Friday, May 30, 2008

The Obama Electoral Plan Revealed

When Senator Barack Obama stated that he had only visited “57” of the states in the United States, with 3 untouched by the Obamashoe as of yet, the comment was met with some derision, in the belief that the Senator had managed to miss the number of states in the nation. This week, however, it was discovered that the additional ten states are part of a plan to win the general election this fall. The new ten states are heavily Democrat in alignment and certain to support Senator Obama in any election. The new states recognized by the DNC are as follows:

The State of Financial Irresponsibility
The State of Personality Infatuation
The State of Media Imbalance
The State of Radical Inexperience
The State of Extreme Moral Relativism
The State of Obsolete Devotion to Socialism
The State of Politicized Religion
The State of Class Warfare
The State of Naïve Assumptions
The State of Non-Accountability

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Intelligence and the Presidency

There are sixteen official agencies which collect and analyze intelligence data for the federal government of the United States of America. Most Americans are unaware of all but a few of them, and even knowledgable people often fail to understand what each agency does, and the significance of the Presidency on how they operate. The President who takes office in 2009 will redirect intelligence priorities and allocate resources to suit his preferences, a fact which has significant value to the character and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence.

A complete examination of the intelligence community would take far more time and space than is appropriate for a weblog entry, so for this article we must examine the world of intelligence only as brief overview. Intelligence is used by the government to observe trends, threats, and opportunities. These may be military, political, economic, social, religious, or geographical in type. Intelligence operations are planned for any nation seen as hostile to the United States or a likely opponent in some forseeable potential conflict, but the majority of operations and the most resources are applied to the nation seen as the greatest threat to American security.

The most obvious point of focus in how a president regards intelligence, may be seen in his preference for either human agents (HUMINT), technological surveillance (SIGINT), or military goals (MILINT). For example, President Carter distrusted human intelligence, and preferred to rely more heavily on satellite surveillance. As a result, he was caught by surprise when Iran’s government collapsed. President Reagan supported the development of new satellites for intelligence, but also the renewed development of agents in place. President Clinton followed President Carter’s preference for SIGINT, while Presidents G.H.W. and George W. Bush have focused primarily on militarily actionable intelligence, in terms of policy. If Senator McCain is elected president this November, he is likely to maintain the emphasis on MILINT primacy, while an Obama victory would likely result in a sharp decrease in support for field officers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Their Surrender, Not Ours

An early distinction between the Democrat and Republican candidates for President, is the question about whether countries like Iran represent a threat to the United States, and if so what sort of posture should be taken to protect America. Speaking for the Left, Senator Barack Obama says that Iran should not be considered a real threat to the US, generally because it lacks the size of army and scale of armament to threaten American territory. It is laughable to argue that a nation like Iran would invade any land where US troops have boots on the ground. He makes the point that one-size-fits-all does not make sense when addressing different types of enemies, and suggests that discussions might prevent more costly confrontation later. In theory, this makes a kind of sense.

Unfortunately for Senator Obama, the reality of the situation is very different from what he believes to be the case. In the first place, the government of Iran is known to have supplied and supported groups which entered Iraq for the specific purpose of destabilizing the post-Saddam government of Iraq. This means support for terrorist actions, including the abduction, torture and murder of innocents, including women and children. The government of Iran has also supported groups which attack American military personnel, making Iran the defacto enemy of the United States; discussions with a government which is deliberately murdering Americans is unthinkable for any prospective American President, as the would-be commander-in-chief of our soldiers.

But the matter goes far beyond the blunder of not recognizing the role of the American President. Iran has been at war against the United States since 1979, from the seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran (for which Iran not only has never apologized, but in fact celebrates) , to attacks on American-flagged vessels in the Gulf over many years, to the present cross-border attempts to kill Americans and defeat American interests, as well as the development of its nuclear weapons program. Proper “discussions” with Iran are impossible, since the regime in place supports terrorists, seeks nuclear weapons, and every leader of note in Iran for the past generation has unanimously stated the intention of destroying all American interests and allies in the region. The only action by an American President which the mulllahs and functionaries in Teheran will accept is unconditional surrender. One hopes that this is not the intended course of Mister Obama.

Yet even that does not tell the whole matter. For all the fact that the Left hates American power and influence, it is undeniable that the United States has been the defender and sentry for more than half the world for two generations. America won World War Two, more than any other power. And after that, the world depended on America to stop the spread of Communism, and to support the growth of wealth and freedom. The enemies of America ranged from those who wielded nuclear missiles from far away, to those within who hated their homeland enough to spread lies and slander against her. Sadly, some of America’s enemies hold office as elected officials of the United States government. While I do not count Senator Obama among that number, it must nonetheless be remembered that the words and actions of a President will support and advance a doctrine, and as President Carter discovered, a weak and timid President will not be able to protect American interests.

The world watches the United States, and responds to her lead. We are not equal to anyone else, and it is vital to understand that if we falter, there is no one else among our allies who can carry the standard of freedom and liberty. That is, a step back by America, even to protect our troops from casualty and our image from criticism, will condemn real people to submission under a tyrant, and will prove us liars in our promise of hope. If we do not oppose the supporters of terrorism, no one else will. If we do not defy the likes of Ahmadinejad and Assad, then their practice of asymmetrical warfare is validated, and will be repeated in countless other places against untold numbers of victims. 9/11 did not happen because we were arrogant, but because our enemies thought we would not be able to punish them. The fact that no international terrorist organization has been able to successfully perform an operation on US soil since 2003, demonstrates the success of our doctrine, and the critical need for its continuance. We are at war with certain powers which oppose all we stand for. We do not need to discuss anything with them, except to make clear that we will destroy such evil with every means at our disposal. Anyone who would be President of this nation must make completely clear that he understands and supports American victory, and will not countenance any hindrance to that effort.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Big Trouble In China

This week, my wife and I watched the tragedy of the Sichuan Earthquake unfold to a greater scope. What was once focused on a handful of towns, has now devastated more than one hundred. What once had killed perhaps twenty thousand people, has a confirmed death toll four times that number with estimated deaths well above one hundred thousand people. What was once rescue, has become the grimmer task of recovery and rebuilding. In reading and watching news about the earthquake, I have noticed some fools who want to compare the Chinese response favorably to FEMA’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a political spin which only demonstrates how poorly they grasp the scope of the catastrophe. That is, from one perspective the US response to Katrina was significantly faster and more effective than the response to the Sichuan earthquake. Rescuers were on-site less than an hour after the levies broke, beginning with the Coast Guard. In comparison, the first rescuers arrived on scene in the Sichuan region about four days after the quake hit, and on foot. Organized rescue efforts in China did not effectively begin until almost a week after the earthquake, in part because China has never established an earthquake response protocol. Also, it is becoming increasingly obvious that neither buildings nor roads nor bridges were built in China to the same sort of code expected in the United States.

For now, the Chinese people are united in support of their government and in efforts to help the Sichuan survivors. There is a certain adrenaline to the movement, and action to help people is universally preferred to someone trying to agitate public opinion. Also, the Beijing government has been adept in showing its human face. President Hu Jintao has been seemingly everywhere in the region, and the People’s Liberation Army has always been shown leading in delivery of food and medicine, never a weapon in sight of the cameras. For at least another year, the consensus of opinion will favor the government, not least because unlike the West, the media in China will not attack the Central Committee or its decisions, much less the Politburo. But already a few warning signs of discontent are appearing; CCTV noted the need for armed troops in certain areas to deal with looters, groups in some of the larger towns have protested the poor quality of construction, and the Beijing government admitted on Friday that it has not yet arrived at more than fifty towns and villages, even this long after the earthquake. China is often compared favorably to leading nations of the West, but it has no Coast Guard in any Search & Rescue sense, it has no equivalent to FEMA, it has no Corps of Engineers in any sense relevant to the civilian populations, and it has absolutely no disaster planning in place to address weather and natural events like earthquakes.

This is salient to China’s future because of two words: Rising Expectations. During the regime of Deng Xiaoping, literacy climbed above 90% in China for the first time ever, and the government loosened the leash on private business, especially in the ‘autonomous’ regions. The theory was that Communism could rule the country, while allowing a smidgen of Capitalism to make life easier. But people get used to a world of free choice, and an educated population is more aware of the choice available to everyone else. At some point in the next few years, people will begin to discover how Western nations deal with disasters, and they will want to know why natural disasters kill so many fewer people in the West. They will begin to demand accountability from their top leaders, and a more functional response than the platitudes of Mao. It will be slow, and may take decades to emerge fully, but the momentum of such change is historically impossible to stop. The earthquake in Sichuan has sent a lesson which will eventually be learned by the whole country; that even the enlightened Communism of 21st-Century Beijing is far less effective than it needs to be, and the economic success of a little Capitalism will create a growing appetite and demand for a political model in the same alignment.