Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2018

Two Failures In One Day - Missile Defense Is An Embarrassment - It Won't Work

Within the new $700 billion defense budget the U.S. Congress allocated more money for U.S. missile defense:

The Pentagon would spend an additional $1 billion on two of Lockheed’s missile defense systems, bringing total appropriations for the Missile Defense Agency to $11.5 billion.

More U.S. taxpayer money will also be given to missile defense contractors in Israel:

Congress has dramatically increased its budget for the Israeli missile defense programs by $148 million to include ongoing Iron Dome and Arrow 3 development.

“I am pleased and excited to announce that the US Congress has approved a record sum for Israel’s missile defense program: $705m. in 2018!” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Monday.

Two incidents last night provide again that missile defense is a waste of money. It hardly ever works. Strategic missile defense, which the U.S. builds to take down intercontinental missiles, will not protect against the new weapons Russia and others are now pursuing. The U.S. military acknowledges this. After Putin announced the new weapon systems the Trump administration raised the white flag and suddenly asked for new arms control talks.

Last night the Yemeni army launched (vid) seven ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia. Three of those targeted the capital Riyadh, four were aimed at military and infrastructure targets. In Riyadh the Saudi forces fired a a number of Patriot surface-to-air missiles and claimed that those successfully intercepted the Yemeni missiles. The Saudis Patriot Advanced Capabilities-2 system (PAC-2) are made by the U.S. company Raytheon which also hires former U.S. soldiers as 'Patriot Battery Systems Technician Field Engineers' to man and maintain the Saudi systems.

Earlier Saudi claims of successful intercepts turned out to be false. The small warheads of the Yemeni missiles separate from the larger missile body and are difficult to detect. The U.S. provided systems inevitably aims at the bigger empty missile body.

This time various videos from Riyadh show that at least seven interceptors were fired against the three incoming missiles. At least two of the interceptors failed catastrophically. The other five seem to have self-destruct at height. There is no sign of any real interception.

One of the Patriot interceptors prematurely exploded during its boost phase. Its burning debris showered the ground with hot parts.


Another Patriot interceptor made a u-turn and struck the ground some hundred meters away from random onlookers:


Inevitably some snarky comments followed:

Jeffrey Lewis @ArmsControlWonk
When your PAC2 gets radicalized and turns on you ...
Haykal Bafana @BaFana3
Even #Saudi Patriot missiles know who the real enemy is: They boomerang back to earth and bomb Saudi Arabia.
agitpapa @agitpapa
How a real Patriot should function, killing the guys who did 9/11 instead of serving them.

The other defense missiles seem to have self-destruct presumably after they lost contact with the target. Each of these Patriot MIM-104C missiles cost some $2-3 million.

The Saudis say that one man was killed and two were wounded in the Yemeni attack. It is more likely that these people were victims of the missile defense fire than of the attacking missiles.

In another late night missile defense incident Israel fired some twenty of its U.S. paid Iron Dome interceptors against presumed missiles coming from the Gaza strip:

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile shield intercepted a number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Israeli media reported, after warning sirens sounded around the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory.


That first report turned out to be fake news. Several videos show the defense missiles explode in a flash high up in the air. Such explosions are often interpreted as successful intercept but are usually just the programmed self-destruction which prevents that whole missile carcasses fall down on the people below. Indeed none of a missiles the Israeli army fired destroyed any targets as none were there:

Multiple Code Red false alarms were blasted in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Councils and in the southern city of Sderot Sunday evening as the Iron Dome missile-defense mistook bullets from the Gaza Strip for a fusillade of rockets.

The regional councils originally reported that the Iron Dome anti-missile system was said to have intercepted every rocket rocket. However, the IDF later confirmed that no salvo had been fired at Israel.

“No salvo was fired at territory in the State of Israel. The situation in the Gaza region is usual. The interceptions by the Iron Dome system were activated because of the firing of bullets from the strip. Nothing fell in Israeli territory. It is being checked whether mortars or rockets were even fired at all,” the statement read.

Before the IDF clarification, the regional councils instructed the southern residents to remain in sheltered rooms.

Each Iron Dome missile costs at least $50,000. The IDF just spent $1,000,000 of U.S. taxpayer money because some 'oversensitive' system  mistook random gun fire not aimed at Israel for incoming missiles.

The U.S. strategic missile defense is against incoming long range missiles. The Patriot systems in Saudi Arabia are supposed to defend against medium range ballistic missiles. The Israeli Iron Dome systems should defend against short range missile attacks.

All three systems are obviously incapable of fulfilling their task. All three demonstrate that missile defense is prohibitively costly. The cost of each missile defense interceptor is a multitude of the costs of the attacking missile. The number of interceptors is limited and the systems can be exhausted and overwhelmed by swarm attacks of cheap dummies followed by a real attack.

Last year the Saudis were pushed by the Trump administration to buy the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system:

The package that cleared Friday would include 44 THAAD launchers, 360 interceptors, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Groups and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars, along with associated support equipment and training.

This new system is supposed to defend Saudi Arabia against Iranian ballistic missiles. But according to a South-Korean analysis the THAAD missile defense system has the same problem the Patriot system has. It can easily be deceived by cheap decoys and it tends to hit the incoming missile body while missing the separate warhead which simply continues its attack on the target.

When the Saudi clown prince visited Washington last week The U.S. president made an embarrassing show (vid) out of such sales. The Saudis will have to pay some $15 billion for the basically useless THAAD system. "That’s peanuts to you," said Trump. But Saudi citizens may not agree with such banter. The clown prince was, apparently, not amused.


But what can he do? If he stops buying useless U.S. weapons the borg in Washington will 'regime change' him in no time.

Current missile defense is economically not viable. The limits of physics make it easy to overcome. But the systems still have their purpose.

For U.S. politicians they are a salable way to move taxpayer money towards the owners of the defense industry. For the Israeli government they are a (U.S. paid) psychological tool to prevent its people from protesting against the consequences of Zionist land robbery. The Saudis see them as inevitable ransom payment.

Yesterday's public failures of missile defense endanger those purposes. If the general public comes to believe that missile defense can not work the whole scam falls apart. Any future sale should thus be conditioned on a promise to never use the acquired system. 

Posted by b on March 26, 2018 at 16:36 UTC | Permalink

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With the coordinated expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats by the U.S. and Europe I got to thinking this morning about Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (1992), a celebration of the capitalist West's victory in the Cold War. The dialectic of history was supposed to have come to a halt as market economies and electoral democracy spread throughout a world enriched by a "peace dividend."

Now that the Cold War is back it must mean that the the neoliberal New World Order that Fukuyama heralded has failed.

I'm currently reading the British Communist R.P. Dutt's Fascism and Social Revolution (1934). The 1930s mirror today. The decay of capitalism was so extreme that it had to retreat fascism -- trade wars, hyper-imperialism, arms race, etc. And we all know how the 1930s ended.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 26 2018 17:05 utc | 1

Lockheed Martin stock up sharply this morning. Those missiles need to be replaced.

Posted by: dh | Mar 26 2018 17:19 utc | 2

In other words, the world must have more ...

Ordnance Expenditure Expeditions

Ordnance Expenditure Expeditions,
Use up and then order more munitions.
Make sure to run down the inventory.
Start wars for profits: the same old story.

"Give us the money or we'll huff and puff.
Buy from us all of these weapons and stuff.
No-bid, cost-plus guarantees we demand.
And if we don't get them, no jobs in this land.

How? First a false flag: a made-up "good reason"
Summer, Spring, Winter, or Fall: any season.
"Gas" attacks "on his own people" will do it.
"Brutal dictator must go." Then see to it.

Second: "advisers" deploy for a tour,
Helping make countries with little more poor,
Calling in airstrikes to wipe out the towns
Whenever local folks fight back with frowns.

Third: the "straight-legs" force us all to include them.
Regular Army. No way to exclude them.
They've got their generals, too; they demand it:
Their chance to play the Big Cheese (meaning, bandit).

Fourth: then the Air Force and Navy want in,
Bringing Marines as their "infantry" kin.
Some to pin medals and stars on their shirts.
Some to catch bullets and shrapnel, which hurts.

Generals, admirals, colonels, commanders:
Aimless amphibians, swamp salamanders,
Punching their tickets while lost in a land which
Doesn't need them fucking up a soup sandwich.

Still, screwing pooches can make a career.
Just learn to lie with a lisp and a leer.
No one will know, if your jargon's opaque,
How to distinguish the real from the fake.

Just babble bullshit and throw in some numbers,
Then keep it up until everyone slumbers.
You'll have succeeded when their eyes start crossing.
Soon they won't know a toothbrush from a flossing.

Fifth: let the dogs-of-war piss on the fire:
"Contractors" who'll kill their mothers for hire,
Shooting at anything moving on roads.
Selling some "Safety" to rich loathsome toads.

Last: the camp-following big corporations
Feeding the troops on their overpriced rations.
Petrol at four-hundred bucks to a gallon.
Taxpayers sliced with a razor-sharp talon.

No thought to budgets that balance the books.
Just like Dick Nixon, these people are crooks:
Buying Republicans who'll chant "God bless!"
Renting the Democrats who'll lose for less.

Dining at Davos in Switzerland's mountains,
Oligarchs drink to wealth spurting in fountains.
Then with The Donald they swap salutations,
Making our country a plague among nations.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2018

This will only get worse
So stand by for more verse ...

Posted by: Michael Murry | Mar 26 2018 17:41 utc | 3

good post b, especially your summations at the bottom..

when is the jig up? this extortion / blackmail, to continue forcing others to buy this crap has to end... the ordinary american doesn't benefit from this... the expanding street population definitely does not benefit from it.. how long before new york is like calcutta? i guess that is what they are hoping to stave off, but lockheed martin doesn't strike me like some benevolent corporation..

how about this jackass clown prince cut with this war on yemen? or is that for the usa/uk military complex purposes only??

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2018 18:04 utc | 4

If I had a hammer

I'd hammer in the morning

Hammer in the evening

All over this land

Posted by: juliania | Mar 26 2018 18:09 utc | 5

Perhaps it is the capitalistic genius of the interceptor's design, combining elegantly interwoven models of business, engineering, and marketing such that when one is fired the rest will automatically intercept it and each other, and their debris, ensuring maximum collateral expenditure. Its just a marketing bonus that they look like their enacting our sense of invincibility, ensuring minization of any sober considerations weighing risks of going to war.

Posted by: Thominus | Mar 26 2018 18:13 utc | 6

If the warhead separates from the rocket, this would occur at the end of the boost phase long before the warhead is nearing its target? The high drag empty casing would have fallen to the ground or been left far behind when the warhead is approaching target?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 26 2018 18:24 utc | 7

The Hegemon and his vassals in EU are at a severe stage of hysteria.

They know the jig is up. Russia has them technologically.

The swine are deep in their own shit pits of EU, NATO and vassalage.

The US is desperate. China is too big for them and Russia is too strong.

The Double Helix has stolen the century from the US.

There will be Eurasia, Belts And Roads, the New Silk Road and multi-polarity.

Petroyuan futures began last night.

The beginning of the end is upon us. The end is the shriveling of the Hegemon.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 26 2018 18:32 utc | 8

Has anyone seen a report on what happened to the other four missiles?

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 26 2018 18:33 utc | 9

Mmmmmmm, more welfare for the MIC folks, instead, they point the finger at social welfare as being wasteful.

It's never ending..

RR@ 8 said:"The end is the shriveling of the Hegemon."

Please let that happen before I die....

Posted by: ben | Mar 26 2018 18:45 utc | 10

The US is the by far the biggest arms producer in the world, accounting for the next top several 7 or so countries lumped together, etc. However, on the arms export market it really has only one competitor - Russia.

The US as ‘hegemon’ runs an odd type of war economy, with huuge production, but it is privatised, contracted out, and the industry serves to provide an underground re-distributive mechanism (as does the prison industry), with the ‘production’ farmed out pratically to all States.

Thus, increases in State-arms prod. funding are (almost always) allowed / voted in. (The jobs keep the pols in power.) The export sales are dependent on the hegemonic position, creating a monopolistic clout: buy from us, or we object, attack (in various ways -> for ex. KSA.)

None of these characteristics are condusive to actually being the ‘smartest’ competitor with the ‘best’ stuff. (-> See parallel of the US med. industry, hugely profitable. Whether it actually saves lives, lengthens them or makes them more ‘comfortable’, for the population as a whole, is up for debate.)

The privatization leads to competition for ‘gvmt’ contracts, but as the ‘gvmt’ has no plan, be it a 5,10, 20 year-plan, and as the pols are just grifters making soothing or by turns hysterical agressive noises, all the parties are subject to ‘influence’ one to and from the other, and re-distribution is the only ‘sure’ aim.

Pols sit in dark auditoriums and practice contacts, deals, influence, and watch ridiculous schematic powerpoints about xyz stuff, without understanding anything.

> …Caricature but close.

Practically any other model could do better, as Russia shows.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26 2018 18:47 utc | 11

You're very right, b. First off, missile systems as designed by the US appear to be very poorly designed. Even under the best circumstances (with cheating to make the test very easy) they barely work. Second, any interception system is WAY easier to spoof than it is to counter-spoof. Send dummy warheads, send dummy missiles, etc.--all the easily workable solutions are much cheaper than the missile system and its missiles. So even if they worked they could be easily beaten.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Mar 26 2018 18:47 utc | 12

Peter #7 If the warhead separates from the rocket, this would occur at the end of the boost phase long

You are confusing ICBMs with short range rockets.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 26 2018 18:48 utc | 13

The fear of change - read Chinese domination of our time zone - is palpable in Australia . 'The Financial Review' newspaper has daily articles on 'what to do ' . They become shriller and more ridiculous with every week . As all the world observes. ( including Australia ) Australia is in an absurd position allowing herself to be pressed by U S / Anglo interests to confront her largest trade partner , China.
On the issue of air technologies Australia buys 'lemons' too . The Lockheed Martin S35 will put Australia at a disadvantage to the Russian equipment being purchased by our neighbour Indonesia .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Mar 26 2018 18:49 utc | 14

Thanks for the posting b although I would like more reporting on what really happened like other commenters are asking for.

I left a comment on the old Open thread with a ZH link to an article about Israel using drones with canisters of gas and video cameras to control the protests that are forming daily in the Golan Heights. In other days we would call these war crimes and prosecute folks for doing such.....we are in WWIII but the body count is still "low".

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 26 2018 18:51 utc | 15

Iceland pulled out of World Cup, the first little fish in this latest train wreck of false-flaggery. Does anyone have a handle on why Mr. Global is in such a hell-fire fury to get this war on already, like yesterday? What is the impending disaster coming for Mr. Global that has caused him to even further accelerate his arrival of WW3?

Posted by: JC | Mar 26 2018 18:54 utc | 16

@15, Trump expels 60 diplomats as well, and over a dozen EU countries expelled their diplomats. Madness.

Posted by: George Lane | Mar 26 2018 18:58 utc | 17


Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26 2018 19:02 utc | 18

ToivoS 12

Yemen to Riyadh 900k ? b's article says missile body separates from warhead. On any missile, short to long range, there is only a short rocket engine burn time, taking the missile up to maximum velocity. I do not know if the missiles fired at Riyadh separate, but if they do, it is most likely to occur after the rocket engine burn, discarding the empty fuel storage and rocket engine unit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 26 2018 19:02 utc | 19

Things are nit turning out very well all around!

RINOs Call For Full Blown Communist Military Dictatorship While Shakedown Across Corporate America Is Underway

Andrea Iravani

Posted by: Andrea Iravani | Mar 26 2018 19:06 utc | 20

@ JC who wrote
Does anyone have a handle on why Mr. Global is in such a hell-fire fury to get this war on already, like yesterday? What is the impending disaster coming for Mr. Global that has caused him to even further accelerate his arrival of WW3?

I commented just above you the WWIII has already started but the body count is "low" yet. The reason in my mind is that we are seeing the failings of the most recent empire underwritten by global private finance. Look at the unsustainable debt situation internationally.....including the out-of-control US debt that the rest of the world nations subsidize every time they buy US Treasuries. Our world use to have Debt Jubilees and I expect we are about to see another but it will unravel and resolve different than those of the Feudal era.

Anyway, back to your specific question about why war. War is a tool of the elite to control and reduce large segments of the worlds populations by brainwashing them into conflict justifying such....and in war time, lawsuits by Stormy Daniels types, let alone all the real bad shit are swept under the rug for national security purposes.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 26 2018 19:14 utc | 21

>>>> JC | Mar 26, 2018 2:54:56 PM | 15

Iceland pulled out of World Cup

It looks like nobody from the Icelandic government will be going - I hope they give away all the tickets they'll no longer be using.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 26 2018 19:28 utc | 22

An article on Iran's reaction to a US withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Iran not backing down:

Posted by: Ossama | Mar 26 2018 19:35 utc | 23

The sycophants in the military industrial complex believe their own propaganda and ignore the developments from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation at everyones peril.
The coming wars with China and Russia cannot produce a real winner but the The USA is terrorist nation #1 will be almost certainly the biggest loser other than the biosphere.
More great work from

Posted by: Kevin Hester | Mar 26 2018 19:35 utc | 24

The only missile defense concept that is effective is forward-deployed, Boost-Phase Intercept (BPI; e.g. Aegis system), contingent upon launch detect effectiveness. It's also the cheapest, which means it won't get much deployment via foreign sales.

Posted by: ritzl | Mar 26 2018 19:47 utc | 25

@JC and @psychohistorian,

The closing thesis of Walter Benjamin's classic 1936 essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" has always stayed with me:

"All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. War and war only can set a goal for mass movements on the largest scale while respecting the traditional property system. This is the political formula for the situation. The technological formula may be stated as follows: Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system."

"The horrible features of imperialistic warfare are attributable to the discrepancy between the tremendous means of production and their inadequate utilization in the process of production – in other words, to unemployment and the lack of markets. Imperialistic war is a rebellion of technology which collects, in the form of “human material,” the claims to which society has denied its natural materrial. Instead of draining rivers, society directs a human stream into a bed of trenches; instead of dropping seeds from airplanes, it drops incendiary bombs over cities; and through gas warfare the aura is abolished in a new way."

Once more into the breach. Perhaps for the last time.

Posted by: WJ | Mar 26 2018 19:54 utc | 26

AI @ 19: Thanks for the link, good read...

Posted by: ben | Mar 26 2018 20:03 utc | 27

@ WJ with his response

I thank you for engaging me and JC about the bigger picture cultural structure that our current circus hides in plain sight.

While we fight each other for scraps of human decency through our meager lives, the elite meat sacks of centuries of inheritance of global private finance use that control to make the definition of civilization a sick joke we are unfortunately living.

Of all the human cultures that have been eliminated by the God of Mammon cult, the cult of that religion of ownership, usury, greed and inherited entitlement is one that humanity needs to deprecate, if not purge from its breadth of human culture.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 26 2018 20:06 utc | 28

Just a simple question: when all those expensive toys for boys missed, where did all those SCUDs come down?
Where are the widely seen explosions on the ground? At the former intercept which was called "turned out to be false", there were explosions on the ground, near the airport. So where are the explosions this time? And how many of them?

Then, how do people see if an explosion in the sky is a successful intercept or is a self-destruct failure? Those are, presumably, dark missiles against a dark night, flying faster than the human eye can see.

Somehow I just don't see any real arguments here b. You can do better.

Posted by: nervos belli | Mar 26 2018 20:15 utc | 29

@29 nb
Yep, in most cases one won't recognize a successful intercept when it's dark - with one's own eyes that is- but changing of the radar signature of the target after a potential breakup, tumbling ... would tell the story. Most intercepts will not end with a catastrophic kill, that is an incoming warhead exploding, though, sometimes they do which makes for great fireworks + a whole lot of fragments. What always amazes me is the cluelessness/complacency of onlookers to such events, they never seem to realize that a hailstorm of high velocity fragments (successful intercept or not) may be about to hit the area and take measures accordingly.

Regarding failed interceptors: That's part of the deal.
There's a plethora of evidence of malfunctioning interceptors from all parties (globally) to be found on the web.
After all, besides issues with the manufacturing process these things experience most severe conditions during de-/employment ... inadequate storage, overextended shelf life (especially troublesome with propellant grain), high to very high g-loads, extreme pressure and heat etc..

Posted by: Hmpf | Mar 26 2018 21:32 utc | 30

Kids in the US have got the message that people around the World must aspire to.
They cannot stop ! They won't stop ! They'll never stop !
Bring down the Miltary Arms economies before one makes a really fatal mistake.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 26 2018 21:52 utc | 31

this is crazy these people should be using the iron dome system it is the greatest system in the world.
it is proof of israels mastery in this area the iron dome saves jewish lives every day.

behold the power of the iron dome

Posted by: gideon | Mar 26 2018 21:59 utc | 32

Long before S-300, S-400, S-500 and Pantsir-S the Soviet Union (Russia) had extremely effective SAMs. Vietnam and Egypt among other nations that proved the science and technology was excellent.

Four decades later, Russian Federation has the science and technology.

What has been proven of late, the US does not have the science and technology.

And they don't have counter-measures.

Just look at Syria. They have to ask (de-conflict) the Russians to fly.
Israel dares not come over the border.

And don't forget Ukraine. They lost most of the Air Force quickly and only of late have drones up over the contact zone in Donbass.

Then ask, why is there a line waiting to purchase S-400s?
China is just now getting theirs. Turkey, Sudan, Saudi Arabia (the King wants them) are in line.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 26 2018 22:00 utc | 33

Trump is the fierce king of Daniel 8, the king of the south is he, he who thinks himself superior, who was elected a watchman, will go up against Damascus, soon, and he will be defeated. The halfwit has been sold a dummy pass with the name of Cyrus carved upon it.

Posted by: Whorin Piece | Mar 26 2018 22:02 utc | 34


You missed the Israelis saying the interceptors were set off by random bullets being fired?

Posted by: kgw | Mar 26 2018 22:02 utc | 35

April 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

An Israeli scientist and award-winning security expert has called the Iron Dome missile defence system “the biggest hoax the world has seen”, Addustour news website has reported.

According to Dr Motty Scheffer, “Today, there is no missile which can intercept other missiles or rocket-propelled grenades, and the Iron Dome is a light audio system which blocks Israeli public opinion and, of course, itself. In fact, all the explosions that we have seen in the atmosphere are self-destruction. The Iron Dome did not launch any rocket that could intercept at least one missile fired from Gaza.”

Posted by: gideon | Mar 26 2018 22:08 utc | 36

Looks like when the US military contracts most if not all its research and development into new weapons systems and hardware to private companies, the result is huge amounts being spent (or lost in someone's wide pockets) and, er, not much bang for the bucks forked out. But eventually the money spigot must run out, if only because the amounts the US govt allocates to "defence spending" can no longer be sustained by current financial and economic institutions and networks in Washington and Wall Street. When the entire dysfunctional system comes crashing down, at least to say it happened during a war would make the collapse more palatable to an incredulous public. Maybe that's why a global war is needed now, to answer JC's question @ 15 (in part).

Another part-reason that the West needs a war NOW is in this video (last hour) of the Russian President's March 2018 address to the Russian Federal Assembly:

Assuming that everything Putin says about the new weapons systems developed in Russia is true, I should think Russia is now several years ahead of the US in weapons development and the gap may never be closed.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 26 2018 22:11 utc | 37

Things are moving at such a pace. March 1 saw Putin declare technological military superiority over the NATO. March 26 saw the birth of the petroyuan as well as news that US missiles had failed to perform as b. has so eloquently described. Then there’s the pathetic array of Western politicians from John Bolton to Boris to the poor little Brit who told Russia to “shut up and go away.” While I loathe Rupert Murdoch, I do make an exception for Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox sometimes, especially his acrimonious debate with John Bolton which must be on you tube. He grills Bolton on the Iraq war.

It is impossible to describe the full import of the introduction of the petroyuan. Adam Garrie makes a very good attempt over at in an article “The Petroyuan is here…”

Of course the whole 1970s OPEC “unexpected” oil price rises was a total pack of lies. The US simply replaced gold with oil. It was a brilliant plan, designed to weaken growing competitors Germany and Japan and destroy “developing countries” with the vastly increased oil price. While they offered security and defence to the Gulf elites the quid pro quo was trade in dollars and recycling the petrodollars through the US/UK. These dollars could then be lent out to countries suffering the effects of the price rise on condition that they opened their countries to financial speculators via the Washington Consensus. It also meant that the dollar could be printed almost ad nauseum because the world would absorb the inflationary tendencies of such actions. If anyone wants my sources for this please feel free to ask.

Posted by: Lochearn | Mar 26 2018 22:11 utc | 38

Would like to see the sources - great distillation. Trading in petro futures in Shanghai as you say, is a big event. The trades are also convertible to gold not gold which starts the process of return to the gold standard or something similar.

This is the Chinese long game starting to bar fruit kill the dollar with a thousand cuts. China has already announced the date of full convertibility of the yuan which is in under five years now. It will not be dramatic and still it could easily be seen as "national security threat" to challenge dollar dominance. Them's warrin' words partner.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Mar 26 2018 22:32 utc | 39


I wonder what the Iceland & England players & fans will say about all this?

"Why are we being used as pawns in this political game?"

When that happens, they will know how the rest of the world feels, and has endured for many decades...

Posted by: xLemming | Mar 26 2018 22:35 utc | 40

It's all AOK. Some people are making a lot of money. Nothing else counts in the land of life, liberty and the pursuit of money making.

Posted by: Du | Mar 26 2018 22:54 utc | 41

@40 "I wonder what the Iceland & England players & fans will say about all this?"

They won't say much publicly. That would brand them as Putin lovers. But I suspect British football fans will start thinking twice about going to Moscow.

Posted by: dh | Mar 26 2018 23:08 utc | 42

Good post and comments. Missile defense systems have always been a massive fraud and are easily defeated by numerous methods. The problem though, is that even though they are useless, they are a major block for continued nuclear weapons reductions, since Russia will never reduce its current stockpile of nuclear weapons as long as they are deployed.

It would make a lot of sense for both the US and Russia to drop their arsenals to 500 active weapons each, with 1000 warheads stockpiled behind them - current levels are around 1,900 active weapons each, with 7000 warheads stockpiled. Going down to 500 would save billions of dollars for both economies, and would send signals to the other nuclear powers that the two Cold War era enemies are serious about reductions. This will never even be an option until the ABM treaty is reconstructed, however, and all those programs are dismantled.

Note @24 rizl:
The only missile defense concept that is effective is forward-deployed, Boost-Phase Intercept (BPI; e.g. Aegis system), contingent upon launch detect effectiveness. It's also the cheapest, which means it won't get much deployment via foreign sales.

Sure it might work if you have what, drones with interceptors circling above land-based missile silos. Don’t think Russia or China would put up with that, do you? Plus, it’s useless for submarine-based nuclear missiles, they’re basically invisible, and also ballistic missiles launched from jet bombers. So, not even an option.

@38 Lochearn, yup, petro-currencies, what a world. The US went off the gold standard and onto the oil standard. Lots of people in the US don’t get this, they think controlling the Middle East’s oil is so that US consumers can get that oil. Not even close, it’s all about controlling where the money from the oil sales is banked and what currency the sales are denominated in. When Saddam dumped all his dollars for euros in 2000 and then the euro rose 30% against the dollar, that’s when the Iraq War planning really kicked off in earnest. Not the only factor, certainly, but a major one.

However, all petro-currencies are bad news, I think, Petro-euro, petro-yuan, it’s always a dirty business; some other approach to currency, like that whole ‘basket of currencies’ approach is a better deal for most of the world; then there’s the possibility of the world getting off oil reliance entirely, with renewable energy and electrical vehicles undercutting the market over the next decade. That would pull the rug out from under the whole system, and good riddance too.

P.S. Found a new good book: Guy Mettan: “Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria (2018)”.

For the West, Law thus is a process, valid today but obsolete tomorrow. It is a useful means of making war and conquering new territories in non-military ways, and seldom an end in itself, working rather accoding to the saying that “everything that is mine is mine and everything that is yours is negotiable.”

Goes on to discuss the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and Central Asia in violation of that verbal agreement with Gorbachev not to do us. Looks pretty good so far.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 26 2018 23:12 utc | 43

b: Thanks for calling Yemen's government "Yemen's government," rather than the imperial media's false but preferred term, "the Houthis."

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 26 2018 23:35 utc | 44

b: "Current missile defense is economically not viable." More precisely, missile defense is economically viable because it is not supposed to work. Thus it suffices to spend only as much as the budget can afford, no goals will be missed. Some progress is definitely made, accuracy and reliability increases, however slowly.

In other words, controllable boondogle. Some defense expenditures are harder to scale, like building only a quarter of an aircraft carrier.

However, what is more questionable is the lack of questioning of the establishment mindset of pursuing overwhelming military superiority, including the capability of inflicting a nuclear strike while deflecting the retaliatory strikes. Appearance of such superiority can lead to military adventures dwarfing anything following Korean War, say, invasion of Iran or Korean War II. They can be catastrophic on their own. Even more worrisome, the "low tech" response for Russia and China would be to put their nuclear forces on "hair trigger", sending massive retaliation that is impossible to intercept in 100% before a thorough check of an alarm, this creating a potential for a devastating war caused by a mistake (recall a recent alarm in Hawaii).

Therefore a high tech response gives more confidence for the future of humanity. If the nuclear powered missiles are not fuel limited, a power that has them can keep part of them in the air all the time, like strategic bombers at the time of "Doctor Strangelove", but controlled in real time through communication satellite. Destruction of those satellite could set the missiles on the attack mode, but it is hard to do it by mistake. In any case, launching them on a "hair trigger" would not be calamituous because they will be controllable, the causes of the alarm inspected at leisure, phone calls between the leaders can be exchanged etc.

But the arms race sucks out the resources from the civilian economy. Americans and Russian have to spend less on junk food, infrastructure or research with civilian applications. USA sports the worst public transit in the developed world, Russia has mediocre healthcare (even if much improved) etc. And it does not make their citizens "more secure" as they play zero-sum game.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 26 2018 23:49 utc | 45

Nonsense Factory @ 43:

Links to recently declassified documents that suggest the verbal agreement not to extend NATO to include former Warsaw Pact countries and the former Soviet Baltic nations was not just verbal:

Posted by: Jen | Mar 26 2018 23:50 utc | 46

From Wikipedia:

"The W47 is the only US ICBM or SLBM warhead to have been live fired in an atmospheric missile and warhead test, on May 6, 1962."

Posted by: Fec | Mar 26 2018 23:51 utc | 47

From Michael Lewis:

[T]he United States no longer tests its nuclear weapons. Instead, it relies on physicists at three of the national labs—Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia—to simulate explosions, using old and decaying nuclear materials.

Posted by: Fec | Mar 26 2018 23:54 utc | 48

From The Heritage Foundation:

[T]he U.S. has elected to maintain nuclear warheads—based on designs from the 1960s and 1970s—that were in the stockpile when the Cold War ended rather than take advantage of technological developments to field new warheads that could be designed to be safer and more secure and could give the United States improved options for guaranteeing a credible deterrent.

Posted by: Fec | Mar 26 2018 23:57 utc | 49

>>>> Jen | Mar 26, 2018 6:11:11 PM | 37

er, not much bang for the bucks forked out.

Any rational manufacturer of weapons would aim to maximize the number of bangs per buck, the American MIC has grown fat, lazy and stupid by maximizing the number of bucks per bang.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 27 2018 0:00 utc | 50

>>>> dh | Mar 26, 2018 7:08:57 PM | 42

But I suspect British football fans will start thinking twice about going to Moscow.

Because of the early history of football, there is no British national football team. There are English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish national football teams. It's fairly safe to say that none of the supporters of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish national football teams will be rooting for the English national football team. And I very much doubt any supporters of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish national football teams will be going to Russia for the World Cup but any that do will probably be supporting the teams playing against the English national football team

I'm guessing you are an American. If you are then stop projecting your American psyche onto the English and Russians. There might be violence between English and Russian supporters but it will most likely happen because groups of both supporters want to indulge in the noble European tradition of kicking the shit out of each other. The only wildcards are the extreme Russian nationalist groups and consumers of large amounts of alcohol, and I suspect Putin has already determined the weight and velocity of the staggering tonnage of shit that's the OMON is to plummet onto their heads if they step out of line.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 27 2018 0:35 utc | 51

@51 There are football fans in Britain however. Those are the people I'm referring too.

You are guessing wrong but I don't see what my antecedents have to do with football fans from various parts of the UK who may be thinking of going to Moscow. Given the current hostilities the chances of violence either deliberate or accidental are quite real I would think and would only add fuel to the fire.

Posted by: dh | Mar 27 2018 0:59 utc | 52

Au contraire mon ami- they worked beautifully as you can see.

The function of these mis-guided missiles was never to strike down enemy projectiles but to garner massive profits for the Wall Street parasites who have a forever-subsidy in their weaponized investments- our tax dollars being that built in subsidy- otherwise known as "defense spending." Amongst the many victims of these weapons is the Homelanders who are bled dry with every red cent spent on armaments to fight an imagined and wholly concocted enemy.

Of course these mis-guided missiles do need some more work and in order to perfect these latest techno-toys of death and destruction the savage capitalist's will need more time- and more of other people's monies.

Not to worry for Capitalism is not only patient and ongoing but as for the investment paying off it does not work as you might imagine if you are not of the criminal mindset.

Consider the following:

The capitalists are guaranteed the profit when they own the government, which is of course redundant as they created it.

They are guaranteed the profit through a variety of mechanisms, subsidies, taxes, legal loopholes, bailouts etc. that are enshrined as policies.

Capitalists are in fact quite fine with losing money as long as it isn't their money being lost. For example, if the capitalist has this missile enterprise in mind that requires $100 they will obtain, through various policies, $80 from the public and invest only $20 of their own into these missile systems. Now that enterprise brings in only $50 of which the capitalist keeps $40 and returns $10. This would seem like a losing proposition and it is for everyone but the capitalist who reaps a reward of $20, thus doubling their investment, a handsome return.

Of course the losses will be socialized while the gains are privatized.

As to whether that missile system functions as drawn up in the blueprint that's secondary for the profits were made- Mission Accomplished.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2018 1:20 utc | 53

I'm not buyin' it. I have yet to see any evidence Houthi Medievilists can operate, nevermind pay for, Iranian/North Korean missiles to launch at Saudi Satrapia. Nor have I seen any evidence of Iranian involvement in the war in Yemen. Nada. Speaking of which, if indeed Iran is sending missiles to Iran why aren't Iran Hawks screaming bloody murder? I'll tell ya why, because it ain't in the script. In the meantime I see plenty of evidence someone is playing both ends against the middle in Yemen, as per usual when wars are fought for no easily discernable reason. Maybe the Pentagon braintrust can engineer a khat epidemic in the USA to at least give us a plausible explanation as to why they are there.

For that matter, are you seriously suggesting AK-47 bullets spoofed Iron Dome? Could be flatulence too, I suppose. More likely an excercise was held to demonstrate the need to pony up untold billions more for a new missile defense system, given Russia's recent display, with the Saudis as usual doing their part to fund another insane Pentagon project off the books. I'm begining to wonder if all the missiles falling on SA are actually knocked out or possibly even 'captured' Patriots. Hitting a bullet with a bullet is next to impossible so a workable missile defense system must necessarily be concerned with electro-magnetic frequency manipulation, lasers, photonics or some such thing. There was also the matter of the Russians being chased out of Yemen. Hmm I wonder why?

Posted by: C I eh? | Mar 27 2018 1:39 utc | 54

@31 jack

The same kids marching through our streets demanding our guns are the same kids that are walking lockstep with the msm regarding those evil ruskies and their murdering-gays-ways. You're all looking up the wrong tree-skirt.

I for one would be more impressed if there were genuinely an open debate about OUR culture of violence abroad, which seems to manifest itself in the same problem-solving manner of troubled teens here at home at local schools. But that kind of debate would force a reflexive look at our own imperial life and we might be forced to see that guns really aren't the problem at all. Can't actually reveal the real truth about the MIC and Israel to our kids now, can we? That wouldn't be gay enough.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Mar 27 2018 1:50 utc | 55

If you can't beguile them with brilliance; baffle them with bullshit!

Posted by: V. Arnold | Mar 27 2018 1:55 utc | 56

Thanks for the clarifications, b.
I watched Zio-Jazeera's report during the 'Houthi' rocket attack on Riyadh, yesterday. There were several explosions on the ground and lots of rocket trails and flairs overhead. The Z-J reporter repeated several times that "the Saudis CLAIM to have intercepted all of the rockets."
I was inspired by the skeptical commentary to ponder what was causing the explosions on the ground if the Saudis had "intercepted" all the rockets. And I agree with your interpretation that they were caused by 'Houthi' rockets + failed Saudi interceptors.

The funny side of this story is that there would almost certainly have been less damage in Riyadh if the Saudis had done nothing at all while waiting for the attack to end...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2018 2:04 utc | 57

That's an excellent article, Jen @46. Very detailed, well documented. Thanks for the link. Vladimir Putin has a good case for asking NATO to immediately return to its 1990 boundaries.

In this phone call [with Gorbachev], Bush expands on Kohl’s security assurances and reinforces the message from the London Declaration: “So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.”

It seems that the current powers that be are in deathly fear that he may do so. And he very well may in good time. Putting missile batteries up against the Russian borders is a tremendous act of stupidity by the Poland and Romania and enormous hubris by the US and the UK. Something like an investment banker putting a knife on the throat of a prize fighter. The knife will only focus his attention.

Posted by: Uncoy | Mar 27 2018 2:12 utc | 58

Hello, you in Teheran! In view of such a performance from the Saudi-american missile "defense" you should just deliver the Yemenis a dozen real missiles just to burn away the heck of Saudi royal families' asses.
There are poor ragtag people who resist to modern war weapons and war hubris. This is true since Vietnam.
The military parade and promenade saudi clowns thought the attack would be has turned into a nightmare.

Posted by: augusto | Mar 27 2018 2:19 utc | 59

I believe those clever Ruskies are perfecting their EW so that they can send missiles back to their launchers.

This, the Israeli Iron Dome mis-firing, and the earlier Syrian tomahawk thing, were tests.

When the Russian CoS said they would attack missiles and their launchers, he just didn't make clear what he meant.


Posted by: cdvision | Mar 27 2018 3:04 utc | 60

nonsense factory @ 43:

Regarding your comment "It would make a lot of sense for both the US and Russia to drop their arsenals to 500 active weapons each, with 1000 warheads stockpiled behind them"

see Smaller and Safer, A New Plan for Nuclear Postures by Blair, Esin, McKinzie, Yarynich, and Zolotarev. [Side note: The lead author should have been Colonel Valery Yarynich, who was the key figure in creating the proposal and also Matthew McKinzie, who did the computer modeling that provided the mathematical basis for the proposals. Blair was given charge of the project by NTI, who funded it. Blair was always the high-profile person NTI would turn to for such projects; he was good at organization and was politically adept in Washington, but Yarynich was the man who created the proposal.]

The actual nuts-and-bolts proposal is found in One Hundred Nuclear Wars: Stable Deterrence Between the United States and Russia at Reduced Nuclear Force Levels Off Alert in the Presence of Limited Missile Defence This was the only proposal ever made (that I am aware of) that provided a nuclear force structure that could be shown (through statistical analysis) to be stable, assuming that rational players controlled the weaponry.

Of course, that is the problem with any theory of nuclear deterrence -- it requires that all sides remain rational under all circumstances, forever. That is what passes for conventional wisdom; I think it is wishful thinking.

Posted by: Perimetr | Mar 27 2018 3:20 utc | 61

Over at Global Research they are blowing a lot of hot air about 500 US cruise missiles within range of Syran. Paper boat missile cruisers and big bad Diego. How many launch platforms? Not so many. What are the Ruschine preemptive options? No platform, no launch. For want of a shoe the horse was lost and we have .. Napoleon in Russia with cartloads of summer horseshoes.It's the launch platform stupid! Incoming!

Posted by: mireille | Mar 27 2018 3:42 utc | 62

Ghostship @ 50

...the American MIC has grown fat, lazy and stupid by maximizing the number of bucks per bang.

In a freakin' nutshell.

Posted by: Stumpy | Mar 27 2018 4:15 utc | 63

Seven missiles?
Israel raises Hezbollah rocket estimate to 150,000 --The Times of Israel
I advise caution to US/Israel.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 27 2018 4:16 utc | 64

The failure of the Saudi anti-incoming missile system only reinforces my belief that there will be no hot nuclear war between Oceania and Eurasia/Eastasia.
That events have lined up not for war, but the division of the world into the three states
Orwell described in '1984'.

As for life outside of Oceania, Orwell took a pass after WWII and left it to our imaginations to construct the political and social realities of Russia and China.
Which today, at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, have pretty much been colored in.

I suppose back then, in the late 1940s, Orwell assumed that the US and the UK would be the top bananas in his division of things, attesting that time often proves great geniuses to have miscalculated the future.

But we, born into Orwell's future (and not victims of our own denial), see that Oceania is another loser in history's catalogue of champions and losers.

Doomed, like the other Empires before it, to fall on its sword of Superiority, Corruption,and Arrogance.

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 27 2018 5:00 utc | 65

Alleged PHOTOS Capture US Military Vehicles Arriving in Jordan -- 3/25/18
US Military Vehicles Arriving in Jordan

The news comes hot on the heels of the accusations of the US planning strikes on governmental forces in neighboring Syria by Russia earlier this week. Washington has previous experience of launching strikes without the authorization of the UN Security Council, when it attacked Syria's Shairat airbase in April 2017.

The Telegram channel Directorate 4, which monitors the situation in Syria and Iraq, has published pictures of US heavy military equipment arriving in Jordan via the military transport ship "Liberty pride" for future participation in the annual military drills "Eager Lion." During the process of unloading, vehicles looking like M1A2 "Abrams" tanks, the M113's variation for medical evacuation and the M2A3 "Bradley" armored personnel carriers were spotted.

Hard to believe the US .gov is so stupid.

So-called "missile defense" has turned out to be a giant dead end. So has "stealth aircraft". That's presumably why the Russians will abandon their "fifth-generation" Su-57 fighter program. In fact "fighter planes" of all kinds are probably useless. The development of interceptors like the MiG-41 will probably be continued.

Posted by: blues | Mar 27 2018 5:27 utc | 66

You know, I think the basic formula for subjugation has been known to the rulers since before the time of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It's rather simple. Excessive trading by a broker in a client's account in order to generate commissions is called "churning". The fat-cat rulers can't just sit on their asses and collect rent forever.

"Action", or the perception of such, must always be presented to the masses. This is simply a macro-social version of churning. And war is easily the most dramatic form of this churning. This process is also known as "history".

Posted by: blues | Mar 27 2018 5:46 utc | 67

"The evidence the Iron Dome is not working" Theodore A Postol Professor of Science Technology and National Security Policy at MIT.
He calculates that during the last massacre by Israel in the Gaza strip, the Israeli Iron Dome system intercepted just 5% of Hamas rockets.

Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 27 2018 9:22 utc | 68

#66. During the Cold War the US vastly and deliberately over-estimated Russian missile and other capabilities to justify increased spending/weapons. I strongly suspect Israel is following the same play book with Hezbollah.

Posted by: Qualtrough | Mar 27 2018 9:50 utc | 69

I cant fokoing imagine being an American taxpayer. I would develop tits if I had to pay to keepup a place like Israel. I mean Denmark slashed aid to India when it became nuclear. FFS look at those hellholes doing nada to help the people. And my own government is also foking useless.
And a fire in Siberia. Killing 40 kids. V. Putin on the spot calling out "criminal neglience", come on Vlad have the shot publicly, it will make all straighten up very fast. Well you were there this time, Kursk was a blunder.
All in All , despite, the spy bruhaha, and fire, Russia is still standing.
Hey Xi how about condolences? Where are you? Can we count on you?

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Mar 27 2018 10:28 utc | 70

Why so much hate on Russia at the moment? The aim is to vilify Russia to the point where it will lose it's veto at the UN Security Council. This has been in the works for several years.

Posted by: garasanin | Mar 27 2018 11:04 utc | 71

@73 -- "UN Security Council"

What a farce!

Two post colonial has been's (UK & France); two major economic entities not represented (German & Japan); South America, Africa, India, Middle East missing in action. Its resolutions ignored by Israel. US&UK crimes against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, (and the list goes on) ignored in silence.

The only function this bloated organ has is to turn a blind eye to anything not supporting the US hegemony; veto anything outside certain status quo parameters; feed the MSM; and suck up huge amounts of time and money.

Posted by: imo | Mar 27 2018 12:00 utc | 72

Posted by: garasanin | Mar 27, 2018 7:04:26 AM | 73

The US are trying to separate Europe by Cold War. Russia just came out claiming that the US have been using extreme pressure on European countries to make them expel diplomats. I guess they are right and I guess that is what the Skripal case is about.
Bolton as security coordinator and a CIA guy as foreign minister is the same stuff.

This here is Pompeo

The BBC reports Pompeo’s views, revealing the sheer geographical breadth of the problem: “[H]e cited efforts to steal US commercial information and infiltration of schools and hospitals — and this extended to Europe and the UK.” He laughed about Russia, “we talk a lot about Russian influence these days” in order to highlight the Chinese threat. And he made it clear that it wasn’t about a threat to the US but to “American interests,” wherever they may be.

And this here is Bolton

A hard-line unilateralist and an aggressive opponent of multilateralism and international treaties, Bolton has served as the Bush administration’s designated treaty breaker. From the early days of the first Bush administration, Bolton mounted a campaign to halt all international constraints on U.S. power and prerogative, fiercely opposing existing and proposed international treaties restricting landmines, child soldiers, biological weapons, nuclear weapons testing, small arms trade, and missile defense.

During the first administration, Bolton earned his reputation as a hawk who dismantled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, renounced President Clinton’s approval of the International Criminal Court, and blocked the efforts to add a verification clause to the bioweapons convention. Displaying what the Wall Street Journal described as his “combative style,” Bolton told an international conference on bioweapons that the verification proposal was “dead, dead, dead, and I don’t want in coming back from the dead.”

Posted by: somebody | Mar 27 2018 12:04 utc | 73

Yes Minister, expelling the Russians


Posted by: somebody | Mar 27 2018 12:19 utc | 74

In France, after the latest terrorist attack (a 22 year kid with a radicalized 18 year old girl friend both probably very moved by watching painted Ghouta kids 24/7 on their TV for the last month) politicians are coming up with a solution: "let's forbid Salafism".
Europe is entering dark ages, judging from the IQ of the people who govern it.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2018 12:37 utc | 75

speaking of missile defense, Russia has hypersonic missiles--
... in congressional testimony last week, Hyten conceded U.S. missile defense cannot stop hypersonics. He said that the U.S. is instead relying on nuclear deterrence, or the threat of a retaliatory U.S. strike, as its defense against such missiles. “We don't have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

the US is also weak against Russia on the ground--
air defense
Currently, Russian air defenses are effective enough to keep fixed-wing aircraft from conducting close-air support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and other support missions vital to ground combat forces, said John Gordon IV, a senior policy researcher at Rand Corp. Rand conducted a study for officials at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, concluding that in the first seven to 10 days of a conflict with Russia, "the Russians would have very significant advantage in terms of numbers and all aspects of ground combat. Because of the power and the range and the lethality of these Russian air defenses, it's going to make all forms of air support much more difficult, and the ground forces are going to feel the effects," Gordon said.
Russia also has a larger number of superior artillery systems than the U.S., Gordon said. "The Russians take this stuff seriously; artillery has been the strong suit of the Russian Army since the days of the czars," he said. "They've got a range advantage over us in a number of different areas, particularly cannons," Gordon said. "Typically, modern Russian cannons have got 50 percent to 100 percent greater range than the current generation of U.S. cannons.". . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 27 2018 14:08 utc | 76

Does anyone have a handle on why Mr. Global is in such a hell-fire fury to get this war on already, like yesterday? JC 16 > other responses.

Short and blunt. With each passing month Russia’s position strengthens. Time is on Russia’s (+ allies ..particularly if includes China) side. Time to solidify, unify, to ramp up weapons, troops, organisation, alternate systems, prepare the populace, etc.

One of the reasons, amongst others, why Russia since Fall of the Wall to USSR-dissolution has not reacted agressively to provocations. The more time marches on, the more the W loses advantages. Pushing things to a head thus represents less potential loss (err? ..) or means attacking from a less weakened position, which I suppose Sun Tzu does NOT advise.

The longer, more confused answer is that hegemony, supremacy, imagined and illusory as it might be, rests partly on the characteristic of being inured to minor losses, attacks.

E.g. restive natives ha ha no problem — best to humor the pol oppo for now — this ‘ethnic dictator’ guy is a loon if he riles us, gone… etc.

When the opposition appears to be, or is, seriously menacing, no clear new strategy presents itself - only upping naked agression occurs, as that was the potential blast the previous strategic actions and messages were based on. Controlled tolerance gives way to screeching hysteria, desperate plots, and minor agressive jabs. (World Cup.., ostracism, not a new Cold War, that was way back when with MAD..)

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 27 2018 14:46 utc | 77

The failures of the Patriot must be a source of worry for Israelis and a disaster for the Saudis who see their capital under attack without been able to guarantee the security of its citizens.
For the Israelis, no more can they count of being protected from the Hezbollah massive attacks of missiles.
I guess these failures will have a positive effect both for the Saudis and the Israelis who feel they can bomb Yemen or Lebanon while they are protected by Uncle Sam's Patriots. They may change their tune.
It also shows the US War cabinet preparing wars in the region that their allies may suffer huge casualties as a consequences of these wars.
Thank you Raytheon!

Posted by: Virgile | Mar 27 2018 14:52 utc | 78


I think they are trying to keep "their partners" from jumping down on the other side of the fence.

The count now seems to be 24 countries worldwide expelling Russian diplomats. There are some 40 countries in Europe and 28 in the European Union.

Germany expelled 4 Russian diplomats same day they licensed Nord Stream II. The "coalition of the willing" was some 43 countries.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 27 2018 15:22 utc | 79

@74 imo... that about sums up the un at this point... yes...

@79 noirette.. i agree.. russia and china continue to get stronger and the wests military and financial complex is getting anxious...

here is an article today from rt that seems to sum up a good chunk of it as well...

Global anti-Russia campaign is taking us dangerously close to disaster

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2018 15:57 utc | 80

Red Ryder @ 34

Asks why do they want to buy Russia S400/500 SAMS? It is a matter of hedging their bets.
An American system will not target American aircraft. A safe guard is built in by the Americans when they double cross their 'allies'.

Posted by: ger | Mar 27 2018 16:34 utc | 81

US Ambassador to the UN Haley suggested the US might by pass the UNSC in Syria [to save the Syrian people of course] the Russian High Command rightly interpreted this as an imminent attack on Damascus, the Russians said if Syria is attacked, the source of those attacks will be destroyed, the US have aircraft carriers and missile destroyers in the MED. That warning seemed to work, for now. The US only understands force. They must be faced down again, it will come again, the US will not stop probing, if Russia blinks, its all over in Syria.

Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 27 2018 16:48 utc | 82

I wonder how fast a president would be assassinated if he announced that he was nationalizing lockheed

Posted by: Pespi | Mar 27 2018 16:50 utc | 83

Fisk's latest talking to Ghouta refugees
of course the Independent sticked in a WH video. No shame.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2018 16:55 utc | 84

Iran plans new/old trade route connecting India via Russia to Europe.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 27 2018 17:10 utc | 85

add to 86
China trade group visits India to boost pragmatic cooperation

Posted by: somebody | Mar 27 2018 17:13 utc | 86

Im pretty sure the Israelis shot at something...and just plain missed with an entire battery...they dont want to admit how very vulnerable they are...



Posted by: oldenyoung | Mar 27 2018 17:23 utc | 87

@85 Clearly a confusing situation especially for the civilians. It would be interesting to know what happened to the foreign fighters and whoever was leading the Islamists. Do any of them feel they were duped?

Posted by: dh | Mar 27 2018 17:24 utc | 88

Thanks for calling Yemen's government "Yemen's government," rather than the imperial media's false but preferred term, "the Houthis."

As the Angry Arab pointed out last week the puppet President, who the US and UK pretend to be supporting, is actually in jail in Riyadh, detained by the Saudis.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2018 17:37 utc | 89

dh 89

There is a video of a Syrian journalist questioning the fighters that were boarding a bus.
They said they were duped by Saudi Arabia and the US.
Apparently, about 300 who were to leave on the buses have now decided to stay.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 27 2018 17:45 utc | 90

@91 I saw that. I'm sure some of them have regrets. Some will realize they've lost and are happy to have survived. Of course they may say anything now that the pressure is off. I'm impressed by the way the Syrian government is treating them but I suspect a few will be getting special treatment.

Posted by: dh | Mar 27 2018 17:51 utc | 91

Peter AU 1 @91--

Going to Idlib amounts to a death sentence, while remaining and reconciling provides an opportunity to continue living.

Reports I've read suggest perhaps 200 US/UK/NATO/Zionist terror organizing pukes trapped within Douma whose bosses don't want to be captured and paraded for world to see, which accounts for some of the recent anti-Russian moves. I'd like to see them captured and tried for their terror crimes, then executed when found guilty.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 27 2018 17:55 utc | 92

dh, from what I have read in the past, having their status settled includes a check on each fighter. If they have killed prisoners, they do not receive amnesty.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 27 2018 18:02 utc | 93

@93 JAI refuses to go to Idlib and prefers the Qalamoon which incidently is closer to Al Tanf and US forces. These are delaying tactics to perhaps give time for a last chance chemical attack, considering the current political climate?

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 27 2018 18:26 utc | 94

My 2¢ on the diplomats expulsion. Look likes the West has firmly commit to
a regime change and/or war with Russia. From now on , they are going to attack Russia with economic, culture, diplomatic means. Next , I believe that they are going to open a war front in Ukraine by arming and getting the Ukrainian regime to attack the break away regions. Russia would be put into a lose-lose position regardless how it responds. With all these assaults, they hope that Russia will be weaken , isolated and so demoralized and disordered to the point where they can instigate a regime change by hook or by crook.

Posted by: Bodim | Mar 27 2018 18:28 utc | 95

I'd just like to point out that there is no such thing as a "defensive weapon" any weapon can be used offensively. THAAD for example can be converted to offensive use in just a matter of a few hours. The same weapons used to defend against attack can be used to attack. While they may be next to useless for defense maybe the operators know that and it is not their intended purpose.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Mar 27 2018 18:33 utc | 96

On THAAD in Korea, China is mostly concerned with the advanced radar coverage it provides and not the weapon itself. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has made multiple references to the “X-band radar” that accompanies the THAAD battery, pointing out last February that it “goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula.. .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 27 2018 18:56 utc | 97

We're looking at Syria and Russia, while the Navy currently has two (of eleven) carriers deployed, and they are further east. Vinson is at South China Sea and Roosevelt is headed that way here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 27 2018 19:02 utc | 98

99 looks like something happening in the area. china has also put together a very large
fleet around its aircraft carrier and are in the South China Sea.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 27 2018 19:16 utc | 99

karlof1 93

According to a piece, I think in AMN, the Syrians in one of the enclaves at Ghouta killed the foreign fighters so they could then do a deal with the government.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 27 2018 19:25 utc | 100

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