North Korea backs down

It was sort of amazing the last couple of days, as we watched the whole world wet its pants worrying about the Norks. Except, of course, those who had the duty. They, Trump and Mattis, doubled down and told the fat kid to behave himself. Well, look at that, he apparently decided that launching missiles at Guam wasn’t such a good idea. America doesn’t do a lot of sabre rattling, partially because it’s not really our style, but more because a fair share of the world knows (or at least used to) that when Washington draws sabres, people, mostly other people, mostly those who wish America harm, die. Bevin Alexander wrote a few years ago about where the American character was formed…

Imagine, if you will, the sense of awe that seized the first settlers at Jamestown in Virginia, in 1607, at Plymouth in Massachusetts, and at the other landings along the coast of North America in the early decades of the seventeenth century. Here were little English communities hacking out perch sites on the very edge of an unknown land. … But when they finally reached the great chain of mountains called the Appalachians and gazed out from its heights, they were utterly confounded-before them an even more boundless, more astonishing land stretched out to seeming infinity toward the setting sun.

This was the moment when the American character was formed. Whatever limits of class and status the settlers had brought with them from Britain would fall away to insignificance in this prodigious land. When astute individuals looked toward the limitless frontier that they now knew would beckon continuously on the western horizon, they realized that no king, no aristocracy, could crush them. At any time they could cross this frontier and put all of Europe’s restraints behind them. This had immense and overwhelming effects throughout the colonies. Americans, whether they crossed the frontier or not, were destined to be forever free.

Those guys, and the great majority of us today, meant it. It’s part of the reason Trump won. It’s bad enough to hear our America derided by a bunch of Eurowienies and Asiatic dictators. To have the President join in was intolerable, and so we decided not to tolerate it.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Alexander also made the point that the United States, like England before us, looks upon itself as an island. We will tolerate many things in the world outside, but if you threaten us, and our people, it is most unlikely to go well for you. One could ask the ghost of Nikita Kruschev about that. What was it like to be the Soviet premier, after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Too many forget, Jack Kennedy was regarded as a weak president after the Bay of Pigs, and perhaps he was – until he was pushed. William Teach tells us:

Remember the apocalyptic (non-secular, of course) talking points from most left wing news outlets, pundits, Congress critters, etc, about how Trump’s tough talking was taking us to nuclear war? Some others in the Trump admin, such as James “Mad Dog” Mattis had tough words, too. Guess what?

Kim Jong Un Backs Down In Nuclear Showdown With Trump

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un decided Tuesday not to fire ballistic missiles at Guam, reserving the right to change his mind if “the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions,” according to North Korean state media.

Kim appears to be attempting to de-escalate tensions to prevent conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. After the U.N. Security Council approved tougher sanctions against North Korea for its intercontinental ballistic missile tests, the North warned Wednesday that it was considering launching a salvo of ballistic missiles into waters around Guam in a show of force demonstrating an ability to surround the island with “enveloping fire.” That same day, President Donald Trump stressed that North Korean threats will be met with “fire and fury like nothing the world has ever seen.” For a week, the two sides hurled threats and warnings at each other repeatedly, leading some observers to conclude that the two sides were close to nuclear war.

But, Kim blinked.

Kim, according to North Korean state media, told the North Korean strategic rocket force that he “would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” giving the U.S. time to reassess the situation. “He said that he wants to advise the U.S. to take into full account gains and losses with clear head whether the prevailing situation is more unfavorable for any party.”

American foreign policy since before there was an America could easily be summed up, and perhaps it was best by John Wayne in The Shootist.

 “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”

Of Nukes and Men

The Fat Man then, and now…?

So, this is a bit worrying. Yesterday was the 72d anniversary of the attack on Nagasaki, and it appears some Asians have a short memory.

In any case, the Norks have threatened to send a few missiles off towards Guam. If they do they will learn a new skill: Dying. Guam is a US Territory, home to Anderson Air Force Base. This too is America, in fact, this is just as serious as an attack on say Ellsworth AFB, in South Dakota, for the same reason – this is a bomber base, amongst many other things, and America’s nuclear triad must be defended at all costs. And Navy Base, Guam is nothing to sneeze at, either. These are important installations. And if I read Trump correctly, it will be. Welcome back to October 1962, only this time induced by an actually weak American president, who gave aid and comfort to America’s enemies. No, I am not speaking of Trump. The situation is a direct legacy of Barack Obama, and his feckless and pusillanimous pursuit of anything that degraded the history of America.

Welcome back to October 1962, only this time induced by an actually weak American president, who gave aid and comfort to America’s enemies. No, I am not speaking of Trump. The situation is a direct legacy of Barack Obama, and his feckless and pusillanimous pursuit of anything that degraded the history of America.

Part of that, we learned yesterday was that North Korea has nuclear devices small enough to install on a missile, or at least we believe so. The bad part is that we knew that back in 2013, but the story was suppressed. From Fox News:

Tuesday’s bombshell Washington Post story that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has determined North Korea is capable of constructing miniaturized nuclear weapons that could be used as warheads for missiles – possibly ICBMs – left out a crucial fact: DIA actually concluded this in 2013.  The Post also failed to mention that the Obama administration tried to downplay and discredit this report at the time.

During an April 11, 2013, House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., inadvertently revealed several unclassified sentences from a DIA report that said DIA had determined with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.

The Director of National Intelligence and Obama officials subsequently tried to dismiss Lamborn’s disclosure by claiming the DIA assessment was an outlier that did not reflect the views of the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Obama officials tried to downplay the DIA assessment to prevent it from being used to force the president to employ a more assertive North Korea policy.

Isn’t that freakin’ special? But then I can’t say it’s unexpected. If Obama was good at anything, it was covering up things that redounded to his discredit, and heaven knows he got plenty of practice.

So there we are, actually the same as any other day ending a y, America will be defended against all enemies, it just seems as if perhaps one fool in charge hasn’t gotten the word, Obama is gone forever, and Hillary will never be president. Kim Jong-il’s time has come and gone, although his hour of self-appointed doom may be coming close. Many, including Bill Richardson, say he is a weak man, afraid of his own shadow. Well, that seems likely, actually, but if anything that makes him even more dangerous, because he is unpredictable.

That doesn’t mean that the only option is to burn it down from orbit with nuclear fire, actually, that’s overkill. There is nothing here that conventional aerial bombs, missiles, and such can’t deal with. And my guess is that America’s best defense assets are in Guam, Japan, and the ROK. They are at risk, of course, but there is risk and then there is risk, and part of life is to choose amongst them. For me, the calculus works out that it is time for ‘the Fat Man’ (pun intended) to retire or be fired. or should that be fried?. All my life, these fools have been oppressing their own people and threatening everyone else in the neighbourhood. Enough is enough, fix it, deal with the damage and move on.

Who knows, might even be a salutary lesson for some Mullahs, who seem to have forgotten what Ronald Reagan taught them. I also note that an actual majority of Americans are supportive of military action. That doesn’t happen very often.

Life Advice from CINCSNAKE

U.S. Navy Adm. William McRavena., Jan. 30, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Williams)(Released)

My friend, Francis Phillips, reviews books for the Catholic Herald. That’s a pretty broad remit and this recent one caught my eye. I found it quite interesting, and yeah, it’s been quite a few years since I read the NYT. Even the bestseller list.

What makes self-help books so attractive is the way they seem to package a successful life into an easy formula within anyone’s grasp. That’s what drew me to read Make Your Bed by William McRaven, a retired US admiral that has, incidentally, made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. It seems I am not alone in wanting to know the “secret” to achievement.

Based on the admiral’s address to the graduating class of the University of Texas in 2014, the book records the ten principles he learnt during his gruelling 6-month training to become a Navy Seal – reputedly the toughest unit in the US military. […]

Other principles which he imbibed include “standing up to the bullies”, those who thrive on fear and intimidation; recognising that life isn’t fair and not becoming bitter about it; accepting that you can’t succeed without friends (especially true in the forces); not being crushed by failure; and “never, ever quit.”

There a fair amount more there, and it’s all worthwhile. But this stood out for me, far too often anymore we are encouraged to run to our safe spaces when confronted by a bully. That, of course, solves nothing for either party. Confront him, and you will gain increased self-regard (whether you win or lose), and it’s possible that the bully might even learn a bit of humility. Neither of which will ever happen if you simply run away. It’s a lesson we should learn on an elementary school playground, but over-supervised as kids are these days, I suspect many don’t, It’s important though to learn it sometime. I also like the last paragraph.

I have been having a dispute with a friend over the word “patriotism.” He is against it, informing me that it has led to countless wars in Europe (as you can guess, he is a Remainer.) I tell him that to be a “patriot” is to be a romantic and to love those indefinable aspects and features of one’s country that make it “home”. By this definition, Admiral McRaven is an old-fashioned US patriot, proud to serve his country and demanding the highest standards of himself in doing so.

Interestingly, I’m a bit chary, myself, of European patriotism although not so much British. Too often it seems rooted on Blood and Soil, Gott mit uns, and all that stuff. Rather narrow and restricting, and prone to xenophobia quite often. American (and somewhat British as well) has a different feel about it. A longing to be on the Lord’s side, and a welcoming, inclusive feel. All are welcome if you share our ideas. And the ideas are the key, it’s a thinking man’s or woman’s patriotism. Maybe that’s why historically our societies have been able to welcome others so easily as citizens, as long as they wanted to become as us, not to force us to become as them. It is our club, after all, if you want to be a member one is wise to obey the rules. But we don’t particularly care where you (or your parents) were born.

Something to think about.

We shall defend our Island

Churchill studies reports of the action that day with Vice Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, 28 August 1940, © IWM (H 3508)

I almost never, as you know, talk about current movies. That’s mostly because they don’t interest me, very occasionally I’ll watch one, although, in truth, it’s more often that I’ll try to, and either fall asleep or get bored out of my mind and give up.

But there is one opening today that I do want very much to see. You see, I was raised by the guys that fought World War Two, the ones we sometimes call ‘The Greatest Generation’ and not unjustly. That’s true in America, and it’s arguably even more true in the UK. Remember, their war started on 1 September 1939, ours not until 7 December 1941. For two years the Empire held the line, worldwide, pretty much alone.

During all this time until Barbarossa went in on 22 June 1941, Germany and the Soviet Union had the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact guaranteeing peace between them.

In April of 1940 the Germans executed  Operation Weserübung, the conquest of Norway, and then in May came the Battle of France. The Allies despite having numerical superiority were surprised terribly by the German tactics, often referred to as Blitzkrieg, a style of campaign first executed by General Sherman in the US Civil War and popularised by JFC Fuller and Basil Liddel-Hart. As executed by Guderian and Rommel it was devastating. As the campaign developed the British Expeditionary Force and elements of the French army were trapped in and around Dunkirk. In an epic of improvisation and sheer bravery the Royal Navy, covered by the Royal Air Force and with the assistance of hundreds of small civilian craft managed to extricate over 300,000 members of that force.

That’s what the movie opening today is about. It is titled Dunkirk and promises to be an epic. Here is one of the trailers

The Prime Minister famously said that wars are not won by evacuations, and he is, of course, correct. But in this case, it was a very great moral victory, and besides, without it, there would have been almost no regular forces to defend Britain itself.

I imagine you have heard as I have that a singularly stupid twit, named Brian Truitt writing a review in USA Today, has said this:

The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.

He also managed to conflate Dunkirk with D Day, I don’t know, maybe because they both have a ‘D’ in them.

About all I can say is that he apparently slept through history, if he took any, and for that matter doesn’t understand how to run Google. We may safely, going forward, completely ignore anything he says. He’s actually too stupid to live, but not smart enough to die, so he will, no doubt continue to waste oxygen and contribute his very own carbon footprint. Sad.

Here, from the International Churchill Society is Sir Winston’s speech, after Dunkirk.

The other film I very much want to see is connected viscerally to this, as well. Steven Hayward, writing in PowerLine tells us this:

Fortunately, another Churchill movie has finished production, Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Churchill, and focusing on the key period of the first weeks of Churchill’s premiership in 1940. Based on the trailer below, it looks not only that Oldman is a superior Churchill, but that it gets the key moment—the climactic events in the war cabinet of May 27-28 (which were unknown to the public until the 1980s)—exactly right. A couple of previous attempts, especially the HBO version of Finest Hour about ten years back, don’t get it right. (In addition to the brief evidence in the trailer, I’m pretty sure some sound friends of mine had significant input into the script.)

I haven’t heard from my friends that are Churchill experts about it, but maybe they will chime in as well. But judging by the trailer, this film, which opens in November, will be well worth our time. This trailer came out last week.

And so they did, in Churchill’s own words, ” until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

“Bless ’em all, the long and the short and the tall.”

Charlie Gard: The Saga Continues

Time to speak again about Charlie Gard, that brain damaged British child whom the British health care system thinks needs to die, against his parents’ wishes, and in the face of possible treatment. We’ve spoken of this before, here, here, and here. The hearing has happened, and his parents left appearing rather distraught.

No surprise there. From the Catholic Herald.

They said that Judge Nicholas Francis had misquoted their earlier statements

The parents of a baby with a rare disease stormed out of a London court hearing in an emotional outburst Thursday, as the couple tried to convince a judge to let them take their critically ill child to the United States for medical treatment.

Charlie Gard’s parents are challenging the view of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, arguing that treatment abroad is in the best interest of the 11-month-old suffering from a rare genetic condition.

A succession of judges has backed specialists at the hospital who argue experimental treatment in America won’t help and may cause suffering for Charlie. The parents hoped to present fresh evidence to alter that view.

Two hours into the High Court hearing, questions from Judge Nicholas Francis prompted tensions to boil over. Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, accused Francis of misquoting her earlier statements about Charlie’s quality of life.

In other words, they think they are being railroaded, and it’s quite likely they are. Catholicism Pure and Simple adds this.

The case of 11-month old Charlie Gard is bringing out the worst in the “Death with Dignity Movement.” By appointing Victoria Butler-Cole, a death with dignity advocate, as the lawyer representing Charlie in court against his parents, the death with dignity movement has crossed the line from advocating for individuals’ wishes to projecting its views onto innocent children who are too young to have indicated that “death with dignity” is something they want.

Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old living in the UK, has an extremely rare mitochondrial disorder. An experimental treatment exists that has a chance—although a small chance—at recovering his muscle function and allowing him to have a happy life. His parents will be in court Thursday asking the court to allow him to receive this experimental treatment. His hospital and others argue that the treatment is too experimental—that it has only been tested in a lab—but the same hospital has used equally-experimental treatment before.

From the CH article:

“Unlike the US, English law is focused on the protection of children’s rights,” said Jonathan Montgomery, professor of health care law at University College London. “The US is the only country in the world that is not party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; it does not recognise that children have rights independent of their parents.”

Yeah, and maybe there is a reason the United States hasn’t signed on to that convention. It avoids having the state appoint a pro death attorney to oppose the parents’ wishes.

Look, none of us, most especially those of us without expertise, and full knowledge have a complete understanding here. It’s quite possible that, objectively, it would be better for the parents to let him go. But you know, it’s not my decision, it’s not your decision, most assuredly it is none of the state’s business, especially a state like the UK that encourages mothers to commit abortion for almost no reason at all. It is, as it has always been, the parents’ responsibility. And they want to continue treatment.

In an article on The Conservative Woman yesterday about this matter, a friend of mine commented.

A source close to the parents told The Daily Telegraph: “The family find it astonishing that the quango that appointed the barrister to act in the interests of Charlie Gard is the chairman of Compassion in Dying, the sister body of Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

This is part of a comment I made on that same article. I can’t improve on what I said there.

But the real point here is this. Whose child is it? Is he the parent’s child? Or is he the property of the state? That is the real determination to be made. If he belongs to his parent’s, they have a right to have him treated, at their own expense. If he is the property of the state, it has the right to deprive him of his life. It’s a very simple question, really, and a very serious one, for us all. Because it applies to us all.

Culture of Death, indeed.

Do also understand that in large measure, this case has been driven by the American right-to-life groups, who have done so much to point out the horrors of abortion as well. The British groups are getting on board, especially the truly conservative groups and Catholic ones, but the support for these parents has come overwhelmingly from the States. It is still another mainfestation of the healthy distrust of government that Americans feel, something our British cousins largely lack, to their detriment. They are learning, Brexit was a sign of that, but it will take time. Time Magazine, of all places, said this:

The twist in the legal case comes as a movement to bring Charlie to the U.S. has become an international campaign, bolstered by the involvement of conservative groups from the United States led by Catholics and evangelicals . Major attention on the case first picked up outside the U.K. when Pope Francis said in a Vatican statement that he was following the case “with affection and sadness” and prayed that Charlie’s parents’ “wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.”

The following day President Donald Trump tweeted to his 33.7 million followers that he would be “delighted” to help Charlie, and the saga reached an entirely new audience. Suddenly, the case of Charlie Gard was being discussed in churches and by socially conservative groups across the U.S. On July 6, the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Concerned Women of America and Americans United for Life — all socially conservative groups active in opposition to abortion — held a joint press conference in Washington D.C., where they announced the launch of a campaign to ‘Save Charlie Gard,’ including a petition and a “social media push” to raise awareness and support for Charlie and his parents.

“Who do we think we are [to] decide who gets to live and who doesn’t, whose life is valuable and whose is not?” Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, told attendees during the event. “This is way above our pay grade. This is a matter for God.”

And so it is.

 

The West is Best

Kurt Schlichter had a reminder and the reasons it is so for us the other day.

Let me throw down this marker: The West is superior to the rest of the world in every significant way, we should aggressively back our allies over our enemies, and the guiding principle of our foreign policy should always be America’s interests. No apologies. No equivocation. No doubt.

What are your questions?

Well, if you’re a normal American, you won’t have any questions – these truths are self-evident. But if you’re a progressive, you’re gonna have a little sissy snit fit like so many libs did in the wake of the President’s triumphant Warsaw speech. There’s one thing that always sets them off – uttering the truth/heresy that not only is Western civilization the best and most advanced culture in the history of humanity, but the United States of America is its greatest manifestation.

The immigrants and refugees get it. Which way are they always headed? North, to the comparative paradise of the Western world, or south, to the hellscape of the Third World? That’s a gimme. They are never headed south, and everyone knows it. Yet the left still insists that we stop believing our lying eyes and start believing the liberal Fifth Column of multicultural liars infesting America’s alleged elite.

Except our eyes aren’t lying, and now we have a President who won’t lie either. It makes them nuts.

Can you imagine Felonia von Pantsuit uttering the glorious words our Commander-In-Chief spoke to our steadfast, loyal Polish brothers-in-arms? No, she would have continued Obama’s despicable sellout of these sturdy heroes, leaving them to the mercy of her reset buddy Vlad.

I served with the Poles overseas. To get those hardcore boys cheering, you gotta bring your A game. They cheered Trump. And naturally the libs lost their collective mind. […]

Back home, everyone’s favorite Islamic radical apologist and Democrat idol Linda Sansour was flapping her lie hole again, this time declaring that #TheResistance was part and parcel of jihad. That’s sort of true, since jihad and liberalism share in common the fact that they are both practiced by cowardly buffoons who hate normal Americans. One murders its victims itself, while the other outsources to the media the programming of half-wit Maddow fans to try – ineptly – to do their murdering for them. […]

That’s why they hated Donald Trump’s stirring defense of Western civilization and of the United States. They hate America, and what it stands for. Just ask them. They’ll often drop their weasel words and hedging to tell you so explicitly, assuming they think no one normal is listening. […]

Perhaps that’s Trump’s greatest sin in the eyes of the left. He actually loves the United States, and acts like it.

There’s more at the above link, which you should read. Unusually for Schlicter, his qualifier ‘perhaps’ in that last sentence is unrequired. It seems pretty obvious to me that it is the simple truth. One cannot both love the United States, either as designed or as implemented, and be a leftist. They are diametrically opposed.

And until we proclaim it loud, rowdy, and proud, we’re going to at best hold our own. Holding our own isn’t good enough, though. Part of being an American (or yes, even of the West) is in General Patton’s words, “There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.”

And make no mistake, this is a war, fought not with weapons on a battlefield but with words, in other fora, but a war nonetheless. And how do we keep up the skeer? We start by remembering something else General Patton told us.

Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.

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