The past decade has witnessed an explosion of articles, panels and podcasts on the relationship between popular cultural artifacts and national security. FromBattlestar Galactica to Harry Potter, and from Star Wars to Game of Thrones, fiction has generated a vocabulary for teaching, engagement and even a form of strategic analysis.
Williams Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. As we pass the four hundredth anniversary of the passing of the Bard, it is perhaps worthy of our time to grant him the same courtesy that we give to George R. R. Martin.
Over the past week, the apparent conflict between PACOM and the Obama administration has generated a pool of digital ink big enough to build a Chinese island in. The apparent disinterest of the Obama administration in entertaining the more aggressive navigation and flight operations proposed by PACOM commander Admiral Harry B. Harris has produced a great deal of criticism, even as both sides sought to quiet the conflict. It’s worthwhile at this point to stop and think through the practical limits on what the United States can do.
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The question of weapons and prestige has bedeviled political scientists and the answer seems to be: “Both, but more of one or the other under particular circumstances.” Recent work by Jayita Sarkar (reviewed by Sumit Ganguly) helps contribute to this question, at least in the context of India’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Sarkar argues that recent documentary evidence supports a security-oriented explanation for the Indian nuclear weapons program. Indian nuclear insecurity, and in particular, the detonation of a Chinese hydrogen device in 1967, convinced India that it could not defend against the PLA without the assistance of nuclear weapons. India’s commitment to non-alignment made the country particularly vulnerable, as it could not depend on either a Soviet or a U.S. nuclear guarantee.
For some obscure reason, Parag Khanna persists not only in existing, but also in writing books that find major publishers. My review of Second World can be found here. The intrepid Dan Drezner was given the unenviable task of reviewing Connectography (yes, that is its actual name); the results are impressive. Some of the choicest bits:
Parag Khanna may well be the most connected man alive. “Connectography” represents Khanna’s latest effort to arbitrage his personal networking skills into a theory of geopolitics…
The fluff is voluminous. Khanna and his editors clearly believe that his prose style is a winning one, but for this reader it was like struggling through the transcription of a TED talk on a recursive loop…
I wish that Khanna wee right about the power of connectivity. The world would be a better place. I fear, however, that he does not know what he is talking about.
And via Drezner, this Evgeny Morozov review of one of Khanna’s earlier efforts leaves a lot of blood and intestine on the floor.