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Total number of comments: 240 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)


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  • Israeli Squatters chop down 50 Olive Trees in Palestinian Village (800,000 since 1967)
    • Israelis are indeed "arrogant, entitled, abusive, selfish and controlling, and play the victim at every turn," as well as being delusionally paranoid, BUT . . .

      their days of getting away with all that are coming to an end due to global power shifts and simple demographics.

      - Power is shifting away from countries that are somewhat positive to neutral about Israel (currently the US and parts of Europe) to countries that are mildly to very anti-Israel. There is nothing Israel can do to change this fact and no amount of "charm offensive" will endear them to the newly powerful nations. For example, China only wants to strip-mine Israel for intellectual property and once they have turned Israel into an intellectual husk, they do not care what happens to Israel and if it can help them get resources from the Arabs, the Chinese will gladly help behind the scenes to make the lives of Israelis terrible (especially if there is a nice profit for the Chinese)..
      - Supporters of Israel and the gullible that can be persuaded to believe Israel's myths, are rapidly dying off due to old age. The gullible include the Christian Zionist, whose churches are losing members at huge rates as their "true be;livers" die off and they can not get any of the under 40 crowd to listen. Multiple mega-churches in the US have already had to merge to survive.

      The bottom line is, although virtually no Israelis realize it, Israel's best days are behind it. As the US generation changes flow into the politics (it is happening, but mostly hidden by current events) and the US loses global power, there will come a day when the US not only will not protect Israel but will actively oppose Israel. And once Israel has lost the US, it will get that smirk knocked off their face.

      Israelis are NOT going to like their future and by the time they figure out 99% of the world is slightly;y to very negative toward Israel it will be too late to avoid the consequences of their behavior.

      I really wish Israelis would WAKE UP, but my experience with egotistical, arrogant bullies is they never wake up until they are brutally forced to.

  • Will the next Israeli Gov't be even more Far Right & Colonial?
    • From all appearances, most Israelis seem to be delusionally paranoid. That is, their world view is extremely distorted and full of irrational fear. If one looks at the range of Israeli media, there is no sane discussion about the real world and how Israel should interact with it.

      As a result, it is highly unlikely that any sane leadership is possible in Israel and Israel will continue on the path to their destruction

      The BASIC REALITY is:

      - Israel does not have a military advantage and can not continue to use force to get its way. The IDF can and will be humiliated and defeated if Israel keeps trying to use force. Remember that over the last 10000 years ALL armies have eventually suffered humiliating, total defeat - there is zero chance the IDF will be any different.

      - Basic game theory says Israel has ONLY three options going forward (1) DIVIDE the land and water fairly - Now TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to do without a massive civil war in Israel and the settlers have access to all the weapons the IDF has. (2) SHARE the land equally with every human a full citizen with full rights - This is what will most probably happen over the next few years - Israel will become a secular (non-religious) state with a slight Muslim majority - In other words, no longer Jewish. (3) A fight to the death between the Israelis and the Arabs - As I noted above the Arabs now have the ability to defeat the IDF and will do so if Israel tries to forcibly ethnically cleanse the area west of the Jordan River. Israel can no longer win a major war and once the population sees the IDF losing, over half the Israeli population will simply invoke their secondary citizenship and leave Israel. So if Israel wants to survive, it really has ONLY one long term option - SHARE.

      - Global demographics are against Israel - Most of the world population is under 40 and for them, Israel has been a major pain in the *ss their entire life. They have no emotional tie to Israel and often consider Israel to be a major global problem. This is just going to get much worse for Israel as the boomer population in the US and Europe dies off (currently at a rate of 2000+/day). Outside the US and EU, even the boomer population has neutral to negative feeling toward Israel. So, over the next 10 years as the generations change in the US and Europe, Israel is going to lose most of the support it currently has. Israelis will view this as the world becoming antisemitic when the reality is the guilt over the Holocaust will simply be disappearing and Israel will start to be treated like any other pain in the *ss country.

      - Global power is shifting back to China (For all but 200 years of the last 5000 years, China was a major regional power). As power shifts from the US to China, even if some Americans still support Israel, the US will not have the ability to help very much (and as I noted above, fewer and fewer Americans will even care to waste the power they have, to help Israel). Of course there is a lot of magical thinking in Israel that China will welcome Israel with open arms, which is completely void of any reality. Yes, China will be "friendly" to Israel for a while, but that is only so China can more easily strip-mine Israel for intellectual property. once Israel is a dry husk, China will simple throw it away. Israel has nothing that China can not easily duplicate and improve.. Best estimates are China graduates between 300000 and 500000 engineers per year. that is, every ten years, China graduates more engineers than Israel has in total population. And these engineers are no less intelligent than Israeli engineers.

      So the basic bottom line is unless Israel drastically changes its behavior, it very probably has a very bad future, BUT currently there does not appear to be anyone in Israel that understands this.

      As a result, Israel will continue on the path it is on, getting more and more paranoid and violent, until it finally loses everything.

      Of course, If israelis ever did understand how bad their behavior is and negotiated in good faith, after giving up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for their behavior for the last 100 years, they would find that working with the other nations of the ME, they could create a very nice iconic block that would be a viable trading partner with the rest of the world.

      I am not holding my breath.

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • In the real world, Israel's nukes are worthless for anything but committing suicide.

      Who is Israel going to nuke that would not cause Israel to (1) contaminate its own people, water and food sources, (2) have an economic meltdown in Israel when brutal sanctions were applied, or (3) cause it to be nuked in return?

      If Israel nukes one of the close countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, West bank or the Egyptian Sinai) , the very nature of nuclear air bursts means they will contaminate and probably kill some of their own population.

      If Israel nukes further out, they will either be hitting a country with nuclear bomb capability (UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and possibly several others including Saudi Arabia) or will be contaminating a country with nuclear bomb capability (see above plus the USA).

      Yes, any nuclear weapon exploded in the ME or Europe will contaminate US food production within a week - you are going to really like that radioactive food.

      Then, there is the "slight" problem that current atmospheric models have shown that nuclear air bursts over as few as FIVE cities could easily trigger Nuclear Winter where most humans would have the "fun" choice of dying of radiation poisoning, freezing the death or starving to death.

      Israel can not ever use any of its nukes for the same reason the US, Russia and China can not use any of their nukes - it would be suicidal, and I do not believe that most Israelis are suicidal. no matter their past history (Masada).

      A note about Saudi Arabia - It has been verified that Saudi Arabia has purchased multiple Chinese DF-21 solid fuel (quick launch) medium range missiles with an accuracy of 30 meters. Supposedly the missiles are equipped with conventional HE warheads, BUT . . . it is possible to remove the conventional warheads and replace them with nuclear warheads (China does this). Then there are the un-verified (but very credible) reports that Saudi Arabia has paid AQ Khan of Pakistan to design and build nuclear warheads for the DF-21. Some of the reports indicate that at least one of the warheads is complete, but no one seems to know WHERE it is. It could very easily have been transported to Saudi Arabia without media knowledge. For these reason, I count Saudi Arabia as a nuclear nation. I find it ironic that Saudi Arabia simply used its wealth to BUY its way to being a nuclear nation whereas Iran still isn't because they used their wealth to try to build the infrastructure internally.

      But the bottom line is no one (not even Israel) can actually use nukes without committing suicide. Nukes are the ultimate non-playable bluff.

  • Iran-Iraq War 2.0? Iran Flies bombing Raids on Extremists in Iraq
    • FYI - From my technology perspective, I think the Iranians have the better war toys strategy because reliable, decently capable war toys technology is so cheap these days.

      I think the US and Israel are fools to spend a single more dime on the F-35, when the money being spent could be used to upgrade the avionics on existing aircraft much more efficiently.

      I think that a few years down the road, both countries will deeply regret the huge pile of money they wasted on the F-35.

      I do not want Israel to attack anyone nor for it to be attacked, but I can see where they are short changing their future by continuing with the F-35. As Iran has shown, the money would be better spent on anti-aircraft type systems and better defensive weapons.

      BUT . . . in these days of very inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles, anti-missile systems are a waste of time and money. For every anti-missile that Israel can build, hundreds to thousands of attack missiles can be built. simple economics says that Israel can not win.

      As I have pointed out before, pretty much every nation on earth with the money and the will is equal to every other nation in terms of war toys and cannon fodder. It is no longer possible for wars to determine the outcome. That is, every situation MUST end in negotiation, not "victory."

    • Iraq has two major problems in its fight with ISIL:

      - lack of motivation by the Iraqi troops (although the threat to their families might change that).

      - Very poor military and political leadership (the same problem the US found in Vietnam and why North Vietnam eventually won after the US pulled out with its tail between its legs - invaders can't simply put good leadership in place, since good leadership will typically hate the invaders).

      Iran brings a much better military leadership to the situation and has a better ability than the US to improve the political leadership.

      The reality is Iraqi troops do ** NOT ** need anymore training but need much better leadership.

      Note that US military troops only get about 10 to 16 weeks of training (3 to 4 months) before being assigned to a combat group. Virtually all Iraqi troops have had much longer training periods and ISIL troops get much, much less training. With modern personal weapons (AK-47 or equivalent), not much basic training is needed. What the US teaches its troops is how to avoid ending up dead too quickly, whereas groups like ISIL just send the new cannon fodder right into battle where the quick learners survive and live to kill another day and the not so quick, end up dead to be replaced by more cannon fodder..

      This experience will help the Iranian military further improve their leadership, improve their ground forces and their air forces. Since Iran is NOT looking to control Iraq as an invader, it should also help improve the Iraqi military and leadership.

      Unfortunately for Bibi, this experience will make the Iranian military even better at defeating the IDF when Israel attacks. I wonder how long before the Israelis figure out Iran is NOT a nation they want to tangle with and learn to keep their mouths shut?

    • The F-4 was originally designed for carrier operations. As such, it is a darn rugged aircraft with a very reliable power-plant. Enough were made and sold world-wide there is still an OK parts supply. Since Iran has a good technical sector, it is not at all surprising that Iran has several hundred still in operation. Note that Iran has over 500 older, but reliable combat aircraft and three air tankers for inflight refueling. More than enough to attack ISIL.

      Note, for defense against US and/or Israeli attack, Iran plans to use its extensive and deadly multi-layer anti-aircraft network, not their older aircraft. Iran has long range S-400 equivalent anti-aircraft missiles, medium range hypersonic anti-aircraft missiles that are a hybrid of the best features of Russian, Chinese and Iranian design and short range MANPAD type missiles. Iran believes in the swarm technique of defense. That is, overload the defense features of the attackers and go for multiple possible kills. Iran has chosen to have lots of inexpensive, reliable and deadly missiles instead of using super high-tech stuff (which often fails in spectacular ways).

      "Fun fact" - during the Vietnam war, the USAF would try to recover all the F-4s that got shot down or damaged in any way and ship the pieces to Hill AFB in Utah. Every few months the technical crews at Hill would collect the pieces they needed to re-build an aircraft. After mixing and matching pieces, they would have a refurbished aircraft which would be test flown over the Utah desert then returned to the fleet with a new ID number (so the pilots would not know it was made from bits and pieces instead of the normal assembly line). The recycling helped keep the number of active aircraft in the range the war needed. The crew at Hill did a very good job and I do not know of any refurbished aircraft that had any structural failures (some did get shot down)..

  • Far-Right Israeli FM Lieberman: Offer Israeli Arabs Money to Move to [Non-Existent] Palestinian State
    • I find it ironic that Israel can not afford to sustain their military nor provide basic social services to non-settlers, yet somehow, it is going to come up with the money to convince Arabs to give up their homeland and move someplace they are not wanted. I can see the big IOU that Israel will try to give to the US to finance this little venture and also how few people will accept the "offer" (actually threat).

      My guess is Israelis are going to try every delusional fantasy they can come up with and fail miserably every time, before they finally hit the last brick wall and realize they can't have all the land and water and have to treat their neighbors better than they treat Jews.

      Unfortunately if they wait too long to try to get along with their neighbors, the Arabs will simply forcibly take back their land and water, driving all the Jews out of the mid east for another several thousand years.

      And before anyone pops up and says how the IDF can never be defeated, I would like to ask a simple question . . . over the last 10000 years how many armies have avoided complete, humiliating defeat? Hint: the number is zero. The IDF can and will be defeated if Israel does not figure out a way to get along with their neighbors.

  • Oil Price Fall: Saudi Arabia targets US Shale Oil, Iran, Iraq, Russia
    • Given the wealth of Saudi Arabia, they could easily have all internal energy usage to be non-petroleum well before 2030, BUT . . .

      Saudi Arabia has MAJOR social problems that will hold it back:

      - almost 60% of their human resources are not usable due to extreme religion. That is, almost none of the women nor the Shi'a men can have positions of leadership and contribution, thus wasting a huge part of their basic resources.

      - Many of the Sunni men have chosen to not actually participate in the economy, leaving most of the work to "hired hands." As a result, Saudi Arabia has not built a very big pool of capable, entrepreneurial leaders.

      If Saudi Arabia actually wanted to, it could easily build very large solar energy harvesting systems and use the energy to convert sea water into hydrogen which could be exported for use as portable energy. Or they could additionally invest in harvesting CO2 from the air and combining it with hydrogen and making artificial hydrocarbons. So far they are not doing anything major.

  • Iran: US War Hawks go on Offensive after Nuclear Energy Talk Deadlines are Postponed
    • There are several "slight" problems with a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran . .

      - Iran is a modern state with modern weapons, so the US will suffer major damage from any attack. It is very, very important to understand that Iran has been paranoid about a US invasion since 1979 and even more so after the US gave Saddam chemical WMDs during the Iraq war on Iran. As a result of that paranoia, Iran has carefully studied the US military weapons and tactics and set out to defeat the US at its own game. Iran has many layers of defense which will severely damage US attackers. An attack on Iran will cost the US a lot.

      - Iranians are substantially united in their support of the nuclear program and their resistance to US attacks. Unlike Iraq, which the British made up by lumping together three very diverse groups, Iran has been a mostly coherent nation state for thousands of years.

      The bottom line is attacking Iraq could very well completely end the USA empire, driving the US out of the ME and possibly most other parts of the globe as Americans recoil from the human and economic costs.

      As for Israel trying to grow their empire, that will unite the Sunni, Shi'a, Kurds, Persians and the rest of the ME like nothing else in the world.

      What Israel seems to be unable to understand is that every person on earth has access to the same personal weapons (AK-47 and equivalent) and the world is awash in "war toys" (missiles, etc.) equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. It is NOT 1967 any more and the war technology and information is vastly different these days. As such, Israel no longer has any conventional military advantage and if it uses WMDs, they will simply be committing suicide because the world will severely punish Israel for any use of WMD. Although Israelis like to think of themselves as powerful mega warriors, in reality Israel is a very small, almost powerless nation that can not survive if a majority of the world decides to punish it.

      While Israel will continue to rant and rave, in the end it is as powerless as the congress critters they own to actually do anything. More and more countries are seeing the Israeli oppression of Palestinians as more dangerous than Iran.

    • The simple reality is that eventually the Iranians are going to get so tired of the garbage from the US they will just tell the US "f*** it" and walk away. The Iranian government will tell their people they tried everything, but the Americans simply hate Iranians (and all the hate speech from congress critters just documents that very well). The Iranian government will then warn the population that the hatred is so strong in the US that an attack is very probable. At that point, the rest of the world will be scrambling to prevent war and will be very angry at the US and Israel. As the article notes, the existing third-party sanctions will disappear and congress critters will be even more angry at how impotent the US is.

      I think in the eyes of a significant part of the world, the US and Israel are the "bad guys" in this mess, not Iran.

      After the sanctions fall apart, congress critters will have no real options. War is extremely iffy and after initial heavy US losses, the American public will quickly lose any appetite for war, leaving congress critters far out on the limb.

      I think congress critters are going to soon find out just how powerless they are.

  • Top Five Washington Assumptions on Mideast that Are not True
    • REALITY, particularly long term rational thinking based on REALITY, is almost non-existent in most parts of the world.

      - Americans suffer from delusions of empires, while they fail at trying to keep the old British (ME), French (Vietnam & ME) and Spanish (Latin America) empires from completely de-colonizing and restructuring.

      - Israel is trying to replicate the failed colonial experiments of the old collapsed empires and can't figure out why the locals fiercely resist them. Israelis can not seem to understand that the locals have thousands of years of history and resent another bunch of European "crusader" invaders.

      - The Saudis may now understand they have made a "deal with the devil" by letting an extremely anti-human religious cult control the population, but they do not appear to know how to get rid of the religious nuts and move the country forward.

      And the list goes on with virtually no grouping of humans not suffering from massive delusions.

      A rational USA would tell most of the people on earth they are on their own and would return most of the US military might to the US.

  • Will GOP Congress block an Obama Iran Nuclear Deal?
    • In the long term it is to China's advantage to come up with an alternative to the US dollar. While China would like to control the base trading currency, they will settle for depriving the US of that power. It is important to remember that China's culture is over 5000 years old and they have had massive power for much of that time. They have learned a thing or two that the US has not even thought about yet, so it would be a mistake to discount China.

      As for money laundering, it simply makes all the US manipulation of the financial system worthless and ineffective.

      The bottom line I was trying to convey is while the congress critters can wastes hours of TV time spewing hot air, they will not be able to accomplish anything and some of the things they might try, would end up hurting the US far more than they will hurt Iran.

      basically the US has reached the limits of its power and life in Iran will get better each day no matter what the congress critters do short of war.

      While the congress critters can legally start a war anytime they want, the results of that war will very probably be extremely damaging to the US future.

    • While the congress critters keep rattling their paper sabre, in REALITY there is NOTHING they can do. The US has no other tools to use.

      - The US has already imposed all the direct sanctions it can on US and Iran trade, and Iran has successfully ignored them. Just this month, it was revealed that Iran successfully purchased four US made helicopters.

      - The US has already imposed all the third-party sanctions that other nations will allow and those sanctions are completely falling apart. Any attempt by congress to impose any further third-party sanctions will be met with very FIERCE opposition from every country on earth. Other countries will gleefully use congressional sanctions as an excuse to cripple US companies and remove them as competitors on the global stage (Hint: Germany is trying to cripple Google right now).

      - Money laundering is a hugely profitable business, so any attempt by congress critters to further restrict the global banking system will simply be ignored. Not only that but China wants to remove the US dollar as the global trading currency and any further meddling in global finance by the congress critters will just make China's job easier.

      The bottom line is the congress critters can rant and rave all they want and make all the threats they want, but their gun is out of bullets.

      I suspect that many in Iran realize the US has "shot its wad" and will bargain hard at the negotiating table. The US will NOT get anywhere close to what congress wants and the congress critters are going to have to swallow that bitter drink.

  • Two Different American Futures: With an Iran Deal & Without
    • Iran has been able to pull it off for several reasons:

      - Iran has a natural resource that earns them a nice profit to fund weapons development.

      - Iran has a highly educated population so they have the engineering talent to create new weapons and/or improve existing weapons. They have done such a good job of improving weapons that China has paid them for many of the improvements that Iranians have made to already good Chinese weapons.

      - Iran has completely re-though the concept of defensive weapons and developed a new tactical strategy that overwhelms the attacker with inexpensive but very reliable, deadly and accurate weapons. Wars simply cost Iran much less than the US. Iran gets much more "bang for the buck" than the US.

      - While the US spends trillions of dollars trying to create super weapons (and failing) Iran invests (a lot less) in improving what already works well.

      Now, no US blue water ship can get withing 500 miles of Iran without being in danger of being sunk. Nor can US aircraft fly over Iran without being in extreme danger of falling from the sky.

      The Iranian defensive weapons are formidable and deadly, which is why the US military has zero desire to attack Iran.

    • One slight "flaw" in Mr. Recknagel's article - The US has zero ability to keep the current third-party sanctions in place, let alone put any more in place.

      Right now the US is trying to pull three levers of power:

      - Direct US sanctions on Iran/US trade. These have been in place since 1979 and as the recent helicopter situation shows, are dubious at best.

      - Third-party sanctions where the US tries to keep other countries from trading with Iran. These are mostly gone by now and no more will be imposed because other nations gain more from trade with Iran than doing what the US wants. No matter how much the congress critters yell, they will simply be ignored.and if they try to punish other countries, the other countries will savagely punish US businesses like Google, HP, IBM, GE and the list goes on. The congress critters can NOT win this game.

      - Manipulation of the global finance system (SWIFT). This is being defeated by simple greed around the world since there is a very nice profit in laundering money for Iran. Also if the US goes any further, the US will just be helping China convince other countries to dump SWIFT and create a new banking system that the US can not control and abuse, while also conveniently for China, delegitimizing the US dollar.

      So the bottom line is if there is no agreement, there is nothing further the US can do besides lose another war in the middle east with massive loss of American lives and American wealth.

  • 3rd Possibility: Coming Civil War in West Bank/ Jerusalem?
    • I for one would be thrilled if the Israelis would wake up from their delusions and fairly negotiate with the Arabs. I do not want to see the destruction of Israel, BUT . . .

      I also know that based on 50000 years of human history that the path Israelis have CHOSEN (and they have a choice) is one that will lead to their destruction.

      In the long term, Israel can NOT win the game they are playing.

      If israelis really want to have a "Jewish" homeland that is "safe," it is very well documented what they will have to do . . .

      Give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for all their past actions.

      In other words, they will have to give up all their myths of superiority and their delusions and face the real world.

      The problem I see is the Israelis are so deep into their delusions, they will only spiral downward to the end.

    • Both aircraft and tanks are sitting ducks for modern weapons. The Iranians, Chinese and Russians have spent the last 50+ years coming up with many ways to make US and Israeli aircraft and tanks in to pieces of metal sculpture and all those weapons are readily available to all modern armies (they are a nice source of revenue for China and Russia).

      The bottom line, as I have tried to explain elsewhere, is the IDF is no where as "wonderful" as all he myths portray.

      There are very good technical reasons why the "powerful" US military LOST in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arabs learned a lot from the US defeats and will cheerfully apply the lessons on the IDF.

      There are also very good reasons why Israel no longer controls southern Lebanon and it isn't because they felt an obligation to return the land to Lebanon, but because they got driven out militarily. There is also a good reason why Israel abandoned Gaza, staying was too costly militarily (this is why all those saying Israel should retake Gaza are just having delusions - the IDF leadership knows how high the cost would be and Israel can not tolerate the very high cost).

    • ECM does not work very well when the aircraft is targeted by a swarm of self controlled missiles (real cheap to do these days with Android Linux running on cheap ARM single board computers). basically the days of expensive, high-tech aircraft are numbered.

    • Any viable plan will have to destroy many Israeli myths and dreams, which is why Israelis fight so hard against any viable plan.

      Dreams die hard and only after every delusion has been forcibly stripped away.

    • Keep in mind the Jordanian military has all the same weapons as Israel and is equally as trained. The only problem Jordan will have is they share a warfare philosophy with Israel and the US (lots of expensive war toys), but Jordan just may have allies that have lots of inexpensive weapons.

      After Israel starts their next big war, they are going to discover that a lot has changed since 1967 and they are going to have many very, very bad surprises.

      BUT . . . I think the IDF leadership very well understand that they no longer have military superiority, which is why there are indications the IDF is trying to rein-in the politicians. The rhetoric from the IDF is vastly different from the political rhetoric.

    • Reportedly, over half the Jewish Israelis are dual nationals, holding two passports (mostly US, European and Russian) . Often these people continue to have financial assets in their "former" country, so even if they have to flee Israel in a hurry, they will have a second home and resources.

      Keep in mind that Christian conservatives (and all religions) are a rapidly declining part of the American population (that is one of the reasons they are so vocal - they resent losing power), so they will lose the power to hurt the US over time.

      The US is stubbornly trying to continue the UK, French and Spanish empires. Just as the US has lost the fight in Asia (remember Vietnam) and most of the rest of the world, it will eventually admit to losing the ME also and quit fighting the Arabs and the Persians.

    • There are no "magic" weapons. Israel has no "secret super-duper stuff." All weapons are based on science and the science is very well known to everyone on earth. You name any "magic" weapon you think Israel may have and I will explain the science that says you are full of sh*t.

      Every nation on earth that is willing to spend a little money, can buy weapon systems equivalent or better than anything Israel has or will ever have.

      This is the basic problem Israel has, it no longer has any weapon superiority and in fact because of their warfare philosophy, they are actually behind many of their potential opponents. Israel (and the US) still relies on every expensive high-tech war toys, BUT many others have figured out that hundreds to thousands of inexpensive but reasonably deadly weapons work even better.

      As for WMDs (nuclear biological and chemical), Israel does indeed have those in large quantities, BUT if they use any of them, they will be, at a minimum, committing economic suicide and quite probably actual suicide. Those types of weapons can not be contained to a single area, but will spread over the earth causing massive hatred for Israel that not even the US will be able to protect Israel from. So yes Israel could kill lots of humans (far more than the Nazi did), but it would lead to their destruction.

      A majority of the US supporters of Israel are boomers who are dying off at a rate of over 2000/day - that is just how life and demographics work. Also, the number of fundamentalist Christians is rapidly declining as generational power shifts younger. A huge majority of Americans under 40 do NOT support Israel. Just as the republicans have a large looming demographic problem, so does Israel. While the present congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by Israel that will not continue.

      basically Israel is on the wrong end of a large cannon that will soon ruin their day.

      Past is not prolog, but general lessons from the past can provide insight.

      - ALL empires die (including the Israeli one)

      - All armies suffer a final .humiliating defeat. In the last 50000 years exactly ZERO armies have avoided massive defeat. The IDF will suffer the same defeat eventually.

      - Other than the European invasion of North America, the invaders are ALWAYS driven out or assimilated and israelis are invaders.

      Take an unbiased, long term view of history and you will be able to see all the MAJOR mistakes the Israeli are making and why the many myths about Israel are all wrong.

    • While the leaders of Saudi Arabia do indeed like their "wine, women and song" more than they want war, there are lots of very low cost ways to make very expensive aircraft fall from the sky.

      The Russian S-300/400/500 long range (200 KM) missile systems are especially deadly, particularly when they are fired in swarms. That is, firing multiple missiles at each aircraft from multiple launch systems. Virtually no aircraft can escape a swarm. There are hundreds of surplus S-300 systems available because Russia is now deploying S-400 systems and early S-500 systems. In addition, there are the Chinese and Iranian re-engineering of the S-300 (HQ-15) which is equivalent to the S-400.

      Then there are the medium range missile systems like the Russian Buk (recently used to bring down multiple aircraft in Ukraine) and the Chinese HQ-16B (which may be even more deadly) and the Iranian Ra'ad .

      And finally there are MANPADS (human launched small, fast missiles).

      Basically the world is awash in very, very deadly anti-aircraft systems that many countries have purchased and deployed (including Jordan and Egypt). Iran is especially deadly because they have all three layers (S-400 equivalent long range systems, the medium range Ra'ad, and lots of MANPADS). This is why the IDF and the USAF have zero desire to fly over Iran.

      When a country couples the firepower with things like passive radar (large numbers of emitters spread over a large area with a separate large "billboard" receiver array), even "stealth" aircraft are extremely vulnerable.

      And the economics heavily favor the missile folks. For the cost of a single aircraft and pilot, thousands of anti-aircraft missiles can be built, so even if the aircraft avoids one missile there will be many more to blow the aircraft from the sky.

      In the world of very low cost, reasonably accurate missiles and drones, aircraft and carriers are a huge, huge waste of money.

    • I do not think the Israelis would be successful trying to ethnically cleanse the Arabs and in fact could very well lose the war they started.

      Israel is NOT as militarily capable as the myths say.

      The Arabs currently have more than enough war toys, cannon fodder and leadership capability to defeat Israel. The ONLY thing keeping a lid on is the current leadership in the ME prefers to enjoy the benefits of living the high-life to a messy war.

      Once the Arab body count got high enough west of the Jordan River, Israel would be in the fight of their life.

      And Israel can not really count on the US to protect it forever. I suspect that if the polling groups asked honest questions about Israel, the Israelis would NOT like the answers. Questions like . . . Are you willing to have your kids killed for Israel?

      Israelis can not grasp that a majority of their US supporters are dying off at the rate of over 2000/day.

      Israelis are making a BIG mistake if they think they can ethnically cleanse the Arabs without losing everything.

      Note also if they do succeed in "transferring " all the Arabs, that just means all of Israel would be a free-fire-zone for the hundreds of thousands of inexpensive, but reasonably accurate and destructive missiles the Arabs have. And it would not take long for Israel's 400 or so aircraft to fall from the sky.

      When Israel ignites the next war, they are NOT going to like the result because it is not going to go the way they imagine.

  • Should Iran and the US accept a Good, but not perfect Nuclear Deal?
    • The problem is Iran has already tried to do the "purchase" thing. Both France and Russia took their money and promptly did not deliver.

      Iran has been screwed on so many LEGAL transactions with other countries they now want to fully control their own energy production.

      Also during the Iraq attack on Iran, Iran also got screwed on weapons purchases - again multiple countries took their money and did not deliver. This is why Iran has built a very viable weapons industry.

      Given how many times Iran has tried to "do the right thing" and has gotten screwed, how can anyone blame then for not trusting the "west?"

    • Actually the sanctions are temporary and are falling apart as we speak because there is a nice profit in smuggling and money laundering.

      I used to be the customer care manager for a hardware company and was quite surprised one day many years ago to get a phone call from a person asking for some help on our product. The surprise was because we did not export our product to China. It took me several weeks and lots of digging to discover that many more than one of our products were also in China because the product was a very good solution for a specific situation and the Chinese customers had simply purchased the hardware through a front company in Asia and arranged for our product to "magically" appear in their business in China. Smuggling and money laundering has been going on for thousands of years, so why would anyone expect the US third-party sanctions to survive in the real world?

  • Saudi Arabia at the G20: Is it waging Econ War on Iran, Russia and N. Dakota?
    • While the average cost of most US production is now quite high, the average production costs in Russia and Iran are much less than the US and only slightly more than Saudi Arabia. As a result, only the high cost producers (US & Canadian shale oil, deep ocean drilling, etc.) are hurt by the probably short term decline in prices.

      Note also the decline in demand is caused by continuing global economic problems, such as massive inequality of wealth. If countries were to strip the wealthy of part of their wealth and infuse that wealth into the general population, overall economic activity (and therefore oil prices) would increase. Yes, socialism is good for everyone, including the wealthy.

  • Stealth Drone Proliferation: Iranians Reverse engineer captured US Spy Drone
    • If Americans are foolish enough to waste trillions of their wealth on war toys, why shouldn't the rest of the world just "borrow" the technology?

      BTW - given the physics, chemistry and other scientific limits, there are really few possible alternatives to the designs, so it is perfectly reasonable that even independent designs will be very similar to US designs.

    • Iran has a strong high-tech sector and the wealth to finance it, so many other technological advances should be anticipated. Note that Iran has an entirely different warfare philosophy than the US and Israel. Instead of very, very expensive aircraft and pilots and other very expensive offensive weapons, Iran has focused on having lots of inexpensive, but reasonably effective and deadly defensive weapons. Even this stealth drone is defensive as it will be used by Iran to know more about its opponents (US, Israel and Saudi Arabia), rather than an attack weapon. If the US, Israel and/or Saudi Arabia start a war with Iran, I suspect they will receive some very unpleasant surprises and heavy defeats. Iran has been extremely paranoid about a US invasion for over 35 years and has expended a LOT of resources to make that invasion as painful as possible for the US. I think US military leadership understands just how dangerous it would be to attack Iran, but US politicians are not listening.

  • Top 5 Disasters If GOP Senate derails Iran talks
    • As i noted above, virtually all the sanctions will be gone by the end of 2014 no matter what the congress critters do.

      Basic commerce theory documents that blockade running and money laundering are very profitable for everyone concerned, especially since Iran has a valuable thing to sell and a huge market of over 75 million.

    • First of all, there is no such thing as "tactical nukes."

      ALL nuclear weapons function the same way. The only very slight difference is whether the nuclear weapon destroys hundreds of thousands of hectares or millions of hectares. So any use of a nuclear weapons will be catastrophic and contaminate all the land down-wind of the explosion. BTW - After less than a week, due to global winds, the US west coast agriculture would be contaminated. Of course US troops in Afghanistan and Japan will be contaminated much sooner.

      While Israel does have "smallish" nuclear weapons mounted on sub launched cruise missiles, the flying range is less than 500 KM, so the subs would have to be close to Iran.

      Iran will not back down - they will take the nuke attack and use the global outrage to make the US impotent and severely punish Israel. Israel will be forced to disarm.

      Note that If Israel uses a nuclear weapon, it will be committing, at the very least, economic suicide, but quite possibly literal suicide. Down-wind of Iran are THREE nuclear powers, all of which have the delivery systems to nuke Israel in return. None of the three are afraid of the US and all three will be extremely angry having their populations contaminated by Israel.

      BTW - Here is a "fun fact" for you - Per the latest simulations, as few as FIVE nuclear air bursts over medium sized cities would very likely cause Nuclear Winter where all humans on earth would have the "fun" choice of whether to freeze to death or starve to death.

    • The blockade hurts Iran less every day - There is huge profit in the smuggling trade and the money laundering trade (has been for thousands of years). Basic economics says that the world will profit from US ego-driven stupidity. Granted the situation with Cuba not so much, but Iran has resources that the rest of the world wants, so there is a lot of profit.

    • Netanyahu may huff and puff, but he has already been told by the IDF leadership that any Israeli attack would be a big failure where Israel might lose over half the aircraft in the attack (Israel has less than 500 active combat aircraft) and once the IDF air capability was reduced, it would be vulnerable to attack itself. Note also that Israel has no heavy bomber capability so its bombs would be completely ineffective against Iran's hardened sites. Then there is the HUGE problem of using nuclear weapons which would probably cause, at a minimum, huge economic damage to Israel if not physical damage from retaliation. Netanyahu hates that he is actually impotent, but there is nothing he can do except incite the congress critters in hopes they will be extremely stupid and ignore the US military.

    • While the congress critters may want to punish Iran in a fit of false superiority, I suspect that they will just get their egos heavily bruised because Iran is actually in a much stronger position than it was several years ago.

      - Iran's military has a formidable array of defensive weapons, many improvements on Chinese and Russian designs. In addition, thanks to the US and ISIL, the Iranian military leadership has lots of actual combat experience. Any attack on Iran would be very deadly for the attackers. An attack that did not put millions of US soldiers on the ground, would just wound Iran and make it more fearsome. Remember that Iran has been driven by two strains of paranoia for over 35 years . . . (1) the US will invade to put their own puppet back in power and (2) they must be self-sufficient in weapons design and manufacturing so they have all the weapons they need to defeat the US. MOST US military leaders know that without a massive US draft and trillions of dollars of funding, war with Iran is a guaranteed loser and they want no part of it..

      - While Iran is not getting the optimal price for their oil, they are making very reasonable profits that allow them to finance their country. Given that smuggling and circumventing trade restrictions has been a human endeavor for many thousands of years, as time goes on the US embargoes (both direct since 1979 and indirect) become completely ineffective. By the end of 2014, no matter what congress critters do, most existing embargoes will be meaningless and any embargoes congress critters try to enact, will be ignored. There is far too much profit for everyone involved with Iran trade for anything congress critters do, to matter.

      - Even if the congress critters try to further manipulate the global banking system, they will be thwarted because there are large profits to be made by helping Iran launder their global financial transactions and giving everyone involved reasonable deny-ability.

      So, I expect congress critters to rant and rave about Iran for months, but in the end they will not be able to actually do a single thing - no real financial damage to Iran and no military attack because the rest of the world does not care what congress critters rant about. And because of US intransigence, Iran just may decide to build nukes to keep the US congress subdued. Note that Iran could have easily paid Pakistan for nukes (like the Saudis) but wanted to build all the expertise in the country.

  • Israel Econ. Minister's West Bank annexation plan a wake up call for the West
    • Israel has, at the most, another 20 years.

      The global conditions are rapidly going negative for Israel:

      - The US is losing power to Asia (who do not care one bit about Israel other than to strip-mine it for intellectual property).

      - Israel has lost (and will NEVER regain) military superiority. The world is awash in war toys equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. There are no "magic" weapons. Also, the Persians have adopted a military philosophy of lots of inexpensive, but "good enough" weapons which easily trumps the Israeli (and US) philosophy of relatively small numbers of expensive high-tech stuff.

      - US supporters of Israel are a declining part of the US population. A large majority of the people born after the Vietnam war are neutral to negative about Israel and the older supporters are dying off (~2000/day).

      - The Arabs have had a "peace plan" on the table for over 10 years. Since it forces Israelis to give up most of their grand dreams (actually delusions), Israelis have chosen to ignore it.

      The bottom line is Israel can NOT win the next war and would be stupid to try (I think that most of the IDF leadership knows this reality, but NONE of the politicians appear to understand). Eventually, Israel will come under extreme economic stress due to isolation. As a result, the political leaders in Israel will eventually be forced to fall on their swords and make a deal with the Arabs which will make Israel give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for Israel's past actions.

      If Israelis were not so delusional, they would get a better deal today, but the political leaders are so craven and the population so delusional, the worse deal will not happen until all the dreams die.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu Is a National Security Risk—And Washington Knows It
    • While Bibi is a SHORT TERM "winner," he has Israel on a LONG TERM losing path. Many coming shifts in global power and demographics are going to cause future Israelis a LOT of very painful and possibly deadly problems.

      - Israel is no longer militarily superior. The world is awash in war toys equal to or better than Israel has or will ever have. Also many nations have realized that thousands of inexpensive weapons, completely trumps a few high-tech, very expensive weapons. For example, when anti-aircraft missiles are both inexpensive and reasonably accurate (as they are today), shooting multiple missiles at one high tech aircraft ensures the high-tech aircraft ends up in a flame ball. The multiple anti-aircraft missiles simply overwhelm the very expensive pilot and the aircraft defense systems. Note that Israel has, at the most, less than 3000 anti-missile projectiles, which means that even with 100% effectiveness (impossible), there would still be 47,000 to 100,000 enemy missiles landing on Israel destroying infrastructure and causing panic (that 50,000 to 100,00 number is from the IDF!)

      - Global demographics are against Israel. Globally a lot of humans were born about the same time as Israel and for 20 years they were fed a high concentration of the Israeli myth BS that most absorbed without question. BUT that generation is dying off and being replaced by humans born after the Vietnam war and many other terrible events..These later humans have no emotional attachment to Israel, ZERO. The humans under 40 have a strong skepticism about Israel and many view it as a trouble maker. As these people gain political power, Israel will have a much rougher future, even in the US.

      - Global shift in power. After 200 years of European and US suppression of Asia, once again Asia is re-taking its place on the global stage (most people do not realize that China has been a global power for most of its 5000 years of existence). The only thing Asia cares about Israel is to strip-mine it for intellectual property and then throw away the dead husk. Over a few years, China graduates more engineers than Israel has total population and those engineers are just as smart as Israeli engineers.. With the shift in power from the US and Europe to Asia, Israel loses even more in the process because Asians have ZERO need for Israel.

      The bottom line can be summed up . . "friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate." Israel is losing friends and creating enemies such that its future is very questionable.

      A REAL LEADER in Israel would give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for past behavior to put together a middle east economic block in partnership with the Arabs. The middle east has all the components to make a viable economic block similar to Europe, USA/Canada, Asia, etc:

      - Intellectual property capability in Israel and Iran

      - Wealth to fund development in Iran and Saudi Arabia and to a less extent Israel

      - Labor force throughout the region

      - Local consumers throughout the region. One of the things needed for a viable economic block is a robust local economy. Create products to sell in the region then export the surplus production for additional profit.

      Israelis need to understand that they are NOT a European country but a middle east country, just like Australians had to finally figure out that even though a majority of the population came from Europe, Australia is actually economically an Asian country.

      Short term thinking dominates in Israel and long term thinking is derided and delusion abounds.

    • Congress critters are easy to identify because they share many similar characteristics:

      - Extremely fearful of anything that moves, especially anything that would separate them from their luxurious lifestyle.

      - Complete lack of any capacity to think, let alone think rationally.

      - Herd mentality. That is, whatever BS they have been fed spreads throughout the herd almost immediately.

      - Lack of a BS detector -congress critters are unable to know when they are being buried in BS.

      - Belligerence - they always react to any perceived threat with extreme belligerence causing them to send their minions to die on their behalf.

      I wish I could say that congress critters are an evolutionary reaction to past congress occupants, but unfortunately 200 years of history shows that congress critters have been with us since day one. The only thing we can do is have a rational population that regularly severely punishes the most ugly of the congress critters.What has changed is the population has become much more irrational and un-thinking.

    • Bibi is going to be deeply disappointed with the congress critters on Iran. Other than declaring war on Iran, there is absolutely NOTHING the congress critters can do about Iran.

      (1) Direct sanctions on US/Iran trade were put in place in 1979 and are now totally worthless. There is nothing left that the congress critters can directly do to Iran.

      (2) Indirect, third-party sanctions on trade between other countries and Iran are falling apart and no matter what congress critter weep and wail about, the third-party sanctions will continue to disappear with no new ones put in place. Other countries just do NOT care what congress critters think. If congress critters try to enforce the third-party sanctions by punishing countries, the other countries will simply fiercely retaliate against US business interests. HP, Google, and a wide variety of US companies are extremely vulnerable to economic pressure. The big US companies will scream at congress critters when European, Middle East and Asian nations brutally retaliate.

      (3) Manipulation of the global banking system can not go any further without severely damaging the US dollar, especially when there is a nice profit in laundering money for Iran. Iran and its many trading partners have figured out ways around the US control of the SWIFT banking network since ALL countries deeply resent the US using a basic banking tool for political revenge. Right now, China is trying to get the rest of the world to drop the US dollar as the reserve currency and come up with a different way that avoids US control. The more the US tries to use the global banking system as a tool of political revenge, the better the Chinese proposal looks to an increasing number of countries. If the congress critters push any further, the rest of the world will simply build a banking system to compete with SWIFT that can not be controlled by the US. Once a sufficient number of countries move to the competing system, the US dollar is done for because for US companies to survive, they will need to move to the other banking system. US companies care more for high profits than anything congress critters want.

      (4) War - While, per the US Constitution, any congress critter can introduce a bill declaring war on Iran and a mere 67% of the congress critters can vote to do it over a POTUS veto, it is unlikely that any bill declaring war will be introduced and even if one were to reach the floor of the Senate and House, that it would not pass because American voters would skin alive any congress critter that voted for it. Americans are in no mood for a war, especially one that would be so devastating to the US economy. While the PR machines could try to convince the public that war with Iran would be"painless," I do not think the public would fall for it after the sad experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, this is why the congress critters are loath to have any vote about what to do with ISIL

      I think, in the end, the US will get the best deal it can with Iran, the congress critters will waste hours of talking head time on TV and Bibi will have to rant but do nothing, because the IDF leadership has already been told him the IDF can NOT do anything to Iran, only the US military has enough cannon fodder and war toys to waste in a needless war with Iran. Any Israeli attack on Iran would devastate the IDF and possibly cause Israel permanent harm or even end the state.

      Basically, Iran has checkmated Bibi and it is all over except the ineffective shouting.

      BTW - After Bibi loses the Iran fight, Israel will probably be in even worse shape vis-a-vis the US public. It appears that Israelis have not figured out (or do not want to believe) that, just like the republicans, have a demographic and age problem, so does Israel. As the boomers die off, Israel is losing support that no amount of PR can fix.

  • EU Foreign Affairs Head: A Palestinian State or Endless Conflict
    • The conflict will not be endless.

      Right now the Arabs have the capacity to destroy Israel, but the existing Arab "leaders" much prefer their luxurious lives to the deprivation of war, so they have kept a lid on the populations. BUT . . .

      Over time the de-colonization of the Arab counties will take place and the current leaders will be replaced by leaders that are more in tune with the populations.

      On top of that, Israelis have shown a remarkable inability to avoid doing the exact things that most inflame their opponents.

      As a result, eventually there will be a mid east war that will destroy Israel.

      At the end of the war, most Jewish people will have left the middle east and those that remain will simply live as a minority in Arab countries. There will be no massive attempt to "kill all the Jews." this is a Jewish paranoid delusion.

  • When will US admit Boots on Ground in Iraq (3000 Troops)?
    • There were three anglo-afghan wars (1843, 1879 & 1919) during which the Brits were only able to achieve partial control after the second war and suffered major losses in all three wars. All of which still begs the question, after a long history of people, INCLUDING the US colonials, of defeating supposedly much better military WITHOUT formal training, HOW exactly is US training going to make any difference against ISIL if the locals do not care enough to fight. Note that the Kurd are doing OK against ISIL even though they are severely handicapped by Turkey and are not getting adequate supplies from the US. The difference is the Kurds care about remaining independent. If Obama had any balls, he would strong arm Turkey big time to get the Kurds every modern weapon they wanted including short range missiles. Kurds will fight (without "training") whereas the Iraqi Shia and Sunni are wimps when it comes to fighting ISIL. Nothing the US can do will transplant a backbone into the Iraqis.

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    • Heard an interesting question the other night . . .

      - Who is "training" the very successful ISIL fighters?

      Which echos the questions:

      - Who "trained" the Vietnamese fighters that successfully defeated the USA?

      - Who "trained" the Afghan fighters that successfully defeated the Brits - THREE TIMES?

      - Who "trained" the Afghan fighters that successfully defeated the USSR?

      - Who "trained" the Afghan fighters that successfully defeated the USA?

      The basic reality is, if the Iraqis need "training," they have no capacity to avoid losing and the US should simply watch them lose and deal with ISIL on a political basis, because once they have to actually govern, they will change their behavior.

      ISIL is a gang of thugs, but if the locals do not have the will power to kill them, why should Americans try to kill them.

      If Obama thinks that the US should send its cannon fodder to the Mid east again, then he needs a clean declaration of war from congress just as the Constitution demands, so the American public knows exactly which congress critters voted to be to skinned alive (voted for war)..

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • Every time McCain opens his mouth, he should be reminded that he is a US Senator and has the express right, under the US Constitution, to propose a bill declaring war any time he wants to. All he has to do is copy one of the previous war declaration bills (or use my outline below) and throw it into the hopper and have his fellow congress critter vote on it. If a majority agrees, then we are legally and unambiguously off to the races.

      Until McCain is willing to put forth a war bill, he should be told to shut up and the media should ignore him. If he does not have the guts to put forth a bill, he is just a worthless bag of hot air.

      I expect that any war declaration bill would have several parts:

      - Declaration of war naming who our latest victim is (this shouldn't be all that hard since we do it all the time).

      - FULL funding for all the cannon fodder, war toys and long, long term veterans medical and benefits. If we are going to war, lets be up front about the cost.

      - Universal draft - EVERY 19 to 25 year old human in the USA would be drafted with NO EXCEPTIONS for religion, education, family situation, gender or wealth. if we are going to war, every 19 year old should have an equal opportunity to be killed or maimed. The more rich, white boys and girls that get killed the shorter (and less expensive) the war.

      - Tax increases comparable to WW2 taxes so the war is funded real time instead of running up the debt. If we can't have debt to ensure old people have a decent life (SSA), we sure can't have debt to pay for wars.

      So there it is for senator McCain - the outline of a simple war bill - he should just fill in the details and submit it to congress instead of filling TV with hot air.

  • Amid Jerusalem Clashes, Israeli Housing Minister Claims al-Aqsa Site, Declaring War on 1.5 bn Muslims
    • Delusional fantasies blind Israelis to the HARSH REALITY that 5 million Israeli Jews have ZERO chance against even a fraction of the almost 2 BILLION Muslims. Unfortunately once the war starts, ALL Jewish people regardless whether they are Israeli, American, Canadian or wherever they reside, will have a huge target on their back. If the Israeli Jews want to ignite another massive persecution of Jews, they are doing everything possible to make it happen. The Israeli government needs to shut down the Jewish extremist very quickly before they start a war Israel can NOT possibly win because contrary to Israeli myths, the Arabs and Muslims are vastly more powerful that in the past.

  • The momentum to recognize a Palestinian State is unstoppable
    • It is unlikely that Israel has even another 10 years before it is forcibly dismantled. Although many still believe the myths of the "mighty Israelis warrior," the hard truth is Israel is trying to paddle up the waterfall with an obsolete paddle There are several unstoppable trends that mean that either Israel will negotiate a FAIR agreement within the next few years or it will have a fair agreement forcibly imposed on it shortly thereafter.

      (1) The Israelis supporters outside Israel are literally dying off - that is they are growing very old and the replacement humans have zero sympathy for Israel. This is happening all over the globe. Even in the US, the generation change is happening and soon not even the congress critters will stay bought.

      (2) The world is awash in weapons equal to any weapon Israel has or will ever have. In fact, many nations (Iran, China, etc.) have invented whole new methods of warfare that almost ensure an Israeli defeat. Tens of thousands of low cost, reasonably accurate missiles easily trump very expensive aircraft and pilots and very expensive anti-missile systems. Also, now every soldier has automatic weapons (per CJ Chivers there are well over 100 million AK-47 and equivalent weapons on earth with thousands more being made each and every day). Tom Friedman is very, very correct that the world is flat when it comes to technology and that also applies to war technology.

      (3) After Israel loses the USA, no other country on earth will protect Israel because it is no value to any other country. Israel has no natural resources and only a miniscule part of its intellectual property is unique and all intellectual property can easily be stolen or revere-engineered.

      There are many other reasons why Israel has no future, but unfortunately, Israelis are so delusionally deep into their myths, they have no ability to understand just how bad their future will be if they don't make the best deal they can today.

      The MAJOR problem in Israel today is there is NO ONE with the political clout and military power to make Israelis understand just how limited their future will be if they continue on the same path. Israelis are quite simply walking blindly over the cliff.

  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them
    • You missed the point.

      Regardless how a person dies really does not matter. People in the west put far too much thinking into the method of death like it really matters.

      Regardless whether a person is tortured over weeks or dies with a quick snap of the neck, they are DEAD and feel nothing.

      When we try to imagine the death process, we are just injecting our own fears onto a perfectly natural process that happens to EVERY HUMAN.

      I know I will eventually die and once I die, that will be the end. I do not worry about the process, because it will end and then I will not care.

      The point is, the method of dying DOES NOT MATTER and people should NOT get all freaked out about it and do stupid irrational things.

    • ISIL beheads people because it freaks out Americans for some totally irrational reason.

      Remember that the guillotine was considered a "humane" way to kill a human, so why is a knife any worse? Humans have killed other humans in far more painful ways for thousands of centuries (remember the Aztecs?).

      It is long past time for people to understand that the method of a person's death really does not matter because regardless of the method, the person is dead.

      I know it sounds cruel to dismiss an individual death, but in a world where we regularly kill tens of thousands, why does a single death matter to the general population? Sure it matters to the persons close friends and relatives, but why should anyone else care? We all have deaths in our circle of friends and family (so far I have lost parents, a wife, a brother and multiple friends - I miss them, but have no anger over it).

      So why get upset by the death of a single person we do not ahve a close connection to?

      And even worse, why should the death of a few individuals cause a nation to do so much harm to itself?

      It is time to have a better perspective on the deaths happening in the ME. Yes they are sad, but no cause for the US to spend treasure (which we do not have) and blood.

      As a few lonely voices have said, if ISIL is so bad, then it is time for the Saudis , Jordanians, Iraqis and the rest in the ME to spend their treasure and blood to defeat ISIL, NOT the US.

      We should just ignore ISISL

  • Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian grape vines as Israel Steals More Land
    • What do Israelis think these actions will accomplish?

      Do they really think 6 million people can tell 7 BILLION people to just go f*** themselves without any consequences?

      Lets say that Israelis get their deepest wish and they succeed in driving all the Arabs from the land between the Jordan River and the Med Sea, Then what?

      Do they really think that will end it?

      Do Israelis think they can have an armed fortress that will make them safe forever?

      If they think that, they are totally delusional. The history of mankind has shown, REPEATEDLY, that all fortresses eventually get destroyed and all the people inside end up dead.

      No group of humans can exist in isolation, especially not Israelis. Israel is NOT self sufficient in food or energy, but if it angers enough of the other humans on earth (which it would do by ethnically cleansing the WB and Gaza), it will become unlivable.

      The path Israel is on is self-destructive and I can not understand WHY no one in Israel can understand this. What is the deep psychological problem they have that causes their delusions?

      Based on 50,000 years of human behavior, I am pretty sure I know where this ends and it is not where Israelis think it will.

      They had better hope there really is a "god" because they are going to need lots of consoling when their world falls apart.

  • Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers
    • I agree that there have been lots of stupid near misses where mankind has narrowly avoided destroying the northern hemisphere (There is very little land mass in the southern hemisphere and most likely it will not get directly nuked, so it may survive a little).

      On the other hand, I have to believe that the people that directly control all the nukes are not suicidal nor crazy..

      But the bottom line is, per the latest climate studies, it could take nuclear air bursts over as few as FIVE cities to trigger Nuclear Winter, so that we have the choice of starving to death, freezing to death or dieing of radiation poisoning.

      Since Israeli seem to be especially stupid, paranoid and delusional, I can NOT provide any assurance they won't let a crazy person near the nukes.

      All we can do is hope.

    • Right now, the focus of all the groups in the ME is to consolidate power. Once the power structures in the Muslim ME are sorted out, then Israel will be the deer in the headlights.

      A consolidated, resorted Muslim ME that is not controlled by any extremal power (US, UK, Russia, China or whoever) is the worst thing Israelis can imagine. Once the Muslim ME is independent of external control and reasonably OK with each other, Israel will be in a completely untenable position without sufficient resources (cannon fodder, war toys and cash) to sustain a war and it can not "win" in any sense of the word.

      Th basic problem is Israelis invaded the wrong place. The empires were crumbling and over time would be unwilling to protect Israel and at the same time, the ME was starting the process of decolonization. As time goes on, a weak Israel will be surrounded by powerful, angry people.

      Sure the decolonization process is ugly, but in the end it will be very good for the people in the ME (except for Israel).

      Watch this space.

    • Ah yes, the "Samson Option," Which will get every Jewish Person on earth killed.

      In the real world, Israel losing its last war would be no different from most of the other countries that have lost wars over the last 10,000 years. As the situation deteriorated, most Israelis would simply flee. Any that stayed would just end up living as a minority in an Arab country, which Jews have done for thousands of years.

      Other than a SMALL number of humans that are clearly identifiable, no humans on earth want to kill all (or even a large number) of the Jews. While the winning Arabs would probably kill any Israelis that continued to resist, just like all winning armies, the Israelis that surrendered would be treated OK.

      In other words, the end of Israel is NOT a reason to have another Masada.

    • What you are seeing is a restructuring caused by a huge power vacuum in the middle east. Most of the "leaders" in the middle east are vastly out of sync with their populations and are doing nothing to try to fix that. As a result, fanatical groups like ISIS can find fertile ground for their causes.

      In Saudi Arabia for example, a small group of very wealthy men are oppressing a huge population of non-wealthy men and women. This is why Al Qaida started in Saudi Arabia.

      In most of the countries in the ME there are similar situations. Even in Jordan, the King is vastly out of sync with his population but is trying to have a smooth transition of power to minimize the chance of war with Israel.

      This is the LONG TERM problem Israel has, eventually the Arab/Persian power structures will get sorted out, just like Europe, the Americas and Asia eventually sorted things out.

      Once the Arab/Persian power structures are sorted out, then the entire region will focus on Israel and Israel does not have the resources to win that war, especially since the US will be reluctant to oppose the entire ME.

      In reality, Israel is NOT capable of "handling any spillage," especially against a foe that has modern weapons. Israel has no "magic" weapons and all its weapons are vulnerable to modern counter-weapons. Note that the US is reluctant to fly over Syria because Syria has some formidable anti-aircraft weapons. Israel would face the same problem.

      The latest Gaza war has caused Israel enormous economic harm and a fight with ISIS would be even more damaging. Depending on what weapons ISIS captures, it could easily target Ben Gurion Airport where it would only take one commercial aircraft being blown up to stop all air traffic into/out of Israel.

      Your optimism about Israel's future is misplaced and slightly delusional.

    • UN peacekeepers can not be effective because they have light weapons and very restrictive rules of engagement. UN peacekeepers are only effective when the two sides they are keeping apart are willing to respect the UN.

      Notice how the UN was unable to protect Gazans because Israel has no respect for the UN (or any other humans for that matter).

      Bibi knows the UN can't protect Israel from ISIS and the situation on the Golan is definitely worrying.

    • Who can Israel nuke without causing its own end?

      If Israel nukes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank or the Sinai, they will effectively be nuking themselves. That is, the "by products" of the aerial nuclear blasts would contaminate Israel and its food sources. No one likes to eat radioactive food. Of course it would also pretty much shut down all exports because people really fear radiation.

      If Israel nukes Europe or Russia, then they will get nuked in return because France, the UK and Russia are all very capable of eliminating Israel and would have no problem telling the US to shut up and sit down.

      How about Saudi Arabia? I am firmly convinced that the Saudis already have at least one nuclear warhead mounted on a Chinese DF-21 solid fuel MRBM. If it was attacked, it would retaliate. But even if the Saudis didn't retaliate, the 1.5 BILLION Muslims would consider an attack on their holy shrines unforgivable and would try to kill every Jewish person they could get their hands on and Israel would cease to exist. 6 million Jewish people in Israel are no match for 1.5 BILLION very angry people. No government leader is going to side with Israel. The US might even have to quickly throw Israel overboard.

      Then there is Iraq and Iran, neither of which have nuclear weapons, BUT downwind of those countries are US soldiers in Afghanistan, Pakistan with nuclear weapons, India with nuclear weapons and China with nuclear weapons. China, India and Pakistan will not be very happy getting their people and food sources contaminated and have no problem telling the US to shut up and sit down.

      The bottom line is Israel can not nuke anyone without effectively committing suicide.

  • The new Jewish exodus: Emigrating Israelis replaced by European Jewry
    • Note that because of Israel's choice to not get along with their neighbors, the economy in Israel is having major problems right now. The Israel central bank just lowered their interest rate to 0.25% in an attempt to avoid a recession.

      Note that if Hamas is successful in blowing up just one airliner sitting empty on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion airport Israel's economy will crater.

      Israel is caught in their own trap. If they don't open up Gaza and stop the war, the Israeli economy will go into a tailspin, but if they open up Gaza, they will have lost politically.

      Over the long term, as I noted, I think Israel will lose a generation to better lives in other parts of the globe.

      While Israel talks about the number of people still moving to Israel, in reality those numbers are very, very small and most of the people are NOT in the productive ages.

      I suspect that the economy is what will end Israel not warfare.

    • Over long periods of history, humans have always fled conflict zones. It is a matter of how they view the conflict where they are and how relatively "safe" (in their mind) the place where they want to go is.

      For many Israeli in the 20/30/40 age range, there are often many possibilities to work outside Israel on a "green card" basis and often after a period of time, they can even get citizenship.

      As the ME area becomes more unstable and Europe becomes less friendly, I suspect that many younger Israelis will opt to work in the US or Asia where their talents are wanted and discrimination is somewhat low. Note that in Asia, they will have some discrimination, but not because they are Jews, but because they are not Asian (all non-Asians get that).

      While there is discrimination in Europe, it is no where near the past and is never likely to get as bad as under the Nazis. To think otherwise is just delusional paranoia.

      My best guess is that over the next few years as conditions deteriorate, Israel will have a net loss of Jewish population. That is, the young that can easily leave will do so, leaving an older, more religious and less educated population with higher levels of irrational paranoia.

      Note that without the young, Israel will have a less capable military and less cannon fodder.

  • Gaza needs UN Peacekeepers, Now! How to Break the Israel/Palestine Stalemate
    • You might want to review the last 100 years. Even if Gaza was completely defenseless, Israel would still find an excuse to brutally oppress the people of Gaza because Israel wants the land and the Arabs gone.

      In fact, I am thinking more and more that Israel's real goal is to drive the people of Gaza south into Egypt and stick Egypt with the problem (and Al-Sisi is so paranoid about the Muslim Brotherhood, he is helping Israel achieve its goal).

      As for Abbas, how much longer will he live? I am not talking about him being killed, but natural death. The again, being killed is a very high probability. .Once he is gone, the power struggle will be over who can actually deliver salvation for the Palestinians and Hamas has a better reputation than Fatah.

      Hamas is NOT the problem. The problem is Israeli oppression and greed. Fatah has FAILED for 65 years. Even if Hamas were to "magically" disappear, do you really think Fatah would take its place? Or would Hamas be replaced by an even more militant group? Remember that "moderates" have achieved less than zero.

      Israel has actually facilitated its own doom by treating Abbas like a sock puppet. When Abbas is gone, things will just get worse for Israel. Israel will not get any better deal than they can get today.

      Instead of focusing on Hamas, look at the long term power dynamics and social trends. Hamas is not the problem - Israel is the problem.

  • Failed US War on Terror resulted from bizarre search for Moderate Jihadis
    • @rbtl - How would we know?

      Actually, we do know that China has delivered solid fuel DF-21 MRBM to the Saudis. These missiles can be launched in several minutes and have a large payload capacity.

      - We also know that the Saudis have paid AQ Khan's group to build them nuclear warheads. Now that AQ Khan has the recipe down, it is a matter of cranking them out on an assembly line.

      What is not publicly known at this point is whether AQ Khan has actually delivered the warheads to the Saudis. Most think they are still in Pakistan, but I think that at least one is in Saudi Arabia because while the Saudis are paranoid about Iran, they also do not trust Israel or the US. When you might have only one chance to punch back, it had better be a good one.

      I also do not think that the US or Israel would ever admit that the Saudis got a nuke because it makes their positions very untenable with respect to Iran and the whole IAEA thing.

    • The US could and should walk away from the ME.

      There are very VALID reason why there are no "moderates" in Islam. Why should there be any "moderates" considering how badly the Europeans and Americans have treated Muslims (all 1.5 Billion - almost 25% of the earth's population)? Basically the UK, France, US and Israel have been brutally oppressing Muslims for over 100 years and they are angry about that.

      If you were treated like the UK, France, US and Israel treat Muslims, you would be angry also.

      If you want "moderate" Muslims, then quit beating up on them, give them back their land, water and oil and give them a chance to finally get rid of the colonial puppets and sort out the power structures and country borders. Sure it will be messy, but so was the sorting that took place in Europe (remember the 100 years wars, WW1 and WW2?) and Asia (over 5000 years of wars). Heck, even the US had a civil war to sort out the power structures and borders. Until; most people are happy with the power structures and borders there will be armed conflict. Once the angry folks are minimized, marginalized and contained, you will have your moderates. Until most people are happy, there will be wars. and right now there are thousands of scores to settle because the Europeans and Americans have brutally tried to keep the lid on for far too long.

      As for Iran eventually getting nukes, I am not at all worried considering that Pakistan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the US, Russia, UK, France, NK, China. and who knows who else already have nukes (AQ Khan has been a busy little boy). One more nuclear nation will not make any difference, especially since nukes are ONLY good for one thing - Committing suicide. That is, the first nation to use nukes will get nuked in retaliation and if we are lucky it will stop after the first bad guy ceases to exist.

      But then again, current climate studies have shown that nuclear air bursts over as few as FIVE major cities could trigger nuclear winter (solving global warming).

      Energy self sufficiency in the US is actually very easy within a short time with current technology. The ONLY thing stopping the US is lack of political will. Keep in mind that US culture is such that NOTHING is every done until there is a huge crisis and then only the cheapest, quickest, slap-dash thing that can be done to kick the can down the road is done because "independent," "non-socialist" Americans can't have no "national energy and industrial policy" that makes some people uncomfortable. That is the major flaw of the US political system and why the "socialist" Europeans and Chinese will be energy self sufficient long before the US. All the technology we need exists, we just need to spend the cash and implement it.

    • @JT - the primary urges of the groups you mention are:

      - wealth accumulation

      - power accumulation

      Even for the dumbest of the bunch, it should be fairly obvious that the old interests are no longer viable. Then there is the generation thing. As the old greed mongers die off, the younger greed mongers will have a different world view and as we all know the young are always sure they know so much better than the old so they always do things differently.

      As the ww2 and boomer generations die off, I will not be too surprised if the younger greed mongers, make different tragic mistakes.

    • Fungible - A very important word for you to know.

      It does not matter where the US physically gets its oil because ALL oil, regardless where it is pumped from the ground, is priced on a GLOBAL market.

      That is, the old oil being pumped in Texas and California is sold for almost the same price as Montana oil and almost the same as Saudi oil.

      Currently, the global oil production and global oil demand are closely matched and there is NO SPARE PRODUCTION CAPACITY. The good news is global demand has somewhat leveled off, but the bad news is production has also leveled off.

      Over the next decade, even with fracking and all the other questionable technology we will use to wring the last drop of oil form the ground, total global oil production will not increase very much, if at all.

      The bottom line (as they say in business) is that any decrease in oil production, no matter what the cause, will severely impact ALL MANKIND.

      Right now, ISIS wants the money from oil production to fund their religious crusade, but once they start to lose, they may decide to have a scorched earth policy, which is why we need to stop them now.

    • The BEST solution would be a massive project to get the US off hydrocarbon energy as quickly as possible (safe nuclear, wind, geothermal, solar, etc). The KEY problem the US has, is having enough inexpensive energy to sustain the US lifestyle. .

      If the US was energy self-sufficient then the US could just walk away from the ME and let them fight it out until they got tired of killing each other. Sure that would probably mean the end of Israel and re-drawing of lots of national boundaries, but that is just what happens when empires end. Europe, the US , Asia and most other parts of the world have already gone through this, so it is time for the ME to settle centuries old differences once and for all.

      The next best solution is to use drones and stealth activities to kill the financial, political, religious and military leadership of the radical Islamist organizations. This would mean openly killing a significant number of Saudis and Pakistanis because the "governments" in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are too weak to deal with the massive internal problems they have that allow the radical Islamist to survive..

      The US would also have to directly take on Israel and its genocidal agenda. The best thing for the future of the US is to make Israel a lot smaller, less powerful and with no nuclear weapons.

      Of course, at the same time, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would also have to be denuclearized.

      Basically the US would need to re-evaluate every global relationship and would probably find that most of them no longer serve the needs of the US and should be heavily modified or ended. Virtually NONE of the decisions made after WW2 are valid any longer, but even though they damage the future of the US, we are reluctant to fix the problems because we might "offend" someone (that probably is just sucking at our marrow and needs to be removed).

      The US has far too much inertia and "bad thinking" to make the necessary changes.

  • Is Israel De-Industrializing Gaza?
    • Is it possible that Israel's goal is to make the people in Gaza so desperate they will blow the walls on the Egyptian border and flee in mass into Egypt? Al-Sisi's irrational hatred of Hamas, may cause him to end up with him responsible for all the humans in Gaza or would he simply kill the millions of humans fleeing Israel's oppression?

      Given the massive destruction of basic infrastructure, diseases such as cholera are very possible, leading to massive deaths.

      What does Israel hope to achieve?

      Right now Egypt and Saudi Arabia leaders are siding with Israel out of fear of being forcibly removed, but if there is massive starvation, disease or a mass refuge situation with Gaza, how will the leaders of Egypt and/or Saudi Arabia survive the backlash?

      I do not see this ending well for Israel, Abbas, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. I suspect Al-Sisi is going to deeply regret his deal with the devil called Israel.

  • 6 Things To Know If Police Stop You In The US
    • All well and good, EXCEPT, most police have no clue to the actual laws. During a interaction with a citizen, often the police officer is amped up on Adrenalin, testosterone and tons of prejudices.

      While you may eventually get a settlement forma law suit, the reality is you could also be very dead or disabled by that time.

      In the real world, there are no limits on police and after the fact they will lie and coverup even the most terrible behavior.

  • After its Failed Gaza Campaign, What next for Israel?
    • I do not think Israel could over-run Gaza in a few days for some simple reasons:

      - There is too much rubble in the way, blocking APCs and tanks, making the APCs and tanks easy targets.

      - Hamas fighters will have lots of cover to kill Israeli soldiers that are not in APCs.

      - Over a million non-combatants in the way. Unlike in Faluja, where the US simply channeled the civilians out into refugee camps in the desert, there is nowhere for the civilians in Gaza to go. They can't go east or north into Israel (although it might be a real quandary for Israel if a million people simply marched on Israel) . They can't go south into Egypt (although that may be exactly what the Israelis want - dump them on Al-Sisi). They can't go west into the Med Sea. All the civilians can do is die in place in large numbers and gum up the works.

      So while Israel could re-occupy Gaza, it would take months and would probably lead to dead counts in the hundreds of thousands.

      Then the day after comes, when Israel has to retain control of Gaza (not an easy task after killing so many people) and clean up the huge mess they had created and deal with the international aftermath, while dealing with a ruined Israeli economy.

      The bottom line is while Israel COULD eventually re-occupy Gaza, the cost just might be the end of Israel.

      The REALITY is there is no way for Israel to "win" the conflict with the Arabs in the long term. No matter what they do, eventually the Arabs will be powerful enough to hand Israel a humiliating and total defeat.

      Today Israel has only two choices:

      - negotiate a reasonable future for a much smaller, less powerful Israel, or

      - fight to the end and lose everything.

  • Need for Tough Love: Defending the Gaza Assault Hurts Israeli, American Interests
    • In the real world, nuclear weapons are only good for one thing:

      - Committing suicide

      Any country that uses nuclear weapons will get nuked in return by at least one other nation and in the case of Israel it would not take many nukes to eliminate the entire country..

      Then there is the "slight" problem of "byproducts" of any nuclear air burst.

      - If Israel nukes a country they share a border with (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine or the Sinai) they will just be nuking themselves. That is , the byproducts will contaminate Israelis, their water sources and their food sources..

      - If Israel nukes further out (Iran, Turkey or Iraq), they will be contaminating all the countries down-wind, some of which are nuclear nations with the ability to nuke Israel in return (India, Pakistan and China).

      - Nuking Saudi Arabia would cause two problems. First, it is very probable that the Saudis already have nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them. Unlike the Iranians that want to be self-sufficient and know the entire process, the Saudis simply used their wealth to buy modern solid fuel DF-21 MRBM from China and nuclear warheads form AQ Khan. The US CIA probably knows for sure if the warheads have been delivered (the MRBM have been delivered), but no one in the US wants to publicly acknowledge that the Saudis have joined the "club."

      The second problem with nuking Saudi Arabia is over 25% of the humans on earth would immediately hate every Jewish person on earth, regardless whether they were Israelis or not.

      - Europe also has several nuclear powers that would have no problem nuking Israel in return for any attack on Europe.

      Note that NONE of the nuclear countries are afraid of the US and would have no problem telling the US to shut up and sit down if Israel used their nukes. When Americans faced the prospect of dying for Israel, they would gladly back down and let the Israelis take their poison

      Israel's nukes are worthless and will not stop them from being attacked., nor prevent their defeat.

      And just to be clear, suicide is definitely a defeat.

  • Gaza and the struggle for Palestine: the 1930s
    • Israelis might want to consider that exactly ZERO belligerent groups of humans has ever avoided humiliating defeat in the last 10,000 years. "Might makes right" is ALWAYS a short term advantage because there is always a bigger group with bigger clubs ready and willing to defeat the belligerent group causing trouble.

      Israelis are delusional if they think the Arabs will never have the capability to destroy Israel, because eventually the Arabs will have the power and the will to destroy Israel and drive the Israelis back into the diaspora.

      Israel as it is currently constituted is a temporary phenomenon.

  • Israel can't Afford to Lose Jews Like Me
    • The myth of Israeli human resources.

      Lets make some approximations . . . Out of the 7 million humans in Israel, lets assume there are 5 million usable brains (removing the very old, the very young, any oppressed humans, etc.). Like all humans, the Israeli humans mostly fall into the very narrow range of "average" on the intelligence scale because research shows that the range of human intelligence is actually very narrow with the numbers on the low and high sides being almost negligible.

      Now.lets look at China with its population of 1.4 BILLION. Again, since some of the brains are not usable, lets round to 1 billion for the number of usable brains. As with Israel, the Chinese brains will mostly fall into the narrow range of average brains.

      Doing some simple math shows that for every Israeli brain there are 200 Chinese brains of equal capacity. Then when you throw in the Indian, European and US brains, it becomes very obvious, Israel really has no real human resources at all. Anything Israelis can think up, others can also think up and probably make for a lot less cost.

      The HARD REALITY that virtually all Israelis refuse to face is Israel is completely dependent on the rest of the world for their food, energy and markets. They like to think they are so intelligent and so self-sufficient that they can simply ignore the rest of the world, but the REALITY is vastly different.

      If the Israeli actually had half the brains they think they have, they would realize that the Mid East is a vastly under-developed economic zone that, if they were not such bad neighbors, could be very good for them. The global REALITY is China, Japan and Korea are going to dominate in Asia and can out think and out produce for vastly lower costs than Israel. The European zone is going to be closed to Israel more each day, as will the US. Just as with Asia, Africa and Latin America want to focus on home industries (they are sooo over colonial powers).

      This leave only one untapped economic zone - the Middle east, where all the other economic zones are going to try to keep in their influence. Because the US has protected Israel, the US has a huge disadvantage, as does Europe due to past colonial problems. This means Asia will probably dominate the ME because Israel has shunned it.

      As Asia becomes entrenched in the ME economically, the US loses power, and Europeans shun Israel, Israel is going to have a very bad economic future.

      And remember that 5 million usable Israeli brains? Guess where they will be using those brains as Israel loses economic power? Since Jewish people can live in most of the world just fine, all those valuable brains are going to go where they can live in peace and comfort.

      As the author notes, no one in Israel is thinking beyond the end of their nose. No one seems to understand the very bad corner they have painted themselves into and no one in Israel seems to want to hear the ugly truth about their future.

      If Israel continues on its current path (very likely), they are going to become increasingly isolated and poorer. Since they seem oblivious to the severe damage they are doing to themselves by their very bad behavior, they will probably try to blame the other 6.99 billion people on earth for being "antisemitic.".

  • The Israeli assault has caused $150 million damage to Gaza food industry
    • Eventually, Israel’s orgy of death and destruction will decrease to a slow boil, with Gaza being left an uninhabitable hell-scape where:

      - Most of the energy infrastructure is severely damaged or destroyed.

      - Most of the water infrastructure is severely damaged or destroyed.

      - Most of the sanitation infrastructure is severely damaged or destroyed.

      - Large amounts of the housing infrastructure is severely damaged or destroyed.

      - Most of the medical infrastructure is unusable, severely damaged or destroyed.

      - As the article noted, most of the local manufacturing infrastructure is unusable, severely damaged or destroyed.

      In other words, all of the “stuff” needed for humans to survive will be missing

      Added to this mix is the well documented problem that when humans are highly stressed emotionally and physically, disease increases dramatically. Very quickly, Israel could have a massive disease problem just a few kilometers away. While it would be a PR nightmare for Israel, it would also be a massive public health problem for Israelis themselves because it might not take much for the disease to jump into Israel, no matter how “tight” the borders are (carrier rodents don’t care about border fences).

      So what happens next?

      To make Gaza even minimally habitable, will require massive amounts of money, material, engineering resources, labor and TIME.

      - Given the past performance, it is very unlikely that there will be any real cash available to rebuild Gaza. Sure, there will be lots of verbal pledges, but in the REAL WORLD, very few will actually deliver. The Saudis are particularly mean this way.

      - Even if some cash can be found, without an independent entry point not controlled by Israel or Egypt, very little of the necessary material will actually be delivered. The US has no political will to force Israel and Egypt neither to let the materials through nor to force open an independent port.

      The bottom line is Gaza is a hell-scape with no future because of Israeli desire to keep it a hell-scape.

      My challenge to Dr. Cole and his readers is given the reality, what should be done?

  • Impeachment is a Cash Cow (Colbert Report)
    • It appears that over 80% of Americans have zero idea about how the impeachment process actually works. Most Americans have no idea the impeachment process has two parts.

      I keep seeing indications that most people think that all the House has to do is pass a "bill of impeachment" and everything is done. In REALITY, a "bill of impeachment does NOTHING. Essentially it is just like a grand jury indictment which says that the grand jury thinks that maybe the prosecutor should convene a trial.

      The "trial" has to take place in the Senate and if there are not 51 votes to convene a trial, the impeachment process stops.

      Even if there is a trial, it only takes 34 votes to acquit the POTUS and end the impeachment.

      In the REAL world, the Republican house could easily get the 218 votes needed to pass a "bill of impeachment." But if the republicans can't get 51 votes in the Senate, it is over and even if they can start the trial, it is extremely easy for the democrats to get the 34 votes to end the process with an acquittal.

      In the end Obama would still be President and would be free to do what he wanted.

      BTW - very likely, the republican house law suit is going to last only a few hours in court because the President can not be sued over political decisions per the US Supreme Court case law. Per the Constitution, the ONLY remedy congress has is impeachment and as I noted, that will fail.

      There is so much racist driven stupidity in the republican party.

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • When (not "IF") the blowback happens, it will be really ugly with lots of the Israelis that had not fled the ME, dying.

      100% of all military organizations in the last 10000 years have eventually suffered humiliating, sickening defeat and the IDF will suffer the same way leaving the Israelis civilians completely vulnerable.

      I wish that Israelis would come to their senses before that happens but the hubris and stupidity is huge in Israel.

      And before anyone says it can't happen, review the human history of warfare - no group of humans can retain power and military superiority forever.

    • This will come back to haunt the israelis.

      The massive destruction will lead to several things:

      - massive cost to the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, and others to minimize the deaths from disease and starvation in Gaza. The long term costs are going to anger lots of people around the world causing Israel long term major problems.

      - Because of the destruction, even if the rest of the world tries to minimize it, there will be massive deaths in Gaza from disease and starvation. Depending on how quickly the disease spreads, the death counts could reach hundreds of thousands very quickly and could spread to Israel because dying diseased people will not care about armed fences.

      - Israel does not have the resources to handle hundreds of thousands dying a few kilometers away from their towns and the rest of the world is going to extract a very large price form Israel before they will help.

      - This is not going to end up like Israelis think.

  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban?
    • "Fun Facts" from C. J. Chiver's fabulous (and scary) book, "The Gun" (ISBN-13: 978-0743271738) . . .

      - There are over 100 million AK-47 and equivalent weapons (AR-15, M16, etc.) on earth, with thousands more being made each and every day of the year. This includes not only the licensed versions, but the unlicensed versions (it is not that hard to copy an AK-47 and start your own factory - it was designed to be made by rather primitive methods..

      - That is, there is one AK-47 equivalent weapon for every 50 to 70 humans on earth..

      - The kits or plans needed to convert a "civilian" semi-automatic version of an AK-47 into a fully automatic military version are readily available everywhere on earth.

      Basically the world is awash in very lethal weapons.

      have a nice day.

  • Israel seeks to force 400,000 People from Homes in North Gaza
    • Israelis hubris will cause Israel to go too far and fall over a cliff, and suffer massive damage.

      10,000 years of history says Israel will eventually suffer massive, humiliating defeat and lose everything.

      So sad when people are so blinded by hubris and ego.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)
    • Yes, the US will protect Israel until the pain get too high and then it will stop overnight and throw Israel to the wolves.

      This is the thing Israelis can not seem to understand, the US does not stay bought and when they become un-bought, they get viscous about expressing that.

      I have no idea what the trigger will be, but I can guarantee that the US will eventually not only walk away from Israel but will set it on fire in the process.

      Israel has scorched so much earth, when the US walks away, they will have run out of options. The result will not be pretty, and Israelis will insist that they are "innocent" but will still suffer for their hubris.

      Israel has just accumulated far too many enemies and burned too many "friends."

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • The "key human" theory has been WELL DOCUMENTED to be completely false.

      Every humans is replaceable.

      Sure the replacement will have different skills and may not be as effective in a particular area of expertise, but they will do OK any way.

      Note that if the "key human" theory was valid, the US would fall apart after we replaced the POTUS after a 4 or 8 year period of absolute rule. Notice that the US continues to muddle on.

      This is why, unless Israel kills all 1.5 million humans in Gaza, they will continue to have resistance. In addition, the more Gazans they kill the worse the resistance will become because Israel can not kill its way to peace and security.

    • Some things to think about . . .

      - Except for a 200 year period out of over 5000 years of history, China was a MAJOR regional power and in less that 50 years, China has completely caught up with the "west." Israel has no resources that China can not "borrow," improve and make for much less than Israel. Israelis are no more intelligent than Chinese and there are a LOT MORE Chinese.

      - To lesser extent, India is very similar to China (if the Himalayas hadn't made conquest by either an extremely difficult adventure, they might have fought more).. Again, Israel has nothing India needs that it can't make itself or buy for very low cost from China.

      - Russia has few resources (oil and wood mainly), minimal to marginal infrastructure and a very small population. While Putin has delusions of grandeur, he has done nothing to ensure a long term future for Russia. While Israel might be able to make an alliance with Russia, it would gain almost nothing.

      - Like all large groups of humans, Americans are primarily focused on what is "good for them." Eventually Israel is going to do something that causes Americans to throw them over board. I can guarantee this because Israelis have no clue about the psychology of other humans and even it they understood are so egotistical that they just do not care.
      Over the next 25 years, I think Israel is going to suffer greatly for their "sins" of the last 100 years (the Zionist movement started in the the late 1800s).

      I have no desire to see more humans killed in the ME, but I think that is what it is going to take to unwind the huge mess created by the Brits, French and Americans. Just like the Europeans , Chinese and Indians had to go through many long wars before they learned how to live together, I think the ME will also have to suffer and unfortunately I suspect the Israelis will suffer the most because they have inflicted so much suffering on others.

    • It is long past time for the POTUS to marginalize the Israel hawks in congress by pitting US internal needs against the huge drain by Israel. The after neutralizing congress, the POTUS should publish a full peace proposal for the ME including defined borders for Israel, then point blank tell Israel to remove their citizen from the territory that isn't theirs and follow up with a UNSC resolution.

      The hawks in Israel could scream all they want, but if the US backed sanctions, Israel would have to cave.. Israel is not self sufficient in energy and food and can not survive for long without free trade.

      It is very doubtful that China, Russia or any of the usual suspects would tray to get around sanctions because most countries view Israel as a loose cannon.

      Until the US directly confronts Israel, it will be a festering wound that will make the US less and less able to function in the world.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough
    • if Israel uses even one of its nukes, it will be committing suicide. Not only will every Israeli die, but the survivors of the nuclear exchanges will very probably take their revenge out on any non-Israeli Jew they can find. It would be the end of the Jewish culture, but possibly not the end of mankind. In the real world, nukes are only good for one thing, committing suicide and very few Israelis are interested in committing suicide for their country. In fact when the war gets too hot, as much as half the Israelis will do the same thing all humans do during a hot war, flee.

      As for the US protecting Israel forever, that is a very invalid assumption. Over the last 200 years, the US has broken almost every "treaty" and agreement it has ever had. If Israel causes Americans any personal pain whatsoever, Israel will be thrown overboard in a heartbeat.

      Right now, Israel is deeply endangering the future of the US and as things deteriorate, the US will do what is best for the US, even if that means the complete destruction of Israel.

      I can guarantee the US will NOT protect Israel forever, especially to the detriment of the US. And once the US throws Israel overboard, it is toast becuas no other nation on earth will come to its rescue, ZERO.

      Americans are just as self-centered as all other humans and will happily sacrifice Israelis to protect Americans, count on it.

    • I have seen no indication that there are any Israelis with any intelligence to think beyond the next second.

      Quite simply, what Israelis are doing is just flat out dumb, Over the long term (decades), Israel can NOT "win" in any sense of the word. Contrary to the Israelis myths, Israel can and will eventually suffer humiliating defeat. When that happens, the Israelis that hadn't already fled, will either have to live under Arab subjugation or flee to other parts of the globe.

      BUT the problem is ,by that time, Israeli actions might have so poisoned the world there will be no place they can run to where they will be tolerated, let alone welcomed. The terrible thing is, many innocent non-Israeli Jews may also pay a high price for Israeli's actions.

      I just can not understand why no Israelis understand that every one of their assumptions about the world is invalid and that if they want to survive, they will have to change their world view and completely change their actions.

      Can anyone explain WHY the Israeli think they can continue to treat Arabs inhumanly and not suffer massive retribution eventually? On a global perspective, Israel is actually a pretty powerless nation in that it does not have the resources to fight an all out long term war. Sure, it has nukes, but the second it uses one, it has sealed its fate. Not even the US could get away with nuking anyone these days.

      Are their egos really that overinflated, their paranoia that extreme, and their delusions really that strong that they can't see where this is going?

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • Or the Palestinians could add a simple but reasonably accurate guidance system to their rockets.

      A 32-bit Raspberry Pi computer costs less than US$35 from a wide variety of sources (most NOT controllable by the US or Israel). Couple that with a GPS chip (US$10), any one of several open source real-time operating systems (US$0) and some simple control motors and the Palestinians could be dropping a rocket right on top of Israeli infrastructure and commercial aircraft. Note that the Palestinians only have to blow up one empty B747 sitting on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport to permanently shut it down.

      This illustrates one of the very invalid assumptions that Israelis have about their future - They appear to assume their opponents will not dramatically improve over time, which is a very bad assumption to make.

    • In reality, The Zionist program of ethnic cleansing is going to stop, one way or another, in the not too distant future because it is not sustainable.

      Over the last 10,000 years of human history, exactly ZERO groups have been able to dominate other groups indefinitely. In the long term all the dominate groups always end up being defeated (often brutally) and returning to the bottom of the heap.

      I can not predict the exact timing, but I can predict with certainty that Israel will cease to exist.

      If Israelis want to have a country in the future, they need to change their entire way of thinking. But given the massive stupidity humans are capable of, I suspect that no matter how clearly Israelis are warned, they will continue on the path to their destruction.

    • The Arab Peace Proposal has been on the table for over ten years.

      It calls for a much smaller and much less armed Israel. That is, Israel would have to give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for everything they have done since WW1.

      The Arabs are resigned to Israel existing, but not in the form it is now.

      The problem from the Israelis point of view is that while they would have a "Jewish" state, it would be small and powerless, thereby destroying the Jewish myths of superiority.

    • It is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for Israel to disarm Gaza.

      Yes Israel can try to kill as many as possible, but at a certain number of dead (a number that Israel has no way of knowing), the world will permanently tip and severely punish Israel. Not even the US will be able to protect Israel.

      Israel wants to walk up to that line, but not go over because going over destroys Israel. The problem is that line is very vague and changing and Israeli could easily walk off that cliff before they even know they have.

      The BEST thing Israel could do if it wants a future is to stop the belligerence and NEGOTIATE with Hamas.

    • As Dr. Cole noted, war does indeed void most insurance agreements.

      But to make sure the insurance company has no liability, insurance companies usually notify the insured as soon as a risk is knowable. In this case, the insurance companies are proactively telling the insured, they are fully exposed if they fly into Israeli (or Ukrainian) airspace. Since no one wants to be on the hook for $300 to $500 million, the airlines stop flying into documented war zones. Note that El Al can fly because the state of Israel provides back-up insurance, so even though the primary insurance provider has no doubt voided the agreement, the state will cover the full loss. When you can't lose, then just fly.

      You can't really fault the insurance companies because their business model is to collect as much money as possible while paying out none.

      Note that for MH17, I have no doubt the insurance companies will try to avoid paying, but given that all aviation governing bodies thought it was safe to fly at 32000 feet over Ukraine, the insurance companies will probably have to pay eventually (although they will try to avoid that as long as possible).

    • If you "run the numbers" in a realistic way, it quickly becomes clear that Israel does not have the resources for a long term war and the US can not afford to subsidize Israel, especially with tens of thousands of Americans living on the economic edge and elections coming quickly.

      Every war REQUIRES three things:

      - Cannon fodder - that is, lots of humans to die for the cause. A realistic estimate is Israel only has about 3 million humans usable as cannon fodder. The number is probably even less because most humans flee wars and almost half of the Israelis have a second passport and "run funds" stashed away.

      - Material to waste - These are all the war toys that get destroyed. Israel's real numbers are not huge (less than 400 combat aircraft, 3 active subs, etc). In addition to a rather limited amount of stuff, the US has also heavily depleted its own stock, so Israel would have little it could get from the US.

      - Wealth - While Israel is a fairly prosperous country, it does not have a lot of reserves. Any war will immediately stop most economic activity and dry up tax revenue. Again the US will not really be able to help because Americans will deeply resent their cash going to Israel when Americans are starving.

      Israel does not have a very good future if it does not figure out how to get along with the neighbors they CHOSE to live next to.

    • Regardless what the US FAA decides on 23 July, the economics of whether to provide flight service to Israel is fairly straight forward to figure out:

      >> Positives . . .

      - Customer price - El Al (the Israel national carrier) vastly over charges its customers (because they can). As a result, it should be easy for another carrier to charge slightly less and still make a very nice profit (if the costs are manageable - more on this in a minute).

      - Customer service - El Al provides extremely TERRIBLE customer service to all its customers that are not Israelis Jews. Even non-Israeli Jews get terrible service because if they were "real Jews" they would live in Israel instead of mingling with the riff-raff out in the world.. Even carriers that have mediocre customer service can easily be much better than El Al.

      >> Negatives . . .

      - Fuel costs - Because Israel has angered most of the places on earth with oil and gas, Israel has to pay a high premium for oil based products including aircraft fuel. Because "heavy" jets can not land with large fuel loads, any aircraft servicing Israel have only two choices (1) load a full fuel load at Israelis prices (2) load a small fuel load and fly to a close-by airport with lower prices to top up the tanks for the rest of the trip, adding at least an hour to any flight.

      - Security costs - Israeli's paranoia requires carriers to leap through expensive flaming hoops to fly to/from Israel. The carrier has to eat these costs.

      - Insurance costs - This is a MAJOR cost. While insurance companies like to receive insurance premiums, they really hate paying out claims for aircraft damage/destruction and/or passenger and crew injuries or death.. Israel is a known war zone and the danger to the aircraft is huge, so the insurance companies are getting really scared, especially after MH17 was blown from the sky. By the time all the lawsuits are settled for MH17, the insurance carriers and Malaysia Air will probably pay out between $350 and $500 million (a Boeing 777 costs ~$300 million) because there is very little chance Russia will actually accept responsibility and pay it. Note that even an older B747 can cost over $200 million. Right now, every insurance company is re-evaluating their insurance policies and are probably severely restricting them to minimize loss. The brutal reality is, other than El Al which has a blank check for the government of Israel, no carrier can fly without insurance.

      - Air Crew costs - In the past, air crews have typically either refused to fly into war zones or have required "combat pay" and supplementary life insurance policies so if they do get killed, their families are well taken care of. Any airline that tried to force the situation would end up with major union problems and could end up with the entire system grounded because of a strike.

      When the positives and negatives are weighted, it is easy to see most airlines coming down on the "it is not worth the bother" side of the equation.

      As one commentator pointed out, the reason Israel wanted to keep the west bank was to "protect" Ben Gurion Airport from attack. Modern missiles have made a mockery of that idea. The harsh reality is ALL of Israel is now a target zone and when the current Jordanian government falls, Israel will be in the cross hairs from the north, south, east and west. Maybe Israel should re-think how they treat their neighbors.

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity
    • On 22 July, Israelis got a taste of what a major war will bring.

      When real war hits, the huge number of Israelis that will want to flee, may discover that they have no physical way to flee. As I write this, Israel has very limited air service.

      It also appears that there is very little to zero ferry service between Israel and Cyprus. If there is a massive war, I suspect that travel between Israel and Turkey, Lebanon or Egypt would not exist.

      It would appear that those that do not want to be stuck in Israel during a war, might want to seriously think about permanently moving some place else, right now, because once things get too hot, they may not have any options.

    • I am increasingly pessimistic about Israel having any future what so ever. There does not seem to be anyone in Israel with a brain capable of thinking more than 32 seconds into the future. Every one of the assumptions about the world and the future that Israelis appear to be making, are completely invalid and and any actions based on those invalid assumptions will lead to disaster.

      - The IDF can (and will) be defeated. exactly ZERO military organizations over the last 10,000 years has remained undefeated.

      - The Israeli assumptions about themselves and their opponents completely ignores Sun Tzu's admonition that over-estimating yourself and under-estimating your opponent will ALWAYS lead to failure.

      - Eventually the USA will RUN away from Israel, just as the USA has thrown every "partner" in the last 200 years under the coal wagon.

      - Israel does not have enough resources (cannon fodder, material and wealth) to last very long without USA help.

      - When the Israel war gets too hot, at least a third and possibly more than half, of the Israelis will simply do the same thing humans have done for 10,000 years - FLEE the war zone, which will further decrease Israelis availability of canon fodder.

      - Israel will NOT get any help from any other country, no matter how delusionally they think China, Russia or whoever will help. Israel has NOTHING that China, Russia or any other country would find of value.

      Basically Israel is isolating itself and creating more enemies every hour. One of these days those enemies will be much more powerful than Israel, then what?

      "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate" - Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) - So true, yet Israelis never learn.

      Do Israelis even care about their future?

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Over the last 10000+ years, human behavior has actually been fairly consistent. That is, we repeatedly make the same mistakes, even though all of our classical literature (Art of War, Bible, Torah, Confucius, etc) clearly documents what mistakes to avoid. Humans just can not help themselves when their egos, power madness, racism and superiority complexes kick in. Once that happens, all rational thought disappears.

      Right now Israelis are in the middle of a massive paranoid delusion with no capability of rational thought. As a result, they are on a steep downward path that will ensure that Israel does not exist in 30 years.

      History says that most colonial invaders get defeated by the locals and make no mistake, the Jewish Israelis are unwelcome colonial invaders. As many people have pointed out, Israel can not kill its way to peace and prosperity because eventually the humans they are brutalizing will find a way to turn the situation around.

      If one takes a macro view of history, it is easy to see how power constantly flows from one group of humans to other groups of humans over time and no group of humans can retain power for very long. The US and Israel have some power today, but will not be able to retain it. In the case of the US, it may not suffer too much from its decrease in power, but with Israel, the loss of power will very probably lead to the end of Israel and the scattering of most of the Jewish inhabitants to other parts of the globe.

      You are correct that Israel is in the process of self destruction and I see very little possibility of any rational change of behavior. As a result, the smartest Israelis should probably leave sooner rather than later because things will just get uglier.

    • Israel has a demographic problem around he world. A large majority of the people that have any sympathy for Israel are (naturally) dying off. As the US and European "boomers" die off, they will be replaced by humans that view WW2, the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel as ancient history. All this next generation has lived with is constant Israeli war and they are long ago tired of it. As the older generation dies off, Israel will be dealing with people that will view Israel as a inhumane aggressor and will simply ignore the old slur of "antisemitism." As more and more people publicly defy Israel, the "antisemitism" slur will become worthless and Israel will not be able to shut down discussion like they have in the past. As more discussion takes place, Israel will look worse and worse..

      The coming generations are NOT going to tolerate Israel, causing Israel to have a very bad future.

  • Gaza: Netanyahu, Goaded by Israeli Far Right, Risks Breaking Int'l Law
    • Meanwhile, in the REAL WORLD . . .

      - IDF leadership KNOWS that it is impossible to "defeat" Hamas, no matter how many Gazans are killed.

      - Even if it were possible to "defeat" Hamas, what leadership would replace it? Probably not Fatah, which has achieved exactly zero over the last 60+ years. The most likely replacement is some organization that can finally get Israel to stop its oppression (or at least die trying).

      - I suspect that ISIS would gladly extend its power base to include the entire area around Israel.

      - Bibi has publicly stated that there is zero chance of two states.

      In the end , Israel has painted itself into a very deadly corner. No matter how many (or how few) people thy kill, eventually they will face a very hostile future with few chances of survival as a state (NOTE: that does NOT mean the end of the Jewish people or even a massacre of Jewish people, but simply the end of the state of Israel - the people will either live as a minority in the area or migrate to other places on earth).

      I suspect that Israel will have to negotiate directly with Hamas sooner or later.

  • Netanyahu's Last Stand: Why he Cannot Win by Bombing Gaza
    • Abbas might want to think carefully about finding a new home a long way from Palestine because I think his days as a "leader" are coming to a close. Abbas always genuflects to the US and Israel and never accomplishes anything for Palestinians. Once Abbas is gone, Israel and the US will deeply regret treating him like a stooge because the leadership that fills the vacuum will NOT be as accommodating as Abbas.

      In the long term, the Palestinian population is so radicalized, I can not see a very good future for Israel.

      This is going to just keep getting worse and eventually Israel is going to see the "best and brightest," who can easily live much better lives in other parts of the globe, leaving in large numbers. Once the "best and brightest" start to leave and the Israel economy craters, then what?

  • How its Iran Sanctions hurt US Economy: Cutting off your Nose to Spite Your Face
    • Business 101 . . .

      - ALL humans needs and wants will be fulfilled for fun and profit and no political entity can prevent it.

      - Evading taxes, tariffs and blockades for fun and profit succeeds very well most of the time. In fact some cultures are largely based on smuggling and evasion.

      The US has had complete US sanctions on Iran since 1979 and it has achieved nothing at all.

      Since the US sanctions do not work at all, the US has tried to use third=party sanctions. That is, punish third parties who trade with Iran. This worked for a while, but as noted above, those sanctions are rapidly falling apart because most of the world resents the US trying to prevent them from making profits.

      By the end of 2014, no matter how much the US congress critters weep and wail, most of the third party sanctions will be gone. and the US will be completely blocked form imposing any more.

      China wants to create a new banking system to replace the US controlled one and they are quietly using the very heavy-handed US manipulation of the global banking system to try to punish Iran to convince other countries to join with them. The goal is to dump the US dollar as the reserve currency, or at least make a parallel reserve currency, so the US loses all power to us the banking system as a weapon.

      The bottom line is Iran has stuff to sell that others want to buy and Iran wants to buy stuff that other make and the US has zero ability to prevent that over the long term.

      I suspect that Obama understands the life of the sanctions is very limited and that is why he is trying so hard to get the best deal he can with Iran before all the US leverage is gone.

      In reality, Iran will continue to be a regional power and will have the ability to make as much nuclear fuel as they want and there is absolutely nothing Israel or the US can do about it. If Israel attacks Iran, it will fail and might even end up being mortally damaged.

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • Since you seem to think the current situation can continue, how do you envision that happening in the real world?

      Eventually there will be no "moderate" Arab leaders, so Israel will have constant low level war where it will have to dedicate huge resources and raise taxes very high to keep the oppression in place.

      As that goes on, more and more of the "best and brightest" Israelis are going to realize they can live much, much better lives outside Israel. Just as the evangelical religions are bleeding members, Israel will have the same problem. and as the "best and brightest" leave, the tax revenue base decreases.

      I can see no way that Israel can sustain the current situation for very much longer.

    • How can the green Arabs "disappear?"

      What would happen to the millions of non-Jewish humans?

      This is the problem with the Israeli fantasy of a "greater Israel."

      - Israel can not "transfer" them to someplace else because no one else will take millions of mostly poor humans, not even the USA (if you think the current "US border wars" are horrific, just multiple that by millions).

      - Israel can not kill the Arabs without causing massive war they will probably lose (the myth of the undefeated IDF is just a myth).

      - Israel can not keep them oppressed because oppressed people ALWAYS rebel after a while and that would lead to massive war, which Israel loses.

      Basically, Israel is in a no-win long term situation with an inability to emotionally, politically and militarily to deal with reality.

    • If we look at the situation from a basic game theory situation point of view, we have the following conditions:

      - A bounded area which can not get any larger (but could become smaller).

      - Group "A" that wants all the land.

      - Group "B" that wants all the land.

      With this situation there are ONLY three possible long term outcomes:

      - DIVIDE - The two groups divide the land in a fair and equatable manner. Neither side will get what they want, but will each get something.

      - SHARE - the two groups intermingle. Over time, mixed couples will pair bond creating a mixed culture.

      - GENOCIDE - one group successfully eliminates the other group.

      These are the ONLY long term solutions for Israel, not matter what the Israeli fantasies are.

      As you noted, the DIVIDE option is no longer possible unless Israeli leadership is willing to have a civil war where lots of settlers are killed. In fact, since the settlers make up a significant part of the IDF and have access to ALL the IDF weapons, it is unlikely that the Israelis leadership, even if it had the political will, would have the military power to forcibly remove the settlers, clearing enough land for Palestine to exist. Even though the settlers are only about 20% of the Israeli population, the majority is unwilling and unable to counter the settlers.

      As for the GENOCIDE option, if Israel tried it, the ME would explode, the US would be neutralized and Israel would eventually lose, everything.

      From what I can see, the SHARE option is the only somewhat viable option. Israel would have to give every human living west of the Jordan River citizenship and the courts would have to sort out who actually owns what with the settlers or the state having to pay out billions in compensation. Over time, as much as half the Jewish population would migrate back to Europe and the US, leaving the remaining Jewish Israelis as a large minority, but a minority. In other words, Israel would end up looking more like Palestine from the early 1900s than it does today and the global Jewish diaspora would just get larger and remain mostly outside Israel for many centuries.

      This is a tough nut to crack and I see no way Israel can "win" in any sense of the word "win" over the long term.

      Right now is the best time to negotiate because the situation is deteriorating and Israel will never get a better deal.(US turning elsewhere, Arabs getting more powerful, etc.).

  • Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing
    • No one has ever accused Israelis of long term thinking or any understanding of long term power dynamics.

      You are correct in that the long term prospects for Israel are NOT very good.

    • @Jane - Think long term. Over the long term, will Americans tolerate having so much of their wealth being drained away by Israel and the Middle East? One of the reasons Rand Paul may be a somewhat viable POTUS candidate is he is tapping into the American desire to keep our wealth here and help Americans.

      The assumption that Americans will fund Israel forever is not valid. Eventually Americans will stop all support for Israel as a result of some internal forces (continued middle class recession, etc.). I can not predict what those forces will be, but based on 10,000 years of human history I am very sure something will happen to cause the US to walk away from Israel.

      For example, there are very valid reasons why Obama is trying to focus on Asia and walking away from the middle east. One of those reasons is the re-emergence of China as a regional power after a 250 year period of power loss. Prior to the mid 1700s, China had a 5000 year period of regional power. From a global perspective, North America, Europe and Asia are the major power centers with the Mid east, Latin America and Africa as distant also rans. The US needs to re-balance global power with Europe and Asia, so the middle east is an unwelcome sideshow.

      Note also that congress critters are well known to not stay bought. That is, they follow the money and votes. If Israel becomes a liability, congress critters will drop Israel in a heart beat.

    • The first instincts of a political animal such as a congress critter is to survive and increase power. In the absence of any countervailing force, the Israel (actually Likud) lobby is strong, but as I noted, the Israel support in the US is shallow and if support for Israel causes congress critters to lose votes, they will flip-flop very quickly. The Israel lobby can deliver money, BUT it can not deliver votes. A majority of US Jews are liberal and even then, their numbers are miniscule (there are more Mormons in the US than Jews). In addition the Zionist Evangelical Christians are rapidly decreasing in numbers. A victim of the younger generations dislike of fundamentalist religion. In many ways, the Israel lobby is a generational thing, with most of the support in the boomers and their parents who remember and feel some guilt about WW2. Those people are dying off and the later generations have no guilt or even memory of WW2 (it is ancient history that they were forced to study in high school). This is the major problem Israel has - the people that might care about Israel are dying off and being replaced by people with no emotional attachment to Israel, that only see Israel as a huge pain in the rear, no different from all the other stupid hell-holes that they have to deal with. Sometime in the next few decades, Americans are going to tell Israelis to just go f*** themselves and may even switch over to supporting the Arabs. Obama's frustration with Israel mirrors the frustration many of his generation and younger around the world feel. Israel is on a long term slide to oblivion.

    • The amount of gas in the fields off of Israel is actually miniscule compared to the Israel's needs. In fact, Israel is nowhere near being energy self sufficient because it just has not made the investments in non-hydrocarbon energy. A major cause of the underinvestment is the HUGE cost of the constant war, caused by Israel's emotional inability to get along with their neighbors.

      Desalination requires tremendous amounts of energy and as I noted, Israel's energy supply is shaky at best. Also, ALL major infrastructure projects require lots of cash and Israel just does not have it since they spend most of their money on war toys and cannon fodder. Israel will lose too many citizens if it raises its taxes too much more and getting the cash from the US is becoming very iffy given the economic problems the US already has.

      As for technology advances, there will be none. It is a MYTH that Israel is some technology powerhouse. The real world FACTS show that it is not. By any measure of technology, Israelis pretty mediocre on the world stage and it will fall further behind as Asia continues on its path. Most of the world's technology is coming out of Asia now.

      As others have noted, there is close to zero chance of any new massive migration to Israel because virtually all the remaining Jewish people on earth either have OK lives or have many other choices besides moving to a permanent war zone. Not only that but there is already a quiet, slow out-migration from Israel by the "best and brightest. because they can easily live much better lives outside Israel (in fact there is a big debate in Israel about how to stop the outflow and get some of the ex-parts to return).

      The bottom line is TODAY is the best day for Israel to NEGOTIATE with its neighbors. From this point on, Israel's future will only gets worse. Without Israel giving up lots of land, water, cash and apologies to the Arabs, Israel has no long term future.

    • @zandru - Try thinking longer term. American sheltering of Israel will not last. Americans, like all groupings of humans, are primarily focused on their own survival and well being. The instant that Israel causes a sufficient number of Americans personal pain, the very weak limb Israel is sitting on, will be suddenly and permanently hacked off. When it happens, Israelis will be in deep shock at the quick reversal of fortune. This is one (of many) very invalid assumptions Israelis are making about their future. Just because the US has protected Israel during their short lifetime, they assume that the protection will continue indefinitely, completely ignoring that during America's short 200 year history, America has screwed over EVERY so-called "partner," repeatedly! I do not know what the internal or external trigger event will be that causes the US to completely screw Israel, but KNOW it will suddenly happen and Israelis will lose everything. Most of the population of Israel will be in full panic mode in the hours following the change.

      BTW - I think that the "broad" support Israel appears to have in the US population is not very deep. That is, it is more a "feel good" expression rather than a deeply held conviction and when Israel causes any personal pain, will flip in a heart beat. But if a candidate did bring up dumping Israel and made a good case, they could tap into that shallowness of support. The argument would probably have to be based on economics in that Israeli have a better life than Americans because the US gives Israel money (Rand Paul's isolation argument).

    • The leaders that replace murdered leaders are NEVER more moderate, but apparently there is no one in Israel with the knowledge of social power structures to understand this. And make no mistake, ALL murdered leaders will be replaced. Never in history has a power vacuum been created that was not filled because in reality all humans are essentially equal in that there is no such thing as a irreplaceable unique leader.

      In addition, there is a limit to the number of humans Israel can kill before a majority of the world turns from quiet indifference to massive rage against Israel. Israel has no way of knowing what that number is and once it crosses the line, it will be unable to go back and will suffer massive damage. The switch from indifference to massive rage is instantaneous and irreversible.

      I see Israelis making a lot of very bad, invalid assumptions about their future that is going to cause them massive damage eventually.

      As Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) noted very perceptively, "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."

      Right now Israel is accumulating a lot of enemies and losing friends and without friends, Israel can not survive.. Israel is not self sufficient in food, energy or anything else. It can not even make all the weapons it needs to randomly kill others.

      The other thing that Israelis seem to be unable to understand is that global power distribution is NOT static. That is, centers of power shift constantly. So, while the US and Israel have some power today, 10,000 years of human history say that sometime in the future, they will be stripped of that power. The Arabs will NOT remain powerless forever and Israel will lose most of its power eventually. When that happens, all the enemies Israel has accumulated will destroy Israel.

      I think the basic problem that Israelis have is megalomaniac ego. They so much want to be "big boys" but have no way to do that. Israel will always be a small, relatively powerless country that the bigger nations on earth will mostly ignore. The Jewish tribe is miniscule in comparison to the rest of the tribes on earth and unless they want to grow their group by adding hundreds of millions of new members (a cultural anathema), it will always be miniscule. The israelis want to be world leaders and the world just ignores them.

      Based on the "flow" of power throughout human history, it is a safe bet that Israel will eventually get overpowered and will be made to pay for its arrogance. I do not know when, but do KNOW that it will happen. The sad thing is, I suspect that many Jewish people around the world who have nothing to do with Israel, will also be paying.because they are a member of the tribe.

      Israelis are vastly miss-reading history and power to their future detriment.

  • Iraq: Al-Baghadi Criticizes Wealthy Gulf Leaders, as Russia, Iran, Gun for Him
    • One thing that needs to be done is to dry up ISIS funding as much as possible. This might require the "neutralization" of some of the Saudi princes that are doing the funding. While the US seems to be reluctant to do this, Russia may not be so reluctant. The King of KSA has not controlled his domestic situation very well and ISIS could very badly damage the Saudi Royal family. ISIS is drastically changing the entire ME situation.

      I think Israel is going to have a very rough future and the US just may have to take some difficult stands against Israel to protect US interests.

      I think when the dust finally settles, the big winner will be Iran and the biggest losers will be Israel and Saudi Arabia. We shall see.

  • Oil-Rich Iran Planning To Spend $60 Million On Solar PV This Year
    • The Intersolar trade show is in San Francisco this week. In the panel mounting components area, there are a good number of US companies. BUT in the core components (PV panels, Inverters and water heating) well over half the exhibitors are non-USA. Americans are going to be paying other countries for their long term energy supplies.

    • Nicely put since it slights everyone in the middle east in one short sentence - Both Arabs and Persian (Iranians).

      BTW - As I pointed out at the start of 2014, the third-party sanctions on Iran are falling apart more each day. Since smuggling and nullifying trade laws has been around as long as humans have been here, there was zero chance the US sanctions would survive very long. This is just basic business 101 - Every market opportunity will be fulfilled, regardless of draconian laws. The only thing the laws do is raise the profit of those that ignore the laws, which is why prohibition laws are worthless.

      Just as the Brits completely failed to control the trade in the colonies, the US will fail to control trade with Iran. In fact by restricting Iranian oil trade and causing the other oil suppliers to deplete their stock quicker, the US may have dramatically increased Iran's long term wealth!

    • Note that while non-oil energy production technology is progressing OK, energy storage technology is essentially stalled, meaning that solar and wind must be heavily augmented, usually with hydrocarbon and nuclear technology. Maybe this is an area where Iran could apply its technology innovation.

      Of course the US could also do this if it was willing to actually FUND the research. Very likely in the coming years, Americans will be providing a large profit to many other countries because the other countries will invest in research and the US will not. I wish Iran well with their investments in non-oil technology. It would be ironic if the US eventually had to pay a premium for Iran energy technology.

    • Since the future value of oil will be far higher than present day oil (primarily for petrochemicals, not fuel), it only makes long term economic sense for Iran to use its current wealth to convert most of the country to non-oil energy (nuclear, wind and solar) and leave as much oil in the ground for future wealth production as possible. Oil left in the ground is literally long term wealth storage, so this is a very, very good long term economic plan.

      This is similar to most non-US countries that are trying to lower the cost and increase the availability of non-oil energy in their countries fro long term economic viability. The US is pretty much the only illogically blind country on the earth when it comes to non-oil energy. One of the reasons solar energy is decreasing in cost is because there are so many countries both implementing non-oil energy and so many researching better solar technology. Given the technology base in Iran, I would not be surprised if Iran comes up with some new solar technology. Right now China is the leading producer of older solar technology, leading to very low production costs, but other than manufacturing innovation, I have not seen a lot of NEW energy technology innovation breakthroughs from China.

      Since the US has used Iran's nuclear energy program to create a boogieman, I wonder how Iran's solar energy program will be used by the US for propaganda.

  • Top Things you need to know about the next Israeli-Palestinian crisis
    • More short-term myopic thinking in Israel. The more Abbas is seen as a eunuch by everyone, including most of the Palestinians, the sooner he will leave power, to be replaced by . . . ? The Israelis are playing a short-term game that will result in their eventual massive loss. The human psychology is such that, humans can be oppressed for only so long before they find a way to take their revenge in excess. Right now the Arabs are powerless, but history shows, REPEATEDLY, that powerlessness, just like power, does NOT last forever. While Bibi might succeed in splitting apart Fatah and Hamas, it will be a Pyrrhic victory resulting in the end of Abbas' rule and the creation of thousands of violent rebellion cells. Overthrown, ineffective, "moderate" leaders are NEVER replaced by a "moderate." I think when people look back on this time from a 100 years in the future they will see the Israelis as arrogant, brutal fools and not have any problem understanding why Israel ceased to exist.

      If there are any Israelis with even half a brain that want Israel to exist in the future, they should be trying to consolidate the country, giving up land, water, cash and apologies to reach an agreement with the Arabs. Further attempts at expansion will lead to a very, very bad future for Israel.

      It is frustrating as an interested non-combatant watching Israel do EVERYTHING WRONG because of arrogance and stupidity. their egos are going to lead to a very bad future.

  • As Israeli Vigilantes pursue revenge killing of Palestinian Children, Troops Go on Unlawful Rampage
    • Actually this tit-for-tat can not go on forever as the world is dramatically shifting under Israel's feet.

      Soon, most of the world will not only not tolerate Israel but will actively turn against it. Almost 80% of the humans on earth were born AFTER WW2 and they do not care one bit about what happened in WW2 (it is ancient history to them) and they definitely do NOT have any guilt about what happened. Even the Germans will soon tell Israel to go away and quit asking for gifts. Even the younger population in America will tell Israel to go away and shut up. As the generations change in Congress and Americans become more populist, Israel will lose out.

      At the same time Israel is becoming more isolated, the Arabs will slowly sort out the post- colonial power structures in the ME and quit fighting each other just like Europe, North American and most of Asia have done over the years. Once the Arabs get sorted out, Israel will be facing massive, well armed and battle hardened opponents.

      With strong opponents and no fiends, Israel will discover they are in deep brown stuff and threatening to nuke everyone will just make everyone angry, not afraid.

      The bottom line is Israel only has a few short years to reach a reasonable negotiated agreement with the Arabs which will probably require Israel to give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for their past behavior. But the more Arabs Israel kills, the harder it is going to be to get a negotiated agreement and if Israel waits too long, the world is going to impose a draconian agreement on Israel that they will have no choice bu to accept.

      Israelis like to think of themselves as "real important people" but the REALITY is Israel is a very small and very powerless nation dependent on many other nations for its survival (US protection, European trade, etc.). Once Israel makes enough other country angry, they will be in a very bad position.

      Will this happen overnight? probably not, BUT as has been demonstrated many times in the last 100 years, overnight changes are not impossible.

      The constant killing of Arabs has a limit and Israel will only discover it when they go too far and discover they have gone over the cliff and they have no way top recover. Once Israel has gone too far, they will be no way to moderate the negative consequences.

    • Is there no one in Israel with half a brain?

      How on earth do Israelis think they can "weaken" Hamas?

      Virtually the entire history of mankind has shown that trying to "weaken" a hopeless group of humans only straightens the resistance. Sure, the oppressors can kill a few leaders, but all that does is cause the resistance to morph into a different leadership structure which leads to more resistance. With each attempt to kill off a hopeless group, the hopeless group learns new ways to survive and punish the oppressors.

      Why does no one in Israel think about what will replace Hamas? It certainly will NOT be a "moderate" leadership because that is just not how human behavior works.

      The harsh reality that Israelis can not seem to grasp is they can NOT kill their way to peace and comfort. The only way to have peace is to NEGOTIATE a fair agreement that most people are OK with and to forcibly deal with the radical elements on their own side by severely restricting their behavior. In other word, each side will have to restrain their own idiots.

      In Israel's case this would mean severely constraining the settlers. That is, 75% of the population would need to severely constrain 25% of the population for the good of the majority.

      Unless Israelis accept that they have to learn to live by the neighborhood rules, I see no future for Israel because it lacks the manpower (AKA cannon fodder), material and wealth to sustain their long term war (65+ years so far). Eventually Israel will run out of one or more resources and lose and their dreams of a Jewish country will be permanently dead.

      Why is there no one in Israel that can see that the path they are on leads to a deadly cliff?

  • As Hundreds of US Troops are Sent to Iraq, Fears of Mission Creep
    • Congress critters that are concerned about "mission creep" have a very well documented and easy way to ensure that nothing happens. Any Senator or House person can write and introduce a bill to clearly limit the number and scope of involvement any US forces should be restricted to.

      Every congress critter that wants to limit involvement in the ME should throw a bill into the hopper and every congress critter that wants to kill lots of cannon fodder (AKA = American soldiers) killed and tons of treasure wasted should also put a declaration of war bill into the hopper.

      Just as Obama has told Boehner to "so sue me," Obama should tell Congress to come up with a war or peace plan. Obama, like Johnson, is emotionally incapable of standing up to the military, so rather than go out on a thin unsupported limb, he should force congress critters to commit to a course of action so no matter what the outcome, congress critters get the blame or fame.

      Obama is a fool to go down the path to war without a huge majority of the American people behind him and given the current mood, there is a close to zero chance that Americans will support any involvement if another ME conflict with either US cannon fodder or treasure.

      President Obama - dump this on congress!

  • In the Deaths of 3 Israeli Teens, Likud Policies are also Implicated
    • Does Israel even have a future?

      Israelis might want to think seriously about a few things . . .

      - There is ALWAYS a bigger bully with a bigger hammer.

      - EVERY military that has ever existed eventually has suffered massive, humiliating DEFEAT and the IDF will NOT be the exception. Eventually the IDF will be defeated, then what will be left of Israel. Anyone that thinks the IDF is invincible is just flat out delusional.

      - The world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will have.

      - Thousands of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles trump a single very, very expensive aircraft.

      - There are no "magic" weapons.that only Israel has. As Friedman has correctly noted, the world is very flat when it comes to technology, knowledge and weapons based on technology.

      - The non-Jewish humans living west of the Jordan River are NOT going to "magically" disappear on night. Whenever anyone suggest this, I ask the simple question "where will they go?" Israel has no ability to get other nations to take millions of poor human refugees that Israel does not want. Jordan and Egypt will simply close their borders and refuse the people, no matter how much Israel screams. Then the UN will agree with Jordan and Egypt. And when the US objects (because it is a puppet of Israel), Jordan, Egypt and the rest of the world should simply tell the US to take the refugees if they care so much. The REALITY is the non-Jews living west of the Jordan River are NOT going anywhere.

      Basically I see Israel making all the classic empire builder/invader mistakes that almost ALWAYS leads to the demise of the invader. Why they think this will turn out different this time, I can not figure out, since basic human behavior has not changed for thousands of years. This is why Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" still applies today.

  • Dear Neocons: Why we're not Sending Combat Troops to Iraq no matter how much you Pout
    • If Obama wasn't such a wimp, he would dump this whole mess on Congress, just as the Constitution requires. Because it is an election year, I suspect that most of congress would be backpedaling faster than the speed of light. The next time McCann opens his mouth, Obama should go on national TV and publicly tell McCann to draft a Middle East War bill and submit it to congress. The bill should have THREE components: (1) a massive tax increase of at least 2 TRILLION dollars to pay for the war and its aftermath (VA, etc.). (2) reinstate the draft with NO EXCEPTIONS. That is, every 19 year old American regardless of gender, marriage, school, religion or any other excuse would have to report for the US military. EVERY 19 year old man and woman would become cannon fodder. (3) an open ended declaration of war. Obama should promise to Veto any bill that did not have all three components, so it would require 67% of both houses to go to war without the draft and taxes to pay for it. I suspect that the bill would never reach the floor or get a vote. They every time anyone opened their mouth, the POTUS could say "well where is the bill?" and laugh. Obama lacks the"killer instinct" and lets the republicans and neocons hog the airwaves. Obama is just too nice and wimpy.

  • Iraq Crisis: It's the Oil, Stupid!
    • Being greedy ALWAYS leads to losing. Maliki has never seemed to understand that buying off your opponents ALWAYS works better than trying to suppress them. Maliki should have read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" so he would have governed better. Now he has permanently lost both the Kurdish area and the Sunni areas and the state of Iraq will be much, much smaller.

  • Why you need an EV: Radicalism in Iraq Menaces the World's most Important Oil Fields
    • JT you are correct that C4 and many short distance stuff can do equal damage to oil infrastructure. I referenced missiles because they allow someone to be several miles away and still make things go boom. basically anything that can crack some metal and ignite the gases and fluids that leak will do a fine job. Note that Egypt was never able to stop people from blowing up the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel and Jordan and has now given up (now they can get a better profits by sending he gas to Europe via their existing LNG terminal).

  • Opportunities Abound in Iraq to Reset US Middle East Policy
    • Unfortunately, the Saudi government does NOT have the political will to suppress the religious extremists that contribute funding and support for the ISIS and similar organizations. I suspect that the King of KSA realizes that he needs to drastically reshape the culture of Saudi Arabia if it is to survive the coming switch to non-oil energy.

      While the US lags way behind, most of the rest of the world, led by China is moving quickly toward non-oil energy.

      Right now KSA is wasting over half its human resources by suppressing their women. Additionally a large part of their male population is incapable of contributing due to marginal education, work ethic or in the case of Shia, oppression.

      Eventually the oil economy will decline but due to KSA's rather primitive culture, KSA will have nothing to replace it with. I think the King know this but can not figure out a way to get rid of the ultra conservative religious leaders that stifle the country.

  • Iraq: Radical Shiite Militia fights Sunni Extremists as US Carrier reaches Gulf
    • Any attempt by the US to impose any government on Iraq will FAIL. Neither the Sunnis nor the Shia will accept any government that goes from the US. BTW - Petraeus appears to want to stay out of the whole mess - I suspect he knows that he could only lose.

  • Elon Musk on Tesla Electric Car: “All Our Patents Are Belong To You”
    • Per news reports, several global car companies are very interested and are already talking to Tesla to license their charger design and put more charging stations around the US, Europe and Asia. basically Tesla will get enough other car makers to use their design so it becomes an industry standard and jump starts the number of charging stations. GM and ford my balk, but Toyota will probably quietly join the bandwagon because Toyota quietly owns part of Tesla and has contracted with Tesla to design and build the power system for a Toyota electric car (which is why Tesla needs a battery factory).

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • Using the "Samson Option" would mean not only would all the Jews in Israel commit mass suicide, but it would also make every non-Israeli Jew on earth (55%+) into targets as the victims of the nuclear devastated earth look for revenge. Basically, nuclear weapons are ONLY good for two things - committing mass suicide and keeping the US from attacking. On a positive note, Israel does not have that many delivery systems. the four active subs each only have about 6 nuclear cruise missiles with less than 500 range. Israel also has about 100 Jericho missiles. It is very likely that before Israel got too many launched, Israel would cease to exist. BUT then there is the "slight" problem that current modeling of nuclear war has shown that as few as FIVE nuclear air-bursts over large cities would trigger nuclear winter. Personally, I do not think that most Jewish people are that suicidal and that Samson Option is a bluff.

    • Thanks. Based on "normal" human reaction to oppression, I would expect that Shia should be even more fierce about resisting Sunnis than they have so far exhibited.

    • If Americans actually cared about our future, we would completely ignore Israel. Israel created its own problems and they can waste their own cannon fodder and wealth to lose everything because of their stubbornness.

    • There is ONLY one sure-fire guaranteed way to lower the profit margin of oil, DECREASE THE DEMAND. While fracking has temporarily increased supply (at huge long term cost), the ONLY way to lower the profit is to decrease the demand by rapidly moving the world to other forms of energy, especially portable energy (cars, trucks, trains and aircraft). If the US had taken the TRILLIONS it has wasted in the ME wars and converted transportation to electric, the profit in oil would be much less. Note that the cost of production in the ME is so low, it would be very hard to drive the profit to zero, but the oil billionaires in the ME have such high living costs, just lowering the profit a little would devastate their lifestyles. Unfortunately Americans have always been extremely short term focused (what is lunch today), and do not have the political will to sacrifice a little today to have a better future.

    • If I remember correctly, don't the Shia vastly outnumber the Sunnis? The Saudis may have ignited a war they can not win in the end. Granted right now the Shia seem to be terrible cowards, but over time, especially with Iran guidance, things could drastically change. This will be fun to watch from afar as the region finally sorts out the long term power structure (just as Europe and Asia had to do through wars over many centuries). The US has no dog in this fight and we should simply pop some popcorn, open a beer and watch this on our HDTVs.

      If some in the US want more war, Obama should invoke the US Constitution and force both houses of congress the authorize war, pass massive taxes to pay for it and reactivate the draft to provide sufficient cannon fodder. Obama should dump this in the lap of congress and watch them back peddle like crazy in an election year. Very quickly I suspect, Obama will be prohibited by congress from any help at all to anyone.

  • 9 Questions about the 1%, the Unemployed and why the one produces the Other
    • The BASIC REALITY is the US (and the world for that matter) has a huge excess of humans that are not needed to produce the goods and services needed by 7 billion humans. Back in the 1960s there was a big fear that technology would obsolete humans and the reality is that fear has been realized, although it took place gradually over 50 years. If you look around you will see the result of technology replacing humans.

      Some quick examples . . .

      - Telephone offices. At one time every community in the US had a telephone office that employed a minimum of 25 humans. While most of those buildings are still there, they are now mostly empty because modern telecom systems take up less than 10% of the space that the equipment did in the 60s. in the past setting up service was a manual task, now every home and business in the area is hard wired to a terminal device and all the set up is done by remote computers. Now the telecomm buildings are "lights out" most of the time and rarely visited by a human. As a result, the combined employment by all the telecomm companies in the US, including the newer wireless companies is less than 15% of the number employed in the 1960s. The telecomm systems are vastly more efficient and getting even more so, but require very few specialized humans to keep them working. Those jobs are never coming back and more will disappear.

      - GM/Nummi/Tesla car plant in California - When Nummi was in full production of Toyota and GM cars, it produced TWICE as many cars per month as GM ever produced in the SAME plant with less than HALF the SAME UNION WORKERS. The increase in quality and decrease in workers was directly connected to the introduction of second generation robotics. Now Tesla produces 5000 cars a month with even fewer workers per car by using current state of the art robotics (check out the Tesla factory video to see how few humans there are). Tesla has no need for very many humans when computer based robotics can do most of the work.

      - The "standard" office. Up until the late 70s, every group of 10 or so office workers and managers had at least one secretary. Then everyone got a PC and started doing their own typing, data entry, etc. Now there MAY be one administrative assistant for 50 or 75 workers/managers. In fact for many sales people, they don't even have an office, but work from their home and hotel rooms.

      And the list goes on. With raspberry-pi computers costing less than $50 while running Linux on an ARM 32-bit CPU, the chances of very many humans being needed for any activity is decreasing by the day.

      The bottom line is the US has an excess of productive humans that no amount of training will fix. So, the big question is WHAT will we do with the excess that we can NEVER employ again?

      BTW - Every nation, especially China is facing the SAME PROBLEM. with current technology less than 3 billion people can make all the goods and services needed by the 7 billion humans on the earth, and it will get worse as technology get better exponentially.

  • The NSA Effect: China tells its banks to remove IBM servers as Spyware
    • China has very valid concerns given how much the NSA has hacked into Google, Microsoft and the other US tech giants. Already the "cloud computing" concept is taking a major hit because people outside the US fear the NSA will read all their data when it is stored in the "clouds" provided by US companies. personally, I would NEVER store anything in the "cloud."

    • Actually IBM servers consist of lots of IBM hardware AND software. The "hardware" often consists of physical chips PLUS firmware that can easily be hacked by the NSA. On top of the hardware is a very complex Operating system that the NSA has very probably hacked, then on top of the operating system are all the applications which could also be hacked by the NSA. In reality, China is quite correct to be concerned because the NSA has full access to all aspects of IBM servers. As for Linux, there are several very good Chinese versions from companies in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and there are indications that Linux has a fairly good acceptance rate in China. As for Windows, it has also probably been heavily hacked by the NSA, so most of the world is an open book for the NSA.

  • The Obama Effect? Are Iran/ Saudi-and-GCC no longer on a war footing?
    • Saudi Arabia has a very iffy future for several reasons:

      - the global energy mix is changing - not as fast as some would like, but it is changing much faster than is comfortable for the Saudi future.

      - Saudi Arabia has wasted its massive human resource pool by using expat labor for oil extraction and severely oppressing over half their population (women). Saudi Arabia is poorly positioned to transition to another source of wealth. (given the abundance of solar energy, they should be harvesting as much as possible and converting it to more portable forms such as hydrogen and artificial hydrocarbons)

      - The extremely oppressive religion in the kingdom makes it very hard to make the necessary social changes needed for a vaible future.

      - Unless the kingdom can find a way to share power with Iran (which I think would be willing to share power), the Saudi wealth will be drained away by lots of low-level warfare and arms race where Iran will have a cost advantage because they have developed their human capitol and can make excellent weapons for a lot less than the Saudis can buy them.

  • Is Israeli PM Netanyahu's Case against Iran Collapsing?
    • The simple reality is Bibi has completely LOST because the US is trying to get the "best" deal they can before all the third-party sanctions fall apart before the end of 2014. Business 101 clearly states that ALL market and trade opportunities will be filled for fun and profit and that smuggling to avoid barriers to basic trade has gone on as long as humans have traded. The US can not enforce third-party sanctions on Iran's trading partners without eventually heavily endangering US trade organizations and severely hurting the US economy. It is very likely that after the US 2014 mid-term elections, the US will sign agreements with Iran and lift most of the sanctions (long after they become completely in effective). Sure Bibi will howl, but no one other than a few US right-wing entertainers will listen and US companies will welcome the additional trade (if the Chinese and Europeans have left any). Bib may even threaten an attack, but the IDF leadership KNOW that any such attack would fail terribly and would drastically weaken Israel. As a result, the IDF (which is already very short of cash) will let Bibi rant, but not actually let him do anything. The IDF know that Israel could lose as much as 60% of any aircraft they use to attack Iran, leaving Israel critically un-defended. No one is buying what Bibi is selling which is probably frustrating to a small relatively powerless nation that aspires to be another China or US.

  • The Coming Holy War over al-Aqsa Mosque/ Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    • Actually @Jay L, there is the very real probability that the Israelis would lose badly for some fairly straight forward reasons. (1) In reality, very few Americans are willing to die for Israel. Note that less than 1% of Americans have died for the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and virtually none of the US military would fight another war in the ME and any attempt at a draft would fail. (2) The IDF is mostly conscripts and not well trained. If a major war breaks out, many Israelis will desert and flee. Note that in every war, most humans flee the war, not rush to the front. Israel probably has less than 2 million people to fight a war with. 1% of all Muslims is over 15 million. (3) missiles are cheap and plentiful. Per the IDF there are over 100,000 pointed at Israel right now (I discount that by 50% because it was said during budget discussions). Rust dome and the other "defensive" systems can only stop less than 1000 incoming projectiles, so at least 49,000 are going to make big rubble piles (causing more people to flee). (4) Israel has no "magic" weapons and the rest of the world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will have. (5) Nukes are only good for one thing - committing suicide. If Israel uses nukes, at a minimum its economy would collapse but the most likely scenario is Israel would get nuked in retaliation, especially if it nukes Saudi Arabia (who probably has nukes on-site). In the real world, a country of 7 million people always loses to a group with 1.5 billion. Also remember that Israel will run out of fuel for its tanks and planes real quick because the global oil markets will be shut down. The bottom line is Israel is actually a miniscule country with very little real power and starting a war with Muslims would be the dumbest thing they could do.

  • Is Obama right that America's Future is in Asia, not the Middle East?
    • In the REAL world, Israeli military war toys are no better than any other countries. Per CJ Chivers, there are over 100 million AK-47s and equivalent weapons on earth with thousands more being made each and every day of the month. Today a reasonably accurate (within 50 meters) missile guidance system can be made for less than US$ 1000 (Actually I can make a nice one out of four US$ 35 Raspberry Pis running a stripped down version of Linux). Antitank weapons are easy and cheap to build and can easily kill any Israeli (or US for that matter) tank. That is why the US military had to go to MRAPS to try and keep some of its soldiers alive. And the list of stuff that can mess up the IDF goes on. Then there are the tens of thousands of battle hardened Muslims that will slice through Israeli defenses, just like they sliced through US defenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for nukes, the REALITY that few seem to understand is that nukes are only good for ONE THING - committing suicide. The first country that uses nukes will have a terrible future. At a minimum, the country will starve from economic devastation, but the more likely situation will be nuclear devastation. Thanks to the PC revolution and the Internet, it is now easy to produce thousands of very effective, reasonably accurate weapons for very little cost.. If Israel starts a war, its enemies will run out of stuff to turn into rubble heaps before the run out of things to throw at Israel. Israel is far out on the plank over a deadly pool of boiling oil and they still believe their own myths. Israel is NOT going to like the results of the next war. BTW - If you have not already read "the Gun" by CJ Chivers, you might want to pick up a copy - it is a well documented, chilling read about the state of personal warfare these days.

    • CAUTION: The myth of Israeli "technology" is just a worthless myth. In the REAL WORLD there is vastly more and better technology coming out of Asia, Europe and the US than out of Israel. I am a technologist and am well aware of what parts of the world are contributing the most technology and the reality is Israel contributes almost zero compared to Asia. Germany and Spain have far more advanced solar technology than Israel. In the real world, Israel has little value to the US.

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • @Bill - Get real and learn some basic physics.

      Supercaviatating torpedoes travel at over 200 MPH and the Persian gulf narrows to 35 miles at the straits. Of that 35 mile width, only about a 2 mile shipping channel is usable, forcing ships into a killing box. If we assume the longest torpedo shot would be 25 miles, that means a us war ship would have to detect and destroy the incoming torpedo in LESS than 10 seconds. Look at the second hand on your watch for ten seconds, then tell me that the US war ships would be able to defend against an Iranian Hoot torpedo. The US military is no where as good as American myths say it is and can and will be defeated by Iran. As Sun Tzu points out the surest way to lose a war is to believe your own myths and ignore the reality about your opponents. All the rah-rah from delusional Americans is NOT going to keep the US from being defeated.

    • China has actually publicly stated that they will defend Iran and I for one take their word for it, especially knowing their 5000 year old culture. You might want to keep in mind that China is NOT one bit afraid of the US. While China prefers to use stealth and deception to achieve their objectives, they have no qualms about using raw brute force when necessary. I STRONGLY CAUTION Americans from assuming that China will sit by while the US destroys over 10% of their energy supplies.

    • Per the US military's own manuals (FM 3-24.2 - available on the web for you to read), a quick rule of thumb for invading and holding an area with a WILLING population is one US soldier per 20 locals. This is the BEST CASE and would require a MINIMUM of 3 MILLION US soldiers to hold the entire country of Iran.

      Of course, the Iranian population would be extremely hostile to US troops, so the US can either only try to hold a small area (Similar to Fort Apache surrounded by angry hostiles) or increase the invasion force by many millions more. A ten to one ration would require 7.5 MILLION US troops

      Iran's trained and battle hardened military is currently BIGGER than the US trained and battle weary US military and Iran has over 30 MILLION military eligible humans that are not already in the military. Iran also has more than enough AK-47s, ammo and IED material to turn every one of those people into a major problem for any US invaders.

      Then there is the US causalities. The US would have to expect a MINIMUM of 0.1% causalities per month. That is, 3,000 causalities per month for 3 million soldiers. The good news is most of those would be maimed, losing one or more limbs, instead of deaths. Of course there is the "slight" 50+ year economic burden on the US for all those maimed soldiers.

      Of course, since the real world is much worse than the theoretical world, the US would suffer much worse and lose much worse.

      Be ready to open your check book because no one else on the earth will help pay for this war.

      Not only will China not lend the US any money, but they just may join Iran in the war, then things will get really bad for the US.

      Aren't you glad you are not as pessimistic as I am?

    • Currently Iran does not have any ICBMs (Russia, China, UK France and India do) so any missiles coming at the US will not be Iranian.

      Then there is the "slight" problem that anti-missiles systems are almost worthless with a over 75% failure rate.

      This is because of basic physics. the anti-missile has to get within five meters of a small object that is traveling at hyper-sonic speeds and is programmed to evade anti-missiles.

      Remember the two objects are closing at over Mach 5, so any slight change in flight path will cause a miss.

    • Actually, YES, Iran has more than enough military capability to stop all ship traffic in the Persian Gulf, including US war ships. The Persian Gulf shipping channel is narrow and full of hazards, so all ships have to navigate slowly. The ships are sitting ducks for . . .

      - Iranian super cavitation torpedo launched from small Iranian subs designed specifically to function very well in the shallow gulf (US subs are too big and bulky to operate in the Persian Gulf). No ship in the world can defend against an attack by a super cavitation torpedo. NONE.

      - Iranian shore to ship hypersonic missiles. While US war ships can defend against one or two missiles at any given time, the Iranians use a "swarm" technique and overload the US war ship defenses, such that one missiles always gets through and destroys the ship. Of course tankers have no defenses at all. Iran has thousands of these missiles on portable launchers.

      - Iran has high speed attack boats. These are low cost, "narco" type high speed boats filled with explosives. Most are remotely controlled, but suicide drivers can also be used. Four or more of these boats "swarm" a ship and at least one will explode against the side of the ship, causing major if not fatal damage.

      - Iran only has to sink one tanker to cause every insurance company in the world to VOID every ship insurance policy out there and no sane ship owner will move a ship within a thousand miles of the Persian gulf without insurance. Tankers cost BILLIONS to buy and no amount of smuggled oil can ever cover the loss of a ship without insurance. The US may try to indemnify ship owners, but I suspect that few will trust the US to actually pay if their ship gets sunk.

      So the bottom line is once Iran says the Persian Gulf is closed, very few ships will move and the ones that do move will likely get sunk.

      Iran also has MRBM missiles with High Explosive (HE) warheads which can devastate every oil terminal in the region. When there is no way to load the tankers, there will be no need for tankers. Note that oil terminals are NOT "off-the-shelf" items. There are no spare oil terminal components anywhere in the world. Every oil terminal is custom hand built on-site. Once an oil terminal is destroyed, it can take as much as several years to re-build it. Note also that oil terminals have lots of very explosive oil in them, so it does not take very many missiles to totally destroy an oil terminal. All the missiles have to do is start the chain reactions.

      If the US attacks Iran, it will lose very badly and have permanent, severe economic damage to the US.

      BTW - over the last five years there have been at least three war simulations that I know of and in all three, the US LOST very, very badly.

      Remember that Iran has spent the last 35 years observing the US military (often close up in Iraq and Afghanistan) and has carefully planned how to defend Iran from the US. Iran has built its own MIC and has the engineering expertise to defeat the US. In fact its engineering expertise is so good, many of the enhancements they have made to Russian, Korean and Chinese weapons systems have been sold back to the original designers, they are that good!

    • One of the immediate consequences of any actions by the congress critters (an alien, non-human life form), will be the end of most third party sanctions. That is, most countries will begin to trade with Iran and when the US tries to enforce its sanctions by threatening other countries, many will simply ignore the US and if the US takes any actions, US companies will immediately be severely punished. Other countries know all too well just how vulnerable the US is economically and will NOT be reluctant to retaliate for any US actions. In other words, a full blown trade war where the US population suffers.

      Also from a military perspective, while the US can definitely kill lots of Iranians and destroy a lot of structures, Iran also has very sophisticated defense system, so the US military will pay a very heavy price for every bomb that is dropped. And once the US withdraws in defeat, Iran will rebuild including building nuclear weapons. to protect itself from further attacks from Israel and Saudi Arabia (both of which already have nuclear weapons).

      Yes the Saudis have nuclear weapons in country. They purchased them from Pakistan and put them on some extremely old (and unreliable) missiles pointed at Israel and Iran.

      The bottom lines are:

      - the US has to get the best deal it can TODAY, before the sanctions fall apart (probably by the end of 2014).

      - The US can not put any more direct sanctions on Iran because there is no trade between the US and Iran.

      - any further third-party sanctions will be ignored and will lead to the end of existing third-party sanctions.

      - The US can NOT win in any sense of the word "win" in a war with Ira. The US can only lose badly or extremely badly.

      The worst thing the congress critters could do is derail the US negotiations and send the US down the path to war and economic ruin.

  • "The Iranians are Coming!" Derangement Syndrome over 1 Destroyer in Atlantic
    • Iran's military systems (both naval and land -based) are designed to make an attack by the US, Israel and/or Saudi Arabia as costly as possible for the attackers, while costing the Iran military budget as little as possible. That is, Iran gets far more "bang for the buck" than the US, Israel or Saudis do. Because Americans are so enamored with the "high-tech" (and outrageously expensive) US military "war toys," they fail to understand just how deadly Iran is.

      Those Iranian weapons systems can kill lots of American attackers and destroy lots of US hardware.

      Iran's military is NOT designed to project power (other than tweak the nose of US "news" organizations), but to defend Iran from US, Israel and/or Saudi attack, for which they are well designed.

  • New Congressional Sanctions on Iran Will Backfire . . . on Congress
    • Regardless what the US does, the third-party sanctions will fall apart by the end of 2014. While the US can put whatever direct sanctions on Iran it wants to, the reality is there is zero commercial interaction between the US and Iran, so they are meaningless. Right now there are numerous third-party sanctions where the US is threatening third parties that do business with Iran. These will fall apart for a few very simple reasons (1) China wants to move the world away from the US dollar as the reserve currency and will use US threats to get other countries to join their move away from the dollar. (2) China and many other countries want to develop an alternative to the US/UK dominated SWIFT financial transaction network so that the NSA can not spy on transactions. When it is fully operational, US commercial companies will either have to force SWIFT to allow free transactions with the alternative network (which will hide all "unwanted" transactions) or US companies will have to pull out of SWIFT and go to the new network so they can trade freely with friends and enemies alike. (3) For very valid domestic reasons, most of the countries outside the US and parts of Europe will increase their trade with Iran, especially since Iran is discounting their oil from the global market price (set in NYC and London). Basically, the US has to get the best deal with Iran it can at this moment before most of the third party sanctions disappear and Iran is free to trade with most of the world without consequences. Any further third-party sanctions will NOT only be ignored, but the third parties will severely retaliate against US companies. Any further sanctions will hurt US companies and the US economy and China will become stronger. I suspect that Obama has been told that he either gets this done now or it will never happen and any attempt to attack Iran will lead to massive defeat for the US. Unfortunately too many members of congress can not understand that the US empire is dead and the US military can be humiliated and defeated.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
    • @rbtl- Israel has about 400 F-15 and F-16 aircraft that have a very limited range and limited bomb load capacity depending on the amount of fuel that is loaded (weight is weight, whether it is fuel or bombs).

      Israel has no aircraft capable of carrying a "bunker buster" type bomb (they weigh 5,000 pounds or more).

      For Israel to attack with aircraft would require Israel to use every tanker they have (5 converted Boeing 707s & 3 converted KC-130). Note that only a small number of aircraft can be refueled at one time. In other words, Israel would only be able to put a small fore over Iran.

      BUT ...

      Iran has formidable defenses. For long range, Iran has copies of the Chinese FD-2000 which they make themselves. Th FD-2000 is a Chinese re-engineering of the Russian S-300 system. The Chinese re-engineering makes the FD-2000 equivalent to the S-400/500. In other words a very deadly defense. BUT there is more!

      Iran believes in a multilayer, swarm type defense where each target is "swarmed" by multiple defenses at the same time, overloading the attackers defenses.

      So to back up the FD-2000, Iran has thousands of short range, supersonic anti-aircraft missiles and is making more (Iran just brought a new Sayyad-2 factory on-line)

      The other options Israel has are their small number Jericho-3 MRBM and sub launched short range cruise missiles. While the Jericho-3 can carry about 1000 pound of explosives, that amount of power is not very effective over a large area. Since the cruise missile have a short range, the subs would have to be close enough to Iran for the Iranians to detect and destroy them.

      The bottom line is Israel could indeed start a war and kill a fair number of Iranians, but over time, Israel would suffer large losses with their aircraft and subs being destroyed.

      Then on top of the losses during attacks, Israel would suffer from either direct counterattack or economic attack from most of the world.

      The bottom line is Israel can NOT win, but only lose or lose very badly.

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