[ by Charles Cameron -- diplo cover-stories east and west, & a very funny movie ]
I wanted to recommend the Bertrand Tavernier film Quai d’Orsay, available at Netflix under the name The French Minister, in any case — but couldn’t resist this DoubleQuote betweet news and cinematic art:
The film is a quintessentially French diplo equivalent of the political bureaucracy and chicanery found in the UK and US versions of House of Cards, with the formidably unpredictable, Heraclitus-quoting Minister of the English language title apparently based on Dominique de Villepin.
China has invested considerable resources both in acquiring foreign cruise missiles and technology and in developing its own indigenous cruise missile capabilities. These efforts are bearing fruit in the form of relatively advanced ASCMs and LACMs deployed on a wide range of older and modern air, ground, surface-ship, and sub-surface platforms.(9) To realize the full benefits, China will need additional investments in all the relevant enabling technologies and systems required to optimize cruise missile performance.(10) Shortcomings remain in intelligence support, command and control, platform stealth and survivability, and postattack damage assessment, all of which are critical to mission effectiveness.
ASCMs and LACMs have significantly improved PLA combat capabilities and are key components in Chinese efforts to develop A2/AD capabilities that increase the costs and risks for U.S. forces operating near China, including in a Taiwan contingency. China plans to employ cruise missiles in ways that exploit synergies with other strike systems, including using cruise missiles to degrade air defenses and command and control facilities to enable follow-on air strikes. Defenses and other responses to PRC cruise missile capabilities exist, but will require greater attention and a focused effort to develop technical countermeasures and effective operational responses.
The authors speculate that China has done the calculus and determined they can’t match us (or perhaps have no desire) in platforms, but rather are choosing a lower cost alternative: omassive missile barrages—so massive ship defense systems are overwhelmed. Numbers matter; as the great WayneP. Hughes, Jr. (CAPT, USN, Ret) points out in his seminal Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, naval warfare is attrition warfare. With that in mind, this paragraph illustrates the gravity (emphasis added):
Cruise Missile Ratios
DOD transformation assumes that by shaping the nature of military competition in U.S. favor, or “overmatch,” rivals will continually lag in a demanding security environment. What if this is a false assumption? In other words, China may be choosing to com- pete in a traditional or conventional maritime environment in which transformed U.S. forces are structured and equipped in a significantly different way. As analyst Mark Stokes has reported, some Chinese believe that, due to the low cost of developing, deploying, and maintaining LACMs, cruise missiles possess a 9:1 cost advantage over the expense of defending against them. (103) The far more important—and difficult to estimate—ratio is that of PLA ASCMs to U.S. Navy defense systems. Numbers alone will not determine effectiveness; concept of operations and ability to employ cruise missiles effectively in actual operational conditions will be the true determinants of capability. Even without precise calculations, however, it appears that China’s increasing ASCM inventory has in- creasing potential to saturate U.S. Navy defenses. This is clearly the goal of China’s much heavier emphasis on cruise missiles, and it appears to be informed by an assumption that quantity can defeat quality. Saturation is an obvious tactic for China to use based on its capabilities and emphasis on defensive systems. PLAN ASCM weapon training, production, and delivery platform modernization continues to progress rapidly. Scenarios involving hostile engagement between PLAN and U.S. CSG forces could be quite costly to the latter due to the sheer volume of potential ASCM saturation attacks.
Dr. Erickson pointed out in today’s meeting that the Mark Stokes estimate may be an overstatement, but certainly illustrative of economics involved.
This is an important contribution and the challenges facing our Navy and Allies in the South China Sea/East China Sea lead me to conclude with hope that policy makers read and heed.
[ by Charles Cameron -- fascinated to see the uses others make of the juxtapositions I call "DoubleQuotes" ]
This first one was suggested to me by Scott Shipman as a “match” for my DQ about Von Karman’s mathematics of flow in liquids and Van Gogh’s night sky — and indeed, the two of them make a fine double DoubleQuote.
The second comes from the “HSM Press Office” twitter feed, the exact nature of which is unknown, but which calls itself the “High Spirit Mission Press” and sports a jihadist “black banner” as its avatar:
And the third?
M’friend Bryan Alexander suggested what he called “a Piketty doublequote” in a note to me this morning:
It may be excessive to accuse senior executives of having their “hands in the till”, but the metaphor is probably more apt than Adam Smith’s metaphor of the market’s “invisible hand”
Let’s take the two visual “DoubleQuotes in the wild” above, and look at my own equivalents:
I have to say that I find the respective beauties of the von Karman vortext street diagram (upper panel) and the Van Gogh night sky painting (lower panel) seem perfectly balanced to me, while the fractal generator still has a ways to go before it arrives at the brilliance of Hokusai.
The fractal-wave comparison, btw, is one that has obviously occurred to more than one person — here’s another version:
It’s also interesting to me that in both cases — that of Hokusai and that of Van Gogh — the arts appear to have been “ahead of” the sciences.
As to the second “wild” DQ –
I’ve used TinEye and Google image-search engines, and haven’t found any other uses of the double image HSM Press Office posted, showing an Imam praying for a deceased US soldier and US aoldiers urinating on the bodies of deal Taliban — so I imagine the pairing of the two images may be KSM Press Office’s own. And it’s funny, because I think the intention is to suggest “we” (ie jihadists) treat “you” (ie US military dead) with appropriate respect, while you show no such respect for deal Taliban.
Imam Hashim Raza leads mourners in prayer during a funeral for Mohsin Naqvi at al-Fatima Islamic Center in Colonie, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 22, 2008. Naqvi was a Muslim, a native of Pakistan (he emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 8 years old and became a citizen at 16) and a U.S. Army officer. He was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
So what we’re seeing is an American imam at the funeral of a fellow Muslim — in this case a fellow Muslim who was also American soldier. And BTW those American soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses? They’re not representative of the American military as a whole.
Knowing this, I’ve made my own DoubleQuote in response to the one above.
In the upper panel, it shows the New York imam at the funeral of Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi, whose flag-draped coffin was carried to the service by an Army honor guard from Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.
In the lower panel, we see US medics — marines, I think [ Army, see correction below] — treating wounded Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
[ by Charles Cameron -- a friend's blogpost, a taste of still eating oranges -- and the eyes of beautiful women considered as weaponry, in a Zen story, backed up by a verse from a celebrated Indian treatise on advaita ]
Here’s the Still Eating Oranges intro to the form known as kishotenketsu which so intrigued Bill Benzon:
The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general — arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishotenketsu.
Kishotenketsu contains four acts: introduction, development, twist and reconciliation. The basics of the story—characters, setting, etc. — are established in the first act and developed in the second. No major changes occur until the third act, in which a new, often surprising element is introduced. The third act is the core of the plot, and it may be thought of as a kind of structural non sequitur. The fourth act draws a conclusion from the contrast between the first two “straight” acts and the disconnected third, thereby reconciling them into a coherent whole.
A well-known Japanese poet was asked how to compose a Chinese poem.
“The usual Chinese poem is four lines,” he explains. “The first line contains the initial phase; the second line, the continuation of that phase; the third line turns from this subject and begins a new one; and the fourth line brings the first three lines together. A popular Japanese song illustrates this:
Two daughters of a silk merchant live in Kyoto. The elder is twenty, the younger, eighteen. A soldier may kill with his sword. But these girls slay men with their eyes.
[ by Charles Cameron -- also the battle of Gaixia, 200 BCE, with an echo late in the Korean War -- and a tip of the hat to Emlyn ]
Kagemusha, the flute call:
There’s a sequence near the start of Akria Kurosawa‘s masterpiece, Kagemusha, when a flute player on the ramparts of a besieged castle belonging to Tokugawa Ieyasu so captivates the men of the daimyo Takeda Shingen‘s besieging force that everyone listens for the flute each night:
Our men are impressed. They can’t wait for night to come.
This flute, in turn, becomes the primary indicator of whether the besieged castle will or will not fall after the besiegers cut its water supply. The daimyo’s general and close confidant suggests whe asked:
The castle can stand longer. The garrison leader is a fine warrior. He lets us hear the flute at night. …
If we hear him tonight the garrison will hold. The castle will not fall. But if we do not hear the flute, the castle is doomed. Its fall is near.
To which the daimyo responds:
I want to hear if the flute is played tonight. Prepare my seat.
The daimyo’s seat is prepared, the flute plays, a shot rings out… the daimyo is mortally wounded… and the narrative of the film unfurls.
I was watching Kagemusha with son Emlyn last night, saying how close the film seemed to come to my current interests, and remarked on the scene with the flute because it illustrates so perfectly the ideas that morale may prove more powerful than materiel, and the arts as valuable in coflict as ballistics.
Emlyn spent a short while at the computer, and found two web-pages he thought might interest me.
The first page pointed me to the battle of Gaixia in 202 BCE, in which Han Xin trapped Xiang Yu‘s Chu forces in a box canyon,
To further break the Chu army’s spirit, Han Xin employed the “Chu Song from Four Sides” tactic. He ordered the Han soldiers and captured Chu troops to sing Chu songs. The Chu songs made the Chu troops remember their families back home, greatly reducing their will to fight.
Increasingly homesick, the Chu soldiers began to desert, Han Xin’s brilliant tactic gave him the vistory, and the Han dynasty was established.
The second page Emlyn pointed me to was titled The Use of Music in Psyops. In it, SGM Herbert Friedman takes a long (67 pp.) and detailed look at this general topic, and made a fascinating “DoubleQuote” style connection with the first in its near-final paragraph:
The Communist Chinese used music against American troops on several occasions during the Korean War. Soldiers from the U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division recalled that when the enemy played Joni James’ rendition of Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” on dark and foggy nights it gave soldiers some reason to pause and think of home.
For your edification and delight, Joni James sings Hank Williams‘ Your Cheatin’ Heart:
Here Liu Fang plays the celebrated pipa solo that depicts the stages of the battle, The Ambush from all Sides:
For what it’s worth, the banner and motto of the Takeda clan, Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain — given in the subtitles as —
Swift as the wind
Quiet as a forest
Fierce as fire
Immovable as a mountain
— which adds much to the poetry of our understanding of Japanese warfare, is known as the Furinkazan, and derives from Sun Tzu‘s seventh chapter:
Therefore the army is established on deception, mobilized by advantage, and changed through dividing up and consolidating the troops.
Therefore, it advances like the wind,
it marches like the forest,
it invades and plunders like fire,
it stands like the mountain,
it is formless like the dark,
it strikes like thunder.
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.