Recommended Reading (2009-12-09)

– McChrystal-mania? Fred Kaplan reads too much into his admission of imperfection (“There is much in Afghanistan that I do not understand”).  A crazy, crazy man getting one meal and four hours of sleep a night. Oh, and he bridged the usual discord between QRF and the JSOC.

– The private sector officially surpasses NASA in relevance. Not that surprising, in the end. When will humanity make a concerted effort towards the stars? Even just the United States taking some initiative would be fine.

– Afghanistan and Al Anbar are not the same thing. Thank you, Carter and Jerry, for clearing that up.

– David Engerman calls for a modern ‘Sovietology’ in Foreign Affairs “Jihadology.” Sounds pretty narrow at first, but gets more compelling. “Instead of lurching from one perceived threat to the next, U.S. policymakers should make a deep investment in knowing the whole world.” This is decidedly true, but then again, how relevant will Islamic fundamentalism be twenty years down the line? The Soviet system was an influence – at the least a factor in – a number of political systems throughout the world. This may be more locally confined. But, if Engerman really does mean to reassert the primacy of culture over politics, there’s definitely an argument to be made.

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