Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Night Reads

Thomas Barnett Leads off tonight with What the Hell Is Really Going Down in Honduras?

Tom presents a fair and balanced review of the facts that seem to have alluded much of our own leadership.

Here is a tease of the full article in this week's War Room at

As the Honduran constitutional crisis moves inexorably toward some endgame (this, the original "banana republic," must eventually come in from the cold), let's go easy on tossing around the term "military coup" and reflexively comparing the situation to Iran's ongoing tumult. According to the country's oddly prescient constitution, it was actually ousted President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya who had crossed the forbidden line. The military, in fact, was merely fulfilling its prescribed duty against Latin America's resurgent threat of continuismo — the tendency of elected leaders to stay beyond their expiration dates, Chavez-style.
Steve opens with:
As I noted in my post entitled Innovating the Future, more and more headlines are asking where are all the jobs are that were supposed to be created by Congress' trillion-dollar stimulus package? In earlier posts about how to get the U.S. and global economies back on track, I have promoted the notion that the Obama administration and Congress should pay more attention to fostering conditions that will promote innovation and entrepreneurs (see for example, my post entitled Entrepreneurs and Economic Recovery). New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman is also a believer in the power of innovation ["Invent, Invent, Invent," 27 June 2009]. He reports about a chance meeting he had in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the former chairman of Intel Craig Barrett. He asked Barrett how the U.S. could get itself out of its current economic conundrum and Barrett surprised him by saying that every person who gets a driver's license in the U.S. should have a high school diploma first. His logic was simple: "No diploma — no license. Hey, why would we want to put a kid who can barely add, read or write behind the wheel of a car?" Like Friedman, you might wonder what getting a driver's license has to do with getting the U.S. out of its current recession.
Finally, a post from new blogger, Steve Pressman who hosts It's The Tribes Stupid!
His latest post Horse Sense, or What We Can Learn from a British Cavalry Officer of the 1830s. expands on a 179 year old account of action in Afghanistan.
Here is a tease of Steve's talented pen.
I love this stuff, not just because it’s romantic and swashbuckling (I know, I know, that doesn’t count), but because I believe history has real lessons to teach us. Alexander did the same thing Capt. Trower did—hiring and organizing tribes to fight on his side and not on the enemy’s—as did our Marines in Ramadi and the Sunni tribal belt. It worked.

Can the same trick be pulled off in Afghanistan? Is it possible to duplicate the success of the Anbar Awakening in Iraq? Can tribal self-defense forces like the Afghan Public Protection force, just now being organized by U.S. commanders, serve as a realistic adjunct to NATO forces? Can such units even, on their own on their home turf, achieve the COIN aim of “protecting the people?”
Read and enjoy!

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