Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reads of the Week.

Barak Obama's Administration picks
Burned NATO trucks Pakistan

First Vietnamese-American Congressmen Joseph Cao, Louisiana

Leading off this week is this post from Zenpundit, The Elite as a Tribe about President-elect Obama's appointment.

A taste of Mark's comments.

I’m not unhappy with Obama’s appointments, finding them so far to be well qualified and I’ll offer high praise for Obama’s selection of General Jones and Secretary Gates. The Small Wars/COIN bloggers are jumping for joy and the national security bloggers, along with the conservative political bloggers, should be pleased; the next Defense Secretary or Secretary of State might easily have been Anthony Lake. It’s a more conservative national security group than any time during the Clinton administration. Count your blessings folks.

What strikes me as amusing though is the entirely visceral, euphorically emotive and almost tribal “he’s one of us” support from the elite for the President-elect. Reactions that run against the supposedly cerebral and “reality based” pretensions of empiricism and skepticism for which they make a claim but seldom practice because most of them are highly-trained, vertical thinking, experts.

No sooner had Mark commented on the selection of so many academic elites to roles in government, than he posted this, The Chicago Way is Incompatible with Gravitas.

I think most people familiar with Illinois politics expected that eventually some kind of Chicago landmine was going to go off under President-elect Barack Obama - it’s just that few people expected it might happen before the 20th of January.

www.stratfor.com files another report on the Next Steps in the Indo-Pakistani Crisis.

It begins:

In an interview published this Sunday in The New York Times, we laid out a potential scenario for the current Indo-Pakistani crisis. We began with an Indian strike on Pakistan, precipitating a withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the Afghan border, resulting in intensified Taliban activity along the border and a deterioration in the U.S. position in Afghanistan, all culminating in an emboldened Iran.

The scenario is not unlikely, assuming India chooses to strike.Our argument that India is likely to strike focused, among other points, on the weakness of the current Indian government and how it is likely to fall under pressure from the opposition and the public if it does not act decisively. An unnamed Turkish diplomat involved in trying to mediate the dispute has argued that saving a government is not a good reason to go to war. That is a good argument, except that in this case, not saving the government is unlikely to prevent a war, either.

Related to a post last month, What the ----- People! part of which, was about the Taliban ambushing a supply convoy in the Kyber Pass and stealing humvees destined for NATO forces in Afghanistan. I thought that embarrassment would spur commanders to improve their supply chain security. But I was wrong.

Now, two reports of attacks on the supply chain reflect out far out of sync things have gotten in Pakistan.

Trucks Torched at Pakistan Terminal Used for NATO - Associated Press

And the ink was not even dry on the story above when this report "hits the fan."

Second Attack on NATO Trucks in Peshawar - The Times

Suspected Islamist militants in northern Pakistan set fire to 100 vehicles and other supplies for US and Nato forces in Afghanistan in the early hours of yesterday morning in the second such raid in as many days.

Witnesses and local officials said that several militants attacked a freight terminal on the outskirts of Peshawar, setting fire to several dozen containers and military vehicles.

“The militants came just past midnight, firing in the air, sprinkled petrol on containers and then set them on fire,” said Mohammad Zaman, a guard at the terminal on the Peshawar ring road. “They told us they would not harm us but they asked us not to work for the Americans,” he said.

Some local officials said that about 50 containers were destroyed, while others said the attackers set nearly 100 vehicles alight including Jeeps and 20 supply trucks.

Finally, this story from Louisiana. A state that a few decades ago has a reputation for political corruption and segregationist policies. This story mirrors the recent election of Barak Obama and Governor Bobby Jindal. The United States is a nation of immigrants who become Americans with each wave adding to our strength and innovation.

GOP Finds an Unlikely New Hero in Louisiana (By Paul Kane)

Less than 24 hours after his upset defeat of a longtime Democratic congressman from New Orleans, Anh "Joseph" Cao found the weight of the entire Republican Party resting on his diminutive shoulders.

Cao, 41, ran as a reform-minded conservative against Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), a nine-term incumbent who won reelection in 2006 despite widespread publicity about the FBI finding $90,000 in his freezer during a 2005 raid on his home. Cao, the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, plans to take a victory lap through Washington this week.