Day: May 8, 2013

Why Reading Scott Sagan Scares Me.

Over the years I’ve taught Scott Sagan and Charles Perrow for a range of different courses. Based on those two books, I’m pretty sure that I’d rather not read these two terms in the same sentence: “nuclear weapons” and “rot.” From this morning’s Washington Post:

The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control — and, if necessary, launch — nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit’s launch skills. The group’s deputy commander said it is suffering “rot” within its ranks.

“We are, in fact, in a crisis right now,” the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force.

The tip-off to trouble was a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which earned the equivalent of a “D” grade when tested on its mastery of Minuteman III missile launch operations. In other areas, the officers tested much better, but the group’s overall fitness was deemed so tenuous that senior officers at Minot decided, after probing further, that an immediate crackdown was called for.

The Air Force publicly called the inspection a “success.”

All of this “success” comes after a much publicized effort that began in 2008 to fix the problems of complacency, demoralization, and insubordination. Continue reading


Midweek Mélange

I don’t know whether to feel horribly manipulated, simply appreciate the nerd-fest humor, or both.

  • Andrew Philips on the new Australian Defense White Paper.
  • Dan Trombly on the efficacy of US intervention in Syria.
  • Jay Ulfelder wants to restrict our use of the term “state” to, as best as I can tell, sovereign-territorial entities. His intentions are good–break unilinear understandings of state (trans)formation–but his methods are wrong: they simply re-inscribe an association between “state” and the Weberian ideal type of the “modern state.”
  • Marc Lynch on anti-Americanism in the Arab world.
  • I’ve been generally appalled by the lack of a paperback release for Stacie Goddard’s excellent Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy: Jerusalem and Northern Ireland. Amazon is currently selling the harback version for under $20, so I strongly suggest buying a copy.
  • Speaking of deals, Nick Kiersey and Iver B. Neumann (eds) Battlestar Galactica and International Relations has been discounted to $14.95 on Kindle. The occasion? Edward James Olmos discovering the book and tweeting Nick about it. The volume includes chapters by many Ducks, including PTJ, Charli Carpenter, and, well, me.
  • Crooked Timber‘s symposium on The Half-Made World and The Rise of Ransom City is starting to appear. I wanted to provide a piece, but overcommitments prevented me from doing so. Go read.

And also: Continue reading


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