The “perfect storm” may be brewing in Europe

Europe is facing perhaps the most critical set of challenges in its modern history – and in combination, they threaten to destroy the European Union and its common currency, the Euro.  The coronavirus pandemic is merely the “cherry on top” of a set of other issues that are all coming to a head simultaneously.  What’s more, developments there are of direct and immediate concern to the United States, because they’ll have a “spillover” or “knock-on” effect that will undoubtedly affect us. First, there’s the almost irresistible rise of nationalist sentiments – “our nation” rather than “our overarching European community”.  Britain

Continue reading

Faking an oil discovery to extort foreign aid?

It appears that the Republic of the Congo – not the “big” Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, but its little brother, formerly known as Congo-Brazzaville – may have faked the discovery of new oil reserves in order to extort foreign aid to preserve an ecologically sensitive site.  Der Spiegel reports: On the Republic of the Congo’s 59th Independence Day on Aug. 15, 2019, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso had an apparent sensation to announce to his people. A Congolese oil company claimed to have discovered an oil field in the north of the country with reserves of 359 million barrels. That

Continue reading

Coronavirus: a factual update

There’s a lot happening around China’s coronavirus epidemic.  Some is good news, much is not.  Unfortunately, the facts are all too often swamped by speculation and rumor-mongering.  For some reason, some people seem to like alarming everybody else, and they’re spreading falsehoods and made-up nonsense all over the Internet.  Please fact-check every report you read, and consider the source.  It’s hard to find good, accurate information out there. However, there are some reports that appear to be telling the truth, and providing solid information.  I’ve gathered a few together here. First, the disease itself, and how it progresses.  Dr Peng

Continue reading

Sunday morning music

Britain is to officially leave the European Union on January 31st, 2020.  It’ll continue to observe EU rules and regulations for the rest of the year while an agreement on future relations with that body is hammered out, and will become fully free of their encumbrance at the end of this year (at least, that’s the current plan). To honor Britain and its people as they regain some of their independence, and in the hope that the island nation may be restored to at least some of its former glory, here’s a quintessentially English anthem.  It’s “Jerusalem”, a poem by William Blake set to

Continue reading

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat” – illegal alien edition

The headline is an old saying from the 19th century that I still enjoy.  It’s still valid, in almost every walk of life.  President Trump has just illustrated that in dealing with the invasion of this country by illegal aliens. Donald Trump’s policies to deal with the crisis on our southern border are working as intended. Mark Morgan, acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, says that daily apprehensions of illegal aliens have fallen from about 4,000 at the height of the crisis to around 1,300 now. What’s more, the 21-day average is less than 1,000 — a 78 percent drop over the

Continue reading

After the “Arab Spring”, a Middle East in turmoil

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has released a comprehensive analysis of the “state of play” a decade after the Arab Spring revolutions and uprisings across the Middle East.  It makes sobering reading – and illustrates the vacuum within which terror groups like ISIS and rogue states like Iran are operating, and why they could (and still do) literally get away with murder. The analysis summarizes its findings in five main points.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. Today, the Middle East is a combination of confused Arab nation-states that have shown their weakness and incapacity to contain the Iranian threat. The

Continue reading

Sound and fury from Iran, but what does it signify?

Iran reportedly launched “ballistic missiles” of some sort against US installations in Iraq yesterday, in apparent retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani over the weekend.  However, to my surprise, the missiles apparently hit nothing of importance, and didn’t inflict a single casualty. Contrast that with the precision strike against the Saudi Aramco oil refining facility a few months ago, where Iranian “drones” proved combat-accurate and struck the targets they were aiming for with considerable precision.  There’s no doubt Iran possesses weapons that are capable of inflicting a lot of damage and casualties . . . so why weren’t they used against American forces

Continue reading

Not so fast on the Afghanistan analysis!

The Washington Post recently published a lengthy article headed “The Afghanistan Papers:  A secret history of the war“.  It purports to show how the US military lied to the public about the conduct of the war, and covered up important information. The former Naval officer who blogs as Cdr. Salamander was there at the time, and he has a rather different view.  He’s taken the time and trouble to write an extensive essay challenging the errors he sees in the Washington Post article.  I found it intriguing.  Here are a few excerpts from what is, of necessity, a very long essay. With

Continue reading

No, things were NOT better under white rule in South Africa

There seems to be a perennial attempt to insinuate that the only reason things are so bad in South Africa these days is because white supremacist rulers and their policy of apartheid are no longer in charge.  I addressed this at some length in a previous essay (which, if you haven’t read it, remains very relevant, IMHO), but there are still plenty of doubters out there. Now Kim du Toit, another expatriate South African who’s now an American citizen, brings his own contribution to the debate.  He concludes: So there’s no point in reevaluating apartheid:  it was a savagely iniquitous and evil system, and the

Continue reading

Never poke a bear with a stick . . . it might turn around and bite you

One thing that’s struck me about the impeachment hearings in Congress over the past couple of weeks is the sheer mendacity of the proceedings.  So many people – witnesses, legal counsel and politicians – are lying, or “spinning” what’s been said to suit their partisan purposes, that it’s become very hard to sift through the dross to find the occasional nugget of truth.  That applies to both sides, of course.  There are honorable exceptions – for example, Rep. Elise Stefanik has been a breath of fresh air with her strictly fact-based analyses, and a joy to watch as she refuses to allow

Continue reading