Avey’s argument is straightforward: If the conventional military balance favors a nuclear-armed state to such an extent that it would not need to resort to nuclear weapons to defend itself and its vital interests, the non-nuclear state may challenge or resist it in a militarized dispute. A sort of “Goldilocks rule” is at play here. If the non-nuclear state is conventionally too strong vis-à-vis the nuclear state, then the latter may be tempted to use nuclear strikes to achieve favorable outcomes on the battlefield. The possibility of nuclear weapons use deters the non-nuclear state. If, however, the non-nuclear state is conventionally too weak vis-à-vis the nuclear state, then the former will not be able to initiate a military conflict in the first place. Avey claims that the non-nuclear state’s leaders do not abide by the nuclear taboo while challenging a nuclear-armed adversary. These leaders believe that amoral strategic reasons — and not moral misgivings — will constrain the adversary from launching nuclear weapons. To support his argument, Avey examines Iraq’s confrontational policies toward the United States in the 1990s, Israeli decision-making toward Egypt in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Beijing’s hostility toward the United States in the 1950s, and Soviet-American tensions in the early days of the Cold War.
Afrer posing some questions about Avey’s arguments, the review concludes:
This is yet another sign that Avey has written a very good book. It gives inspiration for fresh theorizing and more empirical scholarship. Notwithstanding my questions about the nuclear revolution and the Israeli-Egyptian case study, Avey wisely hews close to the evidence and never overstates his arguments. Tempting Fate is a must-read for anyone interested in nuclear politics.
Me, I’m going to think about smaller boys taunting big enough bullies that they can get away with it in (British) Public Schools (American “Prep Schools”).. a subject close to my heart.
[ by Charles Cameron — who was wondering about this particular strategy a few minutes before encountering this headline.. ]
How would cops joining protesters figure in a simple zero-sum game? Impossible, you say? Did ever a white bishop in chess determine the black cause was righteous and declare itself black, allowing the black player to move it? Never, you say? How, then, do we score this move?
[ by Charles Cameron — CPAC and Fox, Kushner and the Judiciary Committee, India and Pakistan, even a mention of epistemology, still plenty going on ]
It puts India and Pakistan on the same moral plane, right?
You talk about India and Pakistan being rivals. It’s just both sideisms of the most mendacious kind.
No doubt Trump‘s dealing with Cohen and Kim are leading stories about now, so this headline deserves to lead this post, but — wait for it —
— it’s the bit about muscling reality into submission that caught my attention. Just muscling into submission would be metaphor enough for me to take notice — but when it’s reality itself that’s being wrestled down, we’re clearly in epistemological territory, perhaps of the variety Michelle Goldberg: talked about the other day:
..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.
Terrorism? Not in the usual natsec sense — but hang on, terror itself is a framing of reality, located in the mind-heart-brain complex, and that’s the stage par excellence on which epistemological experience plays…
If I could access it, there’s a dueling breaking news chyron at the end of Bryan Williams’ 11th hour for February 26th.
North Korea of course is the combination of a cult and kind of a mob operation
It is admittedly difficult, while watching “Leaving Neverland,” to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas: that victims should be believed, and that the accused are innocent until proved guilty. The first is wildly crucial if we wish to protect the disenfranchised from egregious abuses of power. The second remains the crux of the American criminal-justice system. Can these two ideas coexist? Right now it feels as if they have to, which means that we are sometimes required to make personal choices about how we accept or dismiss the information made available to us.
The ability to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas is a strong version of F Scott Fitzgerald‘s definition of genius — strong because Fitzgerald didn’t insist on the ideas in question being imperative.
Brexit, at the moment, is an exercise in game theory. This week, both Prime Minister Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, grudgingly agreed to open the way for options that could help to break the current deadlock over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union. In May’s case, the option was a possible vote in Parliament to delay Brexit, which is now scheduled, ready or not, for March 29th; in Corbyn’s, it was a new referendum that might overturn Brexit altogether. Both May and Corbyn were acting because of rebellions within their own ranks, which escalated last week—when both Labour and Conservative M.P.s resigned from their parties—and threatened to spread. May reportedly made her offer because three members of her cabinet were about to quit, taking a dozen junior ministers with them.
3-4-2019 MSNBC, a few items
Russia, if you’re listening ..
It suredoesn’t seem as though the Russians thought it was a joke ..
43: RT is starting their propaganda campaign that mirrors WikiLeaks which then mirrors what Donald TYrump is saying..
Melber, The Beat:
We’re not at Impeach yet, but we’re definitely on the road, the car is on the road. And this is the gas for that car, this investigation.
Paul, if this is a car a lot of people thought Bob Mueller was driving it. Thelasttime people remember an Impeac hment proceeding,we had prosecutor Ken Starr now driving it. ARe you suggesting that Jerry Nadler is now really in that
[more — Clift, Hommer, Prius]
He knew the game was over ..
The document demand:
That’s just Kushner..
We don’t haveconclusive proof that the President is a Russian mole, but it sure seems like it .
Sen Klobuchar: Rail, class one rail, down to four companies, the same number we’re seeing on the Monopoly board. And this consolidation that we’re seein in our country cries out for tougher action on anti-trust.
Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead.
Who’s the toy here, the Presidentt? or Fox?
Why is the President of the United States working for Fox?
Despite the discouragement, Falzone kept investigating, and discovered that the National Enquirer, in partnership with Trump, had made a “catch and kill” deal with Daniels—buying the exclusive rights to her story in order to bury it. Falzone pitched this story to Fox, too, but it went nowhere. News of Trump’s payoffs to silence Daniels, and Cohen’s criminal attempts to conceal them as legal fees, remained unknown to the public until the Wall Street Journal broke the story, a year after Trump became President.
We want to connect the dots and really put out a narrative of what happened, why it happened, and how we prevent this from happening again
That’s my slight concern about Biden and Bernie Sanders and Trump, that 2020 is like going to be the ticket of Bengay vs Vick’s Vapor Rub vs Metamucil .
Last Word, O’Donnll:
Well, look, everything that Trump is guilty of, he’s accused somebody else of doing — so he’s accused Hillary of having all the questions when he had them, he accused Barack Obama of playing golf all the time when he plays golf all the time, and many worse sins than that
They don’t like her policies, but they say she (AOC) has political game
Is she going to be the white whale?
That’s why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced the New Green Deal: it’s a watermelon, green on the outside, deep, deep, Communist red on the inbside.
One of his legal ppl:
I think she’s showing rmarkable patience. One day, Brian, Roger Stone will be a convicted felon, and this judge will be the one who decides how long he goes to jail. He’s playing a short game, she’s playing a long game.
3/5/2019 Brian Wms:
Gen McCaffrey:It’s amazing what’s available through unclassified commercial satellite photography [***** ourob][ .. ]
We’re being played by the North Koreans, and President Trump is negotiating with himself [ .. ]
Let’s .. talk about those exercises. The President now openly referring to them as war games –
Holding back the “war games” during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!
[ by Charles Cameron — a bit of a hodge-podge, also known as an olla podrida — i hope you’ll find it tasty! ]
Headlines, no chyrons:
You know, I think this is the first bazooka metaphor I’ve seen since I started looking:
Game, war-game and game theoretical references, as you know, are always of interest to me, but the addition of a nuclear component makes such references irresistible:
As Trump sought to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, enticing his young “friend” with visions of a disarmed North Korea as an “Economic Powerhouse,” India and Pakistan were trading blows in a case study of what conflict looks like when countries successfully obtain nuclear weapons despite international opposition.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot would be released as a “peace gesture” on Friday. India’s military welcomed the move.
Ali Minai comments on FB:
Not only the right and mature thing to do, but also a great tactical move. The Pakistan government- the PM, the opposition, and the military – have handled the situation with great skill – a benefit of “unified command and control”. Even the media in Pakistan has not gone completely nuts – though the same can’t be said for some of the Indian media. Both sides seem to have de-escalated, but it is too early to breathe a sigh of relief given Pakistan’s fragile economic state and the temptation of the electoral benefits of belligerence on the Indian side.
There’s an obvious DQ there with his father’s wanted listing with a bounty on his head.
I thought this was an eye-catching description of doctrine, used as an epigraph to the UK Doctrine of War:
I cam by it via a War on the Rocks piece, Mal Craghill‘s Thinking about thinking in the Royal Air Force, which pointed me to the UK Doctrine document. I syuspect that document may be worth a post exploring the conceptual and moral components of war (the physical component is not in my bailiwick), and in particular how the moral component and morale are related. TBD.
Fighting words, if that ain’t a contradiction in terms:
House Democrats exploded in recriminations Thursday over moderates bucking the party, with liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatening to put those voting with Republicans “on a list” for a primary challenge.
In a closed-door session, a frustrated Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lashed out at about two dozen moderates and pressured them to get on board. “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” Pelosi said, according to two people present but not authorized to discuss the remarks publicly.
But Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the unquestioned media superstar of the freshman class, upped the ante, admonishing the moderates and indicating she would help liberal activists unseat them in the 2020 election.
[ 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.
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.
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:
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.
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..
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.