Sunday, August 31, 2014

Col. Wilkerson: The Truth

Col. Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Powell's Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration is the epitome of the military staff officer. He is honest, forthright, even blunt. But he's not afraid to tell the truth.

Here's what he says about his party:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Another "Chiffon de Papier" A Century Later?

On August 4, 1914, Germany attacked neutral Belgium. Great Britain protested that the invasion violated Germany's treaty obligation to respect Belgian neutrality. Germany's Chancellor replied that the treaty was only "a chiffon de papier" - (a scrap of paper). That same day, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.

On Friday, speaking to a group of Russian youth at a camp, Vladimir Putin said, "We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware ... it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict." In the same appearance, he claimed that Russia is improving its nuclear arsenal.

December 5, 1994, when Ukraine, which then held a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons, agreed to join the non-proliferation treaty, the Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

Highlights of the 1994 Declaration:

"Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the cold war, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces,
Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear
weapons are used;

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.
Signed in four copies having equal validity in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages.

For Ukraine:
(Signed) Leonid D. KUCHMA

For the Russian Federation:
(Signed) Boris N. YELTSIN

For the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland:
(Signed) John MAJOR

For the United States of America:
(Signed) William J. CLINTON

 OK. Russia has clearly violated provisions 1, 2 and 3 of the memorandum, and therefore provision 6 should be invoked.

Last week's meeting in Minsk accomplished little, but it was apparently not called forthrightly in connection with alleged violations of the 1994 memorandums.

It may be time.

We don't need another "chiffon de papier" like the one in 1914.

This is serious stuff.

Here is what I said last March about the problem.

And here's what I said in April.

Now Ukraine is apparently going to formally request admission to NATO.

I hope there is some serious conversation going on behind the scenes.

Where have all the flowers gone?

When will they ever learn?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Canadian Forces Clear Up Russian Confusion About Ukraine

Here is a link to a Canada NATO tweet clearing up Russian confusion about Map of Ukraine and Russia.

Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & ‘accidentally’ entering

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Russian Corporal Of Airborne Forces Captured And Interrogated In Donetsk Oblast Of Ukraine

This is a link to a YouTube video of a Russian Corporal being interrogated by Ukrainian military intelligence after capture near Donetsk August 25.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Seventy Years Ago: Paris, August 24, 1944 - The Night Before Liberation

Matthew Halton was a Canadian reporter travelling with General Le Clerc’s tanks that were approaching Paris. During the day he was to broadcast:
"Wherever we drive, in the areas west and south-west of the capital, people shout: “Look, they are going to Paris! ” But then we run into pockets of resistance here or there and are forced to turn back. It’s clear that we are seeing the disintegration of the German Army — but we never know when we are going to be shot at.
"There are still some units of the German Army, fanatical men of the SS or armoured divisions, who are willing to fight to the last man. They are moving here and there all over this area, trying to coalesce into strong fighting forces…
The people everywhere are tense with emotion. Their love of freedom is so very deep, and a nightmare is lifting from their lives; and history races down the roads towards Paris."
The first of LeCerc's arrived in the capital at 11 o’clock that night. It was clear that Paris would be liberated the next day.

French radio announcer Pierre Crénesse announced over the newly liberated French public radio:
"Tomorrow morning will be the dawn of a new day for the capital. Tomorrow morning, Paris will be liberated, Paris will have finally rediscovered its true face.
"Four years of struggle, four years that have been, for many people, years of prison, years of pain, of torture and, for many more, a slow death in the Nazi concentration camps, murder; but that’s all over…
"For several hours, here in the centre of Paris, in the Cité, we have been living unforgettable moments. At the Préfecture, my comrades have explained to you that they are waiting for the commanding officers of the Leclerc Division and the American and French authorities.
"Similarly, at the Hotel de Ville the Conseil National de la Résistance has been meeting for several hours. They are awaiting the French authorities. Meetings will take place, meetings which will be extremely symbolic, either there or in the Prefecture de Police — we don’t yet know where."
 It would be a sleepless night in Paris.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quote Of The Day

The clock on life is ticking. If you wait for life to be fair you may be waiting until life is over.
 - Charles M. Blow

A Century Ago: Germans In Lorraine

Today's New York Times on line publishes the account of a young German soldier's experiences with the German Army in Lorraine August 22, 1914 and afterward.

The story is told by an American woman living in Paris whose grandfather was among the invaders of the little village of Mercy-le-Haut. But she also tells the story of what happened to the villagers when the Germans came.

One villager, Marthe Mandy, recounted her mother’s tales of those years as if she had lived it all herself. Her eyes welled up as she told of an uncle she never met who was executed by the Germans that night. The uncle, Léon Mandy, was 17. He had been ordered to gather the bodies of nine of his neighbors who died as the Germans stormed the village and to bury them in a mass grave. When Léon had finished his grim task shortly before dawn, he was shot.

Many accounts of World War I claim that the war was fought in a chivalrous fashion at the outset, but became more inhumane as time went by. Tell that to the French and Belgians along the frontier! The invasion did not seem so humane to them.

Why did the Germans shoot Leon Mandy?

They shot countless Frenchmen and Belgians in the early days of the war, sometimes for being impolite to the invaders.

What is the moral of the story?

In the end, Germany lost. A quarter century later they attacked again and lost again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Glory To Ukraine

On February 23 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria, unknown artists decorated the memorial to Soviet soldiers in the national colors of Ukraine in honor of the Ukrainian revolution. They painted the slogan "Glory to Ukraine."

Russians object to it as "vandalism."  No, it is irreverent humor, not vandalism.

Three cheers for irreverence!

A Century Ago: Belgian Populace Impolite To Invading Germans - Germans Offended And Execute Resisters

Today Economist Brad Delong publishes Barbara Tuchman's account of Belgian resistance to German invasion of 1914 and German countermeasures:

"The Belgians even more than von Bülow tried von Kluck’s temper. Their army by forcing the Germans to fight their way through delayed the schedule of march and by blowing up railroads and bridges disrupted the flow of ammunition, food, medicine, mail, and every other supply, causing the Germans a constant diversion of effort to keep open their lines to the rear. Civilians blocked roads and worst of all cut telephone and telegraph wires which dislocated communication not only between the German armies and OHL but also between army and army and corps and corps. This “extremely aggressive guerrilla warfare,” as von Kluck called it, and especially the sniping by franc-tireurs at German soldiers, exasperated him and his fellow commanders. From the moment his army entered Belgium he found it necessary to take, in his own words, “severe and inexorable reprisals” such as “the shooting of individuals and the burning of homes” against the “treacherous” attacks of the civil population." Tuchman, Guns of August.

It is worth reading the entire excerpt: Germans Retaliate.

In 1980 at a wedding dinner in Belgium, we sat across from a woman in her 90's who had been about 20 when the Germans invaded. She called them "le Boches." And had never come to view Germans as allies.

German ill treatment of civilians in invaded countries was nothing new. In 1889, Germany intervened in a civil war with Samoa. When opponents of their Samoan puppet fought back, Germany issued a proclamation:

In conformity with section 58 of the German Military Laws, the following offenses will be punished by death:
1. Any person or persons who will purposely assist the enemy, or attempt to injure German troops;
2. Any person or persons who will lead the enemy for military purposes against Germans, or confederated troops, or will mislead German or confederated troops;
3.Any person or persons who will venture to give information to the enemy, either verbally or in writing, about matters which are connected with the waging of war, and all who may act on behalf of such persons;
4. Any person or persons who will instigate or incite German troops against law and order, by any means, as, for instance, informing them of proclamations of the enemy, etc. etc;
5.In not very serious cases the offender will be punished by imprisonment, not less than 10 years or for life.”

Thus did Germany seek to win the hearts and minds of the Samoans. And the Belgians.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 1920: Famous Day In History

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Yeah, remember ladies, at one time, you were not allowed to vote!!! Think about it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Century Ago: Germany Invades Belgium

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia mobilizes. Following events came on hot and heavy. July 31, Germany warns Russia not to mobilize. Russia responds they are only mobilizing against Austria. August 1, Germany declares war on Russia. August 2, Germany invades neutral Luxemburg. August 3, Germany declares war on France. Neutral Belgium denies Germany permission to pass through to the French border. August 4, Germany attacks neutral Belgium, Great Britain protests, Germany replies that the treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality is just a chiffon de papier. The United Kingdom declares war on Germany.

Thus a week after Austria declares war on Serbia, war is well underway on the Western Front.

August 4 Germany begins its siege of Belgium's fortresses at Liege. Surprisingly effective Belgian defense slows German advance. Germans do not capture Liege fortresses until August 16.

August 16-19, Serbs defeat Austria Hungary at the Battle of Cer.

August 17, Russians invade East Prussia. Two weeks into the war the Eastern Front begins to take shape.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stonekettle Station: Reader Links and Open Thread Station: Reader Links and Open Thread: This page is now permanently pinned to the main page of Stonekettle Station. It's your place to add a link to another site. You may post...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fifty Years Ago: Tonkin Gulf

Last week I neglected to call attention to the fiftieth anniversary of the supposed night time attack by North Vietnamese PT boats on US Navy destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy. Here are my recollections of that night.

The attack apparently never happened. Even so, the Johnson administration used it to justify the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Friday The Thirteenth Actually Falls On Wednesday This Month

Every now and then, Walt Kelly was right.

On Knowledge And Wisdom

"Supposing is good, but finding out is better." - Mark Twain

For some reason, newspapers and blogs today are full of discussions about knowledge, facts, wisdom, stupidity, and how to tell the difference.

Nicholas Kristoff: Don't dismiss the humanities:

Noah Smith: I'm with stupid - and Paul Krugman:

Simon Wren-Lewis: Policy-Based Evidence Making, a play on the opposite side of evidence-based policy;

Joshua Smith: EPI And AEI Agree: Cutting Jobless Benefits Did Not Boost Employment; [the case of North Carolina figures in this discussion].

Friday, August 8, 2014

How Can The Town Board Nullify A Vote Without Holding Another Public Meeting?

I hope today's report on Town Dock is erroneous:

"Oriental’s Town Board meets for a quick meeting on Tuesday August 12 at 5:30p to take another vote on who will be appointed to the newly formed Harbor Waterfronts Committee. The vote the Board took on August 5, has since been nullifed because the Commissioners did not have before them all the names of residents willing to serve. Town Hall says that was “due to an unfortunate administrative oversight…several candidates were left off of the ballot issued to the Commissioners for voting.” There will be 11 names on the ballot Tuesday. The 5 who were elected in the now nullified vote were: Art Tierney, Ed Bliss, Lisa Thompson, Bill Hines and Gerry Crowley. They remain on the ballot along with, Dave Brookman, Elizabeth Buckman, Bob Dillard, Jim Edwards, Steve Leech and Pat Stockwell."

"Has since been nullified" by whom?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Does Ukraine Have A Chance?

The current edition of New Yorker magazine has a very sobering article on what is happening in Russia:

For anyone interested in following the twists and turns of Russian developments since the breakup of the Soviet Union, it is worth reading the entire article. It explains a lot of what has gone wrong.

This is a story with no heroes.

Cox v. Town Of Oriental: Update

A little over a month ago, I reported that the NC Court of Appeals upheld the Pamlico Superior Court's dismissal of my complaint against the Town over the Town's closing of Avenue A.

It was a unanimous opinion of a three-judge panel, which meant I have no right of appeal. I did retain the right to petition the NC Supreme Court for a discretionary review. The Supreme Court very seldom grants such petitions.

I have decided not to petition the Supreme Court in this case.

My second complaint against the Town, for the closing of South Avenue, is very much alive. The South Avenue complaint was stayed by Judge Nobles, pending results from the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals made it clear that their opinion applies only to the Avenue A complaint and not to the South Avenue complaint.

The opinion upheld the dismissal on the sole grounds that I did not complain that the Town's action injured me personally. I will have more to say about that issue as my South Avenue complaint proceeds.

Family Memories

We've been a bit busy this past week. Liz and I and my sister in Apex traveled to Charlotte over the weekend to join our first cousin to celebrate the life of my aunt, Mary Katherine [Scroggins] Alderson, originally of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It was a time to share memories of times past and growing up in Oklahoma and California, and recollections of family members who have passed on.

Sad but comforting to share this time with family.