OT, but does anyone else find it ironic that US Speaker Mike Johnson is warning us that Russia is an aggressor state which must be stopped before it invades the Balkans (did he mean the Baltics) and which has imperial designs on the whole of Europe?

In recommending passage of the Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan funding bill, Speaker Johnson said, “I think Putin would continue to march through Europe if he was allowed to. I think he might go to the Balkans next time. I think he might have a showdown with Poland or one of our NATO allies...”

Many analysts have commented since that Russia is having a hard enough time securing peace in the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine where the war is concentrated, let alone taking over non-Russian western Ukraine. Putin has said many times that Russia has no interest in territorial acquisition in western Ukraine, or anywhere else in Eastern Europe.

As far as a Russian attack on a NATO member state is concerned, analysts note that NATO is multiple times larger than Russia in terms of population, GDP and military budget, making the odds in a war of aggression highly unfavorable to Russia. Of course, Article 5 of the NATO treaty would commit the entirety of NATO to a response were Russia to attack a NATO member state. Not to mention that NATO is a nuclear superpower, making an attack by Russia on any NATO member state a highly risky proposition in terms of response and escalation.

So, yes, I do find it ironic, since it appears to me that it is the United States which is the principal offensive military power in the world today, with publicly disclosed and secret men, materiel and bases literally all over the world. According to David Vine, ​​a professor of political anthropology at American University, the US had around 750 bases in at least 80 countries as of July 2021. The actual number may be even higher as not all data is published by the Pentagon. According to global US military deployment data published in the Conflict Management and Peace Science Journal, the US in fact had around 173,000 troops deployed around the world in 159 countries as of 2020.

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/10/infographic-us-military-presence-around-the-world-interactive

Nor are our global military assets merely benign, so-called peace-keeping forces. The Xinhua News Agency, the official state news agency of the PRC, is admittedly a biased source. But it reports that aince the end of World War II, among the 248 armed conflicts that have occurred in 153 regions of the world, 201 were initiated by the United States. (Apparently these statistics only go through 2001...) I am sure that objective observers can dispute who 'initiated' each conflict, but some element of truth in assigning responsibility is hard to contest.

Source: https://english.news.cn/20220902/735703a45cfd458791179d4c0a80e727/c.html

By comparison, Russia apparently maintains a military presence in about 10 places outside Russia (in Syria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Ukraine, Venezuela, the Central African Republic, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan). None of these troops appear poised to invade the Balkans, or the Baltics, or Eastern Europe as Speaker Johnson has projected.

Source: https://newlinesinstitute.org/strategic-competition/russia/russias-extraterritorial-military-deployments/

So, isn't it deliciously ironic that Speaker Johnson accuses Russia of real and potential military aggression when it appears that it is the United States which is overwhelmingly the dominant military power and aggressor in the world today.

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My impression is that the drones were for uncovering AA assets.

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Alcoholics Anonymous or Automobile Association?

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the latest in drone news is the idf is now using them to play the sounds of babies crying and similar sounds, to lure gazans into the open to be targeted by snipers. it may be the first thing I've read and am no longer surprised by the horror. sounds about right.

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It’s certainly interesting that US aligned foreign embassies in Jordan are updating their bomb shelters for nuclear contamination.

It would seem there are preparations for hitting Iran’s reactor in play.

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Any comment on Pepe Escobar story?

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I would think it very fool-hardly to put a nuclear weapon in such an aircraft and fly it over foreign territory. Surely the Israelis have intermediate range missiles that would be far more appropriate for such an attack.

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It seems very unlikely for a variety of reasons. I read a bunch of comments. One claimed that

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The F-35 flight ceiling is around 15,000 metres. High altitude nuclear detonation for EMP generation starts from 25,000 metres. Something doesn't line up.

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