[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]
Top BillingThe War Nerd: Nigeria’s inevitable Mess
….Most people don’t remember Biafra now, except as the second name of that spoken-word asshole Jello Biafra. It’s a shame; the Igbo deserve to have their heroic war remembered and honored. But like I said, nobody much cares about African casualties, and when they do, it’s always Africans as helpless victims—never, ever Africans as brave and well-organized armies. I’ve noticed that, over years of doing this column. When Africans are threatening to form a strong, united country, like the Igbo, the Tutsi or the Eritreans, they come in for some weirdly intense hate, and a lot of times it comes from the bloodiest bleeding hearts around. Creeps me out, actually, and I’m not easily crept.
….Summers, who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and more recently as an adviser to Barack Obama, took exception and charged that Taleb was being unrealistic about the difficulties identifying the institutions that pose systemic risk.
Summers told Taleb that he was for more capital, more liquidity, living wills for banks and procedures to wind them down. “What are you for?” he challenged.
“I’m for punishment,” Taleb replied.
Dean Cheng – The Odd Couple: China and North Korea
….By contrast, one of the worst case scenarios for Beijing would be a reunified Korean peninsula that was allied with both the United States and Japan. In that situation, the PRC would see itself being contained by three of the largest economies in Asia, adjacent to its territory and capable of wielding enormous military power. Certainly, the prospect of American forces being based in close proximity to Chinese territory, even if not in the former DPRK, would be concerning, if only due to the potential for intelligence collection. Moreover, the Chinese would likely see the steady expansion of NATO as presenting a malignant model for East Asia, with an American-led coalition steadily encroaching upon Chinese territory and jeopardizing the PRC’s ability to access the seas.
Cheng is my go-to guy on Chinese policy.
Christopher Ford –Confucian Rationalizations for One-Party Dictatorship
….Today, the development of the new quasi-Confucian political discourse of a technocratically-guided but civilizationally-grounded national unity and strength receives support and encouragement from the very highest levels of the Party-State. The regime and its propaganda apparatus have increasingly been using Confucian key words or notions, and stressing themes of “Chineseness” in political and international relations theory by picking up on elements that began to emerge after Confucius studies received the Party-State’s ideological imprimatur and encouragement in the mid-1980s.
…Occasionally a picture is worth a thousand words, and here’s one buried in a Financial Times story on China’s rapidly deteriorating housing market. It seems that during the two-year period 2011-2012, which was the peak of China’s much praised “aggressive” stimulus response to the Great Recession in the DM world, China consumed more cement than did the United States during the entire 20th century!
Agree with Stockman that this figure is astounding. Suspect that it is also fake and also suspect, on a more ominous note, that the Chinese government may not know what the real figure is either.
Small Wars Journal Still Shortchanged
WarCouncil.org –Not By Force Alone: Russian Strategic Surprise in Ukraine
Christianity Today – Unconventional Warfare
SEED – Early Warning Signs
Ultraculture –A Mexican Scientist Just Invented a ‘Telekinesis’ Helmet
RECOMMENDED VIEWING – KORENGAL TRAILER
From Sebastian Junger, author of WAR and featured in RESTREPO