The Art of War and Chinese Nukes

Chinese nuclear policy rarely gets any press.  And when it does, such as when Herman Cain wrongly posited that the People’s Republic of China was attempting to get nuclear weapons, it has a tendency to be dead wrong.  US nuclear assumptions have long been inaccurate, both from the point of view of scale, or simply of existing.  For example, when American defense officials went to the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s to help the new Russian Federation get a control system in place for their nuclear warheads, the US expected to deal with about 20,000 warheads.  The commander of the Russian nuclear forces corrected them, informing them that they had 40,000 warheads.  The defense and intelligence establishments have a track record of getting things wrong.

Philip Karber, a former top official in the Department of Defense spent his career formulating strategy for the United States.  He returned to volunteer his services for the DoD for a body called the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.  And in 2008, when the earthquake in the Sichuan province of China struck, Karber noticed how personnel from the People’s Liberation Army were deployed to the region equipped to deal with radiation.  Why?  They shouldn’t, really, have been necessary.  Previously, China has stated that they maintain a nuclear arsenal of around 80 warheads as a minimal deterrent.  The Chinese have also long stated that the Second Artillery Corps of the PLA has maintained a network of 3,000 miles of tunnels in which the arsenal is stored.

The deployment of PLA personnel equipped with gear to protect from radioactivity points to a much larger stockpile, and a much more developed underground network of tunnels to house the Chinese nuclear program.  Karber launched a project from his teaching post at Georgetown University to research the potential expanse of the Chinese nuclear program.  Their findings are due out soon, and they defy the conventional, publicly acknowledged scale and scope of their weapons capabilities.

That the Chinese would hide such a buildup is to be expected.  It’s totally consistent in not only with what we know of Chinese defense policy, but of Chinese culture.  From the Art of War by Chinese military strategist Sun-Tzu: ‘A military operation involves deception.  Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent.  Though effective, appear to be ineffective.’

Of course the Chinese would hide such a vast nuclear capability, which, in my opinion is probably in the neighborhood of 5,000-6,000 warheads and a network of tunnels totaling roughly an equal number of miles.  What is not expected is that the United States would continue to consider electing candidates of the likes of Herman Cain, individuals wholly ignorant of foreign policy, history or culture, to deal with these developments.

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Potty-Mouth Coulter Bleeped

I’m no saint.  Lord knows, I can probably hold my own with the best of them when it comes to swearing, but I’m not a media figure.  Unfortunately.  However, there are those in the talking head caste who also have some of the same tendencies, and they sometimes put them up on display for the audience as well.

Specifically, perennial right wing succubus-wraith Ann Coulter clearly qualifies for membership in this not-so-elite club.  She was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where she was bleeped out a number of times, for a grand total of 13 seconds.  She used the term d*bag and also started referring to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as human pestilence.  Classy.  For a seasoned media veteran to have to be, in effect, censored, so frequently on a morning TV show is kind of shocking.  She’s not a newbie, she knows the rules of the game.  You see, the problem with Ann Coulter is that she feels those rules just don’t apply to her.  That, and the fact that she’s a genuinely vitriolic person.

Exit Herman Cain

Well, Herman, it was fun.  It was a hoot, at least while it lasted, and your bombastic ‘campaign’ served as welcome distraction from that which truly ails the economy.  That you’re likely leaving us after yet another allegation of sexual misconduct is about to dominate the headlines (or at least as much as it can dominate the airwaves for a momentary frontrunner) is sad, but, let’s be frank, not entirely unexpected.  Thanks for the laughs, and we’ll probably run into you either on Fox or the right wing airwaves.

Nothing Says Thanksgiving Like A Little Looting

Thanksgiving has many traditions.  Stuffing, pie, watching the Detroit Lions lose.  These are all rituals that we, as Americans, hold near and dear.  Central to that holiday is also the idea of gratitude, of setting aside some time to sit back and reflect on that for which we have to be grateful.  And don’t forget, looting.

Yes, that’s right, looting.  Yesterday in the oh-so-posh neighborhood of Soho in Manhattan, patriotic and grateful Americans expressed their sense of gratitude by looting a Hollister store after a crowd gathered outside realized that they would not be opening their doors at the stroke of midnight, in observance of the even more sacrosanct holiday of Black Friday.  The assembled shoppers assumed that the store would be open, and much to their chagrin/outrage, it did not do so as they had anticipated.  So, they did the only thing that any sane, level headed American would do.  They broke into it, and helped themselves to as much of the merchandise as their fat little arms could haul off.

This would disgust me if it didn’t strike me as so idiotic, prompting me to take a more reflective view of the situation.  There’s a cultural sickness in this country, and its big day on the calendar is Black Friday.

The 51st State: The Windy City

There’s been talk for years of adding a 51st state, usually centered around Puerto Rico, but it’s come to naught.  50, a good, solid round number is easier for most of us to grasp, and, besides, if we were to add another state, we’d all have to go to the unnecessary expense of buying new flags.  What a pain.

But, there are at least two Republican legislators in Illinois who are in favor of adding another state to the Union: Chicago.  That’s right, State Reps. Bill Mitchell of Forsyth and Adam Brown of Decatur want to lop off the Windy City from the rest of the Land of Lincoln, and make it an independent state, which would bring the grand total to 51.  It’s probably not going to happen, but it’s fun to laugh at.  Just because you don’t like the effect that a big city has on the politics of the state is no reason to lop it off and start up a new sovereign political entity.  But when has reason gotten in the way of GOP grandstanding?  I, for one, would venture to nominate a new name of the proposed entity: The State of Big Shoulders.

Run Amok on Crime and Turkeys

Soft on crime!  Coddling criminals!  Those liberal democrats are at it again.  First, Gov. Ron Kitzhaber (D-OR) announced yesterday that he’s ending executions in his state for the rest of his administration, citing ethical concerns.  Socialist!

Not to be outdone, Kenyan-born Bolshevik Barack Obama upped the ante, pardoning two turkeys this morning, claiming that he was merely upholding a Presidential Thanksgiving tradition.  This goes in the face of the Constitution, as the President clearly has no authority or powers specifically designated to exonerate poultry or livestock from their impending, tasty doom.

What’s next?  Government mandated stuffing?  Occupy Target on Black Friday?  I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but these Democrats are undermining the very foundations of our tasty holidays, while also spoiling our seemingly unquenchable thirst for the blood of convicted criminals.  How dare they?

On a happier note, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I have a turkey to thaw, bread to bake for stuffing and a pumpkin cheesecake to bake.  Be safe and enjoy your families, to the extent you can.

Win-Win Scenario: Failure of the Super Committee

I’ve learned that not having expectations with regards to politics is usually the best way of not experiencing disappointment, and the imminent failure of the Congressional Super Committee indicates that it wasn’t so super to begin with.  Negotiations in committee sessions have failed to lead to a substantive agreement, with both sides still far apart on a strategy to trim projected budget deficits by a paltry 10% over the coming decade coming to naught.

But, take heart; there’s an upside.  The failure of the committee means that automatic spending cuts will take effect.  Taken in conjunction with a rise in the top personal income tax rate brackets (letting the Bush era tax cuts expire and reverting to the Clinton era rates), this would generate another $4 trillion dollars, thus shaving $6 trillion (about 60%) off of the projected federal deficits over the next decade.

So, for once, the patent inability of Congress to achieve anything meaningful, for once, works best to the advantage of the American public.  Because they wouldn’t grow up and cut a deal with each other, the American public, for the first time in a long while, comes out on top.  Higher marginal tax rates on the rich, automatic spending cuts, and a budget deficit that’s much smaller than what we were looking at a few months ago.  Lose-lose for the committee, win-win for America.