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[ 60 ] October 4, 2016 |

B-29 307th BG bombing target in Korea c1951. By USAF – National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photo 050831-F-1234P-008, Public Domain,


What would have happened if we’d dropped the atomic bomb during the Korean War?

In 1950, as U.S. forces retreated from China’s onslaught across the Yalu River, General Douglas MacArthur called for strategic air attacks against China. Many believed that this would necessarily include the atomic bomb, America’s “asymmetric advantage” of the time.

America’s large arsenal of atomic weapons, and the fleet of strategic bombers necessary to deliver those weapons, was the central military advantage that the US enjoyed over the Soviet Union in 1950. The large, battle tested Red Army remained in Eastern Europe, capable of moving west on short notice. Many believed that only America’s ability to destroy the Soviet heartland with nuclear weapons held the Russians back. Many also believed that Moscow had orchestrated the war on the Korean Peninsula.

So why didn’t the United States use the bomb in Korea?  What if it had?



[ 50 ] October 2, 2016 |


Well, this should be fun.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James endorsed Hillary Clinton Sunday evening, the day before the Democratic nominee is scheduled to visit James’ Ohio hometown of Akron, campaigning on the economy.

In the op-ed piece published by Business Insider, James said his goal after winning multiple NBA championships is to mentor and provide support for children who grew up in Northeast Ohio.

Looking forward, like everyone else, to Mr. Trump’s reaction…


[ 44 ] October 2, 2016 |

Westworld (1973) Blu-ray Screenshot

I don’t know how many times I saw Westworld as a kid; it seemed to be on one or the other UHF stations every weekend. Yul Brynner always left me terrified, though. His relentless, remorseless gunslinger is the unlikely bridge between Kurosawa and James Cameron. It also left me to periodically wonder “Whatever happened to Richard Benjamin?”

Looking forward to the series premiere tonight. Open thread, no spoilers, etc.

Mao Mao

[ 103 ] September 28, 2016 |

Counter-factuals are fun…

Modern scholarship on the history of the CCP has demonstrated that Mao rarely, if ever, had complete control over the Party machinery. He struggled through his entire tenure against competitors, both bureaucratic and ideological. Many of the decisions Mao made had strong support from the rest of the CCP, and emerged more from consensus that from authoritarian diktat. Nevertheless, the CCP and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) bore the special imprint of Mao’s ideological conviction and genius for infighting.

What if Mao had died in 1949, shortly after the declaration of the existence of the People’s Republic of China? How might China’s domestic and foreign policy have fared in the absence of the Great Helmsman?

Why Yes, I Would Like to Subscribe to Your Newsletter

[ 65 ] September 28, 2016 |

As the Lars Ulrich of LGM, I get lots of electronic mail:


Well, if a medical degree in ophthalmology, combined with residence in Dallas, TX, isn’t enough to create interest in someone’s commentary about the election, then just what the heck is?

The New Cyber Vendetta?

[ 57 ] September 27, 2016 |

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.jpg

Interesting stuff from Brian Krebs:

More than 20 years after Gilmore first coined that turn of phrase, his most notable quotable has effectively been inverted — “Censorship can in fact route around the Internet.” The Internet can’t route around censorship when the censorship is all-pervasive and armed with, for all practical purposes, near-infinite reach and capacity. I call this rather unwelcome and hostile development the “The Democratization of Censorship.”

Allow me to explain how I arrived at this unsettling conclusion. As many of you know, my site was taken offline for the better part of this week. The outage came in the wake of a historically large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which hurled so much junk traffic at that my DDoS protection provider Akamai chose to unmoor my site from its protective harbor.

Lots more on harnessing the internet-of-things to carry out unprecedentedly large DDOS attacks. The field of cyber-conflict studies is new, and obviously is adjusting to a rapidly evolving reality, but one of the more sober conclusions that far has been that states remain the central coercive actors. Krebs is suggesting that this may change. There are reasons for skepticism, but it’s worth a read.


[ 24 ] September 25, 2016 |

Damn, this is awful.

Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Florida early Sunday morning.

Fernandez was 24 years old.

The Marlins announced that Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves was canceled.

“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time,” the team said in a statement.

According to multiple reports, police received a call of a possible boating accident at 3 am ET. Authorities found a 30-foot boat overturned that had crashed into the rocks off Miami Beach. Three people were found dead and authorities were looking for survivors.

[SL] Highly recommended.


[ 15 ] September 23, 2016 |
Korean War bombing Wonsan.jpg

A-26 Strike on Wonsan, Korean War. By USAF (photo 306-PS-51(10303)) – ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 541959. Public Domain,

I had the chance to speak with Matthew Rosenberg of  the New York Times about airstrikes, and why they sometimes go awry:




[ 12 ] September 21, 2016 |
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 4 (5969145285).jpg

By Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom – Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 4, CC BY 2.0,


A few thoughts on the Eurofighter Typhoon over at the National Interest:

The Eurofighter Typhoon has joined the Dassault Rafale, the Saab Gripen, andthe Sukhoi “Flanker” in pursuit of a growing niche in the international fighter market. These aircraft offer capabilities beyond the Generation 4 platforms developed in the 1970s, but don’t carry the costs and complications of stealth. While the Eurofighter has enjoyed outstanding technical success thus far, the market niche may not be large enough to sustain production over time.

Rules Based Orders

[ 2 ] September 20, 2016 |
Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt - Hugo Grotius.jpg

Hugo Grotius. By Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt – Public Domain,

My last two pieces at the Diplomat have delved into what it means to establish and defend an international “rules based order.”  Part I:

The steps that the United States and its partners take in the South China Sea (and elsewhere) to build multilateral understandings of, and expertise in, appropriate maritime procedures help constitute the thing that many refer to as “the rules based order.” Indeed, the usefulness of establishing multilateral maritime norms in Southeast Asia depends, to great extent, on whether there’s any value at all to constructing this “rules based order.”


And part II:

Generally speaking, the idea of a rules based order goes beyond these minimal injunctions, and tries to describe appropriate rules of state behavior. This includes appropriate forms of competition; prohibitions that states will face censure if they break. Such orders are invariably value-laden, reflecting the interests and nature of the states that establish them. And it is in these more complex versions that the most interesting debates over the existence of mutually-agreed orders happen.


“Have the Jamarcus Russell hit Tehran hard”

[ 82 ] September 19, 2016 |

We have a name for the USAF’s new bomber:

I propose that individual B-21s be named after great Raider quarterbacks of yore:


[ 17 ] September 19, 2016 |


To open your week…

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