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Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Qiu Ying, 1530-1550. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

The non-unitary model and deterrence stability in South Asia (via Michael Krepon).

Comparing the PLAN to the Soviet Navy.

James Fearon on coup-proofing in weak African states. I think Fearon overestimates the importance of state resilience in the M23 case, and undercounts the difficulty associated with any form of remote power projection in tropical forests, whether they’re in DR Congo or Colombia — military capabilities aside. Relatedly, Fearon links to an interesting paper by Philip Roessler: “Personal Rule, Coups, and Civil War in Africa”. Theo McLauchlin has interesting thoughts as well.

Language and nationalism in Catalonia. Laia Balcells has more.

Of sultans and soap operas.

Susan Rice’s refusal to criticize the Rwandan government should disqualify her from Secretary of State.

Time’s interview with Mohamed Morsi is worth a read: “[Recent protests] will go, and I think it will be registered as a good spot in our movement in history in the last two years.”

Nicolay & Kay – The Gunshot feat. Chip Fu

A Song of Ice and High Surface Gravity

By Taylor Marvin

I just finished my reread of A Song of Ice and Fire, and this morning one line from the books jumped out at me. In A Dance with Dragons, Ser Barristan remarks that Westeros is ten thousand leagues from Meereen. It’s unclear if he’s exaggerating this distance, or speaking in the abstract. But given that he’d recently journeyed from Westeros to Meereen, it would be odd for him to significantly inflate the figure. His phrasing (here, ‘the nearest silent sister is ten thousand leagues away’ rather than, say, ‘it’s a ten thousand league journey to Westeros’) also suggests that the figure is as the crow, or dragon, flies, rather than a travel route distance.

The A Wiki of Ice and Fire website notes a league, as used in the text, as equal to three miles. This gives us a distance of roughly 30,000 miles. If Westeros and Meereen are on exactly opposite sides of the globe (a conservative assumption), the circumference of the ASoIaF world is at least 60,000 miles, giving a radius for the planet of 15,367 km. Again, this is a very conservative assumption, and is instead a least possible figure. This shows a planet over twice the size of Earth, and, assuming an average density similar to Earth’s, a surface gravity of 2.4 g (feel free to check my math).

Of course, this isn’t supported in the text. There’s little evidence the surface gravity is actually that different from Earth’s, and in A Feast for Crow 400 yards is noted as exceptional range for a bow, which is at the upper end of a medieval English longbow’s range. If the surface gravity in ASoIaF actually was significantly higher, we would expect objects to fall faster and projectiles to have less range. There’s also the problem that the definition of both feet and miles is based on human biology — a foot is roughly, well, a foot, and the definition of mile was originally 1,000 human paces. Both these units are dependent on human height, which we would expect to be significantly shorter on a high-gravity world. But I think it’s safe to assume that units of distance given in the text have been translated to those the reader is familiar with, just as characters do not actually speak English.

This also contradicts author GRRM’s statement that Westeros is about the size of South America, which is over 4,600 miles from north to south. Given that Westeros appears to span a longer distance from north to south than the distance between it and Meereen, this contradicts Ser Barristan’s ten thousand leagues figure.

Incidentally, this gets to a textual problem in ASoIaF: short travel times. It’s difficult to imagine that Tyrion would travel 1,200 miles round trip on horseback to visit the Wall on a whim, just as it would be prohibitively time consuming for King Robert to visit Winterfell from King’s landing, a roughly 6,000 mile round trip.

Note: If it isn’t obvious, this post is very tongue-in-cheek.

New Girl and Trivializing Female Homosexuality

By Taylor Marvin

Alyssa Rosenberg has a fascinating essay on the complex relationship between female pleasure and perceptions of manhood, and how this relationship is expressed in media. Rosenberg touches on Twin Peaks, Skyfall, and OutKast’s “I’ll Call Before I Come” — read the entire piece — but, more topically, also references a scene from last night’s episode of New Girl. On the show, the male character Schmidt  hides his deep insecurity, sparked both by his pervious obesity and working in a female-dominated workplace, in exaggerated expressions of masculinity and consumerism. Of course, an integral part of the modern American notion of masculine superiority is sexual prowess. When this perceived prowess is challenged, Schmidt’s perception of his own masculinity and internally-defined self-value is threatened. Rosenberg summarizes the scene:

“And Schmidt’s reaction was telling. ‘World shattered,’ he declared. And even when she suggested ‘We’ll try again. It’ll be better,’ Schmidt still insisted ‘The world I once lived in: shattered.’ The problem wasn’t that she didn’t feel good—it was that her not feeling good destroyed Schmidt’s sense of his own prowess.”

As Rosenberg goes on to note, New Girl doesn’t go anywhere particularly interesting with this challenge. Schmidt schedules an appointment with a pregnant, lesbian gynecologist for sex advice, who then becomes visibly aroused at his humorously-euphemistic and overly-detailed description of his method of getting women off. “It’s the baby hormones”, she explains. “They’re not as gay as me.”

This exchange is depressing. While American society has historically been more accepting of lesbian relationships than gay men, homosexuality among women is still perceived by huge portions of society as not real or a valid sexual orientation. While conventional wisdom suggests that female sexuality is more fluid than males’, popular culture denies female homosexuality by depicting it as less valid than heterosexuality  or male homosexual orientation. In this trope female homosexuality is a phase or an expression of frustration with men, rather than a valid sexual orientation; lesbians are just waiting on a man to please them for their homosexuality to vanish. This trivialization isn’t just moralization against female homosexuality, but a denial that it even exists.

Of course, this line is a throwaway joke — the episode in question shows the gynecologist in question in a stable, homosexual relationship, and clearly does not seek to diminish the perceived validity of her sexual orientation. But it’s depressing that New Girl’s writers chose to utilize this demeaning trope, even briefly. This is especially true because New Girl has a strong track record: the pilot’s depiction of a sexually-confident male Asian-American douche was refreshing, and the show’s humorously inverted misogynistic tropes. Attacks of the validity of female homosexuality are out of character for the show, but that doesn’t make it less problematic. Throwaway lines matter, because the still bolster harmful narratives.


Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Persian depiction of Great Mongol Shah Nama, 14th century. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

Foreign Policy’s lengthy look at Susan Rice.

Obama versus Bush on counterterrorism policy (via Robert Farley).

Greenwald makes good points about the veneration of the American military leadership. Robert Wright has more on what Petraeus says about the militarization of the CIA.

Ethan Gach has another interesting reflection on the Petraeus scandal.

Peter J. Munson on civil-military relations: “In all, this adds up to a military that at least in part feels it has earned entitlement, that it deserves the deferential treatment it receives, and that America needs to sacrifice to provide for the military — whether that be benefits or budget outlays.”

More from Michael Cohen: “In an age in which military officers are practically above public reproach – glorified and exalted by politicians and the media – the repeated failures of our military leaders consistently escape analysis and inquiry” (via Andrew Sullivan). Unfortunately, when the military as an institution is conflated with national greatness, a clear view of its failings and the failures of elective wars is impossible.

The deadly work of reporters in Mexico (via Longreads).

Strategy in a time of austerity.

How China sees the United States.

Why underestimating Chinese military capabilities and ingenuity is a problem.

Stefan Sasse on space combat.

Meshell Ndegeochello – Dead End 

The Night’s Watch, Conflict Shortening, and the ICC

By Taylor Marvin

Spoilers for A Game of Thrones, spoilers for A Dance with Dragons marked below.

I’ve been rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and just started the third book, A Storm of Swords.

One particularly thought-provoking aspect of GRRM’s world is the role of the Night’s Watch within the social structure of Westeros. The Night’s Watch, an order of celibate soldiers tasked with patrolling a seven hundred foot tall icy wall on the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, has fallen on hard times. Once a prestigious institution, its standing has fallen in recent centuries. The demonic Others the Watch was originally established to defend against haven’t been seen for thousands of years and are thought extinct by the Seven Kingdom’s people, and the primitive human societies north of the Wall are not a serious security threat to the Kingdoms. This perceived irrelevance makes funding the Watch a low priority for Westerosi policymakers, and the Night’s Watch struggles to attract quality recruits to take it its black uniform. In the novels the bulk of the Night’s Watch is made up of former criminals, who are forced into lifelong service by an unattractive choice — the Watch, or brutal medieval justice.

This is interesting from an incentives standpoint, because it gives both lowly criminals and rebel lords facing defeat an incentive not to fight to the death. While serving out the rest of your life on the frigid Wall is certainly unattractive, amnesty in the Night’s Watch is a powerful incentive and conflict moderator. Viewing conflicts through a bargaining model, the existence of the Night’s Watch shortens conflicts because it reduces the costs of surrender. In the absence of the Night’s Watch escape valve, conflicts would be expected to be longer and costlier. While designed to protect the realm from the Northern threat, the Night’s Watch’s institutional amnesty mechanism is a force for conflict mitigation in the South, as well.

This is interesting, because in our world independent institutions work in the opposite direction. Organizations like the International Criminal Court are designed to provide mechanisms for trying and punishing war criminals. Bringing war criminals to justice is certainly a laudable goal, but it is unclear if the ICC does anything to deter war crimes at all. In fact, the threat of punishment is thought to give embattled leaders greater incentive to commit war crimes. This threat of prosecution gives war criminals a powerful personal incentive to fight longer and harder than they would otherwise; unlike in Westeros, in our world surrender offers no possibility of a new life on the Wall. If our society values ending conflicts over ideals of justice, an independent institution that assures amnesty for failed war criminals or other losers would be valuable.

To be an effective conflict moderator, the Night’s Watch must be a truly independent institution — taking the black must be available to all losers no matter how brutal their crimes, and once inducted into the Watch their removal from Westerosi politics must be assured. At the time of the novels, both of these norms are breaking down. At the end of A Game of Thrones, teenage ruler Joffrey Baratheon executes perceived traitor Ned Stark rather than permit him to join the Night’s Watch. This sets an important, and damaging, precedent. Losers who would otherwise surrender are now less likely to do so, knowing that potential victors’ offer of amnesty on the Wall is less credible than it once was. Likewise, the historical political independence of the Night’s Watch is also under threat. At the close of A Dance with Dragons [spoilers] the Watch is perceived by the Kingdoms’ rulers as a de facto arm of rebel claimant Stannis Baratheon’s forces, and Lord Commander Jon Snow breaks the Watch’s long tradition of not interfering in the Kingdoms’ politics. This entry into the Kingdoms’ internal politics is a threat to the Watch’s conflict mitigating influence. If the Night’s Watch is no longer a truly independent and apolitical institution, victors are less likely to permit political losers to take the black. If the Watch’s neutrality and universal availability continues to decay, its conflict shortening influence is unlikely to hold in the future.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Louis Guglielmi, “Mental Geography”, 1938. Via Brain Pickings.

What I read this week:

As the United States dithers, an emboldened North Korea is quietly establishing itself as a small nuclear power.

Amusing — and depressing — anti-women’s suffrage cartoons.

Watching the West Wing with Egyptians in Cairo.

Why do governments offer concessions to terrorists, if these concessions often increase violence?

Economic liberty after Obama.

Asia’s economic transition.

How the USAF screwed up 20 years of acquisitions by chasing the 5th generation dream above all else.

Why the world can’t have a Nate Silver. Felix Salmon has more on how quants translate models into book deals.

Stephen Walt asks an interesting question about preventive wars: why Iran, and not Laos?

Your Hand in Mine – Morning Drums.

Mitt Romney Was Not an Awful Candidate

By Taylor Marvin

With the election over, it’s time for the post-mortem. How did Republicans fail to unseat an incumbent hampered by a nearly 8 percent unemployment rate? You can get lost in explanations for the Republican’s defeat for days: blatant voter suppression encouraged turnout from the very groups it was designed to suppress, demographic changes make the Republican Party’s near-total focus on a white, elderly core increasingly untenable, conservative media’s taken the Republican Party hostage, a hawkish foreign policy alienated war-weary voters, or a zealots focus on denying basic human rights just doesn’t win votes anymore. These are all good arguments, and worth serious consideration by conservatives.

One argument that I’ve seen on both sides is more topical: that Mitt Romney was a singularly bad candidate who lost an otherwise winnable election. I don’t buy it. Mitt Romney wasn’t a great candidate, and was certainly hurt by what appears to have been a horribly mismanaged and overconfident campaign, but he wasn’t an awful one. As a reasonably successful single-term governor with private sector managerial experience Romney brought a solid resume to his campaign; certainly a stronger one than his primary competitors, or for that matter the competitors in the 2008 Democratic primary. His personal carisma and public demeanor were lacking, but that particular deficiency hasn’t doomed other campaigns.

Given the changing American electorate, it’s hard to see who could have done a better job than Mitt Romney. More successful and charismatic conservative politicians would have likely had an even greater problem attracting independent voters. An attempt to attract non-white voters by nominating a person of color would have been hugely patronizing, even if the the GOP had a suitably experienced non-white politician to run. Bobby Jindal would have been problematic for his deep South governorship, and Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley too inexperienced for a 2012 run. Romney’s history at Bain Capital opened him up to (justifiable) attacks, but it was a weakness a more competent campaign should have overcome.

The problem with the Romney campaign wasn’t Romney himself, but the party he represented. Romney constantly lied and changed his positions not because he’s pathological, but because it was required — there’s simply no way the policy positions required to clear the Republican primary are at all palatable to the general electorate. Sure, Democratic politicians move to the center after their primaries — no one believed Obama would actually renegotiate NAFTA — but the distance between Republican primary voters and the median is much greater than on the left. There was simply no way for Romney to pander to both the Republican base and the moderates he needed to capture to win in swing states.

In another world Romney could have won. In the absence of Tea Party rejectionism Romneycare would have been seen an admirable success, achieving universal healthcare along conservative, free market principles. Instead, Romney was forced to disown his only real legislative achievement, and main claim to bipartisanship. Romney’s governorship of a liberal state, untempered by his “severe conservatism” would have stood a chance at appealing to independents. In a less fundamentalist GOP Mitt Romney would not have made the hugely regrettable decision to oppose the Obama administration’s rescue of the auto industry, and his belligerence towards Iran would not have alienated voters.

Romney was no reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but he shouldn’t have had to have been. Parties always hope for miraculous wonder candidates who dazzle the nation with their carisma, but Reagans, Clintons, and 2008 Obamas are rare, and parties shouldn’t rely on them being available each election cycle. The personal qualities of individual candidates are important, but pale compared to the party’s fundamentals. If the GOP can’t alter these, even wonder candidates won’t help them.

What’s on the Second Term Foreign Policy Agenda?

By Taylor Marvin

Congratulations rural Pakistanis! Not to worry, the drone strike that just killed you was ordered by a Democratic president!

That’s not to say Barack Obama’s reelection isn’t worth celebrating, even from a strict foreign policy perspective. Mitt Romney’s inability to complete routine feel-good foreign tours without pissing off entire host countries and overwhelming unpopularity abroad hinted a Romney administration’s relations with allies would be rocky, and his fundamentally hawkish worldview suggested that he would be more likely to, intentionally or inadvertently, lead the US into a costly war. Barack Obama is also more open to rational defense cuts than Romney, who insisted on growing military spending for no reason beyond ill-defined ideals of “strength” — and Virginia Electoral College votes.

While it is a mistake to insist that there is no difference between an Obama and Romney administrations’ foreign policy, they, of course, share the same broad political philosophy: both favor American intervention into foreign conflicts while shying away from unpopular, electorally-damaging boots-on-the-ground wars; both judge the immediate benefits of counter-terror drone strikes to be worth their long-term perception costs; and both have expressed an inability to concede to the end of American global hegemony, especially in the Western Pacific. Of course, blaming the candidates — or parties — for this shared consensus is putting the cart before the horse; the Democrats and Republicans share the same broad national security platform because it is popular. In the aftermath of Iraq most voters may shy away from blatant neoconservative talk, but as the Obama administration’s war in Libya shows, interventions are palatable to the public, if they come at low enough direct cost. For all the protests of libertarians drone strikes are popular, because Americans fear terrorism and really don’t care about civilian casualties abroad.

So the drone strikes and broad interpretation of the American military’s role in the world are here to stay. This shouldn’t be a shock, and isn’t a reason to support a third party. American third parties on the left are deeply amateurish, and libertarians are worse: Conor Friedersdorf’s protest vote for Gary Johnson on civil liberties only illustrates that he cares more about hundreds of Pakistanis killed in drone strikes than the hundreds of thousands of needless deaths repealing Obamacare and an austerity-driven recession would cause among his own country’s poor. Foreign policy rarely changes in meaningful ways between administrations not because “both parties are the same”, but because their consensus is popular, to the extent that the electorate cares. This isn’t to say bold policymakers can’t dramatically shift US foreign policy, but the path dependency and electoral considerations that guide their actions are very limiting.

But what does this mean for Obama’s second term? The administration will be unlikely to meaningfully deviate from the course set during Obama’s first term: drone strikes will continue, and the administration may pursue a low-cost intervention — think Libya, not Syria — if the opportunity presents itself. But a second term does offer Obama the opportunity to devote more time to foreign policy issues. Second term presidents usually focus on foreign affairs more than during their first term, when their domestic agenda dominates. This will be especially true for Obama. Barring a conservative come to God moment, Republicans in Congress will likely double down on obstructionism, a tactic that conservatives will perceive to be validated by expected low turnout midterm election gains in 2014. Given this obstructionism, the Obama administration is unlikely to successfully pursue any major domestic goals, like a comprehensive climate change package that included a carbon tax.

So where could the Obama administration turn its attention? An Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is a non-starter; the division in the Palestinian government, Israel’s move to the right, and the US’ deteriorating ability to position itself as an ‘honest broker’ make progress unlikely. Obama gives every indication of ignoring Latin America in his second term as much as he did during his first; to be fair, it’s not clear what real good an increased US presence in the region would bring. US-Russian relations are chilly, but unlikely to improve. Worse, Obama is also unlikely to meaningfully alter America’s policy towards China; the administration’s largely meaningless Asia Pivot means that the mixed strategy of both engagement and containment — with all of its problems — will continue. This is a major disappointment, and positive action by Obama towards China would be a pleasant surprise.

One rational goal for Obama’s second term would be pursuing an accord with Iran. Obama is better positioned than any recent president to successfully improve the US-Iranian relationship.  George W. Bush sacrificed the prospect of any worthwhile diplomacy with his pointless “Axis of Evil” speech and the invasion of Iraq, and Clinton’s dual containment policy, while justified by Iran’s support for terrorism, only maintained the status quo. Domestically, Obama’s record of brutal sanctions buys him political cover to offer a real carrot to the Iranian regime, which is a required part of any successful deal. Though I believe that these sanctions are ultimately damaging to the prospect of favorable long-term change within Iranian society, they are also another potential carrot.

The prospect of progress on the Iranian side is less certain. Openness to dialog on the Iranian side is not enough: after all, in the late 1990s Khatami was open to reforming the US-Iranian relationship, but was unable to overcome conservative opposition within the Iranian regime and ended his tenure with little influence. Today it’s unclear if there is anyone within the regime willing to pursue a Grand Bargain, or if they can outmaneuver conservatives. However, the tensions between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, as well as Ahmadinejad’s impending departure, suggest that the situation within the Iranian government is more fluid than any time since the 2009 election. Whether this is a positive sign remains to be seen.

Also important is Obama’s perceived opposition to military strikes. Barack Obama is less likely to initiate strikes than a Romney presidency would have been, and less likely to cooperate with an Israeli attempt to coerce the US by launching a military strike unilaterally, and then calling for US assistance. It is likely that hardliners within the Iranian regime prefer strikes to very damaging sanctions, as military strikes would mobilize Iranian opposition to the US and Israel and strengthen their position within the regime. If strikes are perceived as less likely in an Obama second term, the potential domestic political payoff from refusing a negotiated settlement are lower. Since the Iranians know the US will not attempt to overthrow the regime a war is survivable, and the prospect of strikes less of a stick than US hawks suggest.

While these signs aren’t favorable per se, there’s no reason the Obama administration shouldn’t devote a major part of their foreign policy agenda during their second term towards Iran. Sanctions impose an enormous, ongoing human cost, and should be ended as soon as possible. The nuclear issue is in desperate need of a resolution  and the the US-Iranian conflict is a resource-sink that should be resolved, if possible. Obama’s second term is as good an opportunity as any.

Is China Copying American Aircraft?

By Taylor Marvin

Image by goneless, via The Aviationist.

Last Thursday images and video surfaced online showing a test flight of China’s second stealth fighter aircraft, the Shenyang J-31. This is a significant achievement for Chinese military aviation, though it is unclear if the design will ever enter service or whether it is designed to complement or compete with China’s other stealthy design, the Chengdu J-20. Also unclear is how original the aircraft actually is: there has been widespread speculation that the J-31’s design — which is visually similar to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and F-35 aircraft — is partially a product of knowledge stolen

At The Diplomat, Trefor Moss speculates that the J-31 is a wholesale copy of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, built from stolen Lockheed Martin blueprints. Moss goes so far as to term the J-31 as “essentially an American stealth fighter with Chinese paintwork”, and furiously argues that lax computer security has allowed the PRC to secure a stealth fighter for much less than America:

“Speculation aside, the reality is that the F-35 program is presently slated to cost $395.7 billion. China has probably spent less than 0.1% of that developing the Fake-35. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at the biggest free ride in the history of national security.”

I don’t buy it. China certainly has taken advantage of lax US information security, but Moss underestimates just how difficult it is to simply copy an advanced aircraft design. While the J-31 is certainly visually similar to Lockheed Martin 5th generation fighters, consider the necessary differences between it and the F-22 and F-35: different engines, an entirely different structural layout from the single-engined, STOVL-benchmarked F-35 family, and differing internal systems. These changes are not trivial. Even if Shenyang engineers possessed detailed LockMart blueprints they wouldn’t be of much practical value when it comes to designing the J-31 — while a valuable benchmark, there are simply too many different major systems. As Feng recently wrote at Information Dissemination, “it’s very hard for me to believe that SAC can reproduce F-35 from stolen files without access to the same engines or the material or the complicated computer code that controls the whole aircraft.”

Convergent evolution often leads competing air forces towards visually similar aircraft created for the same mission. Take the F-111 and Su-24, for example. Both low-level strike aircraft, introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, respectively, look remarkably similar: both possess variable geometry (swing) wings, a tall single tailfin, and a side-by-side cockpit, rare for a tactical aircraft.

F-111. US Air Force photo, via Wikimedia.

Su-24M. Photo by Alexander Mishin, via Wikimedia.

The two aircrafts’ striking visual similarities led contemporary American observers to conclude that the Soviets had copied the F-111. Amusingly, as Greg Goebel notes in his excellent history of the Su-24, some Americans went so far as to be pleasantly surprised that the Soviets had tried to copy the then-notoriously troubled F-111 — if the US struggled to get the F-111 flying right, then surely the Soviets would as well. But while Soviet designers may have mined the F-111 for ideas, there’s little evidence any real copying was involved. Instead, given that both American and Soviet engineers were working with similar technologies towards the same goal, it isn’t surprising that they both landed on similar designs — just as American and Chinese engineers can be expected to do. Indeed, what was most surprising about the J-20 was how obviously different it is from anything in the American aircraft inventory.

However, there is reason to suggest that there’s more than simple convergent evolution behind the J-31’s external similarities to American 5th generation aircraft. An aircraft’s stealth is partially determined by the shape of the fuselage, was well as the surface coatings that absorb and diffuse radar waves. While China cannot know the details of American stealth coatings through anything but espionage, the low observability fuselage shapes of the F-22 and F-35 are obvious. Copying these elements — the F-22’s empennage, the F-35’s intakes — is an effective way to get some degree of stealth for less technically sophisticated developers. Given that the US has a two decades head start developing low observability aircraft, this is a smart trade for Shenyang engineers.

Does the J-31 owe aspects of its external fuselage to the F-22 and F-35: undoubtably. But this is far from saying that the J-31 is a naked copy of American aircraft. China still has a long way to go before a production aircraft derived from the J-31 enters service, if one does at all. That gives ample opportunity for delays and cost increases to pile up, degrading whatever lead the program has over the JSF, which it isn’t strictly comparable to anyway. The F-35’s STOVL benchmarked design makes it unique, and is reason enough to dismiss the idea that the J-31 is a cheap knockoff of the JSF. The J-31 will be a more affordable aircraft than the notoriously ill-conceived F-35, but that doesn’t automatically make it the deal Moss implies.

Labor Underutilization

By Saad Asad

The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in October largely due to an increase in the labor force of people looking for work. All measures of labor underutilization show a recovery, albeit a weak one, over the past two years.