Nation’s DIME 1827

By 53% of the Mexican population, leftist Andreas Manuel Lopez Abrador will become the new President. President Obrador faces many challenges. One of those challenges is our common border. The MSM continues to vilify the Trump Administration over the separation of children from their families. Several things now coming to light about the chaos on the border.

In the Diplomatic area,

Lopez Abrador has stated the following: “Soon, very soon, after the victory of our movement, we will defend migrants all over the American continent and the migrants of the world who, by necessity, must abandon their towns to find life in the United States; it’s a human right we will defend.” Leftist use the “human right” term a lot. How Lopez Obrador intends to defend that human right will not take place in the UN. The US is no longer a member of the High Commission on Human Rights. There are few diplomatic avenues available for Lopez Abrador to defend his human right statement. 

Then there is the child separation issue…

On the Informational front,

Everyone should read this post by Lee Whitt, an EMT and Flight Nurse with Flight for Life in Texas. He followed his 20 June post with this. His posts dispels a lot of the MSM dialogue against the Trump Administration on separating children from the cartels and the traffickers, not their parents. The previous Administration separated tens of thousands more. The Main Stream Media is incapable of telling the truth on this subject. Talk to a Border Patrol agent and get the real story.

In the Military arena,

The situation along the southern border is a Commander’s nightmare. Drafting rules of engagement or ROE for operations against the traffickers and Drug Cartels is extremely difficult. The first question to considered a hostile act? If a trafficker is armed is that considered a hostile act? A border group called Arizona Border Recon drafted their own ROE. I would start with a long conversation with Operation Underground Railroad, freeing children from sex trafficking.

In the Economic area,

The cost of securing the border continues to climb. President Trump’s Border Wall remains controversial, pros and cons for and against the wall. President Trump said the US Wall will be modeled after the Israeli Border Fence. This website contains a very good debate on options for immigration.

My biggest concern remains who is coming across. There continues to be no real vetting process determining an illegal aliens point of origin. I taught for many years our worst enemies are inside the wire and they came here through the porous Mexican border. 

— Final note, please let me know your feedback and suggestions on Twitter, your thought on this weeks DIME, and what do you want more or less of? Let me know by sending a tweet to @MarkHasara and put #nationsdime in the header.

Have a great weekend!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here. I read them all.

Nation’s DIME 1826

This is what I’m thinking about today. The United States is coming apart at the seams. And it’s self-inflicted. Civil discourse I feel is no longer possible not only in the United States but on the world stage. Fear, sarcasm, and ridicule seem to be the only methods we communicate with each other over differences. In some cases, physical threats. We are trillions in debt. These things are happening because of three things: power, passions, and appetites.

In the Diplomatic area,

Recently ambassador Nikki Haley stated clearly the United States would no longer be part of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In her speech, she called the commission a “cesspool of political bias.” An organization responsible for stopping wars and genocide seems to have no problem with countries threatening the state of Israel. The leading candidate for President in Mexico openly stated it is a “human right” to live in the United States and he will flood our borders with people. A representative from California stated this past week to openly harass anyone part of President Trump’s cabinet while out in public. During an election in New York an avowed socialist defeated a10-term incumbent member of the House of Representatives.  

In the Informational arena,

A great example of informational rhetoric on both sides of the aisle is the furor over the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The right says elections have consequences, the left, if President Trump’s nominee gets approved specific laws concerning social issues, will be in danger. Danger how exactly? Someone actually said openly in public the President’s son should be jailed with pedophiles. The same representative of California I spoke of above has received death threats because of her open hostility towards conservatives. Why does anybody wonder a man would go into a news outlet in Maryland and kill five people and injure many more?

In the Military area,

American men and women in uniform have been engaged with our enemies since the 1991 Desert Storm war. The KC-135 I flew came into the Air Force inventory in 1957, over 60 years ago. Same with the B-52. The US military needs rest and recapitalization. But the price tag of doing so is so enormous both political parties cannot agree on how to do it. Do not get me wrong here… I am all for a strong military as we not only defend the US but our military has become an incredible humanitarian tool of compassion. But here is an example, the Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter program may be the first trillion dollar program. Do any of you know how much the US government spent on a World War II P-51 Mustang? The price tag in 1945 dollars was $50,985 for each aircraft. A stack of a trillion one dollar bills stretches 67,866 miles.  

President Eisenhower warned in 1961 as he was leaving office, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” He went on to explain how it developed, “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” Are we there yet?

Speaking of Economic and trillion,

For the first time ever in the history of the US, credit card debt in 2017 surpassed the 1 trillion dollar mark, the same amount of money being spent on the F-35 program! American households average $6375 in credit card debt. What would a trillion dollars do? One, you could pay $54 million a day for the rest of your life and still leave your children billions to live on. Two, you could buy every pro sports team… NFL, MLB, NBA, the NHL, and even NASCAR… and still have over three-quarters of your trillion in the bank. Credit card debt is killing households because we spend money on things we want but probably don’t need.

Power… Passions… Appetites. This coming Independence Day week let’s be a lot longer on love thy neighbor and a little shorter on the amount of burgers and fireworks we buy.

Nation’s DIME 1825

I am on vacation this week up in the beautiful Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah with my wife’s family. While sitting in the hammock watching the humming birds feed here next to me I have a lot of things I will write about when I come back down to civilization. Being up at 9000 feet off “the grid” gave me time to reflect on a number of things. First and foremost, family and what we do to protect them.

Here is a panoramic shot of where I am. I’ll be back on frequency next week. 

Nation’s DIME 1824

Media pundits have written and said a lot concerning President Trump’s meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un this past week. It is an historic event in our life times. Not because they signed a document drafted by others in the government bureaucracies, but the fact leaders sat across from each other and talked. Six months ago many felt we were going to war on the Korean Peninsula. The rhetoric between the leaders went up several octaves, missile tests were accomplished, and military might flexed muscles on both sides. The meeting in Singapore caused me to go back and re-read some of the things the great Chinese General Sun Tzu said in his book The Art of War. The question still remains: What are the political, informational, military, and economic ends states

In the Diplomatic arena,

The great Chinese General Sun Tzu states in his book The Art of War, “the art of war is of vital importance to the state, it is a matter of life or death, a road to either safety or ruin.” North Korea is neither safe nor alive, and I feel the reason Kim is entertaining these meetings. The political end state on the Korean Peninsula is normalization of diplomatic relations with North Korea’s neighbors. How do you define normal in this instance? There has not been dialogue between North Korea and it’s neighbors since the end of the Korean War. As Lieutenant General Dan Leaf states in this article, a good start is establishing a diplomatic presence in each of the four countries involved, the US, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. Establishing presence then opens the door for continued progress to normalizing relations.

In the Informational realm,

The media scoffed at the “propaganda” video President Trump showed Kim Jong Un. I thought it was a brilliant information move. Sun Tzu said “Know your enemy” and “in the midst of chaos there is also opportunity.” The video illustrated to Kim what is possible for his country and his position on the world stage. President Trump’s video strokes Kim’s ego showing him what that position may be. The video also shows what the consequences if the wrong choices are made. President Trump followed Sun Tzu’s admonition to “build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across” by giving Kim a video of what could be. The video was shown on North Korea’s ONE television channel.

In the Military area,

Many of you do not know the UN Security Council meetings, the rhetoric between Trump and Kim over the last year, and the military exercises were all part of a section in the North Korean War Plan. They are called Flexible Deterrent Options, and are designed to ratchet up the pain level on Kim over a period of time to keep him from going to war. It is the classic case of Sun Tzu’s supreme skill of subduing your enemies without fighting. 

One event probably really unnerved Kim in September of last year. Three B-1 bombers escorted by twelve F-15C Eagles flew up the east coast of North Korea in the middle of the night, all loaded with live weapons. Three KC-135s from my old squadron at Kadena supported the Show of Force. A US Air Force Combat Cameraman was flying in one of the KC-135s and snapped some great pictures of the F-15s refueling. A Marine Corps squadron of F-35 stealth fighters were also involved, a plane we know even the most sophisticated Russian air defense systems cannot find. I feel these exercises were a big reason Kim came to Singapore and met with President Trump and why Kim wanted all exercises over South Korea halted. The military end state for Kim is his air defense network becoming overwhelmed and paralyzed. 

In the Economic area,

A country so isolated for so long will not know or understand what foreign investment can and will do for them. I mentioned in another article five entire provinces of North Korea have no electricity, running water, sewage treatment, and roads to move vehicles in and out of these areas. South Korean and Japanese construction companies could change all of this, but who would pay for the infrastructure upgrade? South Korea has sheltered money in the case war broke out. The Chinese are certainly relieved there will not be a war on the peninsula in the near future, sparking one of the largest refugee migrations and the subsequent drain on their economy. The restructuring of Iraq has taken trillions, what would restructuring North Korea cost? 

The meeting in Singapore was a great first step but the Trump Administration has yet to publish what their vision of North Korea would be and how the regional powers pursue an end sate on the peninsula.

— Final note, please let me know your feedback and suggestions on Twitter, your thought on this weeks DIME, and what do you want more or less of? Let me know by sending a tweet to @MarkHasara and put #nationsdime in the header.

Have a great weekend!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here. I read them all.

Nation’s DIME 1823

Many experts have offered pessimistic views of the value in the upcoming meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on 12 June. President Trump hosted North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol in preparation for the upcoming meeting in with President Kim Jung Un last week. Four star General Kim Yong Chol’s assignment was to put the meeting into hyper-drive.  It looks like the meeting has a green light. This past week Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr. Balakrishnan visited North Korea to work details of the meeting next week. 

The question many are asking is what will come of this meeting and more importantly what will peace on the Korean Peninsula really mean. I believe there is just as much danger in peace as there is in war. Let me explain why.

In the Diplomatic area,

There remains a lot of diplomatic maneuvering behind this meeting. As President Trump and Kim Jong Un sit across the table from each other, what is the political end state each leader pursues? There are other players watching this meeting closely in the Middle East. President George Bush stated in his 2002 National Security Strategy the Axis of Evil included North Korea and Iran, the later being a true enemy to peace in the Middle East. I hope President Trump asks Kim Jong Un about his diplomatic, military, and economic involvement with Iran. Iranian ballistic missile technology is based on North Korean medium and long range technology shared with them. Iran’s missile test facility is almost an identical copy of North Korea’s test facility at Sohae. On the night of 6 September 2007, an Israeli Air Force strike package of eight planes destroyed a nuclear power plant in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. The Israelis knew North Korean scientist were providing expertise in the construction of the reactor based on the North Korean nuclear facility at Yongbyon. They even had pictures of North Korea’s lead scientist in a track suit at the site. The rector was built in Syria with North Korean light water technology funded by the Iranian regime. By the way, Yongbyon is one of the most heavily defended pieces of landscape on the planet. 

There has been no word of this, but will President Trump sit across the table from Kim Jong Un and outline his twelve demands on North Korea detaching itself from Iran’s agenda just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined for a new deal with Iran? North Korea and Iran are tied at the hip and there needs to be a discussion of how North Korea has been involved with Iran in the Middle East.

President Trump meeting with General Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office. Photo courtesy UPI

In the Military arena, there is one item that is a little scary, because it ties peace with a potential collapse of the North Korean economy.

I recently received an article from the news service NightWatch and their 6 June article is something everyone should read. NightWatch subscription can be found here and is $24 a year. It confirms some thing we all knew when I was stationed in Okinawa during the 1990’s. North Korea’s economy depends on their military industrial complex for its life blood. One million men and women serve in the North Korean military on active duty. Their military reserves and Red Guards accounts for another 20% of their 25 million population. A third to maybe half of the North Korean population depends on the military for their meager economic life. If peace comes to the Korean Peninsula, what will the population of North Korea do for work? Many factories producing daily consumer goods have a portion of the floor dedicated to producing something supporting their military. Peace on the peninsula implies a large portion of the North Korean military would not be needed and restructuring or downsizing their military feed economy could potentially cause their economy to collapse. Kim Jong UN relies on the military to keep him in power. Any potential upset to the military complex puts his status as leader in danger. And I’m sure he knows that.

South Korea would also be affected in a similar way but not with the same potential damage to the economy. South Korea and the US have a large military presence with supporting contractors and military industrial complex keeping forces ready in case of war. There are millions of South Koreans and US expatriates depending on those military contracts for their livelihood. Breaking down North Korea’s nuclear program may be small potatoes when downsizing and reconfiguring both country’s military-industrial economies may be the larger problem starring all of us in the face.

Kim Jong Un and General Kim Yong Chol (circled) watch a ballistic missile test/Reuters

In the Economic area,

When I taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia Beach, I developed a class on nation building and restructuring following a major war. The case study scenario I used was North Korea. Based on the terrific paper called Restructuring Iraq by Dr Conrad Crane at the US Army War College, I created an exercise illustrating how ugly nation building in North Korea might be. There are five whole provinces in North Korea with no paved roads, no running water, no electricity, no sewage system, and very little food. It may take hundreds of billions of dollars to bring what we enjoy as common services in the United States to the provinces of North Korea. Have you ever looked at a picture of their capitol Pyongyang North Korea at lunch time? There are maybe five cars on the road. Restructuring a nation so closed off to the world for over five decades would be an incredible task. How do you gain the trust of people who have been taught for decades you are the enemy when their economy has collapsed? Looks and sounds a lot like Iraqi doesn’t it.

The meeting in Singapore is now five days away.

— Final note, please let me know your feedback and suggestions on Twitter, your thought on this weeks DIME, and what do you want more or less of? Let me know by sending a tweet to @MarkHasara and put #nationsdime in the header.

Have a great weekend!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here. I read them all.

Nation’s DIME 1822

There is so much going on around the world this week: North Korea comes to Washington DC, Assad thinks his military can remove us from Syria, and the jobs growth numbers lowest in years.  Let’s get started.

In the Diplomatic arena,

A lot has been written about the on-again/off-again meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The North Korean Spy Master Kim Yong-chol met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in the week. They discussed the 12 June meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Kim Yong-chol delivered a message to President Trump today, and now the 12 June meeting is back on. This is political intrigue at the highest levels!

In the Information arena,

President Bashar Assad of Syria gave the US military an ultimatum: Get out! Assad said he will force the US out if need be. That did not go well for his Army in February. President Trump has openly stated our goals in Syria are not yet accomplished. There are a lot of players in Syria: Russia and Iran the largest forces. Expect the rhetoric to increase over the next few weeks.

In the Military area, some interesting things concerning the F-35.

During a recent Commanders Conference, Israeli Air Force Major General Amikam Norkin told 20 nation senior commanders Israeli F-35s have dropped weapons in anger. The General said the jets are flying all over the Middle East. Russia has placed some of their most sophisticated air defense systems in Syria. The IAF destroyed some of them recently.

US Air Force F-35s from Hill AFB have been deployed as part of a Pacific Air Forces Security Package over the last six months. The 34th Fighter Squadron are in the process of deploying home as Alaska F-22s replace them in theater. These deployments are important because the jets were part of Flexible Deterrent Options using low observable aircraft like F-35 and F-22. Why is Kim Jong Un talking to President Trump? Air Force stealth airplanes have been flying in his neighborhood. 

A 34th Fighter Squadron F-35 prepares for a mission from Kadena Air Base Upper Fighter Ramp.

Some great Economic news out today.

The unemployment numbers are the lowest since 2000Black unemployment was also at the lowest since 1972. The President also implemented tariffs on several of our allies which has raised a few eyebrows. What will these tariffs accomplish remains to be seen.

As I said, this week had a lot of news.

—Final note, please let me know your feedback and suggestions on Twitter, your thought on this weeks DIME, and what do you want more or less of? Let me know by sending a tweet to @MarkHasara and put #nationsdime in the header.

Have a great weekend!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here. I read them all.