Abandon Ship!

What’s I say? This is what happens when you put all your eggs in the Russian technology basket and the basket falls apart.

Space station could be abandoned in November

Astronauts may need to temporarily withdraw from the International Space Station before the end of this year if Russia is unable to resume manned flights of its Soyuz rocket after a failed cargo launch last week, according to the NASA official in charge of the outpost.

Despite a delivery of important logistics by the final space shuttle mission in July, safety concerns with landing Soyuz capsules in the middle of winter could force the space station to fly unmanned beginning in November, according to Michael Suffredini, NASA’s space station program manager.

“Logistically, we can support [operations] almost forever, but eventually if we don’t see the Soyuz spacecraft, we’ll probably going to unmanned ops before the end of the year,” Suffredini said in an interview Thursday, one day after Russia lost a Soyuz rocket with an automated Progress resupply ship bound for the space station.

See also:
Will the Space Station be Abandoned?
International Space Station might be abandoned in November
Cargo Craft Loss Prompts ISS Concerns
NASA Sets Space Station Status Update Briefing for Monday
Roscosmos smarting after Progress loss
ISS crew safe despite supply failure: Russia, US
Matt Reed: After Russian crash, turn to the F-150 of American rockets
Progress Fails To Make Progress

Okay, so the Russian rockets are turning out to be piles of junk. Why can’t we launch the Progress cargo ship or the manned Soyuz capsule on top of the highly successful, dependable workhorse, Delta IV or Atlas V rockets? Where’s that old fashioned American ingenuity?

/and what about SpaceX, they’re already planning a rendezvous mission to dock with the ISS later this year, why can’t resources be poured into that and the schedule moved up?

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Comedy Gold Power

Did she really say this [expletive deleted] with a straight face?

Clinton: US using “smart power” for Libya, Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the U.S. response to crises in Libya and Syria on Tuesday, saying the Obama administration is projecting “smart power” by refusing to act alone or with brute force to stop autocratic repression in the two countries.

. . .

Clinton said Libya was a study in the use of “strategic patience,” whereby the United States resisted the impulse for immediate intervention and instead helped to build support for the country’s nascent opposition, which the U.S. now recognizes as Libya’s legitimate government. She said the unprecedented NATO-Arab alliance protecting civilians on the ground was a key result of the tactics of smart power.

“This is exactly the kind of world that I want to see, where it’s not just the United States and everybody is standing on the sidelines while we bear the costs,” she said.

In Syria, Clinton said Washington had adopted a similar stance. The administration has imposed sanctions to protest a ruthless crackdown on reformers but has thus far resisted calls to make an explicit demand for President Bashar Assad to step down, something it did with Qaddafi.

Clinton said it would be a mistake for the administration to demand Assad’s ouster on its own because it wouldn’t be effective given Washington’s long-strained ties with Damascus and limited U.S. influence and trade with Syria.

See also:
U.S. taking “smart power” approach to Libya, Syria
Clinton: Libya, Syria show ‘smart power’ at work
Clinton: Libya, Syria show ‘smart power’ at work
Clinton: Libya, Syria show ‘smart power’ at work
Clinton: Libya, Syria show ‘smart power’ at work
‘Smart power’ at work, says Hillary Clinton
Clinton defends U.S. response on Syria
Clinton Passes Up Chance to Call on Assad to Step Down as Obama Remains Silent
A Conversation with Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta

Let’s recap: for months now, we’ve been bombing the [expletive deleted] out of Libya, a country that isn’t a direct threat to U.S. national security, killing civilians, destroying infrastructure, and backing a “rebel” movement containing elements of al Qaeda. That’s “smart power” and “strategic patience”, check. Meanwhile, Bashar Assad in Syria, a dictator in a country with plenty of American blood on its hands and a huge threat to U.S. national security, is killing civilians on a daily basis, with a death toll totaling in the thousands, and we’re doing nothing, because our relationship with Syria is “strained”. That’s also “smart power”, as well as “protecting civilians”, check.

What manner of counterproductive, nonsensical bull[expletive deleted] foreign policy is that? Smart Power my ass!

/are you seriously telling me that we have to put up with these moronic clowns for another year and a half?

Taking NATO To The Woodshed

On his way out the door, retiring U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lets it fly.

Gates Says NATO Could Face ‘Irrelevance’ in the Future

American Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told NATO members that they need to do more — and spend more — to support the alliance.

ROBERT GATES: “The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the US Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.”

On Friday, Mr. Gates gave his last policy speech before he retires as defense secretary on June thirtieth. He spoke in Brussels, Belgium, at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO was created in nineteen forty-nine to defend western Europe against the Soviet Union.

See also:
Transcript of Defense Secretary Gates’s Speech on NATO’s Future
Gates rebukes European allies in farewell speech
‘Collective Military Irrelevance’
After Gates’ Blunt Warning, What’s Next for NATO?
US warns Europe over NATO future
Libya, Europe and the future of NATO
NATO’S future at risk, warns Pentagon chief
Gates offers grim account of NATO’s Libya efforts
Gates slams NATO allies over share of combat burden
Where Gates criticizes, Obama celebrates
How long will the U.S. find NATO relevant and affordable?

Just how worthless is NATO? They’ve been battling third rate military power Libya for three months now, NATO’s running out of ammunition, and Moammar Gadhafi is still there. What would NATO do if, say, Russia attacked western Europe? If NATO can’t defeat Libya, how can they possibly defend themselves? It’s more than obvious that NATO has outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded. Why should the United States continue to put up the vast majority of funding, troops, and equipment to support Europe’s defense, when Europe refuses to defend itself?

/and why the [expletive deleted] is Turkey a member of NATO, they not only don’t contribute much of anything, they actively work against the other alliance members, how insane is that?

Hezbollah Takes Lebanon

As previously foreshadowed, another domino falls from the West into the lap of the Islamic Caliphate.

Hezbollah moves to pick Lebanon’s leader

The Shiite armed movement Hezbollah cobbled together enough support Monday to appoint Lebanon’s next prime minister, effectively ending nearly six years of rule by Western-backed leaders and prompting the United States to warn it could cut off aid to this key Arab nation.

The apparent strength of Hezbollah marked an important political achievement for the group. It also signaled what appeared to be a significant shift for the country, away from alliances with the United States and Saudi Arabia, and toward Iran and Syria, which support Hezbollah.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States “would have great concerns about a government within which Hezbollah plays a leading role.”

See also:
Anger In Lebanon As Hezbollah Backs Sunni PM
‘Day of rage’ as Mikati set to win PM post
A victory for Hizbollah
A Day of Rage in Lebanon
Hariri and Mikati: Two personal histories collide
Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s new PM
Nasrallah calls on his rivals to give Mikati a chance
Lebanon: Security forces arrest top Hariri aides
Riots in Lebanon as Hezbollah secures leadership
Another Middle East debacle: Lebanon on the brink
Hezbollah’s Relentless Ascent To Power : A View From Jerusalem
Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon would affect U.S. ties
Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon will hit ties: Clinton
Clinton Wary of Hezbollah-Controlled Lebanon
Clinton warns Hezbollah-backed government may alter U.S. ties with Lebanon

So, um, is this going to be allowed to stand? I mean, one of the world’s most notorious and well armed terrorist organizations just took over an entire country that sits on Israel’s border. This is kind of a big deal in Realpolitik, don’t you think? It’s all well and good that Hillary is “concerned” about these rather ominous Middle East developments, but is the United States going to actually do anything about it?

/and not a peep out of Obama so far, an event of this magnitude, so completely adverse to our stated national interests, should at least warrant some kind of a public condemnation, no?

Birth Of A Nation

And it’s a predominately Christian nation, separating from a Muslim nation, relatively peacefully, which is odd, considering the pervasive Muslim animosity towards Christians worldwide.

South Sudan headed for independence

This is in line with widely held expectations of the result of last week’s plebiscite, the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north-south civil war. The official results are not expected to be announced until early next month.

Referendum officials reported large votes in favour of independence – some releasing early figures, some saying trends pointed to support of more than 90% – in the southern states of Central Equatoria, Unity, Lakes, Jonglei, Warrap, Western Bahr al-Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria.

“From the figures we have so far, the vote is overwhelmingly for independence … more than 90% across the board,” said Alfred Sebit Lokuji, chairman of the referendum committee covering Central Equatoria state, which includes the southern capital, Juba.

See also:
Preliminary results show landslide majority for south Sudan independence
Preliminary Reports Show South Sudan Will Be Its Own Nation
Initial results: SSudan independence vote approved
Landslide Swells for Southern Sudan Independence
South Sudan Referendum: The Count Down to Independence
South Sudan capital votes 97.5% to break away
Split from north Sudan favored by south
Observers approve south Sudan independence vote
South Sudan independence vote ‘peaceful and credible’ say observers from US Carter Center
Sudan explores economic impact of south independence: official
In war-torn Sudan, Abyei could be a flashpoint
Southern Sudanese independence referendum, 2011

Although the final status of the disputed, oil rich Abyei region remains unresolved and a potential trigger back to civil war, the South Sudan Independence referendum is a shining example of the peaceful self-determination of free people and a bright spot in today’s not so bright interactions between global nation states.

/let’s hope, at least in this rare instance, South Sudan stays that way

Here We Go Again, Who’s Got The White Flag?

The Afghan government and the Taliban are holding not so secret secret talks and this time both Mullah Omar and Obama approve. The central question is, who’s trying to surrender to whom? I’ll bet it’s not Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar backs Taliban talks with Karzai: report

Taliban leader Mullah Omar has, for the first time, backed secret high-level talks with the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the nine-year war, the Washington Post said Wednesday.

“They are very, very serious about finding a way out,” a source close to the talks told the Post, referring to the Taliban.

The Post cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying the talks were believed to involve representatives authorized by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Omar.

White House voices support for talks with Taliban

President Barack Obama supports recent attempts by the Afghan government to open peace talks with Taliban leaders, but still wants the insurgents to renounce violence and their support of al-Qaida, the White House said Wednesday.

However, press secretary Robert Gibbs said the United States was not taking part in any such talks. “This is about Afghanistan,” he said. “It has to be done by the Afghans.”

See also:
Taliban in talks with Karzai government
Taliban’s high command in secret talks to end war in Afghanistan
Taliban in high-level talks with Karzai govt
Taliban in ‘secret peace talks’ with Karzai
Could a deal with the Taliban end the war in Afghanistan?
Mulla Omar, US back Taliban talks with Karzai
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with the US
West losing war in Afghanistan: Mullah Omar
Taliban Leader: Victory Over US-NATO Imminent
U.S. `Supportive’ of Talks Between Taliban, Afghan Government, Gibbs Says
Obama aide: We support Afghan-Taliban talks, but aren’t participating
Afghan, Pakistan Talks Focus on Taliban Joining Peace Process, WSJ Says
Key players in the Afghan peace process
Peace Is Hell

Remember this? “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity”. What a difference a year makes. At this point, it’s painfully obvious that Obama is willing to sacrifice anything, everything, and anybody to lose the war as quickly as possible and throw Afghanistan under the bus, regardless of the future consequences and negative implications for U.S. national security. “I want an exit strategy” . . . “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

/it’s inevitably only a matter of time now before we tuck tail and run, Karzai bails with his U.S. taxpayer funded multi-billion dollar golden parachute, and the Taliban are back in Kabul, executing women in soccer stadiums, just like the last ten years never even happened