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Wednesday Morning Linkage…

[ 0 ] August 16, 2017 |
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Su-57 Prandtl Glauert singularity. By Rulexip – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

For your reading pleasure…

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Breckinridge and Morgan

[ 84 ] August 12, 2017 |

The events in Charlottesville have convinced Mayor Jim Gray to accelerate announcement of the removal of two Confederate statues in downtown Lexington:


The statues are of John C. Breckinridge (1860 southern Democratic Presidential nominee and Confederate military commander) and John Hunt Morgan (Confederate general). A redesign of the square a few years ago resulted in the Breckinridge statue being placed prominently on Main Street. The decision here is long overdue, but Gray deserves credit for finally pushing it through.

The Future of Russia’s Navy

[ 23 ] August 9, 2017 |
The stranded Murmansk before being dismantled

Soviet heavy cruiser Murmansk, By FL3JM – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Some thoughts on the present and future of Russian naval power at the National Interest…

Over the past year, the Russian Navy has undertaken several high visibility operations, most notably the deployment of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov off the coast of Syria, and the launch of cruise missiles from ships based in the Caspian Sea. Russian submarine activity has also increased, although not quite to the level seen in the Cold War.

But Moscow might be best advised to heed Matthew 26:41 where maritime adventures are concerned; “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The Russian Navy is a mess, and it will probably become more of a mess in the future.

Yes; I went biblical.

The Missiles!

[ 252 ] August 8, 2017 |
Laika ac Pyongyang (7975203722).jpg

Pyongyang. By Laika ac CC BY-SA 2.0

Not having a colossal fucking moron in charge during a mild crisis is one of the reasons why I thought it might be a good idea to not elect Donald Trump to the Presidency…


My position, for the record: Nuclear tipped North Korean ICBMs are somewhat annoying and mildly disconcerting, but they do not approach posing an existential threat to the United States. With each new missile project North Korea’s deterrent is becoming steadily more secure, but Pyongyang has *never* indicated a predilection for suicidal behavior. The real problem with North Korea’s nuclear weapons remains a regime-collapse scenario, in which elites either lose control of the weapons or act in extremely risk-acceptant fashion. Panicking about North Korean missile and nuclear programs, at this point, only makes things worse.  North Korean ICBMs are not good, but they’re clearly tolerable.

Zumwalt! In 3D!

[ 23 ] August 8, 2017 |

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Some of this is a touch outdated (the Advanced Gun System isn’t going to be anywhere near this cool), but it’s still worth passing on this 3D tour of the Zumwalt class destroyer…

Doklam

[ 116 ] August 8, 2017 |
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The Old Silk Route, East Sikkim. By Madhumitaworld – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

I think it’s good that the US hasn’t over-involved itself in the dispute between India and China on the Doklam Plateau.  I’d like to use the word “sensible,” but that implies an intentionality that is not evident from the Trump administration foreign policy decision-making “process.”

There are certainly good reasons why the United States might resist even rhetorical intervention in this particular crisis. It would be nice to believe that the Trump administration was approaching the situation with care, refusing to give India the appearance of a free hand (thus limiting escalation concerns), while maintaining its effort to get Chinese cooperation on the North Korea issue. Conversely, it might even be nice to think that the Trump administration had given the issue a great deal of thought, and deliberately decided not to engage; this would be in keeping with Trump’s distaste for international entanglements, although perhaps not with his bombastic rhetoric towards China.

Democracy and Uncertainty in Brazil

[ 28 ] August 4, 2017 |

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This is a guest post by Dr. Colin Snider, Assistant Professor of Latin American History at The University of Texas at Tyler. 

Of late, much attention has focused on the question of democracy and its decline in Venezuela, and the particular nature of that process, and the trauma – political, economic, but above all, human – around it is understandable, as it has become a pariah state in the hemisphere. However, the problems facing democracy, representation, and political impunity are not limited to Venezuela. Since the removal of Dilma Rousseff in 2016, Brazil’s political landscape has become only more tumultuous and nakedly corrupt. The result is that while the world focuses on the admittedly-extreme events in Venezuela, democratic representation in Brazil has faced its own frightening, if more asinine, threats to democracy politically, institutionally, and socially, reminding us that the erosion of democracy does not always come through overt violence, declining electoral options, strongman politicians, or institutional seizures of power.

Read more…

Bring Back the BBs, ’90s Edition

[ 17 ] August 1, 2017 |

USS Wisconsin (BB-64) preps.JPG
At the National Interest, I take a look at how the battleships were supposed to stick around longer…

No one expected the battleships to leave so quickly.

The U.S. Navy reactivated the four battleships of the Iowa class in the mid-1980s, equipping them with sea- and land-attack missiles, as well as modern electronics and similar facilities. The drive to reactivate the battleships came from a strategic interest in increasing the size of the Navy, as well as concern over the construction of the Soviet Kirov-class nuclear battlecruisers.

But in 1992, less than ten years after New Jersey had returned to service, the Navy decommissioned USS Missouri, last of the four Iowas. The second life of the class lasted, collectively, less than twenty-five years. The retirement of the battleships created a hole in U.S. seapower that the Navy struggled to fill in the 1990s, and still has not adequately addressed.

Predictably Inept

[ 12 ] July 31, 2017 |

Secretary Tillerson, Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida, and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Pose for a Photo Before Their Trilateral Meeting in Bonn (32897966296).jpg

Latest at the Diplomat plays with some ideas about reputation:

Arguments about credibility abound in discussion of the politics of the Asia-Pacific. Most of these discussions revolve around perceptions of toughness and resolve; how do we indicate to a potential opponent that our threats are credible? Although there are substantial reasons to question the logic of credibility, the arguments on both sides remain intense.

In a recent Foreign Policy essay, Stephen Walt asks a different question, one that has bounced around the edges of debate on U.S. foreign policy since the George W. Bush administration; what happens if the United States develops a credible reputation for utter incompetence?

“Award Winning Blog”

[ 63 ] July 27, 2017 |

Oh hey. No thanks to Loomis, obviously.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog LG&M has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Political Science Blogs on the web.

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Political Science Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

Also, you have the honor of displaying the following badge on your blog. Use the below code to display this badge proudly on your blog.

Ok. If you say so.

I have… reservations regarding the methodology, but I’m not going to let those reservations get in the way of designating LGM an “Award Winning Blog” on my CV and any other relevant documentation.

Some comments from the peanut gallery:

Disgrace

[ 257 ] July 26, 2017 |

Here we go.

There was a nine minute gap between the first and second tweets, suggesting to me that Trump was enjoying the drama that he was creating by destroying lives and careers. Helpfully, RAND has a report indicating that all of this is bullshit.

Who Doesn’t Love Ballistic Missiles?

[ 14 ] July 20, 2017 |
Dongfeng-21D.JPG

Dongfeng-21D By IceUnshattered – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I have some thoughts on missiles and basing at the Diplomat:

How vulnerable are U.S. bases in the Pacific? A new report by Commander Thomas Shugart and Commander Javier Gonzalez at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suggests that the constellation of U.S. bases in the region has become deeply vulnerable to attack by Chinese ballistic missiles.

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