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Category: Robert Farley

The Legend of the Avro Arrow

[ 50 ] March 28, 2015 |

On Thursday I gave a presentation at University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies. After the talk, we visited the Canadian War Museum, which combines one of the most effective and minimalist war memorials I’ve ever seen with an outstanding collection of tanks and other vehicles. While at the museum, I had the opportunity to visit the museum store, where I found these:

Yes, those are CF-105 Avro Arrows. Canadians apparently love the ill-fated Arrow as much as they love hockey, poutine, and milk-in-a-bag.

The next day, I’m making my way through security, the Arrows safely in my carry-on. As it goes through the x-ray machine, I hear an audible gasp, and a few seconds later the whatever-Canada-calls-its-TSA-people staffer came up to me and said “We approve of your choice of toy airplane.” Because, of course, they had identified the two die-cast Arrows from their silhouettes alone.

The Arrows are now in good hands.

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran!

[ 41 ] March 27, 2015 |

Rear view of jet aircraft in-flight at dawn/dusk above mountains. Its engines are in full afterburner, evident through the presence of shock diamonds.

“F-22F119″ by U.S. Air Force photo – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

My response to the Roose John Bolton and Joshua Muravchik’s warmongering op-eds came out earlier this week. My piece actually came out before the former, but as there’s so little that’s even faintly novel about Bolton’s argument, that doesn’t present much of a problem.

We are a few days away from the latest deadline in the Iran-U.S. nuclear talks. Much of the case on whether we need a deal depends on this question: what does the Middle East look like if Tehran and Washington don’t come to an accord? Is war between the United States and Iran inevitable? If U.S. hawks succeed in scuttling a nuclear deal, then those same hawks will shift, in short order, to insisting on war as the only remedy.


[ 10 ] March 26, 2015 |
Castro Battle of Actium.jpg

“Castro Battle of Actium” by Laureys a Castro (f 1664-1700) – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve made it to the second round of Twitter Fight Club 2015: I would deeply appreciate your continued support!


[ 3 ] March 23, 2015 |

I’ll be in Ottawa on Thursday to talk about military diffusion and intellectual property:

What do intellectual property law, industrial espionage, and cyber-warfare have to do with one another?

Industrial espionage is, by definition, a violation of most existing schemes of intellectual property law. In the 19th and 20th centuries, governments actively practiced industrial espionage, dispatching agents to foreign countries in order to steal secrets and bring them back to domestic producers. Despite the potential for glamour and drama, the fruits of industrial espionage, especially in the defense sector, are generally thought to have been limited.

Here’s the info on the talk, which I’m sure will be of great interest to the Ottawa’s vast community of LGM readers!


[ 2 ] March 23, 2015 |
Sinking of HMS Hood.jpg

“Sinking of HMS Hood” by J.C. Schmitz-Westerholt – Courtesy of the U.S. Army Chief of Military History. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. (link). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.I

It’s that time of year: Twitter Fight Club 2015. I’m up today against John Beieler; follow him, follow me, and make the necessary decisions.

The Player and the Spoiler

[ 1 ] March 20, 2015 |

44-tsushima-battleLgA bit more on the Cooperative Strategy (I don’t think that the title correctly captures the argument:

The Cooperative Strategy is effectively a strategy for defending the liberal international economic order. The 2015 version (and its 2007 predecessor) is at its best when it envisions the operational employment of the U.S. maritime services in pursuit of basic oceanic maintenance. Most notably, this includes fighting against people best characterized as “enemies of all mankind” (including pirates, thieves, and terrorists), and dealing with humanitarian disasters.

The document is less effective at characterizing great power conflict in the maritime space. Even when two countries both allow the possibility of positive sum cooperation at sea, conflict can arise over the precise distribution of spoils, as well as concerns over vulnerability. And some countries do not place a high value on the reliability of maritime security.

New CS-21

[ 0 ] March 19, 2015 |
A painting of a ship with all sails up and a pursuing squadron behind it. In the foreground are small boats.

“Chase of the Constitution, July 1812″ by Anton Otto Fischer (1882–1962) – U.S. Naval Historical Center. Record number NH 85542-KN.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Navy has released a new version of the Cooperative Maritime Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.  Here are some thoughts I have:

Why do we need a new strategy? Many critics of the first strategy challenged its focus on collaboration, especially with potential competitors such as China and the Russia. The first strategy hedged on competitors, implicitly suggesting that deterrence and the development of a network of professional relationships could help soften the edges of political disputes. The first CS-21 notably failed to establish much guidance for procurement, fleet constitution, or force structure, which some argued left the service ill-prepared to fight budgetary wars in Washington.

“They’re Going to Want it Back”

[ 28 ] March 19, 2015 |
Mig-15 v. F-86 Sabre (Udvar-Hazy).png

“Mig-15 v. F-86 Sabre (Udvar-Hazy)” by Elliottwolf – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Absolutely fascinating long read on one of the first North Korean MiG pilots to defect:

But before they showed him off to reporters, they decided he needed some coaching. On one especially touchy subject, they coached him to lie. A well-dressed American in civilian clothes (whose name No never heard) asked if he had ever seen American fighter jets in Chinese airspace. Of course, No replied, he had seen many American Sabres shoot down MiGs on takeoff and landing from Manchurian airfields. The well-dressed man said that if a reporter asked about these incursions in Manchuria, No must say he had seen nothing.

For his part, Ike disliked defectors, wanted to send the MiG back to the USSR, and didn’t want to pay the $100000 that the pilot was owed.

New Opening for an Unpaid Intern…

[ 33 ] March 17, 2015 |

We live in a world where Mickey Kaus quits his job because Tucker Carlson spikes a column arguing that Fox News is insufficiently hard core on immigration and amnesty:

“It’s pretty simple,” Kaus said in an interview, “I wrote a piece attacking Fox for not being the opposition on immigration and amnesty — for filling up the airwaves with reports on ISIS and terrorism, and not fulfilling their responsibility of being the opposition on amnesty and immigration…. I posted it at 6:30 in the morning. When I got up, Tucker had taken it down. He said, ‘We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.'”

Mickey rejected the Democratic Party [ed- don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Mickey!  Amirite?] because it was too far to the left on immigration; he’s now rejecting the Republican Party because it’s too far to the left on immigration.  The true visionary always wages a lonely struggle…

“Leave Emotion at the Table, Unless You’re From Kentucky”

[ 7 ] March 17, 2015 |

LGM Tourney Challenge brackets are now ready.

Group: Lawyers, Guns and Money

Password: zevon



Having A Cake…

[ 8 ] March 14, 2015 |
J-7I fighter at the Beijing Military Museum from above.jpg

“J-7I fighter at the Beijing Military Museum from above” by Max Smith  (Own photo). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

My latest at the Diplomat works through the implications of China’s efforts to build a modern IP bureaucracy:

Can China create an intellectual property system robust enough to support domestic technological innovation (on both the military and civilian side) while still maintaining its casual attitude toward the theft of foreign technology? The answer is almost certainly no.

Foreign Entanglements: The Iran Deal

[ 2 ] March 13, 2015 |

On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and I discuss the Iran deal in context of the infamous letter:

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