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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! WIRED (Michael Tanji) – Spies Protest After Intel-Sharing Tools Shut Down

Having the worst intelligence failure in American history on their watch is no reason that the IC old guard can’t quietly kill some of the post-9/11 reforms designed to remediate their dysfunctional managerial culture.

“….Security concerns” is the excuse being used to take down uGov, but that doesn’t explain why BRIDGE has to go too unless “security concerns” is code for “we’ve been hacked.” That’s pure speculation on my part, but if you have tracked any of the traffic related to Cyber Command, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, or the “Cyber Czar,” you know that systems like uGov or BRIDGE would make for attractive targets by myriad adversaries. And while such systems would surely be outfitted with some of the best security mechanisms the IC could provide, if it’s connected to the ‘Net, its hackable. Even a small compromise would be all the excuse needed to get such systems shut down en masse. The “deny all” security mindset that prevails in the community hasn’t prevented our adversaries from compromising us in the past, its really just a convenient way to hate on collaboration”

If crazy is keeping on doing the same thing that doesn’t work, then what do we call going back to the old way that doesn’t work?

Thomas P.M. Barnett So Iran Caved on the Bomb. What Now?

….And so, after almost a quarter-century of quiet cooperation with the Americans, Israel is now on the verge of perfecting a multi-layered missile-defense shield that protects against short-range rockets coming out of southern Lebanon and Gaza, plus anything Iran can toss its way. Not only will Israel remain on the map following a potential first strike, it’ll have second-strike capabilities secure enough to wipe off the map any fantasy-league roster of neighboring Islamic regimes you care to name.

Proceedings (David J. Danelo) – Disorder on the Border

A Criminal Insurgency

In 2008, Los Angeles County Sheriff John Sullivan and analyst Adam Elkus argued that Mexico’s drug cartels represented a criminal insurgency that threatened state stability.1 “Not all insurgencies conform to the classic Leninist or Maoist models,” wrote Sullivan and Elkus. “Some insurgents don’t want to take over the government or force it to accede to ideological demands. They want a piece of the state that they can use to develop parallel structures for profit. Inasmuch as they use political violence to accomplish this goal, they are insurgents-albeit of a criminal variety.”

That such an article is appearing in Proceedings indicates that the USG national security community, or at least the official portion of it, is inching closer to admitting that a catastrophe is building unchecked on our Southern border.

All Things Counter-Terrorism is a gold mine of a blog. Hat tip to Charles Cameron and Shlok Vaidya.

SWJ BlogToward a Kilcullen-Biden Plan?

A Tony Corn piece.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND SECURITY NETWORK ( Samuel Logan and John P Sullivan ) – Costa Rica, Panama in the Crossfire

“….Around 65 percent of the drug smuggling traffic through Costa Rica and Panama is maritime, and most of the rest is over land,” Paul Knierim, an Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with experience in Central America and currently working as the staff coordinator in congressional and public affairs, told ISN Security Watch.

Extreme violence is also on the upswing. In April, alleged members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel abducted two suspected Envigado Cartel members outside Panama City’s Metro Plaza mall, just one sign of the country’s burgeoning drug trade. It is fueling a new generation of gangs (108 gangs at current count), paid ‘in-kind’ with drugs by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other traffickers.”

Is it time yet to speak of Mexico “going Lebanon” in polite company?

Global GuerillasHENRY OKAH!

John Robb, premier theorist of systemic insurgency and systempunkt, is contacted by a transnational practitioner of global guerillaism. Commenters go nuts.

Steven PressfieldInterview with a Tribal Chief #4: Warlords and Taliban

….Chief Zazai: The people are caught between two fires. When the warlords ran Afghanistan after the Soviets got kicked out, a poor person had to pay a “tax” to have a bicycle, to buy rice, if you sneezed they took money out of your pocket. The Taliban arose in response to this and were backed by the people who thought, These guys are bad but at least they are honest. At least they believe in something beyond their own greed and gangsterism. But then the Taliban became just as much of a plague upon the people by jamming their cruel ways down everybody’s throat. And we saw what Mullah Omar let happen, culminating on 9/11.

John Seely Brown: “The Social View of Learning”

Complexity and Social Networks BlogYou Lie 2.0

Any attention, even the worst kind, is leverage. If you know how to use it.

The Glittering EyeAre We Promoting Our Grand Strategy?

Altogether this provides the United States with an ability to project force unparalleled in human history. Our military spending is commensurate with that and by nearly any reckoning we spend more on our military than any other country. Indeed, our spending exceeds that of the next fourteen largest spenders by a considerable margin, 41.5% of all military spending.

Whether we should be spending that much or will continue to spend that much is a matter of lively, sometimes bitter, discussion. Although I think its a reasonable subject for discussion, that’s not the question I’d like to raise here. My hydra-headed question is does our degree and manner of projection of force promote our grand strategy

Dave always likes to ask the uncomfortable questions. 🙂

That’s it!

4 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. J. Scott Says:

    Thanks for posting the John Seely Brown video. His descriptions of learning were insightful. I also noted that he was advancing the idea of a knowledge spiral very similar to Polanyi and to two Japanese researchers, Nonaka and Takeuchi (N&T). N&T built a three dimensional spiral where knowledge transfer/creation is intended to be an explicit cultural norm. One note: I have not read Polanyi’s books, but have read several titles where he is referenced—Personal Knowledge is on my list. Thanks for posting!

  2. Dave Schuler Says:

    Thanks for the link, Mark.  It certainly seems to me that we’re doing too much knee-jerking and not nearly enough reflection.

  3. zen Says:

    Hi Dave,
    Agreed! Discourse too easily tends to slope into emotional recitation of comfortable assumptions and ill-fitting generic analogies to Vietnam and Munich.
    Hey J. Scott,
    I have liked John Seely Brown ever since reading "Minds on Fire". I too need to read Polanyi firsthand, he seems to be a meta-citation these days.

  4. J. Scott Says:

    Yes, I agree on Polanyi. He is probably the most often quoted guy I’ve seen these last few months. He is so ubiquitous some don’t bother to give him credit for his ideas—which speaks volumes of the power of his ideas.

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