Friday, November 29, 2013

An Abundance of Caution

China is now scrambling fighter jets to 'defend' its claim over the formally international waters between China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. China ignored the B-52s that the US flew through the same territory, since the US has no claim over the waters. Japan and Korea don't get ignored, it doesn't sound like Taiwan even wants to risk it. The US has never been officially at war with China if you don't count Korea, but Japan is still reviled in China for its WWII atrocities, and needs to consider the very real possibility that things could get 'out of hand'.

It's not that China has any intention of shooting down the planes from Korea and Japan that have deliberately violated China's 'airspace', China just wants to raise tensions to a certain level. That level would be where no oil company will want to invest the big bucks it would take to extract petroleum in the disputed waters with the likelihood that their rigs would be seized by The People's Army. China is all about the 'long game', they know this will be their century, the planet is theirs for the taking.

Peace with Iran has brought to life a billion dollar cottage industry in vintage airplane parts. Iran has the distinction of flying some of the oldest commercial aircraft in the world, including one of the original 747-100s, a model that hasn't even been seen at a Boeing facility in 20 years. They fly planes that you don't even see in Africa. An engine fire? Just another day on the job at Iran Air. So now that spare parts no longer need to go to Iran via the Black Market there is a scramble by more mainstream parts dealers to lock down every Boeing jet that sits wasting away on some backwater tarmac.

Iran did have a go with using Russian built planes, but found the failure rate was worse than the bailing wire and chewing gum creations that they have been running. In reality they've only recently had a problem securing parts. Under Republican administrations there was no real enforcement of the embargos against Iran, but since Obama took over things have tightened up considerably. The USAF for example purchased a gigantic hydraulic shear to destroy landing gear struts for decommissioned F-111s that under the Bush Administration were routinely ending up in Iran.

Ronald Reagan committed Treason and got himself elected by promising Iran spare parts, anti-aircraft missiles and such. That business turned into the Iran-Contra scandal. During depositions Reagan claimed no recollection of such events, (his alzheimer's was conveniently revealed just prior to his appearance). George H. W. Bush who had bragged about being 'in charge' during the Reagan Presidency, claimed under oath that he knew nothing, saying that he just went to funerals like all Vice Presidents do. Bush went on to issue pardons for everyone involved, including people who hadn't even been indicted.

Twitter @BruceEnberg - Where you can ask, just what is baling wire?  

Breaking News: the Obama Administration has just recommended that US airlines comply with China's demand that aircraft flying into China's 'new' airspace comply with their notification requirements, "out of an abundance of caution". An abundance of caution would be to take the long way around.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Using Strategic air power to defend precious bodily fluids

New unemployment claims dropped by another 10,000 last week to 316,000 approaching pre Bush Crash numbers. California accounted for almost half of the decline suggesting that Conservative claims that the 7th largest economy in the world is in rapid decline since the Democrats took complete control of the state's government might be 'overstated'.

Wall Street banks are throwing a fit because the Federal Reserve is considering the elimination of the 0.25% interest that they have been paying banks on cash reserves that banks keep on deposit with the Fed. It doesn't sound like much except that these reserves total $2.4t. They only started doing this as part of the bank bailout and Wall Street has become accustomed to this $60b subsidy, it's almost half of their annual bonus pay. Banks didn't used to keep much cash on deposit but were encouraged to start doing this in case of further losses from the Bush crash. The Fed thinks that with the economy actually working again that maybe banks should start making loans with this money instead.

The possibility of peace with Iran has been putting further downward pressure on oil prices despite the Obama Administration's assurances that Iran wouldn't be allowed to pump more oil and natural gas any time soon.

The 21st century's Super Power, The People's Republic of China has laid claim to most of the South China Sea and has now created an new Air Defense Zone over what used to be a big chunk of International waters bordered by China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. This area happens to be rich in untapped petroleum reserves. China has a similar dispute going with The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam over oil reserves in formally International waters further south.

The Super Power from the last century thumbed its nose at this flexing of Communist muscle by deploying some 1950s fire power to show them just who's the boss.  Flight Leader USAF Major T. J. "King" Kong (played by Slim Pickens in the movies) upon receiving his orders to challenge Chinese air defenses with two fifty year old B-52 bombers,  "Now I've been to one world's fair, a picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've heard come over a set of earphones. Are you sure you got today's codes?" 

When Dr Henry Kissinger was asked to comment on the wisdom sending of nuclear bombers into Communist airspace the 90 year old cold war expert became agitated. He leapt from his wheelchair took several steps and proclaimed, "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!" 

China simply ignored the toothless lion's roar, and went about taking over the planet. 

Twitter @BruceEnberg - now with tips for avoiding the detrimental effects of fluoridation on your precious bodily fluids.