A Strategic Clarion Call: Part I

Looking at my own intellectual journey, I find that creativity usually comes in short bursts that punctuate long periods of reading, reflection, and hard work. About two weeks ago the National Security Blogosphere saw a great burst of creativity by the mind of Zenpundit. In this post (read every word!), Zenpundit identified several issues that the last couple of years of operations in Iraq have brought to the fore:

Read more

The Future Republican

There are three types of Republicans in the world:

1) Northeastern. These are the Rockefeller Republicans. They tend to be internationalists and fiscally conservative. This movement is all but dead. They were compelled to leave the party by the much more socially conservative Southern Republicans. George H.W. Bush was a NE Republican.

2) Southern. These are the social conservatives. They tend to support a strong national defense. Fiscal discipline is only a talking point.  This movement is still alive, but was repudiated both in the congressional elections in 2006, as well as the general elections of 2008. George W. Bush was a Southern Republican.

3) Western. The Western Republican is the Republican of libertarian leanings, generally favoring non-intrusive government in terms of social issues, and also favoring fiscal discipline. They tend to oppose nationalization of anything. They often, but not always, favor a strong national defense. Reagan was a western republican. This is the future of the Republican party, because the Western Republican can capitalize on the whims of the Independent Voter, who is usually fiscally conservative, libertarian socially, and for a strong national defense.

The Northeastern Republican was the type of Republican your grandfather was.  The Southern Republican was just beat up in a brawl yesterday and is on life support.

The Western Republican is the Republican of the future.  When the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika overplay their hand in the next 2-4 years, conservatives and conservate-leaning libertarians will strike, and will reestablish a mandate to govern.

Crossposted at Smitten Eagle.

SE’s Reading Program – Updated

(I wrote this post for my personal blog, but Lexington Green requested that it be crossposted here. Here it is, in full, with update. There is a discussion already going at personal blog, so check it out there, too.)

I have written on the nature of Professionalism. An element to true Professionalism is the maintenance of a course of independent, continual study. Here I will speak to my personal reading program, which is a core part of my Professional military education.

Read more

On Professionalism

Col Mike Wyly, of the Marines, has written a piece in Armed Forces Journal on the nature of Professionalism, using Boyd as the exemplar of the subject. The article is completely correct, and is worthy of reading by all military men.

One of my pet peeves regarding “Professionalism” is the supreme misunderstanding of what the term implies. On the eve of my first deployment in 2004, my detachment Officer-in-Charge, a Major, took the 43-Marine detachment aside and told us his expectations, which he said could be summarized on two words: “Be Professional.” Unstated were what his ideas of what professionalism entailed. To him, Professionalism meant keeping the appearance of a Marine, combined with a touch of CYA: Keep hair short, uniforms serviceable, be tactful, and do what you need to do to keep the detachment out of trouble.

This conception of Professionalism is wrong.

Read more

Anti-Quote of the Day

Thomas PM Barnett:

“Bottom line: mature democracies trust populists more, while authoritarian states like fellow rightists.”

I like Barnett, and many of his ideas.  However, quotes like this that make me think that he belongs in a cloistered think tank deep in the beltway, where his thoughts would probably have less impact than they currently do.

Sustainability of Progressive Politics

What is sustainability? It seems to be a term that has been loaded with additional baggage since the Progressives have reappropriated the term for their own use. It seems to be a word used to describe the longevity of a given system, usually in an ecological context. Yet, as with many ideological terms of the left, it manages to translate itself into virtually every facet of human life. For example, sustainability encompasses what kind of house you live in, the food you eat, the types of vacations you go on, the politicians you elect, your choice to have children (or not), the types of investments you make, and many other aspects. But what is sustainability with regard to politics? (I am not speaking of sustainability policy–I’m speaking of the longevity associated with political constituencies.)

Victor Hanson wrote at his Works and Days blog about the sustainability of San Fransisco–no, not the ecological sustainability, but rather the sustainability of the (strongly-Democratic) human population:

I spent some time speaking in San Francisco recently… There are smartly dressed yuppies, wealthy gays, and chic business people everywhere downtown, along with affluent tourists, all juxtaposed with hordes of street people and a legion of young service workers at Starbucks, restaurants, etc. What is missing are school children, middle class couples with strollers, and any sense the city has a vibrant foundation of working-class, successful families of all races and backgrounds. For all its veneer of liberalism, it seems a static city of winners and losers, victory defined perhaps by getting into a spruced up Victorian versus renting in a bad district, getting paid a lot to manage something, versus very little to serve something. All in all, I got a strange creepy feeling that whatever was going on, it was unsustainable–sort of like an encapsulated Europe within an American city. The city seems to exist on tourism, and people who daily come into the city to provide a service, get paid–and leave….
I remember SF in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a kid visiting with his parents. A much different place altogether of affordable homes, vibrant docks, lots of construction—and children everywhere.

Read more

DPRK Online

You saw it first here. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, the Stalinist and terrorist government which controls the northern half of the Korean Peninsula, is online. There are other web sites maintained by the DPRK here and here. (Note: I have checked the sites for viruses. The sites appear to be clean.)

As can be expected, the web sites are as cryptic as the North Korean government itself. They are half propaganda, denouncing the “imperialist Yankees,” and half groveling attempts at separating businessmen from their capital.

There are photo galleries of the various business and tourist trips sponsored by the Korean Friendship Association, the organization that has cognizance of the website.

There is a tourism section on the website too. The tourist trips to North Korea, “have become popular amongst our KFA members as well as other people, who are welcome to join, to experience North Korea outside the tourist trail and have interaction with North Korean citizens first hand.”

(I didn’t know there was a tourist trail north of the DMZ. Will wonders never cease?!)

Crossposted at Smitten Eagle.

Thomas PM Barnett, Rule-Sets, and Democratic Sovereignty

In a recent post on the Thomas PM Barnett Weblog, Tom laments the Irish people voting against the Lisbon Treaty:

It is weird how the EU can let one country decide to run a plebiscite and then kill a treaty.  Better is majority like we did with the Constitution.

(I might add that the Constitution wasn’t adopted by the United States by way of a majority; it required consensus of all thirteen states under the Articles of Confederation.  Tom is correct, however, in that Treaty ratification today requires the consent of the Senate, which is not unanimity.  But I digress…)

Tom’s view seems to fall in line with his views on forms of governance around the world:  In the first of his books he discusses the concept of the Rule Set:

A collection of rules (both formal and informal) that delineates how some activity normally unfolds.

Read more

Abu Muqawama Retires

Abu Muqawama is an excellent blog that is on my daily blog reading list.  It focuses on counterinsurgency issues, as well as wider issues in military affairs.  I tend to favor it because of the humility of the authors.  Often they comment on issues, and are authoritative, yet allow for the fact that ladies and gentlemen may have legitimate disagreements.

Unfortunately, The Abu Muqawama has revealed his identity as Andrew Exum and has stated that he will no longer be blogging regularly.  Instead his co-bloggers, Erin “Charlie” Simpson, Dr. iRack, and Londonstani, among others, will continue where Abu Muqawama leaves off.

Andrew Exum will be missed, but the blog will continue.  Good luck to Andrew in is intellectual endeavors.

I nonetheless look forward to the new Abu Muqawama blog.

Zen comments as well.

The Warrior-Scholar

@ SmallWarsJournal Blog.

To service the warrior scholar and the future warrior society needs to provide an educational framework of humanities and liberal arts that provide the essence of classical philosophy. Less, we create Ludites a good understanding of engineering and technology is of special importance. The officer cadre must have at least a passing understanding and awareness of the classical literature of conflict. The enlisted men should have a vocational understanding of the world prior to today and how it shaped whatever they are looking at.

I certainly agree.


The Greatest General

There has been quite a discussion on the nature of scholarship and generalship here, here, here, and here. Much of the discussion related to the utility of having a corpus of military history knowledge, and on the utility of having our military professionals and foreign policy wonks reading that corpus.

It might be instructive to see who we think is worthy of making our collective list. List in hand, we might be able to deduce a few defining qualities that make for superior generalship, and whether the victor in battle is also the scholar.

Read more