Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Quartet of Reads For Wednesday

Lead off read:

Galrahn the master of Information Dissemination has this thought provoking post up over at United States Naval Institute Blog, where he begins by writing.

In the provocative spirit of boyish charms and youthful inexperience, allow me to suggest an idea that is sure to boil your blood and sizzle your sailor soul. The Iowa class battleship is NOT the greatest battleship in American naval history.

Heresy you say? To many Americans, naval history began the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Most Americans know little about Lord Nelson and to many worldly American travelers, Trafalgar is a square in London where the protesters demonstrate. Stephen Decatur has become a footnote in American history, even though forty-six communities in the United States have been named after him. History has a way of shaping perceptions, and the emphasis of WWII history in the American education system explains why the term battleship calls forth the image posted on the right in our minds.

You have to read the whole article to realize his cool logic. Then take a few moments to check out the great naval strategists he channels, Julian Corbett, Alfred Thayer Mahan and 17th century Secretary to the British Admiralty, Samuel Pepys to support his argument.

Next up is Tom Ricks Foreign Policy Blog and a post Know your world, where he offers a great link to understanding our world.

This flat-out fascinating lecture (with great graphics) on global demography may seem only tangentially related to national security. But remember that the people are one of the three elements in the secondary Clausewitizian trinity, the other two being the military and the state. And spending a few minutes with Hans Rosling's lecture will almost certainly change the way you look at trends in the peopling of the globe. Who knew that Vietnam and the United States now have about the same family sizes and life expectancies?

And lastly, this from Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions who has these two posts, one brimming with optimism, Learning from Nature and another troubling in it's message. Schoolgirls in Afghanistan

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