TOC Ready Room 22 November 2022: Drive-by edition; Poland missile impact, Biden FBI/Israel, Special Counsel and other Trump

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Increasingly, I agree with those who say we need an “audit” of U.S. support to Ukraine.  I put “audit” in quotation marks because a mere audit of the tens of billions flowing to Ukraine – and to military contractors – won’t get the job done.  What’s needed is a wholesale policy scrub of the Biden administration’s handling of the problem.

As always, I begin by affirming that the U.S. needs to support a fight to reverse and end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The U.S. shouldn’t have direct military engagement in the fight, nor should NATO.

But it matters what strategy we’re supporting and how military assistance to Ukraine is executed.

It matters at least as much how the fight in Ukraine is affecting NATO’s security conditions, posture, and unity. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 22 November 2022: Drive-by edition; Poland missile impact, Biden FBI/Israel, Special Counsel and other Trump”

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U.S. bombers to Australia: New deployment, old issue

There was a better answer than this.

In 2016, I wrote about the recent purchase by a China-based company of a 99-year lease on parts of the port of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.  The company, Landbridge, would execute the terms of the lease, which included port operations and a commercial fuel depot at a location close to where the U.S. Marines are deployed to Darwin, through an Australian subsidiary set up for the purpose.

Landbridge has connections to the Communist Party through its interactions with government officials in its homebase of Rizhao, a port city in Shandong Province.  The company’s owner, Ye Cheng, has also referred to Landbridge’s port lease in Darwin as Landbridge’s participation in Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative – certainly not evidence of detachment by the company from the Party.  One Belt, One Road is a government project, not the vision of Chinese “private” industry (to the extent there ever was such a thing, or still could be a year on from the Xi regime’s comprehensive 2021 business crackdown).

When the Landbridge deal was being negotiated, Continue reading “U.S. bombers to Australia: New deployment, old issue”

TOC Ready Room 26 October 2022: 101st Airborne in Romania; Kanye, China, and other wonders

What’s wrong and right with Russia-Ukraine, China and computers, and Ye.

This will be a rough-and-ready Ready Room, intended to spray a few current topics out there without going in-depth on any of them.  I really mean it this time, so throw rotten fruit if you catch a glimpse of over-analysis out here in the heathery rough.

The first topic is the headline teaser:  deployment of the U.S. 101st Airborne to Europe.  CBS did a segment this past week in which its crew accompanied soldiers of the 101st on field activities in Romania, just “a few miles” from the border of Ukraine.

A great deal was made of the point that the 101st hasn’t deployed to Europe since World War II. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 26 October 2022: 101st Airborne in Romania; Kanye, China, and other wonders”

TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The big news from the last 48 hours is that the Biden White House actually did know in advance of the Mar-a-Lago raid, and in fact had been involved in the issue of the documents held at Mar-a-Lago since at least April of 2022 (and probably earlier).  So the original claim that the Biden White House didn’t know about it was false.

That point has been gone over vigorously since it came out Monday night.  But the latest information on the Mar-a-Lago/classified information dust-up also confirms my previous discussion of the classification issue (and here).

In addition to that discussion, I offer as preparation an excellent 7-odd minutes with Megyn Kelly and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, which packages a pretty comprehensive overview of the things that matter. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues”

TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)

What’s wrong and right, afloat.

Modern naval problems, it turns out, look pretty much like naval problems from any time.  The parameters are resources, logistics, geography, and technology.

This will be a tweet-enriched lightning round.  The big punch comes at the end.  It’s a doozy (and yes, I know:  if I were tediously pedantic I’d spell it Duesy.  Life is short).

A number of negative things are happening in a concentrated burst.  One is that the Navy brass – “Big Navy” – has just proposed to whack out a big chunk of the fleet for the foreseeable future.  With a target over the last half-decade of 355 ships, the Navy would decline from its current 296 ships to 280 in Fiscal Year 2027 (FY27).  In the best case among three options proposed by the Navy, the fleet would recover to 299 by FY32, 10 years from now. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)”