The USS George Washington Didn’t Sail In Vain

Countering neo-conservative and paleo-conservative derision about the decline of American power in Northeast Asia, Carlyle A. Thayer argues that American smart power is wearing down Chinese bellicosity in the South China Sea.

US diplomatic initiatives must be placed in the larger context of US-South Korean naval exercises, the prominent surfacing of three Ohio-class submarines armed with conventional Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles in Subic Bay, Busan and Diego Garcia, and the visit of the nuclear carrier George Washington to waters off central Vietnam to mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The view that US primacy is in decline seems premature indeed.

Our Monkey Cousins Join the Pox Wars

I want to cheer the news, that U.S. military brings scientists closer to Ebola cure.

Yesterday, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and a private firm, AVI BioPharma, published the results of studies that show that their treatment does have a helpful effect in monkeys. That’s a huge leap, particularly since the researchers were given clearance to start limited human testing. The partnership won a Defense Department grant of up to $291 million last month for that phase.

The Horrible Waste and Destruction of Two Atomic Bombs

I want to write more – as well as do more reading – but right now this comment I’ve left at Roy Berman’s post on “Hiroshima bombing anniversary” is my most recent statement on the significance of the two atomic blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. More and more, I view both as unnecessary war crimes.

Continuing what M-Bone said, I think it’s important to view the A-Bomb not as only a military weapon, but as a means to a diplomatic strategy the US implemented to frustrate the Japanese.

Obama Riffs on Bush As Pyongyang Stays on Tempo

Generally, I think sanctions have little effect except to please domestic constituencies in the sanctioning state and to give other states opportunities to fill the void. That’s why I generally agree with Tad Farrell’s yawning acknowledgment of the Obama administration’s burst of sanctions activity on Pyongyang.

As some analysts have already commented, this new round of U.S sanctions will likely be regarded as “meaningless” by the DPRK.

Taking One for the Country Gets High-Tech

Let me just sigh that I’m no longer U.S. government property, a.k.a. Army Soldier/Guinea Pig #### (Expendable)! One of the worst days of Basic Combat training for some recruits is processing, particularly getting vaccinations. I had no problems, but the guy behind me nearly sprayed vomit all over my backside, and another a few places ahead of me in line managed to hit the wall. Having to concentrate on an imaginary fixed to avoid staring at his vomited breakfast as I tried to concentrate on a fixed point on that wall while I got my own injections was mental torture. After that the spectacle of hobbled recruits rubbing sore buttocks was comic relief. But now, someone has decided to make all this seem like a walk in the park. The Army wants to get medieval on disease: Inject Troops With Gas-Propelled, Electro-Charged DNA.

It’s Hard to Believe in the Lee Administration

Thermal image of Cheonan sinkingErich Weingartner underscores the most annoying aspects of the Cheonan disaster: the Lee administration and the ROK military establishment keep doubt alive with their ham-fisted performances.

More Math-Related Humility and Evolutionary Biology

When I think of the most recent helpful sources for understanding evolution, P.Z. Myers and this Carl Zimmer interview with Carl Bergstrom have made me feel inadequate at mathematics again.

No Money Backing the Stakes in the Koreas

Using foreigners as political foils resonates politically in the Koreas, where no one really takes the expressions to task. Case in point: ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myunghwan’s “Dear Leader-ing threat to South Korean dissenters. I agree with Yuna, that Minister Yu should keep his job. But, he needs to apologize and refrain from associating dissent with treason.

But, in the Koreas, it’s the leftists who are the real xenophobes.

The JSDF [Japanese Self-Defense Forces] observation will take place in the midst of China’s sensitive response to the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises in the East Sea. Japan’s role is likely to add to existing tensions on the Korean Peninsula if China and North Korea issue unfavorable responses.

The Most Dangerous Man in America (Video)

I had to remember how much I despised intelligence-gathering. I can’t decide if Dana Priest and William Arkin are fools, serviceable or otherwise. There are moral limits to human perfectibility, beyond which lies something that is incomprehensibly other than human.

I had another chance to watch the excellent documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

Vengeance Is a Missile

Joshua Pollack points out one island-sized problem with the ROK’s new Hyunmi-C missile.

In the last few years, South Korea has gone back and forth over whether to describe the North as “the main enemy.” At one level, the words are immaterial; it’s painfully obvious whose army is lined up on the other side of the DMZ. (Hint: not Burkina Faso’s.) But at another level, calling the DPRK the enemy actually might serve as a helpful clarification for decision-makers in Seoul.

All of this is by way of drawing attention to a small discrepancy in recent media reports about the Hyunmu-3C ground-launched cruise missile, described by anonymous ROK defense officials as having a range of 1,500 km.

The Chosun Ilbo calls it the successor to cruise missiles of 500 km and 1,000 km range, and explains,

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