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Cooperative Maritime Strategy

[ 1 ] September 14, 2010 |

I have an article up at World Politics Review on the Naval Operations Concept and the Cooperative Maritime Strategy. The article is part of a feature on maritime security, including Abraham Denmark and Zachary Hosford’s piece on China’s naval buildup and Mark Valencia’s examination of the Proliferation Security Initiative. My argument in a nutshell:

In June of this year, the United States Navy published the 2010 Naval Operations Concept (.pdf) (NOC), designed as the operational fulfillment of the Cooperative Maritime Strategy (.pdf) (CS-21) released in 2007. The 112-page NOC is an elaboration of the concepts set forth in the 20-page Cooperative Strategy, with detailed discussion of how the missions laid forth in the earlier document can be accomplished with the forces available to the United States Navy. CS-21 itself is a curious document. Deceptively modest, it was developed as the Navy’s strategic answer to the post-Cold War environment. But whether intentionally, as some have suggested, or not, it may have helped structure America’s grand strategic approach to the emergence of new powers on the Pacific Rim and elsewhere.

CS-21, and the NOC that gives it flesh, provide a liberal internationalist frame for how the United States should interpret the rise of Chinese naval power. This frame suggests that naval competition between the United States and China could be positive sum, rather than zero sum — the United States could actually benefit in some ways from the expansion of the Chinese navy. This stands in tension with more traditional and, in many ways, more accepted theories about the role and impact of navies in great power competition.

The Cooperative Strategy is one of the documents that I’ve argued progressives should pay more attention to. Long story short, I believe that the Cooperative Strategy represents, intentionally or not, a progressive framework for thinking about the relevance of US military power and US “hegemony” in the 21st century. I think that this is true not simply for the “liberal hawk” wing of foreign policy thought, but also for genuine progressives interested in engaging with the reality of US global military leadership. The Cooperative Strategy outlines a world in which maritime power is effectively positive sum, while also taking account of potentially destructive security dilemma dynamics. It wasn’t designed by progressives or for progressives, but I think that it can be fit into a progressive approach to US foreign policy.


What Would Qualify As An Anti-Muslim Sentiment?

[ 5 ] September 14, 2010 |

Shorter Col. Mustard:  The attacks on Marty Peretz are grossly unfair.   He didn’t literally say that Muslims should be deprived of First Amendment rights; he merely said that they were unworthy of First Amendment rights.   I don’t see any anti-Muslim sentiment there at all!

You might wonder how Jacobson would deal with the fact that Peretz himself has conceded that his unambiguously anti-Muslim comments were beyond the pale.   But don’t worry, the Duke of Dijon is nothing if not up on every point in the winger rebuttal book:

The fact that Peretz feels obligated to respond shows that the accusations that he is anti-Muslim were very damaging and growing, from people who didn’t like him to begin with.

Yes, Marty is the real victim here!    He’s paid a severe price for his extensive history of similar comments.   Why, a decade ago he had a comfortable sinecure as editor of The New Republic, and now…this is central to his point.

Well, I’m Convinced!

[ 8 ] September 14, 2010 |

Shorter Gerard Alexander: If someone with Haley Barbour’s impeccable credentials as a civil rights activist tells a transparently ridiculous story about how race had nothing to do with the GOP takeover of the South, that’s good enough for me!

How Did the Sri Lankan Government Beat the LTTE?

[ 8 ] September 13, 2010 |

Lionel Beehner and Niels Smith duel on reasons for the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. Beehner:

It was brute military force, not political dialogue or population control, which ended its brutal decades-long war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers, a separatist group perhaps most notorious for popularizing the suicide bomb. The final military campaign lasted months, not years or decades. It was a gruesome finale, to be sure. The Sri Lankan government paid little heed to outside calls for preventing collateral damage. While humanitarian workers and journalists were barred from entering the war zone, as many as 20,000 civilians were killed in the crossfire and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Tamils were corralled into camps after war ended1. It was, as one journalist I spoke to in Colombo put it, ―a war without witnesses. Hearts and minds took a backseat to shock and awe.


An examination of Sri Lanka’s victory reveals the LTTE’s collapse was the result of cumulative external and internal forces, not simply the employment of ruthless new tactics. Indeed, there is little beside the ability to disregard Western criticism that distinguishes Sri Lankan tactics or brutality post-2005 from earlier eras, as the conflict was already one of the most violent and ruthless in the world. Critical blows from internal defections, loss of external funding, a global antiterrorist mindset after 9/11, and secondorder effects of the 2004 tsunami crippled the LTTE. At the same time, foreign aid, domestic politics, and external political cover from China enabled the Sri Lankan government to resume its COIN campaign from a position of strength. The combination of these factors proved decisive in the defeat of the LTTE.

To my mind Smith makes the better case, largely because Beehner doesn’t take good account of the variety of reasons why the LTTE was weakened after 2005. As Smith notes, the political protection provided by China, the tsunami, and the global clampdown on insurgent funding sources loom large. Beehner also underplays the role of defections within the Tigers, which are related to an aggressive military campaign but are hardly “shock and awe.” In any case, read if interested…

Your Moment of Bobo

[ 19 ] September 13, 2010 |

I would like to note that the following two sentences appeared consecutively in David Brooks’ most recent column (my emphasis):

By contrast, in 2007, 58 percent of male Harvard graduates and 43 percent of female graduates went into finance and consulting.

The shift away from commercial values has been expressed well by Michelle Obama in a series of speeches.

In what sense a majority of Harvard graduates choosing highly remunerative corporate jobs represents a shift away from “commercial values” as opposed to a rational response to market incentives remains unexplained. And I’d like to say that Brooks doesn’t compound this deeply strange assertion by conflating consultants and investment bankers with nurses and teachers, but…

Easy Answers To Pretensiouly Inane Questions

[ 53 ] September 13, 2010 |

Shorter verbatim Camille Paglia*: “However, the main point is that the young Madonna was on fire. She was indeed the imperious Marlene Dietrich’s true heir. For Gaga, sex is mainly decor and surface; she’s like a laminated piece of ersatz rococo furniture. Alarmingly, Generation Gaga can’t tell the difference. Is it the death of sex?”

No. This has been…

*For you youngsters out there, Camille Paglia is a silly Sarah Palin fan who had a very brief period in which she was inexplicably considered relevant, and then for some reason Salon decided that 1997 was going to come back again. And, yes, she does seem to consider Madonna not a decent purveyor of shallow, catchy pop singles but the peak of Western art.

see also.

Finally, A Fresh Idea!

[ 23 ] September 13, 2010 |

In a quite remarkable coup, The Politico has managed to anchor its new opinion section with some fresh, underexposed faces, presented in a highly original format in a very unusual “contrarian moderate liberal vs. movement conservative hack” configuration. I thought I’d suggest some additional pairings that could further supplement this new concept, perhaps even adding a touch of diversity:

  • Cokie Roberts vs.  Alan Keyes
  • Pat Caddel vs. Newt Gingrich
  • Juan Williams vs. Rick Santorum
  • Lanny Davis vs. Pam Gellar
  • Richard Cohen vs. John Yoo

You’re welcome!

Deep Thought

[ 30 ] September 13, 2010 |

The Dallas Cowboys are an extremely disciplined, well-coached team that will at a minimum play for a conference championship. And there ain’t no pretty girls in France.

It seems worth quoting this:

The Cowboys remind me of the Kardashians in that their strongest talent is a relentless ability to remain relevant. Much like the Kardashians successfully created the illusion that they should be famous, the Cowboys successfully created the illusion that they should be a Super Bowl contender. And they didn’t even have to leak a sex tape to do it. You know what Dallas’ record has been since 2000? 82-78. You know how many playoff games it has won over that stretch? One. That’s right … one more playoff win than Buffalo and Detroit.

I think Notre Dame retains the title as the sporting entity with the highest “relevance”-to-recent accomplishment ratio. But I think the Cowboys have pulled ahead of the Maple Leafs on the grounds that the latter have been so bad that their “relevance” actually seems to be diminishing slightly.

Obituary Sunday

[ 14 ] September 12, 2010 |

Jefferson Thomas, R.I.P. We should never forget the courage of the young men and women who actually had to put their lives on the line to attend school in the face of state violence or state-sanctioned violence.

Claude Chabrol
, R.I.P. His skills were indeed relatively undiminished; 2006’s The Comedy of Power is also very sharp.

On destroying the Towers before 9/11

[ 10 ] September 11, 2010 |

Because I’m a little worried about bandwidth issues (and know that everyone’s not into the minutiae of comic history), instead of posting it in full, I’m just going to slap a link to my bit about Liefeld and McFarlane’s wanton destruction of downtown Manhattan in 1991.  I’ll be finishing up my series on War Is Boring and “The Suitcase” shortly, but as I mentioned in the comments yesterday, I seem to have caught a case of the stupid and feel unequipped to handle the likes of Axe and Getzinger.  Liefeld and McFarlane, however…

“I Hate Tennessee”

[ 12 ] September 10, 2010 |

In honor of tomorrow’s Oregon-Tennessee tilt, I feel compelled to repost this:

Loomis and I are leaving for MordorKnoxville early tomorrow morning. Pray for our safe return.

Jim Crow Returns To 11CA

[ 29 ] September 10, 2010 |

Ah, the American judicial system.   An employer engages in racial discrimination sufficiently egregious that an Alabama jury find it illegal.     The 11th Circuit throws out the verdict.    Its reasoning is so specious that a unanimous Supreme Court rejects it.  Another jury finds the discrimination illegal.    In the finest Jim Crow traditions, 11CA once again decides to interpose itself between federal civil rights law and a plaintiff’s rights, throwing out the verdict again.    Sometimes it can be hard to see the progress…