Donald Trump

You Owe NATO Your iPhone, or Why NATO Is Essential to the Current World Order

I have made an effort to avoid partisan politics on my blog. It’s a personal choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if readers, especially ones who know me personally are well aware of my political views on the American presidential election happening at the beginning of next month. In response to the severe and unprecedented circumstances of this election, I am temporarily abrogating my commitment to non-partisanship for this post. I could list off all of the reasons I oppose Donald Trump, from racism, narcissism, poor temper control, dishonesty, bragging about sexual assault, or outright incompetence and ignorance. I could link an extremely short summary of only a few of the most egregious reasons he should not be president, his opponent’s flaws notwithstanding. But I won’t (list them, obviously I did link that article). Instead today I will offer a somewhat more subtle rebuke, to a particularly virulent isolationist idea he has revived into national prominence. Just over a month ago, I posted an article┬ádevoted to the future issues of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, and a way I thought it could help future-proof itself. This time, I am instead going to focus on NATO in the present, and an issue raised in this presidential election campaign: is the Alliance still relevant to American global interests, or is it a long-lived ghost of the Cold War? Does NATO have a place in a world focused on defeating international terrorism, or should America stop allowing European powers to free-ride on its own defense commitments? For myself, the answer is clear: NATO has never needed American engagement and energy more than the present moment. The long and short of why is thus: so you can have the iPhone or laptop you are reading this essay on. At a fundamental level, NATO and its security guarantee underwrite the international order that uphold the Western lifestyle and allowed the creation of that device. Not only will American withdrawal engender an international collapse, but the modern technology sector will rapidly follow global order and peace into chaos and dissolution. Continue with this piece

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Reactivating the Iowa Sisters, or Bringing a Gun To A Missile Fight

On September 16, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a speech on the fantail of the USS Iowa in Los Angeles. Without going into either my views on Mr. Trump’s candidacy or the speech itself, I would like to dig into one particular topic Mr. Trump raised, about two and a half minutes into the speech. Betwixt an awful lot of hot air, he suggested recommissioning the battleship USS Iowa and her three sisters, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Missouri, some of the last battleships ever built, into the fleet of the United States Navy (USN). For a Trump comment, that’s actually fairly mainstream, an idea that is floated with some regularity in defense commentary circles. Such plans usually revolve around upgrading the old ships with modern technology and using them as flagships and support ships for the Navy, and I’m sure Mr. Trump’s would too, if he actually put any detail to so little a thing as a plan. However, such a plan must be understood as what it is, at best foolish and expensive, and at worst an active retardation of the Navy’s global fighting ability. Continue with this piece