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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Losing the next war

The US military establishment is gradually waking up to the uncomfortable realization that victory over its primary enemies is no longer guaranteed:
For the first time in decades, it is possible to imagine the United States fighting—and possibly losing—a large-scale war with a great power. For generations of Americans accustomed to U.S. military superiority and its ability to deter major wars, the idea of armed conflict between great powers may seem highly improbable. The idea that the United States—with the most expensive armed forces in the world by a wide margin—might lose such a war would seem absolutely preposterous. Nevertheless, the possibility of war and U.S. defeat are real and growing.

Given that U.S. armed forces’ last major conventional combat operations were the massively lopsided victories against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and 2003, many Americans might be wondering how this could come to pass. This report makes the case that one salient issue is that the American way of war—the implicit and explicit mental framework for U.S. military strategy and operations—that coalesced after the Gulf War is no longer valid.

China and Russia have spent almost two decades studying the current American way of war. While the Department of Defense (DoD) has taken its military superiority for granted and focused on defeating nonstate adversaries, China and Russia have been devising strategies and developing new concepts and weapons to defeat the United States in a war should the need arise. They have offset their relative weakness versus the United States by using time and geography to their advantage and by focusing their weapons- and concept-development efforts on finding ways to attack vulnerable nodes in U.S. military operations. The goal of these strategies and concepts is to create a plausible theory of victory whereby China or Russia avoid a “fair fight” with the Joint Force and could therefore defeat the United States and its allies and partners in a regional war. These Chinese and Russian strategies, which once seemed implausible or far in the future, are beginning to pay off. They are shifting military balances in key regions and pushing allies and partners to reconsider U.S. security guarantees.
I've been commenting on this for the last few years, and both Martin van Creveld and William S. Lind have been doing so for much longer, so it's interesting to see the way in which the establishment is finally beginning to admit the obvious.

If you look at the various elements that went into the US victory in the two World Wars and the Cold War, the most striking observation is that virtually none of those elements apply anymore. Whether one considers the potential industrial base, the national demographics, or the geography, it is readily apparent that a) the United States is in the position of WWII-era Germany and b) China is in the position of the WWII-era USA.

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67 Comments:

Blogger Jay in DC June 13, 2019 11:11 AM  

Apparently John Bolton, Pompeo, the Neo-Con MIC, and the Neo-Palestinians are NOT getting the message and think they will 'do just fine'.

Because, like a train that is NEVER late, the next false flag from this morning:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9284293/explosions-oil-tankers-gulf-of-oman-iran/


I find it fascinating that one of the ships is owned by a Japanese company right as Shinzo Abe is visiting to attempt to diffuse the situation. Pure cohen-cidence I'm certain...

If I'm being totally honest, that whole 'pride cometh before the fall' thing is what I'd really like to see here. I'd like to see the Neo-Palestinian puppetmasters and their toy robots in the White House take a crack at this to start another Middle East conflagration.

Then I'd like to see Russia, China, and Iran (for a start) to call their bluff and punch back- H A R D. I'd also like to see Europe seeing the obvious false flag simply sit this one out and let the lone tyrant empire fight it out by itself. One can hope anyways, right?

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 13, 2019 11:17 AM  

On the demographics, we might be closer to the WWI-era Austro-Hungarian Empire than WWII-era Germany.

Blogger Timmy3 June 13, 2019 11:27 AM  

We never fought a major superpower like the former USSR. Best that we don’t try to fight Russia and China. Nuclear weapons should be the deterrent. We got out of Vietnam. Maybe we won or lost. We won in Iraq after losing the peace. We still haven’t won in Afghanistan. It’s time for America to shore up its defenses along the border and defend allies. Going to war with competitors or adversaries should be avoided.

Blogger dc.sunsets June 13, 2019 11:27 AM  

The .mil ceased long ago to be remotely purposed for fighting and winning wars. It is almost entirely a means of expanding borrowing (which enriches bondholders and the central bank's owners) while spreading loot to politically-relevant industries that employ mainly the Middle Class.

In America, everyone gets a cut of the loot. Oldsters get their "entitlements," while people who make a nice living in the Medical/Medical-Insurance Cartel, the Military-Industry Cartel, the Welfare-Administration cartel (which includes everything from "NGO" Midnight Basketball to Battered Women Shelters as well as SNAP, Housing, "Refugee Resettlement," etc.) and the Higher Ed cartel are happy campers, and of course there are plenty of other transfers of wealth from Taxpayers and Bondholders to pretty much everyone else.

Each American stands in a metaphorical circle picking the pockets of the person in front of them...while the rest of the world's people prepare for the time when globalism's pathological trust turns to fear and enmity (as it always has and predictably will.)

Today Americans pawn the country built by their ancestors for the latest iPhone on which to FB-follow a Kardashian and post selfies. The cupboard is already bare, but the time has not yet arrived for recognition of this fact.

Blogger Jab Burrwalky June 13, 2019 11:32 AM  

@2
You aren't wrong, as far as ethnicities go.

In WWI Austria Hungary was primarily Germans (10 million) and Hungarians (9 million). There were also Poles, Croats, Bosnians, Serbians, Italians, Czechs, Ruthenes, Slovenes, Slovaks and Romanians. Their recruitment posters were in 15 languages and there were frequent and sometimes engagement-wide defections or refusals to fire on co-ethnics under the Russian flag.

By contrast, the U.S. has over 20 distinct ethnic groups, and over 26% of them are non-white as of 2016. No idea what it is now.

Blogger Johnny June 13, 2019 11:37 AM  

What I notice is that since about the middle of WWII we have had a superior air force, and our method of war reflects the assumption that we will have air dominance. If that can be shut down in some manner, I believe we would be in deep trouble because we are not a country ready to take high casualties in an ongoing slug-fest.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia June 13, 2019 11:40 AM  

Vox, thanks for linking to this analysis. I look forward to reading the entire report.

I did a quick skim of this 50 page document, and the big takeaway I got was, "Yes, our past war fighting methods don't apply in big power conflicts, but we do know that, and are working to address it, though we haven't solved it."

In addition, what's key is both ACTUAL deterrence, and PERCEIVED deterrence. Both have to operate.

From the conclusion section.

The challenges outlined above are real, they are difficult, and the DoD and its subordinate components must solve them urgently to implement the National Defense Strategy and defend U.S. interests. However, these problems are solvable. The U.S. military establishment has solved problems of similar magnitude in the past, and there are initiatives and organizations working on solving them today. . .

...U.S. armed forces do not need to be invincible to achieve the objectives of the NDS. They simply need capabilities and operational concepts sufficient to sow enough doubt in the mind of Chinese and Russian military planners that they eschew armed coercion and aggression against U.S. interests, our allies, and partners as a means of achieving their political objectives."

Blogger Nathan Bruno June 13, 2019 11:47 AM  

You have underestimated America's greatest deterrent:

After producing the most diverse candidate class in the history of the United States (I saw those girls with their swords! Samurai Jack's got nothing on them!), America would unleash its Twitter warriors to call the Russians and Chinese racist.

That sort of psychological torture, honed against "American conservatives" so as to stymie any attempt to advance the agenda, will be worse than the very pits of Hell for "traditional conservative societies" like Russia and China.

Blogger HMS Defiant June 13, 2019 11:48 AM  

We have a cunning new plan to win wars. Decapitation strikes. We will simply send a couple of guys to kill the one that pisses us off. Noriega was a lesson, of sorts, even to the dim. It took a while but even that worthless scumbag bin laden learned that it just takes a handful of guys, a couple of helicopters and we'll end you.

Gross wars like WWII, Korea, Vietnam, so passe. President Trump would not sanction one. A couple of guys will go and slide some loser into the shark tank and come home without fanfare.

I liked what the Queen of Air and Darkness said about the quiet Archangel in the Dresden novels. We've got one now and as soon as he cleans house at the NSA, CIA, DIA, FBI, we'll be more dangerouos and less concerned about foreign nations. 73 Easting pretty much put paid to junk militaries of enormous psize.*

Who knew Sam Nicholson was a pseudonym for a girl?

Blogger riffer73 June 13, 2019 11:49 AM  

It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Blogger Longtime Lurker June 13, 2019 11:51 AM  

CNAS represents the views of the Democratic half of the DC NatSec Establishment.

Blogger Jay in DC June 13, 2019 12:01 PM  

@9 I want to critique your comment but I literally do not even know where to start because it is so wrong from top to bottom I'm just in astonishment.

Pro-Tip: Objective Reality (where most of us live) is not a Tom Clancy novel which it appears you have thoroughly embedded yourself into. Osama Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight for almost a decade. That is so fucking elite that we couldn't find him! Double elite that we accidentally crashed a chopper during the operation. And triple elite that we had to kill the entire Navy Seal team in an "unfortunate accident" just a while later in another helo attack.

Decapitation Strikes?? - 'Tell me of your homeworld Usul'

Blogger Damelon Brinn June 13, 2019 12:06 PM  

Ideally, our decreasing military advantage would cause us to pull back to our borders, declare peace and protectionism, and focus on internal problems. Unfortunately, it seems more likely to cause the usual suspects to start a losing war in an attempt to force us into a WWII-style military rebuild, just with Rosie the Riveter replaced with Shaniqua the Drone Operator.

Even if we were smart and lucky enough to peacefully pull back from empire, I wonder whether the rest of the world would be content to let bygones be bygones, considering we'd still be sitting on a good deal of the world's wealth. The temptation to kick the old bully and take his lunch money when he's finally down would be strong. So somehow we'd have to maintain strong defense without letting the hawks use it for offense. Hard to do.

Blogger Stilicho June 13, 2019 12:11 PM  

The key to any Russian or Chinese victory wod be to draw the US into a conflict where it's supply lines would be vulnerable and limit it's ability to project force while the Russian or Chinese ability to project force would not be so limited.

We could not have invaded north Africa, Sicily, Italy, or France successfully without a base of operations in England. That's why the Germans tried so hard to get England out of the fight (and cut the north Atlantic supply lines)before the Russians attacked them in the east: the high command knew how we would use England as a depot and base of operations.

Unfortunately, the neocon's will try to play into Russian or Chinese plans for such a trap.

Blogger Geir Balderson June 13, 2019 12:14 PM  

When has the U.S. Military ever really won a war since 1945?

Blogger Calvin809 June 13, 2019 12:17 PM  

But we have girl power and diversity is our strength.

Blogger Longtime Lurker June 13, 2019 12:21 PM  

@16: Grenada (1983), Gulf Tanker War against Iran (1987-88), Panama (1989), and Serbia (1999).

That is the best I can do as far as decisive victories go.

Blogger Geir Balderson June 13, 2019 12:24 PM  

Oh, and we can't even win the ongoing war and insurgency with Mexico and the rest of South America. American Citizens are such pawns, be it red pawn or blue pawn.

Blogger wahr01 June 13, 2019 12:24 PM  

US war doctrine assumes conditions that are NEVER guaranteed in war, such as total air superiority.

This is a luxury at best, spoiled more easily by weather than enemy activity.

The new complicating factors such as IDE's made from cheap consumer-grade drones are just icing on the proverbial cake.

The USA should be adopting the mindset the Russians have had all along:

All individual branches of the military should be able to compensate for the very real possibility it will be isolated from cooperating branches in real combat conditions.

Ground forces should have protocols in which air support is not possible, etc. etc.

Blogger peacefulposter June 13, 2019 12:25 PM  

At least WWII Germany was relatively homogeneous.

The USA not so much today.

Granted, in both cases a certain (((minority group))) was over-represented in places.

Blogger The Gaelic Lands June 13, 2019 12:25 PM  

Well, in the Land of Inversion, maybe defeat is the new victory.

Or the goal is to destroy America, Christianity and Western Civilization by destroying all its institutions, one of which is the US military.

Mission Accomplished.

Blogger binks webelf June 13, 2019 12:37 PM  

As to causes of war, might the actual climate change that's going on (global cooling, heavy rains, later planting times, a possible grand solar minimum) lead to conflict in the short or middle term?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcKT8Q28Hzs

Ice Age Farmer: China Can't Afford Apples - "Fruit Freedom" Lost - Grand Solar Minimum

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2019-05-17/chart-of-the-day-fruit-prices-spike-in-china-on-extreme-weather-101416990.html

Caixin Global-- Chart of the Day: Fruit Prices Spike in China on ‘Extreme Weather’

Blogger binks webelf June 13, 2019 12:38 PM  

https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/news-articles/solar-minimum-is-coming
NASA-- Solar Minimum is Coming

Blogger elad sputnik June 13, 2019 12:39 PM  

I call it the Tom Clancy effect. I remember back in the day Dad being the age I'm at now bitching about how out of touch and dumb Grandpa was. He wasn't wrong. This was around 1990, ironically enough.
The world moved on, they didn't, and like cavalry charging machine guns, it won't end well.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 13, 2019 12:41 PM  

Damelon Brinn wrote:... just with Rosie the Riveter replaced with Shaniqua the Drone Operator.

What a pity that our most likely opponent is the country that makes Shaniqua's drone.

Stilicho wrote:The key to any Russian or Chinese victory wod be to draw the US into a conflict where it's supply lines would be vulnerable and limit it's ability to project force while the Russian or Chinese ability to project force would not be so limited.

Why do the Russians and Chinese think they can beat us when we outspend them by so much? A huge part of our military expense is our logistics tail. The Russians and Chinese are continental powers, and as long as they stick to their portions of their continent, they can get by without vast fleets of cargo ships and planes. They can focus their spending on tooth, not on tail. Couple that with a military procurement system focused on delivering weapons instead of graft and they could get enormously more bang for their buck.

Our cargo ship fleet is also pitifully inadequate and unready.

I don't know that the Russian and Chinese military industrial complexes are less corrupt than ours, but they certainly can't be worse than ours, which is totally focused, from the top down, on delivering patronage and votes rather than weapons.

Blogger basementhomebrewer June 13, 2019 12:45 PM  

such as total air superiority.

Not to mention total dependence on satellite tech. More and more weaponry and strategy is being based on the assumption that satellite communication, positioning and surveillance will be consistently available. Sure, there are contingency plans in place, but they are less and less realistic.

It's pretty much the same thing as a large business having a contingency plan for their ERP completely failing along with the backup. Sure you could go back to the way you did things in the 70's with pen and paper but realistically no one is skilled enough in the old methods to make things run anywhere near efficiently.

Blogger Meanoldbasterd June 13, 2019 12:50 PM  

I laughed... Thanks for the Dune reference.
Like the Desert ass go I forth to my work!

Blogger buwaya June 13, 2019 12:58 PM  

" there were frequent and sometimes engagement-wide defections or refusals to fire on co-ethnics under the Russian flag."

This is true, this happened several times, especially later in the conflict. However, the Austro-Hungarian military was organized mainly in territorial-ethnic units where mass actions like whole unit defections were possible. The US has mixed units at all levels where such things will have to be individual acts generally.

Blogger buwaya June 13, 2019 1:02 PM  

I doubt Russian military power other than in strategic weapons.
They can make small-scale trouble but they don't have the stomach for a major war nor for a large scale military buildup. For all their announcements of high tech this or that they have been building modern weapons in extremely small numbers, if they even get out of the prototype stage.

The Chinese are something else. Worry about them.

Blogger buwaya June 13, 2019 1:07 PM  

A general comment -
After such a long peace, during which so much technological change has been implemented in weapons systems and every other military system, nobody has any reliable basis to evaluate the relative value of weapon systems. This happens at the start of every war, but we are now in unprecedented territory. We don't know what the unbeatable super-weapons are, in the context of the strategic and tactical situations and of the state of opposing counter-weapons and tactics. We don't know what unanticipated fatal flaws are in anyone's systems.

Blogger Doktor Jeep June 13, 2019 1:07 PM  

I wonder if we'll be liberated.

Blogger RC June 13, 2019 1:19 PM  

And about those super weapons and air superiority...

"WASHINGTON — At extremely high altitudes, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability, a problem that may make it impossible for the Navy’s F-35C to conduct supersonic intercepts."

Blogger peacefulposter June 13, 2019 1:24 PM  

I wonder if the Chinese will treat American POW's as well as the Japanese did?

Blogger Cloudswrest June 13, 2019 1:25 PM  

Another aspect of they US military I find concerning is the government does not seem to treat it with existential seriousness it deserves. Instead of a vital institution to defend the interests and even the existence of the United States, it seems to have become a gay, tranny and sexual equality support group, as well as a make work employment project for minorities, and fat contracts for industry. In this sense it is highly converged and corrupted.

Blogger DonReynolds June 13, 2019 1:26 PM  

In the history of military conflicts almost none proceeded or were conducted as expected or as dictated by the habits formed in the previous wars. This we can know and any future conflict will be equally surprising to everyone...the public, friend, and foe alike.

The first casualty in every war is the truth. Churchill said during wartime, the truth is so precious that it must have a bodyguard of lies. He would know.

Both WWI, WWII, and Korea ended suddenly and unexpectedly. The folks back home knew almost nothing about the conduct of the war or how it was being fought.

Often they knew little about the comprehensive nature of conflict or the absolute cruelty of operations. Once conflicts actually end and politics get back to normal, then the narrative of the war starts to come out...very slowly, too slow for the lifetime of many of those who lived the war.

Blogger Alphaeus June 13, 2019 1:27 PM  

Russia and China need to be broken up for their own good. And when that happens the USA will be safe to break up in to its own natural constituent parts as well. I think it's all a manifestation of Jesus ruling with a rod of iron and smashing up every empire like so many clay pots.

Blogger Noah B. June 13, 2019 1:43 PM  

"I wonder if we'll be liberated."

Only if someone invades Israel.

Blogger Clay June 13, 2019 1:48 PM  

As I said in a previous comment on this blog; the talking heads on the media keep repeating, "the American people aren't stupid".

Yes, they are, by at least 50%, and the number grows every day. That will be the downfall of America, just like Rome.

Blogger justaguy June 13, 2019 2:07 PM  

The US never had the superiority in conventional arms against either the Russian or the Chinese-- never. Our strategies involved deterrence and containment. During the 1990s until now, no one thought that we were so strong as to take on successfully another major power in conventional war-- no one outside of no nothings. We were the hyper-power economically, but we never sought to build a large land force.

The US has always been at a severe disadvantage on the ground front due to numbers, hoping to make up for the problem with tactics and quality. However, our nation's values that place loss of life at a premium means that we do not want great power war. We have known since the 1973 Arab Israeli War how destructive modern warfare is. Look at our issues with a small number dead in the idiot Bush Wars over the last decade. Does anyone think that the US could stand for even the losses of the Vietnam War?

We are fine beating up third world powers who stupidly ignore strategy and tactics. We are defeated by small forces who understand them and apply them to our weaknesses (Afghanistan is example of a loss—we just haven’t admitted it yet).

Why people think that the US has ever/ is able to defeat all of other great powers, I don’t know. For most of the Cold War, we knew we couldn’t keep the USSR out of Europe. After 1992, we no longer even attempted to keep such a force there. All we have ever been able to do is maybe stop some outward aggression, but we really haven’t done so--- look at Syria and the mess we made with Libya.

Blogger Longtime Lurker June 13, 2019 2:10 PM  

@24: "https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/news-articles/solar-minimum-is-coming"

That article pertains to the solar minimum we are currently experiencing - that is, the solar minimum between Cycle 24 and Cycle 25, which has not yet started.

This article will clarify the details: https://www.weather.gov/news/190504-sun-activity-in-solar-cycle

If Zharkova's theory holds, the Grand Solar Minimum will hit at the end of Cycle 25 and persist through the remainder of the 21st Century.

See the two graphs on page 7 of her 2015 paper: http://computing.unn.ac.uk/staff/slmv5/kinetics/zharkova_iau335_paper1.pdf

The upshot: Colder climates driven by declines in solar output correlate with all kinds of nasty effects, including increased volcanic activity, agricultural disruptions, disease, and war (lots of war).


Blogger Greg Hunt June 13, 2019 2:15 PM  

Can we at least defeat our internal Weimar before we're defeated by the external enemies?

Blogger Steb June 13, 2019 2:45 PM  

"""
From the conclusion section.

The challenges outlined above are real, they are difficult, and the DoD and its subordinate components must solve them urgently to implement the National Defense Strategy and defend U.S. interests. However, these problems are solvable. The U.S. military establishment has solved problems of similar magnitude in the past, and there are initiatives and organizations working on solving them today. . .
"""

This reminds me of Scott Adams' story about writing a report for a cable tv company explaining how they could beat the phone companies for broadband internet dominance.

The truth was that they didn't stand a chance, thanks to their totally dysfunctional management. But since it was the management who commissioned his report, he wrote pretty much exactly what was written above. He called it an example of the weasel way of communicating if I remember rightly.

Blogger pnq87 June 13, 2019 2:48 PM  

Those who worry about the dominance of the U.S. on the world stage always forget that America has an advantage in one area where no other country even comes close. I'm talking about Diversity. We should never forget that whatever happens in the technological, industrial, strategic or moral postures of America, America will retain this key advantage. Next to Diversity every other component of national competition pales in comparison. No analysis is complete without taking our Greatest Strength into account.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 June 13, 2019 2:49 PM  

The higher ups who acknowledge this problem will say it's because our military isn't diverse enough.

Blogger ZhukovG June 13, 2019 2:58 PM  

So some geopolitical 'Actor' seems to be trying to get us into a war with Iran. With the original post in this thread in mind I see the following possibilities:

1. The 'Actor' wants the United States to destroy Iran while we still have the means.

2. The 'Actor' has decided that the United States is already weakened and wants the United States to destroy itself in war with Iran.

3. The 'Actor' wants both the United States and Iran destroyed.

The 'Actor' is unlikely to be Russia or China as both countries seem to believe that they only need wait for the United States to collapse of its own weight. They just want to stay out of the blast zone.

It is also possible that the 'Actor' is not a State per se.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother June 13, 2019 3:15 PM  

DIVERSITY, THR GREAT PHYSICIAN AND FORCE MULTIPLIER INFINITY GLOVE

Blogger peacefulposter June 13, 2019 3:24 PM  

@44 - Next to Diversity every other component of national competition pales in comparison.

Watch out for Canada.

Blogger Jim the Curmudgeon June 13, 2019 3:28 PM  

"They have offset their relative weakness versus the United States"

Is China relatively weak compared to the USA???

Just to take one dimension, how many STEM PHD students in the USA are Chinese? My guess is > 50%, particularly in disciplines like materials science, computing, etc.

Chinese researchers are now common in US universities, the NSA, and other places. Sure, the ones without citizenship aren't getting hired at military contractors, but there are plenty who have it.

Given the large number of recent Chinese immigrants and temporary workers in positions of importance in the USA, do you really think that China is in a 'relatively weak position'? How many Americans are in positions of influence at Chinese military installations, armament companies, nuclear power plants, electrical/water/gas distribution systems, tech firms, etc?

The boneheads who write about relatively military power focus on things like missiles, forgetting that the sophistication of modern infrastructure systems gives plenty of ways to shut them down without firing a single shot.

Blogger Avalanche June 13, 2019 3:28 PM  

@41 "The upshot: Colder climates driven by declines in solar output correlate with all kinds of nasty effects, including increased volcanic activity, agricultural disruptions, disease, and war (lots of war)."

Yup. And major earthquakes happen at the solar min., too. When New Madrid goes this time, "our" inability to repair all the pipelines, bridges, power lines, and comm links will starve the NE of fuel and power for at least a year, probably more. The betting is: it won't be one big quake -- as it wasn't the 'first' time for we have a contemporaneous record: it will be several big earthquakes weeks and months apart. The 1811-1812 shaking rang church bells in Charleston, South Carolina, and toppled chimneys as far as Cincinnati, Ohio. The Missippi ran backwards for several hours; the quake raised and sank islands and river boats; and some people disappeared; it's assumed they were dropped into some of the many deep fissures that opened and closed.


http://www.new-madrid.mo.us/132/Strange-Happenings-during-the-Earthquake

From December 16, 1811 through March of 1812 there were over 2,000 earthquakes in the central Midwest, and between 6,000-10,000 earthquakes in the Bootheel of Missouri where New Madrid is located near the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.


http://www.new-madrid.mo.us/102/Earthquakes-of-1811-1812

On the basis of the large area of damage (600,000 square kilometers), the widespread area of perceptibility (5,000,000 square kilometers), and the complex physiographic changes that occurred, the Mississippi River valley earthquakes of 1811-1812 rank as some of the largest in the United States since its settlement by Europeans. The area of strong shaking associated with these shocks is two to three times larger than that of the 1964 Alaska earthquake and 10 times larger than that of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The magnitude of these series of earthquakes, usually named the New Madrid, Missouri, earthquakes, vary considerably between the mb and MS values estimated by Nuttli. The mb was estimated from isoseismal maps, and the MS was estimated from a spectral scaling relation by Nuttli for mid-plate earthquakes. The value of MS magnitude has a functional relationship to the mb. The authors have chosen to include the Mfa magnitude because it was estimated from isoseismal maps, as were most of the historical earthquakes.

The first and second earthquakes occurred in Arkansas (December 16, 1811 - two shocks - Mfa 7.2, MSn 8.5 and Mfa 7.0, MSn 8.0) and the third and fourth in Missouri (January 23, 1812, Mfa 7.1, MSn 8.4; and February 7, 1812, Mfa 7.4, MSn 8.8). Otto Nuttli, however, has postulated another strong earthquake in Arkansas on December 16 at 18 UTC (MSn 8.0). This would make a total of five earthquakes of magnitude MSn 8.0 or higher occurring in the period December 16, 1811 through February 7, 1812.



Deeper science: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-great-midwest-earthquake-of-1811-46342/

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the risk of another New Madrid-scale catastrophe in the next 50 years is about 7 to 10 percent. The risk of a smaller, though still devastating, 6.0 earthquake in the next 50 years is 25 to 40 percent. Ongoing research should help identify which areas are most in danger.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 13, 2019 3:30 PM  

Here is diversity in action, during the first gulf war some females driving something or another flipped their vehicle over in the rear area of Saudi, next along comes another vehicle full of diverse basketball-Americans, did our glorious B-As assist their fellow soldiers? No they looted them and left them and in need of medical attention I do believe.

In any war going badly our Diverse Americans will loot the military on their way out the door, and frankly it probably is the wise thing.

Blogger pyrrhus June 13, 2019 4:45 PM  

@49 By no means can China or Russia, let alone the two combined, be considered weaker than US combat forces in a regional war close to those countries...They have larger and better quality combat divisions, superior weapons in many respects, especially hypersonic missiles, and shorter, more secure supply lines...It would be a slaughter, and will not happen.

Blogger Mark V June 13, 2019 5:51 PM  

The US will continue to go into debt in order to maintain its military force... everything will collapse when other nations stop buying the USD and when the USD loses its value.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 13, 2019 7:17 PM  

buwaya wrote:For all their announcements of high tech this or that they have been building modern weapons in extremely small numbers, if they even get out of the prototype stage.

The Russians have enormous numbers of Soviet era tanks, just to give one example. It probably makes sense for them to make a prototype supermodern supertank, just to keep their hand in, but it makes no sense at all to actually build large numbers. Remember, in WWII, they didn't even bother to paint the tanks they built: they were going to be expended long before they could rust.

Military equipment is expendable, and you don't waste a lot of money making it fancier than is absolutely essential.

It probably makes sense to use that prototype supertank as a test bed for upgrades for the old Soviet hardware, too. Newer fire control systems might be a cheap add-on for an older, paid for tank that needs some work anyway. Odds are good that the Russian tanks are becoming significantly more capable than they were when the USSR made them. That's no way to make contractors and their pet congresscritters rich, but it's a cheap way to a capable military, especially if you see the soldiers as expendable and believe that quantity has a quality all its own.

This all goes back to what I was saying about getting maximum bang for the war buck. The Chinese and Russians have to economize or give up. The US military industrial complex isn't even trying to deliver bang for the buck: that's not its purpose.

Blogger Unknown June 13, 2019 8:21 PM  

The lesson everyone took away from GW1 was that trying to go gun to gun with the US military in a conventional sense was not a successful strategy.

So, the next major war against US forces will involve lots of electronic and/or cyber attacks, SPECWAR attacks against our logistics train, and attacks against our production capacity at home. Take it from a former enlisted sailor who retired in 2014, most stateside US bases could be crippled for minor cost in troops. They are that insecure. I won't even talk about the places where things like the F-35 or what not are built.

Blogger Clay June 13, 2019 8:28 PM  

Ah, you guys are so silly. We have nukes that can take out any target you want. Baby nukes.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 13, 2019 11:17 PM  

@15 Stilicho

"We could not have invaded north Africa, Sicily, Italy, or France successfully without a base of operations in England. That's why the Germans tried so hard to get England out of the fight (and cut the north Atlantic supply lines)before the Russians attacked them in the east: the high command knew how we would use England as a depot and base of operations."

Uh....dude, the Battle of Britain (1940) was Germany's attempt to defeat the RAF, primarily by bombing the aircraft industry's factories; they almost succeeded -- they were down to less than 12 hour's worth of supplies of the most frequently replaced parts. This was all in preparation for Operation Seelowe (Sea Lion), which was to be an invasion of England once the RAF had lost air superiority to the Luftwaffe. After the Luftwaffe faile to defeat the RAF, Seelowe was postponed indefinitely.

The U.S. was noisily neutral until Pearl Harbor (December, 1941), almost 18 months later. The Royal Navy was extremely frustrated by the U.S. Navy's level of non-cooperation with regards to shipping and convoy (or more accurately, to the complete lack of any convoy system in U.S. waters) before that time. All of which was made even worse by the fact that the U.S. coast was lit up like a Christmas tree, making it extremely easy for German subs to pick out shipping merely by sitting a few miles outside the shipping lanes, and looking for large moving shadows blotting out the lights of the shoreline. And as the ships were being torpedoed, catching on fire, and sinking, the American public did nothing -- because the ships being sunk weren't U.S.-flagged vessels. They were vessels flying the flags of Canada, the U.K., and other allied nations.

Yes, the U-boat blockade did continue, right up until the end of the war (and despite the fact that the submarine arm suffered the highest loss rate (almost all KIA) of any German military organization -- over 80% by the war's end).

However, after Seelowe was indefinitely postponed, The U-boat blockade was more intended to hamper England's ability to fight in various theaters than to cause a complete collapse -- yes, in WW1, the U-boats almost did bring England to the point at least a truce -- within 2 weeks or so -- But this wasn't widespread knowledge within Germany (Remember: (((Who))) controls the press... and the book publishing industry??, and (((who))) told the British in 1916 "Yes, you're within 14 days of
the whole island being starved to death, but don't give up just yet -- (((we))) will get the U.S. to enter on your side if you will get things rolling towards creating a homeland for us at the far eastern tip of the Mediterranean." [i.e. the Balfour Declaration] -- See Benjamin Freedman's speech at the Willard Hotel, 1961).

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz June 14, 2019 1:11 AM  

Chinese in 1950s Korea had 50% mortality among POWs.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz June 14, 2019 1:38 AM  

Watch 2014-19 Syrian War videos on YT. Modern upgraded T90 is sometimes hit by a TOW IIA generation missle, but rarely stopped and even than there is no observable crew casualties.

Blogger JovianStorm June 14, 2019 2:37 AM  

A losing war is exactly what the US wants In an era of entitlement spending, the military has a tougher and tougher time convincing the morons in Congress to stop buying votes with welfare and coughing up billions for new toys.

Getting beaten up by the Chinese would be very very useful for loosening purse strings and going back to tougher recruitment standards.

I could imagine the Army sending in the Diversity Rangers in the first wave against enemy machine guns just to clear up slots for old school officers.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 14, 2019 2:44 AM  

@54

"It probably makes sense to use that prototype supertank as a test bed for upgrades for the old Soviet hardware, too. Newer fire control systems might be a cheap add-on for an older, paid for tank that needs some work anyway. Odds are good that the Russian tanks are becoming significantly more capable than they were when the USSR made them. That's no way to make contractors and their pet congresscritters rich, but it's a cheap way to a capable military, especially if you see the soldiers as expendable and believe that quantity has a quality all its own."

Have you even the slightest clue what a single round from an M-1 tank does to a T-72 at a range of 5 miles, let alone a T-62 or T-55.

Those old Soviet-era hulls and turrets are completely worthless against M-1's or any German or British tank equipped with the 105mm smoothbore.

I've had a couple bus rides through Gulf war tank battlefields. The Soviet-made turrets are generally separated from the hull by some distance (anywhere from a few yards to "I have no idea which of those turrets over there came from this particular tank."). A good number of those turrets are upside down.

This is what happens when the ammunition storage locker blows up -- the overpressure inside the turret pops the turret off like a cork out from the top of a champagne bottle.

In rare instances, the turret is still on, but definitely off its rotational track. This means that the ammo locker cooked off, one or two rounds at a time, rather than the entire locker blowing up all at once.


The ONLY answer to the M-1 system that the Russians have come up with is a "dazzler" mounted on top of the turret by which they hope to defeat the M-1's laser-based target-ranging/gunlaying system.

Blogger bdoran June 14, 2019 3:32 AM  

You might want to analyze this closely.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/03/06/major-army-force-structure-changes-afoot/

Hint: they say you can’t have theater long range fires with “an appropriate level of command”.

Q; why?
A: cuz Generals want real jobs, with real sized entourages called staff.

We’ll lose to bureaucracy and too many chiefs, not enough Indians.

And our Generals BTW aren't...

They’re salesmen.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz June 14, 2019 8:09 AM  

@62
The M1 tank with the 105mm gun was prepared as the adversary of the Soviet T-64 model (not T-62!), this one had been never exported and AFAIK not a one historian tried to compare capabilities of the American and the Soviet tanks.
Of the NATO MBTs Soviets highlighted Leopards II (a "hull down" concept, but with respectable 120mm cannon) and of course British over-armored behemoths as THE THREAT.
The M1 was seen as a slightly superior to M60 and that's all.
The T-72 ("the father" of the current T-90) was projected not as the Red Army MBT but as a brown-people-cheap-"modern"-tank, so easy to operate and fix that even Africans can service it. Even more important – Soviets strongly downgraded their weapons exported down the control-and-confidence line. The MiGs29 or T-72 sold to DDR or Poland was dramatically better than those send to Iraq.
Also some people forget that the M1 and the M1A1 used an APFSDS ammo to fight the threats in ranges of the European TW (up to 2km). Above it M1 had to use a HEAT round – in other words its kill ability dropped by 60% (!) because Russians loved their ERA reactive armor (compare to recent data from Syria – no government tank hit in an old ERA has been eliminated!!!).
As for "flying turrets" ... if a green crew filled up a tank with ammo in the every free space one hit (even without penetration) meant the chain of explosions.
(The happened in winter 1995 in Grozny, while in 1996 the tanks from the same units were noted to take HEAT 10+ hits without being killed.)
As for dazzlers – Russian have active and passive anti-ATGM systems, at last one of them while active is quite successful in disrupting the ISIS targeting lasers. I do not assume the American lasers will do any better.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 14, 2019 1:40 PM  

Those old Soviet-era hulls and turrets are completely worthless against M-1's or any German or British tank equipped with the 105mm smoothbore.

Dirk, do the Russians care about any of that? Or do they just plan to have so many worthless tanks on the field that ours can't kill enough fast enough?

That's before we consider that the export models we have seen in action were weak sauce compared to the ones they keep for themselves, and before we consider that they might have upgraded their old tanks. Remember, good enough and plenty of it is their principle.

Blogger OneWingedShark June 14, 2019 2:42 PM  

Ominous Cowherd wrote:Why do the Russians and Chinese think they can beat us when we outspend them by so much?
Simple: we can "outspend" them by buying $10,000/unit AK-47s.

Or, to look at it another way — how much money has been dumped into the F-35 project? A plane that, it's arguable, cannot work as intended/sold.

RC wrote:And about those super weapons and air superiority...

"WASHINGTON — At extremely high altitudes, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability, a problem that may make it impossible for the Navy’s F-35C to conduct supersonic intercepts."

Mmm, ouch.

Cloudswrest wrote:Another aspect of they US military I find concerning is the government does not seem to treat it with existential seriousness it deserves. Instead of a vital institution to defend the interests and even the existence of the United States, it seems to have become a gay, tranny and sexual equality support group, as well as a make work employment project for minorities, and fat contracts for industry. In this sense it is highly converged and corrupted.
This is by design.
Just look at our southern border — how many years have the people of the US wanted border-security? — By making the invasion a constant, and with [generally] unarmed people, they manage to make the false-but-widely-believed case that it would be wrong (both legally and morally) to use the military to stop the invasion.

Given this castration of the breeding-horse which is the military, they have to make up other purposes for it, both to distract from the border and to use the military — hence the "world police" role where the US protects everyone's border but our own.

Blogger OneWingedShark June 14, 2019 2:54 PM  

bdoran wrote:And our Generals BTW aren't…

They’re salesmen.

And politicians; this is likely one of the big reasons we're set to lose — nobody is doing military leadership, nobody has a vision (or if they do, it has nothing to do with military operations).

Blogger Dirk Manly June 14, 2019 6:14 PM  

@63

"That's before we consider that the export models we have seen in action were weak sauce compared to the ones they keep for themselves, and before we consider that they might have upgraded their old tanks. Remember, good enough and plenty of it is their principle."

The export models have inferior (optical, as opposed to electro-optical) gunsights, and mechanical (hand-cranked as opposed to electro-mechanical linked into the electro-optical sights). But the Hull and Turret armor are the same.

The export model is less likely to get a shot off than a domestic model for the Russian army. But when it comes to taking incoming kinetic rounds, there's no appreciable difference between the export and domestic models.

Now... the T-80 and T-90 haven't faced modern western equipment -- so we have no idea how well those will perform. The T-72's and earliers would be best used as ATGM platforms, used ONLY from a hull-down (well, actually, hull AND TURRET down) position. Basically, defensive only.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia June 15, 2019 3:31 PM  

Steb wrote:

This reminds me of Scott Adams' story about writing a report for a cable tv company explaining how they could beat the phone companies for broadband internet dominance.

The truth was that they didn't stand a chance, thanks to their totally dysfunctional management. But since it was the management who commissioned his report, he wrote pretty much exactly what was written above. He called it an example of the weasel way of communicating if I remember rightly.


On the other hands, what SHOULD be said? "I'm sorry, there's no way we can ____________ (fill in the blank) and therefore we should not try?"

After all, a nation's war fighting capabilities is of a significant magnitude more important than, say, entering a technology market.

Meanwhile, the first step in solving a problem is recognizing it is, in fact, A problem.

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