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Recommended Reading


No “top billing” this week.

Thomas P.M. BarnettThe fastest and most likely route to breaking the magic 50 boundary and Feudalism replaced by “Democratic centralism” replaced by feudalism replaced by …?

Medvedev talks of needed modernization, but it is a still-born notion so long as Putin remains co-ruler. Thus the muddle-through option that defines much of Russian history remains operative until word comes definitively from Putin as to his plans in 2012.

Putin prefers a non-competitive environment in which his state-run companies and those piloted in the private sector by his cronies can dominate. So long as that remains the case, Russia’s economy will remain more cannibalistic than innovative.

Chicago Boyz (Lexington Green) –Col. Frederick Gustavus Burnaby 

 Col. Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, late of the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues), author of A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia and On Horseback Through Asia Minor. He was also a pioneering aeronaut, author of A Ride Across the Channel: and Other Adventures in the Air. Col. Burnaby met his death in the hand-to-hand fighting of the Battle of Abu Klea, 1885. Queen Victoria fainted when she heard of his death.

The Duck of Minerva (Bill Petti)Statistics is the New Grammar

….In thinking about this I remembered an argument I had with a number of colleagues while in grad school over why they had to be at least somewhat literate in quantitative analysis and game theory since they never intended to use such methods. Given that we will only see an increase of data and data-based (no pun intended) arguments, policies, and decisions we need to, at a minimum, be able to understand how the results were achieved and whether or not the studies are flawed

Agreed. You don’t need to be a quant or be able to do quant things. You need to be able to recognize when a quant’s work may be incompetent, misleading or is being misrepresented by a third party for nefarious ends.

Wings Over IraqDo Aviators Get COIN–A Resounding “Yes”

I should have brought attention to this post sooner – Starbuck is a victim of my creeping blogging burn-out. 🙂 

  The AH-64 and OH-58 pilots, as a general rule, seemed to understand COIN better than the UH-60 and CH-47 pilots (“skirts”, as we’re known). This is likely because these aviators are employing weapons on the battlefield and have to think about the effects of their weapons systems.

One of the most profound statements came from an Apache pilot, who spent a few weeks in a targeting class. The first few days of the class focused on the principles of Islam and Muslim culture. At first, he found the emphasis a little bizarre; however, upon his deployment to Iraq, he quickly learned the importance of culture. As he looked at the ramshackle buildings and farms below him, he could see a man’s livelihood–his only means of supporting his family. Damaging a farm or killing goats might cause an entire family to go hungry–something we must always consider when employing weapons systems on the battlefield. This shouldn’t be an excuse to never fire–just another factor to take into consideration before firing. Wiping out a farmer’s livelihood might drive him to seek an alternate form of employment: insurgency.

Josh Foust features “Kabul Expat”, who wins points for the following para from How to Write About Afghanistan:

….Never have a picture of a well-adjusted Afghan accompanying your article. (Make an exception for Afghans you want to be president.) A stoned cop, a woman in a burka begging, a scowling man holding a Kalashnikov: use these. If you must include an Afghan who is not miserable or threatening, make sure you get an elderly farmer with very few teeth, or a little girl holding a baby goat.

No teeth….a love of goats….feuding…..Afghanistan is kinda like the Scotland of the Hindu Kush without decent golf or widespread alcoholism.

A weird juxtaposition I’d never expected, Col. Pat Lang blogging on South Park. He also had a pragmatic take on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law.

The Strategist amused many, including me, with the following graphic:

That’s it!

One Response to “Recommended Reading”

  1. karaka Says:

    I hadn’t seen that image–flipping hilarious.

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