Islamic State — hanging by a chad?

[ by Charles Cameron — light-hearted, almost science-fictional “butterfly-hurricane” question in geopolitics, with an Elkus follow-up ] . A scene from the 2000 Florida recount: Palm Beach County’s canvassing board chairman eyes a questionable ballot as Republican attorney John Bolton looks on. Image: Greg Lovett/AP ** Is the Islamic State an “unanticipated consequence” of Bush […] Read more »

When the problem is a moving target

[ by Charles Cameron — the AUMF and “wickedness” ] . The essence of the insight that Horst Rittel and more recently Jeff Conklin bring to our attention under the rubric of “wicked problems” is the idea that what is viewed as a problem from one standpoint may be seen from another perspective as having […] Read more »

From the caliphate to Ferguson and back, it’s a small world

[ by Charles Cameron -- starting with the news, closing with Jay Forrester & the impact of systems dynamics on our understanding of cause and effect -- a catchup post ] . Clearing the decks grom the last few days, I found this DoubleQuote in the Wild from Ferguson staring out at me from my […] Read more »

Chet’s Boydian Post-Script to American Spartan

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] Dr. Chet Richards had some kind words to say about my review of American Spartan the other day and added some Boydian strategic analysis to the saga of Major Jim Gant to boot: Zen Pundit on American Spartan  ….As Mark notes, the strategy of supporting local insurgents goes way back, and it can [...] Read more »

Lind on “the Navy’s Intellectual Seppuku”

William Lind had a very important piece regarding an extraordinarily ill-considered move by the Navy brass: The Navy Commits Intellectual Seppuku  The December, 2013 issue of the Naval Institute’s Proceedings contains an article, “Don’t Say Goodbye to Intellectual Diversity” by Lt. Alexander P. Smith, that should receive wide attention but probably won’t. It warns of a policy [...] Read more »

Big Pharaoh: Levels of complexity in presentation

[ by Charles Cameron -- Syria, yes, but with a focus on networks, tensions, mapping, and understanding ] . Binary logic is a poor basis for foreign policy, as Tukhachevskii said on Small Wars Council’s Syria under Bashir Assad: crumbling now? thread, pointing us to the work of The Big Pharaoh. Here are two of [...] Read more »

Kill the Department of Defense

[by Lynn C. Rees] Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew bureaucracy: “You know, I’m a juggler, and I never let my right hand know what my left hand does.” As in many aspects of FDR’s life, his wife’s uncle was a model. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, young hotshot Uncle Theodore proved chronically wearisome to his boss, veteran [...] Read more »

A woman, a ladder, four goats, and a cow named Bessie.

[ by Charles Cameron -- the four goats go with the woman, the cow called Bessie belongs with Hiyakawa's Ladder of Abstraction ] . ** My friend the anthropologist Peter van der Werff recently wrote this paragraph about a woman he met in India: The very poor woman explained me she and her four goats [...] Read more »

A feast of form in my twitter-stream today

[ by Charles Cameron -- forms & patterns, pattern recognition & creative leaps, creative leaps & connecting dots, connecting dots & node-and-edge mapping -- node-and-edge mapping, link charts and Sembl-HipBone games ] . . There’s no “actionable intelligence” in that tweet, but it recognizes a pattern, it makes a fine creative leap. And given the [...] Read more »