The Evolving Security Environment

I came across an interesting summary of Donald Trump’s views on international relations:

Trump’s critique of US-Saudi relations threatens a self-interested claque of privileged plutocrats and their lobbyist supporters, just as his threat to cut off our other mostly useless “allies” from the gravy train has induced panic from Paris to the Potomac.

·  On NATOI have two problems with NATO. No. 1, it’s obsolete. When NATO was formed many decades ago we were a different country. There was a different threat. Soviet Union was, the Soviet Union, not Russia, which was much bigger than Russia, as you know. And, it was certainly much more powerful than even today’s Russia…. Today, it has to be changed. It has to be changed to include terror. It has to be changed from the standpoint of cost because the United States bears far too much of the cost of NATO. And one of the things that I hated seeing is Ukraine…. Why is it always the United States that gets right in the middle of things, with something that – you know, it affects us, but not nearly as much as it affects other countries.”

NATO became obsolete when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Yet instead of going the way of the horse-and-buggy, it grew until it reached the very gates of Moscow – in spite of a promise by George H.W. Bush that NATO would freeze its membership if Mikhail Gorbachev would allow East Germany to reunify with the West. What Trump is proposing is the dissolution of NATO as we know it – essentially an anti-Russian alliance – and its reconfiguration into an instrument devoted to counterterrorism. Indeed, later on in the interview with the Times, he suggests that NATO could be scrapped, and a new institution devoted to a more current problem – terrorism – would take its place.

NATO made sense after WW2 and the subsequent east-west divide of Europe. But it doesn’t seem to make much sense 25 years after the disintegration of first the Eastern Bloc and then the Soviet Union. Yet Russia gets treated as if it still is the Soviet Union. But does anyone – apart from unreconstructed Cold Warriors – really believe that Russia is going to invade Europe? Why should it, when it’s no longer the global headquarters of Communism?

And, for that matter, is there any real threat, should the EU break up, that Europe will turn into a battlefield, with WW1 or WW2 repeating themselves?

Coming up on a century since those conflicts, it seems to me that we’re living in a very different world, and facing very different threats. It’s understandable that people should regularly expect the next war to be like the last war, and prepare accordingly. But equally there ought to be a readiness to see that the threat is always changing, always evolving.

And right now, and for the past 20 years or more, the threat has been coming from militant Islam. Worse, for the past year or more there’s been a covert army of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Islamic jihadis operating in Europe, and attacking civilian targets exclusively. They are the real threat, not Russia. And NATO can do nothing about them.

Half a century ago, the world had become a number of large political blocs. But now these blocs are dissolving. Nevertheless, people like Tony Blair continue to think in global bloc terms:

Mr Blair warned the rise of new superpowers such as China and India means the “global order” is shifting away from the West and that if Britain wants “to play a role in global decision-making” it must remain tied to Europe.

The former Labour leader claimed any country with a population less than 100 million would have to use their “geographic relationships” to retain influence.

But the Soviet bloc has gone. And at the current rate of progress, the EU bloc will have also disintegrated in a few years time, as it proves unable to meet any of the many challenges it faces.

And who’s to say that China and India (and maybe even the USA)  won’t disintegrate as well? Along with globalist organisations like the UN and WHO and the World Bank?

Half a century ago, it looked like the future was going to be with the big battalions, and if your tiny country was going to have any influence, it would have to join one of them. But the bigger the battalions, the bigger their associated bureaucracies, the more red tape, and the slower their responses to rapidly unfolding events – as the EU is now amply demonstrating. The age of these political dinosaurs may now be coming to an end, and the future may lie with those small, furry, adaptable states with minimal bureaucracies and rapid response times, which can manage to break out of whichever big battalion they’re currently tied to.

Because Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are small and highly innovative organisations conducting warfare in entirely new ways, and running rings around NATO and Western security organisations.

microdrone3.0And the next major war will anyway probably be fought using fleets of millions of micro-drones with on-board cameras and micro-machineguns firing micro-bullets (or micro-missiles) which can fly through open doors or windows, and then sit on a shelf and wait until everyone’s asleep before zapping them at point blank range with a single shot – unless they happen to have installed the latest indoor radar-controlled antidrone-microguns that can fire streams of disabling glue droplets, and can take down insects as small as midges or mosquitoes at a range of up to 10 feet.

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9 Responses to The Evolving Security Environment

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Well we could just use SHS indoors to destroy the micro drones, the Nazis claim it can kill anything!

  2. As long as the microdrones don’t threaten my chocolate supply I’m fine.

    – MJM

  3. Rose says:

    Entirely OT

    A comment by Point of Dick Puddlecote’s blog, I hope they won’t mind me reposting it.

    “The abuse of smokers through State-sponsored denormalization campaigns hinges on the wonky claim of “nicotine addiction”, a throwback to 1800s America. Addicts are not afforded the usual human rights. Their “addiction” must not be socially accommodated. Addicts must be “cured”. Unfortunately, vapists have walked right into that one, claiming that they vape because they are “nicotine addicts” and that cigarettes and e-cigs are solely “nicotine delivery devices”. That’s a gold-plated invitation to be abused in the same way as smokers. Vapists don’t seem to understand this fundamental point. They’re convinced that by distancing vaping from smoking in antismoking terms will score them points with prohibitionists. It doesn’t. It just shows up vapists as antismokers.

    The entire prohibition crusade rests on “nicotine addiction”. It’s a discredited notion. Nicotine is a weak reinforcer that doesn’t do what the prohibitionists claim it does. Quite a few organizations jumped on the bandwagon in the late-1980s/early-1990s following tobacco-use being incoherently re-defined as due only to “nicotine addiction” in 1988 by
    the Office of the Surgeon-General, an organization long hijacked by antismokers (i.e., prohibitionists). More recently, however, there are fewer and fewer organizations using the term “nicotine addiction”. Still wanting to improperly use the term “addiction”, they refer to the vacuous terms “tobacco addiction” or “smoking addiction”. Some don’t even use the word “addiction”, preferring the equally vacuous term “dependence”. Until this idea of “nicotine addiction”, or any sense of addiction, is hammered in the mainstream, vapists will be treated like smokers – as “addicts” that need to be “cured” through all manner of punitive “help”.”

    And a link from Carol posted on Dr. Siegel’s blog the other day.

    If the data contradict the theory, throw out the data: Nicotine addiction in the 2010 report of the Surgeon General
    2011 May 19

    Hanan Frenk and Reuven Dar

    “In regard to point (1), it has been well documented that when smokers are switched to cigarettes with lower nicotine yield they indeed “compensate” by smoking more. But is this compensation really due to reduction in nicotine intake? The objective answer is “probably not.”

    In the vast majority of the experiments in which smokers were switched to cigarettes with lower nicotine yield there was no attempt to separate the effects of nicotine and tar. This is a serious omission considering that the correlation between nicotine and tar yields in commercial cigarettes is .90 [33,34], so that reducing nicotine yield in cigarettes means also reducing tar yield. Therefore, attributing the increased smoking in such studies to reduction in nicotine rather than in tar yield requires a big leap of faith.”

    ” Moreover, there is some evidence that certain non-nicotine constituents of tar may have central actions in brain areas linked to reinforcement. In fact, Sutton et al. found that tar yield predicted puffing patterns (and hence blood levels of nicotine) far better than does nicotine, a finding that was confirmed by several other studies”

    More generally, the present report seems to brush aside the growing body of evidence for the crucial effect of non-nicotine factors in smoking. The importance of the sensory rewards associated with smoking has been documented for decades.

    More recently, studies with de-nicotinized tobacco have shown conclusively that such factors determine smoking behavior at least as much as nicotine. Smokers readily smoke de-nicotinized cigarettes and there is no decay in the rate of smoking that would be expected if the motivation for smoking was nicotine.”

    Has set me thinking about Solanesol and 2,3,6-trimethyl-1-4-naphthoquinone, the natural antidepressant in tobacco again.

    • Rose, I have two good points to add here…

      1) The start of the whole “smoking as addiction” model was rooted in Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No To Drugs!” drive of the 1980s. It allowed Antismokers to galvanize antagonism toward Big Tobacco as being Drug Pushers To Children and allowed for a push to enforce age-purchase laws: laws that widely existed but were almost universally ignored before the 1990s. The take-off point for the campaign was the Orwellian Henningfield/Benowitz redefinition of the word “addiction” in a headlined NY Times article in 1987: The H/B redefinition was VERY specifically designed to boost nicotine’s profile as an “addictive drug” from very low to very high so that our love for our children could be abused by Antismokers.

      2) Regarding Nicotine: One of Quora’s posters, Joao Pargana, has written a WONDERFUL post of positive references to nicotine:

      NOTE: If anyone here wants to join the Quora community and be active there, be aware that they are academically based and STRONGLY do not welcome traditional internet style posting. They want things to be referenced and they have a very strict “Be Nice, Be Respectful” rule that is strongly enforced by users and moderators. Quora doesn’t see itself as a “discussion board,” but as more of Wikipedia style encyclopedia of questions and answers. Sooo… if you do join up, spend a while reading various postings and checking out the waters before diving in.


      • Rose says:

        I went back over what we’ve got so far, MJM

        WHO, while still pushing the nicotine addiction theory were at least beginning to wonder in 2012

        FCTC/COP/5/9 Annex 3 page 12

        What makes tobacco products addictive?

        “While research shows that nicotine, the main alkaloid found in tobacco leaves, may not be the only substance in tobacco that affects its addictiveness, at least in smoked products, no other substance in tobacco that has this effect has been conclusively identified.”

        Certain tobacco constituents are reported to be MAO inhibitors, such as 2,3,6-trimethyl-1-4-naphthoquinone”
        http: //

        “1,4-Naphthoquinone, of which the Vitamin K group compounds are derivatives”

        “Solanesol, extracted from tobacco leaves, is used in synthesis of high-value bio-chemicals such as vitamin-K analogues and Co-enzyme Q10 (Co Q10). Solanesol, the starting material used in the synthesis of Co Q 10 and Vitamin K analogues, is also a potentiating agent in these medicines.”
        http: //

        Parkinson’s Inhibitor Fingered in Tobacco

        “They ground up tobacco leaves and tested representative samples in a test tube to see if they inhibited MAO. From the fraction containing the most potent MAO inhibitor, they isolated a chemical known as 2,3,6-trimethyl-1,4-naphthoquinone.”
        http: //

        2,3,6-Trimethyl-1,4-naphthoquinone in cigarette smoke
        July 1968
        W.J. Chamberlain, R.L. Stedman

        2,3,6-Trimethyl-1,4-naphthoquinone was isolated from the nitromethane-soluble, neutral fraction of cigarette smoke condensate and identified by spectral (i.r., mass and NMR) and gas chromatographic characteristics. This is the first report of the occurrence of quinones in tobacco smoke.”
        http: //

        Smoking may blow away blues
        October 12, 2001

        “Tobacco smoke may act on the brain like an antidepressant drug, scientists have found.

        The results of a three-year study may provide another clue as to why kicking the habit may be so difficult and why there is a particularly high rate of smoking among people with depression.

        A team led by Gregory Ordway and Violetta Klimek at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in the United States found that the brains of chronic smokers undergo biological changes similar to those caused by antidepressant drugs. The research has been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry .

        “What our study demonstrates for the first time is that chronic smoking produces biological changes in the human brain that are antidepressant-like,” Ordway said.

        The investigators said the biological changes are probably not caused by nicotine. Instead, it appears that a compound produced when tobacco burns is responsible.”

        MAO inhibitors are antidepressants.

        By clinging to prohibitionist ideology of the distant past, it looks like the medical profession has been encouraged to push the wrong treatments on millions of smokers since 1996.

        But why?

        Solanesol: a review of its resources, derivatives, bioactivities, medicinal applications, and biosynthesis


        Solanesol, which mainly accumulates in solanaceous crops, including tobacco, tomato, potato, eggplant, and pepper plants, is a long-chain polyisoprenoid alcohol compound with nine isoprene units. Chemical synthesis of solanesol is difficult; therefore, solanesol is primarily extracted from solanaceous crops, particularly tobacco leaves.
        In plants, solanesol exists in both free and esterified forms, and its accumulation is influenced by genetic and environmental factors.

        Solanesol is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as an intermediate for the synthesis of ubiquinone drugs, such as coenzyme Q10 and vitamin K2.

        Solanesol possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer activities, and solanesol derivatives also have anti-oxidant and antitumour activities, in addition to other bioactivities.

        Solanesol derivatives can also be used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and wound healing.

        Co-inventor of the Nicotine patch.

        “Jarvik was perhaps best known for his studies, in the second half of his career, on nicotine, smoking and pharmacological interventions in tobacco dependence.

        He was instrumental in establishing the field of nicotine research, publishing a seminal paper in 1970 that proposed that nicotine was the cause of addiction in cigarette smoking. His contributions to the field of tobacco dependence have earned him international recognition.”

        “Murray was always asking, ‘Why do people smoke?’” said Richard Olmstead, a UCLA associate researcher in psychiatry and a friend and collaborator of Jarvik’s.
        “I would say that Murray’s greatest impact was advancing the proposition that nicotine was the key addictive component in tobacco.”
        In the 1990s, Jarvik, along with Jed Rose, then a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and now the director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University, were curious about “green tobacco illness,” a malady striking tobacco farmhands harvesting the crop in the South.

        That led to research on the potential positive implications of absorbing tobacco through the skin, which resulted in the creation of a transdermal patch that delivers nicotine directly into the body.
        When the researchers could not get approval to run experiments on any subjects, Jarvik, in an article in UCLA Magazine, said they decided to test their idea on themselves.

        “We put the tobacco on our skin and waited to see what would happen,” Jarvik recalled.
        “Our heart rates increased, adrenaline began pumping, all the things that happen to smokers.”
        http: //

        No they don’t.

        So while they push nicotine on us, from the same plant they extract solanesol to use as medicines for the illnesses they accuse tobacco of causing.

        I smelt a rat in when I got my first antismoking lecture in school, which is why I eventually took up smoking to find out.

        According to the tobacco documents Roche was already working on Solanesol / Ubiquinone in the 60’s.

  4. It may be a very different world with very different threats but the responses to those threats are also very different and quite scary.
    I’m not sure I fancy the thought of NATO becoming a global anti-terror organisation that fights threats both real and imagined by bagging and tagging all it’s citizens, stripping away all their rights in the name of safety and bunging anyone who disagrees in global versions of Guantanamo Bay.

  5. Rose says:

    Britain will be biggest nanny state in the EU thanks to sugar tax, experts say

    Think tank boss advises everyone to go to Germany or Czech Republic to get away from ‘draconian’ rules

    GEORGE OSBORNE’s Sugar Tax is poised to make Britain the biggest “nanny state” in the EU, experts say.
    The Institute of Economic Affairs said the new soft drinks levy and upcoming plain packaging rules for cigarettes would make the UK the “most meddling” country on the Continent.
    Rankings published put Britain third behind Finland and Sweden in a league table that analyses taxes on booze, fags, food, ad restrictions and “paternalistic” regulation.

    But Chris Snowdon, the IEA’s head of lifestyle, said the UK was set to leapfrog both in a couple of years.
    He told the Sun: “If Finland and Sweden liberalise their laws on e-cigarettes, which seems likely in the next year, and Britain bring in plain packaging and the sugar tax, we will go top.”

    The IEA – famously Maggie Thatcher’s favourite think tank – said Britain already has the highest rates of tax on wine and cigarettes in the EU.
    Beer duty is second only to Finland and the smoking ban is “more draconian” than in any other member state.”

    “The IEA said the most liberal EU state was the Czech Republic, followed by Germany.

    And it insisted that while most nanny state laws were justified on health grounds, there was no proven link between their introduction and longer life expectancy.”

    I don’t understand,in this country we used to be immune to such things and didn’t go in for Prohibition and Eugenics like other countries, it’s like a dam has broken suddenly.

    • Barry Homan says:

      Rose, I feel the world as a whole will one day wake up and collectively say “what is all this shit??” – and the bans will disappear. It’s just a feeling I have. Those responsible will whither away into obscurity. Look what happened to Carrie Nation, all that campaigning and ultimately for what?

      Human nature is what it is.

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