Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reads at the Traffic Circle of Life

M-4 Rifle in action

USS Ohio

Shoe Factory Vietnam, courtsey of Yale Global


Battle Company, Outpost Restrepo

Thomas PM Barnett

This week's reads are like standing at the center of a traffic circle as the stories come at you from different angles. Some are about the war and how we might fight wars in the future. Another is about food, and how a lowly root has fueled the explosion of humanity in the past five centuries. Then we have a look at what has been dubbed the "Smaller Dragon" and how it is making global strides. And then a movie recommendation that will not be for everyone, but something that every American should view. Finally, a story of love, the love of a mother and the two, who stepped in to ensure her children would have a future.

First, this week leads off with this from C. J. Chivers former Marine officer and reporter for the New York Times who penned this intelligent response to complaints about the current rifle used by U.S. Forces.

Since late last year, At War has looked at issues surrounding small-arms choices and performance in the Afghan war, by American units and insurgents alike. We’ll continue this theme with two quick posts in the next few days: one serving as a follow-up to the continuing conversation about American rifle reliability, the other a closer look at the small arms that Afghan fighters have been wielding against Marines and government forces in Marja.
First, that perennial subject: the reliability of modern American infantry rifles. Throughout the Afghan and Iraq wars, questions have circulated about the performance of the principal rifles issued to American troops. The arms in question – both M-16 assault rifles and their shorter offspring, the M-4 carbines — are descendants of rifles first introduced to American service in Vietnam. They are the longest-serving general-issue rifles in American military history, and yet they have not quite fully shed some of the poor reputation that the original M-16 earned during its bungled introduction in the 1960s.
Read more:
Examining complaints about American rifle reliability

And for those who want to see how the rifles are built and tested. Check out the test fire videos.
Building and testing the M-4

Next we get our feet wet by turning to look at the game changing events in naval strategy and deployment.
Mike Burleson of NewWars Blog introduces it this way.
I have to give the US Navy some rare credit. They have deployed an amazing capability with the new Ohio class SSGN boats in a short time, and they didn’t have to strain the budget to get them, since they are “off the shelf”.
This is an interesting development since normally you only hear such talk in reference to the fleet of giant Nimitz class supercarriers. Now, instead of the President asking “where are the carriers” you have China questioning “where are the missile firing submarines”. The problem for Beijing being-they could be most anywhere, popping up where they are least expected.
You have to read the article to understand what Burleson means by an interesting development.
The fleets new game changer and TLAM Warships

Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions penned this excellent blog post on the little brown tuber.
An old Irish proverb says, "It is easy to halve the potato where there is love." The unstated assumption in that adage is that it applies to situations when food is scarce and the potato is the entire meal. Knowing Irish history, one can appreciate that poignant message. Potatoes are the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize.
In the U.S., potatoes are largely known as a good source of carbohydrates and for putting pounds on people when consumed in the form of french fries. As noted above, however, potatoes are an important food source for much of the world. Although there are close to 4,000 varieties of potatoes, new varieties are still being developed -- sometimes creating controversy. Take, for example, a potato that is being grown in Sweden for industrial use rather than as a source of food ["A Potato Remade for Industry Has Some Swedes Frowning," by John Tagliabue, New York Times, 10 June 2010]. The potato in question is called Amflora and, as "a result of genetic jiggling," is "almost pure starch" and harshly flavored.
In Praise of the Humble Potato

Next, this piece from a place where I spent my last teen year, has earned the title "Smaller Dragon."
Fifteen years ago, on July 11 President Clinton, announced the establishment of ambassadorial relations between Vietnam and the United States.
These past 15 years have seen remarkable developments in the relations between these two erstwhile bitter enemies.
Indeed, in any competition for globalization’s poster child, top billing naturally goes to continental-sized China and India. But Vietnam, the country called the Smaller Dragon, has also fast emerged as a globalization winner – a success recognized by its selection this year as host of the World Economic Forum East Asia Summit. over the more established settings of Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
Smaller Dragon takes global strides

Movie Recommendation

Finally, this next read is a testement to the love of a mother who had such love for her children that she placed them for adoption. Providence prevailed that two people who I have come to respect for their great strength of character and giving souls gained two daughters and the undying love and gratitude of a mother that her hope for a better life for her children would come to pass.

Without further introduction, I will let my friend Tom Barnett tell his own story.

The first adoption trip to Ethiopia

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