Jeb, get ahold of yourselfMatt BaiNational Political Columnist Yahoo Politics August 27, 2015Jeb Bush has dropped to around 10 percent in polls for the Republican presidential candidates. (Photo: Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)Despite what you may have read or watched or come across in a fortune cookie, Donald Trump isn’t actually running away with the Republican nomination, and the only thing he’s “dominating” right now is media coverage. Here’s some perspective for you: As late as October 2011, a pizza magnate named Herman Cain was leading the Republican field with roughly 30 percent of the vote, or about the same as Trump’s zenith in recent polls.The main difference is that Mitt Romney had locked down the establishment vote in 2011 and was running just a few points behind. Trump, on the other hand, looks like the Big Kahuna mainly because the vast majority of the Republican vote remains divided among more than a dozen serious competitors, none of whom has yet managed to pull away from the pack.In other words, Trump isn’t really winning the presidential contest so much as all the other candidates are losing it. And no one is losing it faster or with more determination than Jeb Bush.It was a spectacularly bad week for Bush, who has dropped to around 10 percent in both national and New Hampshire polls. (The latter matters more than the former.)First he tried to out-Trump Trump on illegal immigration by decrying so-called anchor babies. Then he tried to clean that up, in a petulant news conference, by saying the whole problem really started with Asians. Because, you know, what Republicans really need right now is another massive nonwhite segment of society that won’t vote for them.
And all of this was playing out while Bush’s campaign admitted that some of its top staff was already taking pay cuts in anticipation of a long slog through the winter, which is generally not a sign that things are going according to plan.What surprises me about Bush isn’t that he’s a little out of practice. It’s more that he seems not to fully grasp what makes his campaign viable in the first place.If you think about it for more than a minute, the Bush dynasty that Jeb seeks to restore is highly unusual, if not anomalous, in American politics. Oh, sure, we’ve always had families who influence state or national politics from one generation to the next — Roosevelts and Kennedys, Browns and Cuomos. There’s nothing new about that.But in just about every case you can think of, those dynasties are all built on the idea of returning to some moment of greatness or some larger ideal. The whole Kennedy fetish, spanning half a century now, is at its core a desire to restore the long-lost promise of Camelot, which for a lot of ’60s liberals still represents a utopian moment (JFK’s centrism notwithstanding).To take a more current example, the underlying premise of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns — both in 2008 and now — is a certain nostalgia for the economic boom time of the 1990s. That’s not an intergenerational dynasty, exactly, but it will be once Chelsea jumps intothe arena.The Bush dynasty is different. George H.W. Bush was, truth be told, a mediocre politician who had to prove he wasn’t the Connecticut moderate his father, Prescott, had been. (This he achieved mostly by eating pork rinds.) He found himself atop the ticket in 1988 almost by default and then became only the second elected president since the Great Depression to be booted from office after a single term.
Stance of some E. Europe nations on migration ‘scandalous’-France 17 hours agoFrench Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius has lambasted the attitude of some East European countries towards the migrant crisis (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina)Related Stories
Paris (AFP) – The attitude of a number of eastern European countries towards the migrant crisis facing the EU is „scandalous”, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday, pointing in particular to an anti-migrant barrier in Hungary.”When I see a certain number of European countries, particularly in the east, who do not accept quotas (of migrants), I find it scandalous,” he told Europe 1 radio.Germany has acted „courageously,” with the support of France, „but Europe as a whole must assume its responsibilities,” said Fabius.He specifically pointed to a razor-wire barrier along Hungary’s border with non-EU member Serbia, aimed at keeping out migrants, which Fabius said „did not respect Europe’s common values”.The barrier consisting of three rolls of razor wire along the 175-kilometre frontier is however failing to prevent people getting across, AFP saw in a recent visit.A four-metre-high (13-foot) fence is due to follow and is already being built by the Hungarian army which will „also provide a defence against illegal border-crossers,” according to the country’s defence ministry.Hungary, a member of the European Union and of the visa-free Schengen zone, has this year intercepted more than 140,000 migrants entering from Serbia.
Russia’s Ailing Navy: A Toothless Tiger? Politics, Russia61 CommentsWhile Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its current standoff with Ukraine have created an atmosphere of tension and suspicion in the region, a closer look at Russia’s naval fleet reveals that the country may not be as much of an international military power as Moscow would have the world believe.Posted date: In:
The Fall Of The Mighty Russian Fleet Russia’s military might outstrip those of its neighboring countries in terms of size and personnel, but the actual vessels themselves are mere shadows of their former selves. The lack of funding in the post-Cold War era and the collapse of the Soviet Union have left Russia’s maritime military beaten and bruised.A finding of the Congressional Research Service in March 2014 shared that Russia’s seafaring capacity has been greatly depleted as a result of “mismanagement, changes in plans, corruption, manning issues”.The Current State Of Russia’s Maritime Military Forces Russia’s navy has been more visible, and reported about more often, in recent times owing to the Ukrainian crisis and the conflict in Crimea. The Russian navy established control over the Crimean ports during the 2014 annexation- a move that has been to Moscow’s advantage since Russia has traditionally faced difficulties with acquiring and maintaining warm water ports.This development aside, Russia’s navy is far from the mighty force it once was during the peak of the Soviet era. Russia’s current fleet is characterized by old and decrepit vessels, most of which are leftovers from the erstwhile USSR. Despite attempts to breathe new life into the existing fleet, the Russian government has been unable to repair or replace the outmoded vessels.Towards the end of the Cold War, in a bid to outdo the United States, the Soviet Union financed the building of three full-size aircraft transporters. The vessels were to include two non-nuclear ships, one of which is the Kuznetsov, a ship that is currently in use as well, and a nuclear-capable ship. At the time, the United States had as many as 15 aircraft transporters, the bulk of which boasted nuclear capabilities.The fall of the Soviet Union dealt a severe blow to the country’s naval ambitions and Moscow was left with only enough money to complete payment to the Ukrainian ship-builders crafting the Kuznetsov. Authorized in the year 1991, the Kuznetsov is the last remnant of Russia’s old glory days and the final full-scale warship that Russia has had built.Since then, the Russian government has finished work on some small-sized destroyers, frigates and submarines. However, the bulk of the naval ships in use even today- and this includes all the big warships of the Russian naval fleet- are actually relics from the Soviet period.From what is known about these vessels, one can gather the understanding that these old ships are inefficient, outmoded and weak. The Kuznetsov is often observed to be accompanied by a tugboat; the ageing vessel is known to experience frequent mechanical problems and breakdowns, including a short circuit-related fire in 2009 that cost a crewmember their life.During the 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia deployed theKuznetsov in the Mediterranean. This was done as a reaction to Washington’s decision to send its modern flattop USS George H.W. Bush to survey the Mediterranean and look out for NATO’s interestsin the region. The George H.W. Bush presented an impressive picture, accompanied by as many as 60 top-of-the-line combat aircrafts and a number of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that were outfitted with artillery for a wide variety of submarines, warplanes and other battle-ready vessels.The Kuznetsov made for a weak comparison, carrying around twelve Sukhoi fighters and keeping company with the Soviet-era nuclear vessel Pyotr Velikiy, three assistance tankers, a diminutive amphibious landing boat and its trusty tugboat.The Kuznetsov is a notoriously weak vessel, and as per a report carried by the Defense Industry Daily, the ship’s boilers are all but run down and have been labeled “defective”.After following the George H.W. Bush around over a period of some weeks, in May 2014 the Kuznetsov made its way back towards Russia by way of the English Channel. It was on this return journey that Russia’s naval party encountered the HMS Dragon, a destroyer that belongs to the British Royal Navy.Following the Kuznetsov’s run-ins with other, clearly more powerful and advanced naval fleets, Moscow has added another, somewhat more recent, destroyer to the Russian fleet deployed in the Mediterranean. However, this move does little to mask the fact that Russia’s ships belong to another time period altogether and do little to contribute to Russia’s image as an international force to be reckoned with.Why Has Russia Been Unable To Upgrade?To begin with, Russia has been unable to revive its flagging navy because the shipyard at which the Russian vessels were crafted presently falls under Ukrainian jurisdiction. The shipyard is located beyond Crimea and Putin’s forces were unable to take control of it.Ukraine continues to be the sole source for some of the biggest ship parts needed by Russia, including the very engines. Given the rise in hostilities between the two countries over the past year, it should come as no surprise that Ukraine is not willing to provide Russia with the parts it needs to outfit and complete its war vessels. In fact, Ukraine recently formally stopped all arms supplies to Russia.Russia has made other efforts in recent times to invigorate its collapsing shipbuilding economy, to little avail. In the year 2005, Russia received a $1-billion contract from India to refurbish a small vessel from the Soviet period. Named the Vikramaditya, the finished flattop sported such substandard work that the ship collapsed all but completely soon after it was handed over in 2012. Russia continued work on the ship for another two years, and by the time it was finally tendered to India in 2014 the ship cost Russia $2.3 billion in damages. This incident only goes to prove that Russia’s experience with shipbuilding is limited, and if the country is unable to modernize an existing war vessel, it is highly unlikely that it will be able to produce new ones without assistance.Following its failures with shipbuilding in the early 2000s, Russia then looked into purchasing vessels from other countries in a bid to bolster its flailing navy. In 2011, Russia was in talks to purchase two helicopter transporters from France, with each ship priced at over $1 billion. Part of the deal was to have Russian shipyards participate in the building of the vessels so that Russia’s ship makers could pick up the expertise from their French counterparts. However, once the operation was underway it
The Ultimate Battleship Battle: Japan’s Yamato vs. America’s IowaMichael Peck It would have been the ultimate duel of dreadnoughts. In one corner, Japan’sYamato, weighing in at 65,000 tons, the biggest battleship in history. In the other corner, Iowa, at 45,000 tons the pride of America’s World War II battleship fleet. In reality, the two ships never met in battle. But what if they had, in a cataclysmic clash of seagoing titans?One researcher can offer an answer, or at least a very educated guess. Jon Parshall, historian and author of the superb Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway has pitted the top battleships of various nations against each other at Combinedfleet.com, the go-to site for information on the Imperial Japanese Navy.Among the battleships he compares are Yamato and Iowa, based on five criteria: guns, armor, underwater protection, fire control and “tactical factors” such as speed and damage control.It would have been the ultimate duel of dreadnoughts. In one corner, Japan’sYamato, weighing in at 65,000 tons, the biggest battleship in history. In the other corner, Iowa, at 45,000 tons the pride of America’s World War II battleship fleet. In reality, the two ships never met in battle. But what if they had, in a cataclysmic clash of seagoing titans?One researcher can offer an answer, or at least a very educated guess. Jon Parshall, historian and author of the superb Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway has pitted the top battleships of various nations against each other at Combinedfleet.com, the go-to site for information on the Imperial Japanese Navy.Among the battleships he compares are Yamato and Iowa, based on five criteria: guns, armor, underwater protection, fire control and “tactical factors” such as speed and damage control.Guns:Yamato’s 18.1-inch guns were the largest ever mounted on a warship. Since they couldn’t match American quantity, it was Japanese navy doctrine for each warship to be more powerful than its individual U.S. counterpart. Yamato’s nine 18-inchers could throw a 3,200-pound shell out to 26 miles, while Iowa’s nine 16-inch guns could propel a 2,700-pound shell 24 miles.Even though Japanese shells were less effective than American ones, the range advantage should belong to Yamato. Yet the real issue was even hitting the target in the first place. Given World War II fire control systems, the chance of hitting a battleship moving at 30 miles per hour from a distance of 25 miles is very small.For his analysis, Parshall assumes that both battleship captains would close the range to less than 23 miles. At that distance, both the Yamato’s and Iowa’s guns could penetrate each other’s armor. “That’s why I say there’s a lot of luck involved here,” Parshall explained. “Iowa’s fire control is better. But if Yamato gets lucky and gets in the first hit or two, and they’re doozies, it could very easily be game over for Iowa.”Advantage: neither ship.