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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Blog Update September 2016

Apologies for the long publishing hiatus, I have been preoccupied with both work and graduate school. I am currently working on the "Building the F-22 Super Raptor" series; the next two parts will discuss means to improve the Raptor's sensors, countermeasures, and munitions.

Recommended Defense & National Security Media 

Operational Assessment of the F-35A Argues for Full Program Procurement and Concurrent Development Process - John Venable
F-35 Thermal Scan Highlights New Stealth Features - Tamir Eshel
Is the European Meteor Air-To-Air Missile Really the Best in the World? - Tyler Rogoway
Navy Sidelines First 4 LCS; Overhauls Deployment, Crewing- Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr.
China and Ukraine agree to restart An-225 production - Gareth Jennings

A Few Words About TPP

Note: While I intentionally try to avoid politics, the ongoing legislative battle over TPP is of paramount importance and its not getting both the attention intellectual scrutiny it deserves. The TPP is often written-off as corporate power grab in the U.S. media and is now opposed by both presidential candidates. Overall, both political parties have demonstrated a limited understanding of international trade policy and economics this campaign season - particularly regarding TPP and the much lambasted "trade deficit".

"According to the World Bank, in just 10 years, four of the five largest economies in the world will be in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States will be able to shape the 21st century only if it remains a vital Pacific power...The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the sine qua non of Washington’s pivot to Asia because it works at many levels simultaneously — economic, political and strategic. It boosts growth, shores up U.S. alliances, sends a powerful signal to China and, most importantly, writes the rules of the 21st century in ways that are fundamentally American...With the Asia pivot, Obama is pursuing the deepest, most enduring interests of the United States. But in doing so, he is now alone in a Washington that is increasingly awash in populism, protectionism and isolationism." - Fareed Zakaria
  • Many Asian countries set aside their parochial economic-industrial interests in order to negotiate with the U.S., particularly Japan under Abe has borne huge political costs. 
  • The U.S.' has been able to exact comparatively favorable terms in many aspects of the negotiations given its part of the largest single market in the world (NAFTA). 
    • Economics is the study of trade-offs, the net benefit to the services sector as well as the agricultural, technological, and pharmaceutical industries offsets losses in manufacturing. By many counts TPP will only produce modest growth to the U.S. economy, its real purpose lies within international politics e.g. U.S. trade volume with Vietnam is projected to surge. 
    • Securing robust trade relationships with developing Asian countries lays the groundwork for maintaining the U.S.' long-term soft power influence in the region to offset China.
  • Should the U.S. fail to pass TPP, the U.S. reputation in the Asia-Pacific will be damaged for years to come:
    • "The Japanese living in an uncertain world depending upon the American nuclear umbrella will have to say, on trade the Americans could follow through, if its life and death, whom do I have to depend upon?...Its an absolutely serious calculation which will not be said openly, but I have no doubts it will be thought" - PM Lee Hsien Loong
  • Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has stated he does not intended to bring TPP to the floor of the Senate for a vote even after the November 2016 elections. 
If nothing else, the TPP deserves serious discussion and examination this campaign season. It is one of the few proactive efforts, rather than crisis control, aspects of U.S. foreign policy which has the potential to secure U.S. influence in the most dynamic and populous region of the world decades to come. 


  1. Hi Matt

    Hope all is well. Just got back from my china trip. Highly recommend you go there will be an eye opener.

    Well....How is Trump going?

    See he is neck and neck with Hillary in the polls.

    Be interesting to see how the debates go.

    1. Hi Stone,

      Where in China did you visit? I have distant relatives in Fujian province.

      I got to talk to a few folks from Australia for work, they told me were America's best friend unless you elect Trump then it is all off XD

      Ugh, well I will make sure to watch the debates tomorrow. Politico did a fact check study of both Trump and Hillary. Apparently HC lies once every 12 minutes on average vs Trump's once every 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Even if popular vote is 2-4% favoring HC, electoral college should still disproportionately favor her (I hope at least).



  2. Hay Matt,

    Did Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Small Village china standards, 250,000+ people that is a large country town in Melbourne. Hong Kong and Macau. 20 days all up wonderful experience.

    I think Trump will win the debate, his a good chance of winning the swing states.

    HC as I said from the very start, before Trump even announced his run for the WH, HC can't move the base and voters will not turn out for her.

    Hay at least the KKK have there new leader in the White House if he win's. Kind of ironic. Think of Game of Thrones, Trump Style.

    To me the best logical explanation of the Trump phenomenon was said by Bill Maher.
    "Don't underestimate the stupidity of the American people because they are mad and they are not thinking they are just saying F* it. Then you have Washington who live in there bubble and believe that he wont win."

    We have already disowned the USA :-)

    1. Haha, I still have some faith in my country to make the right choice :D. Republicans are still set to win House so I don't see what will change than the current balance of power even if Dems get the Senate.

      I think HC definitely won the debate, but it was pretty painful to watch overall. I got serious heart burn when Trump said we wouldn't defend our allies or we couldn't link Russia for the DNC hacks.

      Although I agree with some of what Maher said for at least a portion of the U.S. Plus, if Brexit and Rodrigo Duterte can happen, there is definitely a possibility a Trump presidency could happen. Although I won't be filing for asylum in Australia just yet...