Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week in Review-Best Reads

Human Mind

Clinton and Obama, Eye to Eye?

There were an exceptional number of posts this week that deserve consideration for top billing. So in order to be fair, I will say that they all will share that title.

To get our cognitive juices flowing we first turn to Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions who offers this insightful post. He begins by writing:

I'm fascinated by the workings of the human mind. Most people recognize that men and women use different thought processes, which is why Dr. John Gray was able to write a bestselling book entitled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Thought processes are different for individuals as well as for genders. Mathematicians think differently than social scientists. Musicians think differently mechanics. Those of us who have never suffered from a mental illness can't really understand how some people can hear voices and see hallucinations.

Scientists continue to make discoveries about how the mind works. Yet even with all of the new discoveries, the mind remains pretty much a mystery. Learning more about our minds is important. After all, the thought is father to the act. In a world fighting crime, corruption, sexual perversion, and terrorism, the key to changing unacceptable acts may be understanding the thoughts that inspire them. In this post, I'm going to review a few recent articles I've collected about how we think and act. Let's begin with those impish little thoughts that can lead to bad behavior ["Why the Imp in Your Brain Gets Out," by Benedict Carey, New York Times, 7 July 2009].

Steve continues on, highlighting several articles that examine the latest in what science has learned about the human mind. A very worthwhile read for all interested in learning a bit about what rests between our ears.
Read more: More About Our Amazing Minds

After that bit of "brain food" we turn to Steven Pressfield of It's The Tribes Stupid! for tips on how to defeat the sinister roadblock Resistance, which has strangled more creative thoughts in the human mind, than all the murders in history.

If you’ve read The War of Art, you know that the thematic core of the book is the concept of Resistance. Resistance with a capital R, which the book defines as “an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”

Read more: Writing Wednesdays #12: Self-Talk and Self-Sabotage

Now that we have sharpened the understanding of our minds and steeled ourselves to defeat resistance, we are ready for some thought provoking posts that examine two parallel tracks; America's diplomatic and military future as they relate to the continued security of our nation.

Mark of Zenpundit penned this next piece that has garnered deserved recognition around the blogpsphere. Mark dubbed this a "quick "think" post," but after reading, I think you will find it to be anything but that. It offers real insight and sounds a warning that SOS Clinton, or more importantly, the Congress must act to save the office from becoming irrelevant, since it seems that the POTUS is not fully tuned into correcting this problem as long as his rivals (The Clinton's) reside in that office.

A quick ‘think” post.
It is generally a bad sign for a SECSTATE so early in an administration to have to come out and deny that they have been marginalized by the White House, as Secretary Clinton felt compelld to do the other day. The denial itself serves as confirmation of the fact.

It is tempting to write this off as another example of traditional, politically-motivated, battles between White House staffers, determined to protect the authority of the POTUS over foreign policy and the bureaucracy at State. We have seen this struggle in the past with Al Haig, Cyrus Vance, William Rogers, Cordell Hull, Robert Lansing and other SECSTATEs who sooner or later found themselves sidelined and excluded from key foreign policy decisions by the president. However, this is not just a case of Obama insiders distrusting and attempting to “box in” the Clintons as political rivals, by using other high profile players ( though that has been done to Clinton).
In this post, from Thomas Barnett from his weekly column in the War Room at Esquire. Barnett, voices obvious flustration at the attention span of the Amerian public during these critical times. Something that Ted Turner, founder of CNN has called the "pervert of the day" focus of the news media. Barnett's first sentence says it all.

Now that we know the damn kid was sleeping in his attic, can we return to Topic A? As in Afghanistan (and, lest anyone in the administration forget, Pakistan), for which Vice President Biden has been getting a lot of attention: Arianna Huffington is calling for his head, Newsweek is hailing him as a soothsayer, and most of America is wondering when the hell President Obama's going to make up his mind on "his war."

As I detailed here last week, it's a dangerous path for Obama to tread somewhere between "all-in" (Stanley McChrystal's method of controversy, with more troops, more nation-building, and more counterinsurgency) and "strategic disengagement" (Biden's weapon of choice, with more drones, more nation-leaving, and a refocusing on counterterrorism). On the one hand, I can almost see why the president would side with his veep: By essentially shifting "the good war" from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Obama purportedly saves money, lives, and support from an increasingly frustrated electorate.

Barnett ends his column by noting that if President Obama sides with Biden that he must turn to the very person he has been trying to marginalize to save our bacon.

So if Obama rallies behind Biden's somewhat precious definition of the "great game," he better be ready to dispatch Hillary Clinton pronto to a host of great-power capitals — not those of our NATO allies, but to those of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states (Moscow, Beijing, and the "observers" in New Delhi and Tehran) — to determine the price they'll be willing to pay to make this enduring problem go away for good. By that point, of course, Al Qaeda will already be back in the saddle in Kabul.

Read more:Why Joe Biden's War Plan Spells the Rebirth of Al Qaeda

And finally, from Michael Yon this piece he wrote back in December 2008 and just published this week.
Afghan Lunacy

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