Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Problem kids on NATO's flanks

I'm not talking about Syrians or Russians. Hungary and Turkey are both NATO member states. Unlike most other NATO members, which are liberal democracies of some form or another,  these two entities are now ruled by hardline nationalists. Perhaps in international realism, this would be OK for the alliance as there's not real requirement that your country's politics look like the UK, France, or the USA.

The problem is with IS and Syrian refugees and how Turkish and Hungarian domestic policy is making European security more difficult.

Hungary has taken a hard stance against masses of refugees escaping Syria (and a few other places). This as seen closed borders, which have directed masses of refugees to overwhelm other state borders and in the short-term, the civil infrastructure necessary to effectively process and resettle refugees. This isn't a military security problem so much as a civil one, as ineffectively controlled borders apparently means that it possible for one of the Paris terrorists to transit from Syria to Paris without notice. Note, this is not to say the European born terrorist was refugee, but he may have have been able to use an over-stressed system compounded by things like Hungarian policy to hide his movements.

Which brings us to Turkey, and its leaky border with Syria, campaign against various Kurdish groups, support for the ethnic Turks in Syria, and disruptive influence on the campaign against IS and other Islamist militant groups in Syria, and so on. This is not a country acting in line with the general policy of most NATO countries against IS. It is a country that may put NATO in direct conflict with Russia, given the recent downing of a Russian aircraft by Turkish F-16s and the likely Russian response.

Something to think about.

What is it about Conservative politicians and airplanes?

Remember when Harper ordered (and the commander of the RCAF submitted to) the repainting of one of the RCAF CC-150 to better represent the "Harper Government"?
Here ... this will remind you.

Well, British prime minister, David Cameron, (often referred to as a spoiled brat from a better home), while announcing billions of pounds sterling in spending and program cuts, did this.
The PM has ordered a £10m refit of an ex-RAF plane just a week before the Tories announce billion-pound cuts in the Autumn Statement
Pampered David Cameron's new jet will only start saving money after 13 years, Downing Street has revealed.
And ... this.
Tory Cabinet ministers are to get a fleet of new executive jets - on top of the special plane for David Cameron
Oh yes, the Royal Navy gets this. 
The Government is to axe the Navy’s flagship to save costs despite spending £65million on upgrading the vessel a year ago.
Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey, NATO, and Russian Fencers

Quickly, in light of the Turkish downing of the Russian Su-24, consider:

Turkey has been a lukewarm NATO "ally" against the Islamic State. It has spent more of its efforts attacking and checking the Kurds and its border remains porous. Turkey is still the entry route for foreigners intent on joining IS and the exit route for many refugees and defectors from IS.

Turkey's internal politics have recently seen Erdogan consolidate power.

The US, Iran, Russia, Assad's Syria, and others have just taken great strides toward a unified front against IS.

The question is whether Turkey sees this arrangement as being in its interest.

If it doesn't, would it attempt a plausibly deniable attempt to scuttle it?

Because I think that's what we have just seen.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pissing on the fear monkeys' BS

No one is so confident in their opinion as an ignorant person.

The screams coming out of the right-wing about the horrors of resettling 25,000 refugees from the bloody Syrian-Iraqi corridor controlled by Daesh, (you may know the group as ISIS or ISIL), is an illuminating example.

They even have their own petition to stop the rescue of refugees. (No, I'm not linking to it).

Their greatest fear, (and they are certainly demonstrating huge amounts of that), is that in a single intake of 25, 000 refugees, terrorists will come in with them. And then they demonstrate their profound ignorance by pointing at the Paris attacks while they wet their pants.

1. To date, none of the Paris attackers, so far identified, were refugees. They were native-born French or Belgian. Whatever their ethnicity, religious beliefs (if they actually had any), or training, they were home-grown radicalized thugs, many of whom had criminal records in Europe.

2. The refugees being brought to Canada are currently already identified. Most are living hand-to-mouth existences in refugee camps where conditions are the closest thing to a living hell anyone can imagine. Your typical terrorist isn't drawn to that type of lifestyle. Some of the Paris attackers were described by their own families and acquaintances as hard drinkers, smokers and party animals. The refugees being brought to Canada are unique in that on this occasion we actually get to pick them. These are not people showing up on a sinking boat or putting their lives in the hands of human smugglers.

3. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Tell me WHY any idiot inclined to come to Canada to blow up the doorstep of some semi-informed redneck westerner would be so stupid as to come in via the refugee system?!
Go on ... tell me.
There are too many security, criminal and health checks and WAY too much control and supervision. It is considerably easier to show up in Canada as a TOURIST. Much less hassle and nowhere near the detailed examination of one's past to which every refugee must submit.

So, the right-wing fear monkeys cannot present the refugee-terrorist-infiltrator as an argument. They'll have to come up with something else. And with every uninformed position that gets cut away from their argument, we come closer to the real reason. And it's ugly.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Gift for your Conservative friends and family

The holiday season is fast approaching.

It's a time for sharing, for rebuilding bridges between friends and family that ruptured by a decade of Conservative misrule.

Show your angry/depressed/embittered Conservative loved one that you care, by giving them the magic of Justin Trudeauimmortalised on your choice of T-shirt, tanks, and jumpers.

If you're a non-Conservative living in a riding with a Tory MP, why not extend the hand of friendship and magnanimity espoused by the new PM and send one to your elected Member.

[Seriously though, look at that shirt! The country is really in a rebound relationship.]

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Good(ale) karma

Mound of Sound picks up on something
Recall Guiliano Zaccardelli? Canada's newly minted Minister of Public Safety sure does.  Zaccardelli was the infamous RCMP commissioner who made up spurious allegations about Goodale that were divulged to the NDP who used it to sabotage the Liberals in the 2006 election, helping Harper come to power and plunging Canada into the decade of darkness...Zac was replaced by the first civilian commissioner, Tory backroom operative Bill Elliott and then the current office holder, Bob Paulson, who stands to go down in history for inventing the 'immaculate bribe' charge whereby senator Mike Duffy was charged with receiving a bribe from a guy that Paulson cleared of giving a bribe, Nigel Wright.
Now Paulson is going to have to answer to Ralphie. Wonder how that's going to work out?

I wonder if we'll see some sudden retirements and other departures throughout government and the civil service?

A book of photo-ops?

Ok, so Defence Watch is reporting that DND staff at public expense has put together a book of photos of ex-DefMin Jason Kenney doing troop-y things as gift to him. It's just a bit weird and oddly fitting that his going away gift is a book of staged pictures.

There's a larger point.  CF/DND and all the other public services haven't had the experience of a different government in a decade. Turnover and the like means that there will be very little to zero continuity between the staff of 2006 and now, and probably quite a few politically partisan hires scattered about. Any rapid Tory partisans in there may soon find themselves sweating a bit.