TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Until the Supreme Court ruled Friday morning on Dobbs v. Jackson, this edition of Ready Room was going to lead with the “Russia-NATO escalation” segment.  But such a momentous ruling, which basically overturned Roe v. Wade, obviously merits comment, however brief.

The Dobbs ruling is good law, unlike Roe (and some other landmark rulings including Obergefell, the same-sex marriage case).  It’s good law because it recognizes that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t confer a “right” to abortion on which states cannot impose limits.

It’s good law because it doesn’t overturn any state laws, like those of New York and California, that are as consistent with the Constitution as any state law that puts limits on the conditions in which abortion is permissible.  Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback”

Priorities, USA – on Memorial Day

Never forget.

People have asked in recent months why I haven’t been writing much about foreign affairs, geopolitics, military and strategic analysis, and so forth.

There’s certainly enough going on in the world to keep a foreign and security policy geek busy.  I appreciate the interest from those who’ve asked.

But the short answer – the best answer – is the one I will take the opportunity of our Memorial Day observance to give.

It’s simply this.  With all that’s erupting outside America’s borders, Continue reading “Priorities, USA – on Memorial Day”

China-Taiwan: Notes on a war game

NBC’s Meet the Press Reports published a new online episode this past week in which the network sponsored a war game for a China-Taiwan scenario developing in 2027.  The episode, entitled “War Games: Battle for Taiwan,” and hosted by Chuck Todd, can be accessed here.

These are just a few notes on a topic that needs a much more in-depth treatment.  But it’s worth registering some top-level comments as this subject garners more and more attention in the coming days.

I would say at the outset that criticism here isn’t intended in any way to mock the effort made to hold the war game and put it together for presentation.  It’s a tough proposition for anyone, and summarizing the results is invariably a matter of choosing and framing priorities, regardless of who’s doing it. Continue reading “China-Taiwan: Notes on a war game”

TOC Ready Room 6 May 2022: Intel superheroes of America

What’s wrong and right in the world.

Unfortunately, U.S. officials handed NBC a disclosure on Thursday that the U.S. had assisted Ukraine in targeting the Russian cruiser Moskva, which was sunk by a Ukrainian anti-ship missile attack on 14 April.

Touting such activities in the media is foolish and unnecessary.  Providing assistance in locating and identifying Russian weapon systems that are then immediately targeted can be read as becoming a belligerent in the war.

Crowing over it, in the manner we saw Thursday, also looks like taking credit for superficial politics’ sake, and that always comes off as weak and undisciplined.

It’s one thing to announce without caveat that you attacked something, take full responsibility, and issue an unmistakable warning through your tone and your terse explanation of why.

But that’s not what U.S. officials did. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 6 May 2022: Intel superheroes of America”

TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)

What’s wrong and right, afloat.

Modern naval problems, it turns out, look pretty much like naval problems from any time.  The parameters are resources, logistics, geography, and technology.

This will be a tweet-enriched lightning round.  The big punch comes at the end.  It’s a doozy (and yes, I know:  if I were tediously pedantic I’d spell it Duesy.  Life is short).

A number of negative things are happening in a concentrated burst.  One is that the Navy brass – “Big Navy” – has just proposed to whack out a big chunk of the fleet for the foreseeable future.  With a target over the last half-decade of 355 ships, the Navy would decline from its current 296 ships to 280 in Fiscal Year 2027 (FY27).  In the best case among three options proposed by the Navy, the fleet would recover to 299 by FY32, 10 years from now. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)”