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22 March 2013


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The issue here is the potential gas reserves in the Levant Basin. Will America, Europe or Russia control them?

Cyprus is a pawn in this game as is Syria. as is Greece.

Russia has Europe by the balls through its natural gas supply. The Levant Basin offers Europe a way out of this crush.

William RAISER

Pat, Side comment that doesn't need publishing. Good post.

At least from me, your blog now begins with "Drinking the Coolaid", which has stayed for several days as other comments get added below, and doesn't have your books.


William raiser

I noticed that and intend for it to tor remain that way until Monday. pl

William R. Cumming

This is a long comment that I wrote while thinking again about PL's wonderful "Drinking The Kool-Aid"!Further thoughts on that original most excellent analysis by PL!

I may have to split this comment in two do to computer issues.

I am just finishing up Naomi Walford's translation from the French of Rene Grousset's classic "The Empire of the Steppes-A History of Central Asia"!

I must admit that while still largely ignorant of that history and MENA's history the book has changed my perspective to some degree about Central Asia and MENA.

I believe Secretary Kerry is intelligent even though a dillentante in both lifestyle and personal choices and policy choices. Perhaps he fancies himself a polymath.

I also know that most of the Cold War Soviet Specialists [I would single out Condi Rice] were largely ignorant of the non-Russiane ethnic components of the Soviet Union.Even now how many in STATE, or CIA, or DoD could name the 82 members of the Russian Federation.

Perhaps OIL and Israel were largely responsible for most of the US interest in MENA and Central Asia.

To be continued!

William R. Cumming

Continued comment:

Disclosure: I had a minor at Lehigh U. in Bethlehem PA in IR. My guru was Aurie Dunlap, PhD, a true expert on dissecting the foreign policy of the Soviet Union even post Stalin. And I was on active duty as a missle officer [Pershing] during the late 60's. Don't pretent much current IR or military expertise however. So here goes!

That Cold War history and immediate post-Cold War history is now largely behind the US and the US desperately needs a totally new foreign policy for most of the Russian Federation, Central Asia and MENA.

What should that policy review consist of and who should lead it?

To be continued!

William R. Cumming


Personally I believe most of the Washington officialdom and Think Tanks might well be left off but could certainly review and comment on the end effort! Why?


William R. Cumming


It seems clear to me that in waging war and peace those DC based groupshave by almost any coherent nonpartisan standard of review almost totally failed for the last several decades into doing the extremely hard and difficult work to find out what the Russian Federation, Central Asians and MENA and other areas of concern are driven by other than the ugly and almost incomprehensible
"if not my friend my enemy" approach.


William R. Cumming


It seems also clear IMO [and not clear why it has taken so long] that the US can only conclude that the EU will drag down the USA if not into the civil and World Wars of the 20th Century, into finanical and cultural oblivion to support their drive to be the world's premier cafe lifestyle society while not contributing many solutions to the world's problems.

Ron Paul failed in his efforts to see the US Federal Reserve audited but many think it bailed out the EU banks in the Trillions, and continues to do so.

And of course behind all of this is "German Uber Alles" and that peculiar national personality. I will always wonder what the freedom from Italian dominance accomplished by Martin Luther would have wrought historically if he had not been a violent anti-semite.

If Western Civilization [should this be labeled "Christendom"?] is to survive it will not be with a Europe that is still largely suicidal and even genocidal.


William R. Cumming


Perhaps this century will see the world divided into several ruling condominiums.Perhaps driven by economics and perhaps not.

Perhaps STATEHOOD in the USA for the components of Great Britain that are English speaking. Perhaps Canadian Provinces also.

And it is clear that the Norther States of Mexico and even Cuba may well be positioning for STATEHOOD this century.

History has not ended.

-End of Comment-



Interesting.... Col Lang over the history of this blog has over and over again has rightly asserted that peoples outside the US do not want to be a part of or to be recreated as American. For that to be so, every human on the planet would be walking around with an american soul yearning for liberation and "freedom".

I can assure you that the overwhelming masses of Canadian citizenry have zero desire to become states withing the US Federal Union. Canada is a mature country with an ever strengthening sense of self. Closely aligned politically and culturally, sure. No North American Anschluss in the tea leaves however.

stanley henning

The Iraq war and our time in Afghanistan have not resulted in meaningful outcomes for America nor would involvement in Syria. The real threat will remain in groups and individuals. We cannot remake these countries, but must remain alert to the relevant groups and individuals.


Astounding- O'Hanlon seeks to arm the rebels, even though he concedes Islamist fanatics would rule Syria afterwards.
He, despite claims to the contra now, was a big cheerleader for the war in Iraq. Why should anyone listen to him now?

William R. Cumming

505PIR! Like the failed Airmobile Division concept the loss of over 8,000 helicopters in RVN put paid to that idea.
Canadians and USA are in fact one country but both delude themselves that somehow they are independent of the other.

Economics, languages, and culture are largely the same.

Let's set Quebec free so that part of what is called CANADA can evolve into part of FRANCE that those in the USA don't have to cross an ocean to visit.

Time will tell.

Did you know that the border became clear and guarded to prevent Canadian citizens from fleeing to the USA to avoid the draft in WWI? Before that the border was almost completely open.

The melting of the glaciers is a simile for Canadian and USA melting together.



"the failed Airmobile Division concept the loss of over 8,000 helicopters in RVN put paid to that idea. " I don't agree. the two airmobile dicvisions were very effective. Strategic bombing lost 28,000 killed in the 8th Air force alone. was strategic bombing a failure in WW2? pl

William R. Cumming

Actually PL the official "Allied Bombing Survey" concluded the answer to your question was largely YES!

Aerial envelopment where are you now in the world's armies?

William R. Cumming

Correction: I believe the study was the "Strategic Bombing Survey"!

NAZI documents and Allied post WWII studies revealed that German war production increased until October 1944.



"It seems also clear IMO [and not clear why it has taken so long] that the US can only conclude that the EU will drag down the USA if not into the civil and World Wars of the 20th Century, into finanical and cultural oblivion to support their drive to be the world's premier cafe lifestyle society while not contributing many solutions to the world's problems."

I note from the above that you have drunk another flavour of Washington Kool Aid. The idea that it is the EU that is "dragging down" America is just laughable. The international financial and Banking community is just that - international. Plenty of Australian banks lost money in the GFC thanks to exposure to American securities as did European Banks and vice versa.

At least the EU is trying to confront and deal with its structural problems and come to terms with the reality that Greeks don't want to act like Germans. Since when has America even entertained the possibility that the rest of the world doesn't want to think and act like Americans?

As for "contributing" solutions to the worlds problems, like what? Invading Iraq and Afghanistan and now meddling in Syria? The European Union has long and bitter personal experience of what happens to people who "contribute" unwanted "solutions" to other peoples problems, starting with the Hohenzollern candidacy that started the Franco Prussian war, then the meddling in Serbia that started the First World War then the Lebensraum idea that started the second.

Perhaps when the major cities in America are in flames and every American family is weeping you will think about sitting and having a cup of coffee before embarking on the next great adventure.


Had we not done strategic bombing the 100,000 or so German AA guns and their crews would have been deployed elsewhere, along with all the Luftwaffe fighter forces. No one bombed US industries, had our enemies been able to do so our production choices and manpower utilization certainly would have been different.



I will leave an answer to TTG, nR and the gang. Seems to me that the 101st is still an airmobile division. i don't think you can make judgements like these of yours so easily. pl

Neil Richardson


On strategic bombing in WW2, I think we have to be careful about how to assess the impact. The strategic bombing doctrines of Britain and the United States were really products of interservice rivalry in both countries during the interwar period. In order to justify the creation or the existence of an independent air force, many of the theorists overpromised the war-winning potential of air power. Of course I do acknowledge that the majority of the advocates probably were true believers.

If the criterion of "success" is the ability to knock out a continental power like Germany, well then strategic bombing was a failure. However, I don't believe that should be the only method of assessment. First, the German economy was not on full war-footing until 1943 and there was a lot of headroom. That explains why the production increased after Speer took over despite the increased tempo of the bombing campaign.

Second, the USAAF had to adjust in identifying the pressure points of the German war economy (the RAF had pretty much stuck to countervalue targeting). Although Schweinfurt was a disastrous attempt in going after ball-bearings, the later targeting of POL production was correct as it hindered Nazi Germany's efforts in force regeneration. And 25 percent of all munitions production in 1943-44 were for antiaircraft artillery. About 30 percent of all artillery production had been AAA.

Third, the USAAF destroyed the Luftwaffe in early 1944 after the introduction of P-51s. The Big Week and other bomber offensives forced the Jagdwaffe to come up and fight. After May 1944, it no longer existed save a handful of top aces. Air superiority (if not supremacy) had to be one of the preconditions for Overlord. Also, the destruction of the Luftwaffe impacted the eastern front. The Luftwaffe ceded air supremacy to the Red Air Force before Bagration, because most of their strength was in the west by 1944. Both Gehlen and Rokossovskii cited this as the biggest reason for the Red Army's ability to achieve operational surprise. The strategic bombing campaign against Japan was very successful after LeMay took over. It's tough to separate out the impact of the submarine warfare from the combined air offensives. However, the Japanese had a choice of either starving to death or getting fire bombed to extinction had the United States decided to forego the invasion and the use of atomic bombs.

The Twisted Genius


The 101st is still an air assault division with four infantry BCTs and two aviation brigades. The Sabalausky Air Assault School at Fort Campbell is still churning out graduates as is the air assault schools at Fort Drum and Schofield Barracks. The last division sized air assault operation we conducted was in Desert Storm. There have been many much smaller air assaults in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The "airmobile division concept" or more properly the air assault concept is certainly not a failure. We still organize for it, equip for it and train for it. I certainly don't doubt the loss of 8,000 during the Viet Nam war. It didn't take much to take those old observation and utility helicopters out of action. We ended up loosing a lot of equipment during that war.

Neil Richardson


"Aerial envelopment where are you now in the world's armies."

Air assault is a critical part of combined arms warfare. Without 101AB, I'm not sure if the VII Corps could've sustained its rate of advance in 1991 especially given the CG at the time. In Korea air assault capability is essential given the terrain.

Nasreddin Hodja


"the meddling in Serbia that started the First World War" - it was actually Serbia that meddled in Austria-Hungary. With the support of Russia, the Serbian secret service operated Black Hand (Crna Ruka), an underground terrorist organisation that committed diversion and acts of terror in the South of Austria-Hungary. Their aim was to "liberate" their Slavonic brothers from the "prison of nations", i.e. Austria Hungary, a kind of a precursor to the European Union.

Austria-Hungary's attack on Serbia in 1914 was their version of the USA's War on Terror. Their 9/11 was the assasination of the Archeduc in Sarajevo by a terrorist handled by the Serbian secret service.The Serbians agreed to comply with all points of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum - with the exception of one: they did not want to permit Austrian police to conduct investigations on Serbian territory. (As far as I know the Taliban also agreed to extradite OBL, with one condition: that they receive evidence about his partication in 9/11.)

Austria-Hungary had more reason to attack Serbia than did the USA to attack Iraq: the iraqi secret service did not support AQ, and Iraq did not threaten the integrity of the USA with the support of a powerful ally, say China.

The Southern Slavonic project - Yugoslavia - proved to be a fiasco.

Nasreddin Hodja


- the EU dragging down the US into the abyss of a cafe lifestyle society?
- Germany Uber Alles still behind all problems?
- Europe still suicidal and genocidal?

With all due respect, let us hope this is not the understanding of history that governs the actions of higher echelon US policymakers.

In any case, discounting Europe is premature; it's economy is larger than that of the USA, and Russia joining Europe (the Heartland, the nightmare of US geostrategic thinkers) is always in the cards.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Fred, Walrus, and PL! Your arguments always have merit but hopefully some of mine do also.

So FRED why do so many world wide want to come to the USA? Is it as I have often concluded that it is to be able to spoil their children and overindulge?

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