April 12, 2024

Open Thread 154

It is time once again for our regular Open Thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't Culture War.

A reminder that our meetup in New England is coming up in 3 weeks. This is the last call for those of you who are thinking of attending. If you want to join the following people, see cool ships, and eat delicious food, sign up using this form:

  • Bean and Lord Nelson
  • Sam Chevre
  • Hunter
  • Ian Argent
  • John Schilling
  • Usea2b
  • smd
  • 2 Friedmans
  • Shas'Ui + 1

Overhauls are A Brief History of the Destroyer, Shells Part 1, and for 2023 How many Bulbasaurs could fit on this ship? and my review of Pima.


  1. April 16, 2024bean said...

    And we have confirmation that this past weekend saw the first combat use of the SM-3! (https://news.usni.org/2024/04/15/sm-3-ballistic-missile-interceptor-used-for-first-time-in-combat-officials-confirm) It turns out that all of the ABM work indeed is paying off. Now if we could just build some for ourselves....

  2. April 18, 2024megasilverfist said...

    This is vaguely culture war adjacent so please keep responses focused on realpolitik and military strategy not personal feelings about Zionism. What if any practical benefit does US/the west get from supporting Israel? Like if we were to take it as a given that we only care about the middle east to the extent it has consequences for the west would it make any sense to back them?

  3. April 18, 2024bean said...

    Hmm. That's probably going to depend on what level of analysis you use. If we go with a very high-level Mearsheimerian Realism, then no, probably not. They don't give us bases, they're far away, and they irritate the Arabs, although a lot less than they used to. (To be clear, I am positive on realism as a useful lens for looking at international relations, but think Mearsheimer has taken it way too far, and that this kind of analysis is obviously flawed.) Below that, well, it depends on what you're looking at. Israel is a rich democracy and a nuclear power, and those are both reasons to want them to be friendly, but "friendly" covers a bunch of territory, and because of their unique geopolitical situation, it's hard to be friendly to them like we are friendly to Denmark. I don't think there's a clear answer after any serious grappling with the complexities, but that's almost to be expected.

  4. April 18, 2024John Schilling said...

    We definitely want trade with Israel, we want technology transfer with Israel, and we want immigration from Israel. That's all valuable to the United States, far out of proportion to Israel's tiny population. And for that to happen, Israel has to exist and it has to have bandwidth beyond "we're barely managing to keep existing". So, given all the people who very much want Israel to not exist, some level of protection for Israel from the World Police is in our interest.

    And unfortunately, we still haven't managed to find anyone who can be trusted to take over the World Police gig from us.

    Israel has also been a valuable intelligence partner to the United States in the past, if not always a trusted one. But there is the question of how much of that intelligence is just about threats from people who wouldn't have been our enemies in the first place if we weren't so tight with Israel.

    OTOH, Iran was always going to be our enemy because mumble something Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, so anyone who can A: feed us good intel on Iran and B: be first in line to soak up the terrorists and missiles Iran would otherwise be aiming at us, is useful.

  5. April 20, 2024Anonymous said...

    John Schilling:

    and we want immigration from Israel.

    The US would probably get a lot more immigration from Israel if it ceased to exist (and all at once even).

    John Schilling:

    OTOH, Iran was always going to be our enemy

    While it is named the Islamic Republic of Iran possibly but it isn't going to be called that forever. Also Iran isn't the only place the US did bad things to.

    The population of Iran is not Arab (so different ethnicity to the Palestinians) and appears to not even be majority Muslim, it may well be the one country in the region where Israel is viewed less negatively by the people than the government.

  6. April 20, 2024Hugh Fisher said...

    Iran could be just as useful an ally for the US/west as Israel, possibly even more so, but the Islamic form of government since 1979 makes it impossible. Please note that I'm saying the Iranian government is the difficulty, not the Iranian people.

    As Anonymous writes, Iranians aren't Arabs. For most of history Iran has been an advanced and progressive place, in the sense of being open to and tolerant of new ideas. IMHO the Iranian people don't deserve the government they got in 1979.

    As a post WW2 ally Iran supplied a lot of oil, control over one side of the Persian Gulf, and a military threat to the Soviets. Today oil is something the west is trying to wean itself off, but Iran would still be able to cut off Chinese oil supplies. And Iran would still be a military presence close to Russia and other obnoxious regimes in the area.

    Iranian people remember that it was Britain and the USA that overthrew their democracy in 1953 and installed the first Pahlavi Shah, but that is fading with time and my guess is that the Islamic regime is now regarded as worse. After Sep 11 Iranians, for the most part, didn't celebrate the attacks as so many middle easterners did. (No doubt some A-holes did, but we had a few such in Aus too.)

    The obstacle is the Islamic regime. In 1979 the new revolutionary government declared the USA as "The Great Satan", eternal foe of Iran, etc, etc as a cause to unify the population / excuse to kill political opponents. Israel, before 1979 a strong ally and trade partner of Iran, became the "Lesser Satan", again a political move rather than actually anti-Jewish: Iran had and still has a Jewish population.

    So yes Iran would be a natural and useful ally, probably more useful than Israel in strict realpolitik, but the current Islamic regime of Iran defines itself and keeps itself in power as the sworn enemy of the US/west. (And this goes both ways: Iran would benefit from being the ally of the US/west too.) Not much anyone on either side can do except hope for western soft / cultural power to eventually change the form of government in Iran.

  7. April 21, 2024megasilverfist said...

    Given that Iran is increasingly Islamic in name only I wonder what it would to to bribe their government over to our side.

  8. April 21, 2024Anonymous said...


    Given that Iran is increasingly Islamic in name only I wonder what it would to to bribe their government over to our side.

    I suspect it'll take another revolution.

    I just can't see the type of people running the current regime liberalizing voluntarily, especially with the country no longer having a Muslim majority and a non-religious plurality that does not appear to be apathetic about religion.

    Realistically the only thing the US could provide would be to help the current regime oppress the majority which does not seem to be a good idea either morally or strategically.

  9. April 28, 2024Ski206 said...

    When you list something as having been overhauled in this post does that mean it’s an old post you’ve updated?

  10. April 28, 2024bean said...

    Yes. I look at the posts published in the period between each OT in previous years and do updates to any ones I think need it, then list them here.

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