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Friday NatSec Roundup

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HMS QueenElizabeth RO8-2.jpg
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s gawdawful-fugly aircraft carrier. This image photographed by Brian Burnell with permission was uploaded to Commons by George Hutchinson. – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

A few days ago, an extremely hot, cool, funny, and single friend of mine (ok, me) was scrolling Tinder, just looking to pull. The indignity of online dating reached its nadir when I was contacted by an airpower enthusiast, who proceeded to scoff at my support of well-rounded, mission-centric military organizations, rather than a force structure geared around generating Effects Based Operations.

She was unemployed, admitted to being mostly preoccupied with Iron Eagle movies, and she blithely admitted, “My life is pretty fucking empty.” Beyond the more obvious and unkind jokes about the sexual ineptitude of OODA Loop fanatics, the tragic cliché of the intellectually vacant lumpen failure has become a mascot of the Mitchell Institute of Airpower Studies. But what struck me most of all was her insistence that the demand for basic competence in the land and sea domains was both naive and wasteful — “battleships aren’t coming back,” and “why talk about tanks and deny the transcendent effect of precision airpower?”

Not wanting to continue such a fatalistic and decidedly unsexy conversation, I exited the exchange with a few Alfred Thayer Mahan quotes, more out of pity than offense.

  • Still not at war with Iran. As folks have pointed out on twitter, you can maintain extremely high pressure on Iran, or you can decide you’re not going to war against Iran for any reason, but you can’t do both at the same time. “Maximum pressure” has given Iranian hardliners the ammunition they need to press attacks in the Gulf, and as long as there’s no response, those attacks are likely to continue. Given that war with Iran would be apocalyptically stupid, the reasonable course would obviously be to rejoin the JCPOA.
  • Dan and Paul have covered Ukraine already, but I ask you: Is it wrong to threaten another country in order to dig up dirt on your political opponents? And if that’s wrong, aren’t you saying that America is wrong?
  • India should just give up on the Tejas, an airplane which is not decisively better than the MiG-21.
  • I have a piece over at the Diplomat talking about the decision to fly US Marine Corps F-35Bs off the Izumo and Kaga before Japanese planes are available. Long story short, while the optics are bad it’s a great plan, and goes to show how much of an advantage it is to have an ally experienced in carrier operations.
  • Same thing with the United Kingdom. Damn shame that we couldn’t do anything about the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers being hideously fucking ugly.
  • Today is Thucydides Day in National Security Policy. This podcast gives a sense of how Thucydides is used in national security studies more generally.


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