Monday, April 04, 2016

Obama, Trump, dirty bombs, new nuclear powers, NATO, bombs on Europe

Last Friday, a nuclear summit ended in Washington D.C. It was a somewhat low-key event because the leader of Russia – which is arguably the world's #1 nuclear superpower – didn't attend. Putin's absence was already decided in the era of the anti-Russian hostilities in late 2014. And the absence didn't imply that the Russian rather formidable weapons ceased to exist.

Is it really a good idea to antagonize the bear just because someone in the West has different opinions about a peninsula in the region he doesn't really understand?

During the summit, Barack Obama warned against the dirty bombs that could be used in the Western cities by the Muslim refugees and tourists, or whatever is your politically correct term for the Islamic terrorists. I am actually worried about such things as well. The terrorist may buy a drone and if he also has some ordinary explosives and nuclear waste, he may spray it over the cities from the drone.

I am afraid that the spectrum of possible threats is much more diverse – note that "diversity" refers to the many ways how millions of Westerners may be killed or how their health may be permanently impaired. It's shocking that the leftists use the word "diversity" as a compliment of a sort. ;-) Sufficiently evil people may buy and combine various ordinary things and use them in scary ways.

Yes, I have thought about some of these methods but I won't publish them because it would probably make me as irresponsible as Barack Obama. It actually does sound risky for him to describe some of these algorithms of terror in detail. Most Muslim fundamentalists are extremely stupid people and they would really not find similar know-how unless some smarter people tell them what to do. It may be bad news that Obama did.

But it was Donald Trump who elevated him to the job of the "nuclear thinker in chief". In recent days, he has revealed many ideas about the nuclear weapons and the world's military issues in general. He has ignited quite a reaction by the press – and by folks such as President Obama. Obama basically said that "the person" (a title for Trump – who may very well become Obama's successor) is an idiot. But is he?

Trump is surely different – and he would disagree with lots of things that have become an establishment Republican-Democratic consensus of a sort. Does it mean that his opinions must be stupid for those reasons? I don't think so.

NATO: an anachronism?

Let me start with NATO. Trump said that NATO is basically a waste of the American money. It wouldn't be a shame if NATO was abolished. And it's silly for Americans to pay for the defense of lots of the countries with relatively small defense budgets (Czechia is surely a textbook example of these NATO allies). People might have gotten used to the notion that such ideas are irresponsible or politically incorrect. But do they make some sense? You bet.

First, NATO was basically a defense pact created against the rising communism – an alliance in which the West survived the Cold War. After the fall of communism, did NATO still play some well-defined role? It's highly questionable. Maybe it should have been abolished just like the Warsaw Pact (and COMECON). Many khaki people's jobs depend on the continuation of NATO and the big military spending but do they have arguments going beyond their desire to be paid?

Russia clearly remained an enemy of a sort. But because Russia is no longer a totalitarian empire, different NATO members have at least different opinions – if I use moderate words – whether Russia should still be considered an adversary. (Everyone knows that my personal answer is basically "No" but it's more important that this view prevails in numerous NATO countries.) Some of the NATO countries would certainly tend to "behave differently than others" in the case of a U.S. conflict with Russia. Also, NATO could have been redefined as an alliance against other threats such as the violent Islam. But could the NATO countries actually agree about such a switch, given the fact that one of the NATO member states is Turkey, a country that seems to be the main supplier of weapons for ISIS, among other things? Assuming its current list of members, NATO as a force against the violent Islam sounds a bit funny.

Should America take care of defense of the European NATO allies? It's a questionable thing. America has helped to cure the "world" war in Europe twice in the 20th century and we may have gotten used to this setup. But shouldn't a more localized solution be found? This is a complicated question that the politicians and their voters in America (and elsewhere) help to decide.

There's no doubt that the American taxpayers are paying a priori unexpectedly high amounts for the defense of the democratic Europe. Do they want to do that? On one hand, it's a service that America is doing for others. On the other hand, dear American readers, if you don't do it, it's plausible that Europe (or its important part) will integrate itself into a military pact that will be much less friendly towards the U.S. if not hostile. That would mean that the territory of the "external world that is hostile towards America" can expand. This is not a matter of racketeering. The territory has all the rights to expand. ;-) America will remain important and globally visible for some time and it just happens to be the case that some persistent payments to the allies are needed for the survival of the current setup that is pretty good for America. The U.S. taxpayer's negative description is that America is subsidizing the allies' defense; the positive description is that America is creating a convenient buffer zone for its own defense.

And many people think that it's not just about the ultimate safety of the Americans. For various reasons, Americans may prefer the rest of the world not to be messed up. The U.S. is safe due to its being a melting pot republic of a sort. Europe and the Middle East aren't like that. They have lots of non-uniform and potentially antagonist patches. Europe is vastly safer than the Middle East (maybe safer than America) and its civilization is largely similar to what the Americans consider "their own" lifestyle (although it's really the European civilization that was exported to the New World, as many U.S. schoolkids apparently failed to learn). But if things go wrong, it may become more analogous to the Middle East. Is America willing to witness this deterioration – and even have the feeling that the deterioration is the fault of some American politicians?

At the end, isn't the U.S. defense spending helping Europe a better investment of money than the trillions of dollars that have gone to meaningless places such as Afghanistan? I tend to say "Yes". But it's obviously up to the American voters to decide what to do with their money and with their military.

As recently as in 2009 or so, I considered the trans-Atlantic alliance to be something precious, an ultimate political value. My relationship to that concept has cooled considerably. It's a bit shocking to realize how differently I was thinking about the alliance with the U.S. just six years ago. And it's hard not to conclude that the cooling is mostly due to the left-wing reign of Barack Obama and the changes of politics that his administration helped to bring – or at least was synchronized with.

If one starts to view the American influence as if it were something similar to another left-wing party in the Czech Republic (and in some respects, the Obama administration is even more obnoxiously left-wing – and especially politically correct – than the Czech left-wing parties), and if this picture seems to be long-lived if not "seemingly permanent", well, the enthusiasm of a Czech conservative towards such an alliance unavoidably weakens. I think you must understand my point. It's pretty much a mirror image of the reason why the European leftists were often hostile towards closer ties with the U.S.

Right now, I would find it just OK – if not an improvement – if NATO were formally abolished, European countries without the U.S. have established a somewhat tighter military pact than what they would have with America, and even if a part of our defense were transferred e.g. to Russia. I am pretty sure that 6 years ago, I wouldn't agree with the previous sentence at all. But today, it just seems reasonable.

At any rate, the American voters have the right not to fund the defense of Europe if they choose not to. It makes sense not to act as the world's voluntary cop.

Nuking Europe

But aside from the defense of Europe, there is something even more controversial that Trump discussed: an offense against Europe. When he was asked whether he could rule out nuclear bombardment of Europe, he said "No" because "Europe is a pretty big place" and "one should keep all cards on the table".

Well, if the U.S. nuking of Europe is possible, there's a nonzero probability that my place (or some other places I know and love) could be nuked as well and this is worrisome information. But that can't prevent me from seeing that Trump's comment is true and important.

Europe is a pretty big and diverse place, indeed, and this fact is often incomprehensible to typical Americans who want to imagine Europe as one uniform inkblot (so his simple comment is enough to make Trump "more familiar with Europe" than what is typical in the U.S.). Things can go terribly wrong at various places of Europe for various reasons. Yugoslavia was bombarded 2 decades ago. I no longer think it was a fair idea but there may exist situations in which it would be a very good idea. If the Nazi Germany failed to surrender in May 1945, it could have been a great idea to nuke German cities – just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki – too. And then you have various "not really Western" places in Europe; plus places that may be hypothetically hijacked by the Islamic terrorists in a foreseeable future, and so on.

I do agree with him that it's wise not to take the cards off the table.

After all, I can even imagine extreme situations in which I could beg for the nuclear bombardment of my own country, too. Dr Ms Milada Horáková, a national hero who fought against communists, was surely working hard to organize some kind of a Western intervention that would have saved Czechoslovakia from communism. She failed and the communists have executed her but the following 4 decades of degradation give quite some justification even to many of her "unpatriotic" attitudes.

Just to be sure, I think it's relatively unlikely that Trump will nuke the Czech lands during his tenure. He may have divorced Ivana but it couldn't be that terrible; and they have created the beautiful Ivanka together. And it was his Czech wife who promoted a man who was just a Donald to The Donald. One can't quite rule out that Trump's tenth wife will be Czech again – which might be a good reason not to carpet nuke the Czech lands. :-)

New countries in the nuclear club

Finally, Trump has excited many people by saying that he would find it "great" for Japan and South Korea (top examples) to develop nuclear weapons, so that they may be more prepared for dealing with their North Korean friend without the American help. Well, Trump also said that it's just great if the Saudi Arabia gets a nuclear weapon, too.

These things are controversial and I think that the "group think" in the Pentagon and around the Pentagon has basically banned people with similar views. Trump's victory would be quite a revolution in all these respects. A revolution that may create the risk of some really harmful decisions – but a revolution that brings some fresh air and fix to many stupid things in the status quo, too.

His comments about South Korea and Japan are controversial but I personally tend to agree with them. Don't get me wrong – it's increasingly dangerous if an increasing number of countries have access to nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, the "deteriorating composition" of the club of nuclear countries is probably a worse threat. It's simply unavoidable that unchecked, aggressive, dictatorial, totalitarian regimes such as North Korea (or Iran which doesn't seem to have nuclear bombs yet) are more likely to "arrange all the internal paperwork" that is needed for a nuclear program. Because it's so, it seems that an increasing percentage of the owners of nuclear weapons will be jerks.

This is a dangerous trend that should be fought against or compensated. Japan and South Korea could extend the "nuclear club" which reduces the safety because of the "ideologically blind reasons". On the other hand, their membership in the nuclear club would improve the "democratic and accountable character" of the average nuclear country of the world.

I would be much less enthusiastic – well, mostly negative – about the Saudi Arabian nuclear weapons if any. Saudi Arabia may have acted as an OK ally of the U.S. (and even Israel) for many years but internally and spiritually, Saudi Arabia is an ISIS in skirt. In fact, it doesn't even have the skirt. It's the same kind of a naked Wahhabist regime as Daesh. The only difference is that Saudi Arabia behaves as a "Gentleman" of a sort internationally – because others have behaved as Gentlemen towards the Saudis, too. Daesh hasn't gotten this "nice treatment" so far. But do I really want them to get geopolitically stronger? Not really.

It's ironic that Trump wanted to carpet bomb ISIS but when it comes to Saudi Arabia which is internally "pretty much the same thing", he wants to applaud them once they test their nuclear warheads. If a social justice warrior who is an official member of ISIS (most SJWs are honorary members of ISIS) complained that his entity is being discriminated against (in comparison with Saudi Arabia), I would probably agree with him.

One must realize that many of these things can't be reliably decided and controlled by the U.S. president, the U.S. voters, let alone a Czech physics blogger. ;-)

Iraqi Christians back from CZ to Iraq

There was a program helped by an NGO (Generation 21 Fund) to resettle about a hundred of Christians from Iraq to Czechia. So they were given some apartment in Jihlava etc., in the rural region where the current Czech president lived for 10 years before he moved to the Prague Castle. You could say it was excellent – it's OK for Czechia to adopt these people from "closer cultures" (although it would be a big exaggeration to call Czechia a Christian country these days LOL). At least, the Christians are more likely to face some problems in the Middle East.

Something went wrong with the plan, however.

At some moment, they jumped on a bus with a plan to drive to Essen, Germany. They later said that they were not satisfied with their prospects in Czechia. Germany surprisingly returned them to Czechia – a sensible reaction but it's hard to see whether it was done for the sensible reasons as well. And Czechia, because they have clearly violated our trust, ordered them to leave the country by Thursday evening. Good bye. Or f*ck off, or what's the right greeting here.

By the way, another group of Iraqi Christians in Czechia (those in Brno) is returning to Iraq "directly" because the seniors among them are homesick – and, according to Christian (Protestant) priest Dan Drápal (whom I met through my ex-GF, and whose brother is a mathematics professor), elders and their opinions are much more respected in Iraq than in Czechia. But Drápal is sorry about the mess that the young folks have to return to. There were four groups in total. Drápal has also visited the place near Jihlava (where the "double emigrants" to Germany lived) and said that their conditions were basically perfect etc. But he conjectures that someone from outside the NGO wanted to sink the whole project so he "offered" them some conditions in CZ that couldn't have been fulfilled – and the disappointment ultimately decided about their dissatisfaction. Their revocation of the asylum was an attempt to negotiate and get better conditions (as when NHL teams compete to get a top ice-hockey player), Drápal suggests, but it just couldn't work. Obviously if they say "we don't want the asylum anymore", our ministries immediately say "OK, great". They are surely not going to overpay and fight to keep these people whatever it costs and if someone told them someone else, it could either be a hyper-naive SJW or someone who just wanted these folks to go away. Drápal argues that one may beg God but not hoggle over the money with him (I guess that he considered himself to be the only messenger in between God and the real world LOL), so it's just fine that the government told them No.

The project of relocation was funded by private donors – there are worries that once this project has failed, they will demand their money back. But if that won't happen, or before that happens, the NGO is better off because it still has the money but will reduce the future spending because the program was suspended. It's not too shocking that they seem grateful to the minister that he has suspended the project.

It's "more justifiable" to help Christians from the Middle East. But if you think about it, I don't think that Iraq should be an example of a country that is unsafe for Christians. The country – or its part not occupied by Daesh – has done lots of progress in convergence towards some Western criteria of tolerance, I think. And we have some genuine relationships with Iraq that actually may make sense – they bought some 15 Czech airplanes L-159 recently (after Britain okayed the usage of its radar system or what it was).

At the end, even though these are not Muslims and one may imagine that they're unlikely to become terrorists and so on, you can see the bare and trivial economic logic here. Almost all the migrants from the Middle East are economic migrants who primarily want to have as convenient a life as possible. In Czechia, a vast majority of the people thinks that we don't have the natural moral reasons or the wealth to feed this region that sits on 40% of the world's oil, among other things. And 60% of Czechs refuse to welcome refugees even if they're coming from the very battlefront (and it's a tiny percentage of the migrants).

The idea that countries such as Czechia could be used as a new home for lots of people from similar regions represents a denial of the reality. The dislike for these plans is strong and, as you can see, it's mutual. If you consider these masses from the Middle East to be your friends or guests or future fellow citizens, Frau Merkel and her voters, you will have to feed them yourself. Don't expect any tangible help from other countries.

P.S. On Monday, just hours ago, Germany changed its mind and it will not return the Iraqis to Czechia after they noticed that these folks requested an asylum in Germany as well. I personally don't care much. But the Czech interior minister demands an explanation – or he may carpet bomb Germany – because this response by the German authorities violated some (but probably unwritten) rules. Also, Chovanec pointed out that because these Iraqis have been "assigned to Czechia via the quota system", the decision by Germany to keep them represents Germany's agreement that the quota policies have basically been proven ludicrous and the quota agreements were invalidated.

Today, the legendary Czech singer Karel Gott – who recently claimed to have defeated cancer (it looks so, great) – commented on the migrants, too. He said that it looked like a process controlled by someone from above, a process using small kids to emotionally exploit the viewers, and a process involving lots of young men full of energy whose clothes etc. are only matched by the elite of Prague. Various people reacted comically – now even the Master (Gott) became a xenophobe. We may finally emigrate, too. Gott also said that the "it's a myth that the illuminates [New World Order folks from conspiracy theories] won't allow Trump to become the president; instead, he's their guy", a sentence that became an obvious target of mocking reactions. I am actually not sure whether the illuminates and Bilderberg support Trump. ;-) With his sympathies for these conspiracy theories (I don't say that all of this is nonsense but the language surely is silly), Gott could probably immediately join Petr Hájek's "Counterstream".

Ryan Hollweg rules

Ryan Hollweg is an example of immigration to Czechia that worked great. ;-) As Czech newspapers discuss in some detail, he became a key player of HC Škoda Pilsen, my hometown's team – which is playing the semifinals against Sparta Prague now.

Martin Straka who owns the team had lots of contacts in the U.S. which was probably the reason that Pilsen became the "most American" ice-hockey team in the league. After 20+ years of failures, the team played well in the recent 5 years or so, and won the league, too.

The bearded Hollweg married Štěpánka, a charming woman favoring boyish haircuts, he's happy here, and he has been widely considered a warrior without real skills. But in the play-offs, his fights make sense, are appreciated, and he also happens to play ice-hockey very well, we just noticed. ;-) Without the immigration, he wouldn't be playing our Czech Tipsport Super Duper Hyper Extra League – instead, he could have suffered somewhere in a rural league such as the "NHL". ;-)

Aside from playing ice-hockey, he is a musician, so he takes his guitar and plays a song on the ice after every home match that Pilsen wins. An example. ;-)

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