TOC Ready Room 6 October 2022: Ukraine; or, the world in a pickle

What wrong and right with the world; Ukraine update.

This won’t be a thematically unified post, which is why it’s being put up as a Ready Room.

In some ways, public dialogue on weighty matters is getting sillier and sillier, to the point that one can’t even join the discussion because the premises are so off that there’s no discussing it sensibly.  (I’ve written about this Babel-ization of public communication before, going back to Trump’s first year in office and even prior to that.  Rounds of ritual chanting have largely taken the place of thoughtful speech in the mainstream media and much of standard politics.  The Left is about nothing but this now – people who stray from the model are actively punished –  and although there are still parsable sentences and paragraph-length thought-packages coming from the Right, the pattern is present there as well. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 6 October 2022: Ukraine; or, the world in a pickle”

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TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition

C’mon man.

We now proceed to wait-and-see mode on practically everything, as the intelligence coming out of the combat theater will be uniformly unreliable at this point.  We can at least say with some confidence that Kyiv has not fallen, and it doesn’t appear that Russia has established full control of the Odessa environs, much less the entire southern coast.

Various unrealistic claims have been made about the number of Russian weapon systems destroyed, shot down, etc. by the Ukrainian armed forces, and there’s no point in overloading on salt to go with them.  I wouldn’t assert that the Ukrainian defense minister is deliberately lying, but the chaos of combat is probably clouding the vision of battle damage assessors.  Some of the numbers don’t seem to add up because there’s been no evidence of the kind of combat that would produce such losses – but there are big chunks of Ukraine into which we have little visibility, at least in real time.

As others have mentioned, watching activity around Lviv, in the west, will be informative. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition”

Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part

The missiles of 2014?

Alternate title: Sink the Kharg!

Intellectual honesty required putting the recent threats issued by Iran in a realistic perspective.  While we should take Iran’s geopolitical posture seriously, it does our own deliberations a disservice to accept absurdities from Iran rather than calling them out.  Someone’s bound to notice eventually, so it’s best to sort the nonsense out up front.

That said, we should be concerned about what Iran has been doing in the last 48-72 hours.  This is not because Iran can make good on threats like those depicted in the truly moronic Lenziran video (see link above); it’s because the Iranian regime has escalated its verbal attacks dramatically.  These aren’t random bursts of rhetoric.  They appear to have a specific purpose. Continue reading “Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part”

Yet another reminder: Iran still closing in on bomb

Faking injuries in a winning 4th quarter? Iran at the precipice.

So, who’s up for another round of graphs showing that Western diplomacy, sanctions, and technology have yet to out-maneuver Iran in the mullahs’ push for a bomb?

A long-time IAEA expert, Olli Heinonen, predicted this past week that, using her newer, advanced centrifuges, Iran could produce enough high-enriched uranium (HEU) for a first nuclear warhead in as little as two weeks from making the decision to go for the “breakout.”  (See here also.)

For clarity, this does not mean Iran is “two weeks from a bomb.”  It means that once Iran decides to take the final enrichment step, it could take as little as two weeks Continue reading “Yet another reminder: Iran still closing in on bomb”

The Shakiest Nukes in the West

“Listen up, yo: I’m deterring you now”

In case everyone in Northeast Asia missed it, in spite of their intelligence and early-warning networks which have assuredly been tracking it in fine detail, the Obama Defense Department announced on Monday that the U.S. has been deterring North Korea by sending B-52 bombers on practice runs in its vicinity.  The specter of nuclear deterrence was clarified by Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter:

Deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter said during a visit to South Korea on Monday that the bomber flights are part of the U.S. “extended deterrence”—the use of U.S. nuclear forces to deter North Korea, which conducted its third underground nuclear test Feb. 12.

Nukes! I say.  Nukes!  Pay attention, dudes.

As Bill Gertz demurely puts it, Continue reading “The Shakiest Nukes in the West”