Material for Thinking

Robert Kaplan whom I first encountered when I read his Balkan’s Ghost prior to deploying to Kosovo in 2000, is in my opinion one of the big thinkers of our age.  Over at Foreign Policy, he has a fascinating article that I urge all to read and think about, entitled Augustine’s World. Syria is the Levant, the geographical core of Late Antiquity. And its disintegration, like the crumbling of Libya, Yemen, and Iraq, along with the chronic unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, signifies not the birth of freedom but the collapse of central authority. Rome could not save North Africa, […]

Exercise in Morocco Cancelled, Lots of Money Wasted

NOT a DuffelBlog article.* Do we have money to waste? I think not. By chance, ETP0802 was there for that exercise and wrote in, “Am on the flight back from Morocco early and catching up on e-mails.  Don’t know if you heard, but a rift between the US (specifically the US signaling that they would support a UN motion on the Western Sahara) and Morocco ended up with our AT exercise – AFRICAN LION 13 – being cancelled by the Moroccans and us kicked out. … We never fired a shot.  We deployed, disembarked, and then literally about to cross […]

Rescue in Somalia

GREAT NEWS. I’ve heard some differing details, but the outcome is the same– two good people rescued, alive. And better still, nine dead Somalis. One of the things I love most in the world is a dead Somali. There’s no one on earth more worthy of a righteous bullet between the eyes than the snarling, stinking, bestial, drug-addled filth known as the Somali. Nine dead is just nine times as good.

Libya– Still Ain’t Making Sense

And it ain’t getting better. TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan government renewed its artillery and rocket attack on the port of Misurata on Tuesday in its latest apparent attempt to cut the lifeline of the besieged rebel-held western city. The fresh assault on the Mediterranean port killed a migrant worker from Niger and wounded 11 other people, said Khaled Abu Falgha, a doctor at the Hikma Hospital there. It also disrupted humanitarian aid work and forced a Red Cross boat that had docked in the city to turn around, according to Human Rights Watch. A rebel spokesman called the afternoon […]

“No Such Thing As A Neutral Intervention”

There’s an opinion piece in today’s WaPo that’s well worth a read. And then a re-read: The big democracies usually stand idly by during the worst atrocities, including the Holocaust [except of course during the years '39 through '45, but I get the point] and the genocide in Rwanda. Simply to defend core national security interests, the Western allies might have been better off this time concentrating on threats in North Korea, Pakistan or Yemen. (After the United States invaded Iraq, Condoleezza Rice reportedly warned George W. Bush about Darfur: “I don’t think you can invade another Muslim country during […]

Victor Davis Hanson on Libya

Here are two VDH pieces in today’s NRO: “What a no-fly zone means:” “We must prepare for a number of paradoxes that might arise. For instance, do we attack from the air targets on the ground, given that Qaddafi’s ongoing strategy likely will be to use tanks and artillery, often at night and among civilian landscapes, to beat back the rebels? (I assume that Qaddafi can still quite handily defeat the rebels without jets and gunships.) Does the no-fly zone, in the fashion of its previous counterpart over Iraq, escalate to more offensive tactics, such as taking out depots or […]

George Will On Libya

I have posted this over at my personnel web site for those who are interested, enjoy.

Why We CAN’T Do Nothin’ About Libya (?)

Tango Seven-Six says LET IT BURN. Well, we might not have many other alternatives at hand, even if Our President was inclined to speak loudly and wield the big stick on his fellow African Muslim “Colonel” Khaddafy. I was wondering when someone was going to say, “Hey– where’s the Navy and Marine Corps?” (It’s not like we ain’t been to Tripoli before, all we’d need is new maps.) Well, someone has. And it is very revealing. Remember when naval forces could conduct non-combat evacuation operations [NEO] of American civilians in trouble? I do too, which is why I am very […]

Two Articles Worth Reading

In the current on-line edition of the New York Review of Books are two articles worth reading as they provide great insight into what is happening in Afghanistan and Africa. For those not familiar with the New York Review of Books, it is an intellectual journal where leading intellectuals present their thoughts on books about a common subject, or write extended essays. While much of what is written is typical of the Upper East Side, East Coast intellectual group-think, nevertheless some is worth reading as it offers a different perspective.

Sounds Like a P.L.A.N.

A Red Chinese naval squadron is mounting out for the Gulf of Aden to add its weight to the fight against rampant piracy. I have little doubt that they are sending their varsity squad, and I don’t think we should view this as a good thing. The three vessels — two destroyers and a supply ship — may increase worries about growing Chinese military power. The mission will also challenge China’s ability to cooperate [who says they're going to cooperate?] with other naval forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. I think that the […]