Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Someone Actually Gets It

Admiral James Winnefeld, commander of the U.S. North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), appears to be both clueful and forthright.

He is, to the shock of all who will listen, proclaiming that the suicide bomb attack at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow could just as easily have happened here.  He's pointing out that, at least on the subject of international Islamic terrorism, Russia is closer to us than we all want to believe.  He wants to meet with his Russian counterparts and work with them on as much as possible.

I have to agree with the good Admiral, as much as it pains me to admit that I agree with anyone in the Navy.  We have made it more difficult to get a weapon onto an airplane, so it stands to reason that future attacks will happen on places other than airplanes.  They may go after mass transit as they did in London and Madrid, tourist areas such as Bali or Times Square, or airports like Domodedovo.  And these tactics will eventually become more common in the American homeland.

And guess what?  The Admiral is right in asserting that we have to have perfect security in order to keep nutjobs from strapping on explosives and blowing themselves and a bunch of civilians up.  We can stop most of them, but we will miss some.  Perfect security is impossible.  If they keep throwing the balls at the basket, we will eventually have one go in.  The questions for us are:

  1. How much liberty are we willing to sacrifice in order to have "better" security, knowing that no matter how hard we try, eventually someone will succeed?
  2. How are we going to react when eventually Ahmed bin BadGuy succeeds in blowing up the petting zoo on field trip day?
As to Russia being a partner in the fight against Islamic terrorism, I can't agree more heartily.  Let's agree for a moment that Russia is at best a fledgling democracy, and has a long way to go in the department of freedom and individual rights.  But they have also been absorbing terror attacks for at least as long as we have.  Russia has expertise and the will to use it.  They also have great influence in the central Asian republics, which we depend on for support in our fight in Afghanistan.

It is refreshing for someone in the government to be honest about the real threats that we face, and to be willing to reach beyond the rut we have worked ourselves into to look for new partners in the struggle against Islamic terrorism.  I just hope that those in power who don't want the unspeakable to be spoken don't slap him down.


Old NFO said...

Winnefeld has his act together... Problem is Russia doesn't comprehend personal rights, but other than that, I'd agree!

Anonymous said...

At least Russia has a Flat Tax.

Fiscal freedom is the one area in which Russia is at the forefront.

Russia has relatively low taxes. The individual income tax rate is a simple flat 13 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is simple flat 20 percent.

Russia’s competitive flat income tax rate and low corporate tax rates support innovation, although private enterprises also must cope with informal taxes” such as bureaucratic hassling and corruption.

I would not be surprised to see Russia eventually overtake the US in their economic freedom. The US has slipped every year lower and lower on the rankings.

DaddyBear said...

It's the "informal taxes" and Byzantine bureaucracy that seems to be holding Russia back. Corruption by government officials is rampant and expected. Also, the wealth that Russia gains from her mineral resources is either absorbed by corruption and theft, or is being squandered in keeping old, inefficient industries alive. If Russia wants to become a truly modern economy, it needs a good cleaning and investment in industry.

But I see no threat in Russia improving. As economic security for the common man improves, I expect that demands for individual freedom will increase. It may take a generation or two, but it will happen. I can see a difference, even under Putin, from what was normal when I was there in 1995.

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