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Friday NatSec Roundup

An F-35B Lightning II aircraft is secured aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1). (40497948623).jpg
F-35B aboard USS Wasp.
By MC1 Daniel Barker/U.S. Navy. Public Domain

Some say we deserve a better world. But do we? Really?

  • For those who were asking about the state of the F-35 program, Valerie Insinna has a good write-up in the New York Times. Long story short, much of what folks say about the difficulties of the F-35 program are true, but the glib claim that the program is an unrequited disaster are no longer tenable. The most interesting part of the program is its international flavor; Jonathan Caverley et al have a great discussion of the F-35 as “America’s Belt and Road” over at Foreign Policy.
  • Speaking of which, the US and Japan have apparently already agreed to cross-decking F-35Bs once the light carriers Izumo and Kaga re-enter service. It is difficult to emphasize how much Japan, Korea, and even the United Kingdom will benefit from having a strong partnership with the USN, while the Chinese essentially have to reinvent naval aviation from scratch.
  • Speaking of South Korea, it just pulled out of a major, long-term intelligence sharing arrangement with Japan. This is probably a mistake. As I’ve suggested on previous occasions, while Japanese intransigence over World War II history is a serious concern, it does no one any good to rip up contemporary diplomatic relations over the shades of the Second World War. Peace agreements are almost always unsatisfactory to both parties, except insofar as they produce peace, and tearing up the various agreements that resolved World War II grievances (in both Europe and Asia; I have less than zero sympathy with Greek demands for German reparations) is utterly counterproductive. At this point, Japan has no reason to believe that ANY apology or reparations schedule for Korea will ever prove satisfactory, and thus no real reason to comply with additional demands.
  • Tom Cotton is, genuinely, not stupid enough to believe that buying Greenland was ever remotely a possibility. That’s he’s actually taking credit for the idea says a great deal about how the political economy of expertise functions in the modern GOP. He was quite capable of just keeping his mouth shut while Trump made an idiot out of himself for the 1000th time over, but he couldn’t resist. The parallels with the paeans to Kim Jong Un’s genius should be obvious.
  • Israel is apparently bombing Iraq now.

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