By Alan W. Dowd
The Pentagon is ready to activate a national missile defense (NMD) system aimed at protecting the entire United States from a North Korean missile attack. The new system should be operational by September, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Ron Kadish, who heads up the Missile Defense Agency.
Interceptors based at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB, California, will form the core of the new system, with other NMD components, such as air-borne lasers and sea-based missiles to be added over time.
With forthcoming hardware and software upgrades in Great Britain, Denmark, Japan and Australia, the NMD will not only be able to intercept missiles inbound from the Middle East—it will become a truly international missile defense by the middle of this decade.
Concerned about international reaction to American celebrations, the US Olympic Committee has warned its athletes to cut down on the patriotism during this month’s summer games in Athens. According to USOC advisor Mike Moran, “What I’m telling the athletes is, ‘Don’t run over and grab a flag and take it around the track with you.’ It’s not business as usual for American athletes.”
Moran told the London Sunday Telegraph that in the increasingly hostile environment of Europe, the normal behavior of American athletes “might be viewed as confrontational or insulting or cause embarrassment.”
Moran is right, but that’s not the fault of young American swimmers, runners and cyclists as they make their dreams come true in Olympic competition. As long as American athletes act in accordance with the principles of good sportsmanship and proper Olympic conduct, Europe’s inferiority complex shouldn’t dictate American behavior. And if showing the colors will incite acts of terror, then one wonders why the United States is even sending a delegation. After all, US uniforms will be emblazoned with the flag.
The United States will send 550 athletes to the Athens games.
Bolsheviks to Billionaires
Think fast: What city is home to the most billionaires? If you guessed Seattle or New York or LA or Geneva, you aren’t even close. According to Forbes magazine, Moscow is home to more billionaires than any other city on the planet.
With 33 billionaires residing inside the city limits (New York has 31), what was once the capital of world communism is now the capital of accumulated capital. Without question, one factor in Moscow’s billionaire glut is graft and corruption, which Russia has not been able to get a handle on just yet. In fact, the top billionaire—oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky—is in jail on tax-evasion charges.
Russia still has to nurture and grow its middle class, but it’s impressive that just 13 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic freedom is allowing Russians to build wealth. Lenin must be rolling over in his grave.
Taxes and Tithes
Speaking of wealth, a study published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy reveals that wealthy Americans—those with incomes between $200,000 and $10 million—“give less generously to charity than both people who are richer and those who are poorer.” The study was conducted by NewTithing, a nonprofit organization that provides wealthy Americans with information on tax-friendly charitable giving.
According to the study, Americans with incomes between $25,000 and $200,000 donated about one percent of their incomes on average; those earning more than $10 million donated over one percent on average; and those in between donated less than half of one percent to charitable causes.
NewTithing wasn’t trying to fuel the fires of class warfare; instead, the organization wanted to draw attention to the fact that if this middle group of wealthy Americans had taken better advantage of the tax code, they could have contributed billions more toward charitable cause without affecting their standard of living. To find out more, visit newtithing.org.
Published monthly in the American Legion Magazine, Under the Radar provides a snapshot of current challenges in international politics, U.S. foreign policy and national security.