Morning Ed: World {2016.11.17.Th}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    President Elect Donald Trump, correctly understanding the current strategic environment,

    jenniferlawrenceokthumbsup.gifReport

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

      Besides that, the main problem with Capt Hendrix’s analysis is that he completely yada yadas over the fact that the acquisition process has gotten completely out of control in both cost and quality terms, offering othing but the platitudes that equate to “we’ll go after waste fraud and abuse” e.g. this

      Additionally, the Navy should also look at technical challenges with catapults and arresting gear within the Ford carrier program itself in order to drive out inefficiencies and drive down costs

      He can’t possibly think that Big Navy hasn’t tried to do anything about this? Is someone in the Pentagon saying “I’m sick of hearing about the damn EMALS?”

      Changing the design of the next generation of surface ships is definitely one way of getting more ships in more places more quickly (without talking about tradeoffs), but you can’t goose submarine numbers the same way. Plus, I’m sure he also wants SSBN(X), which right now at current cost estimates would swallow the entirely yearly procurement budget.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I imagine that preserving such a language is more than just compiling a dictionary, but also a phonetic guide.

    Quite the challenge.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    That Indian history blogpost link was amazing. The style reminded me of Jaybird’s frequent “I’m going to tell you this story, but first I need to tell you this story.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      So the backstories of current events, naturally, don’t range over years, decades, or even centuries. They range over millennia. And they are not written by winners or losers, because it is never quite clear who won and who lost. And because the stories never end, there is never a final accounting.

      That’s some good buildup, right there.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    It seems to me that Modi has *caused* the cash crisis by elminating the notes and trying to clamp down on cash only transactions as a means of reducing tax evasion.

    Modi has been talking to Christian Slater in his spare time, maybe.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Kolohe says:

      Yes; Alex Tabarrok linked to this piece along those lines when the move was first announced. One possibility raised is that it will actually create greater opportunities for short term corruption by providing a windfall of financial data to officials.Report

  5. Avatar Brent F says:

    Its kinda hard to overstate how incredible the British Navy has no anti-ship missiles thing is. Modern naval warfare is pretty much a missiles-only affair. Its like hearing your tank force doesn’t have cannons, only machine guns. This isn’t a podunk force either, the British Navy on paper should be vying with the French to be the second most capable power projection navy in the world.

    What it really shows though is how little navies get used in the 21th century compared to the 20th. There’s only been one real naval war post-1945. Its gotten to the point that having another is so unlikely that its conceviable that one of the bigger navies in the world can be utterly unprepared to fight and proobably nothing bad will happen.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brent F says:

      If you have aircraft carriers and subs, frankly no other surface Navy should get close to yours.

      Anti-sub defense would be the order of the day.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

        If you’re going to be in the Game, you got to have more flexibility than the presence 12 carriers can give you. (And only the US can afford that many, and it only gives you a sustainable 4.0 worldwide presence)Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

          I don’t think the British feel they need it.

          I mean, let’s be honest, who would they be using ship-to-ship missiles against that couldn’t be handled better by subs or aircraft?

          Threats from aircraft, yes. Threats from subs, yes. But it’s not 1940 anymore. It’s not even 1980. Britain, like the US, is going to notice any threatening surface ships when they’re still a thousand miles away. You can’t sneak a surface force up on anyone.

          So what’s the point? If the British Navy is firing on another navy, someone has dropped the ball so badly that the Brits should just surrender outright.

          Now the ability to launch cruise missiles? Sure. Ship-to-shore? Maybe. But anti-ship missiles?

          Completely pointless. Any ships that need sinking are better sunk from the air or from under the water.

          Submarines and aircraft and cruise missiles have basically taken over the roles entirely.Report

          • Avatar Brent F in reply to Morat20 says:

            The point from the article is their air to sea missile capacity is also out right now, so they can’t rely on naval aviation to do the job either. Now to a certain extent you can repurpose anti-air or anti-ground munitions to do the same job, but those are built to different specifications.

            The point that enemy surface craft isn’t a major concern anymore is well taken and largely what is happening. Maybe you have a remote fear of the Russians sortieing the Kirovs but that’s way far down the list of things to worrying about the Russians doing.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brent F says:

              Is the lack of air-to-sea munitions temporary, due to the heavy use of carriers to support bombing campaigns? Bluntly put, they haven’t fought a naval battle in generations, but they do support a lot of air strikes.

              Or is it doctrine — they envision carriers as force projection and for use in delivering air strikes, but envision submarines to handle the bulk of naval warfare? How are their fleets equipped for ASW?

              Or some mix of both?

              And pragmatically speaking unless their falling out and subsequent war is with the US, the Brits can get by just fine playing ASW warfare and using their subs to discourage enemy movements, until the US can get a carrier group or three into the Atlantic to finish the job.

              And Russia’s probably the only other navy on earth that the British subs couldn’t curb-stomp by themselves anyways.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

                Is the lack of air-to-sea munitions temporary, due to the heavy use of carriers to support bombing campaigns?… Or is it doctrine — they envision carriers as force projection and for use in delivering air strikes, but envision submarines to handle the bulk of naval warfare?

                All of the background I’ve been able to read implies that it’s budgetary — they committed to building two new (somewhat half-assed) supercarriers. Signed contracts for those such that, when they decided that they only really needed one, it cost more to get out of the deal than to have the second one built. They’ve waffled on whether to actually put the second one into service when it’s done, or to look for someone to buy it. (About the time it’s ready, if it were a better vessel, Japan might be in the market.) In short, they can’t afford missiles right now.

                This is the same problem the Pentagon is starting to face. The new Gerald R. Ford class carriers are starting to look so expensive that they won’t be one-for-one replacements for the Nimitz class. The F-35 is turning out to be so expensive they’ll never buy as many as originally planned, at least if they want there to be money for anything else that flies.

                As some wag put it, modern weapons platforms are getting so expensive that no one will be willing to deploy them someplace where they might get scratched.Report

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, their current weapons for the job got old and obsolete. They used to be running around with the Harpoon missile for anti-ship work but that weapon has aged into irrelevance against modern targets. A modern warship is a pretty difficult target to reliably hit with the limited number of shots you get with a weapon that has a prayer of being even close to the target. Incidently, this is similar to why there are experts that are extremely skeptical of China’s “carrier killer” missiles, a carrier is a very hard target to hit from a range outside a carriers groups’ ability to blow you up whenever it wants.

                Given recent British behaviour, I would guess that pretty much everything else is getting sacrificed so they’ll have a modern full sized supercarrier that can do power projection and be pretty much interchangeable with the cousin’s big guys. Their budget is tight and historically having a carrier has proven to be always helpful for the geopolitical crisis du jou and has huge prestige attached to it. Meanwhile ship to ship fighting is only a problem if you get into a real fight with somebody who can fight back and they can probably lean on that either not happening or if it did happen the cousins could kerb stomp them for them anyway.

                As I understand it, the broader forces at play here is that individual ships got hugely expensive in the electronic age (battle ready electronics are the big expense, not the hull unless you’re getting fancy with the hull) and budgets got tighter as there become much less perceived value for money than say the late 19th century. So keeping everything in budget for even a “best of the rest” force like the Royal Navy has gotten increasingly tougher as time goes on. They and the French are the only ones trying to replicate the US Navy in minature right now and that’s very tough to do (for one thing, they have a big economy of scale problem). So areas get triaged and it seems surface warfare is the latest victim. That’s not got if you expect to fight the Falkens War again, but the Argies have let their own capabilities decline so much that isn’t likely to be an issue.

                The US Navy isn’t immune from the same problem, as debates about keeping up the size of the supercarrier fleet and replacing submarines demonstrate. Even they can’t afford everything, which is part of the multifaceted reasons why they only have nuclear subs and no diseals.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brent F says:

                Ever get the feeling that the problem is that Western Militaries are trying to deploy technological solutions that aren’t even close to ready yet?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Yes, but that’s also because Western military’s use technology as a force multiplier.

                It does lead to expensive dead ends (like the F-35). When that was being designed, it was designed to defeat a next-gen enemy fighter that was never built, and frankly it’s battlefield role is going to be filled with drones soon anyways. (Although hopefully with better security).

                I don’t think the Air Force likes the idea of becoming the Chair Force for real, with all their “pilots” hundreds of miles away (minimum) doing little more than assigning targeting criteria to swarms of semi-autonomous drones.

                On the one hand, just because we’re so far ahead doesn’t mean they can stop pushing ahead, but on the other hand — you’d think being so far ahead would mean we can admit when something isn’t working.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Morat20 says:

                The F 35 isn’t going to be a dead end since we are committed to it. We’re gonna have a pile of them. I don’t doubt that in 10-15 years the pilots will have figured out how to make it work pretty well. Hopefully we don’t need it for a very long time because it does have the possibility of being a massive failure.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                IIRC, it was being built to defeat a Chinese next gen fighter that was all smoke & mirrors (the Chinese had a new fighter, but it was mostly vaporware).

                Let me think, how did we bury the Russian economy again?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I think building new fighters is like building up a battleship fleet designed for shore bombardment in the 1980s.

                Whatcha gonna do with that, besides watch it sink?

                That’s the F-35. Nice plane, dude. Unfortunately, you’ve still got a pilot inside. Here’s a dozen drones that, together, cost 1/10 as much as your fighter. They don’t have a fragile meatbag inside, so they’re faster, turn harder, and much more expendable — you sure you can shoot down all 12 before they get you?Report

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Morat20 says:

                Drones have been quite successful at replacing the role the A-10 got shoe-horned into in cheaply delivering ordanance to targets when no one is contesting the skies against you.

                For the job the F-35 is supposed to handle, drone technology isn’t even close to being able to handle. Current drone use depends on having a free and clear electronic connection to the drone to control it remotely. Countermessures mean that ease of communications go away in a hot warzone against a competent enemy.

                A drone that doesn’t rely on a controller requires AI technology nobody has or is particularly close to having and turning the warfighting decision making over to the robots entirely isn’t something most people are comfortable with yet.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brent F says:

                This, a single ECM/EW pod and the drones can’t fight because they just lost their command link (assuming the enemy has a clue what bandwidth the command link is on so they can flood it).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brent F says:

                Yeah, but that’s pretty clearly the direction it’s going.

                Because in the end, a pilot seated IN the plane severely restricts the things you can do with a plane.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brent F says:

                @brent-f @morat20 I still think there’s some credible scenarios for ship to ship missiles. The one that springs immediately to mind is enforcing sanctions like we did in Iraq back in the day, and Iran more recently. And having DDs and Figs rely exclusively on the air arm is also puting all your eggs into the network centric basket (you have never been able to rely on your undersea arm for real time coordinated ops due to the inherent comms issues because of radio wave attenuation in H20)Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brent F says:

      Plus, that sole big naval shooting war formed the basis of RN policy and strategy for the next 30 years. (Until now, I guess)

      And it was only last month that a USN DDG (I think) fired some missile into Yemen, because someone from Yemen was firing missiles at her.Report

  6. Avatar Blomster says:

    Good to see the Herman Mashaba link.

    South Africans have never voted according to whatever the economic or social policies of the parties are.

    In the Od Days, people (well, those that were allowed to vote) voted exclusively on racial policy. Since 1994 people (everyone, this time) have basically either voted for the ANC as the liberation movement that set them free or for… the alternative, which is the remnants of the old white anti-apartheid parties from the Old Days; the Democratic Alliance. You’d see some yin in the yang and some yang in the yin (like Mashaba in the DA), but that was basically it. Recently the EFF has emerged as a truly populist/ leftist party.

    But then the DA won great gains in the 2016 municipal elections, grabbing control of important hubs such as Johannesburg from the once rock-solid hold of the ANC. They did not do so because people have rejected the more socialist leanings of the ANC in favour of capitalism or libertarianism. If that had been true the (scarily) socialist EFF would not also have been gaining support.

    No; they had done so because Jacob Zuma is a deeply corrupt man that has played a remarkable game of risk to protect himself and his power base, corrupting the ANC in the process. A few very high profile confrontations with the old ANC stallwarts this past year has made the level of corruption aparent, and the voters have noted, and they’ve listened, and they’ve voted accordingly.

    Mashaba’s mandate is not that of getting rid of the few social safety nets South Africans have – his mandate is to rid the province of corruption. My guess is 90% of South Africans have never heard of the word ‘libertarian’.Report

  7. Avatar Blomster says:

    Good to see the Herman Mashaba link.

    South Africans have never voted according to whatever the economic or social policies of the parties are.

    In the Od Days, people (well, those that were allowed to vote) voted exclusively on racial policy. Since 1994 people (everyone, this time) have basically either voted for the ANC as the liberation movement that set them free or for… the alternative, which is the remnants of the old white anti-apartheid parties from the Old Days; the Democratic Alliance. You’d see some yin in the yang and some yang in the yin (like Mashaba in the DA), but that was basically it. Recently the EFF has emerged as a truly populist/ leftist party.

    But then the DA won great gains in the 2016 municipal elections, grabbing control of important hubs such as Johannesburg from the once rock-solid hold of the ANC. They did not do so because people have rejected the more socialist leanings of the ANC in favour of capitalism or libertarianism. If that had been true the (scarily) socialist EFF would not also have been gaining support.

    No; they had done so because Jacob Zuma is a deeply corrupt man that has played a remarkable game of risk to protect himself and his power base, corrupting the ANC in the process. A few very high profile confrontations with the old ANC stallwarts this past year has made the level of corruption aparent, and the voters have noted, and they’ve listened, and they’ve voted accordingly.

    Mashaba’s mandate is not that of getting rid of the few social safety nets South Africans have – his mandate is to rid the province of corruption.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Re:Modi (via TPM)

    According to Mehta, Donald Trump Jr expressed satisfaction with the pace of Trump Organization’s India business and showed interest in expanding it further. “We didn’t get a chance to talk about currency demonetisation with Mr Trump. But, his kids knew about it and they termed it as an incredibly bold move,” Mehta added.

    Report

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