Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 05, 2019

Putin Trolls Trump

This is some high class trolling by Russia's President Vladimir Putin:

Putin said he offered U.S. President Donald Trump in a recent phone call the chance to buy one of the hypersonic nuclear weapons Moscow is developing. He said Trump spurned the offer and replied that Washington was making its own.

Hypersonic weapons fly faster than Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. Their high speed leaves little warning time for the target. There are currently no practical defenses against them.

While the U.S. spent an enormous amount on developing large aircraft carriers, 'stealth' airplanes and useless missile defenses, Russia spent much less to developed weapons that can defeat all three. Carriers are today, at least for Russia, India and China, not threats but large and juicy targets.

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Mach 12 capable missile carried by a MIG-31


Trump is wrong in claiming that the U.S. makes its own hypersonic weapons. While the U.S. has some in development none will be ready  before 2022 and likely only much later. Hypersonic weapons are a Soviet/Russian invention. The ones Russia now puts into service are already the third generation. U.S. development of such missiles is at least two generations behind Russia's.

That Russian radar can 'see' stealth aircraft has been known since 1999 when a Yugoslav army unit shot down a U.S. F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft. Russian air and missile defense proved in Syria that it can defeat mass attacks by drones as well as by cruise missiles. U.S.-made air and missile defense in Saudi Arabia fails to take down even the primitive missiles Houthi forces fire against it.

The new weapons Russia announced in March 2018 make strategic missile defense useless.

The U.S. military and its weapons are regularly hyped in 'western' media. But it has long been clear to (non-U.S.) experts that U.S. military technology is not superior to that of other countries. In several important fields Russian, Chinese and even Indian weapons have much better capabilities. The reason is simple. U.S. weapons are not developed or built with a real strategic need in mind. They don't get developed for achieving the most effect in an existential war against a capable enemy but to create profit.

The last is probably the only thing Trump knows about them.

Posted by b on September 5, 2019 at 16:53 UTC | Permalink

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Pepe's Lula interview, Iran deal part:

After hearing this story [having being dissed while achieving US' expectations for such a deal] I asked Lula – the ultimate instinctive politician – if he felt Obama had stabbed him in the back: “No,” he replied. “I think, have you ever received a gift you didn’t know how to put it together?”

This was just Lula's fear maybe, or conviction even, that influential leaders themselves, can hardly do anything against the pervailing system and its contradictions.

I am just projecting here, but Lula's phrasing certainly fits my own conviction. Once you've gone beyond the "fear", so may times you have faced it, you have to question what's the worth of insisting in laying hope in such a solution.

So some condition must be different where the system shows different signs. I wonder what those conditions are, and what's the handle that has been found therein.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Sep 7 2019 13:50 utc | 201

IIRC the F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Yugoslavia was detected not by radar but because the pilot inadvertently flew under the cloud cover and was picked up visually. The F-117 is still active and has been used much more recently, though not mentioned when or where.

Posted by: Frank | Sep 7 2019 17:43 utc | 202


Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 7 2019 18:22 utc | 203

My link @203 was for the first attack on Iraq which was before Yugoslavia. Wrong war.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 7 2019 18:25 utc | 204

foolisholdman @184

You are correct that Trump doesn’t understand hurricane power, but neither do the weather channel reporters.

Dorian was a small tight hurricane with a high wind speed (183 mph), yielding a current Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE) of 17 terajoules (TJ) which corresponds to about 3.7 kilotons of TNT equivalent of energy per second.

By comparison, hurricane Irma was large and had an Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE) of 110 terajoules (TJ) which corresponded to 24 kilotons of TNT equivalent of energy per second.

Furthermore, most weather reporters on the mainstream media erroneously report to force of the wind tearing at structures as being the critical threat from hurricanes. Wind speed (and its pressure) near the eye of the hurricane is indeed critical as it defines the storm surge height. See the NOAA SLUSH model for more information on this threat.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 7 2019 19:00 utc | 205

EtTuBrute | Sep 6 2019 9:47 utc | 122
"I wouldn't much care to ever live in Russia, it appears they still have a long way to go domestically compared to our living standards and equality"

The poverty levels for both Russian Federation and United States of America are close to the same, about 13% of the population, but all Russian citizens have state covered healthcare, and their children attend excellent public schools. Poor US citizens can not afford healthcare and their children can only access often substandard public education.

If you are wealthy and healthy, it probably makes little difference whether you live in US or Russia, but if you are middle or low income, probably you are better off as a citizen of Russia.

Posted by: LJ | Sep 7 2019 21:14 utc | 206

@Frank | Sep 7 2019 17:43 utc | 202

Perhaps you do not remember the curious incident during the NATO bombing campaign on yugoslavia, when the USA dropped five precision bombs on the Chinese embassy building "by accident"?

The following excerpt is from historywatchuk [dot] blogspot [dot] com /2011/06/why-did-usa-bomb-chinese-embassy-in.html (I think the forum spamfilter does not like that url, so you will need to replace the [dot] and remove the whitespace to reconstruct a valid url):

Furthermore, there is perhaps another dimension to this story, which draws together even closer the link between the murky world of Electronic Warfare, the capture of key components of the F-117 and the bombing of the Chinese embassy. Colonel Zoltán Dani testified after the war that his missile batteries had been able to lock onto the F-117 by operating their search and target acquisition radars at unconventionally low frequencies. The stealth features of the F-117 were designed to counteract modern radars, which emit high frequency signals on the centimetre and millimetre wavelength spectrum,6 enabling them to be compact enough to be portable in mobile ground-stations and on-board aircraft. However, the F-117's stealth features seem to have been subverted by the use by antiquated, Russian-made radar equipment which could operate at wavelengths of 2 meters, making the aircraft more reflective and detectable.

Although it may initially sound implausible, there is a significant amount of evidence to suggest that the Chinese could have been acting as an air-defence hub for the Yugoslav military, using similarly low-frequency TV waves to detect and track flights by US stealth aircraft via a system known as Passive Coherent Localisation (PCL). The existence of PCL is acknowledged by the US government and has been described by the US Department of Homeland Security as follows:

'In PCL, an ambient broadcast signal, such as FM radio, HDTV or cell phone, is used as the illuminator. Exploiting signal processing, a set of networked receivers covering the area of interest combine echoes from moving targets to form tracks. PCL has been developed primarily for detection of aircraft targets, including stealthy aircraft.'

It would seem that neutralising the Yugoslav TV broadcasting capability was a priority for NATO during the campaign, with attacks on television transmitters in Belgrade and other cities such as Nis well documented. The use of cruise missiles to explode strands of carbon fibre over power-lines were also recorded,9 which could have been attempts to deny their use as signal receivers for reflected TV waves. At the same time, the supposedly neutral and immune Chinese embassy was continually broadcasting Chinese movies which could have formed the basis for a PCL system which helped the Yugoslav military detect and destroy the F-117 on the 27th March.

If this was indeed the case, then it is easy to see why US intelligence chiefs felt compelled to destroy the Chinese embassy in order to prevent further losses of the American stealth bomber fleet as well as punish the Chinese for profiting from the technology of the downed F-117. It may also be true that the loss of the F-117 to the gain of the Chinese represented a useful catalyst to hard-line elements within the US intelligence community who wished to take action against China regardless for their general stance in the conflict, as demonstrated by more minor misdemeanours, such as the relaying of Yugoslav communications signals.

Although the precise reasoning behind the bombing of the Chinese embassy may never be fully revealed, due to the gullibility of the majority Western media outlets, the event has passed into mainstream history, at least for the time being, as a mere mistake, an unfortunate error. Perhaps we can expect to see more of these “accidents” as China continues to rise as a powerful, global player, challenging American interests.

If you look at the wiki page for the embassy bombing, there is no mention of the above angle (not even in the talk page) only some whispers about wreckage parts possibly being held in the embassy's cellar. The article that I pulled the above quote from is a much better discussion of the events and circumstances.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 7 2019 23:13 utc | 207

@207 Lurk

Very interesting. Thanks.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 8 2019 3:25 utc | 208

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