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[ 1 ] March 13, 2014 |

If you’ve been paying attention to the internet conversation on security, defense, and technology, you’ve probably become at least vaguely familiar with The Loopcast.  I had a good, long (over an hour) conversation with them on Tuesday.  Check it out, and also check out their twitter feed.

That New Bomber…

[ 75 ] March 12, 2014 |

At the Diplomat, I express some doubts about the LRS-B next generation bomber:

What is the LRS-B for?  Conflicting reports have emerged over the likely cost of the USAF’s next generation bomber. Last week, the Lieutenant General Charles Davis (USAF) acknowledged that the per unit price for the new stealth bomber will climb from $550 million to $810 million, taking into account research and production costs. A later press release insisted that the USAF remains committed to the $550 million target.  Given that the B-1B cost twice the estimated development pricetag, and the B-2 nearly triple, it’s not at all unreasonable to suggest that we’ll reach a $1 billion per plane cost by the time the program gets up and running.

This brings us back to the question: What requirement does the LRS-B fill?


Which “We” Are You Talking About, Mickey?

[ 33 ] March 12, 2014 |

While I’m sure there are plenty of hilarious bits, the price that someone would have to pay to get me to watch this would seem to be prohibitive:

Among other reasons to oppose reform, Coulter said: It would help Democrats.

“You want the Democrats who want more immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, because they need brand new voters, just warm bodies, more votes,” she said. “Amnesty goes through, and the Democrats have 30 million new voters. I just don’t think Republicans have an obligation to forgive law-breaking just because the Democrats need another 30 million voters.”

The debate was ostensibly between a conservative and a liberal — Kaus said he voted twice for President Barack Obama — but the two speakers shared the same view on immigration. Although they discussed a variety of topics, immigration became the principal focus — and not exactly in the softer tone many Republicans have been attempting on the issue to avoid alienating Latino voters.

On that front, Kaus wasn’t much different from Coulter.

“Democrats have a perfectly good reason to be for amnesty, which is craven ethnic pandering that’s going to ensure our power for the next two generations, but what is the Republican excuse?” Kaus asked while talking about Republicans who support reform.

The greater part of Mickey’s career over the past decade has been an effort to find friends and publications that he can’t embarrass. Seems to be working.

HT Joseph.

Hey a Book!

[ 2 ] March 11, 2014 |

Grounded, now available in hardcover from Amazon.  Also at your local bookstore, if you happen to be incredibly fortunate.

Will be ratcheting down the non-stop book PR over the next few days, although will continue to update this page. Also recall the FDL Book Salon this Saturday, 5pm.

Christ, Farley, Please Start Work on a Different Book…

[ 32 ] March 10, 2014 |

This Saturday, Firedoglake will hold one of its Book Salons for Grounded. I hope that a significant percentage of the LGM commentariat will show up for an enjoyable evening with the commenters from FDL.

As part of the promo for the event, I have some thoughts on the political implications of independent air forces up at War is Boring:

Foreign policy comes from the collection of organizations that make up the national security state. If you change the constellation of organizations, you change the foreign policy output. Creating the U.S. Air Force amplified a voice within government for fighting short, cheap, decisive wars from the air.

As independent but related bureaucracies, the three military services naturally compete with each other for funding, roles and influence. In a crisis, the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff contribute advice regarding military options. However, through formal, informal and sometimes public channels, the services also make their preferences known.

Air Force officers not only tend to believe in the decisiveness of air power, they have very good professional and institutional reasons for arguing in favor of air power as a strategic catalyst. Service-oriented viewpoints produce parochialism, the idea that the good of the service and the good of the country are the same.

Demonstrating that air power can, on its own, decisively defeat an adversary and create a favorable political outcome flatters not only the preconceptions of air power advocates, but also promises to generate greater resources, autonomy and influence.


[Erik] To make the joining of our two commentariats even more enjoyable, I am hosting Sunday’s FDL book salon, on When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level. Rumors of the two sites merging may not be correct.

Radio Bits

[ 0 ] March 9, 2014 |

Here’s the Midrats episode:

Check Out Military Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Midrats on BlogTalkRadio

And here’s the NPR: Weekend Edition bit.

“I’m smart! Not like everybody says…”

[ 101 ] March 8, 2014 |

Classic whine from St. Ralph about how nobody loves him and Bernie Sanders isn’t a real progressive.  Choice bit:

For example, in the past year I have called you many times at your Washington office.Your staff dutifully takes my messages, forwards them to you and you do not call back. Never.During your famous marathon address on the Senate floor in 2010, I called to congratulate youand suggest that your cogent arguments be reproduced in a small book. Your staff took themessage to you. No return call.



[ 8 ] March 8, 2014 |

Tomorrow afternoon at 5pm EDT I’ll be chatting with Sal and Eagle One on Midrats about Grounded. The conversations run for about an hour, and both Cdr Salamander and EagleOne are extremely knowledgeable about military and maritime affairs. Highly recommended. Also, tomorrow morning you might be able to catch my interview with Rachel Martin on Weekend Edition, which is supposed to drop at about 815am in most markets.

Archives Onward!

[ 42 ] March 7, 2014 |

The February 2005 LGM archive has now been fully reconstructed.  Some highlights:

Does the Brazilian Navy need a Mistral?

[ 55 ] March 6, 2014 |

Two things.  First, my latest at the Diplomat noodles on about precedent in international politics:

What precedent does the Russian invasion of Crimea set for the settlement of territorial disputes in East Asia?  We should begin with the major differences: East Asia lacks institutions similar to the European Union or NATO.  The situation of Russia, which continues to support multiple irredentist communities around its near abroad, has no easy parallel in Asia. East Asia enjoys its share of difficult, complex national relationships, but none of these are quite like those between Russia and its neighbors. We should also note that there’s a gulf between claiming that a particular act (say, the NATO led air campaign against Kosovo) caused some other event, and suggesting that the actions of a major power establish “rules of the road” that other states tend to follow.

Second, I have some thoughts about the prospect of suspending the delivery of Vladivostok and Sevastopol, a pair of amphibious assault ships the French are building for Russia:

The French are committed economically to the deal, which has supported French shipbuilding. However, as the first ship is nearly complete and the second well under way, some of the French stakeholders (primarily labor)have already been appeased. With the recent displays of Franco-US friendship, and of Franco-US cooperation in Africa, I have to wonder whether the French could be convinced to delay or suspend delivery as a response to the Russian conquest of Crimea. And especially given that the second ship is named Sevastopol, the optics of transferring LHAs to the Russian Navy right now are genuinely terrible.



Flight 007 Near-Redux

[ 26 ] March 5, 2014 |

This is alarming:

According to the South Korean government, on Tuesday a South China Airlines plane carrying 220 civilians narrowly missed being hit by a North Korean missile after it flew into the missile’s trajectory. The missile and plane crossed the same path just seven short minutes apart. No one was harmed. The plane had been flying to Shenyang, China from Narita airport in Japan.

A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson told Bloomberg News: “The rocket could have hit the plane on its way down. North Korea had not given any warning [of the missile launch]. It was an unexpected and immoral act that goes against international norms.” The same spokesperson confirmed that Seoul had passed along information about the near miss to its allies in Beijing. Neither the airline nor China has responded to inquiries or acknowledged the near collision yet.

The chance of a ballistic missile accidentally hitting an airliner in flight is, to put it mildly, extraordinarily small.  Nevertheless, you kind of wish Kim Jong Eun hadn’t shot all of the people who believed that informing neighboring countries of impending missile launches might be a good idea.

Foreign Entanglements: Entangling Crimea

[ 0 ] March 4, 2014 |

On the latest episode of Foreign Entanglements I speak with Dmitry Gorenburg about the invasion of Crimea:

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