Saturday, April 14, 2018

war, what's it good for?

A lot of the conservative blogs, including those who aren't the usual suspects,  are suspicious of that Syrian gas attack: they seem to think it is to goad Trumpieboy into attacking the Russians to start World War III, and then of course the left will go bonkers about him starting a war to distract voters from the latest scandal they are pushing.

Don't ask me. If the ordinary rebel win would be good, but they are few, and have been replaced with radicals (ISIS) who are ethnically cleansing non Sunnis and Christian Syrians. But Assad, and Russia might be seen as the lesser of two evils, except that he is a proxy for Iran, who has lots of nice missiles deposited by their front groups in Lebanon and Gaza, ready to take out Israel.

The problem? Iran also has had their proxies in Yemen shooting missiles at Saudi (the one million Filipinos there are being warned about the danger in our papers).

StrategyPage here goes into details,

 Israel (quietly) and Saudi Arabia (openly) are trying to persuade the Americans to keep their troops in Syria. The U.S. recently announced that withdrawing them was a possibility although it appears all this has more to do with negotiations with Turkey over a number of issues, like membership in NATO and relations with the EU and America. There is also little enthusiasm in the United States for continued American troop presence in Syria. The popular attitude is that Syria and Iraq are regional problems. The U.S. helped to destroy ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and that effort continues around the world. The U.S. remains committed to the defense of Israel and any Arab states who agree with that, but permanently stationing troops in the Middle East is very unpopular with Americans. 

 and includes this sarcastic observation:

Russia is trying to dissuade Israel and its Western allies from attacking more Syrian targets, especially those that harm the many Iranians and Iranian mercenaries supporting the Syrian forces. Russia also does not want to put its high tech weapons to the test because so far these electronic and anti-aircraft systems have proved ineffective against Israeli attacks and probably won’t do much better against the Americans. This is bad for business, as Russia has been touting the combat experience in Syria to get more sales for their new stuff.
and more HERE: the Turks are complicating things.

StrategyPage/Austin Bay also has this article on the trouble brewing in the South China sea and other areas that China is trying to take over.

In 2007, the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), at the behest of Japan, held its first informal meeting. The Quad's membership roll sends a diplomatic message: Japan, Australia, America and India. Japan pointed out all four nations regarded China as disruptive actor in the Indo-Pacific; they had common interests. 
Delhi downplayed the meeting, attempting to avoid the appearance of actively "countering China." No more. The Quad nations now conduct naval exercises and sometimes include a quint, Singapore.
The 2016 Hague Arbitration Court decision provided the clearest indication of Chinese strategic belligerence. In 2012, Beijing claimed 85 percent of the South China Sea's 3.5 million square kilometers. The Philippines went to court. The Hague tribunal, relying on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty, supported the Filipino position that China had seized sea features and islets and stolen resources. Beijing ignored the verdict and still refuses to explain how its claims meet UNCLOS requirements.
That is the maritime action. India and China also have mountain issues. In 1962, as the Cuban Missile Crisis diverted world attention, the two Asian giants fought the Indo-Chinese War in the Himalayas. China won. The defeat still riles India.

as for us: Well, we were told by Obama to keep quiet when China took over our traditional fishing grounds in the West Philippine sea, so Duterte, being handed a lemon by the previous administration, is trying to make lemonade, and has come home from China with a nice aid package.

The big shots in the world are trying to get rid of Duterte via the International courts by saying the drug war is evil, but here it is popular. They ignore that Duterte is trying to stop the drug cartels from taking over and causing anarchy as they did in Colombia and are doing now in Mexico.

Since most of the drugs have Chinese mob links, Duterte is asking for China's help in eliminating the bad guys. Xi just did a power grab there, and is trying to eliminate corruption, so the good news is that he has an interest in doing this. The bad news? Nothing like a little war against folks like those evil Pinoys who want to keep their traditional sea areas open for fishermen etc.

the bad news here is that the hot season before the monsoon is starting, and the heat has been terrible. My aircon isn't working well-- it needs cleaning and a fill up of freon but my requests to get the trained guys to do this have been ignored, so I might have to ask the free lancer who does these things to do it for me. (last time, it took him two days to add the freon, but he did manage it).

and of course, the heat means the danger of death for locals with high blood pressure or heart problems. Sigh.

the other problem? Local elections are due, and that means political murders, and of course people like our nephew can get killed in the crossfire.

and finally, China plans to hire 2000 teachers from the Philippines: To teach English.

A lot of the English teachers in Korea are from here, and many Koreans come to Baguio (where it is cooler) to study English.

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