Category Archives: The South

FRED REED: War With China! Another Bright Idea From The Yankee Capital

America, China, Foreign Policy, FRED REED, History, Military, Russia, The South, Trade, War

America starts its wars by overestimating its own capacities, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the nature of the war it is getting into…And the Chinese are not little-leaguers

By Fred Reed

Discussions of war with China over Taiwan often assume a short, regional war won by superior American technology, after which things go on approximately as before. A few observations:

First, overconfidence is an occupational disease of militaries and militarists. Wars very often fail to proceed according to the expectations of the aggressors and not infrequently end in catastrophe.  The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas; wrong by four years and 630,000 dead, equivalent to over six million today.

When Napoleon invaded Russia, he did not foresee Russian troops marching in Paris, which is what happened. When Germany invaded France in 1914, it expected a short, victorious war of movement, and got four years of a losing attrition war. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, GIs sleeping with their daughters in Tokyo was not among their war aims, but it is what happened.

When the French went back into Vietnam after WW II, being catastrophically defeated by les jaunes at Dien Bien Phu was not a strategic objective. When America invaded Vietnam, Washington did not expect a panicked flight from atop the Embassy. When Hitler invaded Russia, GIs in Berlin were not in his plans. When Russia invaded Afghanistan, it did not expect the same outcome that the Americans should have expected, but didn’t, when they did exactly the same thing. The list could be extended. Caution often is a wiser plan than martial enthusiasm.

Second, America starts its wars by overestimating its own capacities, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the nature of the war it is getting into. There is probably a manual on this. Usually the US has no end game and no “what if” plan in case the unforeseen occurs. These traits are clear in America’s wars since Korea.

The reason for this curious behavior is that war is only tangentially a rational endeavor, being chiefly a limbic, instinctually driven habit probably of genetic provenance. War is just what men do, tribe against tribe, country against country, empire against empire, world without end. War is a major, perhaps the major, focus of human endeavor. A glance at history reveals it to be chiefly a tapestry of war. The literature of civilizations reflects this: The Gilgamesh Epic, the Iliad, the Aeneid, El Cid, Orlando Furioso, Lord of the Rings.

Does America have a clear reason for defending Taiwan? It is not of vital importance to America, and arguably not of minor importance. Few Americans know quite where it is, and few can distinguish it from Thailand. If it became part of China almost no one would notice. Before getting into an unpredictable war with a massively populous nuclear power of formidable economic and military resources on the other side of the world, it might be wise to answer the question, “Why? What do we gain? How do we get out of said war?”

Regarding war in Chinese waters:

The US fleet has not been in combat since 1945, over seventy-five years ago. American pilots have not flown against a competent enemy since 1973, almost half a century ago. Enormous changes in technology and armament have occurred in the intervening years. Nobody really knows what a battle of naval forces against modern antiship missiles would look like. Those who can guess are not sanguine. Most warships today lack armor. Anyone looking at what a couple of French Exocet missiles did to the USS Stark in 1987 would not bet on equally unarmored Ticos or Arleigh Burkes. An aircraft carrier is a large bladder of aviation fuel wrapped around high explosives. Look at the accidental launch in 1967 of one Zuni five-inch ground-attack missile aboard the USS Forrestal, igniting raging fires, cooking off bombs, killing 134 sailors and putting the ship in the repair yard for many months.

Militaries grow slack in extended periods of peace. Training decreases to save money. War stocks of tank treads are cannibalized for training and aren’t there when war comes; the company that made them has gone out of business. Supplies of critical parts dwindle as budgets go to procurement of future hardware. After all, nobody really expects war. Rapid mobilization, it turns out, is impossible.

If the war was not won as quickly and decisively as hoped, as it very likely would not be, would an American public already under severe economic stress support the heavy cost of a war having no obvious end point or relevance to their lives? Conscription?

Within the Beltway many seem to think that China is Cambodia with more people. Some in Washington harbor a residual belief that America is militarily supreme, that its mere entrance into war seals the outcome. Think again, carefully. Rand has wargamed regional war in the Strait and South China Sea and concluded that America has a very good chance of losing. he Chinese are smart, and excellent engineers. Chinese students dominate America’s best technical universities and the elite high schools. CalTech and MIT, for example. Look at the Chinese space program, the upcoming 360 mph maglev trains using high-temperature superconductivity. The Chinese are not little-leaguers. They have put many resources into antiship missiles specifically designed for US carriers. These, note, greatly outrange carrier aviation. Iraq was predicted to be a “cakewalk.” China won’t be.

Allies? In naval circles there is much talk about the First Island Chain and an assumption that Japan will join a war against China to protect Taiwan, or at least let its bases be used by American forces. Are we sure? Japan is within missile and air range of China. All of its petroleum arrives by sea, and China has pretty decent submarines. Japan’s trade mostly moves by sea. China is a crucial trading partner whose elimination in a war would devastate the Japanese economy. Japan is close to China. America is not. Tokyo might worry that America would grow weary of the war and go home, as it usually does, and leave Japan, all alone, in a shooting war with China. How would that end?

What stake does Japan have in the independence of Taiwan? Today it trades with both Taiwan and China. If China absorbed the island, Japan would continue trading with both. Only the letterhead would change. Are we quite, quite sure Tokyo would want any part of this?

South Korea? Its cities and entire economy are within missile range of China. Does it really want to get into a shooting war with its huge neighbor, which has a land border with the peninsula, to maintain American hegemony in the Pacific? Having gotten into a war, how would it get out? The Koreans may have thought of this.

Wars as imagined inside the Beltway often seem to assume that the enemy will just lie there and be bombed without doing anything untoward or unexpected. Are we sure? The United States has 28,000 troops and their families within range of Chinese weaponry, the killing of whom would force Washington into desperate measures. Could China encourage North Korea to attack southward, creating a two-front war far beyond Washington’s ability to handle? Or Kim to think he saw a chance and attack on his own initiative? Might China annex Myanmar? Perhaps this is farfetched. Perhaps it isn’t. Remember that nobody expected China’s entry into the Korean war.

One might suspect that Taipei, seeing overwhelming forces arrayed against it across the Strait, will one day cut the best deal it can with Beijing rather than be devastated first and then have to accept whatever conditions Beijing chose to impose. It could get a sweetheart deal as Beijing would much prefer this to invading with all of its risks. Here is a factor I am not competent to judge, but that might be worth judging: The Chinese, as I knew them long ago when I lived in Taiwan, are (very) racially aware and nationalistic. The Taiwanese are Chinese. You can bet they know of the Legations, the Opium Wars, the Boxers, the burning of the Summer Palace, the Korean War. As I write, the most popular movie on the mainland is about a Chinese victory over Americans in the Korean War.

What might a Chinese attack on Taiwan look like? The Chinese general staff mysteriously does not confide in me, but a good guess is easy. The Chinese often do beach-assault exercises on their side of the strait, obviously practice for the genuine assault. One of these turns suddenly into the real thing. Ballistic missiles crater Taiwan’s military runways, missiles in large numbers hit air defenses. Troop ships head for Taiwan, getting there in eight hours at fifteen knots, helicopters and paratroops in less. China’s large and reasonably good air force bombs and bombs and bombs. After twenty-four hours, the US is still trying to decide what is happening, talking to the JCS, asking the President what to do.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, the talented Confederate general, is said to have said that the secret of victory is to “git thar fustest with the mostest.” In the event of a surprise attack, how long would it take—in the real world, not in PowerPoint slides—for America to get there with how much of what? If the Chinese got substantial forces ashore, it would be the end of the story. Keeping troops out of an island is one thing, getting them out quite another. Not even John Bolton—perhaps not even John Bolton—can imagine that America could win a land war with China in Asia. Selling the American public on a large war over things in which it has no interest would be difficult. Under these circumstances, the chances are nonnegligible that the US would make loud noises, huff and puff, save face as best it could, and do nothing.

But let us assume that Washington fought and lost the regional war, Taiwan perhaps surrendering after the U.S. lost a dozen ships and a carrier was disabled. What would Washington do after such a humiliation? Never underestimate the influence of vanity on world affairs. The hawks in DC have elevated titles and, sometimes, considerable ability, but they also have the same hormones and egos as patrons in Joe’s Bar in Chicago. A Chinese victory in the style of Tsushima Strait would end the world’s view of America as an invincible hegemon. The fernbar Napoleons might well decide to up the ante and turn a regional into a world war. This it would win. “Win.” Perhaps by blocking the Strait of Malacca and threatening the Three Gorges Dam. The expectation in the Pentagon would likely be that Beijing would see the futility of resistance and surrender. But if it did not?

America’s trade with China in goods in 2020 was $660 billion, $120 billion of that being exports, making it America’s largest trading partner… Cutting this off would wreck the American economy. This is far more than a matter of iPhones and cheap plastic buckets for Walmart. Though most may not know it, America is an economic dependency of China.  The US gets from China countless things it cannot make but cannot do without. For example, cars require computers to control their ignition and transmissions. Where do we think these are made? Companies like Boeing sound American but many vital assemblies come from China. High-end semiconductors, crucial to today’s economies, come predominantly from East Asian companies, notably Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung, both of which would be hostage to Chinese attack. The great majority of rare earths, critical to the manufacture of chips, come from China. Similar considerations exist for industry after industry. While America has the technology to make most of the things it gets from China, it does not have the manufacturing capacity, and would need years to develop it.

Has anyone in Washington checked industry by industry to see what the effects of the end of imports would actually be?

Further, China is the largest trading partner of most of the world, Germany and the European Union for example, and close with most of the rest. If an American war took China out of the global supply chain, the resulting depression would make 1929 look like the height of prosperity, turn the entire earth against the US, and likely lead to the lynching of everyone in Washington.

Never mentioned is that America is trying, with considerable success, to block China’s economic progress by preventing its acquisition of advanced semiconductors. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer of chips, is in Taiwan. Reunification of Taiwan with China would solve this critical problem. Beijing has probably thought of this.

Considering the costs, risks, and benefits if any of such a war, the question may be, “How bright an idea is this?”

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

* Image courtesy FP

WATCH: Charlottesville: Being White, RIGHT & Rightless – No Speech, No Assembly; No Safety

Argument, Constitution, Free Speech, Law, Left-Liberalism, The South

This week, David Vance and I talk to Anne Wilson Smith, author of “Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right.” This is BIG, folks—a Big Soviet Lie à la America.

Not that you’d know this from the malfunctioning media, but the 2017 rally in Virginia to protest the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee was sabotaged from up-high. The tinpot authorities (city, state, and police at both levels) sabotaged the constitutional rights of those with a permit (Unite the Right) to assemble and speak unharmed, while letting the feral, predatory forces of Antifa and BLM—the military arm of the Democrat Party—go a wilding. Commissioned by the city, a report by a distinguished, Virginia law firm confirms the “failures.”

David and I also delve controversially—naturally—into the assault on speech by Jewish organizations (e.g., Anti-Defamation League) and activists, who seem intent on stymieing styles of speech, such as the use of hyperbole, and the deployment of the reductio ad absurdum argument to drive home a point.

WATCH: “Charlottesville: Being White, RIGHT & Rightless – No Speech, No Assembly; No Safety”:

DOWNLOAD The Podcast App To Listen On-The-Go: 

https://HardTruthWithDavidVanceAndIlanaMercer.podbean.com/

FRED REED: Bads, Wads, And The Unlikelihood Of Reason: Thoughts On Two Verdicts

Crime, Critique, Ethics, FRED REED, GUNS, Justice, Law, Race, The South

In both the Rittenhouse and Arbery cases, we have Black Advocates, and White Advocates (Bads and Wads to avoid typing fatigue) squalling at each other

By Fred Reed

Oh God, oh God. Can we humans not contract out our governance to, say, cephalopods and stop trying to manage our own affairs? I mean, really. Girl octopodes are both smart and leggy. They aren’t crazy. What more do we want?

Recently we have had the verdicts in the Rittenhouse and Arbery trials, with which I assume the reader to be at least broadly familiar. If you are not, I congratulate you for avoiding the grocery-store tabloid intellectual level regnant in America.

Today, everything is identity politics, emotion, and herd instinct. Loyalty to one’s herd trumps all else, to include truth. Outside the courtroom, treatment of both trials was racial, ideological and, often, disingenuous if not dishonest. Inside the courtroom, neither was. This pack-instinct politics is an embarrassment.

In both cases, we have Black Advocates, and White Advocates (hereinafter Bads and Wads to avoid typing fatigue) squalling at each other. The Wads have never seen a white man who was guilty and the Bads, one who wasn’t. I don’t think I have ever encountered so much tendentious twaddle in one place, and I have lived in Washington.

But the juries got both right. For a practicing curmudgeon, this is devastating. There may be a hidden underlying vein of reason in the country.

In the Rittenhouse matter, the case, that the kid shot in self-defense, is obvious on the facts.  The jury agreed. In Arbery, the defense of the killers is weak, contrived, and illogical. The jury agreed.

Now, Arbery, briefly: Arbery was a black man who on at least five occasions (is said to have) entered a suburban house under construction, walked around, sometimes on surveillance video, and left without stealing anything. In Georgia, this is called “criminal trespass,” and is a misdemeanor, like littering. No theft, no vandalism, no burglary, no felony.

On the day of his death, Arbery, a known jogger, came out of the house, carrying nothing, not anything stolen, not a weapon, not a cellphone, and ran down the street. The three killers, assuming on no evidence that he must have committed a crime, began chasing him in two pickups. They ran him down in a chase lasting five minutes, used the trucks to force him in desired directions, trapped him on a street between the trucks. Apparently Arbery, exhausted and desperate, cornered, attacked the guy who had a twelve-gauge pump, who killed him with it. One of the three took video during the chase.

They later said they killed him in self-defense and claimed that they were conducting a citizen’s arrest. The latter claim, farfetched and not occurring until well after the event, was the only possible defense a lawyer could come up with. I suspect a lawyer did come up with it.

The self-defense approach doesn’t fly. If you are the aggressors, as for example chasing with pickups a frightened man, and you kill him when he finally fights back, in law you cannot claim self-defense. And when the odds are three men and two guns against an unarmed defender, self-defense is not persuasive.

Here the story becomes sordid. When I heard shortly after the killing that there would be no indictments, I thought, uh-huh, the fix is in. And the fix was indeed in. One of the killers who had worked in law enforcement called his friend, Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, and got her to  prevent an investigation, for which she was later indicted on a felony charge. The investigation and arrest came months later and only after the video went viral.

The jury found all three guilty of murder, whereupon white advocates called the proceedings a show trial, political, with the jury being intimidated, anti-white, and the like.

None of this is true. (If you have the interest and spare time, here is the prosecutions case in its entirety. Judge for yourself.) In identity politics, a show trial is one in which the verdict is not the one one’s herd wants. The jury is then said to be woke, corrupt, left-wing, right-wing, suborned, racist, white-hating, what have you It can’t be that the jury even-handedly pondered the facts and came to a considered conclusion.

Wads, as much as Bads, just make up evidence.  Various WADs stated as fact that Arbery, who frequently jogged through the neighborhood, did so “casing” it for future theft. Since there is no evidence that Arbery committed burglary, ever, this is invention. There is much innuendo, as for example stating that many thefts had occurred in the neighborhood and inviting the reader to conclude that Arbury was the thief. There is exactly no evidence for this.

In libel law this sort of thing is called “actual malice” or “reckless disregard of truth.” But the dead can’t sue.

Why the desperate attempt to find a felony for Arbery to have committed? Because without one,  the defense of making a citizen’s arrest doesn’t fly. That leaves them having hunted Arbery down and killed him with no authority to do so. This is called “murder.”

Citizen’s arrest: A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a person may arrest him on reasonable or probable grounds of suspicion.

The claim of making a citizen’s arrest smells to high heaven. There was no felony. Arbery came out of the house carrying nothing, as the killers could see. No felony had been committed in their presence since none had been committed at all. Further, statements by the three themselves show that they didn’t think Arbery had stolen anything, or didn’t know whether he had. These gut the defense of citizen’s arrest.

When the sheriff showed up, they would certainly have told him approximately, “We thought he was a burglar and so we wanted to hold him until the police came.” They didn’t. They didn’t tell Arbery they were making a citizen’s arrest.

Many seem not to understand the importance of this. The only question in the trial was whether the three were conducting a legitimate citizen’s arrest. If not, then with no right or authority whatsoever they had chased down a man who had not committed a felony, and killed him. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called “murder.”

Let us consider events from Arbury’s standpoint. He was out for a jog, as he had been many times before. He poked around the building site, as he and others had done before. He stole nothing. He didn’t know that he was a burglar in the eyes of the three paladins of justice. He didn’t know that they were planning a citizen’s arrest. Suddenly, armed white men in a pickup accost him, trying to cut him off. This is terrifying. They don’t tell him why. One says, or later claims to have, “I want to talk to you,” probably not in a chirpy voice with a broad smile. From Arbury’s point of view, this is not promising. Remember, he lives in Georgia. Arbury doesn’t reply, as why should he? He tries to evade, which is exactly what I would do. It is, I suspect, what a white person would do if cut off by armed blacks.

What should he have done, trapped, probably scared witless, with a white man pointing a shotgun at him? What does a black man in these circumstances believe to be the intentions of his pursuers? A beating? A rope? Burning? Death? To a white advocate in northern suburbs these may seem silly questions. To a black in Georgia, they don’t. His decision, to fight, got him killed.

It is interesting here to ask what the identity groups would have said had the races been reversed. For example, if three blacks had run down a white college student in otherwise identical circumstances. Or, if Rittenhouse had been a black kid attacked by Republicans, saying that his intent was to protect the right of BLM to hold lawful demonstrations. I think we all know the answer. And, when a nearly all-white jury in the Deep South convicts three white men of killing a black man, you can bet they believe it.

Guilty as charged.

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

 

 

GOP, RIP: 67 Republicans Join In Purging American Forefathers

America, Democrats, History, Republicans, Secession, States' Rights, The South, The State

“The House passed a bill Tuesday that would remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. … Sixty seven Republicans voted to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.”

The legislation would require states to remove and replace any statues honoring members of the Confederacy in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol by prohibiting “persons who served as an officer or voluntarily with the Confederate States of America or of the military forces or government of a State while the State was in rebellion against the United States” from the collection.

You know the deal with the Democrats. But remember this: 67 Republicans joined in purging American forefathers.

MORE.

*Jefferson Davis, courtesy Forbes