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Andrew Marshall, RIP 1921-2019

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

[mark safranski / “zen“]

Image result for andrew marshall office of net assessment

Andrew Marshall a.k.a. ” Yoda”

Famed founder of the Office of Net Assessment, Andrew Marshall passed away today at the age of 97, having retired only in 2015 from the Pentagon job he held continuously since his appointment by President Richard Nixon in 1973. Marshall, affectionately known as “Yoda”,  was nearly the last of a generation of deeply influential of Cold War strategists who shaped American national security, a group including Albert Wohlstetter, Herman Kahn, Fritz G.A. Kraemer, James Schlesinger and Henry Kissinger.

The subject of a recent biography and the occasional academic study, the highly secretive Marshall, over the course of decades sponsored the careers of hundreds of civilian policy makers, academics and military officers, many of whom went on to hold responsible government posts, including some of the highest appointive and elected positions in the United States, the vast bulk of Marshall’s work at the Office of Net Assessment remains classified. Nevertheless, both the Soviet KGB and later China’s military leadership estimated Marshall’s contributions to American defense thinking and posture to be of paramount importance.

RAND, the think tank where Marshall had worked on questions of American nuclear strategy prior to joining the Nixon administration, released this obituary:

Andrew Marshall, RAND Researcher Who Founded Department of Defense’s ‘Internal Think-Tank,’ Dies at 97

The RAND Corporation notes with profound regret the passing of Andrew W. Marshall, 97, a RAND researcher who went on to serve for more than four decades as director of the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, which contemplates military strategy decades into the future. He held the position from 1973 to 2015, retiring at age 93.

Andrew Marshall/RAND Corporation photo
After studying economics at the University of Chicago, Marshall joined RAND in 1949 when the nonprofit research organization based in Santa Monica, California, was barely a year old. During his 23-year affiliation with RAND, he researched Soviet military programs, nuclear targeting, organizational behavior theory and strategic-planning, among other concepts.
“Andrew Marshall was one of the nation’s most respected and far-sighted defense experts,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO of RAND. “He was a gifted futurist and strategist who had mentored generations of researchers, both at RAND and beyond. His influence will be felt for years to come.”
Marshall was the founding director of the Office of Net Assessment, which is referred to as the Department of Defense’s “internal think-tank.” It provides the secretary of defense with assessments of the military balance in major geographic theaters, with an emphasis on long-term trends, asymmetries, and opportunities to improve the future U.S. position in the continuing military-economic-political competition.
In 2007, the first Andrew Marshall Scholarship was awarded by the Pardee RAND Graduate School, which offers a doctorate in policy analysis and is part of RAND. The scholarship is funded by a $150,000 endowment donated by former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who had known Marshall for decades.
Marshall said he was honored by Rumsfeld’s generous gesture and “proud to be associated with a RAND scholarship that will help some of the best and brightest young minds prepare for a career in public service.”

Here is a tribute to Marshall by one of his students, Sinologist Andrew S. Erickson:

Honoring the Many Contributions of Andrew Marshall, An Early Supporter and Sponsor of CMSI

The New York Times obituary of Marshall:

Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97

….Mr. Marshall kept the distribution of his assessments extremely limited. Few people have read more than one or two of them. Even secretaries of defense were not allowed to keep copies.
The best of the assessments, according to people who have read them, compared Russian and Chinese strategies against American war plans, finding the weaknesses of the Pentagon’s approach and pushing for improvements. He urged the Pentagon to develop not single war plans but ones that would cover myriad scenarios.
Mr. Marshall began focusing on China in the mid-1990s. He was the first Pentagon official to talk about an emerging great power competition with Beijing, an idea now embraced by Pentagon leadership.
“His view was that because of the sheer size and potential economic weight” of China, it “could become a competitor over time,” General Selva said. “That proved to be a good question to ask, and that has started to play out.”
In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
Mr. Marshall believed that American military planners had little understanding of what Chinese regional or global ambitions were. Deterring conflict in the future would be impossible if strategists were blind to the competition, he maintained.

Indeed.

RIP, Andrew Marshall.

The chyron blizzard continues, 17

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Netanyahu parallel’s Trump on witch-hunt defense and many other things ]
.

All In, Chris Hayes:

Michael Cohen clip:

There’s just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same direction

Elijah Cummings

When we’re dancing wth the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact.

Chris Hayes to Ro Khanna:

What is your response when they try to sort of gaslight us all that way?

Ro Khanna:

You don’t have to believe a word Cohen says, he has smoking gun evidence

The barrage of lies is so constant, creates a kind of noise, a sort of noise, it sort of can hollowv out peoples memories ..

Michelle Goldberg:

..The epistemological terrorism that the Trump administration practices on us every day to keep us in this state of kind of derangement and feeling slightly off-center and not being able to get your bearings in this moment..

Michael Steele:

Even hustlers have strategy.Even hustlers have strategy [ .. ]

Again, if you wantto deconstruct the administrative state, it starts with deconstruct the way you think and the way that you perceive reality [ .. ]

You throw a little more miasma in the miasma, and you’re ready to go [ .. ]

You don’t want to be the Democrat out there swinging from that limb, to have it sawed off, not by Republicans but by other Democrats

Michelle:

You might go out on a limb to say, Let’s indict him for being a Russian asset, but you’re not going out on a limb to say he was part of a criminal conspiracy involving campaign finance reform and that he probably wouldn’t have been elected President absent this crime

**

Returning you to your usual programming:

Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu is about to be indicted for fraud and bribery — a man whose father was the great historian Benzion Netanyahu, author of the monumental Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain, while his elder brother was the IDF officer who commanded the Sayeret Matkal commandos in the 1976 Entebbe raid, and its only casualty.

Impeachment discussion:

Dan Froomkin:


.

I’m really disappointed in the coverage of the tpic of impeachment in the mainstream media. They tend to cover it as a sort of horse race, as a political story about optics

A few other random items:

Ari Melber to Hardball:

You’ve got the baton

Unsure, but good:

You don’t punish rich people. They just go on longer vacations and buy Picassos.

Metastatic zing

AM Joy:

Gabriel Sherman:

The problem is, the Republican party has been taken over by this cult of personality of a reality TV show.

Joy:

It’s incredible and extraordinary this is not like hair on fire, the top story all day every day everywhere.

Language! Shocking!

Alexi McCammond:

You can say a lot without saying a lot of words

Virginia Heffernan:

They’re intoxicated by the idea of his presence, they’re intoxicated by the possibioity that you’re doing something larger than yourself, that you might change the world if you hang out with Trump.

I think Michael Cohen supplied us, if nothing else, a way out of that kind of slavery to Trump’s vision.

Most of us who haven’t gotten close to him think, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. He looks line, Michael Bloomberg said, he looks like a con man when he’s just on the dais, but then there’s people who get nearer him and suddenly turn into smithers..

Backing up this quasi-cultic analysis, here’s a quick quote from “I’m Sorry for the Tweet That I Sent”: Inside the Bonkers Michael Cohen-Matt Gaetz Apology

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, relayed to me a piece of advice that Roger Stone offered him when he entered Trump’s circle. “Roger warned me, ‘you need to be careful. I’ve seen it many times. When people start hanging around Trump, they start thinking they are Trump,’” he recalled. “You start thinking you can do the things he does — try to intimidate people, do outlandish things against them — and you won’t face consequences. He might not face consequences, but you’re going to. Everyone could become a kamikaze for him. Just look at Michael [Cohen].

Kamikaze reference too, btw>

**

Okay, one chyron from Rachek Maddow:

and a quote from Trump’s CPAC speech, indeed maybe the heart of his Presidency:

You know, I don’t know, maybe you know. You know, I’m totally off script, right … You know, I’m totally off script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off script. True. And if we don’t go off script, our country is in big trouble, folks. ’Cause we have to get it back.

It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 11

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — beating the drum, dancing around, clapback, bracing, blocking, curve-ball, armed to the teeth, showdown, passion play, game-changing, end-game — and some appalling religious hate ]
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Quotes:

Rachel Maddow: that new curveball in the Manafort case coming up next — stay with us ..

**

Chyrons, ok:

Prosecuting Trump:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC:

Then there’s this set of three horrific sub-captions, drawing distinctions between three major religions..

One on the National Emergency question:

And a game-changer screen-grab re Elizabeth Warren:

I chose these grabs for their wording, not their politics — bracing, clapback, massage, blocking, game-changing, hellscape — and those three stunning alt-right subtitles.

**

Quotes, continued:

Ari Melber:
04/5 Rob Rosenstein was sort of dancing around it [indicting Trump] when he spoke about the normal rules for non_presidents, so to say..
We’re now in this interesting period of a kind of an end game ..
We’re in this interesting end-game, and everyone is thinking, Who’s going to do what?
07/8 David Frum: Special Prosecutors seek prosecutable offences. This js a drum I’ve been beating since early in 2017.. There is a real risk that in this highly legalistic culture, that we look to Bob Mueller to do things that it’s really up to Congress to do ..
08 Frum: We’re not at an ending, we’re at the beginning of the game ..
Rep Joe Neguse: We’re not at the end-game, we’re at the beginning ..
Ali Mystal: Southern District of New York is the bear of the Trump vs Leonardo DiCaprio and this time we’re not sure the bear is going to let him 29: go..
It’s Don Junior and Ivanka who, to my mind, are going to be the first people over the falls ..
32 [SDNY]: If they have to play a role in this passion play, I’d set them up to be the Avengers ..
41 Bernard-Henri Levy: there is a massive attack, today, onbthe very udsea of truth ..
.
Hardball, Chris Matthews:
17 Charlie Sykes: That would be the smart play ..
53: he needs to be a little more strategic about this — time your hits, do them in the right way..
towards end: We could be looking at a showdown between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire .. This could be what amounts to an elimination contest between the two of them ..
.
All In:
He thinks he’s Teflon Don ..
Why he holds his cards so close to the vest .. he has another hand to play ..
He had an opportunity to show his hand, and he didn’t show his hand ..
32: Republicans came to the table armed to the teeth ..
?40 Elizabeth Warren: We are going to play by some rules that are way past now ..
55 Neera Tanden: .. changed their calculus on this ..
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Singing: In short, in matters quasi-international and criminal / [?Kusmani?] is the model of a modern major-general..
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53: the big/?/great reveal ..

So here we can add dancing around, beating the drum, armed to the teeth, showdown, passion play, end-game ..

**

Previous Metaphoric Snow posts:

  • One delicious ouroboros and miscellaneous chyrons &c
  • I have a huge dose of chyrons and a great ouroboros
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 2
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 3
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 4
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 5
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 6
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 7
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 8
  • It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 9
  • Second Civil War? It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 10
  • Sunday surprise — Xanatos and other Gambits, &c

    Sunday, January 27th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — (some of) what gaming, TV watching & quotation mining can get you in terms of strategy ]
    .

    First off, let me thank Trent Telenko for turning me onto the Xanatos Gambit at at ChicagoBoyx, which started me on this particular chose of a gaggle of wild geese..

    The Xanatos Gambit caught my eye by virtue of its decision flow chart [you start at the top]:

    That’s brilliant — not a win-win play, but an i-win-anyway ploy. [Linguists — remind me whether ploy is a warped variant of play, will you?] And Trent then identifies the Xanatos Gambit as Donald Trump’s characteristic play.. ploy.

    Here’s an explanatory para::

    A Xanatos Gambit is a plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure. The creator predicts potential attempts to thwart the plan, and arranges the situation such that the creator will ultimately benefit even if their adversary “succeeds” in “stopping” them. When faced with a Xanatos Gambit the options are either to accept that the creator will get the upper hand and choose the outcome that is least beneficial to them, or to defeat them by finding a course that they didn’t predict.

    Another:

    A Xanatos Gambit is a Plan whose multiple foreseen outcomes all benefit its creator. It’s a win-win situation for whoever plots it.

    Here’s a quote from a source unknown to me: Cavilo, The Vor Game:

    The key to strategy… is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory.

    Xanatos Gambit / Real Life

    In the casino business they say that the house always wins, and indeed, it’s true. When gamblers lose all their money, the house gets rich, but when someone has a lucky streak and wins big, this only serves to encourage others to take more risks, which means the house will actually get even richer in the long run for having “lost” some money to a big winner. The law of large numbers is on their side, after all. This is, in short, how casinos can stay in business—they virtually always turn a profit on the actual gambling

    Okay, here the geese gaggle in formation after the Gambit. Our clue:

    Xanatos Speed Chess trumps Xanatos Gambits.

    **

    Xanatos Speed Chess:

    Cosmo Lavish, a Terry Pratchett banker character from Discworld, saith:

    Plans can break down. You cannot plan the future. Only presumptuous fools plan. The wise man steers.

    I agree wholeheartedly with “You cannot plan the future” — a point I’ve made in my Art of Future Warfare entries

    And since we’re in Chess territory:

    The Chessmaster:

    What? That I used two fourteen-year-old pawns to turn a knight and topple a king? It’s chess, Daniel. Of course you don’t understand.

    Unwitting Pawn

    Tend to be played by The Chessmaster, logically enough.

    **

    Well, I could go on, but let me just list some of the pages I came across, and invite you to look where your interests take you..

    Gambit Roulette

    A convoluted Plan that relies on events completely within the realm of chance yet comes off without a hitch.

    How can anyone, even skilled conspirators, predict with perfect accuracy the outcome of a car crash? How can they know in advance that a man will go to a certain pay phone at a certain time, so that he can see a particular truck he needs to see? How can the actions of security guards be accurately anticipated? Isn’t it risky to hinge an entire plan of action on the hope that the police won’t stop a car speeding recklessly through a downtown area?

    If your first reaction to seeing the plan unfold is “There is no way that you planned that!”, then it’s roulette.

    The Trickster

    This fellow coyote is,
    fellow the road-runner is but a shadow of, is
    by definition, tricky, has
    a penis can cross
    the Ventura freeway
    in seek of skirt, whose
    penis maybe run over
    by fate’s own eighteen wheeler..

    Poem of mine.

    The Fool:

    Well, I see the Fool differently:

    I claim the final authority, rule
    from the steps below the throne.
    Kings look to me for approval, fool
    that I am, for at court, I alone
    see all men as wind in a cage of bone.

    Another poem of mine — brought down from the attic.

    A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma

    That’s Churchill, Winston:

    I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.

    Riddle for the Ages
    Secret Identity Identity
    Multilayer Facade
    Gambit Pileup

    **

    There is also:

    Knight Templar:

    This fellow interests me because of my recent 5,000 word foray into Templar territory, Templarios: Echoes of the Templars and Parallels Elsewhere for Doc Bunker‘s next volume — but what really struck me was the quote used as an epigraph to the topic. It’s from James Baldwin:

    Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart, for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.

    Teaching your Enemy to Win, Infinity Journal

    Monday, January 21st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — self-defeating, as theme and variation ]
    .

    A new issue of Infinity Journal is now out. One featured piece:

    The whole setup is self-destructive, self-referential, self–eating — ouroboric, IMO.

    **

    Compare with this, from a Vanity Fair Hive article, and ask: Who’s the apparent, and who’s the real enemy here?

    This is bullshit,” a senior State Department official messaged on Thursday, shortly after the Trump administration announced that all United States diplomats and department employees were to return to work next week, despite an ongoing government shutdown that has deprived some 800,000 federal employees of a regular paycheck. Earlier that afternoon, Bill Todd, the deputy undersecretary for management, had sent out an urgent memo elucidating the rationale. “As a national security agency,” he wrote, “it is imperative that the Department of State carries out its mission.”

    For staffers who were already frustrated with their newish, Trump-loving boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, being forced to work without pay has felt like a last straw. “It just further destroys morale . . . It demonstrates a continued lack of respect, even apparent enmity, for people committed to the national security of the country, only in order to serve a political calculation,” one current State Department staffer said. “It’s like, we’re supposed to show up and pretend like everything is cool? Work as normal?” [ .. ]

    Together with his unceasing praise of Donald Trump, Pompeo’s perceived cavalier attitude toward the shutdown has made some staffers feel like they have been taken for granted—or worse, been taken advantage of. “What is universal is a sense that they are pawns in a bigger political dynamic,” said Rob Berschinski, a former deputy assistant secretary of state still in touch with former colleagues…

    Self-destruction within State? That too seems ouroboric to me.


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