Israel and The Golan Heights

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Great Day On The Golan Heights.”

Between 1948 and 1967, the Golan was used by Syria to indiscriminately shell and harass Israeli villages in the Galilee, including in April 1967 at which time Israel shot down six Syrian MIG fighter planes as a warning to Syria. Finally, after twenty years of these continuing attacks by Syria on Israel from the Golan, did Syria finally lose the Golan to Israel in the ensuing 1967 War. Contrary to those who say that recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan endorses the forceful taking of land from other countries, the monumental shift in American policy on Purim this week actually provides critical deterrence against war by recognizing the potential consequences to those like Syria that unjustly wage war and lose.


Thank you to President Trump for setting the record straight with respect to Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and for supporting Israel’s right to peace and security.  


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant”

“When you see crazy coming, cross the street!”


I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:

“If you can run, run!”


That doesn’t mean your not strong or courageous.


It’s just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 


When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 


And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.


Peace is always desired.


But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 


This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it’s nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.


Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Deterrence Alone Is Not A Strategy

 

High Wire Act.jpeg

So there is a military doctrine that has been in place for decades. 


– MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction 


If you attack the USA with weapons of mass destruction, you’ll get an overwhelming responses that will totally destroy your country. 


This was what supposedly held the USSR at bay during the cold war. 


And even recently, President Trump threatened North Korea that they would be “totally destroyed” if they try anything on us. 


The problem is that the MAD doctrine of deterrence assumes incorrectly that you are always dealing with rational actors and not with madmen.


Let’s face it, their are plenty of crazies out there, and some of whom may be willing to go down in a “blaze of glory” as long as they stand up to the United States and die a heroes death for their radicalized or “subjected” people. 


Whether it’s Iran or North Korea or others–we may not know what we are really dealing with here until it’s too late. 


Life is not everything to these people–remember many a terrorist has died a martyrs death with the promise of 72 virgins in heaven awaiting them. 


To some, as Prime Minister Gold Meir stated:

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us!”


Hate by virtue of perceived injustice, required Jihad or “holy war,” brainwashing or threats and the desire for a “glorious death” standing up to the infidels or the “great Satan…any of all of these can contribute to ignoring the consequences. 


Israel has tried to deter horrible homicide bombers/and other mad terrorists from performing their evil misdeeds on the civilian population by for example, demolishing the terrorist homes as a potent consequence that they know going into it, yet many terrorists still wear the explosive vests and detonate anyway.


Similarly, North Korea despite the President’s threat that they “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” brushed it off and shot off more volleys of ICBMs and threatened to engulf Guam in fire. 


– The point is that deterrence alone is not a strategy!


If our enemies can hit us with a devastating attack–whether WMD, cyber, EMP, or quantum attack— that can inflict immeasurable harm on us–they may actually choose to take their best shot, rather than wait for us to hit them or continue to feel disrespected, subjected, inferior, and hopeless.


To someone on the radical fringes or the mental edge, maybe–just maybe–they will do the unthinkable and surprise us.


What good will our fire and fury counterstrike do us, when our cities are in ruin and our people dead and dying en masse. 


Revenge isn’t so sweet when your family, homeland, and virtually everything you know and held dear is gone.


The only real military strategy is to be able to defend ourselves and AVOID getting a homeland catastrophe!


We need massive investment and expertise in missile defense, bio defense, cyber defense, quantum computing, and expansive hardening of our critical infrastructure.


Unfortunately, as naysayers to the threats abound, we are no where near where we need to be in protecting the homeland.


If one person falls from the high wire and smashes their head, what good is it that the other person falls and suffers similarly or worse. 


The point is not to fall, not to get hurt, not to die, not to have our country and way of life destroyed.


Deterrence does not guarantee this security to the country–especially when dealing with no shortage of radicalized nuts out there. 


Only a genuine defense that can STOP and counter the threats BEFORE a devastating attack happens and hits us is a strategy worth pursuing …and THEN you can punch the other person squarely in their devil’s face!


Without an adequate defensive strategy, get ready, because every high flying act eventually falls to the ground and hits their head hard. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Returning Our US Drone

chinese

So I love and respect China, and think they are one of the greatest nations of the world.


However, it is wrong that their military stole a US drone in international waters. 


Bullying and theft is a violation of the rule of law and a challenge to America on the international stage. 


So far, our leadership from behind approach has again done virtually nothing, except like a child, ask for it back (after they have already taken whatever they wanted from it). 

Moreover, this is not the first time China has captured our assets and people–less than 6 years ago, they collided into one of our EP-3E surveillance aircraft and captured, interrogated , and held the crew for 11 days!


And hence our planes and ships keep getting buzzed, our citizens captured and humiliated, our assets confiscated illegally, and our secret intellectual property unabashedly hacked and copied.


Moreover, we are seeing a resurgent Russia in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; a militarized China expanding and weaponizing the South China Sea, a belligerent North Korea with ever further reaching ballistic nukes, and an Iran that violates their nuclear deal at will and now runs amuck with military operations from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and more. 


Oh, and surely let’s not forget ISIS and the global wave of Islamic terrorism that is unabated from Paris to Orlando. 


Despite our outspending the next leading 8 nations combined on the military, we continue to be the laughing stock internationally with world leaders calling our Presidents everything from the devil to an SOB


No one would dare do this with Putin’s Russia!


Why? Because they know the ridiculous price they would pay. 


We have long since passed the time when we should’ve stopped the whining, begging, and acting the victim, and instead start to do something real to defend ourselves and once again establish a no-nonsense deterrent, rather than a joke of red lines and hollow threats.


Our Commander-in-chief, instead of laying blame at the doorstep of Congress or world leaders doing the wrongdoing, should start to act his position. 


Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s a single phone call to whoever has our drone that says something like, “You have exactly 2 hours to return the drone unharmed or the ship that was responsible for stealing it will pay the consequences–and the clock starts ticking now!”


The funny-sad thing is that bullies don’t stop bullying until you stand up to them once and for all. 


A real Commander In Chief protects his nation and his people and doesn’t let them be victimized in a endless cycle of violence and shame…and he does it before something really bad can happen. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Preventing Cyber Disaster

prevention

So I liked this ad from Palo Alto Networks on the side of the bus, over the windows:

“Dinosaurs react.
Professionals prevent.”

That’s some very good marketing for a cyber security company.


It’s almost a daily occurrence now to hear about the infiltrations into our networks and exfiltrations or manipulations of data that is taking place across government and industry.


Just today again, another NSA contractor accused of stealing highly classified computer code.


The day before Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks releases trove of stolen documents from the Clinton Foundation


And again, J&J reveals that it’s insulin pump is vulnerable to hacking following allegations in August that St. Jude heart devices were subject to life-threatening hacking. 


Certainly, we can’t afford to sit back and wait to react to the next attack…damage control and remediation is much harder than getting out in front of the problem in the first place. 


Prevention and deterrence is really the only solution…keep the hackers out and make sure they know that if they mess with us and our systems that we can identify who they are, find them, and take them out. 


These are the capabilities we need and must employ to dominate the cyber realm. 


In the presidential debates, candidates struggled to articulate how to deal with cybersecurity


But this is not a game of cyberopoly, rather national security, critical infrastructure, vital intellectual property, and our economy is at risk. 


Giving away Internet control and trying to plug leaks after the fact on a sinking cyber ship is no way to manage our vital technology resources.


It’s high time for the equivalent Cold War determination and investment that ensures we win a free and safe cyberspace with all our networks and data intact. 


This is the only way that we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cybersecurity Lost In Unknowns

Security

Today unveiled is a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan


This in the wake of another Federal data breach on Sunday at the Department of Justice where hackers stole and published online the contact information for 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI personnel


And this coming on the heels of the breach at OPM that stole sensitive personnel and security files for 21 million employees as well as 5.6 million fingerprints.


While it is nice that cybersecurity is getting attention with more money, expertise, public/private poartnerships, and centers of excellence. 


What is so scary is that despite our utter reliance on everything cyber and digital, we still have virtually no security!


See the #1 definition for security–“the state of being free from danger or threat.”


This is nowhere near where we are now facing threats every moment of every day as hackers, cybercriminals, cyber spies, and hostile nation states rapidly cycle to new ways to steal our secrets and intellectual property, commit identity theft, and disable or destroy our nation’s critical infrastructure for everything from communications, transportation, energy, finance, commerce, defense, and more. 


Unlike with kinetic national security issues–where we regularly innovate and build more stealthy, speedy, and deadly planes, ships, tanks, surveillance and weapons systems–in cyber, we are still scratching our heads lost in unkowns and still searching for the cybersecurity grail:


– Let’s share more information


– Let’s throw more money and people at the problem.


– Let’s seek out “answers to these complex challenges”


These have come up over and over again in plansreviewsinitiatives, and laws for cybersecurity.


The bottom line is that today it’s cyber insecurity that is prevailing, since we cannot reliably protect cyber assets and lives as we desperately race against the clock searching for real world solutions to cyber threats. 


Three priorities here…


1) Build an incredibly effective intrusion protection system

2) Be able to positively tag and identify the cyber attackers 

3) Wield a powerful and credible offensive deterrent to any threats 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is He A Man Or A Mouse?

Mouse on Man

Often at home, we’d look at what’s going on in the world, the sad state of affairs, when people act bad, and the lack of leadership, and my dad would say, “When there’s no man, you be the man.”


He was right!!!


These days, the question has morphed into, “Is he a man or a mouse?”


We are so chasing our tails out there.


Today after 4 1/2 years of civil war in Syria–hundreds of thousands dead, 14 million displaced, chemical weapons and barrel bombs dropped on civilians, crossed red lines and empty vows of “No boots on the ground“–and now we sending up to 50 special forces as a token force to “advise and assist” in Syria after the recent $500 million military training program for “4 or 5” moderate rebels in Iraq was a total bust!


Of course, we’re going to Syria not to actually engage the enemy, but more to dare Russia whose deployed there with planes, tanks, ships, artillery, and Spetsnaz special forces to hit us. 


Similarly, after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, we conduct a training exercise with 3,000 troops in the Baltics and put together a NATO rapid reaction force in Europe and call it day, as if that will deter the “Great Bear.”


Oh, and don’t forget that we sent a single battle ship within 12 nautical miles of the South China Sea artificial islands–again, daring them to try something. 


Well what if one of these days Russia or China actually took up the dare?


Already this week, Russia flew two fighter jets within a mile of the Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier–endangering the 6,000 personnel and all those valuable Navy assets. What did we do? We had 4 fighters escort them away–after what couldn’t been a significant attack on our Navy.


If we did that to Russia, what do you think they would’ve done–our fighters would’ve been shot down so fast, we wouldn’t have known what hit us–like when they did the Blitzkrieg into Ukraine and recently into Syria–we’re taken off guard again and again. 


Also recently, Russia maneuvered a military satellite between two of U.S. Intelsat satellites, 50 of which are used by our military for communications and drone missions. Moreover, Russian subs and ships are hovering around major global data cable lines posing a threat to the backbone of the Internet.


How about with Iran–we make a deal easing sanctions on them and releasing hundreds of billions of dollars–and what do they do? Conduct long-range ballistic missile test, convict a Washington Post reporter, arrest a U.S. business executive, and continue to threatens America and Israel


When we are afraid and our enemies are not–when they act with impunity–we are more mouse than man. 


We may get some cheese, but the mouse is dead rodent meat unless it gets with it.


This is not a game of cat and mouse–but the lives of hundreds of millions that hang in the geopolitical balance–and there is no mousey hole to hide in. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)