Review: Still Ours to Lead – America, Rising Powers, and the Tension Between Rivalry and Restraint

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Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Bruce Jones

4.0 out of 5 stars One Third Provocative, One Third Delusional, One Third Ignorant, March 22, 2014

I was given this book as a gift, by someone who knew I can recite from memory the ten high level threats to humanity (as identified and prioritized by the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, and reported out in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is also available free online as a PDF.

My first impressions were negative. On a second pass I found more to appreciate, but the most compelling impression I was left with is that Obama is Bush and the Brookings Institution has lost its moral and intellectual compass.

One Third Provocative

To the extent that good is to be found in the two-terms of the ObamaBiden Administration, this book serves as a fine guide. I wondered more than once which foreign policy position the author was applying for appointment to. Sadly, what the author offers in the way of positive must be construed by any realist grounded in international reality as a second application of lipstick on the pig, the first being when the neo-conswervatives and Wall Street successfully trotted Obama out as the savior of the two-party tyranny. [I credit the term to Theresa Amato’s Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny — it is not possible to be a serious observer of American idiocy without first understanding that there is no real difference between the extremists of the right and the extremists of the left — they are both toxic.

One Third Delusional

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Mar 22

Review: Rebuild the Dream

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Amazon Page

Van Jones

4.0 out of 5 stars Oblivious to the Insanity of the Two-Party Tyranny, But Worth Digesting, July 1, 2012

This is one of two books I read on the plane to DC from Seattle, the other being Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy.

Part I for me is largely a waste of time. The author is — in my view of course — delusional on Obama’s success and at face value completely unwitting or unphased by the depth and breadth of the progressive betrayal of Obama aka Bush III. The author is also high on Al Gore — along with 9/11 and the root corruption of Congress that made our economic collapse inevitable this is one of my litmus tests. Al Gore took the bribe, rolled over and played dead despite the three months notice by Greg Palast of The Observer (later published in book form as The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. On the Republican side, I hold Colin Powell and George Tenet accountable for betraying the public trust, allowing Dick Cheney to take America to war on the basis of 925 now documented (Truth.dig) lies. There are no winners — no paragons of virtue — in either party, and I specifically include Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich has false flags, never really being willing to leave their warm embrace of their chosen tyranny.

Part II is slightly interesting is you do not read a great deal, a rehash of heart space, head space, the American story, and swarm theory. The rest of us call it collective intelligence, cognitive surplus, human scale, etcetera. Books to read here, vastly more detailed that the author’s light once over, include Tom Atlee’s The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all, Jim Rough’s Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential and so many others that I have reviewed here at Amazon–and the many more I have not.

Part III begins to return value, and I certainly agree with the author’s early articulation that “America is still the best idea in the world,” but I find him hypocritical or oblivious in the extreme to completely ignore all of the broken promises, the role of money, the loss of integrity across every pillar of society.

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Jul 1

Penguin: Truth Tellers versus Triumph of the Lie

Who, Me?

Found this while browing, in comments to Robert Ringer’s Triumph of the Lie, itself worth reading.

Doug Casey  .. Douglas “Doug” Casey is an American-born free market economist, best-selling financial author, and international investor and entrepreneur.

Gerald Celente  .. Gerald Celente is an American trend forecaster, publisher of the Trends Journal, business consultant and author who makes predictions about the global financial markets and other events of historical importance.

Bob Chapman  ..  Bob Chapman publishes International Forecaster, and brings to bear a lifetime of trading experience in gold and silver.

Bill Fleckenstein  .. William A. Fleckenstein is president of Fleckenstein Capital, a money management firm based in Seattle. He writes a daily Market Rap column for his Web site, Fleckensteincapital.com, as well as the popular column Contrarian Chronicles for MSN Money.

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Oct 1

Review: Power & Responsibility–Building International Order in an Era of Transnational Threat

Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Bubba Book

January 6, 2010

Bruce Jones, Carlos Pascual, Stephen John Stedman

EDIT of 7 Jan 09.  I got halfway through another book last night and now understand the Princeton-based idea that the US has enough power to demand changes and that earlier “balance of power” constraints might not apply.  On the one hand, this is an idea worth pursuing, but if you know nothing of strategy, intelligence (decision-support) and how to integrate Whole of Government and Multinational Engagement campaigns against the ten threats by harmonizing the twelve policies and engaging the eight demographic leaders, then this is just academic blabber.  On the other hand, this is 100% on the money–if the USA were a Smart Nation with an honest government, now is the time to lead–but it’s not going to come out of the ivory tower or politicals in waiting for their next job, it will come from the bottom (Epoch B), the poor, and the eight demographic powers (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards such as South Africa, Thailan, and Turkey, with the Nordics and BENELUX always lurking positively on the fringes.

Original review:

I tried hard to find enough in this book to warrant five stars, but between the pedestrian threats, buying in blindly to the climate change fraud, assertions such as “There is no prospect for international stability and prosperity in the next twenty years that does not rest on U.S. power and leadership,” and the general obliviousness of the authors to multiple literatures highly relevant to their ostensible objective of answering the question “how do we organize our globalized world,” this has to stay a four. It has some worthwhile bits that I itemize below, but on balance this is an annoying book, part cursory overview, part grand-standing proposals for new organizations, and part job application–at least one of these authors wants to be the first High Commissioner for Counter-Terrorism.

Although the authors are familiar with A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which was published in 2004, this book does not resonate with the ten priorities set forth there, in this order:

01 Poverty
02 Infectious Disease
03 Environmental Degradation
04 Inter-State Conflict
05 Civil War
06 Genocide
07 Other Atrocities
08 Proliferation
09 Terrorism
10 Transnational Crime

Had the author’s actually sought to tailor their suggestions to the above elegant threat architecture, this could have been a much more rewarding book. As it is, it strikes me as a book written around a few ideas:

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Jan 6

Journal: The Demise of Strategy in the US Government

Categories: Strategy
Capstone Summary

Capstone Summary

Quite fortuitously, the Strategic Studies Institute has placed in the public domain a superb monograph by Justic Kelly and Mike Brennan on ALIEN: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy (september 2009).

It is a very good read, along with our summary of the failed 2008 Whole of Government conference that SSI sponsored, which followed the failed 1998 Strategy Revision conference–failed for not being heard.

We were all right then, we are still right now, but unless General James Jones, USMC gets himself a deputy that is grounded in strategy & integrity, this Administration is toast, in part because there is NO DIFFERENCE among the apparatchiks that trade places within the two-party system.  They ae ALL out of touch with strategy, and hence reality.

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Oct 2

Journal: Integrity, Afghanistan, & The White House

SMALL WARS JOURNAL

Robert Haddock

Robert Haddock

This Week at War: America’s Last Counterinsurgent?

McChrystal report unwittingly slays counterinsurgency doctrine

September 25, 2009

Robert Haddock

This summer the U.S. government has faced a deteriorating crisis in Afghanistan. Such crises tend to force policymakers to face up to the facile assumptions they have previously made. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s report to his civilian masters on the faltering counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan has caused President Barack Obama and his advisers to face up to their basic assumptions about U.S. objectives and strategies for perhaps the first time. Obama and his team seem very likely to conclude from this long overdue examination of first principles that it will be impractical for the U.S. to successfully implement a counterinsurgency campaign plan in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s assessment has unwittingly tossed the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency field manual into the shredder. McChrystal’s report is brutally honest about the troubles in Afghanistan.

Click on title above for complete article, below for Phi Beta Iota comment and links to three “fix” pieces.

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Sep 26

Journal: Afghanistan Bay of Pigs Reprise

Wall Stree Journal Full Story Online

Wall Stree Journal Full Story Online

What Next In Afghanistan? The Five People Obama Is Asking

Click on photo for full story.  Grades and comments are those of Phi Beta Iota.

Vice President Joe Biden. C+. Scale back, Drones and Special Forces on high-value targets.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. F.  Delusional on Taliban as lovers of Al Qaeda, listening to slick Australian on spending our way into hearts and minds.

National Security Adviser James Jones. D. Good man that does not know what he does not know, drops from a C to a D because his job is outreach and ensuring the President hears from a diversity of views, that is not happening.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.  C+. A strategic savant trapped between a rock and a hard-place, his integrity fights his loyalty every day.  A for the rest of the world, D for not calling AF for what it is: a blunder of epic proportions.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  B-. Found his integrity in pushing the troop demand into the public eye after first being a loyalist.  Learned from Viet-Nam that Ho was a nationalist after all, Taliban is more of the same.  A lame duck while Obama decides between Chuck Hagel and John Hamre.

Administration Over-All:  D. Empire as Usual, Bureaucracy as Usual, Sacrificing our Troops to Buy Time, Not Listening to Serious Experts, Not Able to Think a Strategic Thought, Not Able to Plan, Program, and Execute a Whole of Government Anything.

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Sep 25

Journal: Fighting against ourselves in Afghanistan

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Full Story Online

Full Story Online

The U.S. trains forces in Afghanistan that then go to work for the Taliban

Ann Jones

Key Points:

1.  Washington and U.S. military out of touch with ground truth and historical-cultural reality in Afghanistan.

2.  We are training individuals in US techniques who desert and join the Taliban–we are literally training the Taliban to beat us.

3.  Many individuals are re-enrolling under multiple names in order to get the training and the good food, while many others take the training and the food and never come back after their first period of leave (vacation after training).

4.  Pashtuns are not joining police and so the Americans are sending non-Pashtuns back into Pashtun territory to act as police–this is so stupid as to be insanely criminal and irresponsible.

Phi Beta Iota: This article was linked to in an earlier post on connecting the dots, but it reads better in Salon and we recommend a careful review–this is journalism at its very best, informing the public about FACTS that the Administration desires to ignore.

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Sep 24

Journal: Afghanistan–Connecting the Dots

2001: What to do about Afghanistan?  Prospects for Stability

2008: Memo Leak Says Mission In Afghanistan Doomed

Meet the Afghan Army: Is it a figment of Washington’s imagination? by Ann Jones

Afghan agony: More troops won’t help by Ralph Peters in the NY Post

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan By George F. Will Tuesday, September 1, 2009


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Sep 22

Reference: Scientific Journal Publishes Conclusive Evidence of Super-Thermite Across Multiple Samples of World Trade Center Dust

Concluding sentence:

Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted themite material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.

Bentham Open Access 25 Pages with Full Photographic and Other Graphical and Electromagnetic Evidence

Bentham Open Access 25 Pages with Full Photographic and Other Graphical and Electromagnetic Evidence

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Sep 9