Midterms and Mayhem

Abstract: A “red wave” midterm election seems about to occur. Notwithstanding the apparent (relatively) recent precedent of the 1994 midterms, the eight weeks from Tuesday 8 November 2022 to Tuesday 3 January 2023 may become the most challenging period to date in the entire history of the American constitutional order, not excepting the “Secession Winter” following Tuesday 6 November 1860. A broadly similar situation would almost certainly exist if the relative positions of the major political parties in the US were reversed. Even with alarming possibilities in view, this post is intended to promote constructive apprehension, not mere fearfulness.

Like all good students at our eponymous institution, you get the theoretical elements first, then more practical aspects, and falsifiable predictions at the end.

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Heuristics for Ukraine (and other places)

NB: some of the following is from a recent videoconference that included our own Trent Telenko, who is very much the man of the hour, but some of it is more publicly available, not to mention common sense. First, though, as is my wont, a quadrant diagram to organize my presentation …

I. Theater “Hardware” (physical assets/consequences)

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Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

From 2018:  The Psychology of Progressive Hostility

Democrats: The Party of Performance Art

The identity cult

One root of cancel culture can be found in how we teach history

Benefits of the decline in higher education enrollments

Title VIII damage remedies as a driver of Wokeness

An experienced battalion commander talks about the 5%, the 15%, and the 80%

Understanding hypersonic missile systems

Stalin scholar Stephen Kotkin on Putin, Russia, and the West

An argument that we will not see a new Age of Empires

Thoughts from China on Ukraine

The winner on Ukraine?…Not Russia, not America, but China

Getting a sense of the Russian soul

Putin’s Russia versus Pushkin’s Russia

Update: Two interesting interviews with Putin, by a political scientist and an art historian.


Gallipoli, China, and the Snapping Shrimp

An article in the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute says that a major factor in the Gallipoli disaster of WWI was the great effectiveness of the Turkish minefields, which checkmated the power of the Allied (British, French, and Russian) navies and prohibited a seapower-only passage through the Strait of Dardanelles.  The authors argue that China’s intensive production of naval mines could result in a similar strategically-critical threat in a future conflict.

Several approaches to reduce the minefield threat are discussed…one rather surprising angle is to exploit the characteristics of the snapping shrimp…these crustaceans generate extremely loud sounds when they close their claws, and American submarine commanders in WWII would sometimes hide in snapping shrimp colonies to mask their acoustic signatures from enemy hydrophones.  These creatures are especially and conveniently dense, it seems, in the East and South China Seas, and it is suggested that arrays of sensors, backed by considerable computing power, could process the returns from the noise generated by the shrimp and hence locate the enemy mines.

Stranger things have happened…I guess.