Category Archives: War Commentary

Sorry, Saudis

You have lost control of the oil market, probably permanently. Boo hoo.

[Monday-morning update]

OPEC’s cuts are treading water. “The simplified version is that U.S. oil production is reaching a point where OPEC can choose to sell 100 barrels at $50, or 125 barrels at $40. They can choose between higher profit margins or larger market share, but the days of having both are over for now.”

A Coup Is In Progress

But I beg to differ with Mr. Hinderaker; it’s not a “liberal” coup, but a leftist one.

[Update a few minutes later]

Could someone inform the federal judiciary that Jihadis are Muslims?

Like Charles Cooke, I don’t agree with the policy, but this ruling was lawless.

[Update a couple minutes later]

The courts in Hawaii and the 9th circuit have essentially stripped the president of his powers. It will take SCOTUS to restore. And funny how these people never mind the tyrannical and actually lawless behavior of Barack Obama.

[Update a while later]

Grandstanding judicial supremacy must end. Basically, the ruling was based on mind reading, and feelings.

Reforming Milspace

Coyote Smith is recently retired from the Air Force, and is apparently free to be much less circumspect about his thoughts on the Air Force:

It is easy to understand why the advancement of American space power has stalled under the Air Force. For very reasonable organizational and bureaucratic reasons, space power simply cannot receive the priority it deserves inside the Air Force.

Everything else will be sacrificed for the air power mission. As a matter of culture, this is the right thing to do. Carl Builder, a RAND analyst working a project for the Air Force Chief of Staff, pointed out in the The Icarus Syndrome that space power is a competing faction that air power advocates must hold at bay. The lesson being, no matter how vital space power becomes to the nation, if it is assigned to the Air Force, or any other service or agency, it will always receive short shrift.

It’s not a new problem. We were talking about it in the eighties. But we may finally be approaching a time in which we can finally fix it. I’ll be on a panel in DC on Monday with Coyote to talk about the U. S. Space Guard.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Sort of related: The coming warbot revolution.


wonders why NASA is considering crewing the first flight of SLS/Orion:

In a statement at the beginning of the Feb. 23 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), chairwoman Patricia Sanders said that if NASA decides to put a crew on the first SLS/Orion launch, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), it must demonstrate that there is a good reason to accept the higher risks associated with doing so.

“We strongly advise that NASA carefully and cautiously weigh the value proposition for flying crew on EM-1,” she said. “NASA should provide a compelling rationale in terms of benefits gained for accepting additional risk, and fully and transparently acknowledge the tradeoffs being made before deviating from the approach for certifying the Orion/SLS vehicle for manned spaceflight.”

“If the benefits warrant the assumption of additional risk,” she added, “we expect NASA to clearly and openly articulate their decision-making process and rationale.”

The point of my book was not that NASA should simply be more accepting of risk, or be reckless, but balance the risk against the reward. In my opinion, accelerating commercial crew would be worth the risk, to end our dependence on Russia, and increase the productivity of the ISS. Redoing Apollo 8 half a century after the original as a political stunt would not.

[Update a little before 1 PM EST]

NASA is about to have a news conference, probably in response.

[Update post conference]

It was the Bills Gerstenmaier and Hill. Gerst is always deadpan, but one had the impression that he’s not enthusiastic. They’re doing a feasibility study because the White House asked, and won’t be making any recommendations, just describing would it would take in terms of changes in schedule and budget. They just want to see “if they can fly crew sooner.” They expect to have some answers in a month or so (presumably as part of the input for FY2018 budget request). I wish the White House would ask them if they could fly crew sooner on Dragon and Starliner. That would be worth doing.

I can’t believe I just typed the words “FY 2018 budget request.” Makes me feel old.

[Update a few minutes later]

[Update a few minutes later]

Here‘s Keith Cowing’s story.

[Early afternoon update]

And here‘s Eric Berger’s take.

[Update a while later]

And Joel Achenbach’s.

I’d note that the reason they would only have two crew is probably a) to reduce the number of losses if it doesn’t go well and b) more margin in the (primitive?) life support.

[Saturday-afternoon update]

Amy Shira Teitel (like me) thinks that this makes no sense.

Mattis “Alone”

It seems pretty clear that we need a thorough house cleaning at the Pentagon after the disaster of the past eight years. And probably every other agency and department as well. The civil service system has resulted in a permanent government, that tends to itself rather than the nation and people.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: EPA workers fight to prevent the nomination of Pruitt. That is not part of their job description. Can them.

[Saturday-morning update]

Who “rules” the United States?

These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

Opposition to this president takes many forms. Senate Democrats have slowed confirmations to the most sluggish pace since George Washington. Much of the New York and Beltway media does really function as a sort of opposition party, to the degree that reporters celebrated the sacking of Flynn as a partisan victory for journalism. Discontent manifests itself in direct actions such as the Women’s March.

But here’s the difference. Legislative roadblocks, adversarial journalists, and public marches are typical of a constitutional democracy. They are spelled out in our founding documents: the Senate and its rules, and the rights to speech, a free press, and assembly. Where in those documents is it written that regulators have the right not to be questioned, opposed, overturned, or indeed fired, that intelligence analysts can just call up David Ignatius and spill the beans whenever they feel like it?

Hey, give the little tyrants a break; they’re trying to save the planet.