The Fault Line

The Fault Line, Traveling the Other Europe, from Finland to Ukraine by Paolo Rumiz published in english in 2015. I wish more of his books were available in english; I believe that all the rest are available only in italian. This book traces his journey across the frontiers of Europe from Murmansk in the frozen Russian North to Istanbul in the South. His conclusion is that the Iron Curtain is being reestablished a few hundred miles farther east than the original one.

Much ado about nothing

Travel ban 1.0 and travel ban 2.0 to allow time to review the vetting of visas for Muslim immigrants are much ado about nothing. Immigrants are already closely vetted and Trump’s extreme vetting is just a way to fire up his base while at the same time criticizing the Obama administration. I’ll wager that after all the fuss that Trump’s extreme vetting will differ little, if any, from the current policy of vetting. Much noise, little substance

Winning wars

Donald Trump intends to increase the military budget so that the US will start winning wars again as we did when he was young. WW2 is the last major war that the US won and it ended one year before Trump was born. Korea was a stalemate and we lost in Vietnam. Perhaps the US would have won in Vietnam if Trump had served instead of avoiding the draft. Increasing the military budget will not ensure that the US starts winning wars, only better leadership by our civilian leaders will do that.

Please see H R McMaster

Cluster bombs

Cluster bombs are many bombs in one bomb. The military likes them because they are an efficient way to cover a large area with shrapnel and kill many within the blast area. The downside of their use is that many civilians are killed or injured in addition to any enemy soldiers within the blast area. Cluster bombs are designed to kill using thousands of pieces of  shrapnel. Not all components of a cluster bomb explode on first use. Some components (bomblets) remain (as much as 25%) potentially lethal for many years afterward. The US military has the goal of reducing the failure rate to under 1% by 2018. However, that will do nothing to reduce the lethality of cluster bombs on first use.