Some people have asked me why, when I am so scathing about politicians, I still have an interest in politics.
It is a good question because one thing is for sure, I do have little or no time for the politicians who in general I consider to be stupid, self-serving, untruthful, devious party-before-country hacks seldom, if ever, working for the best interests of the people they are suppose to represent. The exceptions to that statement are VERY rare!
But that’s my assessment of the politicians.
Politics as a subject is important because it sets the rules and standards that we all have to live by.
One of those standards that we have chosen to live by is the principle of ‘democracy’.
I used to think that I knew what that meant.
I used to think that in a ‘democracy’ the adult population got a chance to vote for candidates and policies that, based on the arguments and evidence provided, they thought were most in line with their own thinking and therefore best for the country as a whole.
I used to think that when a candidate said something during an election campaign he or she would stick by those pledges once elected.
I even used to think that ‘democracy’ meant that the country would be governed by the policies that the majority of people voted for.
I don’t think like that any more. Indeed I haven’t thought that way for some considerable time.
And I don’t think that way any more because the ‘democracy’ that we once knew has long since disappeared.
Nowadays ‘democracy’ is no longer a matter of principle, but rather a matter of political expediency. Nowadays ‘democracy’ means pandering to the vested interests of those who can donate millions to the obscene amounts spent on political campaigns. Nowadays politicians will say whatever they have to say to get elected and forget every promise they have made the minute the polls close.
President Obama was elected by a ‘democratic’ vote.
President Obama is a member of the ‘Democratic’ Party.
Yet President Obama is and will continue to try to ride roughshod over that ‘democracy’ by starting another war, or wars, that the vast majority of the American people do not want and did not vote for.
Wars that will eventually cost the lives of yet more young brave Americans in a foreign land – no matter how Obama and his minions like failed Presidential candidate Kerry try to spin it (i.e. lie about it).
It may even cost the lives of those within America itself should these foolhardy misadventures spawn retaliatory terrorist attacks on the homeland.
Sadly, people have short memories.
Politicians rely on that.
None more so at the moment than President Obama and his sidekick Joe Biden.
Hardly anyone remembers that during the presidential election last year Biden attacked Mitt Romney for being “ready to go to war” in Syria. (York, Pennsylvania, Sept. 2, 2012)
In the previous campaign Biden also said that the nation could only be taken to military action with the approval of Congress, except where it was necessary to stop an “imminent attack” on the United States itself.
He was supported in this ‘principle’ by the then ‘Senator’ Obama, who said that the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
“The Constitution is clear”, Biden declared. “And so am I.”
I wonder where all that ‘clarity’ has gone today?
Maybe it’s in a White House cupboard somewhere, on a shelf along with ‘democracy’.
Another numbers factoid today. This time the number is fifty-five, along with its various associations.
The Number Fifty-Five 55
The number 55 is used 2 times in the Bible.
The 55th word of the King James Version of the Bible’s Old Testament Genesis is “light”;
At the end of his Gospel, Saint John devotes 55 verses (chapter 20 and 21) to describe the resurrection and his appearances of the Christ which took place after his death.
The words throne and number are used 55 in the NT.
55 is the representative number of the Virgin Mary. In the New Testament the name Mary is referred to 55 times (26 times by the word mother; 10 times by the word woman; and 19 times by the name of Mary).
Fifty-five years separate the Annunciation from the Assumption of the Virgin.
A rabbinical study enumerates 55 prophets, divided into 48 prophets and 7 prophetess. This list appears in the Comment of Rachi on Meguilla 14a.
Epsilon, E, is the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet, and Lambda, L, is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet and the product of the 3rd & 5th prime numbers: 5 x 11 = 55 = EL
EL is an ancient Semitic title for God. In Assyrian-Babylonian mythology, the great trinity Anu (sky), Bel (light), and Ea (sea) emanated from EL. EL was used by the Phoenicians for the high-one. Elohim is the plural form of EL. The Hebrews associated EL or Elohim with a sun-deity absorbed by Yaw (Jah or Jehovah). In Hebrew poetry EL appears as First Cause, God, Mighty One, principle or beginning of all things.
In Cabala, EL is a name of Chesed, the 4th Sephira.
EL is Celtic for angel.
55 represent the Divine Person, according to Abellio.
55 represent the limit of the humanity, according to E. Bindel.
55 represent the total and complete man, symbolized by the two hands which join at the moment of the prayer to remake the unit in the form of ten, but being able also to express that under the form of 55, “addition in the senses of the divine wisdom” according to saint Martin.
The Bouriates knew 99 gods, divided into 55 goods and 44 bad. These two groups of gods would fight for a very long time between them.
55 is the sum of the first 10 numbers: 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55
55 is the sum of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th triangular numbers: 3 + 6 + 10 + 15 + 21 = 55
55 is the sum of the first 5 square numbers (also known as a square pyramidal number): 1 + 4 + 9 + 16 + 25 = 55
The sum of 5 odd heavenly numbers: 1+3+5+7+9 = 25; the sum of 5 even earthly numbers: 2+4+6+8+10 = 30; the sum of the heavenly & earthly series (I Ching): 25 + 30 = 55
Fifty-five is the 10th Fibonacci number and a triangular number (the sum of the numbers 1 to 10), it is the largest Fibonacci number to also be a triangular number.
55 is heptagonal number, and a centered nonagonal number.
In base 10, 55 is a Kaprekar number.
55 is a semiprime, being the product of 5 and 11 and it is the 2nd member of the (5.q) semiprime family.
In Roman numeral 55 is written as LV
55 in Binary is 00110111
In Pythagorean arithmetic, 2 is the first even number, 3 the first odd number. The even & odd tetractyes both radiate from the One, which is the source of all numbers. The sum of these two series is 55
55 is the Atomic Number of Cesium (Cs).
The cesium clock is used as a standard in measuring time. Its accuracy is one second in 30,000 years. The cesium atomic clock is based on the frequency corresponding to hyperfine structure transition in the atoms of cesium nuclides Cs-133.
Messier object M55, is a magnitude 7.0 globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius
The New General Catalogue object NGC 55, is a magnitude 7.9 barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor
On February 9, 1986, Halley’s Comet made its closest approach to the sun (perihelion) at a distance of only about 55 million miles.
The velocity of Halley’s comet at perihelion is 55 kilometers per second.
55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787) and 39 signed the United States Constitution.
Agitation and Propaganda against the State, also known as Constitution law 55, was a law in Communist Albania.
In Books, Music, Movies and TV
A song produced by Group X was called “Schfifty Five”.
55 is the name of a song by British Indie Rock Band Kasabian. The song was released as a B side to Club Foot and was recorded live when the band performed at London’s Brixton Academy.
“I Can’t Drive 55”, is a song by Sammy Hagar
“Old 55” is the title of a song by Tom Waits and The Eagles
Cristian Vogel released an album in 2005 with the title “Station 55”
“Ol’ 55”, is an Australian rock band.
“Primer 55” is the name of an American band
“55 Cadillac”, is an album by Andrew W.K.
“55 Days at Peking” is a film starring Charlton Heston and David Niven
“55 Degrees North” (2004–2005) is a British TV series about a London detective who moves to Newcastle after blowing the whistle on a corrupt colleague.
“Class of ’55”, is a TV comedy created by writer David Seltzer, and starring Alan Alda, John Archer, Sharon Cintron
“The Fall Of ’55”, a crime drama, written by Seth Randal, about an incident in late 1955 and early 1956, when the citizens of Boise, Idaho believed there was a menace in their midst. On Halloween, investigators arrested three men on charges of having sex with teenage boys. The investigators claimed the arrests were just the tip of the iceberg-they said hundreds of boys were being abused as part of a child sex ring. There was no such ring, but the result was a widespread investigation which some people consider a witch hunt. By the time the investigation ended, 16 men were charged. Countless other lives were also touched.In some cases, men implicated fled the area. At least one actually left the country. The investigation attracted attention in newspapers across the nation, including Time Magazine. The “Morals Drive” left scars which remain to this day.
José Saramago’s novel “The Cave” features the Center, a vast multistoried shopping mall whose catalog runs to 55 volumes of 1,500 pages each, an entertainment complex offering Disneyland versions of virtual reality, and apartments, a hospital, a crematory and administrative headquarters.
55 was the highest speed limit allowed in the United States between 1974 and 1986 per the National Maximum Speed Law.
Yoshimura R-55 GP Style Slip-On Exhaust
The Yoshimura R-55 is a legendary exhaust building experience that gives the sportbike rider power in a lightweight, stylish package, using a tapered trapezoidal shape, finished off in either carbon fiber or stainless steel.
The R-55 on the Kawasaki ZX-14R looks seamless and will weigh less than the ones that come stock.
In 1991 BMW tuner Racing Dynamics of Italy produced a special version of the 8 Series dubbed the K55 Sport Coupe. The K55 5.5 Coupe was based on the 850i, powered by the 5.0-liter M70 that was stroked to 5.5 liters, new valves, camshafts lifters and intakes along with extrude honed heads. The one US version engine producing 475 bhp (354 kW; 482 PS) and the Euro version producing 401 bhp (299 kW).
40 K55s were produced for the Euro market and one in the US.
In addition to engine modifications, The K55 offered a variety of body, suspensions, rear end options.
The S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by German automaker Mercedes-Benz, a division of German company Daimler AG.
The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s.
The S-Class has served as the flagship model for Mercedes for over fifty years in its various incarnations and has debuted many of the company’s latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pre-tensioners).
The S-Class has ranked as the world’s best-selling luxury sedan
Mercedes Benz G55 AMG
The G-Wagen, or Gelandewagen as it is officially named, started out as a complete off roading machine. Mercedes-Benz built it for the German armed forces and as with any military vehicle, it was designed to take on the harshest of terrain and remain rather trouble free.
A civilian version was introduced a couple years after the G-Class first made its debut, and it too displayed the same level of ruggedness and ‘go anywhere’ ability.
The G Wagen has been around since the 70s and though it has received upgrades over the years, it still remains the ultimate off roading machine that is sought after by anyone and everyone who wishes to tour the world, go lion spotting in the Savannah or drive up Mount Everest!
The G-Wagen’s reliability has grown to legendary heights and it commands an imposing presence as it drives by.
There is no doubting the fan following garnered by the G Wagen over the years and in order to cater to the growing demand, Mercedes-Benz has toyed with the vehicle to make it more exciting and usher in a level of performance and sheer ludicrousness through their AMG subsidiary.
The latest incarnation of the G Wagen is the G55 AMG. Considered to be the most powerful G Class vehicle yet, it boasts of having performance figures that one would normally find associated with sportscars and it can still handle the rough.
Mitsubishi Jeep J55
In 1950 the Japanese wanted a prototype 4X4 trucks and other vehicles and in response by January 1951 Toyota had produced a prototype. Toyota based their design on the Bantam vehicle that had seen military action in Malaysia. At the time there were many Jeeps being driven in Japan and the Jeep came to be the symbol of the 4X4. For this reason Toyota called it’s prototype the Toyota Jeep. These became the FJ40 that Americans found to be a rugged and reliable off road vehicle.
However, largely unknown to those in North America, there was another strong contender to the legend, the Mitsubishi Jeep. Their design was based on the Willys Jeep, the vehicle ultimately selected for procurement by the National Police Reserve Forces, and in 1953 Mitsubishi secured the rights to build the Willys under their own name. Thus the Mitsubishi Jeep was born.
In the USA the Willys was built till 1965 but in Japan Mitsubishi had a good thing going so they kept the line in production till 1998.
HMS Suffolk (55)
HMS Suffolk (55) was a Royal Navy County class heavy cruiser and part of the Kent subclass. She was launched on 16 March 1926, and commissioned on 25 June 1928.
Like her sister ships, Suffolk served on the China Station until the outbreak of WWII when she returned to Europe and patrolled the Denmark Straits.
In April 1940 Suffolk participated in the Norwegian Campaign and arrived at Tórshavn to commence the British pre-emptive occupation of the Faroe Islands. On 14 April 1940 Suffolk sank the German tanker Skagerrak northwest of Bodø, Norway.
On 17 April 1940, Suffolk and four destroyers, HMS Kipling, HMS Juno, HMS Janus and HMS Hereward, were sent to bombard the airfield at Sola, Norway. The operation had little effect and the retaliation from German bombers severely damaged the aft of the ship, forcing her to return to Scapa Flow.
Suffolk was out of action from April 1940 until February 1941 while she was repaired at the Clyde.
During May 1941, as part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, Suffolk was involved in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. Suffolk had engaged the battleship twice during the battle, making several salvoes on her. Using her radar, Suffolk was able to track the Bismarck through the Denmark Strait and maintained contact long enough for other units to vector into Bismarck’s path.
After repairs Suffolk served with the Home Fleet in Arctic waters until the end of 1942, then underwent a refit between December 1942 and April 1943. On completion of this the ship was ordered to the Eastern Fleet, operating in the Indian Ocean until the end of the war.
Suffolk was scrapped on 24 June 1948.
HMS Finisterre (D55)
HMS Finisterre (D55) was a Battle-class destroyer of the Royal Navy (RN). She was named after one of the battles of Cape Finisterre. Launched on the 22 June 1944 and commissioned on 11 September 1945.
She first joined the Home Fleet upon her commissioning. After duties in the Far East, Finisterre returned to the UK via the Mediterranean. In January 1950, she took part in the rescue attempt of the submarine HMS Truculent, which had sunk after colliding with a Swedish merchant ship Divina in the Thames Estuary. The collision had resulted in the loss of 64 of those on board. The following year Finisterre became the Gunnery Training Ship, based at Whale Island, Portsmouth as part of HMS Excellent.
In 1953, Finisterre took part in the 1953 Coronation Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
The following year Finisterre was placed in Reserve. After her sister-ship HMS Hogue collided with an Indian cruiser in 1959, Finisterre replaced her in the 1st Destroyer Squadron, based in the Far East. She was one of a number of Royal Navy ships stationed off Kuwait to keep the peace as the country gained its independence in 1961.
In 1965 she was sold for scrap.
USS Aludra (AF-55)
The USS Aludra (AF-55) was an Alstede-class stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy and tasked to carry stores, refrigerated items, and equipment to ships in the fleet, and to remote stations and staging areas.
Originally ordered as refrigerated cargo ship “SS Matchless” she was launched on 14 October 1944 and delivered to the United States Lines under a bare boat charter on 23 March 1945.
She operated in the Pacific Ocean during the final months of the war and during the first four years following Japan’s capitulation and then laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Bay Minette, Alabama.
She was reactivated in November 1950, as the result of an expansion of the Fleet to meet its greatly increased responsibilities because of the United Nations decision to oppose communist aggression in Korea. Renamed Aludra on 16 January 1951, she was assigned to Service Squadron 3, Service Force, Pacific Fleet and took up the tasks of supporting Task Force (TF) 77 in strikes along the east coast of Korea and TF 72 in patrols in the East China Sea and off Formosa.
Ending her first deployment to the western Pacific, she returned to San Francisco, California, on 4 May 1953. Thereafter, for more than 16 years, she alternated operations on the west coast of the United States with tours in the Far East resupplying ships serving in the Orient. Among the highlights of her service was her participation in Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese refugees from communist-controlled areas of Vietnam after that country had been partitioned in 1954.
The ship again visited Vietnamese waters in March 1965 and, for a bit over three and one-half years thereafter, devoted most of her efforts to supporting American warships fighting aggression there. She left that war-torn country for the last time on 19 April 1969 and headed—via Sasebo, Japan—for home.
Aludra was decommissioned on 12 September 1969 and withdrawn from the reserve fleet on 19 January 1977 for stripping by the Navy prior to sale. She was purchased from MARAD by Sea World Processors Inc., for non-transportation use, 16 November 1977 and delivered, 16 February 1978. In 1981 she was burned and scuttled.
USS Valcour (AVP-55)
USS Valcour (AVP-55), later AGF-1, was commissioned on 5 July 1946 as a seaplane tender from 1946 to 1965 and as a flagship from 1965 to 1973. She was the last of the 35 Barnegat-class ships to commission.
Valcour was designated as flagship for the Commander, Middle Eastern Force (ComMidEastFor) and served in the Middle East from 5 September 1950 to 15 March 1951.
On the morning of 14 May 1951, two months after she returned to Norfolk from her second Middle East tour, Valcour suffered a steering casualty and power failure and collided with another vessel. An intense fire broke out aboard Valcour causing the commanding officer, Captain Eugene Tatom, to order abandon ship. Eleven men died, 16 more were injured and another 25 were listed as “missing”, later to be confirmed as dead.
After an extensive overhaul and improvements, and from 1952–1965 she rotated yearly between the United States and the Middle East.
In January 1972 Valcour was for inactivationand was decommissioned on 15 January 1973. On 1 May 1977, the U.S. Navy sold Valcour for scrapping.
Kh-55 (missile family)
The Kh-55 is a Soviet/Russian air-launched cruise missile, designed by MKB Raduga. It has a range of up to 3,000 km (1,620 nmi) and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. Kh-55 is launched exclusively from bomber aircraft and has spawned a number of conventionally armed variants mainly for tactical use, such as the Kh-65SE and Kh-SD, but only the Kh-101 and Kh-555 appear to have made it into service. Contrary to popular belief, the Kh-55 was not the basis of the submarine- and ground-launched RK-55 Granat (SS-N-21 ‘Sampson’ and SSC-X-4 ‘Slingshot’).
A Kh-55 production unit was delivered to Shanghai in 1995 and appears to have been used to produce a similar weapon for China.
The Novator RK-55 Granat was a Soviet land-based cruise missile with a nuclear warhead.
It was about to enter service in 1987 when such weapons were banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
A version launched from submarine torpedo tubes, the S-10 Granat (SS-N-21 ‘Sampson’;GRAU:3M10), has apparently been converted to carry conventional warheads and continues in service to this day.
The RK-55 is very similar to the air-launched Kh-55 (AS-15 ‘Kent’) but the Kh-55 has a drop-down turbofan engine and was designed by MKB Raduga. Both have formed the basis of post-Cold-War missiles, in particular the 3M-54 Klub (SS-N-27 ‘Sizzler’) which has a supersonic approach phase.
55th Fighter Squadron
The 55th Fighter Squadron was originally organized as the 55th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas. By November 1917 the squadron was deployed to Issoudun, France. It was demobilized on 6 March 1919, following the end of WWI, but was reactivated in November 1930, at Mather Field, California.
At the beginning of World War II, the 55th continued to train aviators for squadrons in Europe and the Pacific. In May 1942, it was redesignated a fighter squadron and operated from several locations in the United States.
The 55th was deployed in Europe in August 1943, operating from RAF Wittering, England, and flew 175 combat missions. With the rest of the 20th Fighter Group, the 55th flew daily strafing, long-range-patrol and bomber-escort missions. In June, they provided air cover during the massive allied invasion of Normandy.
The 55th also performed escort and fighter-bomber missions supporting the Allied advance through Central Europe and the Rhineland. In December 1945, they took part in the Battle of the Bulge, escorting bombers to the battle area.
The 55th was demobilized on 18 October 1945, after the end of WWII, but was reactivated on 29 July 1946, at Biggs Field, Texas.
The 55th entered the jet age in February 1948, with the F-84G Thunderjet. In January 1950, and was redesignated the 55th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. The squadron returned to England at RAF Wethersfield in June 1952, where it was redesignated the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron and then moved to RAF Upper Heyford in June 1970. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the 55th participated in countless North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.S. exercises and operations, which directly contributed to containment of Soviet threats to Europe.
In January 1991, elements of the 55th deployed to Turkey during Operation Desert Storm. They flew more than 144 sorties, amassing 415 combat hours without a loss. These missions neutralized key facilities throughout northern Iraq and helped to liberate Kuwait and stabilize the region. The squadron was inactivated in December 1993.
It was transferred and reactivated on 1 January 1994, to its present home, Shaw Air Force Base, flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II. In July 1996, the squadron transferred its aircraft to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, and stood down.
In July 1997, the 55th made history when it stood up as a combat-ready F-16CJ squadron in only 60 days. It has since made numerous deployments to Southwest Asia, continuing to contain the Iraqi threat. In the meantime, the squadron has earned awards and recognition, including the David C. Schilling Award in 1999 and 2000, as well as the Air Force Association Citation of Honor.
In the summer of 2000, the 55th deployed to Southwest Asia for Operation Northern Watch. It followed that deployment with Operation Southern Watch in the fall of 2001, and in the winter of 2002, deployed again in support of Operation Northern Watch. Most recently the 55th deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in late 2008.
Lockheed Martin X-55
The Lockheed Martin X-55 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) is an experimental twin jet engined transport aircraft intended to demonstrate new cargo-carrier capabilities using advanced composites. It is a project of the United States Air Force’s Air Force Research Laboratory, and was built by the international aerospace company Lockheed Martin, at its Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works) facility in Palmdale, California.
The T-55 tank
The T-54 and T-55 tanks are a series of medium tanks that were designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just as the Second World War ended. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and others. T-54s and T-55s were involved in many of the world’s armed conflicts during the late 20th and early 21st century.
The T-54/55 series eventually became the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 86,000 to 100,000. They were replaced by the T-62, T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-90 in the Soviet and Russian Armies, but remain in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting.
Soviet tanks never directly faced their NATO Cold War adversaries in Europe. However, the T-54/55’s first appearance in the West in 1960 spurred the United States to develop the M60 Patton.
K55 SPG Self-Propelled Gun
Since 1985 when it entered service, and until recently, when it has been replaced by the more miodern K9 Thunder platform, the South Korean Army relied on the K55.
It was a localized development of the US military’s M109A2 Paladin SPG family, license-produced by Samsung Techwin / Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA).
Over 1,100 (1,180) of the type were procured by the South Korean government, supplying the Army with a long range, heavy hitter capable of lobbing conventional, chemical and nuclear shells at any potential enemies – namely North Korea.
The 25-ton K55 borrowed much from the American M109 including its conventional design consisting of an armored tracked chassis and boxy turret superstructure. The vehicle is crewed by six personnel and primary armament is a 155mm main gun of 30 caliber length. Defense is through 1 x 12.7mm K6 heavy machine gun. Power is served through a Detroit Diesel 8V-71T turbocharged, diesel-fueled engine of 450 horsepower. Maximum road speed across ideal surfaces is 56 kmh. The main gun can supply a rate-of-fire of 4 shots per minute while targeting is through manual means. A full ammunition load aboard the K55 is 36 projectiles.
The K55 entered a modernization program in 1994, producing the K55A1 designation.
The newer 47-ton K9 Thunder formally entered service in 1999 and is crewed by five personnel, carried 48 projectiles and features a rate-of-fire of 6 shots per minute with manual or automatic targeting. Additionally, the powerplant provides road speeds of up to 66 kph.
55 is the code for international direct dial phone calls to Brazil
55 gallon is a standard size for a drum container
Gazeta 55, an Albanian newspaper
An Emerald wedding anniversary celebrates 55 years.
Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress was assigned Lot #55 at the Christie’s Auction on October 27, 1999. It sold for a record price for a dress— $1,267,500.
It was either a title with a pun in it or just call today’s post “The Sunday Sermon”, but as you can see the pun got the better of me as usual.
If you hadn’t guessed, this one is my take on the goings on in North Korea.
Here we go….
Before the sermon starts I should preface it by saying we are in the current mess because politicians faffed about instead of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons when they had the opportunity. It’s their mess, but unfortunately we are all in it with them.
JFK had Cuba and now BHO has North Korea, both countries run by dictators and both in their time posing a nuclear threat.
Why do the Democrats always get the best crises? Poor old Dubya and his greedy and power hungry ally in Britain, Tony Blair (often deliberately spelled Bliar for good reason), had to make up an excuse to start a war with Saddam Hussein. Remember the Weapons Of Mass Destruction that never actually existed?
Of course, when JFK was doing his statesman like thing, during his brief breaks between his girlfriends, I was far too young to know or care about nuclear threats or more world wars.I had other more important things to be getting on with like battling invaders from Mars or trying to pluck up the courage to explore that eerie wood just a short distance from the bottom of our garden.
So what I know about the Cuban crisis of the early 1960s is all gleaned from books and reports from that period which are now a matter of history. (We’ll leave the debate about just how accurate and reliable that is for another time.)
The truth seems to be that the Cuban nuclear crisis had very little to do with Cuba or Castro. It was a posturing competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and to a lesser degree a pissing contest between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
In both Washington and the Kremlin, although there were the warmongers, there were more people who were sensible enough to realize that devastating each other’s countries would leave them both weaker and achieve very little.They were able to reach that conclusion simply because they were people who were not completely insane or delusional.
It probably seemed difficult at the time, but for JFK it was a relatively easy crisis to manage.
The ‘nuclear crisis’ facing Obama, if indeed it is that, is a different kettle of fish because Kim Jong-un shows all the signs of being both delusional and ever so slightly insane.
He can’t be held entirely to blame for this. He is the son of a long time dictator, who himself suffered from multiple delusions. And he was brought up in a militaristic and jingoistic regime, which is what dictators like to create for themselves simply because it makes their own people easier to control. North Korean propaganda has taught the public that military goals and economic goals are intertwined and therefore that Kim Jong-un’s actions are for the good of his people.
In the latest moves to up the ante, the North Koreans have told Britain and Russia that they should consider the evacuation of their embassies in Pyongyang. They have also moved another missile to their east coast as a further threat to US Pacific bases.
This in itself is just the latest response to UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, both of which have done nothing to ease tensions and in fact have annoyed the North Koreans immensely.
Now the North Korean army is saying that it has received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers taking part in the joint drills.And all this has been accompanied by a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.
The trouble with all this posturing is that Washington, which always gets a ‘F’ for ‘FAIL’ in Foreign Policy, very seldom, if ever, gets it right at the right time.
Washington doesn’t seem to understand that the macho culture in many other countries makes it extremely difficult for them to be seen by their own people as the one who blinked first. Losing face has a terrible stigma for them.
Further military ‘exercises’ and posturing will probably have the result of leaving the Jong-un regime with little alternative (in their eyes) but to act aggressively.
How that aggression will manifest itself is anybody’s guess. Least likely would be an attack on America – it’s too far away for the type of missiles North Korea currently has.
An attack of some kind on the US base at Guam is possible, as is an attack on neighboring South Korea. The latter, depending on the scale and the number of casualties, could spark of retaliatory strikes by the US-backed South Koreans and from there it is a short step into a conventional and probably very bloody war.
And we should remember that the Korean war during the 1950s was a spectacular waste of human lives. Generals sacrificed their men for years and ended back at the 38th parallel, more or less the same place they started.
Admittedly things might be a lot different this time if China decides that the North Korean regime is too out of control to support militarily.I doubt very much if it is in China’s long term interest to have a whacky dictatorship armed with nuclear weapons on their doorstep. After all it’s only 1,000Km to Beijing and more than 5,000Km to Hawaii, the closest state of the US to North Korea. At the same time would China want an economically united and strong US dominated state on its borders?
The jury is still out on that one.
Another thing that Washington gets badly wrong is that it thinks that because it is the most powerful military nation on earth – and it is by a long way – that therefore other countries will be afraid to take it on.
Rather than a comparison with the Cuban Crisis that everyone is concentrating on, I see parallels between North Korea today and Imperial Japan in the 1930s.Both are/were jingoistic regimes with an ’emperor’ having complete control, and both created a military style regime more as a way to suppress and control their own people, and therefore to cling to power, than to attack another nation.
But things being what they are, and people being so bloody stupid it’s unbelievable at times, there comes a time when those in power in such regimes lose their sense of reality and get carried away believing their own propaganda.
Hence Pearl Harbor when Imperial Japan forgot that when something big and powerful is asleep you should never poke it with a sharp stick, coz when it wakens up it will kick the crap right out of you!
And hence, the North Koreans are not afraid of taking on America. They should be, but they aren’t, which again makes some kind of attack more possible the more they are backed into a corner.
Thankfully there are some signs that Washington might be getting the message and preparing to step back from the rapidly approaching brink.American officials have reportedly decided to “pause” the recent show of US force in Korea because
– wait for it, it’s a good one –
they are surprised at the intensity of the North’s response.
I mean who could have seen that coming? Well the answer is just about everyone except for the cretins in Washington!
What is surprising, however, is that the most sense talked about the whole affair recently has been from the world’s number one cigar salesman, Fidel Castro. In fact, make that doubly surprising, in that he has said some things that I am in agreement with and that he is still around to say it!
He said “If a war breaks out there, there would be a terrible slaughter of people” in both North and South Korea “with no benefit for either of them.” And also that the “duty” to avoid the conflict is in the hands of Washington “and of the people of the United States.”
Castro hasn’t quite figured out that once elected US Presidents do whatever THEY want, not whatever the PEOPLE want.
But what he must have figured out is that politicians like to be liked because he also warns President Obama that his second term, “would be buried in a deluge of images that would portray him as the most sinister personality in the history of the United States.”
Equally, he cautions the North Koreans that now they have, demonstrated their “technical and scientific advances, we remind them of their duties with those countries that have been their great friends.” And he urged them to remember that “such a war would affect … more than 70 per cent of the planet’s population,” and decried “the gravity of such an incredible and absurd event” in such a densely populated region.
Do you think he is hankering after one of those Nobel Peace Prizes, like the one Obama got for not being George W Bush?
And who knows what is going to happen in the Koreas?