Morning Ed: War {2017.02.14.T}

James Holmes explains what our navy can learn from the Cylons and the Enterprise.

This is a pretty flattering profile of Tillerman’s security philosophy. {More}

I sometimes get the impression that it’s going to be awkward explaining to Lain about how it was the Europeans who used to be considered progressive on Islam and the Middle East and immigration related to both.

Canada, meanwhile, likes Trump better than Trudeau on national security.

Putin is preparing for war, and Gorbachev is worried.

I’m seeing this get tossed around as an example of Evil Trump, but it’s not just icky conservatives and libertarians saying that the conflict mineral provisions of Dodd-Frank backfired in a pretty big way and the authority cited in the article helped spearhead the effort.

Anne Frank may have been done in by an investigation involving ration coupons.

While Tulsi Gabbard is getting a lot of criticism domestically for her trip to Syria, she has the appreciation of the aunt of the dead boy on the beach.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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57 thoughts on “Morning Ed: War {2017.02.14.T}

  1. John Holmes: Isn’t it far easier to rely on the fact that all millitaries (at least the west) arm and fight the last battle? So the US WILL send a few carrier task forces into some straight….and right into a few dozen stealth anti ship missiles.

    Immigration: You should explain to Lain that the Eurolanders experienced first hand massive islamic immigration/refugee “fun”. That experience has changed their perception from some pie in the sky “we can all get along” to something more realistic.

    Conflict Minerals: Of course it didn’t work. Do you know how much fun it is to go into a jeweler story and ask to buy one of “those blood diamonds”? Hilarious. Especially if you tell them that you want a certification that X number of people died bringing the stone to market.

    Tulsi Gabbard is correct about the regime change blame.

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      • in the immediate term, probably (pure speculation on my part). The problem is that in anything longer than the immediate term, quantity has a quality all its own.

        The US Navy can’t buy, build and hire its way to robustness against an adversary with 4 times the population and a GDP that’s been steadily closing the gap over a generation.

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            • Pretending China is just barely first world military, rather than easily able to muster industrial might to support a war effort is stupid.

              Honestly, if we really want to take China out, a bio weapon is the best bet, as their medical infrastructure is even weaker than ours.

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            • K,
              No. Japan has made the bet that with a year of US support, they can easily trump PRC’s navy.
              We get Japan’s prototypes (which is ALL their military spends money on), and we ramp up both here and in Japan.

              (I do not see any realistic “America at war with China” where Japan is not on our side).

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              • Japan won’t have a year. Nobody has a year. There’s no credible scenario where a direct conflict can last a year without it either escalating out of control or de-escalating to where it is basically now, single units and irregulars against each other.

                Japan spends real money on a real military with real professional soldiers and sailors. The JDSF is far more formidable than anything Korea (both of the them), Russia, or ANZAC can field in the their near abroad.

                (I do agree that Japan would be on the US side in any realistic scenario – there are some where Korea is not, though)

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              • This sounds ridiculous on its face now and it will get more ridiculous as time goes on. China’s GDP will exceed ours when they’re 1/4 as productive as we are. If our plan for dealing with them is to continue to spend on a military at 5x their rate and be able to “trump” them, that plan will fail. Japan is even worse off by those metrics.

                The idea of one year of war between real industrial powers in this era is terrifying. I’m not sure what would be left, and that’s assuming no WMDs are deployed.

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                • (I actually meant six months, sorry).

                  I’m not certain anyone’s really talking “total war” — I’m pretty sure Japan would roll out nuclear weapons in that case. (and yes, Japan. It would be really awful).

                  The US Military is not geared up for “China takes over America” — it’s geared up for resource wars. The guess is that China would rather eat Korea than America (and with good reason, it’s a hell of a lot more defendable).

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                  • One month – that’s the absolute max time frame for a ‘manageable’ crisis before you need de-escalation otherwise there’s every option on the table by that point.

                    You got the Japan / US support relationship reversed – Japan is the one that needs to hold out, with its position astride most of the PRC’s sea lanes, until forces from the USA can get to the theater from wherever they are in the world (to augment the substantial but not insurmountable forces the USA already has right there)

                    Japan can get a nuke whenever it feels like it, but it can’t put everything together in a month. Nor 6 months (a year though, probably).

                    China isn’t geared up for “China takes over America” either and unlikely will ever be. (The PRC political system will collapse well before then. Though maybe so will the USAs)

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                • That sentence sums it up pretty completely. We simply can’t be top dog forever and our plans need to reflect that fact.

                  I remember discussing something like this a while ago with somebody who noted that Chinese researchers are making up an increasing percentage of newly published science and engineering papers. The conclusion he drew is that we’re falling behind and not the research power we once were. The reality is that China has a ton more people than we do and a lot more room to educate top grade researchers who would have been farmers a generation before. It would be weird if we weren’t a smaller and smaller percentage of elite R&D output.

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      • I cannot say, however, I do recall several war game scenarios where the “opponent’ spanked the navy and the navy gave him new orders and protocols that effectually nullified his tactics so the navy could “show” they won the games.

        If you craft the rules of a war game to show you always win you’re gonna lose IRL.

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    • Damon,
      Quislings are FAR more important than the amount of immigration. You don’t think Rape …. refugees happen just because you open your doors, do you? I mean, that’s just dumb. They happen when you fail to enforce the law, in a fairly deliberate manner.

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  2. Excellent link list, it’s like a box of chocolates just for me

    Holmes analysis is sound, but he comes to the same bog standard conclusions as every other right of center pundit that see the current unified republican control of Congress and the White House as a chance to beef up the traditional military structure – costs, long or short term, completely ignored.

    The advice to Tillerson in both articles is exactly backwards for this administration – trying to get in good with the White House in this administration is foolish and counterproductive. The model is General Mattis, who has an independent base of support both within the organization he leads and in the wider political sphere. Tillerson should cast his lot with the people that are working for him – but specifically in an identifiable band of thinkers that do want to shake up the stolid ways the institution has been running without going overboard breaking the proverbial china.
    The articles also clearly demonstrate the danger of the neo-Kremlinogy that surrounds the Trump White House, as the analysis of Flynn’s role is OBE.

    But Canada overall *hates* Trump and likes Trudeau well enough – 50 point underwater vs 8 above. Even if they thought Trump was slightly better, it’s like the football player the GM cuts from the team because he’s toxic in the locker room

    The fight for your country map is interesting (not too surprising) but I gotta think a lot of it is both in the wording and the level of abstraction inherent in the question.

    The business insider is unnecessarily alarmist as its not really a net assessment (i.e. takes into account blue force capability – I mean, there was just a superbowl ad about US Troops in Poland). It is though not to be dismissed entirely – it is entirely possible that US air power has become complacent with unchallenged air superiority since Desert Storm

    Like of all the things Gorby, I don’t think the Putin and Trump lack the will to work together.

    I’m disappointed with myself that Xenocrypt had a better read on Gabbard than I did.

    Russia’s military buildup looks like Russia puts a lot of the Russian military in Russia, but the US doesn’t put a lot of the US military in the Not-US. (unless its a map of both US *and* Canadian forces, which I don’t think it is)

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  3. I’m surprised the Flynn news and sudden resignation didn’t make today’s link set.

    On the other hand, I suspect that his resignation won’t quiet the story anyways so there’s plenty of other days.

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    • Sometimes, the “Morning Edition” linksets are determined earlier than the evening before publication, and our Managing Editor also organizes them around themes and so sometimes waits a day or two so they can be presented as part of a set piece.

      Besides, we’ve evolved a culture where commenters can and do flag important breaking stories for discussion in the ME posts.

      Finally, there’s also the possibility of a big splashy story turning out to be wrong, which has happened to us a few times. Running with a link to a rumor that Flynn was going to resign is not the same thing as running a link that he has resigned. Sadly, many news outlets these days present rumors and leaks as though they were authenticated, verified news.

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      • I meant the actual Flynn story that precipitated the resignation — that the White House had been informed three weeks ago that Flynn had, in fact, been lying about the contents of his calls to Russia and that the FBI, DoJ, and CIA were worried he was potentially compromised.

        Information the WH has sat on.

        The rumors of his resignation weren’t around very long before his resignation, so…I didn’t even consider those.

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        • Eh, the more interesting story is how a pair of female assasins knocked off Kim Jong Un’s brother in Kuala Lumpur.

          (It’s not the more important story, and it’s probably not the more true story, but it’s the more interesting story)

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          • You think that’s a more interesting story than the one where the President appointed a man as National Security Adviser who he had been informed, within days of the inauguration, was a security risk?

            That he kept him there, despite being told the man was a security risk?

            Because this is like a bad Tom Clancy novel, except no Tom Clancy villain, no matter how cliche, would appoint someone to a security position after being told in a multi-agency report that the risk of compromise was high.

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              • And then the President tried to distract everyone by having a plein air Situation Room meeting at a hotel serving classy POTUS brand steaks, but no one could figure out how to turn on the lights so they all lit up their unsecured phones like at an Adele concert to read the classified diplomatic cables while the waiters served salads an the man with the nuclear codes posed for a Facebook picture with a tourist from Iowa…

                [Ed. Tom, is everything all right? This plotline is a bit…out there. I’m sending someone to check on your meds.

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  4. Oh for God’s sake.

    There should be some kind of pundit drinking game, where every time some pundit does a half-assed military analysis that relies heavily on references to pop sci-fi you go out and get a drink because it is FUCKING TIRESOME.

    Bonus points if the author takes a moment to suck on every nerd’s favorite flying phallic symbol, the A-10. (Double bonus if they point out that the SR-71 could go Mach 3.)

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    • Well now that you mention it, in Star Wars the destruction of Alderaan makes no sense because in Rouge One we see that the Death Star is capable of very destructive and indefensible, but inherently limited strikes. just an attack on the capital of Alderaan would have been sufficient to make the point without being quite so genocidy – at least it wouldn’t have created a hazard to navigation

      no idea either why Vader just didn’t blow the other ship out of the sky to destroy the stolen plans instead of trying to recapture them

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      • Well, perhaps he sensed in the Force that someone close to him was on board and thus hesitated. We know from Empire that he was aware that he had at least one child.

        There would also have been the opportunity to capture and interrogate important Rebel personnel, which might have made the boarding action a calculated risk for a potentially high reward. In either case, Vader did capture Leia, which must have seemed a pretty decent chess move even if the plans (only barely) escaped him.

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  5. I am not sure I agree with the Europeans percentage map. This strikes me as a hard question filled with hypotheticals and not an easy yes/no. I suspect if Russia launched an attack on Germany, Germany’s numbers would go way up. Same with other countries.

    And if Trump announced he was invading Mexico and/or Latin America generally. I would be against it with full throttled force. If someone attacked us first, I’d be more Hawkish. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 and still do. I did not support Iraq II because it screamed misadventure from the start.

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    • A quick following of the link-chain doesn’t come up with the form of the question. I would expect very different percentages for the two scenarios “fight an army invading your country for conquest” and “your country invading another one half-way around the world”. Both of which are technically fighting a war for your country.

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      • There a particular historical reasons that phrasing is going to get a very negative reception in Germany. “Fighting for your country” was the words to push non-Nazis to go along with Nazi wars of conquest.

        Similarly, most of Western Europe has a history of fighting for your country being going abroad to shoot foriengers, rather than foriegners coming to shoot you. Eastern Europe has the opposite history.

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    • I assume it relates to conscription, or if its been phased out, how recently. (Germany more recently than France) Conscription gives a more concrete idea that if there is a war, whether “I” will be fighting in it, not necessarily whether or not the war would be supported in other ways.

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