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Archive for March 25th, 2007

Sunday, March 25th, 2007


I am going out of town for most of next week and will not be reading email or blogging for the interim. Should be back online sometime on Friday.

In the meantime, a few links to keep you busy:

Bill Roggio -“Al Qaeda’s Pakistan Sanctuary

General Tariq Gilani -“US-Pakistan Relations: The Way Forward

PINR – “Pakistan’s Strategic Goals and the Deteriorating Situation in Afghanistan

Jamestown Foundation -“GIMF Releases New Doctrinal Lessons for Mujahideen

Jim Baker -“Systems Thinking and Counterinsurgencies

Max Boot – “Create a U.S. foreign legion

Foreign Policy -“Who Wins in Iraq?”

Special Note: The excellent Kent’s Imperative intel blog is once again active.

Sunday, March 25th, 2007


Gratuitous Self-promotion Department:

Not sure when the article will be available online, but I am quoted in Clive Thompson’s article on “Radical Transparency” in the print edition of WIRED magazine that is on the newstands right now. Very nice for a humble blogger like myself to get that kind of a nod from a mainstream periodical. Much appreciated, Clive !

I’ll link if/when it becomes available.

Sunday, March 25th, 2007


Having spent a great deal of time considering creativity and insight, I’m generally convinced that we benefit cognitively and on an emotive-psychological level from novelty, even if that novelty is to a small degree. Sort of like garnering measurable aerobic benefits from modest daily walking, every little bit helps. You don’t have to go from a microbiology lab one day to spelunking the next in order to give your brain some stimulus.

Therefore, I decided to shift my usual reading attention from matters of Western history and military affairs to read in succession, the biographies of three seminal 20th century dictators, all of whom ruled Asian nations but impacted the history of the world. It is a good shifting of gears for me, as the last heavy fare of reading Asian history and politics was back in the early nineties.

First up, is Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost by Jonathan Fenby, who gives a critical reappraisal. While we are all accustomed to the standard scholarly historical criticism of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang which is heavily influenced by the politics of academic Marxism, Fenby, a British journalist who is a longtime writer and editor for The Economist magazine and The Observer, (so far as I have read) gives a hard-eyed, pragmatic, thoroughly detailed, flavor that Alan Schom gave to his masterful deconstruction of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Number two will be the critically acclaimed The Unknown Story of Mao by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, which like the Fenby book is an act of idol-smashing. All the moreso since Mao ZeDong, unlike his rival Chiang, retains an aging cadre of Leftist admirers both at home and in the West.

I intend to finish with the highly regarded Ho Chi Minh: A Life by former diplomat and Penn State historian William J. Duiker.Duiker himself, served in the American embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam war, which adds a poignant edge to his historical research.

Anyone out there who has read any or all of these books, feel free to chime in.

Sunday, March 25th, 2007


At HNN, arch-Cliopatriarch Ralph Luker has collected a formidible honor roll of conservative historians who are bloggers (and perhaps some conservative bloggers who like history) to which he has added yours truly. Never knew so many were out there. Much appreciated Dr. Luker!

Special thanks to blogfriend Nonpartisan of ProgressiveHistorians for the nod. It’s a pleasure when a spirit of comity exists across the partisan divide. All too rare these days, unfortunately.

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