Monday, January 05, 2015

Forum: What Do You See As The Greatest Strategic Threat America Faces Today?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: What Do You See As The Greatest Strategic Threat America Faces Today?

 Simply Jews: I would say it is Chinese economic (and, in its steps) military expansion. The way to counter it is in reviving US economy and US economic presence all over the world. Starting with South America, where China, Iran and similar regimes are making inroads.

 The Razor: The greatest strategic threat to America continues to be an internal one. External forces, whether it’s Great Britain, Japan or al-Qaeda always serve to unite us when they attack. It’s the internal threats that are particularly worrisome.

To say this threat is the modern American Left would be a mistake. The Left is as fractured and splintered on important and not-so-important issues as the Right is, and there are many on the Left wing who do not seek to undermine American society and instead want to strengthen it.

But there is a strain of Leftism that is quite dangerous. It is a nihilistic strain that blames America for all the world’s ills and sees America as History’s greatest villain. A leading thinker of this strain continues to be Noam Chomsky who has acolytes in the media such as director Oliver Stone and actor Sean Penn. These white men have allied themselves with some particularly odious characters such as Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. Ironically these men have profited from their views while living in the very society they seek to destroy. Chomsky hasn’t given up his comfortable life in Massachusetts for Pyongyang, and Oliver Stone hasn’t quit Hollywood for Moscow, yet that hasn’t stopped them from condemning their own society while extolling the virtues of despotic regimes.

Ideologies exist on a multi-dimensional spectrum, and the Right has its racist paleoconservatives just as the Left has its moonbats. But the difference is that the Left hasn’t rejected their crazies the way the Right has been forced to do. Rep. Steve Scalise made front page news when it was reported that he spoke before a white nationalist conference in 2002. What didn’t make the front page was the fact Scalise spoke to a different, non-racist group within the same hotel at that time. Meanwhile anti-Semites like Al Sharpton, Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson continue to be embraced by the Left just as Chomsky and his minions are. The Left has not purged itself of the crazies the way the Right has, most notably William F. Buckley jr’s purges of the 1950s and 1960s that created modern American conservatism.

Just as the Aryan Nations seeks to create a new America without minorities, Leftists like Chomsky seek to create a world without America. They therefore actively undermine American efforts both internally and externally whenever possible, thereby increasing the suffering of both Americans and those they wish to help such as Ukraine, where Oliver Stone recently stated his support for Vladimir Putin’s partition of the country.

Russia is not the danger to the US. The condoning of Oliver Stone’s statements by the silence of the Left is far more dangerous. Such silence increases the likelihood of war between the US and Russia. It also encourages our enemies to see America as a “paper tiger,” the greatest historical fallacy America’s enemies have ever believed. Once they reach that point there is no return except through conflict and their inevitable destruction.

 JoshuaPundit : 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, AKA The White House. A fish rots from the head.

We have a dysfunctional commander-in-chief whom the vast majority of our military hold quite rightly in disdain, because he has no understanding of their actual mission and endangers their lives with ridiculous rules of engagement. He's gotten us in two illegal wars while losing the war in AfPack and squandering the peace won in Iraq. He's responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Libya, Algeria and Mali as well as the rise of IS in Syria and Iraq. He has successfully shrunk our military to pre-WWII numbers and cut our nuclear weapons stockpile to unacceptable levels, including our anti-missile defenses.And the Obama presidency has given encouragement to some of the worst radicals in America as well as putting America deeply in debt to no purpose.

Even worse, he has emboldened our enemies and alienated our allies. He and his State Department appointees have mismanaged the relationship with,among others, Israel, India, Canada, Germany,  Russia and China to the point where they are far worse than they were when he took office... not to mention his outright appeasement of Iran

I'm not particularly worried about Russia or China. Both are rational actors, and neither can afford a war either financially, strategically or demographically. A different tone in Washington backed by appropriate action  is needed, but that's not out of the realm of possibility. China in particular needs the U.S. as a market and as a counterbalance against Russia, with whom they have never had a good relationship historically in spite of appearances.

Iran is a very different matter. They are not rational actors and are by far the biggest threat after the current leadership in Washington. The  Iranian regime has never suffered any major consequences for their actions against the United States including their aiding and abetting 9/11  and have learned that they need not fear us, especially under this president.

That, I'm convinced, will come back to haunt us unless we do something drastic to correct it.

The Glittering Eye : The short answer to the question is that we don't have one. Let's consider that with a little more rigor.

To be a geopolitical challenge a country, group of countries, organization, or institution must have at least three attributes. It must be expansionary, it must have the capacity to reach us, and it must be attractive.

Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia were all geopolitical challenges, each with all of those attributes. That's something too frequently forgotten after their defeat. The Third Reich, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the Soviet Union each had substantial support outside of Germany, Japan, or Russia.

In contrast, nobody wants what China's rulers want outside of a few of the world's worst autocrats. China isn't expansionary. It claims Taiwan and a few rocks in the waters adjacent to China but it's been claiming those for the better part of a century. It's not marching its armies into Burma, Southeast Asia, or India, at least not for the foreseeable future. And, finally, China doesn't have the capacity to reach us, other than with nuclear weapons, something we have in orders of magnitude more abundance than they.

Similarly with Russia. Putin's Russia is nationalist and irredentist but not expansionary and it has been spectacularly unsuccessful in attracting anyone to their banner. Like China, Russia is unable to reach us other than with nuclear weapons. Its nuclear arsenal is what makes the Russia-U. S. relationship the most important bilateral relationship in the world, something we are mismanaging tragically.

I don't see any group of countries challenging us, either.

Radical Islamism continues to attract people to its banner and it's obviously expansionary but it doesn't have the ability to reach us and it never will have due to its own internal contradictions. In the 21st century it's impossible to pose a military challenge when you're as nostalgic for the 6th century as militant radical Islamism is. You can only be a parasite. That's why they utilize terrorist attacks, the strategy of the poor and weak.

China, Russia, and radical Islamism all pose challenges to our clients rather than to us. However, that's entirely because our clients allow them to pose challenges. We have pretty lousy clients and IMO they need us a lot more than we need them. Whether they will come to that realization is unclear to me.

The closest thing we have to a geopolitical challenge is internal. Basically, Schumpeter was right. What we have to fear is our own professional, intellectual, and political classes, all of which are busily undermining the very economy, society, and politics on which they depend for their survival.

The Noisy Room : The greatest strategic threat America faces today is a toxic mix of the enemies from within, comprised of Marxists, Progressives, Communists and Radical Islamists. We are at war within.

Fueling these enemies is a stew of corruption, greed, power mongering and religious zealotry that has never been seen the likes of in American history. Our Republic stands on the brink of a full-fledged civil conflict and the fall of the greatest and freest nation that has ever graced the earth. The final demise will be led by a megalomaniac leader in the guise of President Obama who despises what he views as an oppressive, colonialist America. He will settle for nothing less than bringing her to her knees, forcing a massive wealth redistribution and the subjugation of America as a country and an ideal to Islam and the Caliphate.

While this is happening, the greatest theft of every form of asset and wealth the nation has ever known is occurring by the corrupt, wealthy elite. They will take everything not nailed down until there is nothing left and will leave the nation with nothing but debt, despair, agony, poverty and weakness. She will then be ripe for the taking by the enemies without and the new Axis of Evil: Russia, China and Iran are breathlessly waiting in the wings to feast at the American table after our esteemed leaders lay out the final buffet. The leftovers will be to die for. Only the rise of a true Constitutional Conservative will slow or stop this monstrous chain of events. That rise will have to come very soon now.

The Right Planet : There are number of security concerns and strategic threats I see facing America right now. One of the most concerning is Obama's dismantling of the US military. China is flexing its muscle, and has long been modernizing its army and navy. Additionally, Russia and China are becoming quite chummy as of late. Furthermore, the BRICS economic alliance--comprising Brazil (now under the reign of a former communist terrorist. Dilma Rouseff), Russia, India, China and South America--is attempting to usurp the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency. The fact that the national debt has increased by nearly $8 trillion during Obama's presidency is an ominous threat to national security in and of itself. The march of ISIS across the Middle East is yet another ominous development that threatens U.S. interests, and Israel as well.Of course, internal unrest being stoked by the administration certainly is not helping matters, either. I just don't see any of this ending well.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : The greatest threat all Americans should be concerned about is the federalization/nationalization of our education system. While external threats are real and imminent, we need to focus on our children if America is to survive as a sovereign nation and Constitutional Republic. We must return to teaching them the concepts of individual freedom and our inherent rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If they do not understand the founding concepts of America, how are we to survive?

The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in nearly every state for grades K-12. President Obama has made a further commitment to funding Head Start for children before they are old enough to enter kindergarten. Think about it. In Florida, nearly 40% of our property taxes go to local and state school revenue. Nearly a quarter of all revenue in the state goes to education. Cursory research shows similar percentages in other states. This is a massive redistribution of wealth from the American people to the corporatists and academics as we see the curricula, technology, hardware and software being purchased and utilized for testing and collecting data on every single child, from cradle to grave. Proponents say Common Core prepares a child to be career or college ready. From what I have seen, the materials our children are being exposed to are poorly written, and the topics are dark and inappropriate for their age.

Our local school boards no longer have control over much more than budgetary matters. Directives come from the state and federal departments of education. Much of the time in the classroom is spent teaching for the next test. Home schooling and private or charter schools are not an option as all are required to teach to the standards. We are paying all of this money into a system where we no longer have any input as to how it is spent.

We must fight the Common Core State Standards.

Bookworm Room : I'm struggling to come up with a "greatest" strategic threat to America. The way I see it, there are many strategic threats to America, both at home and abroad. I simply can't predict which is most likely to happen, nor would I discount a Black Swan on the horizon creating a level of chaos we've never imagined. Here, in no particular order, are the various long-term threats I see coming our way:

1. Unfettered immigration. The Democrats' goal, as we know, is a permanent Democrat voting bloc. What worries me more is America's decline into a third world country because it is swamped by people who break the system, socially and economically, and then replace it with what they know best: corruption, centralized criminal government, and anarchy wherever that government fails to get its hooks into the system.

2. Rampant Islam. Yes, Europe will go down first, but once the Islamists have Europe under their control, they also have Europe's weapons. Europe may not be a great arsenal, but thanks to Obama's two terms, America isn't a great arsenal anymore either. More than that, as the Israelis have long known, Muslims relish death, while Americans, no matter how brave, don't. In the short run, the murderers and sadists tend to have the battlefield advantage. While America can win a long war, I can't see our public or our troops having the stomach for it.

3. Climate change initiatives. All the way back in 1992, when Al Gore, who used to believe in global cooling, suddenly became a fervent global warming hysteric, Rush Limbaugh instantly knew what was going on: wealth redistribution from rich nations to poor nations, and from all Americans to a select, elite, self-chosen few. Even as one climate change prediction after another fails, the true believers are still working to destroy America's energy infrastructure. Without that infrastructure, what's left to keep us from becoming just another benighted has-been nation.

4. Putin. Russia may be an economic basket case, but Putin is a grand master chess player in a world of two-bit checkers players. Obama hasn't even graduated to marbles yet. Russia may not yet have a lot of pieces in play on the globe, but he will.

5. China. Again, the Chinese economy is not a healthy one and it's begin to suffer real consequences from its one-child policy, not the least of which is an up-and-coming generation of young men who won't be able to find young women. However, the Chinese leaders, like Putin, are chess players. The best that can happen to the US and the rest of the world, is if the Russians and Chinese play against each other . . . but why should they? The rest of the world is so badly managed that, in the short term, they can just divide it up amongst themselves.

6. Internal collapse. In Obama's six years, America's social fabric has frayed at an accelerated rate. Democrats started the process during the Bush era but, having revealed to America how fragile how social compact is, then promised Americans that with Obama in the White House all would be healed. Instead, Obama has accelerated the process even more. If America doesn't find a stable middle very soon, we're likely just to spin apart.

And yes, I am a pessimist.

 GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD : A nuclear Iran led by unelected and illegit preachers.

A Persian power with a keen sense of its 2,500-year history, Iran occupies a pivotal position straddling the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The country has the largest population in the Middle East, the world’s third largest oil reserves, the second largest natural gas reserves, and aspirations to again become the region’s major power. Add nuclear weapons, and this mixture become highly combustible.

The danger is not that Iran would build and use a nuclear weapon against the United States or its allies. Iranian leaders know that such an act would be regime suicide, as a powerful counterattack would follow immediately.

This is not a nuclear bomb crisis, but a nuclear regime crisis. The danger is that a nuclear-armed Iran would lead other states in the Gulf and Middle East, including possibly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and even Turkey, to reexamine their nuclear options.

This potential wave of proliferation would seriously challenge regional and global security and undermine the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. If the international community is unable or unwilling to impose penalties on Iran, and if Tehran continues its nuclear development unconstrained, the nuclear chain reaction from the region could ripple around the globe.

For example, if Iran used its nuclear weapons, transferred them to a third party, invaded its neighbors, or increased its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the United States would be compelled to respond, although the measures it chose to adopt would not be specified in advance. This argument reflects the public position of many senior U.S. and European officials, as well as a number of prominent academics and defense intellectuals.

Yet this view is far too sanguine. Above all, it rests on the questionable assumptions that possessing nuclear weapons induces caution and restraint, that other nations in the Middle East would balance against Iran rather than bandwagon with it, that a nuclear-armed Iran would respect new red lines even though a conventionally armed Iran has failed to comply with similar warnings, and that further proliferation in the region could be avoided.

It seems more likely that Iran would become increasingly aggressive once it acquired a nuclear capability, that the United States' allies in the Middle East would feel greatly threatened and so would increasingly accommodate Tehran, that the United States' ability to promote and defend its interests in the region would be diminished, and that further nuclear proliferation, with all the dangers that entails, would occur.

The greatest concern in the near term would be that an unstable Iranian-Israeli nuclear contest could emerge, with a significant risk that either side would launch a first strike on the other despite the enormous risks and costs involved.

Over the longer term, Saudi Arabia and other states in the Middle East might pursue their own nuclear capabilities, raising the possibility of a highly unstable regional nuclear arms race.

Well, there you have it! Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week! And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?


B.Poster said...

"I'm not particularly worried about Russia...." Are you sure this is such a good idea not to be worried about this? If the pro-Russian media sources are to be believed as official Russian position, the United States is responsible for the fall in oil prices that is harming Russia in an attempt to bankrupt Russia and change its government to one that would be more compliant with American goals of world domination, the US sponsored a coup in Ukraine to eliminate the pro-Russian government there, is trying to surround Russia with NATO military bases, is trying to deprive Russia vital buffers in Ukraine and former Eastern Bloc countries, and is in violation of an agreement made at the end of the Cold War not to expand NATO into former Soviet or Eastern Bloc countries.

I'm not suggesting the pro-Russian narrative is correct. The truth is probably much more complicated. For what it's worth the narrative seems ridiculous as it assigns WAY more power to America than it actually has or could hope to have. After all this is one of the first steps to demonizing someone, assigning more power to them than they really have.

The point is, if the Russians actually believe this narrative, then it seems likely that they will conclude cannot afford not go to hot war with America. If they conclude such a thing, the war will be over very quickly. Russia will likely use their cyber warfare capabilities to render the supposed high tech American military blind, deaf, dumb, and useless, Russian tactical nuclear weapons will likely finish off the rest, and since the US military will have been rendered blind, deaf, dumb, and useless by Russian cyber attacks and tactical nuclear attacks the Russians could use its strategic nuclear arsenal to wipe America off the map for good should they so choose without fear of an American retaliatory response.

As such, the war would not hurt them "strategically" at least as far as America is concerned as it would no longer be able to challenge them. It would not hurt them "demographically" as few if any Russians would actually be killed nor would it hurt them "financially" as the cost would be minimally as the war is unlikely to last more than 24 hours. While I like the optimism you seem to have, I don't think its warranted as I don't think you've thought this through.

I would make some constructive suggestions on how to deal with the problem. 1.)Choosing to insert ourselves into the Ukrainian situation was the stupidest move a major world power has ever made in world history. Do ANY THING and EVERY THING necessary to extricate ourselves from them. 2.)Withdraw all NATO assets from Eastern Europe and withdraw from pledges to defend these people. We never would have been able to honor them any way and such things endanger our own liberty as well risk drawing us into an unwinnable military conflict. 3.)Redeploy those forces to positions that give them a fighting chance to defend America. 3.) As you point out the nuclear arsenal has been allowed to shrink to unacceptable levels which only makes a bad situation worse. Work on expanding and upgrading this valuable deterant. After all, the nuclear arsenal helped us stand up to conventionally superior Soviet forces during the first Cold War. This can help us here to.

In summary, I think it seems a misguided approach to not be particularly worried about Russia.

B.Poster said...

Furthermore if the Russian leadership really believes as the pro Russian media does, this would seem to indicate that these are not "rational" actors. While the US may have made a difference at the margins with tings like fracking meetings with high level Saudi officials, the primary driver of lower oil prices is Saudi desperation to try and thwart Iran. Iran poses an existential threat to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia does not pose a comparable threat to Iran. It is hoped that by lowering the price of oil they can change the behavior of Iran and Iran's primary backer which is Russia.

The best the US could hope for in the world oil market within the next 10 to 15 years is "leverage" in negotiations as I've pointed out here and elsewhere many times. While fracking, if properly and fully utilized can help America do this, America is NOT going to be a driving force in the world price of oil any time in the near to mid term.

I've read Russia's breakeven price per barrel of oil is $107. Oil at this price is extortion!! This is a country who has arguably world's strongest military when all factors are considered, appears to have a highly distorted anti-American world view, and an economic model that depends upon extortion to work!!

Far from not being "particularly worried" about Russia, I'd be very worried!! It's fine and good for leaders like Stephen Harper of Canada to confront Vladimir Putin, for the Europeans to talk about such things, or for the UN general assembly to pass resolutions regarding Ukraine introduced by the likes of Costa Rica. None of these countries figure to bear the brunt of Russian reprisals. Such a fate would figure to befall America.

I think it a bit naïve and dangerous to suggest one should not be particularly worried about Russia. I mean you no disrespect here. G_d help us all!!

B.Poster said...

An excellent article on the Russian mindset or at least the mindset of Vladimir Putin can be found at

In case I copied the link wrong, the article is entitled "Why Russia is the greatest threat to America in 2015" by Loren Thompson. This is one of the better analysis of this in the American media I've seen and well worth the read as it offers an honest critique of current US policy without seeming to take a breathlessly anti-American position.

I would disagree with the author in idea that the US/NATO has a large edge in conventional forces, as this is far from certain. Furthermore he seems to be just now getting around to the idea that sanctions "might" prove to be a bad idea in 2015. I came to the conclusion they were a bad idea the moment I learned the Ukrainian government had been overthrown. At that time, I stated any involvement by us should be ended IMMEDIATELY. As such, we never should have even considered sanctions. If the Europeans, the Canadians, the Aussies, the Costa Ricans, the Saudis or anyone wished to purse such a policy, they could have gone to it without us.

Additionally the author correctly concludes that the sanctions may only strengthen Putin's hand and the resolve of the Russian people to confront perceived enemies of which America is enemy number one and that Russia may not be the rational actor that certain leaders seem to think it is.

Rob said...

As Cato said, the sinews of war are money. Russia lacks the economic capability of waging war, and the demographics. 70% of native Russian births end in abortion, and the population of native Russians is shrinking while the Muslim demographic is increasing. That's why Putin is trying, with very mixed success to lure people from the FSU like Armenians and Tjadjiks into the Russian military.

Also, Russia gains virtually nothing from a war, and Putin is not stupid. Expanding West brings him into conflict with NATO, while expanding into central Asia inflames the Muslims.

There will be bad relations between Russia and America while Obama's in office, but after that there's a decent chance of a rapprochement if we get a president and/or Secretary of State who can actually sit down with the Russians and horse trade. Certainly that's how I would have solved the propblem of Ukraine.

B.Poster said...

With all due respect Cato probably said this long, long before the advent of weapons of mass destruction. Since there is a real possibility the war would be over in less than a day, I'm not sure how relevant the economic situation is. They may think they can win quickly. As stated and as the article I put in the previous post suggests, these may not be the rational actors some think they are.

Furthermore the US military is badly worn down from continuing fruitless nation building operations all while saddled with ridiculous rules of engagement. As such, a long range campaign against a major power may be problematic at best for America right now.

Also, the US is not without its own economic problems with its massive national debt. aging infrastructure, and its further compromised by its reliance on others for many of its basic goods. As such, it is questionable at best that the economic situation favors America.

As for demographics, this is would seem to be a mid to long range issue. With that said this is a problem. With the Russian history of surviving major challenges before I think the smart bet would be that they will solve this. If not and one MUST confront them, it might simply be best to wait them out.

In any event Loren Thompson the author of the article suggested that our leaders need a better understanding of Russian history. I agree this is lacking.

As for "horse trading", I think this may have some promise. I will put my suggestions in the next post.

B.Poster said...

I think the idea of "horse trading" may have some promise. Before we could begin to do such a thing there would need to be some way to ensure Russia actually complies with the terms of an agreement. The US faces constant and often hostile media coverage. As such, American compliance with any agreement is assured. Even if it wished not to comply, it would be unable to get away with non compliance. In contrast, Russia not only does not face this type of scrutiny but Putin and company are the best in the world at using the world media to advocate for their position. Before starting there needs to be some way to ensure Russian compliance.

With this out of the way I'd suggest the following: 1.)it's clear we have a HUGE problem with Iran. Russia is Iran's chief ally and as long as Russia has their back there's little we can actually do other than pound sand. Perhaps Israel or the Gulf Arab states could do something. We can't. I'd suggest withdrawing all support for Ukraine. (As I correctly sated previously, this is the stupidest move by a major power ever in the history of civilization for us to have entered into this.) It's time to exit. This would be a show of "good faith." The next step would be for us to withdraw from NATO or at least refuse to participate as long as former Soviet Republics or former Eastern Bloc countries are involved. Essentially NATO membership is off the table for Ukraine, Georgia, or any other former Soviet or Eastern Bloc country and those currently in will need to be withdrawn from NATO or America leaves the alliance. In exchange for this, Russia helps us with Iran or at least gets out of the way. If this happens, Iran becomes much easier to deal with. 2.)Russian leadership views the lost of the Soviet Union as an unmitigated disaster. Essentially make it clear to Russia that they will receive no interference from us if they seek to reestablish the Soviet Union as long as they don't interfere with vital American security or trade interests and they stay out of the Americas including leaving Cuba and Venezuela. In exchange for this, we will provide them any assistance, intelligence reports, etc. that they may need to take Germany, France, or both. 3.)The loss of the dollar as world reserve currency has been inevitable for many years. It cannot be prevented. Negotiate in earnest with Russia and China primarily and others as needed for an orderly transition.

These would be good places to start. While we don't like some of these and some of these may even be stomach turning to have to consider, if America is going to survive let alone thrive, some very hard choices will need to be made. Furthermore it isn't like any of the nations we'd be withdrawing support from are exactly friends of ours anyway.

Rob said...

I certainly hope you and I get into a poker game sometime,B.Poster ; )

B.Poster said...

Not sure if I should take that as a compliment or not. Actually, Poker is quite fun. I've played some Texas Hold Em. I wish I could pay more but work and family needs do not permit it at present.

Like anything else it takes practice to become proficient. What I did discover, not to be boastful, but I seem to have a natural understanding of the game and was able to pick it up fairly quickly. As a Certified Public Accountant, I seem to have a natural understanding of numbers and I have a very good long range memory. I suspect this helps with poker.

Unlike poker where it is played for fun, at least by me primarily as a diversion from real life and the worst you can do is lose a little money and even better make a little money, world geo politics is a matter of life and death!! Make the wrong choices and 300 + million American could die.

With Ukraine it never made much sense. The best we are going to get from it is: 1.)another member of NATO when we are not really in a position to honor the commitments we already have and 2.)the EU gets a new member, in which case all we've accomplished is strengthen a strategic competitor while undertaking enormous risks ourselves.

I'd love to play poker with you sometime!!