Voices from Russia

Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 December 2014. Yesterday was the “Angel Day” for All the Barbaras Out There

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.

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01k Angel Day

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Yesterday was the “angel day” (Name Day) for all the Barbaras in the world (I guess that includes me, too!). OOPS! I had a note to myself on my machine, but I had “writer’s block” big-time yesterday. I just couldn’t come up with anything. It happens sometimes… you just sit back, let it run its course, and things DO return to normal. I’ve gotten over it and I seem to be as full of P&V as always! It’s interesting… my angel day is 17 December and Nicky’s is 19 December (St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra)… there’s only two days difference. However, our birthdays are six months apart (mine is 8 April and Nicky’s is 16 October).

Raise a glass and cheer for all the Barbaras in the world. We emulate our heavenly exemplar, who’s the patron saint of miners and hard work… ponder that. Two years ago, I wrote:

St Barbara is venerated widely amongst our traditional parishes. Almost every old-school Russian Orthodox parish in America and Canada has an icon or stained glass window of her. That’s because she’s “the patroness of COAL MINERS and all who toil in the bowels of the Earth”. Many of our working-class forebears asked for, and received, her intercession and protection from harm. Have you noticed how, in certain quarters, she’s ignored and no longer honoured with liturgies on her day? Are some of us ashamed of the coal dust and sweat on their dede’s back? Are others so disdainful of the founders of our parishes that they deliberately turn a blind eye to Baba’s sacrifices? On top of that, do the half-converted Anglo new arrivals even consider these hard-scrabble “Polacks” and “Hunkies” worthy of respect (without the efforts of these solid working-class folk, there’d be no Church for these upper-middle “searchers” to come to)?

Three years ago, I wrote:

It’s why we have to continue the fight today. Our Orthodox forebears fought the good fight… it’s why our generation was blessed with prosperity. At present, the GOP and the teabaggers are trying to smash everything that our Orthodox grandparents won through a hard and arduous struggle. Don’t forget their legacy… it’s our past! Ask for St Barbara’s intercessions… she’ll point to our grandparents and say to us, “Do likewise”. That’s what we should do… it’s how we can honour not only their legacy, but Christ’s mandate to us to build a fair and just society. God wills it!

I haven’t changed my mind. Cheers to all of you!

Бог благословит!

BMD

A Colloquy on Scripture and the Church

00 Orthodox Bible image

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Editor:

My interlocutor is in plain type; I’m in italics and indented.

BMD

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Most likely, you use the Authorised Version. You’ll both find these sites to be amazingly helpful resources!

http://www.kjvtoday.com/

http://www.thekingsbible.com/

I’m trying to publicise these sites as much as possible. I can’t see how they’d find a “place” on your blog but perhaps you could send them around to Orthodox folks you know?

Of course… I use the KJV/AV in all my scripture quotes, as it’s the closest equivalent in English terms to the Russian of the Synodal Edition. I could post something… as part of one of my periodic “chats with readers”… I’m due for one…

It amazes me how many Christians hate the AV. Why? It goes like this:

Reformer:

Oh! I never use the KJV! I prefer modern translations. After all, they all say the same thing. There’s no place where the modern translations contradict any Christian dogma! (BTW: not true)

Traditionalist:

Oh! OK! Since there’s “no contradiction”, we’ll keep using the KJV.

Reformer: 

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yup. These sites expose the failings of the modern translations and support the AV’s validity. Did you know that St Kyrillos Lukaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, sent manuscripts to the AV translators? It has Orthodox roots! Kyrillos was Patriarch of Alexandria then. Alexandria glorified him as a saint in 2009 or thereabouts.

It’s the same argument used by those who want to drop Staroslav. I’d say that there’s less confusion than the intellectuals think. Firstly, the babas are NOT confused. Secondly, Staroslav is closer to modern Slavic languages than Old English is… for instance, some egghead idiots want to get rid of “zhivot”… well, the Modern Russian word for animal is “zhivotne” (“living thing”), so, I’d submit that the “confusion” is merely in the eyes of academic charlatans with a “reforming” itch… like the late Aleksandr Dmitryevich Schmemann!

Remember the “Reform” of Church Slavonic that everyone touted? You mentioned this on your blog. In time, the MP decided it was a waste of time. Obviously, some prissy “theological” types stirred a tempest in a teapot. Then, the Church looked to where the rubber met the road and dumped the whole idea. I’m sure that they’re writing tear-soaked epistles to Syosset…

I mean it…it’s time for Russian Orthodox people here in the diaspora to start seriously talking unity… it’s the only way that we’ll keep the feral in check. I’ll be blunt… I think that there’d be a “Rump OCA” after such a union… but the healthy parts would “come home”. It’s TIME… it’s time to overlook minor disagreements… we NEED to be together… that’s the lesson of the Ukrainian Civil War… the Ukies have unity, ergo their voice is heard. We’re shunted to the side… it’s our own fault!

However, you’re aware that Great Russian chauvinism is the curse of our unity? They disdain Rusins, Byelorussians, and Russophile Ukrainians and THAT has been the cause of our disunity. Don’t EVEN get the NEPA sorts started on THAT topic. “We’re ‘HIGH Russians’ and you people are ‘LOW Russians’. You’ll do as WE say”. UGH. Can you fight THAT?

Veliki Rus is the core of Holy Rus, but it isn’t the only part… Great Russia is the largest partner at table, but not the only one. God willing, “High Russians” like me can help move things right…

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I’m surprised that some elements in the Church use Evangelical distortions of Scripture. Such groups are only barely Christian (if they’re such at all)… not all those who say, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven… their ahistoricity and lack of a coherent liturgy, for me, put them outside of Christendom altogether. They’re pseudo-Christian sectarians, with no real and substantial ties to historical Christianity at all. Look at the Mormons, Pentecostalists, and megachurchers… to say the least, if we apply the standard of “lex orandi, lex credendi”, it’s clear that Evangelicals aren’t Christian at all. They have a bowdlerised distortion of the Holy Scriptures, no worship, no reverence, and no iconography… they’re closer to Muslims than they are to Christians (yet, look at how they HATE Muslims… when they’re closer to them than they are to REAL Christians). On top of that, they proselytise with vigour amongst our faithful… sane people don’t put an adder to their breasts!

We ordained far too many converts without insisting that they have sufficient time amongst us and without insisting that they pursue a FULL Orthodox clerical formation (that DOES take YEARS). Look at poseurs such as Josiah Trenham, and you can get a feel for what I’m saying. It’s coming home to haunt us. I fear that we’ll have a schism… either, we must recapture Orthodoxy in its fullness, or we’ll degenerate into “Evangelicals with a liturgical itch” (Fathausen was a sterling exemplar of such, with his signature on the Extreme Rightwing and Anti-Church “Manhattan Declaration”).

As always, the choice is yours…

BMD

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Russia Officially Gives Up Any Pretence of “Dialogue” with the Anglo Empire

00 There'll Always be a Russia. 12.08.14       

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The full address of President Putin to the Federal Assembly is now available online. Since this is a very long text, I won’t re-post it here. What I propose to do here is to bring to your attention four verbatim excerpts from his speech with some key segments in bold type. Most of the speech was on economic and internal matters, but I think that these four points and, especially, the expressions chosen by Putin really “tell the story” of the Kremlin’s position vis-à-vis the West nowadays.

1) Crimea is Russian forever

It was an event of special significance for the country and the people, because the Crimea is where our people live, and the peninsula is of strategic importance for Russia as the spiritual source of the development of a multifaceted but solid Russian nation and a centralised Russian state. Before bringing Christianity to Rus, Grand Prince Vladimir’s baptism was in the Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it. In addition to ethnic similarity, a common language, common elements of their material culture, a common territory, even though its borders weren’t marked then, and a nascent common economy and government, Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation. All of this allows us to say that the Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism. This is how we will always consider it. 

2) Russia will never become an EU colony

By the way, Russia has already made a major contribution to helping the Ukraine. Let me reiterate that Russian banks already invested some 25 billion USD (1.72 trillion Roubles. 155 billion Renminbi. 1.6 trillion INR. 29.1 billion CAD. 30.4 billion AUD. 20 billion Euros. 16 billion Pounds) in the Ukraine. Last year, the Finance Ministry extended a loan worth another 3 billion USD (203 billion Roubles. 18.6 billion Renminbi. 192 billion INR. 3.5 billion CAD. 3.65 billion AUD. 2.4 billion Euros. 1.9 billion UK Pounds). Gazprom provided another 5.5 billion USD (377 billion Roubles. 34 billion Renminbi. 352 billion INR. 6.4 billion CAD. 6.7 billion AUD. 4.4 billion Euros. 3.5 billion UK Pounds) to the Ukraine and even offered a discount that no one promised, requiring the country to pay 4.5 billion USD (309 billion Roubles. 28 billion Renminbi. 288 billion INR. 5.2 billion CAD. 5.5 billion AUD. 3.6 billion Euros. 2.9 billion UK Pounds). Add it all up and you get as much as 32.5-33.5 billion USD (2.2-2.27 trillion Roubles. 202-208 billion Renminbi. 2.1-2.14 trillion INR. 37.8-39 billion CAD. 39.5-40.8 billion AUD. 26-26.8 billion Euros. 20.7-21.3 billion UK Pounds) provided only recently. Of course, we have the right to ask questions. What was this Ukrainian tragedy for? Wasn’t it possible to settle all the issues, even disputed issues, through dialogue, within a legal framework and legitimately? However, now we’re being told that this was actually competent balanced politics that we should comply with unquestionably and blindfolded. This will never happen. If for some European countries national pride is a long-forgotten concept and sovereignty is too much of a luxury, true sovereignty for Russia is absolutely necessary for survival. 

3)  The Anglo Empire was Russia’s mortal enemy long before the Crimea

We remember well how and who, almost openly, supported separatism back then and even outright terrorism in Russia, referred to murderers, whose hands were stained with blood, none other than rebels and organised high-level receptions for them. These “rebels” showed up in Chechnya again. I’m sure the local guys, the local law enforcement authorities, will take proper care of them. They’re now working to eliminate another terrorist raid. Let’s support them. Let me reiterate, we remember high-level receptions for terrorists dubbed as fighters for freedom and democracy. Back then, we realised that the more ground we give and the more excuses we make, the more our opponents become brazen and the more cynical and aggressive their demeanour becomes. Despite our unprecedented openness back then and our willingness to coöperate in all, even the most sensitive issues, despite the fact that we considered… all of you are aware of this and remember it… our former adversaries as close friends and even allies, the support for separatism in Russia from across the pond, including information, political and financial support, and support provided by the special services… was absolutely obvious and left no doubt that they’d gladly let Russia follow the Yugoslav scenario of disintegration and dismemberment, with all the tragic fallout for the people of Russia. It didn’t work. We didn’t allow that to happen. Just as it didn’t work for Hitler with his people-hating ideas, who set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals. Everyone should remember how it ended.

4) No one will ever bully Russia

No one will ever attain military superiority over Russia. We have a modern and combat-ready army. As they now put it, a polite, but formidable army. We have the strength, will, and courage to protect our freedom. We’ll protect the diversity of the world. We’ll tell the truth to people abroad, so that everyone can see the real and not distorted and false image of Russia. We’ll actively promote business and humanitarian relations, as well as scientific, educational, and cultural relations. We’ll do this even if some governments attempt to create a new iron curtain around Russia. We’ll never enter the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion, and the search for enemies. All this is evidence of weakness, whilst we’re strong and confident.

In my opinion, what we’re seeing is a big “coming out”. For a variety of reasons, Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov chose not to say this kind of thing in the past, but for several months, we’ve seen a sense of utter disgust manifest itself more and more openly from Russia. Today, it finally truly came out in the open. It’s painfully clear that Russia considers the USA an arrogant bully that Russia can stop and that Russia considers the regimes in power in the EU as voiceless colonies. Equally clear is the fact that Russians are fed up with trying to plead or reason with anybody in the West. The Americans are too arrogant, the Europeans too spineless. Unlike the Americans, Russians always talk to their enemies and some form of “talking” with the West will continue. However, it’s rather obvious that the Kremlin has given up any hope of achieving anything through any kind of dialogue.  From now on, Russia will mostly rely on unilateral actions. Since Russians never threaten, these actions will always come as a shock and a surprise to the Western plutocracies.

I’ve said this many times… the Anglo Empire has launched a real war against Russia, one in which military forces are less important than the informational war, but a real war nonetheless. What the Empire probably didn’t realise, is that this wouldn’t be a short war, but a long one. Whilst the Empire has already used most of its weapons, the Russians have just begun their defensive operations. This will be a long war, and it’ll only end when one of the two sides basically breaks down and collapses. On 1 March of this year, I wrote a piece entitled Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine…now, Russia is ready for war. Russia didn’t want that war; it was imposed on her at a time when Russia wasn’t ready. Nevertheless, today, Putin informed us all that Russia refuses to submit, that she accepts the challenge, and that she’ll prevail.

4 December 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.br/2014/12/disgusted-russia-officially-gives-up.html

On the Brink of War and Economic Collapse

00 C'mon America. 15.06

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On occasion, a reader will ask if I can give readers some good news. The answer is, “Not unless I lie to you like ‘your’ government and the mainstream media do”. If you want faked “good news”, you need to retreat into The Matrix. In exchange for less stress and worry, they’ll lead you unknowingly into financial ruin and nuclear Armageddon. If you want forewarning, to possibly prepare yourself for what “your” government is bringing you, and have some small chance of redirecting the course of events, read and support this site. It’s your site. I already know these things. I write for you.

The neoconservatives, a small group of warmongers strongly allied with the military/industrial complex and Israel, gave us Granada and the Contra affair in Nicaragua. President Reagan fired them and prosecuted them, but Reagan’s successor, George H W Bush, later pardoned them. Ensconced in think-tanks, protected by Israeli and military/security complex money, the neocons re-emerged in the Clinton administration, where they engineered the breakup of Yugoslavia, the war against Serbia, and expanding NATO to Russia’s borders.

Neocons dominated the George W Bush régime. They controlled the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and much else. Neocons gave us 9/11 and its coverup, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the beginning of the destabilisation of Pakistan and Yemen, the US Africa Command, Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia, the demise of the anti-ABM Treaty, unconstitutional and illegal spying on American citizens without warrants, loss of constitutional protections, torture, and the unaccountability of the executive branch to law, Congress, and the judiciary. In short, the neocons laid the foundation for dictatorship and for World War III. The Obama régime held no one accountable for the crimes of the Bush régime, thus creating the precedent that the executive branch is above the law. Instead, the Obama régime prosecuted whistle-blowers who told the truth about government crimes.

Neocons remain very influential in the Obama régime. As examples, Obama appointed neocon Susan Rice as his National Security Advisor. Obama appointed neocon Samantha Power as American Ambassador to the United Nations. Obama appointed neocon Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State. Nuland’s office, working with the CIA and Washington-financed NGOs, organised the American coup in Ukraine. Neoconservatism is the only extant political ideology. The ideology is “America über alles”. Neocons believe that History chose the USA to exercise hegemony over the world, thereby making the USA “exceptional” and “indispensable”. Obama himself declared as much. This ideology gives neocons tremendous confidence and drive, just as Karl Marx’s conclusion that history chose the workers to be the ruling class gave early communists confidence and drive. This confidence and drive makes the neocons reckless.

To advance their agenda, neocons propagandise the populations of the USA and Washington’s vassal states. The presstitutes deliver the neocons’ lies to the unsuspecting public… Russia invaded and annexed Ukrainian provinces; Putin intends to reconstitute the Soviet Empire; Russia is a gangster state without democracy; Russia is a threat to the Baltics, Poland, and all of Europe, necessitating an American/NATO military buildup on Russia’s borders; we must militarily contain China, a Russian ally, with new American naval and air bases surrounding China and controlling Chinese sea lanes. The neocons and President Obama made it completely clear that the USA won’t accept Russia and China as sovereign countries with economic and foreign policies independent of the interests of Washington. Russia and China are acceptable only as vassal states, like the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia. Clearly, the neoconservative formula is a formula for the final war.

A handful of evil men and women ensconced in positions of power in Washington endanger all of humanity.

Anti-Russian propaganda has gone into high gear. Putin is the “new Hitler”. Daniel Zubov reports on a joint conference held by three American think-tanks. The conference blamed Russia for the failures of Washington’s foreign policy. Read this to see how neocons operate to control the explanations. Even Henry Kissinger is under attack for stating the obvious truth that Russia has a legitimate interest in the Ukraine, a land long part of Russia and in Russia’s legitimate sphere of influence. Since the Clinton régime, Washington has acted against Russian interests. In his forthcoming book, The Globalization of War: America’s Long War against Humanity, Professor Michel Chossudovsky presents a realistic appraisal of how close Washington brought the world to its demise in nuclear war. This passage is from the Preface:

The “globalisation of war” is a hegemonic project. The USA undertakes major military and covert intelligence operations simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and the Far East. The American military agenda combines both major theatre operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilising sovereign states. A global military agenda coördinates the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (USA-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, the Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We aren’t dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. Israeli forces undertook the July-August 2014 attack on Gaza in close consultation with the USA and NATO. In turn, the actions in the Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza.

In turn, military undertakings are closely coördinated with a process of economic warfare that consists in not only imposing sanctions on sovereign countries, but also in deliberate acts of destabilisation of financial and currency markets, to undermine their enemies’ national economies. The USA and its allies launched a military adventure that threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, American and NATO forces gather in Eastern Europe. American military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The USA and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”. In turn, they conduct military manoeuvres at Russia’s doorstep, which could lead to escalation. The American airstrikes initiated in September 2014 against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia. The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness… so is Russia.

As I’ve often remarked, Americans are an insouciant people. They’re simply unaware. Suppose they were aware, suppose that the entire population understood the peril, could we do anything, or have insouciant Americans fallen under the control of the police state that Washington created? I don’t think there’s much hope from the American people. The American people can’t tell genuine from fake leadership, and the ruling private élites won’t permit real leaders to emerge. Moreover, there’s no organised movement in opposition to the neocons.

The hope comes from outside the political system. The hope is that the House of Cards and rigged markets erected by policymakers for the benefit of the One Percent collapses. David Stockman regards this outcome as a highly likely one. The collapse that Stockman sees as being on its way is the same collapse about which I’ve warned. Moreover, the number of Black Swans that can originate collapse are even more numerous than the ones Stockman correctly identifies. Some financial organisations worry about a lack of liquidity in the fixed income (bonds) and derivatives markets. Barbara Novack, co-chairman of Black Rock, is lobbying hard for a derivatives bailout mechanism. David Stockman’s article is important. Read it until you understand it, and you’ll know more than most everyone.

Many will ask, “If the wealth of the One Percent is vulnerable to economic collapse, will war be initiated to protect this wealth and to blame the Russians or Chinese for the hardships that engulf the American population?“ My answer is that the kind of collapse that I expect, and that David Stockman and no doubt others expect, presents government with such social, political, and economic insecurity that organising for a major war would be impossible. Whereas the political impotence of the American people and the vassalage of the Western World impose no constraints on Washington, economic collapse would bring revolutions and the demise of the existing order. As hard as collapse would make it for people to survive, the chances for survival are higher than they’d be in a nuclear war.

12 December 2014

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts: Institute for Political Economy

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/12/12/brink-war-economic-collapse-paul-craig-roberts/

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00 Russia WILL Beat America. 06.10.12

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Editor:

The Pentagon plans to have forces for one major and one minor conflict at any given time. In other words, the USA is already overextended. Don’t attend to asshats like Stratfor… they aren’t an intelligence agency; they’re a commercial operation selling a product. Granted, it’s intellectual, not physical… but it’s no different from selling soap flakes or Big Macs. “Shadow CIA”… what a laugh! It lacks the technical means and HUMINT to be a serious intel player (it does tell you about depth of vacuity of Barron’s… they take these poseurs seriously).

The USA doesn’t have “overwhelming conventional force”. If it did, it would’ve invaded Syria, let alone Iran, Russia, and China. The US Army has 1.1 million troops in active and reserve components for all theatres and domestic use. Iran has 1.2 million active and reserve ground troops. China has 1.6 million active ground troops. Russia has 400,000 active troops in the army, not including internal/border troops and an unspecified number of reservists. In short, the US Army doesn’t have “overwhelming superiority”. Indeed, its probable opponents outnumber it almost three-to-one. THIS is why the neocons haven’t launched war against these three countries… the USA lacks the means, both financial and military to do so. That’s not even taking into account that the supplyheads in CONUS are thousands of kilometres away from any possible war-zone, which means that the USA has to send supplies to the deployed forces via an expensive and long logistics chain. Its opponents would be on home turf, simplifying their logistical situation. The Loss of Strength Gradient would kick in… the farther away the target of aggression, the less strength that’s available on the ground. That’s inexorable.

The only obvious superiority that the USA has is naval supremacy. All of its major conflicts since 1945 have been where it could deploy aircraft carrier groups off the enemy coast… except for Afghanistan. Note well that the Afghan War is going very poorly, indeed, no doubt because of that lack. In Korea, in Vietnam, in Panama, in Grenada, in Iraq (both 1990 and 2003), in Serbia, and in Libya, the US Navy was able to deploy aircraft carrier groups off the coast of the putative enemy. It’s impractical to deploy carriers in the Black Sea… ergo, the main advantage of the USA is knackered and kaput in any possible war in the Ukraine. Many targets in China and Iran are out of the combat radius of armed carrier aircraft. This is even truer of Russia. Carriers can’t operate in Northern waters or the Baltic, as well the Black Sea, and most sensitive Russian defence installations and industrial complexes are far beyond the radius of American carrier aircraft.

In short, the USA is a Gummi Löwe (Rubber Lion)… it no longer has the financial, human, military, or industrial base to wage a long and sustained conventional conflict. Don’t forget, the main cause of the 2008 meltdown was the unfunded warmaking of the Bush cabal. G W Bush recklessly gave away the store to the Affluent Effluent… and waged war at the same time. You do NOT cut taxes and wage war at the same time. That is proof that the Republican Party is the STUPID PARTY. Here’s the scary part… only one country in the world has used nuclear weapons in anger. What would the USA do if faced with a conventional loss (which is what would happen in any possible war in China, Russia, or Iran)? Need I continue?

The USA hasn’t faced a peer opponent since the Korean War (when it faced the VVS and PLA). That means that no one in the American forces has experience of fighting an opponent that has a serious chance of defeating the American forces. Do remember how the PLA humbled MacArthur and how the VVS drove the USAF B-29s out of the daylight skies. The neocons want to attack the same opponents who did well the last time that they faced Americans… fancy that. It doesn’t speak highly of Marco Rubio, Mittens Romney, Ted Cruz, et al, does it?

Think on that.

BMD

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