Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 23, 2017

NATO's Fakenews Russia Scare Increases Defense Waste

The military of the Russian Federation is organized in four districts - west, central, east and south. Each year one of the districts will stage a division size maneuver. 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers leave their quarters to move against imaginary adversaries. Their training is complemented by various military and civilian staffs exercises. The active part of the medium-size maneuver takes about a week and includes some live firing.

This year, like in 2009 and 2013, the turn was on the western military district to run its quadrennial exercise. It included, as is usual in the western district, units from and within Russia's ally Belarus. The name of this regular training event is simply "West", Zapad in Russian. Zapad-2017 was publicly announced and foreign military observers were invited to watch it.

NATO and its associated media used the occasion to launch a gigantic fear- and warmongering campaign against the Russian Federation. Over months hundreds of news pieces were weaved around dark murmurs from various NATO officials and "experts". Examples:

The Zapad 2017 maneuvers ended yesterday. They were exactly what Russia and Belarus had announced - a regular, medium-size training event with no special intent or effect.

NATO and its various spokesperson had done what they like to accuse Russia of. They created fakenews about the maneuver based on nothing but hot air:

Zapad-2017 concluded earlier this week, by which time it had seriously fizzled out, in Western media terms at least.
...
And the Russians are enjoying a rare last laugh. They point out, with some justification, that their numbers were accurate, there was no dissembling, international borders were respected. All the Russian troops introduced into neighbouring Belarus for the exercise are going home, too. After all the Western accusations that Russia has been waging an information war with the help of “fake news”, who is disseminating “fake news” now, they ask. Is this not further evidence that Western opinion formers are stuck in the rut of Cold War stereotypes? They have a point.

The Western "opinion formers" have, of course, reason to hype everything their selected boogeyman does. That reason is greed. This year nearly all NATO countries increased their military budgets. The U.S. Senate passed a record $700 billion trough for the Pentagon with 89 to 8 votes. The more than 10% budget increase was even higher that what President Trump had requested. It broke all earlier commitments:

The $700 billion is $91 billion beyond the spending caps outlined in the 2011 Budget Control Act, which demanded a "sequestration" of military spending in order to rein in federal costs.

There was no public outrage over this increase. Meanwhile Russia cut its 2018 defense budget by 25.5% down to a total of some $48 billion.

There is obviously little fear in Russia that the U.S. budget increase will effect U.S. military capabilities. The Russians are right. Most of the Pentagon budget goes to waste. The military as well as the politicians know this well. From a recent NYT piece about options against North Korean missiles:

Intercepting a warhead using missile defenses runs other dangers, White House officials have been told. If the American antimissile systems missed — against a single warhead, which should be the simplest target — it would undercut confidence in an infrastructure the United States has spent $300 billion to build over the past four decades."

Missile defense is nonsense. Its principle is to hit one bullet with another bullet at several times the speed of sound and at distances of hundreds of miles. That is nearly impossible to do. Even the staged missile defense tests fail and the system as a whole does not work. The U.S. military is too afraid to use its $300 billion missile defense boondoggle because that would prove that it is one gigantic scam.

That does not restrain the politicians from adding money to it:

[The new budget] does authorize an additional $8.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency to strengthen homeland, regional and space missile defense. That authorization is $630 million above the Trump administration's request.

The fakenews warmongering by NATO and western politicians about the Zapad maneuver helped to convince the sheeple that additional welfare projects for the owners of the military-industrial complex are necessary and justified.

Meanwhile health care for all, which would cost much less than missile defense, is too expensive to pass.

Posted by b on September 23, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Comments

Sad

Posted by: john | Sep 23, 2017 12:48:59 PM | 1

if people are worried about their finances, jobs, their health then they have less time or inclination to worry about governments policies or to seek out alternatives to the mainstream media.

Posted by: Justin | Sep 23, 2017 1:16:23 PM | 2

Not to mention that Nato itself is now featuring in a 3-week long gigantic military exercise in Sweden against Russia, right now on Russia's doorstep, apparently that is just fine according to the same lying journalists that fearmongered and 24/7-lied about Zapad.

‘Aurora’, the Largest Military Exercise in "neutral" Sweden in 20 years, Aligns Sweden Even Closer with NATO
https://www.globalresearch.ca/directed-against-russia-aurora-the-largest-military-exercise-in-sweden-in-20-years-aligns-sweden-even-closer-with-nato/5601267


Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 23, 2017 1:17:44 PM | 3

Russia is clearly undermining the security of the United States, and by extension Israel, by intentionally not wasting as much money on their defense as we do. This is outrageous! The UN should demand that Russia - at the very least - buy our F-35 to stabilize the balance of terror... er, power.

'Efficient defense spending' by Russia is tantamount to a declaration of war on the US. We know what you're up to Putin, and you're NOT going to get away with it!

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 23, 2017 1:31:45 PM | 4

I'm shocked that Russia has apparently cut their 2018 defence budget by a quarter. They have so many long lead time items they need to replace (such as subs and surface ships), not to mention their restarting of Tu-160 production and upgrading of current bombers. Their '5th gen' Sukoi is nearing production, and they've just completed design of Armata armoured vehicle family. They are also getting ready to replace the SS-18 'satan' land based nuclear missiles which are nearing end of life.
They have sufficient foreign currency reserves, I find this baffling. All of the things mentioned above require years if not a decade or more to build up institutional expertise in the production facilities that are supposed to build these large and complex machines.

Posted by: WG | Sep 23, 2017 1:50:22 PM | 5

The BBC has just reported that the u. s. Air Force has staged another show at the North Korean border. It's called demonstrating military strength. Dumb as hell.

Posted by: Pnyx | Sep 23, 2017 1:57:48 PM | 6

@ WG

The numbers are different, according to Jane's article published few days ago:

2018: -5%
2019: +3.7%
2020: -0.5%

The Russian defence budget is expected to be cut by approximately 5.0% to RUB2.73 trillion (USD47.13 billion) in 2018, according to budgetary guidance published by the Ministry of Finance. The reduction in spending is in line with plans laid out under the previous 2017–19 budget.

According to the document outlining the main directions of budgetary policy for 2018–20, spending on National Defence is expected to receive a 3.7% increase in 2019 to reach RUB2.83 trillion before a further marginal 0.5% cut in 2020 to RUB2.82 trillion. The new plans are in line with previous projections for 2018. However, the defence allocation for 2019 is around 0.5% higher than previously expected.

https://goo.gl/RgHP6G

Posted by: Harry | Sep 23, 2017 2:04:01 PM | 7

Social Security in USA, which pays out less than ObamaCare charges, and pays only those lucky stiffscwho survived 50 years of wage-slavery, a half-quintile, costs $840 B a year. Now you can claim half of that is disappeared administrative grift, but you cannot possibly claim that healthcare for all, especially USAs 3x higher than any 1W nation healthcare, would cost less than missile defense. Trump and Congress have no intention of cutting MIC healthcare. The jousting is just jockeyoping to maximize profits on the upline

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 23, 2017 2:06:18 PM | 8

Here is the structure of the Zapad 2017 exercise to defend Kaliningrad and Belarus from infiltrators.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article197963.html

The founders of the late American Republic chose not to follow the Athenian or Sparta model. Unfortunately, they followed Hamilton's advice and concentrated power in a central government. Thus the Republic has been transformed into a military state not unlike Sparta. Without conquest such a state collapses on itself.

Meanwhile the stupid flag waving Americans are angry that professional sports players are protesting the National Anthem. Unfortunately, neither the white folks or the blacks have bothered to listen to the third stanza of the National Anthem:

"And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

I offer this as an example of why America cannot change its path toward Sparta.

In contrast Russia has chosen not to join in the military spending escalation loop that once lead to each side having 15,000 nuclear weapons. I do however find a 25% cut in the Russian military budget a little steep. Then again some of this money appears to be going to advanced technology research such as the new Russian materials sciences center.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 23, 2017 2:08:29 PM | 9

6

Meanwhile US military rescue forces stationed off rich enclaves West Palm Beach and Mar-a-Lago during Irma (but not for Houston and Harvey), have all redeployed back to base, and left US Territory Puerto Ricans to the terror of Maria's aftermath without Pentagon assistance, even with the record budget for ZioHomeland Defense, an agency that never existed before the Bankers Coup of 1999 and the Pentagon Coup of 2001. USAs ANP equivalent to Afghanistan's ANA, there only to loot the Treasury.

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 23, 2017 2:12:26 PM | 10

Justin #2

Very true and sad point, western people seems more brainwashed than ever, and now the authorities want to censor more alternative media, like RT and alike.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 23, 2017 2:23:05 PM | 11

While b conclusions are right, ABMMS DOES NOT WORK is not because bullet argument but cheap countermeasures, like multiple warheads per single missile, up to 20, up to 9 nukes and 11 decoys capable of simulating small nukes explosions via radioactive gas explosions, realeasing suppose products of fusion or fission.

Moreover, ballistic missiles have guided non ballistic heads, highly unpredictable trajectory, almost impossible to shoot down at hypersonic speeds.

Moreover all scenarios assume satellite war that would impair any practical tracking.

The only possible but not guaranteed way to shoot down ICBM is to be located very near the launch site, but even that approach fails for nuke subs.

But most of all , the true reason of futility of the ICBM defense are cheap electronic countermeasures, creating fake signatures of thousands of launches from variety of locations, impossible to track and recognize fake from real within just few minutes window to act.

When hell breaks loose real hell will brake loose and rulers will have minutes to hide in their bunker tunnels while we incinerate.


Posted by: Kalen | Sep 23, 2017 2:47:17 PM | 12

The American Enterprise and Institute of war views on the "Syrian theater" sept 2017

Intelligence Estimate and Forecast: The Syrian Theater

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 23, 2017 2:50:51 PM | 13

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Posted by: jayc | Sep 23, 2017 2:51:06 PM | 14

NATO isn't too idle when it comes to exercises. From the SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe] website here what follows is a list of exercises held in September and October this year. There are many more in Nov/Dec on the list.
DYNAMIC GUARD II
STEADFAST INTEREST 17 (NATO)
DYNAMIC MONARCH - L 17 (NATO)
STEADFAST PYRAMID 17 (NATO)
TRIDENT JOUST 17 (NATO)Exercise TRIDENT JOUST 2017 (TRJT17)
RAMSTEIN DUST II 17 (NATO
BRILLIANT ARROW - L 17 (NATO)
STEADFAST PINNACLE 17 (NATO)
RAMSTEIN GUARD 11 17 (NATO)
BRILLIANT LEDGER - L 17 (NATO)
LIVEX (or CPX)
BRLR17 Part 1 LIVEX
BRLR17 Part 2 CAX/CPX
VITAL SWORD I 17 (NFS Exercise)
STEADFAST FLOW 17 (NATO)
BRILLIANT SWORD 17 (NATO)
CMX 17 (NATO)
BRILLIANT MARINER - L 17 (NATO)
DYNAMIC BONUS 17-2 (NATO)
RS TE 4 (Resolute Support Training Event 4) 17 (NATO)
RAMSTEIN GUARD 12 17 (NATO)
ARRCADE FUSION 17 (NFS Exercise)
CYBER COALITION 17 (NATO)
TRIDENT JAVELIN 17 (NATO)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 23, 2017 2:57:08 PM | 15

Outstanding piece of work. I don’t always see things as b does but credit where credit is due. This is excellent stuff.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Sep 23, 2017 4:14:58 PM | 16

@Harry

I'm glad to see they're essentially holding it steady. It's interesting looking at the article b posted a link to, it quotes a 3 year defence spending plan released October 2016 when it states the proposed large reduction. I think that might have been Russia trying to give the candidates the opportunity to suggest US defence budget cuts.
Fast forward 11 months and you have the US raising defence spending and now Russia is reverting to essentially holding spending steady (when you quote the newer article you link to).

Posted by: WG | Sep 23, 2017 4:16:58 PM | 17

@ b

If the NYT could only hear its own logic, in your quoted article - "If the American antimissile systems missed...it would undercut confidence in an infrastructure the United States has spent $300 billion..."

In other words, We don't dare test it because it may not work. And it's a system intended exactly for the purpose of working, and for no other purpose.

The smart engineering managers push aggressively for a new design to fail as early in its development as possible. As Google (yes, I know, but their IT has always been groundbreaking) always said, better to spend $20 million and scrap an idea entirely than to invest a billion in something that's going to give problems.

I have a suspicion the Russians operate the same way - although their particular thing seems to be to build well to begin with, and constantly add improvements over time. They seem to love to tinker. And the Saker said once that the Russians love their weapons. They love to build as many different types of weapon as they can think of.

~~

I read somewhere an analysis of the Russian budget cut that explained how this was not going to result in lowered performance anywhere in the RF military. It may have been Mercouris at the Duran, who is good with this kind of demystifying.

The difference lay, as I recall, in the fact that the military budget had already been under a bit of supercharging for the last few years, and was now easing back to normal. In other words, a budget reduction speaks of past success rather than future failure.

I think we're accustomed to thinking that a budget cut is punishment or will reduce services. In RF it's just an annual allocation of money according to plan. And the MIC is run by soldiers - all materiel and weaponry is designed to meet the specifications of soldiers. In the US the designers lead the process and the soldiers have to take what results.

Anyone who wonders can rest assured that Russia is not going to let its military capabilities plummet.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 23, 2017 4:28:00 PM | 18

"The only possible but not guaranteed way to shoot down ICBM is to be located very near the launch site, but even that approach fails for nuke subs."

Another problem is that the Eurasia is big. From Wiki: the Eurasian Pole of Inaccessibility (or "EPIA") 46°17′N 86°40′E, in China's Xinjiang region near the Kazakhstan border. Calculations have commonly suggested that this point, located in the Dzoosotoyn Elisen Desert, is 2,645 km (1,644 miles) from the nearest coastline. Russia had a lot of places that are more than 2000 km from the sea, and the nearby sea is the Arctic Ocean, so the interceptors would need to be stationed under ice and close to Russian observators. So it is like intercepting Atlantic submarine launched missiles from Wyoming.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 23, 2017 4:29:22 PM | 19

Brilliant Mariner? Is that where they brush up on avoiding huge obstacles?

Posted by: Ike | Sep 23, 2017 4:50:02 PM | 20

>>>> WG | Sep 23, 2017 1:50:22 PM | 5
>>>> Harry | Sep 23, 2017 2:04:01 PM | 7
>>>> Krollchem | Sep 23, 2017 2:08:29 PM | 9

Exchange rates? Rouble falls against the dollar, then rouble amount stays stable while dollar amount decreases. Those bloody Russians, getting same amount of weapons for less money - it's just so un-American.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 23, 2017 4:54:00 PM | 21

good post b.. thank you.. who needs health care, when you can have a dotard competing with a rocket man? obviously the military and financial complex want the later..

Posted by: james | Sep 23, 2017 4:54:00 PM | 22

MSM pushes paranoia and lust.

The resulting mindset is ridiculously easy for sociopaths to manipulate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 23, 2017 4:54:54 PM | 23

#4 LOL

Russia weapons contractors build weapons that work do to pride.
Amerika weapon builders do so for nothing but Greed$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ The great thing is if the weapon doesn't work they get more money to fix their mistakes. What not to like.

Thanks b

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 23, 2017 5:04:34 PM | 24

American weapons manufacturing:

Begin with a huge pile of money and a bunch of crooked congressmen. Commence bidding process. Disburse funds according to the most crooked congressmen and distribute parts production to a number of states. Prioritize "right to work" states. Institute local and federal tax incentives. Line insurance companies' pockets. Maybe parts fit together to produce a cohesive unit. If not, make new parts with significant cost overruns and delays. Be sure to attain cost overruns and ensure that money falls into the right pockets. Common workers must benefit the least. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 23, 2017 5:55:27 PM | 25

It's, maybe, because 1st Guards Tank Army is there. :O

The elite unit (Kursk, Moscow, Berlin, Stalingrad) that is going to receive T-14 tank and new APC.

But not all west's outlets are sharing a view of what is of Anglo-Saxon's origin and view that is "...zoological hatred against other peoples" (G. Dimitrov).

One non-Anglos, a puppet through and through, who has fully participated in this propaganda is the Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. The second one is the UK Secretary of Defence.

Of course on the top is the US political/military establishment and Obama's General NATO ex-commander (retired) General Philip Breedlove. So this is not the Trump's affair. It is continuation and taken from previous administration. For him Spiegel says: He is the super hawk. He is so extreme that even German gov. was alarmed.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/germany-concerned-about-aggressive-nato-stance-on-ukraine-a-1022193.html

"The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg."

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 23, 2017 6:06:23 PM | 26

Certainly OT for this thread; however, elsewhere I announced that Syria would not have its representative speak at the UNGA as stated by the UNGA's schedule of speakers. Fortunately, I was incorrect and H.E. Walid Al-Moualem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates addressed the UNGA, although I don't know how full the hall was during his speech. It's a very pointed and critical speech as one would imagine, although the Minister's diplomatic enough to not directly name particular nations aside from the Zionist Abomination. The transcript's available in pdf here, https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/sy_en.pdf

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 23, 2017 6:11:56 PM | 27

Maybe it's just one of those far-out ideas, but perhaps the waste is not simply waste, but certain aspects of the black world's investigation of (radically) alternative weapons systems or entirely non-standard ways of waging war, from large scale geoengineering to multidimensional or non-linear warfare. It's a crazy universe, and we're not all invited to The Show.

Or, suppose it's all just conventional padding and profits, where does the money go once it goes to the MIC? How do they distribute the money? I think a lot of the comments deploring USA's commitment to MIC profits stop at the money ending up in corporations, but once there, where does the money go?

Posted by: Charles R | Sep 23, 2017 6:15:36 PM | 28

He, he, he

Gleiwitz incident, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, are not working.

"There are plenty of examples. Just over three weeks ago, during the cease-fire talks in Minsk, the Ukrainian military warned that the Russians -- even as the diplomatic marathon was ongoing -- had moved 50 tanks and dozens of rockets across the border into Luhansk. Just one day earlier, US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges had announced "direct Russian military intervention."

Senior officials in Berlin immediately asked the BND for an assessment, but the intelligence agency's satellite images showed just a few armored vehicles. Even those American intelligence officials who supply the BND with daily situation reports were much more reserved about the incident than Hodges was in his public statements. One intelligence agent says it "remains a riddle until today" how the general reached his conclusions."

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 23, 2017 6:22:20 PM | 29

"Due to his lacking of common knowledge and proper sentiment, he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country by comparing it to a rocket. By doing so, however, he made an irreversible mistake of making our rockets visit the entire US mainland inevitable all the more.

None other than Trump himself is on a suicidal mission. In case that innocent lives in US are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be responsible.

The respected supreme leader of DPRK [said Trump] will pay dearly for his speech calling for total destruction of DPRK."

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho addressing the UN General Assembly:

https://youtu.be/ybkRBp6TnnI

Posted by: nobody | Sep 23, 2017 6:29:58 PM | 30

I think the Russians should propose a war game with the US. The US and Russia agree on a number of targets in the south Pacific. Old barges, ships that are destined to be retired, whatever.

Let them be targets for Russian ballistic missiles armed with kinetic weapons. Let the US defend these targets from being hit. Let the games begin.

Of course we all know the outcome. Antimissile defenses do not work. Russia has some pretty advanced systems.

Of course that could never happen. The US arms industry would never allow a demonstration proving that their missile defenses do not work. Russia would not agree since they see the US bankrupting itself trying to develop an unworkable system -- they would be following Napoleon's advice: Never interfere with an enemies movements when they are making a mistake.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 23, 2017 6:37:26 PM | 31

In context of OP story, Cuba is one more country that Trump's admin. is trying to "reverse" to previous state of affair that's having no diplomatic relationship.

Cuba acoustic attack: What is a covert sound weapon?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41047721

The combination and severity of injuries has scientists stumped. Sonic devices could be developed that could create a targeted beam of sound capable of injuring a person’s hearing. But such a device would likely be quite large and hard to conceal, the AP reports. And it’s unlikely that a single nefarious gadget could cause the broad range of symptoms that victims are reporting.

“Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” said Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert told the AP. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”

Despite scientific explanation the "exceptional" and the "brave" want to close the embassy.

Of course, there puppet country here too, Canada. Surprised!?

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 23, 2017 6:38:57 PM | 32

http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jdethomas092217/

"President Trump’s new Executive Order on North Korea sanctions is a unilateral declaration of economic warfare designed to bring the North to its knees through the aggressive use of secondary sanctions against any country that trades with or finances trade with North Korea. Rather than bring North Korea closer to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, they are likely to hasten war and even the collapse of the regime if effectively enforced. It is unlikely, however, that this severe tightening of the sanctions screw will be successful."

DPRK is another country that supposed bow to imperial might. Interesting and ominous view of "professor". I am going to stockpile food and other necessary stuff.

So far Iran is left alone due fierce opposition of friends and foes to rescind agreement with Iran.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 23, 2017 7:12:24 PM | 33

And of course there is that link to Jim Jones...

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/sep/23/trump-misreads-north-korea-sacred-dynasty-at-his-peril

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Sep 23, 2017 7:21:50 PM | 34

It comes down to number of engineers, scientists and trades apprenticeships and the US is no match for RF let alone PRC on these scores.

The dumbing down to control strategy for US civilian management unintended consequence has been the destruction of the development pipeline across a swathe of sectors not the least of which being mil.

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Sep 23, 2017 7:45:44 PM | 35

North Korea: The poorest advanced economy in the World.

http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jbaron090717/

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Sep 23, 2017 7:49:12 PM | 36

@Kalen 12,
I think b is correct when he says:
The U.S. military is too afraid to use its $300 billion missile defense boondoggle because that would prove that it is one gigantic scam.

It's not just that advanced countermeasures can defeat the system, it's that even a single ballistic missile without any tricks would be hard to shoot down at best. See this for example, from a writer who generally promotes U.S. military technology, noting there's a very high probability they'd have missed if they tried to shoot down a North Korean test. . .
https://arstechnica.com. . . -us-have-shot-it-down/

Missing a shot at a missile just passing over Japan could have far-reaching political implications, as it would suggest that anti-ballistic missile systems are incapable of protecting people in South Korea, Japan, or Guam.

For more evidence that the system is completely over-hyped, see this:

The US has tested the interceptor system 19 times since 1999, succeeding about half the time. The most recent test, three years ago, marked another success, but three prior attempts fizzled. That kind of success rate is troubling, given the meticulously managed conditions. “These tests are scripted for success,” says Philip Coyle, senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and former head of the Pentagon’s test and evaluation office. “What’s been surprising to me as that they have failed as often as they have in spite of that.”

Those failures are all with single standard ballistic missiles, without any add-ons, lined up under optimal conditions and optimal trajectories, with advance warning - and they still fail a lot of the time. That sure looks like a massive scam/cash cow.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 23, 2017 8:12:14 PM | 37

@37
NK also would use decoys if they decide to retaliate, low efficiency of interception you pointed out will be even worse than half hits in controlled tests, may be one in ten or less in operational circumstances.

In other words Anti Missile Systems are useless against ICBMs except for narrow circumstances of none nuke ICBMs.

Posted by: Kalen | Sep 23, 2017 8:33:00 PM | 38

@36 Amanita Amanita

Thanks for that link. Do you read that website? It was new to me: "38 North...a program of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC." Seems at first glance like a useful clearinghouse for policy discussion, with views from all sides.

Very interesting view into North Korea, a developing country by all definitions, and yet an advanced one in terms of ability to produce capital goods, and all from sheer self-grown application. Interesting information on its agriculture and socialist system. The information seems credible.

The view points to the conclusion that extreme sanctions on NK - similar to the oil embargo on Japan that pushed it to attack the US first at Pearl Harbor - could push NK to attack the US, knowing that it couldn't "win", but doing so preemptively before it ran out of fuel to resist attack from the US.

I've seen other analysis that shows NK would have sufficient fuel regardless. And we have to factor China and Russia into this equation too. But the speaker was an economist not a geo-political analyst. It seemed like an even-handed discussion.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 23, 2017 8:54:04 PM | 39

Re: Anonymous | Sep 23, 2017 1:17:44 PM | 3 "‘Aurora’, the Largest Military Exercise in "neutral" Sweden in 20 years, Aligns Sweden Even Closer with NATO" (see https://counterinformation.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/directed-against-russia-aurora-the-largest-military-exercise-in-sweden-in-20-years-aligns-sweden-even-closer-with-nato/ ) This article mentions that "In the summer 2016, the country joined Host Country Agreement with NATO, which means that the pact will store equipment in Sweden and be able to use the country for transport and transit of forces if a crisis should occur in the region."

Actually, both Sweden and Finland have signed almost identical Memorandums of Understanding with NATO.

These agreements amount to a backdoor NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, as both nations will now accommodate and provide both civil and military support to NATO forces –on their soils and in their waters – in peacetime as well as in war.

Text of NATO MOU with Sweden: http://www.alliansfriheten.se/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Vardlandsavtalet.pdf
Text of NATO MOU with Finland: http://www.defmin.fi/files/2898/HNS_MOU_FINLAND.pdf

These MOUs state:

· The HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] will provide support within its fullest capacity, subject to availability and within the practical limitations of the circumstances that then exist, to the forces deployed on NATO-led military activities.
· NATO Military Activities: Military actions including exercises, training, operational experimentation and similar activities, or the carrying out of a strategic, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission performed by forces; the process of carrying on combat, including attack, movement, supply and manoeuvres needed to gain the objectives of any battle or campaign.
· The provisions of this MOU apply in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict or periods of international tension as may be jointly determined by the appropriate HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] and NATO authorities.
· Host Nation Support (HNS). The civil and military assistance rendered in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict by a Host Nation to allied forces and organisations, which are located on, operating in or transiting through the Host Nation’s territory, territorial waters or airspace.
· NATO military activities supported by this MOU may require multinational support air operations by fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, and in the case of ports, by merchant and military support vessels.
The HN [Sweden and Finland] acknowledges that movement of such aircraft, helicopters, ships and their crews in and through HN [Swedish and Finnish] territorial areas, will take place under a general clearance for the duration of the NATO military activity.

There are also other recent defense cooperation agreements that Sweden and Finland have entered into with other NATO member states:

MOU between Sweden and Denmark (2016) on “Enhanced Defence Cooperation within the Air and Maritime Domain”: http://www.fmn.dk/nyheder/Documents/signed-mou-danish-swedish-enhanced-defence-cooperation-2016-01-11.pdf

Nordic Defence Cooperation NORDEFCO (2009); MOU between Denmark (includes Faroe Islands and Greenland), Iceland, Norway (three NATO founding member states), Sweden, Finland: http://www.norden.org/en/om-samarbejdet-1/nordic-agreements/treaties-and-agreements/defence-affairs/memorandum-of-understanding-on-nordic-defence-cooperation-nordefco/nordic-defence-cooperation-2009/view

A French petition against NATO (see http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/petition-to-get-france-out-of-nato.html) refers to this process as the formation of a NATO "northern front” against Russia. Consider that Finland has a 833 mile long border with Russia. The northern front thus acts to further surround Russia with NATO forces and will surely be seen as an additional and significant provocation.

The Finnish MOU with NATO came into force in 2014; the Swedish MOU came into force in July 2016.
http://www.riksdagen.se/en/news/2016/maj/27/yes-to-memorandum-of-understanding-with-nato-on-host-nation-support-ufou4/ Yes to memorandum of understanding with NATO on host nation support 27 May 2016

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 23, 2017 9:25:57 PM | 40

In other words, Finland and Sweden have both become de facto members of NATO, creating a new 833 mile long “northern front” for NATO on the Russian border.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 23, 2017 9:27:21 PM | 41

Apparently my links to the Swedish and Finish MOUs signed with NATO were deleted. WTF? These links to the text of the agreements are hard to find. I would think that some of the readers might wish to read them?

These MOUs state:

· The HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] will provide support within its fullest capacity, subject to availability and within the practical limitations of the circumstances that then exist, to the forces deployed on NATO-led military activities.
· NATO Military Activities: Military actions including exercises, training, operational experimentation and similar activities, or the carrying out of a strategic, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission performed by forces; the process of carrying on combat, including attack, movement, supply and manoeuvres needed to gain the objectives of any battle or campaign.
· The provisions of this MOU apply in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict or periods of international tension as may be jointly determined by the appropriate HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] and NATO authorities.
· Host Nation Support (HNS). The civil and military assistance rendered in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict by a Host Nation to allied forces and organisations, which are located on, operating in or transiting through the Host Nation’s territory, territorial waters or airspace.
· NATO military activities supported by this MOU may require multinational support air operations by fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, and in the case of ports, by merchant and military support vessels. The HN [Sweden and Finland] acknowledges that movement of such aircraft, helicopters, ships and their crews in and through HN [Swedish and Finnish] territorial areas, will take place under a general clearance for the duration of the NATO military activity.

It is discouraging to spend time putting together a detailed post with links and then have it immediately vanish. Would you prefer unsubstantiated opinions?

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 23, 2017 9:30:48 PM | 42

Ironic that Reagan's "star wars" missile defense scam, successful maybe in scaring the Soviet's into bankruptcy in the 80's, is now accepted as military fact by the monkeys on Capital Hill.

Posted by: RC | Sep 23, 2017 9:34:18 PM | 43

Amanita #34 and #36

Stunning articles.

The reference to 1941 I believe is in another article

# Getting Tough on North Korea: Iran and Other Mirages

http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jdethomas090117

"In July 1941, in response to the Japanese invasion of Indochina, President Roosevelt took a series of steps that look very much like the sanctions advocated by those who want to get tough on the DPRK. He froze Japanese assets and required that Japan obtain specific export licenses to obtain any US goods—including oil upon which the Japanese economy and military was dependent. Subsequently, the US government denied Japan the right to use the US dollar to purchase goods, thus making it impossible to obtain oil even if licenses were granted. Those who made the decision to take this step were confident Japan would not go to war over the sanctions, since both US and Japanese leaders knew it would be a suicidal act for Japan to do so. The Japanese military chose to gamble on an attack on the US fleet and a simultaneous invasion of South East Asian oil fields. Four years of total war in the Pacific ensued. The Japanese decision was indeed suicidal, but it cost a great deal in American blood and treasure to confirm it."


Posted by: daffyDuct | Sep 23, 2017 9:41:28 PM | 44

The sad truth in 2017 is that the DOD is even collecting money from Joe Public to scaremonger on the Internet about "fake news", harass citizens, blackball Indy news sites, bully Google et al. into blackballing Deep State critics, and generally mislead the public with US propaganda. The propaganda itself is a money sink we are all paying for - theoretically being lied to for our own good, they would claim.

Posted by: Josh Stern | Sep 23, 2017 9:56:41 PM | 45

Even if a missile was successfully intercepted, given its toxicity, would you like a few kg of plutonium vapour released 100 km above your head?

At least a missile strike would be quick and painless.

Posted by: Bolt | Sep 23, 2017 11:04:45 PM | 46

Randolph Bourne, 1918, here

. . .War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties. The minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them. Of course, the ideal of perfect loyalty, perfect uniformity is never really attained. . . War—or at least modern war waged by a democratic republic against a powerful enemy—seems to achieve for a nation almost all that the most inflamed political idealist could desire. Citizens are no longer indifferent to their Government, but each cell of the body politic is brimming with life and activity. We are at last on the way to full realization of that collective community in which each individual somehow contains the virtue of the whole. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 23, 2017 11:18:15 PM | 47

bolt #45

Plutonium is toxic but it is not that toxic -- it is relatively biologically inert and after falling to earth would not recycle through the food chains. Certainly, this issue would never be a deterrent to any military commander making decisions.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 23, 2017 11:57:50 PM | 48

Pnyx no. 6

The BBC has just reported that the u. s. Air Force has staged another show at the North Korean border. It's called demonstrating military strength. Dumb as hell.

The cost alone for each one of these border shows must be astronomical. They provide nothing that North Korea doesn't already know.

Posted by: sleepy | Sep 23, 2017 11:58:22 PM | 49

@33

Yes, remember the old belief that the entwining of the world's economies would lead to peace? The US uses it as a weapon for war.

Posted by: sleepy | Sep 24, 2017 12:03:57 AM | 50

@48 Don Bacon

Thank you. That's an amazing essay - we would call it an analysis today. The final trick of the temporary Government, to invoke the permanent and sleeping State, through war, and thus unite all the citizens.

So it has worked forever. It's not a new thing. But it's a thing that in modern times we allude to or refer to but don't fully appreciate as the irresistible force that it is.

For each and every one of us, individuals as we are, within community as we also are, there is a call to action - a primal call of all hands on deck. It's noble, it's honorable, and it works. It's an old call. And the savvy manipulators of the masses have sounded this call again and again. And we have not understood that it was happening - that we were being used. Or at least, not enough have realized this in the moment of the call. So this must change.

Thank you for the warning.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 24, 2017 1:34:39 AM | 51

48 s/b 46

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 24, 2017 1:35:45 AM | 52

Even Israel's Iron Dome is a joke; it missed some 80% of the crude rockets fired its way.
Russia's anti-missile-missiles, use a different approach; rather than "hitting a bullet"; they just need to get close, using high explosives w/shrapnel. Their other approach is a nuclear warhead instead if HE.
It's only recently the MSM is admitting the THAAD system can't take out NK's missiles.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 24, 2017 2:40:03 AM | 53

This is a pretty good overview of the S-400 and Pantsir-S AA systems.
http://thesaker.is/russian-pantsir-s-goes-hunting-in-syrian-skies/
It covers well the integrated AA system for all eventualities...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 24, 2017 2:47:22 AM | 54

Well, it did it again; I linked to the Saker re: S-400 and Pantsir-S AA systems.
Bloody disappeared...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 24, 2017 2:49:07 AM | 55

ToivoS | Sep 23, 2017 11:57:50 PM | 47

Plutonium is toxic but it is not that toxic -- it is relatively biologically inert and after falling to earth would not recycle through the food chains.

Yes and no. If it was present as large particles then yes but distributed through the atmosphere as fine particles that can be inhaled, it would eventually be lethal to most people not wearing a respirator or otherwise breathing unfiltered air. As an alpha-emitter, outside the body, you'll receive relatively little radiation because the skin is thick enough to stop alpha particles, but if plutonium or uranium enter your lungs, there will be a small volume that over time will become intensely irradiated most likely resulting in cancer sometime in the future.

Certainly, this issue would never be a deterrent to any military commander making decisions.

Totally agree, why would many, many people dying of cancer after a nuclear war worry any military commander. He's moved on up the ladder by the time it starts happening and it's not his responsibility.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 24, 2017 5:24:21 AM | 56

Interesting that at the same time NATO exaggerates the numbers of Russian soldiers participating in the Zapad drills, the Western news media is silent on the numbers of South Korean and American soldiers who participate in the annual Operation Foal Eagle drills in and around South Korean territory. How many participated in Operation Foal Eagle in 2016? About 290,000 South Korean soldiers and at least 15,000 US soldiers were involved. No wonder North Korea is paranoid!
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/02/23/u-s-south-korea-to-perform-largest-ever-war-game-near-north-korea/

Posted by: Jen | Sep 24, 2017 8:08:38 AM | 57

Fuck; am I ever going to get my post back?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 24, 2017 9:42:56 AM | 58

Upset about Zapad? Suppose China commanded a huge Canadian army and held regular exercises near the U.S. border for the last fifty years.. . .
The South Korean military is commanded by the Pentagon. The Combined Forces Command, commanded by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, has operational control over more than 600,000 active-duty military personnel of all services, of both countries. In wartime, augmentation could include some 3.5 million ROK reservists as well as additional U.S. forces deployed from outside the ROK. The only military force commanded by another country! Can't get more puppet than that. It's another factor that riles DPRK.

World military ranking here, US-1, SouthKorea-12, NorthKorea-23.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 24, 2017 10:42:30 AM | 59

#4 @PavewayIV - Bravo, I consider that the comment of the year so far! Very well put.

Thanks for the article, b. Western media/political commentariat have gotten so far away from reality with the Russian scare nonsense that (like the Bush/Cheney administration) they think they can make up any lie they like without consequence. The Washington consensus started the trend, and look what it got them--a President who on most matters is an even bigger liar than they are! A campaign run on lies can only get so far before reality intrudes.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Sep 24, 2017 11:22:54 AM | 60

US military policy is evolving away from MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and response to offensive attacks with counter-attacks, to to concentrate on offensive action against concocted enemies and against perceived threats. And the definition of threats is changing with new administration policies.
In Afghanistan it means a higher dependence upon aerial bombing. This new strategy is described in a recent think tank posting.

"While air strikes may be viewed as defensive or punitive, if the Afghan government wants to halt Taliban gains, the Taliban must be forced to pay a heavy price for massing and striking outposts, bases, and district centers. Hitting Taliban forces as they travel in convoys or after they overrun bases will force its military commanders to reconsider their tactics, which have proven successful in all areas of Afghanistan."

So President Trump has removed restrictions on bombing using the "success" in Mosul, which has been completely destroyed, as an example. The US Air Force's monthly bombing campaign in Afghanistan has hit a five-year high.
In the War on Terror, assassinations of perceived terrorist targets will be escalated. While President Reagan outlawed foreign assassinations by executive order, President Obama initiated them and now President Trump is expanding them.
The most notable departure from the Obama policy is doing away with the threat threshold that must be met before lethal action can be taken. Under the old PPG, lethal action can be taken only against terrorist targets that pose a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.” This requirement is gone under the new guidance, which reportedly allows for strikes against what the Times characterizes as “foot-soldier jihadists with no unique skills or leadership roles” and who are not bound to a threat standard. The removal of the continuing, imminent threat standard is a loss for those who think that U.S. policy should hew more closely to international human rights law, in which lethal action can be taken only when the threat is imminent and cannot be addressed by other means.[??] . .here.

Now North Korea is called a "threat" to the US, and with the new policy or removing perceived threats, what will the response be? Like in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya? Unlike these examples, North Korea (like Iran) can counter-attack with decisive force.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 24, 2017 11:24:20 AM | 61

@ V. Arnold who I thought had been around long enough to understand what parts of MoA are features and not bugs.

Think about why for a bit and it might come to you. Have a MoA drink on me.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 24, 2017 12:03:32 PM | 62

RE: Don Bacon | Sep 24, 2017 11:24:20 AM | 59

If MAD was ever an official policy, it only became so by default, simply because the insane size of US and Soviet nuclear arsenals essentially guaranteed MAD as a result of any nuclear war between them. The US eventually came to talk about fighting a "limited nuclear war"; the Soviets scoffed at the remarks and noted that they were probably made to make nuclear war politically acceptable.

Although US and Soviet/Russian nuclear arsenals have been significantly reduced from the peak levels seen in the mid to late 1980s, there are still more than enough nuclear weapons to ensure that a US-Russian nuclear exchange would not only result in the destruction of both nations. The long-term environmental consequences of the detonation of the launch-ready US and Russian nuclear arsenals would probably wipe out most people on the planet.

Every NATO wargame in which the nuclear firebreak was crossed always led to a full-scale nuclear war. I think it is a mistake to think that once a nuclear war starts that it can be limited or controlled, especially with modern weapons on hair-trigger alert. Whether or not anti-missile defense systems are capable of intercepting and blocking an attack using ICBMs and cruise missiles remains to be seen.

I am no longer going to include links in my posts, because I don't wish to have them deleted. I think this is an unfortunate policy for MoA; I enjoy being directed to links that provide useful information. I would prefer to see censorship of posts that direct insulting personal remarks.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 24, 2017 1:28:24 PM | 63

The recent anti-Russia hysteria all over the msm has to be seen within context - NATO. NATO needs to justify its existence and what better way to do it than raise their old favorite monster - Russia.

Trouble is, with the easy access and availability of information these days, the old propaganda line that "Russians are coming" doesn't resonate very well with the masses anymore. The average young generation Westerner couldn't give two f*cks about Putin or Russia. They care more about justin beiber, trendy smart phones, paying off their studen loans etc etc.

My fear is that some NATO extremist(you know, the ones that make a lot of noise but pay f*ck all. Poland comes to mind) country, to prove their usefulness to Washington, might actually do something stupid against Russia that will force Russia's hand.

And make no mistake, NATO is hated by the masses in whichever country they occupy - except for the right-wing/nationalist groupies.
I very much doubt people will be rushing to enlist should the proverbial sh*t hit the fan.

Posted by: Zico | Sep 24, 2017 1:46:33 PM | 64

@ Zico #64
re: "NATO needs to justify its existence"
NATO = U.S. hegemony over Europe, based on an enduring Russian threat, which is important for political reasons and military sales, and also to justify a half-million strong standing US army; it has no other reason for existing. Canada and Mexico are quite benign. There's a lot of money to be made as b describes, and what the people think is not a factor. "Democracy" is voting once in a while for people who then do what they're paid to do.

Interestingly China is cutting its land force by 300,000 and beefing up its Navy and Marines which makes sense in a potential maritime war situation.

The anti-Russia story also feeds in to the current ME situation, where the US and Russia are bumping heads in Syria. That has yet to play out. President Trump has bought the whole Pentagon line against the remaining axis of evil Iran and North Korea, and with all the anti-Russia hysteria the Pentagon should be able to get him switched over on Russia, perhaps in Syria on the east side of the Euphrates.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 24, 2017 3:23:40 PM | 65

daffy-- Interesting comparison, but this part of the quote: "The Japanese decision was indeed suicidal, but it cost a great deal in American blood and treasure to confirm it."

Blood yes--treasure; well I think plenty of manufacturing and other bigwigs made out pretty well, and I thought (maybe I'm wrong) that it was even good for the general economy and little people.

And of course Ike later (and Smedley prior) [and the past several decades] confirmed the profit-motive of US aggression. And while that's a terrible reason for warmongering, "at least" some of WWII's profits helped US poor folks with better wages and skills, unlike recent warmongering. I'm a bit drunk though so might be talking dumb stuff.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 24, 2017 9:46:50 PM | 66

Eta: Didn't mean to imply US entry into WWII was nearly as typical a "warmongering" or profiteering motive as Iraq, Libya or such.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 24, 2017 9:50:32 PM | 67

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg."

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 23, 2017 6:06:23 PM | 26

This is Merkel that we all love and cherish. From time to time she voices objections to imperial policies that are bad for Germany, but sotto voce (sottissimo?) and doing absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 26, 2017 2:02:46 PM | 68

Zapad - a Swedish officer and observer of the maneuver interviewed by Deutsche Welle:

Zapad-2017: 'Normal military business'

Before the exercise, Western politicians voiced concern. One of the critical points was the number of soldiers. Some estimated that the actual number was almost 100,000. What were your impressions?

You can always discuss the numbers of soldiers. The Vienna document is mainly about land forces. What the Belarus verification agency reported – 12,700 Russian and Belarus soldiers – is a correct number I think. In Sweden we are conducting a similar exercise at the moment. The media talks of about 19- 20,000 participants. We reported about 12,400. But that's what you have to report according to the Vienna document, because you don't count anything to do with the navy or air force. When you come to Russia and Belarus you don't talk about strategic rocket forces, railroad and interior troops. From an observer's point of view I would say it is impossible to tell if it was 12,700 or 13,061. I believe the Belarus agency.
...
Was it a preparation for a big war as some in the West and neighboring countries feared and were concerned about?

This is normal military business as we do in all countries with armed forces. This is not training for attacking anyone. You meet the enemy, you stop the enemy, you defeat the enemy with a counter attack. We are doing the same thing in Sweden.

Posted by: b | Sep 27, 2017 12:19:38 PM | 69

b thanks for this update. It was obvious at the time that NATO spokesmen were creating pure scare propaganda. Maybe the Swedes and hopefully the Finns are beginning to see that there are some major elements inside NATO that are pushing for war with Russia. Perhaps it is time for those countries to reconsider their involvement with NATO.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 27, 2017 1:15:04 PM | 70

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