Defending the Mekong Delta: Tet and the Legacy of the Brown-water Navy
By John Sherwood, War on the Rocks: “The ability to operate and fight on rivers and shallow coastal areas (known as brown-water or inshore warfare) was critical to Tet and the broader war, but this capability had withered in the U.S. Navy since World War II.”
Understanding Russia's 'Active Measures'
By Gavin Wilde, Small Wars Journal: “A primary factor undermining Washington’s ability to assess and counter this Russian threat is the refusal by partisan political commentators to disaggregate Moscow’s well-documented mischief from the more opaque allegations of collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign. More importantly, however, despite the echoes of Cold War intrigues in Moscow’s disinformation campaigns, the US foreign policy and national security establishment should guard against a historical tendency to render the US the focal point of every Russian action, and temper nascent “Red Scare” impulses with a reminder that some politics truly are local.”
The National Defense Strategy’s quest for lethality
Mackenzie Eaglen | Texas National Security Review
The administration’s National Defense Strategy says that “inter-state strategic competition,” not counterterrorism, is the principal concern of American national security. This means preparing American forces to win a high-intensity military confrontation with China and Russia.
National Security Reform for a New Era: An Agenda for Policymakers
From Strategy Bridge: “The year 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the National Security Act of 1947. To commemorate the landmark legislation that powerfully shaped the American national security enterprise, over 60 prominent scholars, practitioners, and national security experts gathered at the United States Military Academy over the course of two years to consider national security reform in the modern era.”
WHAT FOREIGNERS DON’T GET ABOUT EMMANUEL MACRON
By EPPC Fellow Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
The French president’s brand of pragmatic centrist politics is really just class-interest-based politics. Read More
by Mark Moyar featuring Niall Ferguson via Military History in the News
The publication this month of Niall Ferguson’s new book The Square and the Tower has illuminated both the power of networks and the human tendency to overstate the power of networks. For longer than one might expect, tech enthusiasts, corporate executives, social scientists, and military theorists have proclaimed that networks will revolutionize some, if not all, aspects of human existence, generally for the better. As Ferguson’s book explains in devastating detail, their lofty visions have been repeatedly confounded by reality.
Niall Ferguson: Politics, Power And Networks
featuring Niall Ferguson via Commonwealth Club
From his views of Islam in the West to his assertion that the United States should once again become a colonial power, conservative historian Niall Ferguson has never shied away from challenging established views or offering provocative opinions.
China Leadership Monitor Issue 55
via Hoover Daily Report
A new issue of the China Leadership Monitor is now available online.
New Indian Readership Survey rings death knell for newspapers
The latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS 2017) has scribbled grim writing on the wall for newspapers: For the first time ever, no English-language daily featured among the country's top 10 most-read dailies. It shows an influential readership moving away from traditional news sources, and the dawn of a fascinating, complex, challenging new media order. The new IRS – considered the world’s largest readership survey – only increased the decibels of the death knells tolling for...
China wary of India’s strategic potential
China appears to be coming around to the view that India, despite having a much smaller economy and military, is emerging as a strategic competitor of sorts by aligning itself with Japan and the United States. Ironically, the US has come to the same conclusion about China. Its recent National Security Strategy noted that China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, and are attempting to erode American security and prosperity. In other words,...
WSJ, 29 Dec 2017. Samurai rule was usurped by reformers torn between modernity and tradition; by Michael Auslin
Asian nations have long searched for a stable balance between modernity and tradition. Reform has battled reaction with each adoption of the tools of the West. China under Xi Jinping is using Western ideas, but within Chinese constraints, to help boost China against Western competition. . . .. .. ..
Asia’s Core Conflict Began in 1868 Japan. @MichaelAuslin @HooverInst
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/meiji-restoration-anniversary/ Japan’s modern history: A very British affair – TheTLS
Macedonia having trouble with Greece in using its own name; this has delayed its joining internatoinal organizations, Will the Balkans go toward Russia or toward the West?
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Macedonia’s must resolve a decades-long dispute over its name, implement judicial reform and build good relations with neighboring countries to join NATO, the Western military alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
The country’s efforts to join NATO and the European Union have been blocked by Greece, which says the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over Greece’s own northern region of that name.
Until the row is resolved, Athens has agreed only that the country be referred to internationally as “FYROM” (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), the name under which it was admitted to the United Nations in 1993, though the two states last week agreed to hold talks on the matter.
An intimate portrait of the lives and writings of the Brontë sisters, drawn from the objects they possessed.
In this unique and lovingly detailed biography of a literary family that has enthralled readers for nearly two centuries, Victorian literature scholar Deborah Lutz illuminates the complex and fascinating lives of the Brontës through the things they wore, stitched, wrote on, and inscribed. By unfolding the histories of the meaningful objects in their family home in Haworth, Lutz immerses readers in a nuanced re-creation of the sisters' daily lives while moving us chronologically forward through the major biographical events: the death of their mother and two sisters, the imaginary kingdoms of their childhood writing, their time as governesses, and their determined efforts to make a mark on the literary world.
From the miniature books they made as children to the blackthorn walking sticks they carried on solitary hikes on the moors, each personal possession opens a window onto the sisters' world, their beloved fiction, and the Victorian era. A description of the brass collar worn by Emily’s bull mastiff, Keeper, leads to a series of entertaining anecdotes about the influence of the family’s dogs on their writing and about the relationship of Victorians to their pets in general. The sisters' portable writing desks prove to have played a crucial role in their writing lives: it was Charlotte's snooping in Emily’s desk that led to the sisters' first publication in print, followed later by the publication of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
Charlotte's letters provide insight into her relationships, both innocent and illicit, including her relationship with the older professor to whom she wrote passionately. And the bracelet Charlotte had made of Anne and Emily's intertwined hair bears witness to her profound grief after their deaths.
Lutz captivatingly shows the Brontës anew by bringing us deep inside the physical world in which they lived and from which their writings took inspiration.
(Photo: Lilith, earliest in the Babylonian Talmud [3rd to 5th centuries], is often envisioned as a dangerous demon of the night who is sexually wanton, and who steals babies in the darkness. Here, the painting Lilith  by John Collier; in Southport Atkinson Art Gallery)
Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism by Deborah Lutz.
"A smart, provocative account of the erotic current running just beneath the surface of a stuffy and stifling Victorian London. “At the height of the Victorian era, a daring group of artists and thinkers defied the reigning obsession with propriety, testing the boundaries of sexual decorum in their lives and in their work.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti exhumed his dead wife to pry his only copy of a manuscript of his poems from her coffin. Legendary explorer Richard Burton wrote how-to manuals on sex positions and livened up the drawing room with stories of eroticism in the Middle East. Algernon Charles Swinburne visited flagellation brothels and wrote pornography amid his poetry.
By embracing and exploring the taboo, these iconoclasts produced some of the most captivating art, literature, and ideas of their day. “As thought-provoking as it is electric, Pleasure Bound unearths the desires of the men and women who challenged buttoned-up Victorian mores to promote erotic freedom.
These bohemians formed two loosely overlapping societies―the Cannibal Club and the Aesthetes―to explore their fascinations with sexual taboo, from homosexuality to the eroticization of death. Known as much for their flamboyant personal lives as for their controversial masterpieces, they created a scandal-provoking counterculture that paved the way for such later figures as Gustav Klimt, Virginia Woolf, and Jean Genet.
“In this stunning exposé of the Victorian London we thought we knew, Deborah Lutz takes us beyond the eyebrow-raising practices of these sex rebels, revealing how they uncovered troubles that ran beneath the surface of the larger social fabric: the struggle for women’s emancipation, the dissolution of formal religions, and the pressing need for new forms of sexual expression. 8 pages four-color and 5 black-and-white illustrations.”
Factors Leading to the Recruitment of Violent Extremists
By Jason Baker, Divergent Options: “Governments traditionally focus counterterrorism efforts on intelligence, kinetic capabilities, and enhanced domestic security policies. Unfortunately, a marriage between counterterrorism efforts and the study of socioeconomic equality, may still be far off.”
Gujarat’s Mevani leads a new youth charge against Modi’s BJP
BY VISHAKHA SAXENA
A new generation of youth leaders is hoping to stop the Modi juggernaut in the general elections slated for 2019
India’s jobless growth haunts BJP’s 2019 poll ambitions
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party's manifesto for the Indian general election touted "Development for All." On the campaign trail, BJP leader and prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi promised that the party would create 10 million jobs per year, while the manifesto spoke of generating employment for 250 million over the next 10 years. Those assurances resonated strongly with young people entering the workforce, and that is a huge segment of India's population.
Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century by Christian Caryl. Part 1 of 2.
Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That single year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization and radically alter the international economy, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the twentieth century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the twenty-first.
In Strange Rebels, veteran journalist Christian Caryl shows how the world we live in today—and the problems that plague it—began to take shape in this pivotal year. 1979, he explains, saw a series of counterrevolutions against the progressive consensus that had dominated the postwar era. The year’s epic upheavals embodied a startling conservative challenge to communist and socialist systems around the globe, fundamentally transforming politics and economics worldwide.
In China, 1979 marked the start of sweeping market-oriented reforms that have made the country the economic powerhouse it is today. 1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, confronting communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people’s suppressed Catholic faith. In Iran, meanwhile, an Islamic Revolution transformed the nation into a theocracy almost overnight, overthrowing the Shah’s modernizing monarchy.
Further west, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Britain, returning it to a purer form of free-market capitalism and opening the way for Ronald Reagan to do the same in the US. And in Afghanistan, a Soviet invasion fueled an Islamic holy war with global consequences; the Afghan mujahedin presaged the rise of al-Qaeda and served as a key factor—along with John Paul’s journey to Poland—in the fall of communism.
Weaving the story of each of these counterrevolutions into a brisk, gripping narrative, Strange Rebels is a groundbreaking account of how these far-flung events and disparate actors and movements gave birth to our modern age.
EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ACE VENTURA
PAUL RAHE: REALISM IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SPARTA
CONSCIENCE & TEMPORAL AUTHORITY
POSITIVE LAW vs. CONSCIENCE