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Martial Arts Topics / Unwise ROE
« Last post by Crafty_Dog on May 07, 2021, 08:01:04 PM »
Martial Arts Topics / Part two
« Last post by Crafty_Dog on April 01, 2021, 07:51:23 PM »

Mostly in Spanish, the parts with Sean are in English.
Martial Arts Topics / Re: **WEBSITE UPDATES**
« Last post by Bob Burgee on April 01, 2021, 05:31:39 PM »
Greetings DBMA Association Members!

4 New Vid Lessons from Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner.

Happy Dog - The I
The U
One Side of X
Fighting Around A Tree

Martial Arts Topics / Rambling Rumination: The Altered Space
« Last post by Crafty_Dog on March 25, 2021, 09:48:17 AM »

March 22, 2015
"The Altered Space" (c)
Crafty Dog
Woof All:

A Dog Brothers Gathering is an experience that takes us into an "altered space" where deep lessons are absorbed and consciousness is moved forward.

How long we choose to remain in this space is up to us and what an interesting choice that is-- for it is clear from the effort we invest to get to this space that this space is deeply important to us.

This is where we learn just which self it is we truly wish to defend-- whether what is learned can be articulated or not.

As we sometimes riff, "Intelligence is the amount of time it takes to forget a lesson."  To forget a lesson is for Life to teach it to you again--as many times as necessary for you to get it.  Learning takes but an instant, it is the NOT learning and the NOT remembering the learning that consumes so much of our time!

For Life to give you new lessons, you must remember the previous ones.

So instead returning to our lives outside of this space as before with the time inside this space but a fleeting memory we choose to remember that which we have learned of the higher consciousness that can come from harder contact.

"Higher consciousness through harder contact" (c) DBI
Crafty Dog
Martial Arts Topics / Re: **WEBSITE UPDATES**
« Last post by Bob Burgee on March 23, 2021, 07:45:49 AM »
Greetings DBMA Association Members!

New Online Course: DBMA Stick Grappling - Guard - Anti-Guard

45 lessons and full playlist.

Espanol Discussion / GPF: Russia in Venezuela
« Last post by Crafty_Dog on March 22, 2021, 02:49:25 PM »

March 22, 2021
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When Influence Reaches a Tipping Point
Russia in Venezuela is a great example of what we mean when we talk about “influence.”
By: Allison Fedirka
“Influence” and “presence” are among the most misused and overused words, even by us, in geopolitical analysis. We all know what they mean, and yet they don’t mean much if they aren’t properly explained. Influence can mean mutually beneficial business interests between two countries, or it could mean the infiltration of one country’s intelligence operatives by the intelligence agencies of another. Breadth and depth of “influence” matter, as does the strategic value of the area or industry influenced. Dominating a country’s military supply chain is not the same as dominating the culinary scene.

It’s therefore critical to understand when “presence” and “influence” reach a point where they spur a country to action. Russian influence in Venezuela is a case in point, especially because it will play a role in how the United States crafts its security relations with Colombia.

Venezuela has maintained strong ties with Russia for decades. Over the past few years, though, Russia has changed the way it engages with Venezuela, de-emphasizing its economic relationship (joint ventures and other energy-related projects) and prioritizing, albeit subtly, its security relationship. Growing U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, depressed oil prices, mounting domestic instability and financial difficulties for the Russian government meant Russia had to take a more pragmatic approach to its business ventures. (Hence, the departure of Rosneft in 2019.) Rather than abandon Venezuela’s energy sector, Russia shifted its engagement style. Russia maintained control of its Venezuelan assets by creating Roszarubezhneft, a parent company that took control over the security company Chop RN-Okhrana-Ryazan, which holds Russian energy assets in Venezuela through its 80 percent share in the National Petroleum Consortium. Russia also leveraged its energy expertise to install its people and its business practices in the highest levels of PDVSA management, giving Moscow the ability to shape the decisions and strategy of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. This has helped Russia facilitate the sale of Venezuelan crude despite U.S. sanctions.

Changes are underway on the military front too. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Russia was heavily engaged in financing Venezuela’s purchase and modernization of military hardware, including the iconic S-300 air defense systems and Su-30 fighter jets. Financial constraints facing both countries and deteriorating stability within Venezuela put an end to major hardware modernization initiatives. Russia could no longer ensure the safety of its equipment under the Maduro regime or, worse yet, in the event that pro-U.S. groups succeeded in replacing the regime.

Now Russia takes a more subtle, though still important, approach with Venezuela and military cooperation. Over the past three years, the Russian military has sent several strategic military planes to Venezuela for visits, including the nuclear-capable Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, AN-124 cargo plane and Il-62 passenger plane. More recently, at the end of 2020, it was reported that a Tu-154, which is registered to the FSB intelligence service, entered Venezuelan airspace. Its whereabouts are unconfirmed. More, some 100 Russian troops arrived in Venezuela back in 2019 – a size suitable for advisory activities rather than kinetic fighting. This year, there have been reports that Russia has provided anti-terrorist and insurgent training for the Venezuelan armed forces. And last October, President Nicolas Maduro announced the formation of a science and technology military council that included Cuban, Russian, Iranian and Chinese advisers.

Russian engagement with Venezuela is all the more relevant in light of the conditions and crises faced by the Maduro government. Maduro lacks the charisma and natural leadership demonstrated by his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez. Maduro has instead constructed – sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently – a governance structure that disseminates power to different groups, cohered by mutual dependence, to maintain power. This has created conditions in which Russian contributions and activities play critical roles in keeping Maduro in power. Russia’s work in the energy sector gives it control over one of the government’s most valuable assets, even if it is in disarray. Its assistance in exports also helps funnel in U.S. dollars to the Venezuelan government despite U.S. sanctions. Russia’s military training will equip Venezuela’s domestic forces with the skills needed to help better prevent and quell mounting internal unrest over deteriorating living conditions and general discontent with the government. With the military flights, Russia has demonstrated that it can move military personnel and equipment in and out of Venezuela with ease. (There have been suggestions that this cooperation could include an intelligence component as well.)

In short, the deterioration inside Venezuela allowed Russia to assume a more prominent role in keeping Venezuela’s economy afloat, its military prepared, and its intelligence informed. It controls the strategic assets and markets on which the government depends. Moscow doesn’t outright pull Venezuela’s strings, but it clearly has enough influence to affect outside actors.

Enter Colombia and the United States. Like many of its neighbors, Colombia started to modernize its military some time ago. The country’s defense industry has made some advances toward developing indigenous equipment like unmanned aerial vehicles, air-defense systems, patrol boats and amphibious ships. However, domestic production remains inadequate for its needs, so Bogota relies heavily on foreign imports. Its military and security forces face capability gaps due to outdated legacy systems and insufficient amounts of strategic equipment. Given the long-standing security relationship between the U.S. and Colombia, and the fact that the U.S. has been a major weapons supplier to Colombia in the past, a substantial U.S. role in Colombia’s modernization effort would be a natural fit.

The decision to purchase military systems and fleets comes with a host of domestic and international considerations. Given Russia’s influence in Venezuela, the reaction to potential U.S. arms sales needs to be factored in to the decision-making calculus since it could provoke a retaliatory response. In the case of Colombia, most of its security efforts focus on counterinsurgency and counter-narcotics operations. More recently, containment of any spillover effect from Venezuela’s instability has also been included in defense strategies. To do this effectively, Colombia must be able to reach and control remote areas of its porous borders, particularly with Venezuela, where these illicit groups and activities occur. Currently, the Colombian government plans to acquire a new fleet of fighter jets to support these efforts, and the U.S. is a frontrunner in the bidding. Follow-on deals for improved radar systems and air-defense are also likely in the future.

Colombia's Air Command Bases
(click to enlarge)

The acquisition of this equipment and capability by Colombia will likely aggravate Russia. Any reconnaissance or radar equipment risks making its low-profile military activities more visible. A new fighter jet fleet, depending on the defense contractor, could also make Russia and Venezuela feel more threatened. For example, Moscow would view the selection of F-16 Block 70 jets as a greater threat than the Gripen NG, which it believes to be an inferior aircraft to its Su-30s. Any perception that the U.S. is moving in to secure a stronger military posture with the Colombians – which the sale of F-16’s would do – could be grounds for a Russian reaction. The concern for the U.S. on this front is what that potential reaction would look like. Washington does not want to risk sparking a military spending spree with Russia in Latin America; nor does it want to see Moscow reinforce or send new security deployments to counter U.S. interests in sensitive areas overseas.

The U.S. has already subtly demonstrated its need to factor the Russian presence into its response to its Venezuela strategy. U.S. security officials have repeatedly warned this year that Russia and Iran are destabilizing Latin America and mentioned Colombia by name. They also noted actors based in Venezuela and Cuba as having a secondary role (Russia was cited among the primary culprits) in meddling with U.S. 2020 elections. These are low-level commentaries that signal a clear message that Russia’s place in Venezuela is noticed and seen as increasingly problematic. Russian activity in Venezuela is strong and in strategic areas such that it can affect decisions made not only by the Venezuelan government but also outside players like the U.S. and Colombia. Russian presence in Venezuela is making the U.S. and Colombia think more cautiously about how they will pursue military and defense ties in the future.
Martial Arts Topics / Re: **WEBSITE UPDATES**
« Last post by Bob Burgee on March 17, 2021, 07:02:53 AM »
Dog Brothers Martial Arts course update!

Dracula Blitz virtual class. Enjoy!
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