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”

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”

Russia-Ukraine: An alternative scenario

Rumors of war-war flying fast. What if there’s another option?

Saturday morning in the U.S. sees reporting that President Biden is recalling U.S. diplomats from Kyiv, and suspending consular services at the embassy.

Russia is also said to be pulling diplomats out of Ukraine. Continue reading “Russia-Ukraine: An alternative scenario”

Act of Valor; or, A War Without a Narrative…

Narratives, tropes, and videotape.

… but with a Chechen-Jewish Drug Smuggler Named Christo

Let me state up front that I don’t think the filmmakers meant anything by the “Christo” character.  I do think they stumbled haplessly on a hornet’s nest of anti-Semitic tropes – and thereby hangs a tale that matters.

Act of Valor is a moving, gripping film, all the more so for being enacted by real Navy SEALs.  (Full disclosure: this reviewer is a 20-year Navy veteran, and while definitely not a SEAL was privileged to work with some.)  The one major flaw I found with the production, per se, was the rather annoying sound track, which could have dispensed with the hackneyed crescendos at suspenseful moments.  What the SEALs do needs no audience-cues or embellishment.

And they do incredible things.  The movie conveys well Continue reading “Act of Valor; or, A War Without a Narrative…”

Collisions for Global Security, 2011 (Part II): Israel and a Palestinian State

Chess without rules.

In Part I, I discussed the loss of US leadership that has been evident in the handling of the Libya conflict.  This lack of leadership is the central factor in the emerging scramble to get a Palestinian state declared in 2011.  Nothing, not even the “Arab spring” uprisings, is as important as the fact that US leadership in the “peace process” – and in the wider region – is increasingly meaningless.

The good news about that is that much could be averted with a change of front in Washington.  Nothing has yet gone so far that a more effective diplomatic campaign by the US couldn’t bring positive results.

But things have gone a long way already.  Events are moving fast, Continue reading “Collisions for Global Security, 2011 (Part II): Israel and a Palestinian State”