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Friday NatSec Roundup

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Sukhoi T-50 in 2011 (4).jpg
T-50 at airshow. By Dmitry Zherdin – , CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The Borg have neither honor, nor courage.

  • Little bit more detail on the cyber-attack which purportedly disrupted Iranian efforts to mess with shipping in the Persian Gulf. Interesting bit about cyber-conflict thus far is that states seem to treat cyber-attacks as de-escalatory, something to do when you don’t really want to seem particularly aggressive. The leak itself is also interesting, as it seems likely that some agency or command wants to put itself on the map…
  • Andrew Erickson hits all of the important points on withdrawing from the INF. I have a short piece at the Diplomat on the Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) test that the US conducted last week that goes over some of the same ground.
  • Turkey is in talks to buy more equipment from Russia, including possibly the Su-35 and the Su-57 stealth fighter. Leaving the F-35 project to buy the Su-57 is one of those “not actually a good idea” ideas, especially from the perspective of technology transfer, but Erdogan has domestic and ideological reasons to cleave closer to Putin.
  • Space Command, or SPACECOM, has come back to life. A combatant command for space, which essentially aggregates the capabilities of the existing services, is a much, much better idea than an independent Space Force.
  • It’s not 100% clear to me what’s supposed to be going on in the Trump-Macron-Rouhani saga that’s playing out. It would be great, I suppose, for the US to sit down with Iran, but it strains credulity to think that any kind of deal could be worked out before the 2020 election. Moreover, the people Trump has surrounded himself with hate Iran a lot more than they hate North Korea, and will push back much harder against any similar kind of treatment.
  • This is a classic of the Jeff Goldberg canon; demonstrate how well-connected Jeff is without getting anything particularly useful about the subject. Jeff has a long history of these kinds of interviews, which mainly serve to demonstrate that Goldberg is a Really Important Guy that Important People Talk to. BTW the Mattis op-ed in the WSJ is not good. The first two-thirds serves as a long subtweet of Trump, confirming what basically everyone knows about Mattis’ attitude towards the President. It ends with some weird stuff that amounts to “both sides do it, except the Marines.” I do hope that Mattis comes to appreciate the existence and value of politics at some point before November 2020.



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