Tuesday assorted links

Comments

#5 So that is it: America is already creating excuses to sell Taiwan out to Beijing the same way it sold out Hungary, South Vietnam and the Curds.

Taiwan should be returned to the Dutch, they found it, they owned it, the Chinese stole it.

PLA capabilities are currently enough to take Hawaii and even likely California. This article is laughable.

You are free to install an old version of Harpoon or a new version of Command and war game this yourself. You will be surprised at the limits of Chinese power projection, regardless of their numbers.

Respond

Add Comment

Japan couldn't even take Hawaii and everyone knows the Japanese fight harder than the Chinese.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The classic "Terra nullis sine rufus" doctrine.

"Terra nulls sine rufus" -- what does that mean? Thanks.

The land is considered to be uninhabited if no one there has red hair.

Actually just called "Terra nullis" or in reality which basically means "Empty Land" and is how the British described Australia as they considered the original inhabitants to be primitive nomads who didn't own the land and so they didn't require compensation when it was taken off them.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Formosa is a legitimate parte of Brazil. It was parte of the Portuguese Kingdom, which begot the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brasil and Algarves, which begot the Empire of Brazil, which begot the United States of Brazil, which begot the Federative Republic of Brazil.

So why doesn't Brazil reclaim its rightful ownership and send the Chinese packing?

Becuase Brazil is a peace loving country, which would rather settle that situation peacefully rather than embroil the world in total war.

Nope, it's because without the Chinese, most Brazilians would be living in mud huts.

Not true at all. Brazil is the worlds 8th biggest economy, it sells airplanes, machines, oranges, car and many other goods. It is the biggest halal meat seller in the world.

Thiago, why do Brazilian airplanes have such massive dongs? I was trying to sleep on one and every time I started to drift off a huge dong would assault my ears. Please do something about this. Maybe get it changed to a gentle chime or something.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Even with the Chinese most Brazilians live in favelas just like Thiago!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

No, Formosa is a legitimate part of Argentina.

It is not that Formosa. I am talking about Formosa Island, seat of the Republica of China's government. Formosa was named so by the Portuguese. The Empire of Brazil was the legimate successor of the Kingdom of Portugal, and Brazil's Republic, stands to reason, is the legimate successor of the Empire of Brazil.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Furthermore, the government of Formosa is the legitimate government of China as a whole. Therefore, Brazil is the legitimate ruler of China.

There is a lot of merit in this reasoning.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Yet Brazil has done nothing for Taiwan, Hungary, South Vietnam and the Kurds. Anti-american a--holes like you deserve a whoopin' courtesy of the US of A. #maga2020

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

4. Which predicts the hierarchy of the senses better?: culture or biology?

Smell is the critical sense in evolutionary terms. Smell is the most primitive and a good chunk of our brain center evolved from smell.

Smell likely influences culture, not the other way around. It probably goes further, smell and its evolution is responsible for the hormonal emotional responses we have. With little looking and good guess is that the brain's hormonal precursors are derived from the smell system.

It is no contest, smell dominates.

It's only smells?

Respond

Add Comment

I'm proof that your argument is at least not complete: I'm largely anosmic.

Further, while biology plays a role in setting the limits (no one likes the smell of decaying flesh), within those limits culture can have a powerful influence. What you grew up eating evokes emotional responses and likely tastes good; what another culture grew up eating doesn't evoke emotions and is much more random. See "Bizarre Foods" for ample evidence of this.

I think that's the answer here: biology sets the limits, and culture determines where within those limits. Pleasing color schemes are limited by biology (infrared, ultraviolet, and redish-green can't be included for most people most of the time), but within those culture plays a huge role (Medieval bright colors showing wealth vs today's balanced presentations). Similarly, flavor is controlled by biology (we only have so many), but what counts as pleasing is dictated by culture (Asian vs European vs African, modern vs historic, etc).

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#5 Hahahaa I don’t think so

Respond

Add Comment

#1 The prisoner's dilemma. Defecting is as much a default strategy as a learned one, especially if your ability to take your enemy's perspective only strengthens your conviction that you can cheat.

#4 Linguistically plausible only.

#5 Alone, no way. Within the framework of current alliances? Plausible but a Pyrrhic victory. "Docile and defeated within 2 weeks"...absolutely no way. The real attrition for the PLA/PLAN would be the understanding that not half of their forces would actually make a landing - most would die in the straight - but less than half is more than enough. I think Taiwan’s strategy has always been along the same lines as the Swiss: defeat is inevitable, but at a price consistently advertised as far greater than expected to be born.

Look at the Nationalist retreat into FuJian and the eventual escape to Taiwan. Hands down some of the most brutal fighting in the 20th Century, rivaling anything seen on the Eastern Front during WWII. Based on the ferocity of those final battles, a no-holds-barred Reconquista would leave very very little left that’s worth winning.

A disspassionate view of the facts shows that the PLA is more than capable of taking Hawaii and California therefore I do not see how a reasonable person could believe Tawian is out of reach or would even be a challenge.

It's totally takable, but not if you want to be able to use it afterward. Much like a bear can totally defeat a porcupine- he'll win, but the meal probably wasn't worth it

Respond

Add Comment

Could you dispassionately tell me how China would get a landing force to Hawaii or California intact? They seem to be at a severe disadvantage in the whole murderboat area. I suppose, technically, they could pretty much walk to California but that is going to be a bit of a slog and raises a few complications (Canadian kilted yaksmen, etc.).

+1
China does not have a true Blue-Water Navy, full stop.
**They don't even claim to**
I would accept a recent (last 5 years) claim from a Communist Party leader in China, that the PLA Navy has completed Hu Jintao's 2012 goal to "build China into a strong maritime power", as proof that China is even **claiming** to possess a Blue-Water navy.
This is a lower bar than proving that China has a blue-water navy, and lower still than the bar necessary to claim that the "PLA is more than capable of taking Hawaii and California"

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

A lot of this depends on China pulling off an invasion sucessfully. You can fuck up a defense quite a bit and still survive. An amphibious assault? That is another matter entirely.

True. The $100 million dollar intelligence question (and its accompanying answer) is are there/is there still enough of a base of support within the party structure that is willing to absorb such losses for entirely symbolic gain in service to an idea of national unity that has rapidly lost much of its cultural importance since GaiGeKaiFang?

My bet, the USA's bet, Taiwan's bet, and China's neighbors' bet is the answer is no...and those that are left will be dead of old age very soon. Xi's statement, Jiang's Statement, Hu's statement and their posturing are, in fact, bluster and theater. Taiwan is not diplomatically and militarily important in that sense any longer. China and the Party's continued reference to it as a "renegade province" are continued lip service to a desire never to repeat the century of humiliation, but to actually go through with it, is no longer a viable option...besides there are other ways to skin that cat. And one of those ways is time and patience.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#4 is objective evidence that thai, iranian, and chinese food are among the tastiest

Good observation but then Laotian seems to beat them all. I've only been to one Laotian restaurant, it was good, but I wouldn't put it above many of the varieties of Chinese food.

And southern Mexico is also up there. I've been to a few Yucatan and southern Mexican restaurants; again good but not world-beating.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Taiwan is a democracy, the "good guys" of you will, it pains me that American assistance is so in doubt. If we saved our moral and military capital for worthy fights instead of propping up dictators and arriving uninvited in any and all sectarian conflicts then Taiwan safety would be less in doubt.

Taiwan numba 1!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

2. They should ask for a tax reduction or credit proportionate to that which Amazon got. Why not? They create jobs too.

Respond

Add Comment

I used to believe that, but I think it may no longer be true but the article might be correct.

Or more succinctly,
" ."

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

5: I find his overall thesis believable enough but I am dubious about some of his examples. In his worst examples he sounds like the Japanese commanders of island garrisons during World War II who boasted that "a million men would take a hundred years take this island".
https://dailycaller.com/2017/11/21/flashback-japan-thought-it-would-take-one-million-men-100-years-to-take-this-fortified-island-but-the-us-marines-did-it-in-three-days/

"There are only 13 beaches on Taiwan’s western coast that the PLA could possibly land at. "

A minor point, but who says the PLA will land on the western beaches? The Germans thought the main Allied landing would happen at Calais rather than Normandy. The North Koreans never even saw the Inchon landing as a threat until it happened. And even several weeks after the Marines landed on Guadalcanal, the Japanese could not believe that the US had chosen to launch its strategic offensive at that place and at that time. They thought it was just a minor raiding party (and accordingly allocated minor resources to resisting the Americans initially, not realizing that it was the pivotal campaign in the Pacific).

"Some transports are sunk by Taiwanese torpedoes, released by submarines held in reserve for this day."

Even according to his own article, the Taiwanese Navy has an immense undersea fleet of ... two submarines. And they're old.
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/taiwan-now-has-plan-save-its-best-submarines-are-30-years-25935
Furthermore I think we can also assume that the PLA has been working on anti-submarine defenses (OTOH, the Japanese neglected this before and even during World War II).

"The greatest casualties, however, will be caused by sea mines. Minefield after minefield must be crossed by every ship in the flotilla, some a harrowing eight miles in width."

Minesweepers. Yes mines are more sophisticated these days ... and so are anti-mine measures.

'he faces what Easton describes as a mile’s worth of “razor wire nets, hook boards, skin-peeling planks, barbed wire fences, wire obstacles, spike strips, landmines, anti-tank barrier walls, anti-tank obstacles … bamboo spikes, felled trees, truck shipping containers, and junkyard cars.”'

That's how the forces during World War I defended their trenches.
Effective against infantry; easily destroyed by enough heavy artillery that simply blows up the obstacles. And of course tanks.

""The first craft to cross the shore will be met, as Easton’s research shows, with a sudden wall of flame springing up from the water from the miles of oil-filled pipeline sunk underneath."

This is the one that I don't know what to make of. But it sounds like something out of a video game. I suspect a large enough watercraft could simply speed straight through the flames.

Still his overall point is solid: I wouldn't want to be the commander tasked with invading Taiwan.

Why only 2 submarines? Does the US refuse to sell them to Taiwan on the grounds that one may end up in the hands of China?

Pressure from China is apparently the reason. The linked article says this:
"Taiwan has been trying for decades to place orders for new diesel-powered submarines capable of circumventing Chinese naval blockades and ensuring that its sea lanes remain open, but the country’s pariah status is a barrier. The most recent bid was in the late 1980s, when the Dutch scrapped a deal under pressure from Beijing."

It turns out that the Taiwanese Navy has two additional submarines. But with a catch:
"The Taiwanese Navy has two even older submarines, Tench class vessels commissioned in the 1940s that were purchased from the US Navy in the 1970s. Their torpedo tubes were sealed, but the subs are still operational and reportedly capable of combat."

The article doesn't mention the US being unwilling to sell submarines to Taiwan, but if they have only two old ones (and two ancient ones) one would have to think that the only explanation is pressure from China.

Subs are a big deal. For the US to supply F-16s to Taiwan is one thing, a submarine (or aircraft carrier, or nuclear bomb) would be another thing and perhaps the Chinese government is indeed telling the US that such a sale is unacceptable to them. (And who knows? Maybe the Trump administration during its trade war with China said that it's going to start selling more major weapon systems to Taiwain?)

Thank you. I would think small short range submarines would be well within Taiwan's capabilities to build if they really wanted them, but I have no idea if that would be a sensible use of resources. The cost of maintaining submarine crews in readiness is high and saving money by using conscripts is not a good trade off.

If they don't have modern subs, they likely don't have the tech and tactics yet. But I could imagine Taiwan building autonomous subs a la Darpa Sea Hunter with transferred US tech. Only if I had those, I wouldn't tell anyone.

Yes, these days using the humans seems like a waste of resources, even if one puts a distressingly low value on human life. Mind you, if governments "correctly" applied the value of human lives we would be living in a more peaceful world.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

well that's funny
we were wonderin what ivy league medical school bonesaw ben salmon went to but it turns out he has a law degree. doesn't have any
medical training at all never even took a biology course.

Respond

Add Comment

On the Taiwan piece, China could conceivably launch a surprise air/missile/special forces attack before commencing preparations for the invasion. Sure, Taipei would have ample warning of the coming amphibious assault, but it might also have just lost a significant portion of its military capability, making subsequent defense considerably more challenging. Furthermore, if this was the first time that China used it’s modern military on a large scale, and things went well for Beijing, the impact on morale could be serious. Plus, while assembling its invasion forces, China could continue attacking Taiwan in a variety of ways.

Personally, if I headed Taiwan’s military R&D, I’d take the same attitude towards autonomous AI that China does towards CRISPR. Forget protocols and niceties, do everything possible to make sure that when the day comes, those mountain bases aren’t launching F-16s, but disgorging swarms of deadly, free-thinking robots.

That would certainly be the best strategy to defeat Taiwan standing alone. But the problem there is that during the time the PLA assembles its forces for the invasion after an initial attack, the US (or possibly others) could deploy substantial air and naval assets to defend the Strait, which would make a successful amphibious invasion impossible.

So, if China assembles its forces before attacking Taiwan, they can see whether the US responds to the preparations by deploying to protect Taiwan. Then they can go ahead and invade if the US didn't with a decent chance (though no guarantee) of success (success defined as controlling the island before the US can mount a credible post-start-of-shooting deployment), and call it off by declaring the preparations were mere "exercises" if the US does.

If, on the other hand, they attack Taiwan before assembling the amphibious assault, and then they see a US deployment to protect an attacked Taiwan, they've already started a war that they can't successfully prosecute. That would be a costly and embarrassing disaster.

If China invades Taiwan they will be at war with US, WW3 is ignited. That is the only reason why they have not taken the island already. Great powers cannot simply invade other countries without risk of another great power responding. Russia can invade Georgia and Crimea because those places are poorly populated and poor, while Taiwan is one of the richest regions of the world, one of the key focal points of the global economic order. It cannot be simply taken by military force without severe geopolitical consequences. Only if China becomes the consolidated global superpower that they will incorporate Taiwan, probably without a war.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#2. “Just leave me alone”. Now more than ever they’ll want to help.

Respond

Add Comment

5. The Taiwan Relations Act appears to control US policy and does not provide for US military assistance in the event of an invasion. The US unilaterally abrogated the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty back in 1979 so the likelihood of US involvement in a war between Taiwan and China would be minimal.

The US lacks the air fleet to go toe to toe with China on their turf. With only about 120 F-22s and our small numbers of unreliable F-35s the US simply cannot afford to risk going up against China's J-20s. As China's inventory of J-20s increases this becomes more and more a certainty.

But suppose the US did intervene, the article seems to presuppose that US involvement would be restricted to the Taiwan theater of operations. This is questionable. If China really thought the US would intervene the US mainland would likely be attacked. This would not take much effort on their part. They have demonstrated their ability to field disruptive military technology which the US is unable to counter.

They would likely start by taking out US satellites which they have demonstrated that they are capable and follow up with attacs on the US carrier fleet with their hypersonic drones and submarines. China is also capable of deploying mines and could easily deny the US access to not only the South China sea but all of its coastal waters.

Chinese sleeper agents and infiltrators would bring down substantial portions of US infrastructure. The US would quickly sue for peace and make major concessions.

The article also appears to presuppose that China would not have allies. One can easily imagine Russo-Sino cooperation in opening multiple fronts with possible assistance from Cuba. It would also give Iran a green light to re-invade Syria and Iran and to attack Israel.

Then there is the question of which of our current allies would flip sides. Europe would likely sit it out. Korea and Japan would be wild cards. How certain are we that Abe would come to our aid? I think that is very much an open question. South Korea administrations vary wildly in their attitudes toward the US.

Taiwan might inflict a sting but in the end it would fall as the world looked on and grandstanding politicians blustered.

You forgot to mention that every single U.S. soldier would sit down and refuse all orders. LOL! "If China really thought..." You sound like my ex-wife. I envy you mind readers. I'm not only incapable of reliably discerning what anyone else is thinking, I have the bizarre delusion that no one else can, either. But you make one "good" point: the USA has made no preparations for infrastructure protection because the people responsible for our nation's security are all spineless idiots. Nor do we have our own satellite killers nor assets in China, again for the same reason, the people in charge are feckless morons. Too bad you're not in charge, huh?

Yes. you are right, it is impossible to predict what anyone is going to do or what they are thinking. That is why these different scenarios are fascinating. The article was about strategy, tactics, and roles. You have to prepare for all kinds scenarios. Why anyone would think that a Taiwan conflict would be easily contained seems like the bizarre delusion to me. And US defenses? The US military is spread out very thin. You don't need them to refuse orders. There are only about 184,000 military personnel stationed in California which is about the same size as Japan. If you move troops in from elsewhere you are weakening another front. What are the odds of the US going nuclear first in the face of conventional attack on the US mainland? I'd say very small. Given the overall quality of what passes for elites in this country, it is hard to get excited about US chances in any conflict.

Respond

Add Comment

I cannot read minds either, but I surely hope and believe that in case of an attack on the US by China as you consider, Europe (at least the UK, France, Italy and most of central Europe) will go to war on America's side.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

It's assumed that the Chinese would not attack the US mainland because it's assumed they aren't fucking lunatic idiots and would, as rational people, try to keep the conflict confined to the Taiwan theater of operations.

A Chinese strike against the US mainland would result in a full-scale nuclear first strike on China, as the US military would assume fucking lunatic idiots are running China. In such a case, the only way to secure the lives of US civilians would be to take out the Chinese nuclear arsenal and command-and-control.

Sorry but Taiwan is just too close to the mainland. How could the US intervene without attacking mainland targets? If the US attacks targets on the Chinese mainlaind with conventional weapons, why wouldn't the Chinese reciprocate?

Because US nuclear doctrine establishes the following:

1) A major attack on US soil will result in total war against the attacker. So, the only case where a state actor will perpetrate such an attack is when they intend to pursue total war.

2) A nuclear state engaged in total war will, inevitably, use its nuclear arms. Therefore, any case where a nuclear state will perpetrate a major attack on US soil is one where that state will eventually use nuclear arms on the US.

3) The only available way to protect the US from the use of nuclear weapons by a state with a substantial arsenal is a nuclear first strike against that state's arsenal and command-and-control.

4) These principles are so well-established in US doctrine that anybody who has studied the US and is not a fucking lunatic idiot would expect an attack on the US by a nuclear-armed state to provoke an immediate nuclear first strike.

5) Therefore, if the leadership of a nuclear-armed state perpetrates a major attack on US soil, they either are planning to use nuclear weapons on the US, or they're fucking lunatic idiots who are at war with the US while in possession of a nuclear arsenal. Either way, they need to be immediately disarmed by the only available means, a nuclear first strike.

So. The reason the Chinese would not carry out an attack on US soil is that they know the established US nuclear doctrine. Even if they only imagine, say, a one-in-eight chance Trump would carry that doctrine through, the strategic risk of getting nuked vastly outweighs any operational advantage gained by attacking the US on US soil.

And it's advantage, not childish "you hit my mainland so I'm hitting yours" nonsense, that drives the military strategy of people who are not fucking lunatic idiots.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

re: The Strand. Why not? A third of buildings in Manhattan are landmarks or in historic districts.

Respond

Add Comment

Re: yesterday "already created 33.8 million hectares (~ 4.8x Ireland, ~ 0.009x Moon surface) of forest in the past five years (in China).

Though I used the 0.009x Moon surface as a joke, it seems that I might have a sixth sense. Just saw this today,

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-set-to-launch-first-ever-spacecraft-to-the-far-side-of-the-moon/

"""The lander will also conduct ... the first investigations to see whether plants will grow in the low-gravity lunar environment."""

Terraforming here we go.

Respond

Add Comment

#1: What terrible writing: "“We also find that IR scholars ... ."

It presumes readers know the abbreviation "IR".

Respond

Add Comment

Inter-racial. Everyone know that.

Duh, infra-red.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Here's a random interesting topic for you guys to chew on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ting_Hai_effect

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner#Superstition_in_the_pigeon

One of Skinner's experiments examined the formation of superstition in one of his favorite experimental animals, the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeon "at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird's behavior." He discovered that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as it was delivered, and that they subsequently continued to perform these same actions.[72]

One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another repeatedly thrust its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. A third developed a 'tossing' response, as if placing its head beneath an invisible bar and lifting it repeatedly. Two birds developed a pendulum motion of the head and body, in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return.[73][74]

Skinner suggested that the pigeons behaved as if they were influencing the automatic mechanism with their "rituals", and that this experiment shed light on human behavior:

The experiment might be said to demonstrate a sort of superstition. The bird behaves as if there were a causal relation between its behavior and the presentation of food, although such a relation is lacking. There are many analogies in human behavior. Rituals for changing one's fortune at cards are good examples. A few accidental connections between a ritual and favorable consequences suffice to set up and maintain the behavior in spite of many unreinforced instances. The bowler who has released a ball down the alley but continues to behave as if she were controlling it by twisting and turning her arm and shoulder is another case in point. These behaviors have, of course, no real effect upon one's luck or upon a ball half way down an alley, just as in the present case the food would appear as often if the pigeon did nothing—or, more strictly speaking, did something else.[73]

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Declaring any building a historic site always costs the owners. It is the impulse by do-gooders to do good with other people's money. Sometimes one cannot even maintain a building if it is so designated due to restrictions. Not good.

Respond

Add Comment

I remember reading that China plans to detonate a nuke in orbit to create an EMP to knock out all electronics prior to an invasion of Taiwan.

Respond

Add Comment

anybody got an extra newyorker tote bag they don't need?

i would like to order 4 free new yorker totebags with strong handles

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment