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Unsettling precedents for today’s world
November 26, 2019 | | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

** Destined for War, Harvard’s Graham Allison
**  The Rise and the Fall of the Great Powers, by Paul Kennedy

Martin Wolf focuses on the three eras of conflict of the past 120 years. 
(1) the cold war (1948-1989) between a liberal democratic west, led by the US, and the communist Soviet Union, a transformed version of the pre-first world war Russian empire. This was a great power conflict between the chief victors of the second world war.....The cold war ended in peaceful triumph. 

(2) the interwar years. This was an interregnum in which the attempt to restore the pre-first world war order failed, the US withdrew from Europe and a huge financial and economic crisis, emanating originally from the US, ravaged the world economy. It was a time of civil strife, populism, nationalism, communism, fascism and national socialism. The 1930s are an abiding lesson in the possibility of democratic collapse once elites fail. They are also a lesson of what happens when great countries fall into the hands of power-hungry lunatics.....the interwar period ended in a catastrophic war.

(3) the decisive period 1870-1914 saw a rebalancing of economic power. In 1880, the UK generated 23 per cent of global manufacturing output. By 1913, this had fallen to 14 per cent. Over the same period, Germany’s share rose from 9 per cent to 15 per cent. This shift in the European balance led to a catastrophic Thucydidean war between the UK, an anxious status quo power, especially once the Germans started building a modern fleet, and Germany, a resentful rising one. Meanwhile, US industrial output went from 15 to 32 per cent of the world’s, while China fell into irrelevance. Thereupon, US action (in the 20th century’s big conflicts) and inaction (in the interwar years) determined the outcomes.....The pre-1914 period ended in a catastrophic war.

Today’s era is a mixture of all three of these. It is marked by a conflict of political systems and ideology between two superpowers, as in the cold war, by a post-financial crisis decline of confidence in democratic politics and market economics as well as by the rise of populism, nationalism and authoritarianism, as in the 1930s, and, most significantly, by a dramatic shift in relative economic power, with the rise of China, as with the US before 1914. For the first time since then, the US faces a power with an economic potential exceeding its own.....what lessons are to be learned from the eras above?
(A) One lesson is that one is that quality of leadership matters!!!!
Xi Jinping’s capacities and intentions are clear enough: he is devoted to party dominance over a resurgent China. But the political system of the western world and especially the US and UK, the two powers that dragged the world through the 1930s, is failing. US President Donald Trump’s erratic leadership recalls that of Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm. Without better leadership, the west and so the wider world are in deep trouble.

(B) Another lesson is the overriding importance of avoiding war.
(C) the most important conclusion is that avoiding yet another catastrophe is insufficient.......Our fates are too deeply intertwined for that. A positive-sum vision of relations between the west, China and the rest has to become dominant if we are to manage the economic, security and environmental challenges we face.
'30s  books  China  China_rising  Cold_War  Donald_Trump  geopolitics  Graham_Allison  history  Martin_Wolf  rising_powers  superpowers  thought-provoking  U.S.  U.S.-China_relations  WWII  Xi_Jinping 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
How China’s formidable cyber capabilities sparked a tech cold war
July 22, 2019 | | Financial Times | Geoff Dyer.

Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping, by Roger Faligot, translated by Natasha Lehrer, Hurst, RRP£30, 568 pages.... the mercantilist mindset of the US administration and partly in the insecurities of a section of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, prompting the search for new demons to slay. But it is also an inevitable reaction to the aggressive intelligence and surveillance capabilities that China has installed.
Roger Faligot’s history of spying in the Chinese Communist party highlights the turbocharged growth in the nation’s intelligence services......Spying has been baked into the fabric of the Chinese Communist party since its earliest days......Faligot’s subject is the Chinese Communist party and its efforts to develop what he describes as the largest intelligence service in the world. He places particular emphasis on the state security ministry, known as the Guoanbu, the biggest of the non-military spying agencies......The central figure was Zhou Enlai, China’s premier from 1949 to 1976. Zhou’s early career is known more for the diplomatic skills he demonstrated during the second world war but he also developed a taste for clandestine activities as a young man in his twenties in Paris.
......Returning to China in 1928 after a spell at the GRU spy school in the Lenin Hills outside Moscow, Zhou established a series of intelligence networks which, Faligot writes, have a “direct link” with “today’s service”......Two themes, in particular, come through. First, right from the outset, China’s spy agencies latched on to the internet — both as a powerful weapon and as a tool for greater social control....As well as overseas intrusion, the intelligence agencies have been “given a mission to organise a vast system of control of the Chinese population”. Many of the new techniques were first developed in Xinjiang and Tibet, including the compulsory registration of internet users, which has been used to root out cyber-dissidents. ....The second theme is the way that these capabilities have now been harnessed by one all-powerful leader............Xi has conducted a sweeping anti-corruption drive whose biggest scalp was Zhou Yongkang, who in 2015 became the first ever former member of the politburo standing committee to be convicted of serious crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Arresting Zhou allowed Xi to take out a political rival. But it also allowed him to orchestrate a putsch of the security services, which Zhou had been in charge of in the previous administration. During his period as China’s effective spy chief, Zhou had set up what Faligot calls a “parallel diplomacy service” and had also been snooping on all the other senior Chinese leaders. The purge of “the old Zhou Yongkang system,” Faligot concludes, allowed Xi “to retake control of the CCP, the PLA and the secret services.”
books  book_reviews  China  Chinese_Communist_Party  Cold_War  cyberattacks  cyber_warfare  GRU  Guoanbu  new_tech_Cold_War  security_&_intelligence  Tibet  turbocharge  U.S.-China_relations  Xi_Jinping 
july 2019 by jerryking
Anthony Price, British author of thrillers with deep links to history, dies at 90 - The Washington Post
By Matt Schudel June 15

Add to my reading list saved on the Toronto Public Library (TPL)'s website.

his favourite Le Carré novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, was pipped to the 1974 Gold Dagger award by his own Other Paths to Glory.

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For two decades Price juggled careers as a newspaper editor, book reviewer and author, with his wife Ann acting as his unofficial business manager. The success of his first novel resulted in rapid election in 1971 to the Detection Club, where he met and befriended many of the authors he admired, including Eric Ambler, and gained international recognition with the Martin Beck award from the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy in 1978.

All his novels reflected his deep interest in military history, and sub-plots and background settings could contain elements of Roman legions on Hadrian’s Wall, the Camelot of King Arthur, Napoleonic warships and the battlegrounds of the American civil war and the first world war. In his research for Other Paths to Glory he visited western front battle sites well before there was an established visitor trail there, and taped interviews with survivors in the Oxford area.

The second world war got the Price treatment in two thrillers: The Hour of the Donkey (1980, Dunkirk) and Here Be Monsters (1985, D-day).

Price also used military history in his cold war spy thrillers as, in effect, long diversions, – almost “shaggy dog stories” – providing red herrings for the characters, and for readers. The actual espionage in his plots, which Price always insisted were straightforward and simple, would be resolved in last-minute flurries of action and recrimination. It was a technique which, as one reviewer pointed out, put him “in the upper IQ spy story bracket”. With such praise, and the constant use of the adjectives “ingenious” and “intelligent” by the critics, Price’s books were never likely to appeal to a mass readership, which preferred more blood with their thunder.
books  Cold_War  espionage  fiction  journalists  military_history  obituaries 
june 2019 by jerryking
Harold Brown, Defense Secretary in Carter Administration, Dies at 91
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Robert D. McFadden.

Harold Brown, a brilliant scientist who helped develop America’s nuclear arsenal and negotiate its first strategic arms control treaty, and who was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of defense in an era of rising Soviet challenges, died on Friday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 91.....As defense secretary from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Brown presided over the most formidable power in history: legions of intercontinental ballistic missiles and fleets of world-ranging bombers and nuclear submarines, with enough warheads to wipe out Soviet society many times over......In retrospect, experts say, the Carter administration and Mr. Brown maintained the strategic balance, countering Soviet aircraft and ballistic innovations by improving land-based ICBMs, by upgrading B-52 strategic bombers with low-flying cruise missiles and by deploying far more submarine-launched missiles tipped with MIRVs, or multiple warheads that split into independent trajectories to hit many targets......By the time he joined the Carter administration, Mr. Brown had played important roles in the defense establishment for two decades — in nuclear weapons research, in development of Polaris missiles, in directing the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar weapons research program, and in helping to plot strategy for the Vietnam War as secretary of the Air Force.....He had been a protégé of Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, and his successor as head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. He had been president of the California Institute of Technology; had worked for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon; and had been a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). As the first scientist to become defense secretary, Mr. Brown knew the technological complexities of modern warfare. He began the development of “stealth” aircraft, with low profiles on radar. He accelerated the Trident submarine program and the conversion of older Poseidon subs to carry MIRVs. And, with an eye on cost-effectiveness, he and President Carter halted the B-1 bomber as a successor to the B-52. Mr. Brown laid the groundwork for talks that produced the Camp David accords, mediated by Mr. Carter and signed in 1978 by President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel. ......In 1980, Mr. Brown helped plan a mission to rescue American hostages held by Iranians who seized the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.......Harold Brown was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1927, the only son of Abraham Brown, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cohen Brown. From childhood he was considered a genius. At 15, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science with a 99.52 average. At Columbia University, he studied physics and earned three degrees — a bachelor’s in only two years, graduating in 1945 with highest honors; a master’s in 1946; and a doctorate in 1949, when he was 21.....From 1961 to 1965, he was director of defense research and engineering, the Pentagon’s third-ranking civilian, responsible for weapons development, and one of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara’s “whiz kids.” He was the Air Force secretary from 1965 to 1969, and over the next eight years he was president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

After leaving the Pentagon in 1981, Mr. Brown taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University for several years, and from 1984 to 1992 he was chairman of the school’s foreign policy institute.

Since 1990, he had been a partner at Warburg Pincus, the New York investment firm.
'60s  '70s  Caltech  Colleges_&_Universities  Jimmy_Carter  leadership  obituaries  Pentagon  physicists  SAIS  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  the_best_and_brightest  Vietnam_War  whiz_kids  Cold_War  public_servants 
january 2019 by jerryking
The Six Laws of Technology Everyone Should Know WSJ
Nov. 26, 2017 | WSJ |By Christopher Mims.

1. ‘Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral’ Melvin Kranzberg in the 1960s. He became a technology historian. Prof. Kranzberg’s first law is also his most important. He realized that the impact of a technology depends on its geographic and cultural context, which means it is often good and bad—at the same time. (E.g. DDT, a pesticide and probable carcinogen nonetheless saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in India as a cheap and effective malaria prevention. Or, Facebook groups, serve as a lifeline for parents of children with rare diseases while also radicalizing political extremists. Tech companies' enormous power means they have an obligation to try to anticipate the potential impact of anything they produce.....however, the dirty little secret of highly accomplished people is what we’ve had to neglect to achieve that,” (JK: tradeoffs) “To become spectacular at any discipline in technology means you’re not well-equipped to address these questions.”

2. ‘Invention is the mother of necessity.’ Yes, that’s backward from the way you remember it. It means “every technical innovation seems to require additional technical advances in order to make it fully effective,” In our modern world, the invention of the smartphone has led to the necessity for countless other technologies, from phone cases to 5G wireless. Apple’s cure for staring at your phone too much? A smartwatch to glance at 100 times a day.

3. ‘Technology comes in packages, big and small. To understand any part of a technological package requires looking at its interaction with and dependency on the rest of it—including the human beings essential to how it functions. While innovation destroys jobs, it also creates countless new ones.

4. ‘Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.’ “People think technology as an abstraction has some sort of intrinsic power, and it doesn’t,” “It has to be motivated by political power or cultural power or something else.”

Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president, software engineering, spoke about differential privacy, which Apple says is a way to collect user data while protecting the individual’s anonymity.
More broadly, lawmakers are taking an interest in everything from privacy and data transparency to national security and antitrust issues in tech—more because of a shift in our culture than in the technology itself.

5. ‘All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.’ The Cold War led to the buildup of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them anywhere on Earth. That led to the development of a war-proof communication system: the internet..... But does that mean we owe the modern world to the existential contest between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R.? Or was that conflict itself driven by previous technological developments that allowed Hitler to threaten both nations?

6. ‘Technology is a very human activity.’ “Technology is capable of doing great things,” .....how we use technology is up to us. The trick is, because technology generally reaches mass adoption via corporations, those businesses must think of the consequences of their actions as well as how they profit from them. When corporations don’t, regulators, journalists and the public sometimes do it for them.

As Prof. Kranzberg presciently noted at the dawn of the internet age, “Many of our technology-related problems arise because of the unforeseen consequences when apparently benign technologies are employed on a massive scale.”
anonymity  anticipating  Christopher_Mims  Cold_War  contextual  cultural_power  differential_privacy  high-achieving  necessity  nuclear  overachievers  political_power  privacy  problems  scaling  technology  tradeoffs  unforeseen  unintended_consequences 
november 2017 by jerryking
Le Carré and other cold war comforts
SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 Janan Ganesh 39 comments
In John le Carré
John_le_Carré  Janan_Ganesh  Cold_War 
november 2017 by jerryking
Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War - The New Yorker
ANNALS OF DIPLOMACY
MARCH 6, 2017 ISSUE
TRUMP, PUTIN, AND THE NEW COLD WAR
What lay behind Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—and what lies ahead?
By Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa
Vladimir_Putin  Cold_War  Donald_Trump  cyber_warfare  KGB 
march 2017 by jerryking
Dean Acheson Was a First-Rate Statesman
Feb. 17, 2017 | - WSJ| Jeffrey Salmon.

"The record shows that he had the rare ability to combine a grasp of the broad historical circumstances in which the U.S. found itself in the postwar period with a practical understanding of how to construct and implement long-term policy—that is to say, he was a statesman. Every grand strategy of the Cold War period—containment, NATO, the postwar economic order, the Marshall Plan and more—bore his mark."
letters_to_the_editor  Peggy_Noonan  Dean_Acheson  Henry_Kissinger  statesmen  Cold_War  containment  NATO  Marshall_Plan  post-WWII  APNSA 
february 2017 by jerryking
What Comes After Acheson’s Creation? - WSJ
By PEGGY NOONAN
Feb. 9, 2017

The U.S. military needs to know what the U.S. government seeks from it. The White House need to communicate an overarching plan because if there’s no higher plan they, in turn, can’t make plans to meet the plan.....like tornado victims, those interested in foreign policy have been [shellshocked]—staring in shock at the wreckage of the post-War II international system.

But something has to be rebuilt. Everyone now has to be an architect, or a cement-pourer, or a master craftsman carpenter.

It’s been instructive the past week to reread a small classic of statecraft, “Present at the Creation” by Dean Acheson, published in 1969. As undersecretary and then secretary of state he was involved in the creation of the postwar order.

What is inspiring about Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is that he’s like a lot of those we have developing foreign policy right now.

Acheson, though he did not present it this way, provides useful lessons for future diplomats in future crises.

• Everyone’s in the dark looking for the switch.
• Don’t mess things up at the beginning.
• Be able to see your work soberly. Keep notes so history will know what happened.
• Cheer up. Good things can come of bad times, great things from fiercely imperfect individuals.
• Even though you’ll wind up disappointed. All diplomats in the end feel frustrated over missed opportunities and achievements that slipped away. “Alas, that is life. We cannot live our dreams.”

Still to be answered: What is America’s strategy now—our overarching vision, our big theme and intent? What are the priorities? How, now, to navigate the world?

That soldier needs an answer to his question: What do you need from us? What’s the plan?
questions  U.S.foreign_policy  post-WWII  diplomacy  Dean_Acheson  Marshall_Plan  Peggy_Noonan  priorities  change  statecraft  books  Cold_War  international_system  rebuilding  dislocations  The_Establishment  crisis  crisis_management  Communicating_&_Connecting  grand_strategy  statesmen  imperfections  U.S._military  note_taking  missed_opportunities 
february 2017 by jerryking
For Putin, Disinformation Is Power - The New York Times
AUG. 5, 2016 | The New York Times | By ARKADY OSTROVSKY.

Vladimir V. Putin told Larry King on CNN that his previous job as a K.G.B. officer had been like that of a journalist. “They have the same purpose of gathering information, synthesizing it and presenting it for the consumption of decision makers,”...During the Cold War, the Kremlin interfered in American politics for decades. The K.G.B.’s so-called active measures — subversion, media manipulations, forgery and the financing of some “peace” organizations — lay at the heart of Soviet intelligence.
disinformation  Vladimir_Putin  history  anti-Americanism  subversion  Donald_Trump  security_&_intelligence  Kremlin  WikiLeaks  propaganda  cyber_warfare  Cold_War  triumphalism  narratives  Dmitri_Medvedev  KGB  information_warfare  destabilization  deception 
august 2016 by jerryking
G-zero: the new world order
October 10-11, 2015| FT | Gillian Tett


A few weeks ago, as grim news tumbled out of Syria, I travelled to a pleasant American holiday resort to participate in a conference of (mostly western) pol...
Gillian_Tett  geopolitics  Ian_Bremmer  G-Zero  foreign_policy  Cold_War 
november 2015 by jerryking
The test of true political leadership is to risk change - The Globe and Mail
BRIAN MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 28 2015

The most essential ingredient for any “Big Idea,” however, is leadership.

Leadership that not only anticipates the need for change but is determined to implement change. Not in pursuit of popularity but to serve the national interest.

The test of true leadership hinges on judgments between risk and reward.

Change of any kind requires risk, political risk. It can and will generate unpopularity from those who oppose change. The choice for Canada or the United Kingdom in a fast-changing global environment is either to adapt quickly and take advantage of the changes happening or watch from the sidelines....As Reinhold Niebuhr reminded us: “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing fine or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith.”(jk: the importance of having a long-term vision & exhibiting faith in pursuing it).

It is in this perspective that great and controversial questions of public policy must be considered.

History tends to focus on the builders, the deciders, the leaders – because they are the men and women whose contributions have shaped the destiny of their nations, here and around the world.

From the bloodied sands of Afghanistan to the snows and waters of the High Arctic, the Canada of 50 years from now will be defined by the leadership we are given today.
Brian_Mulroney  speeches  Oxford  leadership  politicians  Cold_War  9/11  NAFTA  '80s  history  leaders  risks  transformational  courage  political_risk  fast-changing  free-trade  public_policy 
may 2015 by jerryking
Cuban Doctors at the Forefront of Ebola Battle in Africa - WSJ
By DREW HINSHAW in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and BETSY MCKAY in Atlanta CONNECT
Updated Oct. 9, 2014
Ebola  Cuba  Sierra_Leone  Liberia  medical  Cold_War 
october 2014 by jerryking
James Schlesinger: A controversial figure of the Cold War - The Globe and Mail
Mar. 27 2014 | The New York Times News Service | by ROBERT D. McFADDEN.

* “America at Century’s End.”.....a 1989 book by James R. Schlesinger.

James R. Schlesinger, a tough Cold War strategist who served as secretary of defense under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford and became the nation’s first secretary of energy under President Jimmy Carter, died at age 85........A brilliant, often abrasive Harvard-educated economist, Mr. Schlesinger went to Washington in 1969 as an obscure White House budget official. Over the next decade he became chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, director of Central Intelligence, a cabinet officer for three presidents (two of whom fired him), a thorn to congressional leaders and a controversial national public figure.

His tenure at the Pentagon was little more than two years, from 1973 to 1975, but it was a time of turmoil and transition. Soviet nuclear power was rising menacingly. The war in Vietnam was in its final throes, and United States military prestige and morale had sunk to new lows. Congress was wielding an ax on a $90 billion defense budget. And the Watergate scandal was enveloping the White House.........Mr. Schlesinger, a Republican with impressive national security and nuclear power credentials, took a hard line with Congress, and the Kremlin, demanding increased budgets for defense and insisting that America’s security depended on nuclear and conventional arsenals at least as effective as the Soviet Union’s.

With Europe as a potential focal point for war, he urged stronger North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces to counter Soviet allies in the Warsaw Pact. His nuclear strategy envisioned retaliatory strikes on Soviet military targets, but not population centers, to limit the chances of what he called “uncontrolled escalation” and mutual “assured destruction.”........After succeeding Nixon, Ford, for stability, retained the cabinet, including Mr. Schlesinger. But the president and Mr. Schlesinger were soon at loggerheads. Ford favored “leniency” for 50,000 draft evaders after the Vietnam War. Mr. Schlesinger, like Nixon, had opposed amnesty.....In November 1975, after 28 months in office, he was dismissed.

While often criticized by political opponents and in the press, Mr. Schlesinger was viewed by many historians as an able defense secretary who modernized weapons systems and maintained America’s military stature against rising Soviet competition.......In his 1976 presidential campaign, Mr. Carter consulted Mr. Schlesinger and was impressed. Taking the White House in 1977, Mr. Carter named him his energy adviser and, after the Energy Department was created in a merger of 50 agencies, appointed him its first secretary. The only Republican in the Carter cabinet, he was in charge of 20,000 employees and a $10 billion budget......Mr. Schlesinger’s performance was widely criticized. Congressional opposition contributed to his departure in a 1979 cabinet shake-up by President Carter.........James Schlesinger was born in New York City on Feb. 15, 1929.......He attended Horace Mann School in the Bronx and Harvard, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950, a master’s in 1952 and a doctorate in 1956, all in economics.......From 1955 to 1963, Mr. Schlesinger taught economics at the University of Virginia. His 1960 book, “The Political Economy of National Security,” drew attention at the RAND Corporation, which hired him in 1963. He became director of strategic studies there in 1967.

Mr. Schlesinger joined the Nixon administration in 1969 as assistant director of the Bureau of the Budget, and drew the president’s attention by challenging a Pentagon weapons proposal in his presence.......In February 1973, Mr. Schlesinger was named director of Central Intelligence, succeeding Richard Helms, who had been fired by Nixon for refusing to block the Watergate investigation. Schlesinger's five-month C.I.A. tenure was stormy...... in July 1973, Nixon chose Mr. Schlesinger for the Pentagon job, replacing Elliot Richardson, who became attorney general.
books  CIA  Cold_War  Department_of_Energy  Gerald_Ford  GOP  Jimmy_Carter  obituaries  RAND  Richard_Nixon  SecDef  Watergate 
march 2014 by jerryking
Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66
October 2, 2013 | NYTimes.com |By JULIE BOSMAN.

Tom Clancy’s debut book, “The Hunt for Red October,” was frequently cited as one of the greatest genre novels ever written. With the book’s publication in 1984, Mr. Clancy introduced a new kind of potboiler: an espionage thriller dense with technical details about weaponry, submarines and intelligence agencies.
obituaries  writers  fiction  security_&_intelligence  espionage  covert_operations  Cold_War  Tom_Clancy  militaries 
october 2013 by jerryking
America the Innovative? - NYTimes.com
March 30, 2013 | NYT | By EAMONN FINGLETON.

How do we explain America’s sudden mid-20th-century ascent to technological glory? The credit goes not to freedom but to something more prosaic: money. With World War II, the United States government joined corporations in ramping up spending on R&D, and then came the cold war and the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957, which gave further impetus to government-funded research. One result was Darpa, which helped develop the Internet.

Throughout history, rich nations have gotten to the future first. Their companies can afford to equip their tinkerers and visionaries with the most advanced materials, instruments and knowledge.

This raises an epochal question: as China becomes richer, is it destined to pass the United States as the world’s most inventive nation? The question is all the more pertinent because many experts contend that America’s inventive spirit is already flagging. As the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel put it to me in an interview, American innovation in recent decades has been remarkably narrowly based. “It has been confined largely to information technology and financial services,” he said. “By contrast in transportation, for instance, we are hardly more advanced today than we were 40 years ago. The story is similar in treating cancer.”
China  U.S.  competitiveness_of_nations  innovation  creativity  China_rising  patents  DARPA  Cold_War  America_in_Decline?  post-WWII  Peter_Thiel  inventiveness  visionaries  abundance  state-as-facilitator  tinkerers 
april 2013 by jerryking
A Long War - WSJ.com
April 16, 2003 | WSJ | By R. JAMES WOOLSEY
James_Woolsey  Arab-Muslim_world  Cold_War 
july 2012 by jerryking
The causes: The roots of hatred
September 20th, 2001| The Economist

America defends its interests, sometimes skilfully, sometimes clumsily, just as other countries do. Since power, like nature, abhors a vacuum, it steps into places where disorder reigns. On the whole, it should do so more, not less, often. Of all the great powers in history, it is probably the least territorial, the most idealistic. Muslims in particular should note that the armed interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, both led by America, were attacks on Christian regimes in support of Muslim victims. In neither did the United States stand to make any material gain; in neither were its vital interests, conventionally defined, at stake. Those who criticise America's leadership of the world's capitalist system—a far from perfect affair—should remember that it has brought more wealth and better living standards to more people than any other in history. And those who regret America's triumph in the cold war should stop to think how the world would look if the Soviet Union had won. America's policies may have earned it enemies. But in truth, it is difficult to find plausible explanations for the virulence of last week's attacks, except in the envy, hatred and moral confusion of those who plotted and perpetrated them.
cold_war  root_cause  anti-Americanism  disorder  international_system  national_interests  superpowers  leadership  U.S.  virulence 
june 2012 by jerryking
The New Cold War
May 14, 2008 | New York Times | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN.

The next president is going to be a cold-war president — but this cold war is with Iran...As the May 11 editorial in the Iranian daily Kayhan put it, “In the power struggle in the Middle East, there are only two sides: Iran and the U.S.”

For now, Team America is losing on just about every front. How come? The short answer is that Iran is smart and ruthless, America is dumb and weak, and the Sunni Arab world is feckless and divided...Ehud Yaari, one of Israel’s best Middle East watchers, calls “Pax Iranica.” In his April 28 column in The Jerusalem Report, Mr. Yaari pointed out the web of influence that Iran has built around the Middle East — from the sway it has over Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to its ability to manipulate virtually all the Shiite militias in Iraq, to its building up of Hezbollah into a force — with 40,000 rockets — that can control Lebanon and threaten Israel should it think of striking Tehran, to its ability to strengthen Hamas in Gaza and block any U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“Simply put,” noted Mr. Yaari, “Tehran has created a situation in which anyone who wants to attack its atomic facilities will have to take into account that this will lead to bitter fighting” on the Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi and Persian Gulf fronts. That is a sophisticated strategy of deterrence...Alas, the right question for the next president isn’t whether we talk or don’t talk. It’s whether we have leverage or don’t have leverage.

When you have leverage, talk. When you don’t have leverage, get some — by creating economic, diplomatic or military incentives and pressures that the other side finds too tempting or frightening to ignore.
Lebanon  Iran  U.S.foreign_policy  Tom_Friedman  nuclear  Hezbollah  incentives  deterrence  Middle_East  Mideast_Peace  Cold_War  leverage  ruthlessness  influence  Palestinian  Iraq  Persian_Gulf  multiple_stressors  grand_strategy 
january 2012 by jerryking

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