View Full Version : Let's Invade Liechtenstein!

02-26-2008, 08:01 PM

02-26-2008, 09:52 PM
With the development and now being deploymed of a new type of phased array radar technology it is possible to discriminate between decoys and warheads. The new phased array radar technology is primarily, at this point a software upgrade and increased cpu power, being applied to current phased array radar to produce a 3 dimensional picture of the objects of interest. This is not the article I was looking for but you will get the general idea from CEAFAR (3D) active phased array radar. (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/australia-and-usa-collaborating-on-new-phased-array-radar-01055/) The new software lets each single transmitter/receiver in an active phased array radar to be individually targeted/focused with the various returns being combined, hence the need for more computing power, to paint a three dimensional picture and each transmitter/receiver to track an individual target. For a geeky radar engineer this has to be some pretty neat stuff.

02-26-2008, 11:08 PM
Let us not forget who invited the chiefs that have cooked President Musharrafís goose. It was the US that got President Musharraf to allow the leaders of both parties back into Pakistan in brokered deals. It was the US as well as most of the rest of the free world, but we are the one paying the tab not something President Musharraf could really afford to ignore, that got President Musharraf to resign as head of the Armed Forces, and that insisted on and got President Musharraf to allow the elections to go forward. If it seems that we are clinging on to President Musharraf it may just be an attempt to slow things down and let the emotions subside so that the transition occur in a relatively calm and ordered manner; for emotional transitions are fraught with danger.

A quick perusal of the WEB will return numerous references and articles where statements are made by anonymous administration/state department/militaty officials that are critical of President Musharraf only to latter be "officially" discounted a day or two latter by official spokespersons; the waltz of diplomacy. And yes the presence of nukes do make for trying to make that a very slow and close dance.

02-27-2008, 12:49 AM
Just started watching, unable to resist hitting the Pause button.

I have to say, if Michael Goldfarb thinks the accomplishment of shooting down this satellite offers any reassurance to us Star Wars skeptics, he is sorely mistaken. Just to hit the high points: known target path, plenty of time to plan, only one target, no decoys. And it still cost $60 million for this single shot.

I'm not saying the achievement was nothing, but I am saying I remain unconvinced that this is the best way to spend our military dollars.

I am also unconvinced that "the perception is out there" that this was a successful demonstration of Star Wars. The fact that Michael felt compelled to say if forty-seven times did not help his case.

02-27-2008, 01:00 AM
I found Goldfarb's attempt to label the PROC as "fascist" bizarre, lacking the realization that this will come up again and again as Jonah Goldberg seeps into the neocons' subconscious. If we're going to talk about authoritarian regimes married to export oriented industrialization, then the heirs of fascism in Asia are Singapore, Taiwan, ROK, etc., the former colonies of fascist Japan. My argument is that there's no substance to this bellicosity, and that it is specifically a ploy to manipulate the US political discussion, so that right-wing commentators won't need to be shamed by their association to actual repressive political regimes.

02-27-2008, 01:08 AM
I have to say, if Michael Goldfarb thinks the accomplishment of shooting down this satellite offers any reassurance to us Star Wars skeptics, he is sorely mistaken. Just to hit the high points: known target path, plenty of time to plan, only one target, no decoys. And it still cost $60 million for this single shot.
...Ballistic trajectory is not a difficult calculation and would essentially be know shortly after launch with sufficient radar power and coverage. The planning for ballistic missile shoot down is already automated and in the system already, in fact that they had to rewrite the program to account for the different characteristics of the buss sized satellite and the tank location in the satellite to try and destroy, both accomplished successfully, as well as modify the SM3 missile used to reach the altitude of the satellite. As to decoys see the post above. Decoy argument is a decoy (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=70893#post70893)

02-27-2008, 02:12 AM

I know you said that the article you linked to wasn't the one you had in mind, but nothing in that article led me to believe that the decoy problem has suddenly been made to vanish. I respect that you've done more reading on this than I have lately, but neither your assertion or Michael Goldfarb's gives me any reason to think we're close to solving the problem.

I also think you're glossing over the problem of detecting launched missiles by saying it's just a matter of "sufficient radar power and coverage." Well, yeah, but pollution wouldn't be a problem if we had "sufficiently good air scrubbers," too.

I am not saying that the entire thing is literally impossible. I am saying that the whole approach strikes me as inefficient at best, and that there are better ways to spend defense dollars. Or better yet, spend some of the dollars on something other than military hardware.

I forget whether I picked up this link from this site. Even if so, it bears repeating: Fred Kaplan, "Shooting down the hype (http://www.slate.com/id/2184894)." Among the many resonant passages:

The smart way to play an arms race is to develop weapons that force the enemy to spend more money to counter them. A ballistic-missile-defense system pushes the enemy toward alternatives that cost less.

02-27-2008, 02:22 AM
I suppose that I will have to spend some time finding the original article so as to assuage your curiosity then. I leave for Chicago in a few hours hopefully I will locate it before that time as I spend little time on the computer when visiting the home town and friends.

P.S. Still not it but closer Deception Killer Radar (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htecm/articles/20080131.aspx)

02-27-2008, 02:33 AM

Thanks for the follow-up. I do have to say, I hope you can find the one you were thinking of. The two that I've read so far smack of press release optimism, and after a fairly long career doing government-sponsored R&D work, I am all too familiar with how great everything sounds when a program is being pitched.

Did you get a chance to read Kaplan's piece? Any reaction?

Have a good trip.

02-27-2008, 03:03 AM
Yes I read Kaplan's piece when it came out and reread it from your link. It is a skeptics based argument and point out scenarios in which to defeat or circumvent the system. Skepticism is good and there are various ways to game the system so as to render it less useful, especially in it early stages where coverage will be targeted to most likely geographic areas.

I also have trouble with the shifting ground arguments that detractors of the system use; from it can't work to now it will only work on one target at a time to .... Perfection of anything is hard to come by and if success or failure is measured by its attainment of perfection no human designed system, and I just don't mean SDI, can be judged to be successful.

02-27-2008, 03:15 AM

I also have trouble with the shifting ground arguments that detractors of the system use ...

That seems reasonable. I myself have trouble with the shifting grounds arguments that proponents use. Remember when the system was originally pitched? It was supposed to defend against an all-out assault from the USSR. Now we're spending just about as much money, and the pitch is that we're safe from one, or maybe a few, missiles from North Korea, Iran, or (I am not making this up) Venezuela.

There's another thing about "shifting grounds" that you ought to keep in mind. It is certainly the case that any enemy will not remain static. The problem with a system that takes decades to bring up to speed is that the other side also has all that time to adjust its own tactics. Look at the Maginot Line, or more recently, defenses against car bombs in Iraq. Blitzkrieg and roadside IEDs quickly rendered those two defenses practically obsolete.

Again, I'm not saying the whole thing is without any hope of success, in and of itself. Given unlimited time and resources, I believe the tape-on-the-glasses types can figure out how to make some progress. I just think it's too much time and money for not enough return, even in the most rosy of scenarios.

02-27-2008, 03:29 AM
If you can't put the genie back in the bottle it is prudent to take steps to limit the genie's options. It is not the Russians or the Chinese, given my interpretation of the current state of world affairs, we have to worry about but minor players wishing a hand in the game. This, in a sense, ups the table stakes to get in the game, something I judge to be in the best interest of the US and the world in general.

02-27-2008, 03:50 AM

If you can't put the genie back in the bottle it is prudent to take steps to limit the genie's options.

No doubt. Our disagreement lies in the best ways to do that.

02-27-2008, 08:19 AM
Michael Goldfarb's comment about China's trading with odious regimes (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:16:10) for natural resources makes me wonder if he thinks we don't do this too. We have to trade with odious regimes or do without gasoline. If Saudi Arabia isn't totalitarian, what is? What about Equatorial Guinea (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ek.html)? These are simply economic realities. Virtually all oil is controlled by odious people.

02-27-2008, 10:48 AM

Michael Goldfarb's comment about China's trading with odious regimes for natural resources makes me wonder if he thinks we don't do this too.

Indeed. I was trying to decide whether I thought there was any difference between the US and China in this regard. Maybe the only one is that we occasionally feel guilty about it.

I suppose it could be argued that we sometimes stick to principle, but what mostly pops to mind are examples like Cuba, in which are efforts seem token, futile, or self-defeating, or Iran (and earlier, Iraq), where our efforts seem mostly to harm the population, not the regime.

02-27-2008, 11:15 AM
Goldfarb is a good example of the kind of intellectually dishonest, logic challenged punditry at The Weekly Standard, but this (http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:06:20&out=00:06:53) is exceptionally odious. He obviously understands the flaws in arguments, because he explicitly alludes to them here. (A satellite does not resemble an incoming warhead or warheads as a target, and you know well in advance exactly where it's going to be. The shoot-down was cool in a lot of ways, but as a demonstration of missile defense, it was exactly empty.) Missile Defense has always been, and continues to be a boondoggle, and a source of pork for the defense industry, and little else. It's a great idea, but so is power generation via fusion. People have been over-selling its feasibility since Reagan.

02-27-2008, 11:24 AM
Ok wait, let me catch up here: so last time Goldfarb wanted us to stop playing nice with North Korea and attack them already, and this time, he seems deadset on making the (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:12:57&out=00:13:04) case (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:14:11&out=00:14:18) for (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:16:13&out=00:16:23) war (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:14:58&out=00:15:05) with China (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:15:29&out=00:15:33)... Every week it's a new war with this guy. Exactly how OMGawesome does he think our missile-defense system is?

Also, Michael, good save here (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9076?in=00:25:19&out=00:25:39). Your secret's safe with Bloggingheads. If I were you, I wouldn't make any overseas phone-calls though...

02-27-2008, 11:37 AM

You undermine much of what you are saying by smirking at, and relishing in, your own rhetorical word play. It makes it seem as if you are simply engaging in debate you don't actually believe in simply because it is "fun" to be online talking about big, important, politics. It's smarmy, not cute. This is not just an aesthetic jab, rather bloggingheads, at its best, is supposed to be about "entertaining substance," not just cutesy posturing in the effort to self-advertise. I don't know anything about foreign policy which is why I watch these. Blake seems to want to engage in substantive disucssion (as do the viewers). Won't you please accommodate him?

02-27-2008, 11:40 AM

Good call. I kept thinking during the diavlog that I was watching a reincarnation of the young George W. Bush: use of nicknames, false bonhomie, sweeping dismissal of viewpoints he doesn't agree with as "liberal media," shallowness of affect and thought process, kneejerk advocacy of war, and plenty of smirking.

The good part about suffering through his glibness was the thought that if this a representative of the next generation of neocons, we have very little to worry about.

[Added] Apparently I'm not the only one to feel this way. See houston_wood's remarks below.

03-06-2008, 12:37 AM
This is really late for this thread, but Mr. Wright's praise in "Tuesday Night Elan" provoked me to put on my Comparative Politics hat.

Goldfarb is wrong, although Hounshell never challenges him. Fascism and communism are different flavors of totalitarianism, according to Juan Linz (I don't expect Goldfarb to know or care about that, though):

1. Fascism celebrates the salience of leadership and elitism, generally with more racist ideology; communism allows for internal party democracy and some electoral formalism.

2. Fascism arises from electoral competition and in response to communism; communism exists in states without strong electoral traditions, but with strong working class and peasant identifications.

3. Fascism is committed to nationalism; communism encourages internationalism (note how many nationalities Beijing keeps a lid on, and how the Communists try to guide nationalism, not let it go unchecked. Only an idiotic ideologue would think Northeast Asia has only three nationalities).