Review: Real-Time Diplomacy – Politics and Power in the Social Media Era

Tags:
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Philip Seib

5.0 out of 5 stars Major Contribution Leaving a Great Deal More to Be Discussed, March 4, 2014

Diplomacy is a third-rate practice at this time, largely because the governments representated by diplomats lack intelligence with integrity and are also not held accountable for making grand mistakes with consequencies measured in trillions over time. The diplomats are messengers, nothing more. Indeed, I question the author’s assumption that diplomacy has ever been carried out with methodical deliberation — rather I believe that great power “diplomacy” has been imperial in nature, and is best represented today by Henry Kissinger and his immortal quotes:

Henry Kissinger: Military men are `dumb, stupid animals to be used’ as pawns for foreign policy.

Henry Kissinger: “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

What is most interesting about this book is its recognition that social media makes possible real-time intelligence (thinking, understanding, decision-support) and that social media now also makes possible real-time counterintelligence — the rapid detection of lies by the mandarins and their media submissives.

Alvin Toffler started this conversation with Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. An entire literature has been created in the past decade centered on collective intelligence, with low-brow titles focusing on wisdom of the crowds and armies of davids.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Mar 4

Worth a Look: Reset – Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future

Categories: 5 Star,Diplomacy
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

The bestselling author of Overthrow offers a new and surprising vision for rebuilding America’s strategic partnerships in the Middle East

What can the United States do to help realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Stephen Kinzer offers a surprising answer in this paradigm-shifting book. Two countries in the region, he argues, are America’s logical partners in the twenty-first century: Turkey and Iran.

Besides proposing this new “power triangle,” Kinzer also recommends that the United States reshape relations with its two traditional Middle East allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. This book provides a penetrating, timely critique of America’s approach to the world’s most volatile region, and offers a startling alternative.

Kinzer is a master storyteller with an eye for grand characters and illuminating historical detail. In this book he introduces us to larger-than-life figures, like a Nebraska schoolteacher who became a martyr to democracy in Iran, a Turkish radical who transformed his country and Islam forever, and a colorful parade of princes, politicians, women of the world, spies, oppressors, liberators, and dreamers.

Kinzer’s provocative new view of the Middle East is the rare book that will richly entertain while moving a vital policy debate beyond the stale alternatives of the last fifty years.

Comments Off
Mar 3

Worth a Look: SINGAPORE Central to Great Convergence

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

The twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Kishore Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world’s population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes.

Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges.

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Political genius is never without controversy, or without mystery. This is what makes it so interesting and so rare. Is Lee Kuan Yew the feral, authoritarian figure that Western critics claim? Or a stoic pioneer in new approaches to developing a nation—uncorrupt, modern, almost scientific?American journalist Tom Plate first interviewed the founder of modern Singapore in 1996 in a continuing back-and-forth with LKY that led to the summer of 2009, when the former prime minister agreed to sit down for two days of unprecedentedly informal but intense conversations that led to this special book. This new edition includes fascinating excerpts from prior interviews, as well as the author’s assessment of the man who goes down in history as the world’s longest-serving prime minister—and as one of the most unforgettable political figures of modern times.

Comments Off
Feb 5

Worth a Look: Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Challenging the daily clamor of U.S. saber rattling, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett argue that America should renounce thirty years of failed strategy and engage with Iran—just as Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by going to Beijing and realigning relations with China.

In Going to Tehran, former analysts in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Leveretts offer a uniquely informed account of Iran as it actually is today, not as many have caricatured it or wished it to be. They show that Iran’s political order is not on the verge of collapse, that most Iranians still support the Islamic Republic, and that Iran’s regional influence makes it critical to progress in the Middle East. Drawing on years of research and access to high-level officials, the Leveretts’ indispensable work makes it clear that America must “go to Tehran” if it is to avert strategic catastrophe.

Comments Off
Feb 3

Review: Manufactured Crisis – The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

Tags:
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Gareth Porter

5.0 out of 5 stars Does for Iran What Truth Dig Did for Iraq, January 29, 2014

I *strongly* recommend this book to every citizen concerned about a government that lies all the time. The NSA debacle of recent time, on top of the CIA debacles (rendition, torture, assassination by drone) on top of the various other White House led debacles are all deeply disturbing.

I have a copy of the book on the way and will provide my usual detailed review as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, here is a snippet from a really superb review by Peter Jenikins at Lobelog:

BEGIN QUOTE:

Porter concludes: “US and Israeli policies have been driven by political and bureaucratic interests, not by a rational, objective assessment of available indicators of the motives and intentions of Iranian leaders”.

Another central theme, one that complements the hidden motive theme, is that intelligence material and intelligence assessments have played a baleful part in this saga.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Jan 29

Review (Guest): A Manufactured Crisis – The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

Tags:
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Gareth Porter

Review By Peter Jenkins @ Lobelog

The subtitle of Gareth Porter’s new book, The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, is well-chosen. Large parts of A Manufactured Crisis are indeed untold till now. They amount to what the author terms an “alternative narrative”.

But don’t be misled by “alternative”. This is not the work of some crank who imagines conspiracies where none exist. One senses, rather, from the author’s meticulous sourcing and the extent of his research that what motivates him is a fierce hunger for truth and aversion to deceit.

Porter has been investigating the Iranian nuclear case for the best part of a decade. The result of his researches is both a fascinating addition to a growing corpus, unlike any previous work on the issue, and a disturbing indictment of US and Israeli policies. 

One central theme is that hidden motives have coloured these policies. On the US side, Porter explains, the end of the Cold War led to a federal bureaucratic interest in exaggerating the WMD and missile threat posed by Iran (and other emerging countries) to justify funding bids. During the presidency of George W. Bush some senior administration members also sought to exploit nuclear fears to “delegitimize” the Iranian government and engineer a pretext for enforced regime change.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Jan 29

Review (Guest): Creating the National Security State: A History of the Law That Transformed America

Tags:
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Douglas Stuart

5.0 out of 5 stars From National Interests to National Security April 24, 2011

ByKenneth J. Dillon

Many observers recognize that the U.S. Government has for decades placed too much emphasis on military might to the detriment of other interests. This book provides a sobering explanation of how such a skewed approach emerged. Stuart is an historian at Dickinson College and also adjunct professor at the U.S. Army War College. He shows how the 150-year tradition of peacetime pursuit of national interests headed by the State Department gave way to the “Pearl Harbor System” of viewing the world through the perspective of potential threats to national security.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Jan 18