Morning Ed: War & Intrigue {2018.06.22.F}


Will Truman

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

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Wr7: The article makes the standard error of assuming that plutonium from spent commercial reactor fuel makes good nuclear weapons. Weapons-grade plutonium needs to be low in Pu-240 content; spent fuel is not. High Pu-240 content causes bombs to fizzle, producing far less than the designed energy release. Separating Pu-239 (good for bombs) from Pu-240 (bad for bombs) is a sufficiently hard problem that nobody does it — they breed their weapons-grade plutonium by leaving the U-238 base material in the reactor for relatively short periods so that Pu-240 accumulation is not a problem. Spent fuel from CANDU heavy-water reactors, with high burnup rates that leave the fuel in the reactor longer during normal operation, should have worse Pu-240 levels than light-water reactors.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    W9: Its more like liberals do not think that Donald Trump is capable of bringing peace to North and South Korea because of history of messing everything up and the general extremism of his administration. He nearly got us into nuclear war with North Korea and called off the summit once. When the summit occurred he gave North Korea everything they wanted with nothing in return.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Wr9 – They might be correct, and I agree with the sentiment, but they are unreliable narrators.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Wr5 – I’m thinking the author is conflating the potential of GPS with the potential of GIS. Most of his examples, especially the dot map of Chicago are examples of the comparatively newly arrived possibilities of the latter.

    and from the book he’s reviewing

    Coordinates shift attention from the area to the point: a stable electronic grid makes it possible to aim missiles, drill for offshore oil, or conduct field research without any overarching awareness of a larger geographic region…. Being glib, one could say that with representation the goal is to know about a place without having to visit. With technologies like GPS, the goal is instead to visit a place without having to know much about it.

    This is ridiculous. Nobody who actually does those things for a living thinks that GPS assistance is anything more than a very useful tool – not even close to a mental paradigm shifting one. (and instutionally, there are already lessons learned regarding over reliance on GPS and what it can do for you)

    The current ‘universal’ standard for mapping pre-dates the widespread adoption of GPS tools by at least 10 years. (It’s called WGS 84 because it was established in 1984.) And really only provides an agreed upon model to account for the fact that world is not quite exactly round.Report

  5. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Wr1: I can buy that blowback is insufficient on it’s own to turn a person into a terrorist or radicalized fighter.

    But it sure as hell isn’t going to make us any friends in the region, which will mess with our ability to gather intel from human sources at best, and at worst we’ll have people offering intel about us to radical groups.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      It really seems that the best thing that can happen to jihadists (and the worst thing that can happen to everybody else) is failed states that allow them to gain a real foothold where they can develop the infrastructure to hold and project power. The overwhelming bulk of this is felt by their neighbors, but eventually they’ll start exporting that to the rest of world.

      Drone strikes seem… unlikely to help with stability. Of course, neither does anything else we do in the Middle East. Afghanistan, or Pakistan.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

        I am imagining a counterfactual timeline.

        What if, after the 1991 Gulf War, America had withdrawn all its troops from the Middle East, including the air bases in the Saudi Kingdom, which was the primary grievance of Osama Bin Laden and his causus belli for 9-11?

        I want to avoid that strain of thought that places primary agency for all the world’s ills on America, but I wonder how the counterfactual world above might have played out.

        Would a smaller American footprint have sucked the oxygen out of the argument that we are the Great Satan?
        Honestly, I don’t know and maybe no one does.

        But I am struck by how futile and pointless the current stalemate in Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan/Yemen is. 15 years of war and we are no closer to peace than we were on 9-10-2001.

        I saw somewhere a news clip about a son being sent to fight the same war his father served in, which makes me wonder how old the grandson might be, and if he will serve alongside them someday.

        Four trillion dollars, burned in a massive bonfire. 600,000 Iraqis dead, several nations shattered and traumatized, and an entire region wracked with a seething rage which continues to escalate leading to who knows what horrors ahead of us.

        I know there are worse timelines that could be imagined, but I am straining right now to put one together.Report

  6. Avatar Kolohe says:

    This WSJ article on how Trump is implementing the “Space Force” is now paywalled, but here’s a Hill article that summarizes that WSJ article.Report