Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The IR of Pacific Rim: Nearly There

My family just saw Pacific Rim tonight, and we enjoyed it immensely.  Quite a fun summer movie.  One can poke all kinds of holes in such a movie, and I will resist.  I will just speak to a key bit of the international relations of the Jaeger effort below the break.

The movie's quick history at the outset establishes that the Jaeger effort is a collaborative UN-coordinated effort, which eases the way for things like Status of Forces Agreements where you have foreigners destroying the city in their effort to defeat the alien monsters.

Which is all fine and good, but what the movie does not discuss but pretty much displays is typical IR behavior--the combat units are national ones, not international ones, until the second half of the movie.  There is a Russian Jaeger, an Aussie Jaeger, a Chinese one, and an American one.  Those are the surviving ones, but I would guess that each country that could build Jaegers, would deploy their own and put them under command of the international effort.  Commanders in each Jaeger could clearly deploy "red cards" and do what they think is best for their countryfolks, even at the risk of disobeying the national command.  So far, so good--the IR of the world's defenses makes sense. 

Having truly multinational staffs fighting in the same weapons system, as it does for the Gipsy Danger, is rare but does happen--NATO's AWACS planes are truly multinationally staffed--but they are the exception and not the rule.  So, the Gipsy Danger team is similarly exceptional.

When things go sour, the UN-coordinated folks decide to give up on Jaegers and resort to walls.  This is incredibly un-American and un-Russian and probably un-Chinese.  I could see each country giving up on the coordinated international Jaeger effort, but the American way of war is to build better and better technology (and walls). The Russians would build more and more as would the Chinese.  The response to some defeats would not be giving up on the technology, although I can see why the international cooperation might fail. 

What is necessary for The Narrative does not make sense from the standpoint of IR, but we are used to that.  I am just pleased the movie got the IR stuff generally correct.  And it is a fun ride.

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