Through Thick and Thin
I’ve been a bit doom and gloom lately, as always I hope I’m wrong. Strange days indeed though, a lot is happening. In fact in some ways this is the point I am trying to get across by exaggerating the doom and gloom, historic events are unfolding in Washington and the world, and what transpires between now and the inauguration next spring is going to change our lives forever. The sky is falling, it’s just unclear yet whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s going to be a different thing for sure.
In the election campaign McCain first “stopped campaigning” and said he was going to Washington to help work out the bailout package, and maybe postpone the debate. Now he’s more or less backed off and will be going to the debate. Honestly, I’m a little concerned about Mr McCain, this, like his Palin pick, sounds like someone whose judgement is failing and getting erratic. It’s been a stressful campaign, it’s stressful times, and he’s an old guy. I’ll watch the debate and see how he holds up, but I wonder if a Ross Perot type meltdown is about happen. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean this in a mean way, I hope I’m imagining things.
Off the coast of Africa, pirates have seized a Ukrainian ship full of arms headed for Kenya. The shipment included T-72 tanks. I suspect it will be re-captured soon, but this is one of those stories with a number of implications. It’s a little alarming that something like this can happen in the first place, both in the general sense that parts of the world have become lawless pirate haunts, and in the specific sense that one would think that a ship full of weapons would be guarded in some fashion. I mean, this is a valuable and dangerous cargo, doesn’t that rate a few armed guards at least? And lastly, why the hell is Kenya buying main battle tanks? It’s either a terrible waste of money, or widespread war is more likely in East Africa than the press is letting on.
In Europe I came across a really good article about the EU, the latest failed vote in Ireland, and the history of the whole shebang. The whole EU thing is hard to parse, I really haven’t had time to study it in depth. Or even shallowly, turns out more is going on in the world than one person can keep track of. Who would have guessed? In any event I recommend Empire of Nothing for those curious about the EU and Europe. Maybe it’s full of horrible misinformation, in which case hopefully a reader will let us know.
In other world news, further shooting and tensions on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Pakistan is making it clear they don’t want the USA to carry out military operations inside Pakistan, the USA is more or less ignoring them and striking at Pashtun/Taliban militants inside Pakistan. I’m still kind of mystified by this, since the level of attacks are not militarily significant. My best guess is that the USA is trying to goad Pakistan into taking action against its own people. Since the Pakistan government doesn’t really want a Taliban style insurgency in its own country, I don’t think it’s too likely. It’s all too possible that the USA doesn’t even have a real strategy and is making the strikes because it can.
Conspiracy theorists are alarmed because for the first time a US Army brigade is being basically assigned to homeland defence, and will be trained and equipped for crowd control among other things. I don’t think it’s a sign of incipient fascism, one brigade isn’t going to be able to occupy East Oakland, let alone the whole country, but it is a further erosion of the US Constitution and the Posse Comitatus Act. I think it’s mostly just another sign that our army is being converted to a police army for use in our various overseas commitments, not to mention mission creep and corruption. IE now the army can buy fabulously expensive (and dubiously useful) non-lethal weapons as well as the lethal kind.
Still, while on the subject of conspiracy theories, I had a little paranoid thought. What if the whole Wall Street bailout thing is simply a distraction to hide preparations for something much bigger? Like a coup d’etat or a nuclear attack on Iran? Nah, just kidding.
Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is T72 tank that was “illegally” sold to Georgia by Ukraine in 2006. The little tubes to the right of the main gun barrel are for launching biological weapons. It is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, it is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit: Russian Spy. The picture above is what this tank looked like before the recent Russia/Georgia war, for the after picture click here. And no, there’s no such thing as biological weapons launchers, those are smoke grenade launchers.)