Fortunately, I only put my money where my blog was in one case; I’ll pay that out on Friday.
Category: Robert Farley
For some obscure reason, Parag Khanna persists not only in existing, but also in writing books that find major publishers. My review of Second World can be found here. The intrepid Dan Drezner was given the unenviable task of reviewing Connectography (yes, that is its actual name); the results are impressive. Some of the choicest bits:
Parag Khanna may well be the most connected man alive. “Connectography” represents Khanna’s latest effort to arbitrage his personal networking skills into a theory of geopolitics…
The fluff is voluminous. Khanna and his editors clearly believe that his prose style is a winning one, but for this reader it was like struggling through the transcription of a TED talk on a recursive loop…
I wish that Khanna wee right about the power of connectivity. The world would be a better place. I fear, however, that he does not know what he is talking about.
And via Drezner, this Evgeny Morozov review of one of Khanna’s earlier efforts leaves a lot of blood and intestine on the floor.
Some Monday links for your reading pleasure…
Yesterday I visited the Queen City Club in Cincinnati for the opening of an honorary regional Estonian consulate. On the one end of the hall:
And on the other end:
Why can’t that nice young Ted Cruz unite the GOP?
Much of the discussion – and laughs – focused on Boehner’s views on the current presidential candidates. Segueing into the topic, Kennedy asked Boehner to be frank given that the event was not being broadcasted, and the former Speaker responded in kind. When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
Some further thoughts on a Raptor Restart:
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives commissioned a study on resuming production of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The F-22 completed its production run in 2011, after a controversial decision by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to curtail the fighter in favor of simpler, less expensive projects.
As numerous analysts have pointed out, the costs of resuming the F-22 production line would be staggering. Although Lockheed Martin tried to retain all of the tooling and equipment necessary to restart the line, much of the human capital associated with assembly has been lost. Moreover, engineers have struggled to find the appropriate equipment in storage, even for the repair and maintenance of the existing fleet.
I have an article up at World Politics Review on US diplomatic strategy for intellectual property protection:
Intellectual property: It sounds boring, but its protection has become one of the cornerstones of U.S. economic policy. And now, it may have an impact on how the Pentagon thinks about the future of technology.
In recent years, the big push for international intellectual property protection came about through the concerted action of a group of powerful, well-connected American corporations. These corporations had determined that they could make a great deal of money—or at least stop the loss of a great deal of money—by putting crucial intellectual property protections into international law. Washington has embraced this idea, making intellectual property a central part of every major trade agreement of the past decade.
I’ll be in Bowling Green tomorrow morning for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest. Anyone in or near town is strongly encouraged to swing by; the lineup is always interesting, and I’ll be on an 11am panel titled “History: Battles and Bravery.” It is my understanding that battles and battleships are the only things worthy of historical study, a position that I will attempt to convey with utmost conviction.
My latest at the National Interest examines some of the lit on what World War III might have looked like in the Pacific:
Scholars have devoted far less attention to the planning of World War III in East Asia than to the European theater. The two classic novels of the Third World War (Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and John Hackett’s The Third World War) rarely touched on developments in Asia. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Naval War College traced the potential course of war in East Asia as part of a series of global war games. These games lend a great deal of insight into the key actors in the conflict, and how the decisive battles of a Second Pacific War might have played out.
Been on the road for a bit, getting back into the swing of things…
Congress wants a study on whether to re-open the F-22 Raptor line. This is a complicated question. Way back when, I supported the decision to kill the F-22 at 187 planes, largely because the F-35 looked like it was going reasonably well, and because of other priorities. Since that time the F-35 project has nose-dived, and the F-22 has performed exceptionally well, notwithstanding some issues at high altitude. I think it’s fair to say at this point that the decision to kill the F-22 in favor of the F-35 was wrong.*
That doesn’t make restarting the F-22 line necessarily the right thing to do, however. For one, restarting any line is extremely expensive, even when all of the tooling and the procedures have been locked down. Workforce has to be trained (or rehired), factories have to be spooled up, etc. The bump will all be in capability; new F-22s will cost more than new F-35s. Moreover, the ban on F-22 export remains in place, meaning that it will still likely be impossible to recoup any expenses through an export model. Finally, although the F-22 is awesome, it’s also old; re-opening the project at this point means committing to a fighter that’s been in development since the 1980s, and in production since the 1990s.
It’s also worth noting that the worm can turn pretty quickly on the evaluation of defense projects. Eight years ago the F-22 was an expensive disaster, incapable of contributing in a meaningful way to the COIN fights going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it is widely acknowledged by aviation experts to be the finest fighter in the world, a good distance ahead of any competitor currently flying, and most still on the drawing board. The F-15 and F-16 (especially the latter) followed similar paths.
*Let’s take some care on this sentence; it takes no position on whether killing the F-22 to fund, say, schools or free Toyota Corollas or new battleships or anything else would have been a good idea. Defense procurement decisions are generally of the branch rather than the root variety
Well, this is embarrassing.
For the second week in a row, Portland’s talking about banning city employees from traveling to a bigoted state, and this time Mayor Charlie Hales’ Pascagoula dreams may be dashed.
Hales and First Lady Nancy Hales had planned to travel to Mississippi next month to pay a visit to the USS Portland (actually, the third USS Portland to be owned by the US Navy), named in honor of this city. But after Mississippi became the latest state to pass a terrible, homophobic, discriminatory lawyesterday, Hales says he’ll put those plans on ice.
“I would be very disappointed if the Mayor of Portland was not able to be there for the launching of the Portland,” Hales said this morning, adding “these travel bans, if they are to mean anything, should mean we are not able to go to Mississippi.”
Turns out that they’ll commission USS Portland in Portland in late 2017. Sucks to be you, Mississippi.
I have updated the page for the Battleship Book with the latest reviews and podcasts; please check it out. Most importantly, take a listen to the recent podcast I recorded with Ankit Panda of The Diplomat. Note that the book is finally available from Amazon! You can get the ebook direct from Wildside…
If you’ve already bought the book, then let me encourage you to review it at Amazon or some other relevant retailer (even if you hated it). Amazon reviews are a huge help for any author, so if you’ve read any of these books, please take a few seconds: