314 – What’s all the fuss about the Westphalia Settlement?

March 3, 2015
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In his latest book,[1] Henry Kissinger praises the Western “world order” that originated with the Westphalia settlement: “Since the end of Charlemagne’s empire, and especially since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Europeans have striven for balance (rather than unity) in international affairs, first in their own continent and then globally” says the book’s blurb. […]

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313 – On the sources of the Mississippi

February 23, 2015
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(against anachronism in ideas) The Mississippi is an incontrovertible reality. Or is it? The Mississippi watershed While the central part of the river’s course is easy to define, as we go up-river to its “source” matters become complicated. At every confluence, one needs to decide which is tributary and which is the main river. Such […]

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312 – Against the mindless provocation

January 20, 2015
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In this short film, an ermine (actually, the stoat in winter coat) is playing peek-a-boo from his home in a rotting tree http://bit.ly/151n6wj Now you may just exclaim: How cute! And move on, or wonder about his behavior. I am not an expert, but I suspect that he is engaging in deliberate provocation of his […]

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311 – Counterreformation as counterinsurgency

December 27, 2014
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Human society, I have argued, is driven by enablers (see my 99 and 100). The Counterreformation is a good example of a “complex” enabler for counterinsurgency. It is worth visiting. Faced with the “heretic” ideas of Martin Luther, the Catholic Church scrambled for a response. Two polar positions developed. Proponents of the “soft” or “irenic” […]

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310 – Is Obama the Worst President Since World War II?

December 23, 2014
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Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors. He that can have patience can have what he will. To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals. Benjamin FRANKLIN Poor Richard’s Almanack US NEWS’ headline screams: Americans Voted Obama Worst President since World War II.[1] The text is more precise in its opening paragraph: […]

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309 – The virulence of analogies

December 20, 2014
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What moves human societies? I’ve long expressed doubts as to the broader relevance of rational discourse, or ideas, as an agent of social change.[1] I have pointed to joint experience as a far more powerful instrument in creating collective intentionality and human cooperation.[2] “Enablers” – material or mental tools if you wish or “congealed experience” […]

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308 – Does counterinsurgency work?

December 8, 2014
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Since ISIS has crashed onto the Middle East scene, counterinsurgency (COIN) has received a new lease on life. Pundits have opined on how best to defeat this novel insurgency. Being ignorant of the matter, I have looked into the book by David KILCULLEN,[1] who is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable authors on […]

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