325 – What can the Amazons teach us?

April 1, 2015
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It is a fact – even though it may have escaped the New York Times – the Amazons were real fighting and warring women of the Scythian steppes that extended from the Danube basin all the way to Mongolia. In the last ten years, advances in DNA techniques allowed archeologists to determine the sex of […]

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324 – “The rights of future generations” – the emptiness and the plenitude

March 30, 2015
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While there were certainly many precursors, the “rights of future generations” theme entered the international political mainstream with the Brundtland Commission Report.[1] The report spoke of “sustainable development”[2] a complex and ambitious if ambiguous concept. The discussion, however, soon “hardened:” “Most agree that the central idea of the Brundtland Commission’s definition of ‘sustainable development’ is […]

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323 – Sifting through the midden of IBRD yearly Reports

March 26, 2015
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By sifting through middens, archeologists find information about the daily life of long gone cultures. Linguists have applied the same principle to IBRD yearly reports, and they too have come up with interesting findings.[1] Discarded words reveal much about the person’s[2] or an institution’s mindset as it changes over time. Spurning content, the authors have […]

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322 – The merits of parallel diplomacy

March 23, 2015
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If you want to go into an African village, Always let someone from the village accompany you. Houphouët Boigny – President of the Ivory Coast Since their beginning in the Renaissance,[1] diplomats were an exclusive and tetchy lot. Seeing themselves as personal representatives of their sovereign, they seldom took lightly to free-lancers or the practice […]

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321 – Ephemera (VI)

March 21, 2015
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(Some reflections are not worth a full-throated blog, yet they contain small kernels for reflection – like plum kernels one rolls in one’s mouth while climbing a steep mountain on a hot day. I’ll post ephemera from time to time) May you live in interesting times According to Wikipedia, “May you live in interesting times” […]

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320 –Freedom’s “budget”

March 21, 2015
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In 318, I indicated that in real life, freedom is not a “free gift.” Achieving freedom takes the form of a “budget.” The statement is startling and counterintuitive. I would like to explore the matter further. As an example, I propose to reflect on the overt and covert consequences of providing freedom of movement about […]

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319 – When counterinsurgency comes marching home

March 13, 2015
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…. Take up the White Man’s burden, In patience to abide, To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride; By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain To seek another’s profit, And work another’s gain. Take up the White Man’s burden, The savage wars of peace– Fill full the […]

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