zenpundit.com » 2007 » July

Archive for July, 2007

Monday, July 30th, 2007

BOOKS ARE SIGNPOSTS ON THE ROAD OF LIFE

“I cannot live without books”
– Thomas Jefferson

First, I’d like to thank Dr. Barnett and Dan of tdaxp for the kind remarks and links the past few days. Both men have often provoked me to new thoughts or reconsidered views and it is nice to know that I can return the favor on occasion.

Tom had a post Sunday entitled ” Why the grand strategist/visionary needs the discipline of books” that echoed something I’ve long believed. Something Lexington Green, in his enviably book-lined home, probably would agree with,

a) First, there’s really no substitute for a good “hard” book.

b) Fiction becomes a guilty pleasure.

Perhaps, the physicists and mathematicians among us ( Von, Shane, Wiggins) will put a word in for the elegance of the mathematical equation, but for me, the supremacy of the book reigns without a rival. As I reflect on the evolution of my thinking as a teen and an adult, inevitably there are many books and a handful of people who leap to mind. Many, many, books and very, very, few people.

As much as I love history, the best reading I have done, in terms of determined, sustained, thought, involved philosophy and economics – Aristotle, Plato, Marx, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Keynes, Galbraith, Von Mises, Von Hayek, Nietzsche, Marcus Aurelius, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Machiaveli, Kuhn -because it trained my mind to accept the discipline of formal logic. Logic is invaluable for a rational mind but wisdom is discerning logic’s limitations of functioning within paradigms and that the paradigms themselves are tools for the mind to understand a part of reality; and not one of these paradigms is sufficient to encompass the whole. You have to synthesize, learn, adapt – there is no point at which you ” rest” or become complacent with your expertise.

The joy is in the journey and not in the destination.

Share

Monday, July 30th, 2007

300 REVISITED

The DVD release cometh….

ADDENDUM:

And Then We Will Fight In The Shade” -review of 300 at Chicago Boyz

Share

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

MOUNTAINRUNNER ON KENNAN’S LESSONS

Matt at MountainRunner has a fine post on lessons that can be drawn from George Kennan’sLong Telegram“.

For those who frame the modern conflict in Cold War images, it might be useful to remember the real designs and purposes of early Cold War policies. For those who think public diplomacy is simply a beauty contest to hopefully “win hearts”, should go back to the aggressive “five-dollar, five syllable” foundation of public diplomacy as a psychological struggle for minds and wills against an enemy who understood perception management.”

Kennan’s two volume memoirs make for some interesting reading, as does his work Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin, though it helps to have some of the period’s diplomatic historiography under your belt to better read between the lines of Kennan’s prose. If we have any George Kennan equivalents today, they are probably employed by the Defense Department or have been, which says a great deal about the intellectual and political decline of the State Department since Kennan’s time.

KENNAN ADDENDUM:

America and the Russian Future (1951)” by George F. Kennan

More reflections on George Kennan” by Dave Schuler

LET HISTORY JUDGE THE FATHER OF CONTAINMENT ” – Zenpundit

George Kennan Speaks to the War on Terror” and “Tipping Points” by CKR

Share

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

A MANTRA I CAN LIVE WITH

As the dreaded Four-Zero raises it’s head on my own horizon, I am much relieved to hear that Shane has declared ” Forty is the New Twenty!”.

Woo-hoo! Happy Birthday Shane!

Share

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

RECOMMENDED READING

The nice thing about falling behind on this feature is that good material builds up. Hoo-HA!

Thomas P.M. Barnett – “ Managing China’s Ascent

Books are intellectual “auctoritas“. The blog is fun. Syndication is nice but op-eds in a few print outlets – The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report – are the big time influencers with the old line establishment. Nice work Tom!

Dan of tdaxp – “Dreaming 5GW

I was certain that Boyd 2007 would spark a new series out of Dan; here he will delve into the intuitive conflict of fifth generation warfare.

Fabius Maximus – “America takes another step towards the “Long War”Part I

Fabius draws a contrast with the start of the Cold War to question some of the operative premises of the GWOT. There is also a sustained critique of the COIN philosophy of LTC. David Kilcullen.

1 Raindrop – “William Gibson Thinks You Should Go to Metricon

Gunnar is one of those guys who deserves to have me link to him more often than I do, a true expert in IT security as well as a Gibson fan ( seems to be a common thread among Zenpundit readers; I am halfway through Neuromancer, my first Gibson read)

Daniel Nexon – “Toward a neo-neo-Reaganite foreign policy

Dr. Nexon, much in demand for Harry Potter interviews these days, critiques Donald Kagan’s grasp of grand strategy, giving both praise and criticism. I like the term “neo-neo-Reganite” too – something to be said for reviving the most effective aspects of Reagan foreign policy. :O)

William Lind – “How to Win in Iraq

A number of readers, including Morgan, have urged that I read Lind’s piece. As someone who grew up reading Ayn Rand, Russell Kirk, Albert Jay Nock, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, it’s weird for me to see a genuine paleoconservative like Bill Lind enunciating a grand strategy of conserving the state. Yet the global environment has changed and the Burkean roots of conservatism are finding political traction, at least in some quarters.

PARAMETERS -”A Social Network Approach to Understanding an Insurgency ” by Brian Reed

Particularly appropriate paradigm for tribal societies where networks come ” hard wired” by genetics as well as by social, political and economic choices.

That’s it!

Share

Switch to our mobile site