John Michael Greer: The God Of Technological Progress May Well Be Dead

Yes, and this is why we do not "do religion" around here because an unfortunate number of people use religion as a means of dismissing, if not demonizing, others for the beliefs they hold rather than the content of their offerings to the world.

Beliefs and rational, calm discussions are a bad mix.  Usually.

Don’t you mean do not “do religion”…?

It was a really long time between Mr. Greer's interviews, please don't wait so long for the next one!  Thoroughly enjoyed this one and listened to it twice.  Loved the definition of cell phones as being complicated toys and "thought stoppers".
This kind of podcast helps my husband and I to feel like we really are not crazy.  We see and live in a world in decline but few share our perspective.  So when we listen to these podcasts we breath a sigh of relief as people who are more in-tune than we are describing what they see and they too see a world in decline.  So we are not just crazy old curmudgeons.  Thank you for sharing your insights, they help us to not feel that we are the pariah's in society.

AK GrannyWGrit

What I enjoyed most of what Chris and John Michael doing in this talk was allowing themselves to peer inside of their gating mechanisms for analysis as they approached their emotional responses to some very challenging data sets. I didn't hear the usual, fear, contempt, anger, disregard, ect…
I heard the opposite.

Just as musicians pay attention to sound to modulate, so can we with feelings. This is not your average western trait. 

There is a non-linear quality that comes into being at the moment of synchronicity. This is a place where your feelings are more important than your rational mind. Practice, practice, practice. Emergent behaviors are on the loose. Only at the edge of chaos can complex systems flourish.


I concur with what both JMG and Chris said about the barrage (and pursuit) of 'distractions' in modern-day America.  What I find especially insidious and frustrating is that many of these distractions are pushed on us in daily life even when we don't seek them out and try to ignore them.  The mention of TV's in every corner of many US restaurants is a perfect example… it takes extra effort to ignore and not glance at them because there's always bright colors and graphics flashing around as if to say "look at me! look at me!".  And it's even more irritating when it is an actual person that is trying to bring me into their distractions… at least the restaurant TV's won't follow me out the door.  wink
I like my distractions with an on-off switch in my control; unfortunately once outside of the house and off to work/school/errands it's really hard to insulate oneself from them.  I think that is why I liked my time in Mongolia… even in the capital city it wasn't nearly the barrage of random trivial distractions as it is in most 'civilized' places in the US.  Much of the time in the US I find am in a perpetual slightly stressed state because nothing will give me more than five consecutive frickin' minutes for me to be alone with my thoughts! 


Chris - can you or John source your information that leads you to conclude that a single incident with a SONG class submarine - albeit an operational blunder and embarrassment - is indicative of how a sustained undersea conflict with China would unfold?  For the record, she surfaced 9 miles from the battlegroup and given her height of eye, probably couldn't see the KITTY HAWK, much less wave to them.
I'll save you some time…your conclusion is erroneous.  As is John's implication that the Chinese are rolling out "first rate very silent subs" - they are neither first rate or very silent.  They aren't bad platforms, but you've both blurred the very real distinction between a blue water submarine warfare capability - which requires a large number of hulls to pose a threat to carrier battle groups (numbers they don't have) - and submarines designed for littoral operations.  They are not the same.
Not sure where you got your information about the FENCER and DONALD COOK interaction, but that too is in error.  The FENCER did not "shut off the AEGIS algorithm".  And given that flying an attack profile (probably) meets the rules of engagement, you can be certain that the FENCER did not conduct simulated attack runs.  I say probably, because I don't know for certain the exact ROE guidelines COOK was operating under.  The reason why there wasn't any apparent reaction, is because there wasn't anything to react to.
I've had the YAKHONTS/SUNBURN discussion with DamntheMatrix numerous times in the past.  I'll offer this…the maximum employment range of a SUNBURN is around 150 nautical miles.  The maximum strike range of an F-18 SUPERHORNET is over 800 nautical miles (with substantial loiter time).  Where would you position your CVBG to conduct such operations? 
Are there vulnerabilities?  You bet.  But there are operational profiles that can mitigate the threats that may present.  Your assertion that the age of blue water ship operations is over because of a single, almost 9 year old submarine incident is incorrect.

Fixed.  thanks.

Oh, I don't know, perhaps it was all the news reports like this one:

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier. According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat. One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age. 


Yeah, I consider that to be close enough for government work...within firing range.  Since diesel subs are also pretty effective and quiet, and I assume that the Russians have even better stuff than the Chinese (who have 59 diesel and 9 nuclear subs currently and growing), I have to guess that my strategy for fighting carrier groups would include parking some of them on the ocean floor in strategic spots and then waiting.

But maybe you could even just sail right into the middle of a carrier group that's on high war-games alert and line up your kill shots and everything:

US supercarrier ‘sunk’ by French submarine in wargames

Mar 6, 2015

WITH a good submarine, a navy can do amazing things. Ask the French. They’ve just managed to “sink” a nuclear-powered US super carrier — and half its battle group.

The French Ministry of Defence has revealed one of its attack submarines pulled of an astounding upset during recent war-games in the North Atlantic.

The Aviationist blog spotted an article on the French defence force’s website — quickly withdrawn — which told how one of their submarines, the “Saphir” tackled the might of the United States’ navy off the coast of Florida.

At the core of the surface force was the enormous aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its powerful strike wing of 90 combat aircraft and helicopters.

Clustered protectively about it was several advanced cruisers and destroyers, and its own guardian submarine.

In one element of the war games, the Saphir was tasked with the role of being the “bad guy”.

It’s mission: To seek, locate and exterminate the US naval force.

The exact details of how it achieved this embarrassing outcome is not known

Somehow, the French submarine must have been able to slip between the defensive sensor patchwork of patrol aircraft, helicopters, warships and submarines to line up a shot on the $13 billion monstrosity.

There she lurked as a fictitious political crisis evolved in the world above.

On the final day of the exercise, the order finally came.

Sink the Theodore Roosevelt.

This 30-year-old Saphir proceeded to do. Along with most of the escorting warships.

Just a war game and all, but it seems to me that carrier groups are an anachronism, and stand a very good chance of being proved to be relics of an another age, like horse calvary in WWI.  That's my view, and it's one that Hyman Rickover held a long time ago, even before the advent of the current amazing missile and torpedo technology:
About thirty years ago, my first boss, Senator Robert Taft Jr. of Ohio, asked Admiral Hyman Rickover how long he thought the U.S. aircraft carriers would last in the war with the Soviet navy, which was largely a submarine navy. Rickover’s answer, on the record in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was, "About two days." The Committee, needless to say, went on to approve buying more carriers.


How would I use the Yakhont with it's tiny 150 nm range?  Like this:

Those 150 nm diameter circles pretty much cover the two important gulfs in one of the most important bodies of water in the world…where the carrier CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt is currently located, having just replaced the Carl Vinson.

Or I might just mount a few on very small, hard to track boats, or try flying close to the deck because the super hornets cannot be everywhere at once.  Who knows?

What I do know is that the US Navy has not gone up against a serious foe with advanced weaponry for a long time.  I suspect there would be quite a few "findings" if or when we do.

As to the Donald Cook incident, we know that out of a pair of SU-24s one took 12 passes at the ship, one within a 1,000 meters and only 500 meters up.  The story about the jamming equipment comes to us from a less-than reliable source, but potentially interesting, from Major General Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director, Institute of USA and Canada, a Moscow think tank. 

One thing I know for sure about these things is that nobody reports the truth.  Not the US, not Russia, nobody.  I take every report about such incidents with huge grains of salt because both sides have very large interests in stretching, bending and hiding the truth.

Maybe both the Russo-Chinese subs and US ships will dissolve in the acidic waters and nobody will win.  (Yeah-yeah, I know, the water's not that acidic).

Thanks for the reply Chris, here's some more info.  Hope it helps.

Great.  You cited Daily Mail.  A top tier tactical assessment rag, with unnamed contributing NATO officials who don't have a Pac centric presence or experience…
I wouldn't call it "dumbstruck" (they were SERIOUSLY PISSED) or "consternation".  It was more like a wire brush, ass chewing.  Lessons were learned.  You can count the number of similar events since 2006 on one hand.  With no fingers.

68 hulls means little.  Quantity does not mean quality and it certainly does not mean capability.  You may consider something to be "close enough for government work" regarding effective weapons employment range vs. maximum theoretical employment range - but that's rather dismissive as you have ZERO understanding of submarine anti-surface warfare geometries.  Which, admittedly is a dismissive statement as well, but I'll put my 34 years of experience up against your 0.  That is not intended to be snarky, it is what it is.
I'm not sure how many deployments you've made to the East China or South China Sea, but you can't "park some of them on the ocean floor in strategic spots and wait."  I take that back.  You can park them on the bottom.  Once.  The depth in "strategic" spots like the Luzon Strait, Miyako Strait or Bashi Channel far exceeds test depth of submarine pressure hulls.  So while you are fervently descending to the bottom to wait, your hull will implode.  And then a big pile of useless steel will settle on the bottom.  And wait.  For a long time.  Good luck getting a platform east of Taiwan where the CVBGs will be.

Not sure if you saw my post over in the "Is it time to prepare for war" thread addressing the artificiality of a very constrained and contrived exercise scenario.  SAPHIR is a pretty decent platform - despite being 39 years old, but the level of opposing ASW (anti-submarine warfare) prosecution was nothing like what would be occurring in a hot scenario.  Not to mention that the CVBG wouldn't be constrained in speed.  For CVBGs, speed is life.  And while it is possible for a submarine to reposition at high speed to attain a favorable firing geometry, they are 1. Blind at high speed and 2. Very detectable at high speed. Glad you mentioned Rickover's testimony.  Rickover (God love him) was notorious for saying a lot of things.  Some were more accurate than others.  'Two days', while it resonates with the pro submarine lobby in DoD, is a bit off.  My accession interview into the Navy Nuclear program was about as unpleasant an experience as I've ever had.  I'd rather pull my kneecap off with a salad fork. Will the carrier battle group be obsolete someday?  I hope so.  (No one hates the business of war more than a soldier or sailor who has actually been in one.  Or two.  It pained me to write "business", but as you know, I'll call a spade a spade) That day is not as close as you have lead readers to believe.

We can ignore the violation of territorial air and water space, but your point is made.  Minor issue, but back the centerpoints up to land.  Iranian YAKHONTS are land launched, although the probably have some air to surface, and shipborne surface to surface variants.  That said, what makes you think a CVBG would be inside the Strait of Hormuz as hostilities ramped up?  Sure a bolt from the blue is possible, but there are some very observable events that precede use, and would afford the CVBG to either leave the area entirely or change operation footing.  Not to mention that YAKHONTS launch sites are observable and therefore pretargetable.  Likely the first thing to go when things go south.  Also, don't forget that these are not discriminatory missiles.  A ship is a ship, so any tanker or merchant in the Strait will present as a valid target.  If they happen to be between the CVBG and the launch site…There are any number of air bases on the Arabian Peninsula that would preclude the need for a CVBG in the Gulf in an active hostile scenario. 

This is indeed true.  I'll point out that export variants of YAKHONTS and SUNBURN are 15-20 year old airframes with guidance sets that are just as old.  Absent a robust flight reliability test program, these things don't get better with age.  The simple truth is that Iranian military technology lags the west by at least 10 years.  Their submarine fleet (such as it is) is even farther behind in both platform and weapons technology, but more importantly from a tactics development and operations perspective.

You always learn something following an engagement.  The third law of conflict is that the elaborate battle plan is only good until the first shot is fired.

Skip the grain of salt here.  You don't need that much sodium.  General Zolotarev is woefully uninformed.  But I agree, it did make for interesting reading.  Of fiction. 
A 3000 foot fly-by at 1500 feet altitude would be classified as "routine and professional".  They happen all the time.  We do them too.  Sometime the pilots on both sides wave to each other.  The Chinese are usually very professional with their shadowing flights.  The EP-3 collision with a very unprofessional (and very dead) Chinese J-8 FINBACK pilot notwithstanding.  Go figure, the interceptee takes out the interceptor… (I wonder if they painted a J-8 silhouette on the side of the EP-3 fuselage after the Chinese gave it back to us?) 

I think there's a distinction between divulging the 'truth' and the 'full story'.  The full story would likely give away classified information from the standpoint of capability and performance as well as the capability of collection platform(s) to gather the info to tell the story.  To varying degrees, I'm okay with stretching, bending and hiding the truth when it comes to divulging full operational capabilities.
Do, have and will people lie to protect rice bowls?  You bet.  But when we go out to try some new tactic or weapons system and it doesn't work or it's unsafe, there are any number of methods to stab that in the heart.  Not that that works all the time.  Politicians are masters at saying "Yes General/Admiral, I understand that this program really sucks and if we use it our people may die, but I have lots of registered voters in my constituency who can be employed building this shitty program so we're going to do it anyway."
A very interesting discussion…it's good to be back.

If he's making sense on the topic at hand, does it matter if he's a druid?

Even when he's not making sense on the topic at hand it doesn't matter if he's a druid.

First minor point, because I love clarity.  I said 150 nm diameter circles.  To put the center points on land requires us to use radiii.  Here's that image:

Not a substantially different picture.

While you say the Yakhonts launch sites are observable I will note that you can launch them from trucks that can be moved easily and concealed with a large-ish tarp, and even mocked up with old trucks and cardboard  to confuse your foes.

I would personally consider them something of a very concerning nightmare to detect and remove (given that one of them could ruin your day…just one).

I would also welcome you citing and providing better and more trustworthy sources than the sources I cited because simply saying mine are bad but yours (un-cited) are better, is not good enough around here.

We go with what we've got and if I am providing something and you are providing nothing, well, that's a DIV/0 error.

I am truly fascinated by this area, and I think that the next war will shatter a lot of preconceived notions including the idea of American military superiority.  There will not be Israeli style 10-1 win/loss ratios…they will probably be closer to 1:1 and that's not something I think out political, military or citizen classes are mentally prepared for.

Unless things go nuclear, then I have no ratio assessments to provide.

Do, have and will people lie to protect rice bowls?  You bet.  But when we go out to try some new tactic or weapons system and it doesn't work or it's unsafe, there are any number of methods to stab that in the heart.  Not that that works all the time.  Politicians are masters at saying "Yes General/Admiral, I understand that this program really sucks and if we use it our people may die, but I have lots of registered voters in my constituency who can be employed building this shitty program so we're going to do it anyway."
My only response to that bit of truth is "F-35"


(No one hates the business of war more than a soldier or sailor who has actually been in one. 
True. Pension after a full life in barracks was my plan.
My naivety makes makes me laugh out loud now.
However, have you experienced the sexual throb of a 7.62, that dealer of death, in your shoulder?
Death gives Meaning to life. Satan's seduction.
Have you exchanged a leading role in a war, for a walk on part in a cage? The Floyd. (A variation)
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here:
Mr. Abbott described the F-35 as the most advanced fighter in production anywhere in the world. “The F-35 will provide a major boost to the Australian Defence Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” he said.
And there you have it. From no less a knowledgeable fellow than our dear leader.

An interesting choice of post title…

Concerning?  Yes.  Nightmare?  No.  A CVBG has an impressive array of both electronic and kinetic countermeasures.  100% effective?  Certainly not, but neither is a 20+ year old missile system.  You have presented the argument in the past along the lines of "What makes you think that the PHALANX CIWS will operate as advertised" while conveniently not applying the same rule set to YAKHONTS/SUNBURN.
The point is moot if you are operating in the Arabian Sea greater than 200 nautical miles from Iran, your primary concern would be an air launched variant, but those aircraft can be engaged beyond effective range of a YAKHONTS.

You can start here:
Pubs 3, 4 and 5. 
The devil is in the details so you can appreciate that specifics are in source material that is classified.  Employment Manuals, OPLANS, Tactical Guidelines, etc.  Even if I cited them you wouldn't be able to read them.  You had to know that was coming.  Call it whatever you want.
As far as you providing something and me providing nothing, I'll flip it around.  I'm providing my operational experience AND expertise gained over 34 years of continuous (and current) learning and use.  From that perspective it is you who are providing nothing. 
Chris you do a fantastic job of collating information from multiple sources in most areas you address on  Military systems and operations is not one of those areas. 
At the risk of sounding like a pretentious wanker, regarding military operations - in this case, submarine ops and battle group ops - you don't know what you don't know, but I know what you don't know.  I've done what you don't know.  Perhaps a better way to say that is when you draw a conclusion based on flawed input material, you don't know it's flawed.  Not only do I know it's flawed, but I know why it's flawed.  You source something (like the Daily Mail article) that sounds good to a layman, and passes the smell check, but you have no experience with which to make an accurate assessment of validity on.  You then draw conclusions on flawed, erroneous and/or inaccurate information.  My experience affords me the luxury of reading something and relatively quickly coming to a conclusion about the validity of the content.  You don't have that. 

With the diverse membership here at, you need to accept that there are topics where there will be members have far more experience and knowledge than you will attain in your lifetime.  You do your readers who don't know otherwise a great disservice by claiming victory with a simple "I cited more sources than you, so I win" approach.
Well played with the Hegelian Dialectic though…

No doubt.  We will certainly learn something if we ever go hot.  We will learn that some systems work as advertised, some work better and some work worse.  We'll learn that certain tactics work better than others, while others don't work at all.  As to your estimate of exchange ratios?  Let's just say it won't be 10:1 and it won't be 1:1.  But you can trust that there is a full COE assessment (consequence of execution) built into just about every scenario.  There isn't a commander out there who does not fully understand COE as it applies to his or her command's function in the larger whole. 

Politicians however, certainly don't think about it, and the citizen class is too absorbed with Kim Kardashian's ass (her 'ass' ass, not her Kanye West ass, I dunno, maybe him too) to be concerned.

That garnered a real laugh out loud.  As I was writing my previous response, I actually had the F-35, the V-22 OSPREY, DDG-1000 and the SEAWOLF class submarines listed as examples.

Spent some quality vacation time in the Gulf back in the day. 
The jellyfish were so thick that they kept clogging up the intake filters for the evaps. Machinist's Mates would come up from the Hole with red welts covering their arms from jelly stings keeping the filters clear.  What to do? Best secure the showers (for the enlisted crew, of course) to spare water for more "important" stuff. The XO (Executive Officer, #2) sure looks fresh and dapper this morning.

115F (46C) in the shade up on deck. Dead calm and not a wisp of breeze. AC keeps going in and out because of the stress. Days turn into weeks.

General Quarters.  General Quarters. All hands man your battle stations.  All hands proceed up and forward starboard side, down and aft portside.  This is/is not a drill.  Why must the enemy always simulate their attack at 3 am?

Weeks turn into months. The chicken and beef and fish all taste the same now. 

One day I'm thirsty. "Try the bug juice."  24/7 on a ship, bug juice and coffee. Become a fan of bug juice…kinda like a really tart Tang with some "je ne sais quoi". A few weeks later I'm on brass duty. Damn this brass cleaner sucks. Been rubbing at this for hours. "Hey Chief, how the hell do I clean this brass?" "Just soak it in bug juice."  A ten minute soak and the brass is shiny spotless. Worried, I set off to find out the ingredients in bug juice. 

The scuttlebutt reeks of diesel, some chap forgot to clear the lines after a fuel transfer.  Scuttlebutt has it that our previous Suppo (Supply Officer) burst into flames and was airlifted to Bahrain after smoking too close to a scuttlebutt. The smoking lamp is lit on the fantail for a reason fellas.

Flight Quarters. Flight Quarters. All hands man your flight quarters stations.  Away the standby rescue craft away.  Oh dear, he must be new at this…main rotor came within a few feet of pretty much everything on that pass.

Land Ho!  My first foray into the exotic Middle East.  Walking down a street in UAE…a smile and "Hello!" at a gentleman passing by.  "YANKEE PIG BASTARD!" (no joke). "I'm not a friggin's Yankee, I'm from Texas!"

Violently ill from the "restaurant" the next day. Talking to the Corpsman, "Here's some antibiotics."  "Kinda nifty having antibiotics onboard, huh?"  "Oh, we always keep LOTS of antibiotics on board."  Seems we ran low a few months later after two port visits in Thailand.

Back out in the Gulf. Probably safer here anyway. A month passes. Nav (the Navigation Officer) comes into the berthing (that's where we sleep, in "racks") for inspection.  Porn goes off.  Inspection complete, "Good job, shipmates!".  Nav leaves. Porn gets turned back on. Getting "lonely". Where can I find a place on this tin can for some "private" time?

Back in port, this time "on duty".  0345 (3:45 am) - The curtain to my rack is violently pulled back and a flashlight shoved in my face. WTH! "Stevens! Your going to be late for watch!" "Dude, Steven's rack is below mine." "Oh, sorry about that, shipmate." I drift back off and for some odd reason I dream of the burning Gulf sun.

A personal favorite…it's been a week without showers (down to one evap, AC is in the crapper).  Grudgingly you make your way to the fantail. You lower the bucket by rope into the Gulf and pull up your bath. Have to strain it best you can (ruined several white T-shirts this way, you can't ever get the shirt clean again afterwards). You pour half on and the stinging starts (did I mention strain it?).  Lather up, and rinse. More stinging. Wears off after a while.  Have a pink hue to you for a while longer.

White t-shirts. You always wear a white t-shirt under your uniform. To this day I cannot wear any upper body garment without a white t-shirt underneath. I feel naked without one.

Taps. Taps. All hands turn into your bunks. Maintain silence about the decks. Now taps. (pre-DADT)

Taps. Taps. All hands turn into your OWN bunks. Maintain silence about the decks. Now taps. (DADT).

"Join the Navy and see the world".  What a party.

First, I had (for some reason) the biggest laugh when I read:

The EP-3 collision with a very unprofessional (and very dead) Chinese J-8 FINBACK pilot notwithstanding.  Go figure, the interceptee takes out the interceptor.... (I wonder if they painted a J-8 silhouette on the side of the EP-3 fuselage after the Chinese gave it back to us?)
Just the thought of seeing a fighter plane painted on the side of that patrol craft was just so absurd.

But I digress.

About those diesel boats: routinely, what percentage of them are in port at any given time, and how long can they remain at sea?  I'd just be guessing, but I suspect the Navy would become suddenly interested if the fraction of the Chinese sub fleet in port suddenly decided to leave port all at once.

Along those lines - if you wanted to string out a bunch of subs along a likely line of approach, assuming they were all diesel boats, how many would you need per 100 miles to effectively provide a high percentage shot at a carrier that happened to wander into your ambush area?  Assume the subs want to remain mostly undetectible during their maneuver.  I'm guessing this is just a physics & trigonometry problem and I'm too lazy to solve it myself - that and I have no clue as to how slow the diesel boat must go to remain undetectible nor do I have a clue as to chinese torpedo ranges.  So tell me "roughly" and I'll be happy.  :slight_smile:

My biggest worry are those hypersonic antiship ballistic missiles.  I don't get the sense that our kill rates with our terminal phase ballistic missile defense (forget what system that is) is high enough to give comfort to the commander of the carrier that his ship will survive a reasonably enthusiastic missile attack.  I'm not sure where the Chinese are in terms of accuracy/terminal guidance on a moving target - one hopes the carrier would be maneuvering to avoid the incoming missiles.  I suspect locating the carrier's general area isn't all that tough with satellites.  Range is perhaps 2000 miles, flight time - 6-10 minutes, maybe.  Carrier maybe moves 8 miles during the time of flight.  Chinese supposedly have 60 of them.  Reference:

Just the presence of such a missile causes a whole cascade of things to happen.

I'm sure you already know all this, given we seemed to have built an entire class of ship (the LCS) that is now apparently not needed (uh, I mean, "less useful") because of a change in strategy due to the potential threat from this missile.

Tell me this doesn't keep carrier captains awake at night?  The big carriers are massive gas tanks and ammo dumps just waiting to wreak havoc even without a missile hitting them.

Long term, I think the trend towards smarter and smaller/automated attack systems will doom the carrier.  I just don't know if that time has arrived, or it is still 5-10 years away.  It only takes one or two getting through and best case, no more flight operations while the crew fights fires and explosions.

That quoted part made me chuckle.  A huge part of what I do is simply observe, think and decide.  I have found that the so-called experts on a lot of things may, or may not, be the right people to listen to, especially when paradigms are shifting.  I have managed to have economists, oil men, population researchers, and (now) military folks tell me I am completely out of my range and have no clue (or right) to think and decide anything about their area of expertise. 

I'm on record here saying that gigantic Navy ships are anachronisms.  They are massive steel boxes looking for a reason to sink.  

Offensive anti-ship technologies are far cheaper and advancing far faster than defensive technologies.

So my prediction is that when modern navies, of any origin, go up against a quality foe, there will be a lot of learnings and those learnings will consist of a lot of formerly floating steel resting on the bottom of the ocean.

Whether it's China's new hypersonic missiles, the Yahkont, the DF-21D (with a range of 900 nm) or the Russian KH-22, (320 nm), what I see are hard to detect, difficult to defend against missiles that can be swarm launched and cost 1/10,000 the price of a carrier.  You can have all the operational manuals and procedures you want, but I see these as game changers and a math problem.

Offense is a fractional cost of defense and/or the cost of the platform being defended.

That's how I assess that situation and I'm certain enough of it that I would dissuade any young person for signing up for a career on one of these big boxes looking for a reason to sink.  Why?  Because I have every faith that when the next big economic crisis hits that the political class will seek to blame China or Russia and we'll get to see what happens after 10th, or 30th missile and/or torpedo swarm triangulates in on a carrier group that has run out of replacement Phalanx barrels, is war stressed, and is having trouble reloading SeaRAMs fast enough.

Again, none of these offensive and defensive weapons have yet squared off in combat, so we'll just have to wait and see, but my simple analysis is that offense is way cheaper than defense, and offense can be effective with a success ratio of 1/100 while defense is only successful with 100% effectiveness.

As was the case with the Fukushima situation, I trust my abilities to assess the data and draw conclusions.  Remember that situation?  Based on a tiny section of flyover video I found a 'crack of doom' glowing brightly on Reactor #1  and concluded that the containment vessel had been breached and the reactor was in full meltdown.  I was told then, too, by some that I was jumping to conclusions, irresponsibly at that, and that I was not a reactor engineer and had no right to be analyzing or concluding anything.

Now we all know that my conclusions were spot on and this brings me to the title of this post.  Yes, it is a great shortcoming that I feel qualified to analyze and dissect complex systems and then draw simple conclusions.  

But it is what I do in life.  That 'weakness' is my strength.  It has served me very well over the years, although it does earn me the occasional scolding from various experts.

for your amusement. I fear some young people who watch this video magician may believe deep down that you can get orange juice from an iPhone.