No Mention of Germany in an Article about NATO?

First, let’s look at the story itself. ‘We haven’t done this … since the Cold War’: British troops are testing out old skills on the way to major NATO war games.

HOEK VAN HOLLAND, Netherlands (Reuters) – British troops disembarked in the Netherlands on Wednesday en route to Norway to test NATO’s ability to move personnel and armor quickly across Europe, an exercise officers said showed London’s commitment to European security after Brexit.

So the invasion of Crimea and the ongoing war in Ukraine have FINALLY convinced the leaders in Europe that maybe Russia is up to no-good. And so, War Games on their front step. Well, not quite.

But what caught my attention is the following paragraph.

Britain, which has the biggest defense budget in the EU and is rivaled for military capability only by France, is eager to show that despite its vote to leave the European Union it remains committed to Europe’s security.

Germany is participating in this exercise, but the German military – Bundeswehr – is in bad shape overall. Despite a budget surplus, low unemployment, Merkel’s government won’t spend money on defense.

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October 6, 1973: Israel Invaded

The Yom Kippur War: One of many wars that are forgotten by people who don’t pay attention. Which is just about everyone not in the military. 45 years ago – Yom Kippur War launched against Israel.

Which includes reference to

The famous battle for the Golan Heights in which a small group of Israeli tanks held off a Syrian armored force a hundred times their size. … The Heights of Courage (available for free online) by Avigdor Kahalani tells the story of the battle from the view of a participant. The battle also is the focus of the Prologue to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears:

Not the only war against Israel that is “forgotten.”

Welcome to Cold War 2.0

Russian Bombers testing US defenses? Yeah, sounds like the Cold War all over again. U.S. fighter jets intercept two Russian bombers near Alaska.

The bombers were intercepted west of the mainland of Alaska and were accompanied by Russian Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets and never entered airspace over the United States and Canada, NORAD said.

Some of the bombers intercepted were nuclear-capable.

Russia is presently holding its Vostok-2018 drills, its largest show of military force since the height of the Cold War nearly four decades ago.

In case you are interested, in 1974 Oakridge National Lab tested several expedient blast shelters; shelters you could make given a few days notice with stuff you might have on hand. It is of course easier if you don’t wait until the last minute. And you need to cut up at least 1 car tire to build a blast valve. Of course you can buy blast valves and ventilation systems. And you need some things you probably haven’t thought of. (Do you know why beanbag chairs were introduced?) Switzerland has blast shelters for its entire population. Russia has blast shelters for most cities.

The British and the French Haven’t Been At War With Each Other Since 1815

If you don’t count the Vichy government, which was really a tool of Germany during WWII. French navy to intervene if ‘scallops wars’ dispute with Britain escalates.

Flares, rocks and even petrol bombs were flung at the British ships, with one shocked fisherman calling it a “scene out of Vietnam.”

A British fisherman called on the navy to be deployed to protect them.

And so France is also considering its navy to put an end to the clashes. Though I don’t think the British Royal Navy is going to get involved at this point. Who knows? Throwing bombs at other vessels could be considered an act of piracy.

The root of the conflict lies in the Baie de la Siene – a stretch just north of the Normandy coast famed for scallops. British fishermen are allowed to dredge for scallops in the bay under European Union law, but French law bans the practice for locals between May 15 and October 1, when they reproduce.

The War of the Scallops? Who can say. While 1815 is a long time ago, that pretty much marked the end the Second Hundred Years War. France and England have been at war a lot throughout history. (The difference between the British and the Americans is that Americans think 100 years is a long time, and the British think 100 miles is a long distance.)

Georgia (The Country) To Participate in NATO War Games

I always wondered why Georgia (and Ukraine) didn’t join NATO – or at least try – in the 1990s or early in the 21st Century. Georgia slams Russia ‘occupation’ ahead of NATO war games.

Georgia is bordered by Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the south, the Black Sea to the west, and Russia to the north. (A map can be found at this link.)

Several thousand soldiers from Georgia, the US, Germany and other NATO countries are set for two weeks of joint maneuvers. Georgia’s president has criticized the presence of Russian troops in South Ossetia.

The war games titled “Noble Partner” are starting soon. Russia is conducting drills in the North Caucasus region at the same time.

Russia has had troops deployed to the Ossetia region (ostensibly of Georgia) since the brief war in 2008.

Although Georgia is not a member of NATO, it has had close ties with the alliance since 1994, and is considered an “aspirant country.”

Germany Doesn’t Have Enough Guns to Supply Their Military

Remember this when the folks at NATO are appalled by President Trump. Germany’s neglected soldiers forced to use broomstick as a gun.

Do you need more than the headline? German soldiers are forced to play “Lets Pretend” and use broomsticks, because there are not enough rifles in inventory. (Or for tank units, I’m guessing machine pistols or automatic carbines.)

German military shortcomings have became a national laughing stock, with reports of one tank unit forced to use a broomstick as a gun and all six submarines out of service for repairs. Auditors say the true picture is even worse.

Dire shortages of weapons, spare parts and personnel were not properly declared to the Bundestag, the federal audit office said.

The rest is behind the London Times’ paywall, but basically the headline covers the situation.

So when NATO goes on about how “Trump is being mean” remember that for decades, American Presidents have been willing to ignore the fact that the members of NATO have been shirking their responsibility to their own people. Why is it more important for the USA to defend Germany than it is for Germany to defend Germany?

Homemade Mortars in Nicaragua

Anti-government protestors are building their own weapons, because the .gov instituted gun control. Facing gunfire, Nicaraguan protesters build own mortars

Demand for the makeshift shells has jumped in recent weeks as anti-government protesters seek to fend off President Daniel Ortega’s riot police, who are accused of unleashing deadly violence as the Central American country faces a sociopolitical crisis.

Government forces have AK-47s. Protestors have shotguns, Molotov-cocktails and now mortars. They are (so far) designed to injure not kill.

The Masaya resident said protesters are ultimately fighting an asymmetric battle, anyway: “Police carry AKs; they carry shotguns.”

“They are the only ones who have access to weapons,” he says. “The people have been able to repel them with stones, Molotov cocktails and mortars — with the only things we can use to fight.”

The populace was disarmed for their own protection. Of course it also ended up protecting the government.