186 Comments

Admiral Phillips earned her undergraduate degree in French language and literature from UNC at Chapel Hill.

Was there not a single graduate from Kings Point or the six state academies available?

Expand full comment

Pete: Diversité, Egalité, Inclusion!

Expand full comment

Diversity, inclusion, equity. That's the proper arrangement. The acronym is then properly spelled for the expected outcome.

Expand full comment

Maybe you should do a computer search of DIE and DEI and see which one is proper. Kudos to billrla for the French translation.

Expand full comment

DIE is the proper way. DIE is what will happen when it becomes dominant.

Expand full comment

They could have even had a woman!

Expand full comment

Our system where the first prerequisite of an officer is a Baccalaureate Degree is a problem.

Expand full comment

I think Nelson was a better officer for having a fought off a polar bear at age 15 rather than sitting in a classroom learning about gender fluidity.

Expand full comment

Nelson would have chewed off his left arm if he was handcuffed and forced to attend a DEI lecture.

Expand full comment

But just think how much more he could have accomplished if he had only had a graduate degree in International Relations or some such.

Expand full comment

What is the French word for critical vulnerability?

Expand full comment

According to Google Translate... vulnérabilité critique. LOL

Expand full comment

Sacrebleu

Expand full comment

👍

Expand full comment

Oh my, Monsieur Pete… Such a coincidence! SecEnergy Granholm is also a major in French. Because apparently, studying French in college is such superb life preparation for things like overseeing national labs, nuclear weapons, the strategic petroleum reserve, and now we learn even running the US sealift component. Only in America, oui?

Expand full comment

Come come now. It is necessary to be a cunning linguist if you are going to be in charge of large important governmental agencies

Expand full comment

Current CNO has a journalism degree. She was a classmate of mine

Expand full comment

It takes time to come to the conclusion that you need to mobilize for conflict.

It takes time for the mobility combatant forces and their immediate logistics to mobilize and move into theater.

It takes time to get the follow-on logistics stores to move to ports of embarkation.

It takes time to bring ready reserve ships out of mothballs and begin moving stores and ammo.

It takes time to begin building ships.

It takes time to negotiate with shipping companies to commit hulls to war risk activities under contract and turn around from commercial activities when activated.

But the most important use of time is when a senior leader has to decide whether to use their time (two years at most) in their senior level decision maker position tilting at the windmill of fixing the known problems OR kick the can down the road for the next person.

Sadly, we (the royal "we") tend to not use "our" time wisely.

Expand full comment

Our mothball fleet is not like the fleet after WWII. Then, we mothballed capable ships; some were brand new. Now, we mothball junk.

Expand full comment

I stood a quarterdeck watch when my reserve ship had been moved to downtown Norfolk for the civilians to gawk at. The Elizabeth River was lined with inactive ships from WW2 and Korea. That was 1975.

Expand full comment

I don't think folks should be allowed to post on this blog unless they have a copy of the "The Caine Mutiny" at hand. The end of the book, where Keith brings her to Bayonne, New Jersey for decommissioning, will make you cry.

Expand full comment

I haven't read that in years. I've seen the movie a couple times, but the movie doesn't follow the ship to the end.

Expand full comment

I prefer the movie ending where Keith defies his mother and marries May.

Expand full comment

We don't know if he got the singer in the book; it is ambiguous. You can still think he marries May.

Expand full comment

Let us hope the last Captain of the Caine found his true love.

Expand full comment

The problem with the movie is that Humphrey Bogart was too good and captured the part despite being too old for the role That’s why every remake falls flat.

Expand full comment

Back in the old days I overheard a Major in S-4 discussing with an O-3 Captain how it took three days to draw ammunition just for a rifle range event from the magazines.

Then two days to take it to the range.

The Captain a Vietnam vet said it was always so.

Expand full comment

If we could restore our numbers to early 2000 levels, who would they be crewed by? We can barely man our anemic merchant fleet as it stands today. The US is well on its way to becoming a post-maritime power, which is a direct result of becoming a post-industrial power.

"Time to Meet the US Mariner Shortage Head On"

https://www.marinelink.com/news/time-meet-us-mariner-shortage-head-505263

Expand full comment

Can we train some of those recent, illegal immigrants as sailors?

Expand full comment

The road to citizenship lies through the military in a war.

Expand full comment

There are lots of folks who gained citizenship by enlisting in peacetime. Guy down the street was born in Antigua; after eight years in the USMC, we let him in; permanently.

Expand full comment

My Company had guys from Korea, Philippines, Domenica and even one from Germany, There was one Japanese who worked in S-2.

USMC as well.

Expand full comment

my platoon had guys from.....Detroit! really, fer true!

Expand full comment

Worked out great for the Romans.

Expand full comment

For the first few hundred years - yes, it did. The minimum 25 years of service as an auxilia did wonders for ingraining Roman principles into a provincial. An excellent scholar on Roman citizenship is Professor Lavan in the school of Classics at University of St. Andrews. Taking Juan Valdez from the coffee plantations of Columbia and putting him in the US Army motor pool for 4-and-out might not have the same result.

Expand full comment

Like the ones who beat up the policeman in NYC?

Expand full comment

All crimes are the fault of immigrants. No native born USAer ever did a crime.

Expand full comment

If you are here illegally you've already broken the law.

Expand full comment
deletedFeb 20·edited Feb 20
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Why have a border at all then? Just come on in, Free cell phone, lodging, healthcare and a bus or plane trip to anywhere you like. Make sure you show up for court in ten years,

Expand full comment

False. But the odds that any given crime was committed by an illegal immigrant are pretty high.

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

Train as??? .... do we even have a suitable training pipeline anymore (speaking of the merchant marine)?

Expand full comment

Is the Merchant Marine Academy in Kingspoint on Long Island even still open??

Expand full comment

It is still open and still a backstop for young people who didn't get into Annapolis.

Expand full comment

I was thinking of the people who fill the jobs who are not graduates of the merchant marine academies.

Expand full comment

Sorta. Compulsory periodic training for existing mariners has created a few dozen training schools across the US. However, the training 'pipeline' is to go through a diversion program at tge Seafarer's union school to avoid jail and learn how not to stab each other... or if you have no criminal records simply get seaman's papers and a TWIC card and get a job. Entry level guys get on the job training. For Officers it's 4 years of pretending to be in a college that is pretending to be in the military... or working your way up through experience, which takes a lot longer.

Expand full comment

"simply get seaman's papers "

It wasn't simple when I tried. Of course, that was a few decades ago. I am sure things have gotten better with the increased demand for merchant seamen.

Expand full comment

We can always institute a draft and draft Migrants.

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

Bear: They can bring their own inner tubes.

Expand full comment

With a Matai and and umbrella in a glass LOL.

Expand full comment

Why the crap that is coming across the border? Filipinos make up over a quarter of the sailors in the world merchant fleet. They tend to work their butts off and get paid crap. Offer them (through Congressional legislation) non-citizen US National status out of the gate and an expedited pathway to citizenship.

Expand full comment

At least the majority of Filipinos _LIKE_ the USA to begin with. Unlike most of the dregs from the Middle East.

Expand full comment

There are surprisingly few Filipinos in the US merchant fleet... because there are much easier ways to make money once you have a green card. Also, since there aren't many ships at all, there isn't enough of a shortage of mariners today to justify destroying the job market by diluting the job pool with 3rd worlders... there are tens of thousands of Americans mariners who work on tugs and smaller vessels who choose not to work on ships because the money and lifestyle sucks there.

Expand full comment

Thanks Paul. The original thesis was how do we man a merchant marine where we build the vessels necessary to get us close to the late 90's in capability. I do not support introducing foreign mariners into the pitiful fleet of 2024 and demorilizing US merchantmen even further.

Expand full comment

The Pinoy we had were mostly in the Co and Xo officers mess aboard ship,, some were Grunts though.

Hard Core guys.

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

USCG and IMO have sytematically made it harder for hawsepipe officers and vastly more expensive. Academy trained officers have many shoreside opportunities and no commitment to the industry so they come for a few years and cash out. It's even worse with women since they are gone shoreside almost immediately. An utter waste of time space and resources if the intent is to maintain a cadre of seagoing officers against future need.

Expand full comment

Good point about the IMO. That thick bloated bureaucracy is not doing us any favors.

Expand full comment

It's my humble opinion that the regs are designed to hamstring mariners from countries (ie china, pi) that dont subsidize training.

Expand full comment

I've said several times our "force on force" and logistics plan is wrong. Any fight vs China will take a lot of logistics, and any blockade of Taiwan will need to disrupt their logistics and warfighter chain.

We should be building long range (1200nm+) flying mines, harpoon like mines that can do precision insertion (remote laying of minefields) of fields and be ready with hundreds of thousands of them to mine every port China could use to launch from or resupply from. Complicate their refueling and resupply, complicate any timeline to take over Taiwan. Given the relatively shallow shelf between Taiwan and China, subs just won't hack a lot of those mining missions, esp given the lack of subs and having lots of other missions .

Expand full comment

While I like the concept, historically, mining has been an afterthought or last resort "what else do we have in the magazine" effort, not placed early in a conflict, not easily integrated into surface/sub fleet maneuver schema and seabed management. As you suggest by your approach, delivery by traditional means requires getting in a long line of air/sub/surface delivery with higher priority weapons. I wonder where funding for self-propelled flying mines stacks up given our sea lift availability (and missile magazine inventories etc.) is in such poor shape. Mines do work when placed at the right location and at the right time.

Expand full comment

Our adversaries think mining is about creating bombs.

We think mining is about creating virtual money.

Expand full comment

Waive the Jones Act for NATO and other allies.

Expand full comment

Why? To man ships that don't exist? If there were more shipping jobs there would be more mariners.

Expand full comment

Too bad Gallagher is leaving office.

Expand full comment

He might be Secretary of Transportation in a new administration.

Expand full comment

or, SECDEF. He's one of the few Congressional critters to actually care about USN shipbuilding and fleet structure.

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

I expect sealift will be in commercial vessels as in WW 1 cruise liners, container Ro Ro.

Once Dedicated sealift gets deep sixed.

Expand full comment

What commercial vessels? There simply aren't any.

Expand full comment

Today, there are 115 self-propelled, U.S.-flag ships engaged in the U.S. foreign commerce. This fleet is composed of 5 tankers, 11 dry bulk, 28 roll-on/roll-off vessels, 61 container ships, and 10 multipurpose ships. All of these ships participate in the Federal Government’s cargo preference program. Twelve of the vessels are Jones Act qualified and do not regularly carry foreign commerce. Sixty of them participate in the Maritime Security Program, which has been successful in maintaining the required number of militarily-useful ships and their crews that could be called upon to respond to possible military contingencies.

Expand full comment

Allied shipping losses rose from 50 ships per month in January 1942 to a peak of 124 per month in June 1942.

There maybe fewer assets to attack said ships. But, the weapons are better.

Expand full comment

Okay, how many of the 115 can we shanghai for military missions without drastically crippling ourselves when their customary trade voyages cease? It's not like there is ANYTHING available to backfill for them. (Or for a third string backup for USN assets.)

Expand full comment

In a wartime situation that is effectively zero. Certainly not enough to sustain a serious military effort.

Expand full comment

WGOWS is all over this: https://youtu.be/X9gH6iAldOg?si=0lEN-zwNpiq5Ix1j

Expand full comment

The other Sal nails it.

Expand full comment

I think that you are thinking of the late Soviet-era apocalypse film "Dead Man's Letters"

Expand full comment

The good Congressman--and/or his staff, have their stuff together I would REALLY like to see the answers to those questions..

Expand full comment

A visiting pastor once told a congregation "what good is it to read the Bible if you are not going to do what it says?" ... By way of analogy... One day SECNAV asks Congress "what good is it to ask the Navy these questions if you are not prepared to pay for the answers I give you?"

Expand full comment

Good one!! One problem is that SECNAV's boss is the one (or ones) who mostly determine what Congress can allocate and where. They can fiddle around the edges, but it's the "Administration" who sets the big picture. Defense is not this "Administration's" top (or second of third) priority.

Expand full comment

(Past) Time for Congress to commit to buying at least 2 freighters and 2 tankers a year from American yard(s) to replace the current ships and eventually gaining numbers.

As for crewing, put the Merchant Marine Service on par with the Armed Services for things like GI Bill.

Expand full comment

If we get 2 per year total we should be elated. We need Nassco, Philly and even Amfels to get a clear signal and some block buys.

Expand full comment

We need Bama Ship, Avondale, and all the others. But it doesn't matter the people and foundries are all gone.

Expand full comment

Vigor in Portland & Seattle should be capable as well.

Expand full comment

Well the first major issue, is the congressman is asking a General, about Naval maritime resources and requirements. Sure I get that the director was a once upon a time Navy RDML, but this question would be better put directly to CNO.

Expand full comment

You mean the CNO who has a degree in journalism?

Expand full comment

Don’t knock someone’s degree without qualifying it by their work since. Its like blaming a Luitenant for throwing spit ballls in nursery school.

Expand full comment

College is supposed to be something more significant than nursery school. If it isn't then we should return to the RN model of sending 13-year-olds to sea as midshipmen and save a lot of time and money.

Expand full comment

A decent enough point, James, but it's what they do after graduating nursery school or college that counts. It may be easy to overlook throwing spitballs when 4-5 years of age but by young adulthood pursuing a degree in an outré fluff major kind of puts one at a disadvantage, relegating them to a prolonged temporary career as a barista at Starbucks. From there, without an intervention by loved ones, it is an inevitable descent into tattoos, piercings, Marxist street activism and other behaviors destructive to self, others, society and civilization. Still, to amass $70K in student debt can be seen as a marker for poor decision-making...even if it was only a crass but pragmatic move to get credentialed. A padded C.V. can sometimes give a person traction if they are otherwise personable and are possessed of other skills learned by OJT. Me? When I was very young boy, I poured salt on the hair of a girl I had a huge crush on. It didn't have the desired result (requited love, marriage when we turned 21 and a life together). I learned from it. How fortunate that my early spitballing bahavior in a search for love and later in pursuit of majors was given a pass and I was judged on a track record of performance.

Expand full comment

Performance is indeed the gold standard.. A degree in any major only prepares you to be a trainee (sometimes poorly), often in a field unrelated to your major, where you will be judged by your performance.

Expand full comment

History poli sci double major w minors in East Asian Studies and Naval Science. 24 years in telecom the vast majority in softwsre design. Also do the occassional house on the side. Pretty sure Jefferson also wasn’t limited by his major.

Expand full comment

Degrees in Social Studies, Humanities and Psychology magna cum laude were the icing on the cake that got me in to a short stint as an REA electrical inspector and a longer, more lucrative run as an asphalt/road construction inspector. That's all sweaty blue collar stuff...I suspect they really wanted a guy all papered up with an official education beyond a GED & OJT. Government job. Never would have happened otherwise.

Expand full comment

Nursery skool? No, we're discussing college... usually 18 yrs old and up. And the college major is a solid indication of how someone prepares their mind for the rest of life. Math & science? Engineering? Well, look for a certain way of thinking. History? Poly sci? Literature? Another manner of thought process. Majoring in a foreign language? Nothing wrong with that... But don't whine when people question one's fitness to lead MarAd or Energy Dept.

Expand full comment

At least Adm Paparo gets it. We need him to teach the other 200 Admirals why this is important and how to convey to congress at every opportunity, that we need to provide the resources the admiral will need to fight China.

“Beware the land power that turns to the sea..”

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1759394360863363490.html

Expand full comment

Admiral Paparo can see just how bad things are whenever he gets on his command ship - the Blue Ridge - which was commissioned in 1970!

Expand full comment

She was built in a government yard; the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

There is no reason our ships cannot last for 50 to 60 years. Pushing a hole through the water is not that different from holes we pushed through the water in 1915. If we use gas turbines for propulsion; just drop in a new box. If properly maintained, a big if, our hulls should be serviceable for half a century.

Electronics should be upgradable. Weapons should be upgradable. The hull, and the machinery in the hull, should last for decades.

Expand full comment

Sure.

And I could still be driving my blue 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

Expand full comment

Replace the upholstery, add in a Sirius Satellite radio and some new speakers and you are good to go.

Expand full comment

..... Unless like many GM cars of that era, the body and frame haven't already decomposed into a pile of rust, the interior plastic hasn't already turned brittle and cracked, and the seat cloth isn't already faded and torn even though no one has sat in the seats for thirty-five or more years. (I called the last GM car I owned, a 1979 model, my 'disaster mobile'. It richly deserved the name I had given iit.)

Expand full comment

I don't want to use the word "sea frame" because that is part of the patois used by the transformationalists, but, the hull and propulsion system of a warship ought to be constructed with an eye to durability. Profit-driven commercial enterprises use planned obsolescence, to keep demand for their products high. A sovereign building weapons should build solid, stable ships, upon which can be piled the latest in sensors, weapons, and electronics.

Expand full comment

Takin my 69 Dart for its first drive in 15+ years last summer was pretty gratifying... !! We're getting to the serious resto, including replacing a quarter panel, outer wheelhouse and trunk floor this year.

Expand full comment

Tom, you are smarter than that comment. have you been in a shipyard and seen the issues with a 30 year old Navy ship in ROH? It is simply mind-boggling to see the list of items NLA from the original supplier that closed their doors 15 years ago. Many private yards won't even bid on Navy contracts that want a Firm Fixed Price contract because they know under the 17 layers of paint lurks a plethora of problems. Look at the price of extending the CG 47 class. In 2022 we were going to extend the life of several Aegis cruisers. The cost exceeded the estimates by an average of 200%, and delays awaiting parts almost doubled the overhaul period. Gilday convinced Congress it was not money well spent.

Expand full comment

I left a ship which was 25 years old to serve on a 36 year old FRAM can. She was a capable ship and served in Mexico until 2002; 57 years. With two 5"/38 twin mounts and ASROC, I would venture to say she was far more lethal than the LCS.

Even after 30 years of service, she got underway on time.

The Enterprise served for 51 years.

Expand full comment

Get the name “Enterprise” out your mouth.

Expand full comment

Enterprise.

Expand full comment

Gilday was and remains a cuck though.

Expand full comment

No disagreement there!

Expand full comment

I recently went through a S/Y period for a 30 yo vessel and am currently working on a 15 yo vessel yard period. These are both commercial vessels but the amount of steel replaced on the 30 vessel was extensive. It was partially driven by the fact an engineer dropped a strainer the size of a water glass and holed the vessel on the port. Then a couple of months later the hull spontaneously failed at the same frame on the stbd side. Old vessels are OLD. The hulls are suffering metal fatigue, the plate is thinning from rust and wear, and wiring runs are choked with old wire that may or may not be attached to anything but is certainly prone to failure at the worst possible time (ie combat). If one was to plan for extended life hulls and build accordingly that's one thing but most of the current force is old and was never intended to be kept in service for 50 years.

Expand full comment

Vessels that appear to be prime and less than a couple of decades old go to the breakers precisely due to what you describe. Without a deck crew to constantly maintain and without a yard period to fox basics such as steerage and thru hulls, it’s often cheaper to sink the costs in new builds and buy new.

Expand full comment

That cruiser "modernization" program was a sham, and a way to push the Navys agenda of getting rid of them.

Expand full comment

I think ADM Paparo understands who & what we are dealing with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsYCcTLikHo

Expand full comment

"We are in the middle of another epochal change and that is the dawn–and I do mean the dawn–of the information revolution. Who competes best in this, who adapts better, who is better able to combine data, computing power, AI and who can win the first battle—likely in space, cyber, and the information domain—shall prevail,” Paparo said."

I wonder. Quotes like this make me worry. Where are quotes suggesting we work on maintaining ship numbers, VLS numbers, and dealing with being outnumbered significantly in WestPac? What about surge capability, catching up on maintenance backlogs, and getting all our SSNs back to sea? What about cries for increased hardening of Pacific installations, and expanded presence (think previous Palau post)?? What about increased ammo production and logistics capabilities??

I obviously dont get notes from every speech and press release, but the overall vibe I get is that PacFlt is just another tech-enamored fellow that thinks bits and bytes, and unmanned stuff will save the day vs cubic yards of explosive being delivered...

Expand full comment

He’s not a wordsmith. He’s a warrior. He’s sounding the proverbial alarm of what and where the threat is.

Expand full comment

Like I said, I dont get the full picture, and certainly dont know him... So all I can say is, I hope youre right, because the wordsmiths and techies are certainly not who/what we need right now!

Expand full comment

We always need wordsmiths. "These are the times that try men's souls. . . "

Expand full comment

Great column! We are in extremis and the CCP knows it. It is a gut punch for Gallagher to leave Congress. He has been one of the bright and shining stars. Will be very hard to replace.

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

I've worked with many MSC alumni. They are in general stupid, lazy, and incompetent. If the fleet support elements start taking casualties the diversity hires (afaict solely recruited from Norfolk public housing) will disappear faster than a fart in the wind. Furthermore, not noted here is that in the late 90s the evaporation of the merchant fleet became so embarrassing that the feds redefined ship to include barges and tug boats in that number. The sole saving grace would be the tonnage that oil field supply boats could haul but they are slower and less manpower efficient.

Expand full comment

Also tugs and PSV's are crewed by guys like me, who already know that MSC's working conditions qualify for an Amnesty International campaign. The French Foreign Legion is a better employer than MSC.

Expand full comment

A friend of mine was on an EPFS when everything went gangway up in 2020. Not only was he stuck but the military failed to pay the contract mandated penalty rate and his useless union failed to secure the correct amount -instead leaving him to get only 20-30% of what he was supposed to receive. Then just to prove how utterly useless MSC is; when he quit showing up to work (he came to my company), it took them a year and a half or two years to terminate him. I have heard similar horror stories over the years. I would not under any circumstances work for MSC and would discourage anyone else from doing so.

Expand full comment

Absolutely agreed. The Gangway Up order was cruel and arbitary. The naval crew could go ashore daily while the merchant seamen were trapped on those ships fpr over a year, moored at the docks in Norfolk. But we saw the cruelty of the .gov in the civilian side too, when a major tug company, Bouchard, went bankrupt and the crew were forced to stay on their vessels with no pay and no jobs, for several months, or be hunted down and jailed if they left the vessel... isn't it strange that the .gov is finding it hard to find civilian mariners for their ships?

Expand full comment
Feb 20·edited Feb 20

Like the Spanish and the Dutch, we too were once a great maritime power.

If our leadership cannot grasp the import of our slip into maritime impotence the cajoling and prodding won't make a difference.

Expand full comment

Except Spain and Holland had legitimate reasons to dump money into their armies, US not so much...

Expand full comment

Back when Clinton dodged the draft he was very careful to ensure that the way he did it did not "impair his future political viabilty". I am paraphrasing something I read decades ago. Our leadership does grasp what most benefits their political viability in the "now" and in the next election cycle. Sometimes I think they'd be OK running the country as salaried SES princelings in Sino-America as long as the perks remained the same.

Expand full comment

The Dutch are your relevant example. Spain never had a vibrant domestic economy and their trade empire lacked a symbiotic relationship.

Expand full comment

“The mines of Brazil were the ruin of Portugal, as those of Mexico and Peru were the ruin of Spain. All manufacturers fell into insane contempt…”. — From AT Mahan, Influence of Sea Power (1890).

Expand full comment

There is much value in the full quote as applied to the US today. We have become a nation of luxuries and services while casting disdain upon those in the extraction and manufacturing industries - telling them to learn to code.

"The mother-country herself produced little but wool, fruit, and iron; her manufactures were naught; her industries suffered; her population steadily decreased. Both she and her colonies depended upon the Dutch for so many of the necessaries of life, that the products of their scanty industries could not suffice to pay for them. "So that Holland merchants," writes a contemporary, "who carry money to most parts of the world to buy commodities, must out of this single country of Europe carry home money, which they receive in payment of their goods." Thus their eagerly sought emblem of wealth passed quickly from their hands. It has already been pointed out how weak, from a military point of view, Spain was from this decay of her shipping. Her wealth being in small bulk on a few ships, following more or less regular routes, was easily seized by an enemy, and the sinews of war paralyzed; whereas the wealth of England and Holland, scattered over thousands of ships in all parts of the world, received many bitter blows in many exhausting wars, without checking a growth which, though painful, was steady.

The fortunes of Portugal, united to Spain during a most critical period of her history, followed the same downward path: although foremost in the beginning of the race for development by sea, she fell utterly behind. "The mines of Brazil were the ruin of Portugal, as those of Mexico and Peru had been of Spain; all manufactures fell into insane contempt; ere long the English supplied the Portuguese not only with clothes, but with all merchandise, all commodities, even to salt-fish and grain. After their gold, the Portuguese abandoned their very soil; the vineyards of Oporto were finally bought by the English with Brazilian gold, which had only passed through Portugal to be spread throughout England." We are assured that in fifty years, five hundred millions of dollars were extracted from "the mines of Brazil, and that at the end of the time Portugal had but twenty-five millions in specie,"--a striking example of the difference between real and fictitious wealth."

Expand full comment

Yep. We are a nation of mouth breathers and neck beards

Expand full comment

"Yep", but there's always the "Yeah, but's" too. Yeah, but mouth breathing funnels the air for our lungs to bellow out bellows of arrow-dyte jibber-jabber, as I am wont to do, and that extra oxygen can turbocharge multiple brain cell synapses to fire in a cadence of goosestepping garrulousidity. Never could grow a good neck beard, never really tried. They'd be handy in catching crumbs and soup spills so I cud chew on them later. Wattled jowls are barren ground, but lippiness can make up for that lost ground. https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/569x425q70/r/924/CTUGyw.jpg

GED, 1966.

Expand full comment

Hey, appreciate you running the entire quote. Definitely worth repeating Mahan's insight. The quoted part within Mahan ("mines of Brazil," etc.) is not cited, but he borrowed it from a French historian. Mahan spent quite a bit of time in Peru & Chile, at ports of Callao and Valparaiso. Hung around several officers' clubs and rubbed elbows with the naval and merchant elite of those venues. He had access to numerous Spanish archival sources. His distillation of what happened to Portugal and Spain was deeply informed and well-honed through discussions with people who were part of that original Iberian exploration/expansion culture.

Expand full comment