We’ve now completed a week-long comment registration trial. This post should serve as an open thread for how this week has gone. Note that I’m still processing a few password requests, so if you can’t register (and note that WordPress registration is different than LGM registration) please let me know (address on far right sidebar). With respect to metrics, no noticeable change in traffic/usage, commenting down by about 30%.
For this week’s listicle, I bring the Jeter:
“Overrated” is a challenging concept. In sports, a player can be “great” and “overrated” at the same time. Future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, for example, is quite clearly a “great” player, well deserving of the first ballot invitation he will likely receive. However, as virtually all statistically minded aficionados of the game have noted, he is highly overrated (especially on defense) by the baseball press. Similarly, no one doubts that Kobe Bryant is an outstanding basketball player. However, many doubt that he is quite as good as his fans (or the NBA commentariat) seem to believe.
The five weapons of war listed below are “overrated” in the sense that they occupy a larger space in the defense-security conversation than they really deserve. Some of them are fantastic, effective systems, while others are not. All of them take up more ink than they should, and (often) distract from more important issues of warfighting and defense contracting.
Via Hushkit: Published by the Bureau of Public Information on behalf of the National Salvage Office
Commercial colour print, 1940-1941 Canada
Lest we forget, it was dead horses (and other animals)that made the Combined Bomber Offensive possible…
Some thoughts at the Diplomat on the future of Russian arms exports to SE Asia:
Malaysia is a significant customer of Russian hardware. Su-20MKM Flankers, and MiG-29 Fulcrums make up the bulk of its fighter fleet, along with F/A-18 Hornets. Malaysia also purchases air-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, and similar ordnance from Russia. Indonesia buys a broader array of equipment from Russia, including helicopters and anti-ship missiles. However, both Malaysia and Indonesia have displayed considerable willingness to purchase weapons from other partners, making their relationship with Russia strictly arms-length.
The survival of these relationships depends, to some extent, on how deftly Russia plays the diplomatic game over the next few weeks. Thus far, it doesn’t look too promising. Russia’s quandary is to maintain a stance of studied belligerence towards Ukraine and the United States, moderate indignation towards Europe, and civilized behavior to the rest of the world. The downing of the Malaysian airliner puts these into tension. Russia has proposed a frankly incomprehensible theory about how a Ukrainian Su-25 might have shot down the Malaysian jet.
Some links for your morning consumption:
My latest at WiB looks at a proposal to ditch the Air Force from 1982:
In 1982 John Byron—then a Navy commander and submarine skipper—argued that the United States should reorganize its military around three branches, eliminating the Air Force and creating a new Strategic Deterrent Force.
“Reorganization of the U.S. Armed Forces” was the first strategic study co-published by the National War College and the National Defense University Press. It made the rounds among defense analysts at the time. It attracted some attention from the defense reform community and an audience in some of the professional defense journals, including Proceedings and Early Bird, the much-beloved Pentagon news roundup that ceased publication in 2013.
Most registrations seem to be rolling fine. However, some people (especially, but not exclusively, non gmail users) are having trouble getting their passwords. If you’re having difficulty, just e-mail us (address halfway down the far right sidebar) , and we’ll manually reset your password.
Many of you may have noticed the subtle changes to the header over the past couple of days. LGM is proud to announce that Steven Attewell and Katie Surrence have agreed to join the site as contributing editors. They can both speak for themselves, so I won’t take up any of your time with lengthy introductions. I have adjusted past guest posts to reflect their authorship.
Also, as of midnight tonight, we’re moving to a registration-only commenting system, on a trial basis, for a week. If you have any problems registering, please let us know at the e-mail address in the sidebar. Give us a day to work out the kinks, however.
…[Erik]: Some registration tips from comments, thanks to Stepped Pyramids
A few tips:
Your username has certain constraints (no punctuation, etc.) but it is not the name you have to appear as. After logging in, go to your profile page and you can edit your Nickname, which controls what name shows up.
You can also change your email there; whichever email you have there determines your gravatar.
Once you have those two things set, you can pretty much think of registration as a system that more reliably tracks your name/email/website combo. Also, no more “uh, Anonymous was me” moments.
My latest at the National Interest takes a look at how we might fill (or finesse) the gap created by cancelling the F-35:
With the recent engine fire that grounded the entire F-35 fleet (and mostly destroyed one of the few Lightnings in service), critics of the Joint Strike Fighter have renewed calls for a serious review of the program. And yet the F-35 appears unkillable. The only winning move, it seems, was not to play, but we’ve been playing for a while, and we’re well beyond easy answers. The F-35 program, with tentacles across America and in many of the United States’ closest allies, probably cannot be cancelled. The industrial and diplomatic challenges might well dwarf the problems with combat fleet shortfalls.
If it could, however, what would follow? The following five options are not mutually exclusive, and any strategy for replacing the F-35 would need to borrow liberally from several.
On the latest episode of Foreign Entanglements, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and I dive deep on resolve and credibility:
Buy it, rename it “Graf Zeppelin.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday suggested France should halt the export of Mistral warships to Russia, even if the current sanctions regime still allows it. “In Germany, we are putting on hold the construction of a shooting centre in Russia, given the situation,” she said during a press conference.
Why can’t Obama be more like Reagan?
It is worth recalling that Reagan’s own response in 1983 did not get good reviews from the Fox News of the day. According to Richard Reeves’s “President Reagan,” (see p167-70), the administration was seen as far too weak.
True, the president’s nationally televised address on Sept. 5 was full of strong rhetorical condemnation: Reagan called the Soviet action “monstrous,” “murderous,” and “born of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights and the value of human life.”
But little action followed. Reagan demanded an apology to the world and continued a number of sanctions — but he decided not to end grain sales to the USSR or to suspend arms control talks. George Will argued that “the administration is pathetic…. We didn’t elect a dictionary. We elected a President and it’s time for him to act.” The Manchester Union-Leader editorialized that “if someone had told us three years ago that the Russians could blow a civilian airliner out of the skies – and not face one whit of retaliation from a Ronald Reagan administration, we would have called that crazy. It is crazy. It is insane. It is exactly what happened.”