Times that try men's souls.
President Herbert Hoover offers immortal words on Memorial Day, 1931:
Valley Forge has come indeed to be a symbol in American life. It is more than the name for a place, more than the scene of a military episode, more than just a critical event in history. Freedom was won here by fortitude not by the flash of the sword. Valley Forge is our American synonym for the trial of human character through privation and suffering, and it is the symbol of the triumph of the American soul. If those few thousand men endured that long winter of privation and suffering, humiliated by the despair of their countrymen, and deprived of support save their own indomitable will, yet held their countrymen to the faith, and by that holding held fast the freedom of America, what right have we to be of little faith ? God grant that we may prove worthy of George Washington and his men of Valley Forge.
Amid a sea of Russian criticism, it was announced Wednesday that the United States will station Patriot missiles in Morag, Poland, near the Russian exclave, Kaliningrad. The missile batteries will be stationed on a temporary American base in Morag, as part of the US-Poland Supplemental Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed late last year. As part of the agreement, US and Polish troops will train once every three months for two years, until the base becomes permanent in 2012.
McMaster at work. (Denver Post/CF Walker)
Brigadier General H.R. McMaster addressed a full conference room at the American Enterprise Institute earlier this afternoon, decrying the oft-discussed war between Coindistas and Cointras as “a false debate.” He argued that the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the importance of human intelligence, civil society efforts, liaison work with locals, understanding culture and history of the region in which you are operating, flexibility and adaptation, etc. — are lessons that apply to wars beyond counterinsurgency operations.
What should Australian SAS operators do upon retirement?
Fascinating report from overseas:
Former members of Serbian paramilitary units from the 1991-1995 war that followed the disintegration of what was once Yugoslavia have found lucrative jobs protecting mafia bosses in South America, local media reported on Wednesday…Serbia’s press speculated that many highly skilled former soldiers have found jobs guarding mafia bosses in South America. According to press reports, they earn between ten and 30,000 dollars per month.
The 1995 Resolution on the Middle East is one of the contentious issues being tackled at the 2010 NPT Review Conference (RevCon) and Egypt is the resolution’s champion supporter. I attended the first week of the RevCon and interviewed several Egyptian delegates. For those of you who are forecasting the RevCon outcome, I would like to offer you a bit of information gained from that first week (some of which has since been revealed) that may help guide your predictions.
Just returned from the Warring Futures conference sponsored by the New America Foundation. The entire day can be summarized in two observations: first, emerging technology is making things more complicated; and second, we don’t really know what to do about it.
A handful of key points made by some of the speakers:
- Major General Robert E. “Rooster” Schmidle Jr. (USMC), the lead on the 2010 QDR: The rise of “super-empowered individuals” in the near future could mean a return to the days of yore when war was a “spectator sport.” In such a world, these super-empowered individuals take the place of knights.
Dealmaking in the Pacific
Japan and Australia recently signed the Acquisition and Cross Service Agreement “under which their armed forces will provide each other with food, fuel and logistical support during peacekeeping and disaster-relief missions.” In addition, a legal framework will be established for sharing classified information.
Although the agreement does not go as far as to promise mutual defense in the event of war, it is still a noteworthy event. This agreement will increase the interaction between Japanese and Australian militaries. Although actual operations will be limited to peacekeeping and disaster relief, even these missions can provide valuable lessons which can be applied to traditional war fighting. Just as the PLA(N)’s anti-piracy missions benefit China, these future joint operations will improve the overall joint capabilities of Japanese and Australian armed forces.
Space Weapon or "Concept Development?"
From a civilian space perspective, the month of April denotes the charting of new space frontiers. On April 12, 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarian ventured into space, and on April 12, 1981, NASA launched the Space Shuttle. And now the April 22 launch of a remote-controlled space shuttle — Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) — may join the list of important events in the history of space exploration.
From the NYT today:
Iran, Turkey, and Brazil signed a joint declaration on 17 May in Tehran in which Iran agreed to ship 2,640 pounds of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey. In exchange, the Vienna Group (Five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) would deliver 264 pounds of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. If the Vienna Group agrees to the exchange, Iran would be ready to despite the 2,640 pounds of LEU within one month, obligating the Vienna group to deliver the 20% enriched uranium no later than one year. The uranium in Turkey would remain Iranian property but the International Atomic Energy Agency would be able to station observers to monitor the material.
It has been confirmed that North Korea was responsible for sinking South Korea’s warship in March, which killed 46. South Korea thus far has refrained from using force, but it is pushing for actions and support against North Korea.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared this past week that real consequences need to be taken against North Korea. North Korea has declared that it will retaliate against any force used against it (read here).