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  • April 2015
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Archive for April, 2015

A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell Part 1

Posted by picard578 on April 27, 2015

Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire


“Tell me, turncloak, what battles has the Bastard of Bolton ever won that I should fear him?” (TWOW, Theon I)

One of the most anticipated plotlines from The Winds of Winter is the Siege of Winterfell. The Siege, originally intended to be included in A Dance with Dragons, was cut to The Winds of Winter. But even though The Winds of Winter hasn’t been released yet, I believe there are significant clues how the Siege of Winterfell will unfold and what the outcome will be.

But to say that the battle will have significant consequences would be understating it. For Stannis Baratheon, it’s a zero-sum game. If he wins, he rejuvenates his claim to the Iron Throne. But more than simply gaining momentum, a victory by Stannis would redirect the North to confront the threat of the Others. If Roose Bolton wins, he solidifies his Wardenship of…

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A Complete Analysis of Robb Stark as a Military Commander

Posted by picard578 on April 27, 2015

Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire


“Battles,” muttered Robb as he led her out beneath the trees. “I have won every battle, yet somehow I’m losing the war.” – Robb Stark, ASOS, Chapter 14, Catelyn II


First, two bald statements to kick this post off:

  • Robb Stark was the greatest tactician during the War of the Five Kings.


  • Robb Stark was the worst strategist of the War of the Five Kings. (Though Balon Greyjoy gives Robb a run for his money for worst strategist.)

On the face of it, these two statements contradict each other, but in these posts, I will attempt to defend both of these statements with textual evidence and some non-technical references to military strategy.

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A Complete Analysis of Stannis Baratheon as a Military Commander

Posted by picard578 on April 26, 2015

I know it is a medieval fiction, but it has good lessons for even modern warfare.

Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire


“Whatever doubts his lords might nurse, the common men seemed to have faith in their king. Stannis had smashed Mance Rayder’s wildlings at the Wall and cleaned Asha and her ironborn out of Deepwood Motte; he was Robert’s brother, victor in a famous sea battle off Fair Isle, the man who had held Storm’s End all through Robert’s Rebellion. And he bore a hero’s sword, the enchanted blade Lightbringer, whose glow lit up the night.” – ADWD, Chapter 42, The King’s Prize


About a month ago, I did a series of posts on Robb Stark as a military commander, and I figured that the next character from the series that I wanted to analyze militarily was Stannis Baratheon. I’m going to try to accomplish it in 3 parts. Part 1 will be looking at Stannis’s military accomplishments in the events leading up the books, part 2 will deal with…

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Thomas Mann: By nature evil and harmful, war is destructive even to the victor

Posted by picard578 on April 17, 2015

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Thomas Mann: Selections on war


Thomas Mann
From letter to Agnes E. Meyer
December 1, 1946


America as a whole is not in the happiest state – morally damaged by a war that was a necessity, but simply as a war was evil and harmful. Those are the antinomies in this vale of tears. Now we are experiencing a great lowering ot morale, raw avarice, political reaction, race hatred, and all the signs of spiritual depression…As a German I am naturally inclined toward pessimism, and occasionally I fear having to go through the whole disaster, somewhat modified, once again. And then there would be no further exile – for where would I go?

From letter to Mr. Gray [unidentified)
October 12, 1947

At one time my faith in America’s humanitarian mission was very strong. In the last years it has…

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India will order 36 Rafales; talks on the other 126 aircraft will continue

Posted by picard578 on April 16, 2015

Défense et Géopolitique

(Updated on 12th April 2015)

(Note: for my previous postings on and analysis of the Rafale in English and in French, please see here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Yesterday afternoon, French and American media reported that France and India were discussing a sale of 63 Rafale jets, to be constructed in France and delivered to India in flyaway condition, so that the IAF could quickly replace at least some of its obsolete MiG-21 aircraft with these new French jets:

“PARIS — French and Indian officials are negotiating an off-the-shelf order worth €7.2 billion (US $7.6 billion) for 63 Rafale fighter jets to equip three Indian Air Force squadrons, during a visit by the Indian prime minister, daily Le Monde reported Friday. “The discussions lasted all night, they are continuing this morning,” a source close to the talks said, Le Monde…

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Aircraft performance parameters quick look

Posted by picard578 on April 15, 2015

Read the rest of this entry »

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India, Take Note: Ditching the Rafale for the Su-30MKI Would Be A Grave Mistake

Posted by picard578 on April 7, 2015

Défense et Géopolitique

As mentioned here previously, and as reported already by DefenseNews, India is considering breaking negotiations to buy the French Rafale fighter and buying more Su-30MKIs instead. This is supposedly due to both budgetary reasons and heavy Russian lobbying.

If India were to do so, this would be a grave mistake that would cost India dearly in the very near future. Here’s why.

The Su-30MKI, as I have demonstrated earlier, is DECISIVELY inferior to the Dassault Rafale on all counts:

  • SIZE: The Su-30MKI (like all other Flanker variants) is much bigger and hotter, and therefore much easier to detect visually, with infrared sensors (such as the Rafale’s OSF), and with radar, than the Rafale, which is a small aircraft with a wingspan of just 10.8 m. In confrontation with the PLAAF’s J-7, J-10, and J-31 fighters, or the Pakistani Air Force’s J-7, Mirage 5, F-16, and JF-17 fighters, Indian Su-30MKI…

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Rebuttal of DefenseNews’ Blatant Lies About the Rafale

Posted by picard578 on April 4, 2015

Défense et Géopolitique

This Sunday, DefenseNews, an American military affairs website, published a garbage screed smearing the Dassault Rafale and quoting garbage Russian state propaganda in support of one of its rivals, the Su-30MKI. (Who would’ve thought thatan American news website would be parrotting Russian state propaganda?)

In that article, DefenseNews falsely claims that the Rafale will likely fail to win an export order in India because, supposedly, France is an unreliable supplier of weapons. In support of that garbage claim, DefenseNews parrots Russian propaganda:

“Russian officials and pundits have gone out of their way in recent months to cast France as an unreliable trading partner, a supplier that may cancel deals at the last minute in accordance with the political whims of its puppet masters in DC, and have promised to pursue legal damages if Paris does not go through with the delivery.”

France is a poodle of its puppet masters in DC?…

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Fear of planning

Posted by picard578 on April 4, 2015

Slightly East of New

Another post on research into the physiology of orientation.

Planning may start in brain’s amygdala, study says,” reporting on research conducted at Cambridge University.  The amygdala is most commonly associated with emotions like fear and aggression, so its relationship to planning comes as somewhat of a surprise.

Perhaps this neural activity in the amygdala is related to the idea that much of the activity of the frontal lobe — our higher-order thinking apparatus — is justifying and implementing actions that we decided on somewhere else. “The mind follows where the heart leads,” in other words. Perhaps it’s the amygdala and not the heart.

Early in the process, neurons in the amygdala were activated in a pattern that reflected “several trials ahead” whether the monkey would save up towards specific goals, according to the study. “These activity patterns could be used by the frontal lobe to translate goal signals into…

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Why Boyd is Agile

Posted by picard578 on April 4, 2015

Slightly East of New

Boyd virtually never uses the word “agile,” but it’s hard to read any of his presentations without running across concepts that seem like agility.

For example, you’ll find this right at the beginning of Patterns of Conflict:

Idea of fast transients suggests that, in order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries—or, better yet, get inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop. (5)

“Fast transients,” “operate at a faster tempo or rhythm,” “get inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop” (whatever that means) certain have that agile feel.

Then a few pages over:

It is advantageous to possess a variety of responses that can be applied rapidly to gain sustenance, avoid danger, and diminish adversary’s capacity for independent action. (12)

“A variety of responses that can be applied rapidly,” sounds pretty agile (note that it is the application, not the responses themselves…

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