Thursday, April 6, 2017


I was one of those who laughed out loud as I watched the wretched media tear into Trump for his tweet last month that claimed that the Obama administration was using the intelligence community to spy on him and his team during the campaign. Oh how the worthless media all clubbed together to spike that tweet and slam Trump for his fabulism and pathetic world of make-believe. Remember?

That little tweet was 'signalling' in the old style. As you recall, our State Department (mostly Kissinger) and JFK, LBJ and Nixon, all believed in signalling via B52s. Their message sucked, the delivery was rude and the meaning subject to misinterpretation. They sucked at signalling. Trump nails it.

Trump had to do very little follow up as the results are in and they're pretty conclusive. The Obama administration DID spy on him and his friends and fellows and probably all the other rethuglican candidates before they were outstumped by Trump. There's no ifs ands or buts about it. Yes, yes, Rice will take the 5th or find the same convenient inability to remember anything that was first explored by Hillary in her testimony to Congress about the massacre in Benghazi but the smoking gun is still lying there right in the middle of the carpet in the Oval Office.

Signalling With Intent
I think Trump should carry on with his tweets. Any student of civilization will be able to look back in ten years time and point to the signals he sent via the 140 characters allowed by twitter and clearly identify the outcomes of each carefully couched sniper shot into the body politic. Hell, I may even sign up for twitter just so I can follow Trump and see what's coming next.

I listened to the Dark Side this afternoon when I was out picking up Chinese food and they, as usual, carefully selected a guest who loathes Trump, Republicans and mid-westerners and bounced their twitty little questions off him as their reliable sounding board for how all people in the world think about the evil, vicious, no good, dirty rotten scoundrel Trump. The only question/answer I had the patience to hear was about how Trump really pissed off all the Germans by telling them that they need to honor the commitment they made of their own free will to spend 2% of their GDP on defense. To hear the Drooling Orc of Harvard, it appears that only a complete idiot and moron would do something to piss off our dear allies in Das Reich because, allies dontchyaknow.

Srsly, with allies like that, who needs enemies? Come to think of it, we're gonna build a Maginot Line of our own here on our continent and the Wisconsin National Guard could defeat Canada's armed forces in a weekend. We don't really need to keep expeditionary armored units larger than a Marine Expeditionary Unit and we'll just let the good people of Europe explore their sudden urge to speak Russian in the wake of the FYDP they aren't funding for themselves.

I know a lot of the putative armchair naval strategists of our time have been ginning up all kinds of reasons to expand the fleet and increase the number of warships because China but that's kind of a no-brainer since we are still pretty much unable to beat China in China's hemisphere. The last time the West won in that part of the world was the Boxer Rebellion (and Japan but that took nukes). The various countries around China will dance to China's tune because they have no choice. It's not that the Chinese PLA would win a war overnight but they have what's known as infinite depth in manpower, weapons and will and the various countries around China hate and distrust each other even more than they distrust China and could no more form and maintain a mutual defense pact than Greece could ever pay off its debts.

So yes, despite all the best will in the world to never have anything to do with twitter, it looks like it is time to sign up and follow Trump. He is putting up signposts as he blazes a new trail through the wilderness that is international politics and diplomacy and also giving some darned good heads up warnings on where domestic policy is going to go in the future with his tweets.


Ron Snyder said...

"I know a lot of the putative armchair naval strategists of our time have been ginning up all kinds of reasons to expand the fleet and increase the number of warships because China but that's kind of a no-brainer since we are still pretty much unable to beat China in China's hemisphere."

In various discussions I've said that China will soon be able to do pretty much what she wants in the South & East China sea. OThers say that with our Super Carrier and uber Subs that we can counter whatever China attempts to do. China has a max distance of about 500 miles re logistics and IMO has the combination of qty/quality of weapons to dictate whatever she wants as long as she is willing to pay the price for it. I agree with you in that the days of us being able to push China back into her box (e.g. your example of the Boxer Rebellion) are gone.

Captain Steve said...

My view on carriers is that they are like fire engines....when you need one you need one, and nothing else will do.

The Old Man said...

For some reason, I feel that the seapower equation is right about 1935-1941. There are "superweapons" (read battleships) roaming the seas. Rulers of the seas.
But they can be supplanted - and were. As can"supercarriers" be supplanted. I don't know enough to predict what the successor will be, but I'm real sure that there will be one or several.
Speaking of which - not much news lately about supercavitating torpedoes or "smart" ICBMs that can hit a mobile target. Just sayin'.

HMS Defiant said...

We have reached the point that Julian Corbett described as an uncommanded sea in the South China Sea. Both sides are capable of sea denial but neither side can impose its nautical will on the other. China is not a hegemonic power and doesn't appear interested in overrunning any of its neighbors. It merely wants the resources and an iron frontier on its ocean border which is why it is creating and fortifying the islands.

HMS Defiant said...

Concur. The problem is that they no longer have much of a role in land attack against first or second rate powers armed to the teeth with ASCM. The Falkland Islands War shows what happens to ships operating off a hostile coast when constrained by ROE that don't permit the destruction of the enemy ashore. Bombing C2 and C4I nodes won't hack it anymore. The major enemies we face are prepared to go to the wall if they go and won't be deterred by pinprick precision bombing raids anymore than Hanoi was. When we are serious about waging war again, not in my lifetime, we still see a role for carriers but it will have to be the old kind of war like we waged war in 1944.

HMS Defiant said...

I agree. The supercarrier is now roaming the seas much the way the battleships did in the period you mention. They are uniquely vulnerable in so many ways but they don't appear to realize it. I'm not too worried about enemy submarines since we, the Russsians and our NATO friends are the only ones that know how to make submarines work but there are some up and comers.
Remember the first time you heard about SADARM back in the 80's? I think terminal homing ballistic missiles are a proven concept just by looking at what SPACE X is doing these days. OTOH, we have plenty of ships armed with Linebacker so there is a defense in place and I see they have just tested the weapon system with multiple firings of SM6 missiles against multiple simultaneous inbound targets. Somebody is taking the 'homing' ballistic missile threat pretty seriously which is a relief.

Captain Steve said...

Hm. I would have said that the Falklands War showed what happens when you attempt prolonged off shore operations without a real CVBG. There was a pretty well defined threat axis, but lack of AEW (except for a pitiful lash up involving Sea Kings) and lack of long range interceptors gave the Argies advantages they should not have enjoyed. A US CVBG could have protected that beachhead without breaking a sweat.

HMS Defiant said...

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar. The Belgrano shows what happens in submarine waters to people who don't know how or have the assets for ASW. We are now in that boat barring the participation of SSN in direct support. Surface ASW has declined to the point where I don't think we could do direct path anymore much less the long range passive ASW detection we used to be able to do. Further, the very short combat radius of the Harriers nailed the carriers to certain positions if they were going to support the war ashore. The very limited air launched ASCM the Argentines had were incredibly effective and the RN AAW was pretty much pathetic. Lack of practice and assets. When we talk these days about a Battle Group, how many surface ASW/AAW escorts do the carriers have? What happens if they shoot themselves dry against ASCM and then the raids keep coming in? How many ASW weapons did the RN shoot off against the arguably pathetic Argentine submarine threat? Do our Battle Groups deploy with that many? All this is purely to address the situation in the South China Sea. Against almost all other enemies the carrier is still a very welcome addition to the fleet. I'm just saying the days when Task Force 38 could sail around the South China Sea striking targets in China with near impunity, are over.