Syria

Syria, North Korea, and Trump - Oh My!

Syria, North Korea, and Trump - Oh My!

Two weeks ago, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Shayrat Air Base in Homs Province in response to a recent chemical attack carried out by the Russian-Backed Assad Regime. The attack was unsuccessful by most military measures. In fact, as far as Assad is concerned, militarily nothing has changed for the worse. 

So why risk so much for a largely ineffective strike against an airbase? Why use TLAMs against hardened targets when B-2s would have made more sense? Why deploy a carrier group to the East Sea? To send a message to North Korea. 

Redefining the Cold War

Redefining the Cold War

Consider the following questions:

  • How does a NATO country, like Belgium or Spain, raise its defense spending rapidly over the short term (i.e. 4 years) without incurring the risk associated with research and development or costs associated with increased manpower?
  • How does a businessman-turned-politician drive down the costs of a weapon's program whose costs are "out of control?"
  • How does one make good on promises to "bring manufacturing jobs back home?" to appease Economic Security voters?
  • How does an administration, in dire need of showing strength against a country who allegedly helped it get elected do so without leading to an accidental international incident?

The answer to all of these is through Foreign Military Sales; the one thing that the U.S. government has been decidedly good at over the last several decades.  Currently, the most prolific export of the U.S. military sale market is the F-35 and it has been catapulted into the limelight as a cornerstone in the next Cold War.

Foreign Policy of the 1800s, the Birth of Terrorism, and the Pursuit of Economic Security

Foreign Policy of the 1800s, the Birth of Terrorism, and the Pursuit of Economic Security

Barriers in the name of security, and defiance through bureaucratic incompetence, for the sake of an all too common theme: Economic Security. It's clear that President-Elect Donald Trump was elected with just this goal in mind, and with the 2008 Recession not having been far removed from the election, we can't exactly blame the American population for its vote.

We must be careful that we are not repeating the mistakes of our past. This pursuit of Economic Security cannot, nor should it, usurp the pursuit of minimizing human suffering or promoting the American ideals of equality, democracy, and freedom. Furthermore, as the ongoing War on Terror has all-but definitively proven, combating terror on the scale that we've forced ourselves to runs contrary to this elusive goal.

The Accidental World War

The Accidental World War

A recent report by the Washington Post claims that the IC is investigating the possibility of Russian influence in American politics through cyber attacks, propaganda, and disinformation.  While this makes for a fantastic headline, it doesn't really tell us anything.  

However, the existence of the investigation does give us an interesting thought experiment. US interests are routinely being barraged by cyber attacks, like the Sony hack by North Korea in 2014, that are nominally ignored by the US government apparatus and IC alike.  However, there are two key differences between an attack at the electoral system:  First, it is an attack that undermines our ability to practice democracy; and second, it undermines our ability to project military, political, and technological power throughout the rest of the world.

Nationalism: The Rise of the Warrior Class Post-9/11

Nationalism:  The Rise of the Warrior Class Post-9/11

I can no longer open an essay about September 11, 2001 with "We all know where we were that faithful day," because an increasingly large number of individuals are coming of age without having any discernible memory of a life prior to the World Trade Center attack.  This generation, even moreso than mine, has always lived in the Post-9/11 world, and embodies the concept behind my popular essay "Generation at War" better than my generation ever could.  

These individuals lack the pre-9/11 context in which to frame their new world views, and as such will rely heavily on the narrative that generations before them have provided. As a result, it becomes increasingly important that, as we round the fifteenth anniversary of this tragic event, we pause for some introspection in order to better understand the narratives that we are providing.

Responding to the Paris Attacks

Responding to the Paris Attacks

 I haven't actually compiled my own thoughts on the subject instead of relying on resharing and rehashing already viral content.  Between resharing others, and repeating the same arguments ad nauseum, I've probably been a bit of a broken record on the tragedy.  Which is why I've decided to make this post:  To state the things that shouldn't, but apparently must, be said.