free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.

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All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ...
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?
Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew was smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.

Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Monday, March 11, 2002

--- Nuke 'em if they can't take a joke? ---

Clear from context -- simultaneous appearance in major print media -- disclosure of DOD's Nuclear Posture Review is purposeful.

Also clear, the disclosure -- while not an official release -- has presidential sponsorsip. Where a rogue staff or congressional leak would have brought a "Release the Hounds" response, the guard dogs of minimal disclosure did not bark. Cheney fielded questions on topic this morning, with nary an eyebrow cocked at those despicable, aiding-and-comforting leakers.

Also clear, this is not the whole Review, or at least not the whole Posture.
For instance, we almost certainly contemplate extreme measures in case custody of Pakistan's nuclear inventory takes a wrong turn, and these measures very likely include nuclear options. (A flash flux on the order of 1,000 neutrons should destabilize one of these cores, and we have ways to deliver neutrons ... or render deep-shielded devices inaccessible.) We probably have scenarios -- though maybe not "Posture" -- for interventions in a full-tilt India/Pakistan conflict, among other unreferenced global points of interest.
The release is a bulletin to weaponeers of mass destruction, putting our preemptive options on the table. Implicitly, we are prepared not merely to act first, but to toast population centers (if that's where the goods are stocked) without the predicate of an overt hostile act. (Britain pitched eagerly into World War I to disrupt German naval development, rather than concede eventual parity and its nonspecific adverse consequences in nonspecific decades to come.)

For future reference, the message is directed with equal force to all nations, friend or foe.

The review also lays out predicates for resumed nuclear testing, for weapons innovation, and for massive expansion of stockpiles. This last point has the darkest implications ... the sole superpower is weighing the option of reigning forcefully over a world in which it has no (voluntary) friends.

For domestic consumption, the release prediscloses these shifts, while preserving the indispensable meta-posture of strategic ambiguity.

It's not the whole Posture, but is it the real Posture? Or does it include head-fakes and sections of "winning through intimidation" language intended for external consumption only? The Office of Strategic Illusion doesn't exist ... but if it did, this is the kind of release it would prepare and execute (with appropriate vetting at the highest levels, of course).

How many deltas are there between published and unpublished editions? And how many players are in on (how many levels of) the ruse?