combat rations, body armor, radios and other equipment. Pentagon leaders have met with Ukrainian counterparts to discuss a range of cooperation, but, for now, arms supplies have been ruled out.

“It is very important to understand that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming,” Obama told reporters at the White House last week.

Once again, Obama is acting, or rather reacting, too late with too little. Our troops in the Ukraine will be nothing more than targets, just as they are in Iraq.