"The ease with which a confrontation between two nuclear powers could escalate to a strategic exchange of MIRVed ballistic missiles carrying 3 to 10 hydrogen bombs each has been glossed over during the ongoing Ukraine Crisis. Western media has devolved into 24/7 propaganda. There has been no attempt to defuse the crisis. Indeed, it is escalating. This is probably because Washington DC cannot admit that it made a mistake in making a grab for dominanace in Ukraine. For some ungodly reason, NATO’s expansion and Chevron’s fracking of Ukraine’s shale gas is worth risking Armageddon. Unlike the defeats that began with the 1861 shelling of Fort Sumter, the 1914 Invasion of Belgium, or Barbarossa in 1941, a 21st century Ukraine War could destroy the Northern Hemisphere and make it uninhabitable. I just don’t understand why we would take this huge risk for a little more wealth and power. This must be the result of a combination of ignorance, greed, denial, and ideology in the second decade in which the Western Elites have been unleashed from any sense of rules and regulations in international relations." by Vietnam Vet
I agree completely. Bear baiting is a sport that should not be indulged in.
An additional worrisome factor in this emerging situation is the apparent effort to make tactical nuclear nuclear weapons "more usable." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_nuclear_bomb
Nuclear weapons can not be used against another nuclear state without risking escalation to mutual annihilation and the use of such weapons against a non-nuclear state would simply be mass murder. The only justification for the possession of these true Weapons of Mass Destruction is as deterrent. pl
Col: Why is this happening? The fog of collective delusion has settled over the Capitol. Is the risk of being shunned at a Georgetown cocktail party more frightening than a conflagration?
My two cents: the benefits of aggressive policy go to lots of Capitol constituents, but the risk and responsibilty devolve only on the President.
Agree with posts! And in fact tactical nuclear weapons is a misnomer!
I dont know why everyone has tried so hard to demonize Putin. The man has shown great restraint so far. If I was him and the POTUS tried to lecture me, I would laugh in his face and do whatever I thought needed doing.
Mr Obama’s speech about how at least we tried to go the UN over Iraq was pathetic. Does trying to go through the UN and getting rebuffed yet doing it anyway makes it better? I think the opposite is true.
The people in charge are children. Scratch that, I know children that have a better grasp on reality. I dont think the heavily propagandized American public has a clue how close we are to actual nuclear war or how far our credibility to give human rights lectures has fallen. The bills have come due, time to pay.
A bit of self awareness about hypocrisy and reality is needed. But that will never happen with the courtesans of the Potomac. It was nice knowing you all. Good luck and Godspeed.
I think because it is an election year, there is going to be a lot of chest thumping on the Republican side implying that Obama is weak and a strong Republican president like Romney would have stood up to Putin, It is all empty words. No one wants to go to war with Russia, except for McCain perhaps. I think it is all just a game that is being played out and hopefully both sides no the rules and their part in it. Putin gets Crimea and Obama can look like he is carrying a big stick and perhaps sell more natural gas to Europe and Europe can continue doing what it always does.
“I just don’t understand why we would take this huge risk for a little more wealth and power.”
Greed makes you stupid.
The words ‘tactical nuke’ reminds me of Shyam’s Saran op-ed in the Hindu about Pakistan’s tactical nuke strategy.
whatever sophistry Pakistan may indulge in to justify its augmented arsenal and threatened recourse to tactical nuclear weapons, for India, the label on the weapon, tactical or strategic, is irrelevant since the use of either would constitute a nuclear attack against India. In terms of India’s stated nuclear doctrine, this would invite a massive retaliatory strike. For Pakistan to think that a counter-force nuclear strike against military targets would enable it to escape a counter-value strike against its cities and population centres, is a dangerous illusion.
That’s for 2 regional countries in the SE Asia. For Russia, I don’t think they’re going to stop with a 100 after the first ‘tactical’ one against them.
“This must be the result of a combination of ignorance, greed, denial, and ideology ”
I would add to that list revenge fantasies by people with Jewish/Central European roots, narcissism and feminism.
Why is Wolfiwitz and Rumsfield on my TV? Why would anybody care what these two buffoons have to say?
And Israel has voiced concerns about our support of actual NAZIs. Bed……..its for lying in the one you made.
Russia’s military occupation of Crimea is extremely provocative. Far more so than actions of the EU or NATO. It will be far too easy for the now-mounting military jostling to get out of hand. Putin might want to consider recalling his plainclothes hooligan tourists from eastern areas of the Ukraine.
None of the major political players here has clean hands, Not Russia, but also not the EU, NATO, or the US. The ousted Ukrainian PM was a kleptocrat of the first order. But the preceding government was also a corrupt shambles; just waiving a different colored flag. All are working in their own interests.
To fixate on a potential nuclear exchange at this point, is to seek a justification for inaction. There is a clear need for action to defuse the crisis and achieve resolution, and it need not be military.
A quote from “The Pathology Of Power” by Norman Cousins (via Zerohedge) this is what we are seeing:
“Connected to the tendency of power to corrupt are yet other tendencies that emerge from the pages of the historians:
1. The tendency of power to drive intelligence underground;
2. The tendency of power to become a theology, admitting no other gods before it;
3. The tendency of power to distort and damage the traditions and institutions it was designed to protect;
4. The tendency of power to create a language of its own, making other forms of communication incoherent and irrelevant;
5. The tendency of power to set the stage for its own use.
I think that’s pretty astute. I’ve thought for some time that Bush Jr came to understand the implications of this fact during his second term; rumors of his soured relationship with various neocon hatchet men and his vice president were the product of this understanding.
Back in 1986, I was a very conventional British Cold War liberal, when I came across an article published the year before entitled ‘Deterrence: The Problem – Not the Solution.’ The title in itself would I suspect normally have made me pass the article by, but the fact that the author, Michael MccGwire, was a former head of the Soviet naval section of our Defence Intelligence Staff made me read on.
It turned out that MccGwire was not, as I would have assumed from the title, questioning the need for military preparedness, or arguing that it was necessarily immoral to make threats it would be immoral to execute.
At the centre of his case was the need to keep two kinds of analysis separate. The familiar maxim ‘judge capabilities not intentions’ is largely appropriate, in relation to the problems of contingency planning for war, but positively dangerous, if the result is that questionable judgements about intentions shape policymaking.
When he developed his argument in his study of ‘Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy’, published the following year, MccGwire referred to a discussion published by Raymond Garthoff – then a colleague of his at Brookings – back in 1958 of an article published by a Major-General Khlopov, published in June 1950 in the confidential Soviet journal Military Thought.
Despite American strategic air power and plans for its use against the Soviet Union, Khlopov had argued, there was a fatal flaw in the assumptions underlying such plans. The combination of greater air capabilities in Europe and ‘powerful offensive operations on a large scale with a high tempo of advance’, he suggested, would mean that ‘the bridgehead on which the American militarists count to concentrate and deploy their forces for land engagements will be liquidated and their plans for [winning] the war will be buried with it.’
By different routes, the Ivy League textual scholar Garthoff, and MccGwire, who joined the Royal Navy as a 17-year-old midshipman in 1942, came to the same conclusion. Much of the truth about Soviet military planning lay on the surface. Contingency planning for a ‘blitzkrieg’ into Western Europe was not a reflection of offensive intentions.
Rather, it was a response to the obvious fact that if, in the event of war, the massively superior American military-industrial potential could be effectively deployed in Europe, the Soviets must inevitably lose.
The dangers involved in making unwarranted inferences about intentions from capabilities had, MccGwire argued, been illustrated by the history of ‘flexible response’. Its intended purpose had been to improve the ‘credibility’ of ‘deterrence’. Its actual effect had been to precipitate a change in Soviet planning assumptions.
Whereas the Soviets had earlier assumed that any general war with the United States must escalate to an intercontinental nuclear exchange, and thought pre-emption their least worst option, they came to conclude that escalation might be avoided.
Looked at in narrowly military terms, the implication was that as attacks on the continental United States had to be eschewed, the imperative of eliminating the bridgeheads on which the American military-industrial potential could be deployed acquired new salience. And this was all the more so, as it would be necessary to do this with sufficient rapidity to render the possibility of NATO implementing its threats of ‘first use’ moot.
There were many complex elements behind the changes in Soviet security policy introduced by Gorbachev. Among them, however, was an attack of common sense both among Soviet civilian defence intellectuals, and also some of the military professionals. What such people came to conclude was that in following a narrowly military logic, the Soviet Union had gone down a course which made a global nuclear holocaust more likely.
Very little of this was understood in the West. Instead, it came to be almost universally believed that it was the Reagan-era military build-up which had produced the retreat and collapse of Soviet power. Those of us who attempted to argue that this was a somewhat oversimplified view got effectively marginalised. Those who had assured everyone that the Gorbachev ‘new thinking’ was a strategy of deception assumed the reins of power in the United States.
Now these same people are telling you, and us, that Putin is a Soviet ‘revanchist’. Believe them if you will.
In relation to the immediate future, I am relatively sanguine, precisely because I know that Russian military thinkers, by contrast to some of the academics who dominated Western ‘security studies’, were very well aware of ‘Murphy’s Law’.
As regards the longer term, however, the reasons for fearing an eventual apocalyptic nuclear conflagration seem to me to be getting progressively stronger.
I think the big problem is that the oligarchs assumed that the Russians were, more or less, under control. Ensuing events have demonstrated that they have much less control over the Russians than they thought. This loss of control clearly must be punished.
The reaction is similar to the Russian reaction to loss of control over Urkaine. Which is why it can dangerously lead to a mutually reinforcing cycle of reaction and counter reaction.
Now I understand multi-level diplomacy. First, the adult version. See http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-03-27/german-industry-goes-see-uncle-putin
Then, the children’s version. See http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-27/presenting-latest-us-strategy-counter-russian-aggression
But a nuclear-armed Pakistan clearly will not be swallowed by India or rendered impotent.
The IMF is going to bail out the ‘new’ Ukrainian government, which means Russia and Russian banks get paid in full. The US will get to foot allot of that bill. Meanwhile in Detroit city employees have already taken repeated cuts and pensioners are going to get cut too, because they did not deserve to be bailed out, they are Americans afterall.
Barrack – putting foreign banks first. Just like he did with US banks.
This is actually a fundamental problem in game theory. Ironically, it seems that only “pointy headed academics” seem to have taken this problem seriously, while those who claim to apply game theory to real life policymaking have been too busy yelling how much more they know because they know a little bit of game theory than people who spent time studying real life to actually realize how little game theory they really understand.
Only a very small proportion of the whole reality can be grasped at any moment and the amount of time and intellectual resources needed to process their significance, if at all it can be achieved, is far greater than what can be made available at any time. Consequently, there are many possible realities that are consistent with what little we can see. It is logically impossible, given only the tools of mathematics, to meaningfully tell them apart. The only path to make sense of how participants would be making decisions in such an environment is to go back to the “squishy” ideas that game theory types are averse to acknowledge, like history and culture. While game theory, rigorously applied, can help rule out some possibilities that make little logical sense, it can never rule out enough to make an understanding of “context” obsolete.
In the end, too many people who claim to use “game theory” for policy purposes are merely letting their existing prejudices as the arbiter to bridge the logical gap between the known and the unknown. This seems dangerous in multiple senses. To combat such narrow-minded arrogance, I always thought it’d be better for those who wish to dispute such nonsense to be more cognizant of game theory, but that is just me…
Like you, I am not too worried about the immediate future – mainly because, besides the idiots and kids in the room, there are some adults present, too: notably, Putin, Merkel, and Dempsey. (For Merkel, see the links in Matthew’s comment below).
The longer term outlook is much more pessimistic.
David H! I cannot express enough my gratitude to you and others for your coherence and deep study reflected in your many comments on this blog. This one is of particular insight. My knowledge of many of the topics posted is limited but I do have some dated knowledge of war planning and nuclear weapon employment on the CENTRAL FRONT in NATO.
I recommend this comment to PL as a separate post but if so perhaps you might have further thoughts to incorporate. Oddly perhaps your comments conform to insights of Dr. Paul Bracken, PhD, an expert on command and control of nuclear weapons.
KHC! A great comment!
You make a very good point. Our priorities are bizarre at best. But look at how easily legislation to aid Ukraine sailed through Congress(House 399-19, Senate 98-2).
In Detroit’s case, Congress was very clear that there would be no bailout. A few Senators even introduced budget amendments and other bills to make municipal bailouts illegal. No one in Congress was going to help Detroit, not even Sen. Carl Levin. The President was able to give about $320mm in grants and ‘aid’ from the budgets of DOJ, HUD and others, but he would never have been able to get a real bailout through Congress.
David Habakkuk has guest author status on SST and I would hope that he post his own front page articles or send them to me in e-mail to post. Comments I will moderate. pl
I distantly remember reading a book about a future WWIII resulting in a defeat of the Soviet Union in conventional war. Perhaps a Clancy or knock off called something like RED TIDE RISING. It was interesting to read but did not reflect any reality of how I believe such warfare would play out.
Totally Off topic here, but is there a name or an artist for the graphic at the top of the post? It’s quite impressive.
I think the ultimate beneficiaries of the bailout will be German and even more Austrian banks. I am an American who has lived and worked in Europe for over 36 years, 12 in Portugal (1986-1998) and 12+ in Greece (1978-1986 and 1998-the present). I have seen what the IMF, the ECB and the EU (the so-called Troika) have done to those countries economies in order to kick the can of debt down the road long enough so German and French banks can collect their interest payments and principal out before the these peripheral profligates, especially Greece, are forced to default on loans from the international lenders. The Germans take a hard line on more funding to Greece, which I can well understand, due to a number or factors.
Among them is crony capitalism, government corruption, and widespread tax evasion and bribery. One of the ironies is that the largest companies paying the largest bribes in Greece have been German, French, and Russian, and much of this has gone to secure contracts for weapons purchases and technology, mush of it rather inoperative, incompatible with previously purchased materiel or useless for one or another reason.
Greece has the 8th highest per capita military expenditures in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures_per_capita I can understand why many Greeks, and many in government can make an argument for this due to worries about Turkey, especially after the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey; there are numerous reasons for that invasion and the current Greek fear with Turkish claims and Greek claims regarding mineral rights in “their” waters and what they consider part of “their” respective continental shelves as they wanted to map them. Just today, the Greek news carried the story of a Turkish corvette invading Greek waters and Turkish F-16s Greek airspace.
I apologize for my long digression, but I believe it might help in trying to enlarge the picture’s context. I think there are many reasons for the IMF bailout of the Ukraine and our US interest in attempting to avoid a total economic collapse, from the potential for further insecurity in the future to the neo-con’s latest version of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)to list only several.
In closing, I will add that I posted in the pasted under the handle Haralambos, the name Greeks told me corresponded to my nickname (Bob–Bobbis, ΜΠΑΜΠΗΣ). I will also add that I recall one of my history teachers in school told us that we needed to know the meaning and background of this new word, troika. I have found it interesting and rather ironic that this word has come to signify the three entities popularly demonized wherever they go in the eurozone. I have the sense that “bank” is headed for and probably in that direction: “‘bank’ is just a four-letter-word,” to add to the legacy of the popular lyric.
Thank you for your thoughts; they set me on some of my own recollections.
John Steuart Curry. I believe it is at Harper’s Ferry. pl
Thank you, Sir.
Red Storm Rising – Tom Clancy
Having read this many years I am currently listening to it in my iPhone.
A better novel is Third World War : August, 1985
Gen Sir John Hackett, et al
George Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism” expands the meaning of nationalism to include attachment to other causes beyond nations. Here is his general definition:
“By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”
By this definition Putin is a patriot because his annexation of Crimea is a defensive measure to protect Russia from NATO’s expansion to his borders and the cultural and economic globalization promoted by Europe and the US. Obama, on the other hand, is a nationalist who uses whatever means necessary to spread his nationalist ideal of democracy to the rest of the world. Because, to use the Col.’s word, Obama sees himself as a salvational leader, leader of the free world and sees America to be the guardian of freedom; can also be seen as an internationalist that sees no boundries to his extension of power.
Obama in his speech yesterday listed the reasons Crimea is not important to our country and then says why we must lead the world to protect Ukrain from evil Russia.Our president, inflated with his own benevolence, is blinded to the reality of the true danger of his confrontation with Putin.
Orwell could be describing the neocons and liberal imperialist when he writes: “Indifference to Reality.
All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency.”
Thank you for the detailed reply. Detroit’s government, at least for many years prior to the current one, shares much blame for the current predicament. So do many of the residents who sent many of the corrupt back to office repeatedly (Kwame Kilpatrick and family being poster children of such charisma and greed). Of greater concern to me is the precedent being set by the political leadership of the Republic. There are many, many municipalities with pension obligations which may by one definition or another be ‘in trouble’ – in the short term. The “solution” being implemented in Detroit is cutting benefits of those who have already paid into the retirement ‘system’; even if payment was years of work with an implied lower wage in return for the pension. The city found $186,000,000 for a billionaire to build a hockey arena, but of course those same tax obligations are not being spent on those who earned pensions. That speaks volumes about the value we place on our citizens.
The other very troubling thing playing out in Detroit is the very idea of setting aside elected government (Detroit city council) for a central government (the State of Michigan) appointed “Emergency Financial Manager”, who can re-write contracts at will. Needless to say not a single bond contract has been re-written. On top of that the first piece of legislation allowing the governor to make such appointments was overturned by a citizen driven ballot initiative. The legislature in its very next session simply passed a variation of what the voters had forbidden. The question now is which state and its citizens are next?
I was not yet born when the Cold War ended but I studied about it. All of you who do remember it: Does the Ukraine situation feel especially dangerous to you, more than, say, the Iraq or Afghan wars?
This interview with Sergey Glazyev provides a glimpse into what may be common attitudes and viewpoints within the Russian leadership:
There was nothing in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars or indeed VN that threatened the existence of civilization. Russia and we can destroy each other without the other being able to prevent it. That is an enormous difference. It was thus during the Cold War and we lived with the possibility for fifty years. We can hope that heads as cool as those that ruled then will prevail now but we do not know that this will be. pl
The correct spelling of “bank” is “banksters”!
Thanks Richard and yes Hackett’s book very interesting.
I would argue that the Iraq and Afghan wars were only at the very margins of US/Russian relations.
Time will tell how central the Ukraine is to those relations, Crimea NOT!
When McCain was in the Ukraine, one of the members of his group went up to the mic and said that Europe and the Ukraine didn’t have to worry about their supply of natural gas because the US has plenty to export and is hungry for new markets. Heard the same from a congressman on C-Span tonight. In that context I find this comment from the Lew Rockwell blog interesting.
Look for the fast tracking of new LNG export facilities by the feds.
To underscore the German/Austrian banks’ situation, Raiffeissn Bank, which has extensive dealings in Russia and Ukraine, has listed a pre-tax loss of 40% profit for this quarter. This is an indicator of the extensive leverage of those banks, and is now a source of concern.
One point of clarification – while I agree with the analysis that Washington’s approach to Ukraine and Russia is unsound, the effort by the original post to link it in part to Chevron’s fracking is illogical. The Obama Administration has no love of the Oil and Gas industry (except where it can exploit it at home), and the leap between what is an exploration play that may / may not pan out over years and Washington’s silliness doesn’t make sense. Call the stupidity of Washington what it is, but don’t undermine the argument by including things that are not relevant to the Administration’s decision-making. Risking war is the height of folly.
You might be interested in this recent take on Clancy by Col. and Prof. Bacevich: http://thebaffler.com/past/tom_clancy_military_man
Once again, excellent points. But for some clarification, bond indentures won’t be re-written. They have defaulted under the Chapter 9 bankruptcy laws. (Prior to the Gov. Snyder’s maneuvering, there was no provision for in Michigan law for a municipality to go bankrupt. The Gov. pushed it through so he could push Detroit into BK.) Now comes the process of ‘recovery’ where bond holders will be offered a percentage of their principal. Traditionally in the municipal markets, general obligation bonds have had recovery rates of 100% of principal coming out of default. In the case of Detroit, Mr. Orr, the appointed(imposed) financial manager is offering between 20 and 40 cents on the dollar to various bond holders. This has huge implications for the municipal bond market in general, and for the entire State of Michigan in particular. None of them good. (I think you’d have to be crazy to even consider buying any Michigan bonds at current rates, the risk involved is now much greater, and the investor is not compensated for it.) You may have read that about $6b+/- of Detroit Water and Sewer bonds will be paid off in full. These bonds, by indenture, are not able to be included in the Chapter 9 filing. I believe it is because they have a senior lien on the revenue stream from water and sewer bills. I haven’t read the indenture, but that would be my guess. I can read it if you’d like.
I’d like to make the distinction that the citizens who have penalized the most have been the pension holders of Detroit’s municipal unions. In my opinion, that’s what Detroit’s BK was mostly about. It’s happened other places as well. Vallejo, California took itself into BK to mostly to get out of municipal union contracts. During BK they continued to pay interest and principal on all their general obligation bonds. The bond debt was never really the issue, it was a pretext to break contracts with municipal unions.
Otherwise, we are in complete agreement. It is a sorry and sad state of affairs.
I will reiterate. There was NOTHING at stake in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that could possibly have caused war between the US and Russia. In the Ukraine situation the danger is that the neocon madmen may cause the engagement of NATO forces with Russian forces. the escalatory danger in that should be evident to all. pl
Thanks for the link and I go with the Bacevich analysis. And as PL pointed out myth often overshadows other realities.
PL! Thanks and agree!
I would agree that US commercial interests in Ukraine have nothing to do with the present crisis. pl
Looks like the NATO exercises in West Ukraine are still on.
Optimax! Thanks for quote and link! George Orwell’s importance to US grows with each passing year IMO!
An answer from Europe to your question. I live in Northern Norway, not far from Russia. During the cold war, I remember the possibility of armageddon was a fear always present, sometimes more, sometimes less, dependent on ongoing conflicts. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the relief was immense. The fear was gone.
Now for the first time this fear is creeping back. For many it seems like the old picture of the danger from the east is revived quite easily, and that Putin is regarded as someone like Brezhnev (Hitler is really a crazy comparison). Our media does little to educate us on what Russia, and Putin, is really up to. It´s just propaganda.
What makes it even more scary for me, is the change from belief in our (NATO/the west) beeing on the good side, and also rational, to the belief (much thank to this blog) that this is no longer the case, with our present leaders and political systems. I don´t fear Russian agression, but they can be provoked into a war in Ukraine, and that is extremely scary from a European perspective. You just can´t compare that to Afgh. or Iraq.
As an aside: former Norwegian p.m. Jens Stoltenberg will be the new Secretary General of NATO. In Norway he is highly respected, and regarded as a man who seeks compromise. I think Vogh Rasmussen is more hawkish. (I don´t know how much this matters.)
Remember that Anders Rasmusssen is a politico first. How he became the SG of NATO is beyond comprehension but I guess , as PM of Danemark, he was for the Iraq war.
& here I was thinking I’m the only “young un'” (or should it be “young fool”) in this Gentlemen’s Club…
Thanks for this extract and all your other perceptive comments!
As I recall, in Hackett’s novel, Minsk and Birmingham are destroyed in nuclear missile strikes. Strikes that end the war right then and there.
There used to what amounted to an academic/wizards of Armageddon industry devoted to selling the idea that escalation in a US/USSR engagement could be halted by such a deliberate, well communicated exchange. I never believed that to be true and I do not now. Humans are not constitutes in that way. In reality, fighting, blood draining situations the demonic side of human nature emerges and is uncontrollable in ways depicted in escalation theories. pl
PL! Could not agree more with your excellent comment!