In the last few weeks, I came across complaints that Obama asked Europeans to pay for defense (a request Trump made forcefully), or that Obama doubled the number of special forces in Syria.
I see nothing wrong with Obama’s request or Obama helping justice in Syria. I see everything wrong with those who plead for weakness. Bemoaning the World is no panacea.
Meanwhile France sold 12 Barracuda submarines to Australia (doubling the size of its submarine fleet). French Barracudas are nuclear powered, 97 meters long, and can fire normal torpadoes, Exocet sea-skimming missiles, but also nukes.
The Australian version will be nuke-less. Australia selected French military shipbuilder DCNS Group to build a $40 billion submarine fleet. An Asia-Pacific arms race is now driven (in part) by China’s claimed territory in the South China Sea, in places much closer to other countries’s shores.
The Shortfin Barracuda design—offering stealth technology developed for French nuclear submarines—was chosen after a lengthy evaluation against offerings from Germany and Japan. This ended Japan’s drive to win its first major arms deal since relaxing a post-World War II military export ban.
DCNS said its design uses a top-secret pump-jet propulsion stealth technology (only France, the US and UK have the technology, which is now deployed on some new Russian subs). Part of the accord is that France would not sell the technology to Australia’s potential enemies.
This is a strategic move by the French Republic. France has departments and armed forces across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific ocean, from one side, to the other. “Hats off to the Franco-Australian partnership.” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls posted on Facebook.
The US was not in the running. The US does not make silent diesel electric subs. But it fears them. The Australian Navy recommendation to the Cabinet was supported by US Submarine experts –The new Short fin Barracuda is the quietest attack submarine in the world (no propeller) and it has the best sonar. A little while ago a much more noisy Chinese sub emerged in an American fleet. In 2015, a Chinese sub simulated an attack on the nuclear US carrier Ronald Reagan. A Barracuda, in turn, could hunt such Chinese submarines.
A nuclear-powered French submarine successfully conducted a simulated attack on the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt. It “sank” the carrier and several of its support ships in the simulation. Oops.
Australia will be using US combat systems in these new subs over the next 50 years of the French contract.
This is a good new sign of French-American cooperation: a century ago, the French produced 75mm guns in the USA (and used the occasion to teach the Americans high precision chain manufacturing, popularized later by the Ford Model T).
Meanwhile, the French-built “Sarcophagus” is ready to slip over the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor and its melted core…
Some will whine: why are the French and the Americans so war minded?
Because evil in the service of goodness is what Jesus recommended. Is not that (part of) the gory message of the cross?
Earlier the Romans had:”Si vis pacem, para bellum” (“If want peace, prepare war”). That worked splendidly, until the weapons of the barbarians became better than that of the Romans. The Franks, Viking like, were pillaging their way up rivers in Spain. What did the Romans do? They became real smart. Instead of just keeping on fighting the Franks, some Roman generals befriended them and gave them a written law (the Salic Law). Next Constantine, after fighting them a bit, allied with them, and conquered the empire.
So why did Roman weapons become less good? Because of Roman corruption (also known as plutocratization). Under the Republic, Romans were engineers. Under the fascist empire, money was disbursed for making the rich richer. A bit like in Flint, Michigan. Here is the letter of Michael Moore to President Obama:
Dear President Obama —
Finally, after months of us begging you to come to Flint, you’ve decided to visit next Wednesday. I know this will make many people happy and grateful. But, as one who voted for you twice and was thrilled beyond belief over your election, I’m sorry to tell you your visit is too little too late.
You say you’re coming to “listen to the people of Flint.” Sir, they’ve been poisoned for two damn years. You’ve known about it since October. There’s nothing t…o listen to. Unless you’re bringing the entire U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dig up and replace the 75,000 lead pipes, plus the Attorney General to arrest Governor Rick Snyder, then this is just another photo-op and half-baked list of new promises we don’t need. If you’re coming to make one of those “we need to rebuild America’s infrastructure” speeches, don’t bother. This is NOT an infrastructure problem – it’s a hate crime and mass poisoning of Black and poor people that NEVER would happen if this were Bloomfield Hills or Grosse Pointe or any other white town. It was done in order to give a billion-dollar tax cut to the rich. Every child here now has some form of permanent brain damage. There is NOTHING you can do to reverse that for them. There is no cure. Again, they are Black, they are poor. Do you have a cure for that? Because THAT’s the only reason why this has happened. Flint’s infrastructure was just fine (or what passes for fine these days in the USA). This poisoning happened because the governor said “Cut services!” — and so one of the first services he cut was to seal off the clean drinking water pipeline from the Great Lakes and make the poor and the Black of Flint drink dirty water from the drainage ditch you and others call “the Flint River.” We haven’t called it that for years. I’d drink my own piss before I’d drink out of that sewer.
We don’t need any more visits from politicians, even one as beloved as you. We don’t need any more promises of testing. We don’t need any more token digging up of pipes made rancid by the Flint River water that flowed through them (of the 75,000 pipes that need replacing, a total of 39 – 39!! – have been dug up and removed since you met with the mayor in the White House back in January). Meanwhile the poisoning continues on daily basis, even with the Lake Huron water that has been restored because it’s flowing through lead-damaged pipes with a new chemical that now burns people’s skin.
So unless you’re bringing the U.S. Army with you to save 100,000 of your fellow Americans, and unless you’re going to arrest the governor of Michigan who has now killed more Americans than ISIS, you might as well stay home. The riots here, I’m certain, will begin sometime soon. That’s what you or I would do if someone was poisoning OUR kids and the government refused to stop it, right?
With respect, admiration and profound disappointment,
We need strength. And it starts with the strength of emotions and ideas. And those have to be supported by the strength of expression. Only then can one move with more practical forms of strength. The rise of infamy always comes from preliminary weakness.
In 1940, Hitler craftily thought that the French Republic was led by bleeding hearts. So the Nazi dictator attacked an old German (de facto) ally, the Netherlands. With cruel savagery, flattening entire Dutch cities. It worked splendidly: the bleeding heart French, instead of letting the Dutch take some of their own Nazi medicine, threw their mobile tank reserve, seven divisions, to come to the rescue of the selfish Dutch. Then Hitler launched a full left wing attack, and France found itself as flat footed as Sparta had been, when Thebes used the same trick, 24 centuries earlier…