Category Archives: Foreign Policy

A Weapons News Sandwich for November 25, 2013

A recent article reports that drone manufacturer Northrop Grumman conducted tests showing that its catapult-launched (i.e., runway-independent) drone, called “Bat,” which has a 12-foot wingspan and a maximum speed of 70 m.p.h., is capable of jamming radar. “That means,” writes Allen McDuffee for Wired, “the Pentagon will soon have the option of deploying a flexible, largely undetectable drone with radar-jamming capability to protect manned aircraft against radar and surface-to-air missile guidance systems.”

Perhaps Bat, or similar drone technology, could also be used to disable the guidance systems used to target ICBMs? If so, it could compensate for Barack Obama’s efforts to disarm us. According to a November 21 IBD editorial, “A document prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon maps out a strategy to eliminate an ICBM squadron — and destroy its missile silos — by Dec. 5, 2017.” The document reportedly says that elimination of the squadron is required to comply with the “New START” treaty, but IBD argues that this is simply not true, and that Obama, who has said his goal is to eliminate all the world’s nuclear weapons, is really aiming to unilaterally disarm the United States. If the plan — which includes destroying the squadron’s missile silos — is fully implemented, it will be “nearly impossible to reconstitute that squadron, if needed.” IBD recommends that the silos be retained on “reserve status.”

Compare the “deal” with Iran, discussed in yesterday’s News Sandwich, which does not require Iran to dismantle a single centrifuge. It need only, in exchange for the $7 billion in “sanctions relief,” dismantle the links between centrifuges. I guess Obama, who is notorious for spending piles of time on the golf course, thinks national self-defense is a game that America should play with a handicap?

Drone technology will already have proven its worth tenfold if it is able to save us from the unwise — perhaps even suicidal — foreign policy of the current Administration. But drone technology is not just for weapons anymore. Wired reports that, at a recent high-tech workshop, a group of designers conceived of a drone called “Paparazzi,” a “selfie drone” that would allow you to “virtually stream your entire life to all of your social networks without pulling out your phone or even lifting a finger.” The Paparazzi would, of course, make sure that your image is always captured from the perfect angle, with the perfect amount of lighting, etc. I mean, why bother with the effort of writing a status statement when you could just let your friends observe what you’re doing for themselves?

Other ideas that came out of the workshop included a “Guardian Angel” drone that would not only keep runners safe, but also set their pace or even allow them to compete, virtually, with runners in different locations, as well as a “wearable umbrella drone,” which would, at the appropriate moment, “take off from the wrist, position itself above the owner’s head, and divert rain with ultrasonic pulses.” And of course the drones would have a function-appropriate appearance, with the Guardian Angel looking a bit more menacing and the Paparazzi and other drones, which are intended to be used among friends and family, looking “a little sleeker and a little friendlier.” Sounds like it may not be long before children are asking for drones as Christmas presents.


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Non-Pollyanna News Sandwich for November 24, 2013

A recent Zogby poll shows Obama’s disapproval rating at 54%, slightly lower than the recent CNN poll (56%). Perhaps Obama’s recent high disapproval ratings will give any half decent politicians that still exist* the sanction they need to begin impeachment proceedings. If Obama didn’t deserve impeachment for all that he’s done so far–Fast & Furious, IRS, Benghazi and unconstitutional modifications during the rollout of Obamacare–maybe he deserves it when we add treason to the mix?

An online legal dictionary defines “treason” as “The betrayal of one’s own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.” And if Obama has not, via John Kerry, just acted consciously and purposely to aid our enemy, Iran, what do you call it?

According to the New York Times, Iran has agreed to temporarily stop enriching uranium to the extent required to build a weapon, and not to make further progress on the building of a facility to enrich plutonium (which could also be used to make a weapon). It has also agreed to limited monitoring to ensure they are adhering to the agreement. Iran has not, however, agreed to dismantle any of their existing centrifuges–only the links between them. And it has not agreed to monitoring to an extent “that the International Atomic Energy Agency had said was needed to ensure that the Iranian program is peaceful.” Experts consulted by the author of the Times piece said that all we get from this is, at best, about a month’s delay in the time it will take for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Obama, for his part, says the deal has created “a path toward…a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.” Kerry asserted that the deal would make our ally, Israel, safer. Maybe for a few weeks, if Iran actually adheres to the agreement?

What are we giving up in return for this “path toward a future”? The Times says we are giving Iran $6 to $7 billion in “sanctions relief,” only $4.2 billion of which it says will be release of funds earned by Iran from the sale of oil. Is the rest coming out of the pocket of the American taxpayer (Obama’s “slush fund”)? The Times doesn’t say. All we know is that, whatever form the rest of that relief will take, it doesn’t require the approval of Congress. The Times reports that Obama is able to make this deal via executive order.

While we wait to see whether any half decent U.S. politicians will step up, we can take some solace in the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel is not a party to — and therefore not bound by — this “deal,” which he calls an “historic mistake.” He also reiterated his “red line”: “Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.” If Iran is right, then Netanyahu has already been acting to make good on his promise by working to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program from within.

Here is my favorite cartoon by Bosch Fawstin on appeasement of Iran:

Iran cartoon

For more on Iran from Bosch, visit his blog.

*As of this writing, I am still waiting to hear what Ted Cruz, perhaps the most promising politician in Washington today, will say about the “deal.” I will update this post when I hear what he says.

Update: Sen. Cruz has released this statement, making clear that he would never have agreed to this “deal,” and implying that he would not even enter into negotiations with Iran (his rejection of “rapprochement”).


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