Monday, November 09, 2009

Obama's priorities: Too busy for Berlin & Ft. Hood

Obama Draws Criticism for Sitting Out Berlin Wall Anniversary

Obama Needs to Go to Ft. Hood

Any other President -- including Clinton -- would have had the decency, the class, and the sense of proportion to hoof it down to Ft. Hood to address the soldiers, and to Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Wall. But Obama, the eternal frat boy, is simply too busy.

Every single leader of the EU, along with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, are attending the celebrations. But not our CoC. Not the POTUS. Not BO.

He's probably have brought tacky gifts anyway.


OperationCounterstrike said...

I agree he should speak at Fort Hood. But he still can. No harm in waiting until we learn a bit more about what went down. On the other hand, if President Obama is gonna go appear in person every time a religious wacko commits a massacre in USA, he won't have time to do anything else. The pattern is established. I think if we don't see continuing events like this every few months, mostly by right-wing but also by left-wing loonies and extreme religious loonies, we'll have to ask why not.

The Berlin Wall is old news, and let's face it: it didn't really have much to do with us. I know, I visited USSR several times in the mid- and late- 1980s and the country was crumbling before our eyes. All the jokes about Communism were true. It really was illegal to buy something and then sell it for more than you paid for it--the crime was called "spekulatsie" (speculation). The entire economy was illegal and it was NOT working. The Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, one of the highest objects of national pride, which actually allowed the Russians to feel like a world cultural power, was covered with dirt and grime, inside and out, swept by old ladies with twig-brooms. The country was collapsing from within and everybody knew it. If USA had been annihilated by flying saucers in say 1984, this might have delayed the collapse of USSR and the reunification of Deutschland maybe three years or so; no more. Let the Germans and the Russians celebrate. A congratulatory note from the President would be quite enough.

Kathy said...

"But there were more immediate causes for the collapse. In the middle 1980's about seventy percent of the industrial output of the Soviet Union was going to the military. Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB official who defected to Britain, asserted that at least one third of the total output was going to the military. British intelligence could not believe such a high figure but later Western intelligence sources estimated that it was at least fifty percent. One can only imagine what a severe shortages of industrial goods there were for the rest of the economy.

"In the U.S. the Reagan Administration increased the budget for the military and presented the possibility that it would implement a Star Wars antiballistic missile system. To maintain a parity with the U.S. under those developments would have required an even larger share of industrial output going to the military. The planners and decision-makers had to face the fact that it was economically impossible for the Soviet Union to increase the share of its output going to the military. The Soviet authorities then ended the arms race and called off the Cold War. When the justification of an external threat was removed there was no reason for the Russian public to tolerate the totalitarian regime and the political system fell apart. "

From here.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Yeah, the reason the USSR military spending was such a large portion of the economy was the national economy was crap, not because the military spending was so big! If the pond is small enough, even a guppy is a big fish.

And you didn't have to "imagine" the shortages. All you had to do was visit the country and go into a store.

Your source repeats two common right-wing echo-chamber myths: the myth that Reagan made it necessary for Russia to spend more, in order to maintain "parity", and the idea that missile defense had any effect at all other than funding some pretty good basic physics and enriching some military-tech people.

Russia trying to maintain parity with us in Reagan's time--that's like a washed-up, punch-drunk bruiser trying to maintain parity with a serious athlete. A joke, and everyone knew it. How do you maintain parity when you can't buy nuts and bolts for your tanks??? When you get gun-grease by shooting a bird? The only thing Russians really were good at was jury-rig-repairing broken things, because they couldn't replace them. At using a nail-clipper for a job you would do with a screwdriver. Every tennis player was also an expert on raquet repair.

As for missile defense, that has always been a silly fantasy. The difference between the "proof of principle" demonstrations we have seen, and real-world protection, is like the difference between triggering a single rainstorm by cloud-seeding, and global total weather-control as in Star Trek.

Are you old enough to remember when Dr. Edward Teller told President Reagan we could shoot commie missiles out of the sky with satallite-bourne x-ray lasers? At the time, the only way to pump an x-ray laser was to set off a hydrogen bomb! Now you can pump them without that, but they're not bright enough to do anything to a missile.

Maybe we should fund a military-voodoo program. Our friends will trust us and our enemies will fear us, when they see we can make anyone drop dead, by poking a pin into a wax image!