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Monday NatSec Roundup

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A6M2 on carrier Akagi 1941.jpeg

It is not the custom of kings to kill kings.

  • So we’ve finally decided to sell out the Kurds. Apart from Trump’s continuing fascination with right wing autocrats, the Kurds occupy an awfully weird space in American national security thinking. Kurdish security was part of the case for the invasion of Iraq; the Kurds have been reliably supportive of US policy in Iraq and Syria; the Kurds have been at the center of the breakdown in the US-Turkey alliance; many military and national security professionals have genuinely warm feelings for the Kurds that they don’t have for, say, other Iraqis or Afghans. All that said, Kurdistan is a land-locked nation of people divided between at least four different hostile countries, which makes a long-term alliance… problematic.
  • Lindsey Graham, who never gets the sads about Trump anymore, is sad this morning.
  • I’m old enough to remember folks being worried about the dire threat that feckless Obama administration foreign policy posed to the reputation and credibility of the United States.
  • With the upcoming 75th anniversary of Leyte Gulf, and the big money Midway film (which looks like it’s going to be… complicated), there’s gonna be a lot of stuff about the Pacific War over the next month. Over at the National Interest I have a short bit on the question of how the US carriers avoided the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • The NBA has handled its spat with China very, very badly. But expect more of this, because the United States and China are economically intertwined in ways that no trade war can disrupt, and to an extent far greater than the US and the Soviets during the Cold War. Do not expect Creed III to feature a gigantic Chinese boxer.
  • The situation in Iraq is far from great, but at the moment it’s among the most democratic countries in the region. Turning it into an arena for US-Iranian competition doesn’t help that at all.


A6M “Zero” fighter onboard HIJMS Akagi. By IJN Public Domain, Link

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