Alarming normalcy

Parents safeguard their children and don't want them to play with friends who might get them into trouble. That's common sense.

To avoid bad company is also common sense for adults, unless they're risk-seekers who get a thrill by getting into trouble.

I suppose entire countries are not risk-seekers, so I suppose a country should watch out its company. Do friendly countries get yours into trouble?

"Bad company" is identifiable by the displayed normal behaviour - much better so than by how they behave when they want to make a good impression. The normal mode of operation counts.

Sadly, lots of countries have rather alarming normal behaviours. In fact, people are so used to this behaviour as normal (for the country in question) that it doesn't raise an alarm any more. Humans can get used to almost everything, good or bad.
Bad behaviour can become so utterly normal and self-evident, that a bully can even think the bullied country is the bad guy.

I saw a U.S. navy officer brief a rather public gathering about the oh-so bad and aggressive moves of the Chinese navy. Their worst offense; they patrolled waters around disputed islands. Meanwhile, the USN patrols wherever it wants, and when this means some other country feels threatened then it's U.S: foreign policy to be threatening, not some evilness as in the Chinese case. Or so they made themselves believe.

Another example is very recent, and I suppose it was again a USN move (the USN has quite a history of alarming normalcy).

Now read this article:

Old archive photo of Iranian F-4 Phantom II

Doesn't it make Iran like the bully in this case?

Now let's shed the veil caused by drinking the kool aid and think about the facts as communicated by that article:

(1) The U.S. is obviously spying with aircraft on Iran by flying close to the border, while it's safe to say Iran doesn't do so on the U.S..

(2) U.S. military assets are thousands of miles away from home, while Iran's military assets are obviously not that far away from home (which makes defensive purposes much, much more plausible).

(3) The Iranian aircraft was obviously flying over international waters, and far, far away from the supposedly threatened U.S. aircraft.

(4) U.S. fighters bullied/threatened the Iranian aircraft or the Iranian aircraft flew away because it wanted so.

This badly reminds me of the time when the USN felt it was entitled to kill Iranian aviators just because they came into range over international waters. Like the pilots were beasts to be killed or something.
That action turned out to kill an airliner full of civilians and the USN reaction at the time was to claim it felt threatened. "Threatened" by a fighter which was not armed with any ammunition that's suitable against the supposedly threatened cruiser.

Look, this is insanity. And I don't talk about the Iranians, who can quite plausibly claim to have been largely on the defensive for three decades, and victims of foreign meddling for some more.
THEY are not the insane here. I think the ones who are insane are the ones who think bullying foreign powers like this isn't only normal, but actually means the bulled are the bullies. THAT is insane.

I guess many of my readers from the United States don't follow me here and think the Defensetech point of view is better. Thus ask yourself this:

Scenario: A Cuban spy drone flies along the U.S. Gulf Coast. An old Air National Guard fighter flies in no more than to 18 miles. Cuban fighters intercept it and force it to turn back.
Question: Would you think this was OK? Would you think the Americans are the baddies here, or would you think the Cubans are?


It is about time that NATO and / or the United Nations specify with much publicity what constitutes self defence by military forces.

Bombing a wedding because a pilot in a supersonic-capable aircraft at 15,000 ft feels "threatened" by muzzle flashes from a wedding on the ground is no self defence. Those pilots were out of range and had to turn and close in with the others again in order to "self-defend" (Afghan Civil War post '03, more than once).

Firing at an aircraft over international waters is no self-defence, especially not if you believe it's not possibly armed with offensive weapons (Iran Air Flight 655, '88).

Firing at aircraft flying close to their countries' coastline over international waters while yourself being thousands of miles away from yours is not self defence (Gulf of Sidra '86).

Bullying a fighter that flies over international waters and doesn't close with a supposedly attacked aircraft by more than a whopping 18 miles over a rather congested Gulf is not self defence, and certainly no indicator for it being aggressive. If that Phantom II crew was aggressive, how aggressive are we then? We close with foreign military aircraft much more, all the time!
Russian Tu-95 Bear aircraft get intercepted and escorted all the time

I assume the NATO members have neither the intent nor the political energy to force an end to aggressive stances of any of its members, despite the fact that such skirmishes as well as threatening behaviour are violations of the North Atlantic Treaty.
This inaction is regrettable, for it is in their best interest to suppress aggressive behaviour.

The United Nations should thus very publicly refresh the public's and the international community's memory about how aggressions and threats are actually banned, and have been so for generations. They should remind everyone that everyone signed and ratified this ban. They should also once and for all times draw a line to define where bullying and threatening behaviour begins and where self defence ends.

Bullying has lead to multiple, very bloody and totally avoidable wars, after all:

Austria-Hungary's bullying of Serbia led to the First World War. Bullying of China by Western powers and Japan has led to multiple wars and much suffering.

Bullying has laid the groundwork for the aggression against Iraq in 2003.

Bullying and threats keep degrading the security situation in the Mid East.

(There are more examples, but this list shall suffice for now.)

This crap has to end before it inflicts much more suffering!



  1. I come here almost everyday. I am not in the military of any nation. I agree that there are times that we here in the US make a big deal out of small things. But I also think that many times the big deal is more for our allies. We have allies around he world that seem more and more to want the US to protect them even though they them selves have decided that it just cost to much to do it. I think we are trying to get the countries over by China to take the future threat and prepare for it. We have spent now what almost 70 years in Europe. Some can't even be bothered to spend 1% of GDP of defense. In Europe in the 90's I saw people behind barbed wire with their ribs sticking out and I couldn't help but remember the black and white footage I saw shot just after WW 2. All of us thought that we were far beyond that didn't we. And yet there it was. We here in the US waited month after month for EUROPE to fix this thing in there own back yards. As a person that lives in the US I will tell you many times I think bring everyone home. Tell the world your on your own we are tired of being the worlds police man. Here's a question for all those that say we don't want the US to be the worlds police man. Would you rather have China?

    1. http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2010/04/military-spending-free-riding.html

      If you meant Yugoslavia with thing in backyards; the inclusion of the U.S. did not happen because Europeans were unable to pull it off alone,, but because the events were misused as an opportunity to refresh the alliance by doing stuff together.
      Only the NATO members Iceland (no military, serves as NATO base instead) and Luxembourg (tiny) have less than 1% GDP military expenditures.

      The perception of the USA as policeman of the world is quite delusional, it's more like the schoolyard bully of the world. It enforces rules only if they coincide with its preferences and breaks them at will itself.