Good Company

Good Company
Good Company

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday Is Old Radio Say - "People Are Funny" (1954): "Could you buy a hamburger?"

Art Linkletter poses the question, but there's a catch - there's always a catch - in the show "People Are Funny"

On Midrats 28 July 2019 - Episode 499: No Summer Break for NATO with Jorge Benitez

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 28 July 2019 for Midrats Episode 499: No Summer Break for NATO with Jorge Benitez
From Baltic air policing, through the Russian border areas, to Afghanistan and curling back to the Strait of Hormuz, NATO alliance
members are being tested not just by external powers, but by domestic politics and the slow churn of history.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO members continue to grapple with their larger mission - and what alliance members mean and owe to each other.

From purpose to public support, returning to Midrats for a thorough review of NATO near the end of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century will be our guest Dr. Jorge Benitez.

Jorge is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Marine Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He specializes in NATO and transatlantic relations, European politics, and US national security. He previousy served as assistant for Alliance issues to the Director of NATO Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served as a specialist in international security for the Department of State and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.

Dr. Benitez received his BA from the University of Florida, his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

On Midrats 21 July 2019 - Episode 498: Mid July Free For All

Please join us at 5pm EDT, 21 July 2019 for Midrats Episode 498: Mid July Free For All
Beat the heat by joining us today from 5-6pm Eastern for a mid-July maritime free for all.

We're going to cover the chart from Iran seizing Brit owned tankers, to the future impact of growing naval powers like India & Japan, to the new-new CNO to be, and anything else that seems to be breaking above the natsec ambient noise.

Jump in the chat room with your own question, or you can even call in.
If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "The Man in the Moon" (1950)

Before 1969 there was fiction about the moon, here's a sample

50 years ago, reality:

Let's get back to exploring!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

How Outlaw Countries Start Wars: "Iran seizes Emirati oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz"

Alternate headline, "Iran Grabs Foreign Ship, Lies About It As It Seeks to Stir Up Trouble"

Telegraph reports Iran seizes Emirati oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz:
Iran has seized a foreign tanker it says was smuggling fuel in the Gulf. The vessel, which state TV claimed was smuggling fuel to foreign customers, was intercepted south of Iran's Larak Island in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Sunday and its 12 crew members arrested.

The seized vessel - an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait - drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago.

US officials have expressed suspicion that the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah had been seized in Iranian territorial waters.

Iran said it responded to a distress call from the Riah, based in the UAE, and came to its rescue. But no other nation has reported receiving a distress call from the Riah, which was seen being escorted by Iranian naval vessels after the transponder that automatically reports its location was switched off on Saturday.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Mystery Playhouse - Mr. and Mrs. North in "An Invitation to a Murder" (1946)

What? Your home life doesn't look like that?

Enjoy the show anyway.

On Midrats 14 July 2019 - Episode 497: The Once, Past, and Future Strait of Hormuz & Gulf of Oman with John T. Kuehn

Please join us at 5pm EDT, 14 July 2019 for Midrats Episode 497: The Once, Past, and Future Strait of Hormuz & Gulf of Oman
From limpet mines on tankers, drone shootdowns, and the HMS
Montrose just short of loading grape - the decades long story of Iranian posturing in their near seas continues.

A lot sounds familiar, but the economic and security environment has changed a lot in the four decades.

What is a constant, what has changed, and what should we expect to evolved in one of the most globally important areas of water? To discuss these topics with us our guest will be Dr. John T. Kuehn.

Dr. Kuehn is the General William Stofft Chair for Historical Research at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He retired from the U.S. Navy 2004 at the rank of commander after 23 years of service as a naval flight officer in EP-3s and ES-3s. He authored Agents of Innovation (2008) and co-authored Eyewitness Pacific Theater (2008) with D.M. Giangreco, as well as numerous articles and editorials and was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.
If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Iran's mullahs get even more desperate and are trying to provoke a war to save their regime

Iran apparently has abandoned any concerns about plausible deniability in their efforts to provoke a war that the mullahs seem to believe will unite the Iranian people against the Western powers and save their regime which the western sanctions are threatening.So desperate they pull this sort of bush league stunt, Iranian IRGC boats tried, failed to seize British oil tanker in Persian Gulf, senior US defense official says
Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.

The British warship was said to have been less than 5 miles behind the tanker but soon intercepted the Iranian boats and threatened to open fire. A manned U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was above as well, the official said, adding that Iranian forces left without opening fire.

Navy Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said the military was aware of the reported actions. He added, “Threats to international freedom of navigation require an international solution. The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global prosperity.”
Keep the sanctions, avoid the war, but respond to any deadly attacks with precision fire.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Friday Film: "Containerization Today" (1960s)

First use of containers in ocean shipping was in 1956 - 63 years ago.

It's hard to believe what a difference their use has made in transportation. Some background here.

Container ships keep growing in size, adding to the economies of scale of this manner of transporting goods - see World’s largest boxship featuring 24 rows across is delivered. See also here.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Messages from China - One Clear and One Odd

First the clear signal We Don't Like Your FONOPS and Exercises in the South China Sea so we'll show off our anti-ship ballistic missile and demonstrate we lied when we said we wouldn't militarize those islands we made in the SCS.
China's military conducted a flight test of an anti-ship ballistic missile in the contentious South China Sea last weekend in violation of a pledge four years ago by President Xi Jinping not to militarize the waterway.
China also may have conducted the provocative missile test in reaction to the recent U.S.-Japan naval exercises in the South China Sea.
Well, of course. It's a warning shot across the bow.

The odd message? China Raises Security Warning on Ships Plying Malacca Strait
China raised the security level for its vessels heading through the
Strait of Malacca, a key Asian trade route and major oil choke point.

The transport ministry advised Chinese-flagged ships to take heightened security steps and increased its security warning to level three, according to a copy of a July 2 notice posted on a website affiliated with the ministry.

Three is the highest security level in Chinese shipping regulations, and one above a warning issued after recent attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified discussing government notifications. The ministry wasn’t immediately able to comment.
Things have been pretty calm piracy-wise in the Strait of Malacca in recent years, so this is a head shaker.

Lloyds List Maritime Intel headline says China raises attack threat in Malacca Straits to highest level:
Shipping companies are asked by authorities in Beijing to increase the security level on ships transiting the Straits of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest waterways. Cosco Shipping’s tanker unit has warned its staff about possible attacks from some Indonesian gangs.
But suppose you are China and you decide that the chokepoints through which your vital oil supplies flow are potentially threatened by forces that may attempt to enforce an embargo on - say - Iranian crude oil. After all, 78% of your oil passes through chokepoints.

Given that possibility, and looking to the U.S. Carter Doctrine for a historic parallel, might you decide to gin up a "threat" which would -um - require you to provide armed escort vessels for your tankers heading to and through such chokepoints? What better threat than "Indonesian gangs?"

In short, is this a Chinese setup to intrude in the state waters of Indonesia and Malaysia with warships as a preemptive move against such an embargo and to set the precedent that China can and will do what it wants to protect its "vital national interests" in such chokepoints?

By sending escort ships to protect its tankers China would take another one of those minor steps that seems innocuous but which has major ramifications. They don't even have to be PLAN ships, but could be Chinese Coast Guard ships to begin with.


Monday, July 01, 2019

Happy Birthday, Thomas Sowell!

As AEI put yesterday, Happy 89th birthday (June 30) to Thomas Sowell, one of the greatest living economists providing some great examples of his clear thinking:
Diversity. “If there is any place in the Guinness Book of World Records for words repeated the most often, over the most years, without one speck of evidence, “diversity” should be a prime candidate. Is diversity our strength? Or anybody’s strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan’s homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity — or does the very word “Balkanization” remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times? Has Europe become a safer place after importing vast numbers of people from the Middle East, with cultures hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization?

“When in Rome do as the Romans do” was once a common saying. Today, after generations in the West have been indoctrinated with the rhetoric of multiculturalism, the borders of Western nations on both sides of the Atlantic have been thrown open to people who think it is their prerogative to come as refugees and tell the Romans what to do — and to assault those who don’t knuckle under to foreign religious standards.

It has not been our diversity, but our ability to overcome the problems inherent in diversity, and to act together as Americans, that has been our strength.” (emphasis added)
More from other sources:
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

“Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.”

“Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export.... Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea -- in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders. ”
And my favorite:
“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 22 May - 26 June 2019 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/SOUTHEAST ASIA Weekly Piracy Update for 20 - 26 June 2019