END GAME

William Grier the coauthor of Black Rage (with Pierce Cobbs) died this week at the age of 89.Ed Doctorow(an old classmate )from Bx. Science High) died several weeks ago and this blog recounted the death of Dan Sugarman another Bx.Science classmate,both were 84. There is nothing profound here.We have to accept that most octogenarians will not become nonagenarians and most nonagenarians will not become centagenarians.We think analogically and metaphorically and see only so far as this can carry us.We need help from the digital thinkers of this time in peering into the future.
Black Rage is anecdotal and ingeniously constructed and caught fire with the avant-garde of the 1960s. It gave an explanation for deviant black behavior ranging from urban gangs through the rise of groups like the Black Panthers.It included drug addiction and crime.Rage was the outcome of slavery,segregation and discrimination and its expression universally expectable.Of course it inadvertently supported harsh policing.A later effort to indicate some of the negatives associated with the black church(The Jesus Bag) was much less accepted.
Anger can be dealt with.The righteous anger of the proto Aryan(Englishman) according to James Bradley’s “The Imperial Cruise”will always trump(no pun intended) the anger of the non aryan.It is one of the mechanisms of the attainment of manifest destiny.”Though I’ve belted you and flayed you, by the living God that made you…You’re a better man than I am Gunga Din” Kipling’s acknowledgement of Din”’Din”’Din is conditional on the defense of empire.The trick for Gunga seems to be to die so as not to be able to lay claim to anything.These are evolutionary survivals.That God is invoked in such goings on is not surprising.(But Whose?)

If we don’t look for paradox and contradiction in the dogmas that are available for consumption we will not notice that the 15 men and one woman in the republican Presidential fold are asserting a military strength that we do not possess and which would destroy us economically if we pursued its attainment.A standing army of conscripts is needed ;no million man army can be made up of volunteers even with the pull of inevitable war.
Serena’s powerful game forced errors and produced intimidation unforced errors(opponents trying to do too much).she lost while playing well at Flushing Meadows because she was out finessed.Frank Marshal’s international efforts were a bust.National character? We may be characterized by the big hit and front running.What to do if this is exactly what is being counted on for better or more likely worse, internationally?(Friends and enemies)

MSNBC reported,I hope incorrectly but probably not,that following the charade of the republican presidential debate and the monolithic espousal of Israel,Ann Coulter(remember her ?)let loose a barrage of antisemitic tweets from her twitter account.I don’t think that she is a neo nazi or a member of the Aryans;this may mean that solidarity around Israel is more to embarrass President Obama than to support Netanyahu.
I was saddened to hear for the first time of Carly Fiorina’s loss of a child to addiction.But I fear that the Donald is right; she did wreck Hewlett Packard. Meg Whittman’s firing of 35,000 yesterday belongs on Fiorina’s doorstep along with the 50,000 she deep sixed.

(I wonder what Hollywood has wrought with”Pawn Sacrifice”,the latest attempt to delineate the amazing antisemitic,half mad Jewish kid from Brooklyn who was arguably,the best chess player ever. but who abandoned America.((After he lost his mind?)

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19 Comments

  1. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you
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  2. Susanna;
    It appears that I have managed to irritate some cherished sentiments. I have never liked bullshit because it is unfit for human consumption. Plants however, flowers and weeds too, love being in its presence. When I spoke metaphorically about “killer weeds that would despoil the healthiest-for-human-life garden” I hoped that it was clear that for this kind of garden bullshit should be avoided. Nature doesn’t care about humans; it allows any form of life to exist that can. Therefore we had better care. For human life to flourish, that which diminishes human life needs to be weeded out. But to do this necessary thing, we must accurately identify the weeds (as well as that which fertilizes them). Another complication – If our vision as regards the healthiest-for-human-life-garden varies, it follows that what is identified as “weed” will vary. To reduce as much as possible the variables, I recommend a focus on that which is measurable and logical (the scientific method). This way we root our views in a soil shared by all and it helps our minds to resist whimsical and often dangerous flights of imagination.
    Despite our differences, I hope that we can agree on the above. With this foundation (and changing metaphors) let’s see what we can engineer for man that will be most beneficial and structurally sound.
    In that direction I’ll address some of Susanna’s questions:
    When I wrote, “The real issue is then shown to be that of adequate preparation.” I was addressing an earlier expression of unjustified certitude as regards our current military might. My statement was only an attempt to define more completely the nature of the question that needs to be addressed (too much, too little, relative to what?). Known unknowns need to be part of our equation.
    Susanna presents statistics that demonstrate that our nuclear strength is powerful indeed. But to the degree that we all agree that such power should not be used it is not relevant. (That others believe we may use them can be relevant.) But when off the table, it is conventional might that is important.
    Susanna writes: “To back your assertions, you then continue: “It is a blend of statistics …” What statistics? Adding “… consensus of military experts, … ” Unanimous? Really?:” I provided PEW statistics and they are fundamental to the nature of one of our most significant threats. “Consensus” according to my dictionary does not link to “unanimous”. “Consensus” refers to majority view.
    Susanna writes: “Continuing quoting you: “… an understanding of human nature derived from history …” How subjective? Or, objective? Love historical references”. I gave the history of Hitler marching into the Rhineland (1936) and the fact that France had at that time more than significant power and justification to have ended the Nazi regime. Knowledge is ongoing, but all of us learned deep lessons about human nature on the playgrounds of youth. I cannot perfectly share my deep state of fear when after weeks of being tormented I finally realized that this smaller than average second-grader had no real option but to smash his fist into the face of a much bigger bully. He hit back but not effectively. The immediate and positive change in how others treated and respected me (including the bully) was vividly clear – school (and life) became a valued experience. Not just limited to childish excess, the bully mentality has often made it into the highest levels of dictatorial power. The United Nations should be realistically acknowledged to be the United Governments – many of whom are forms of dictatorships. The schoolyard lesson has wide application. It should have been directed at the Nazi’s that day they marched into the Rhineland.
    Susanna writes: “Finally, your declaration concludes with: “… that leads me to believe that we will need more military might than exists today… Still waiting for supportive material.” Consider the following list: 1. A world-wide, metastasizing, Islamic-based, convert or die, fanaticism. 2. A Putin Russia with visions of old power made new. 3. A communist China demonstrating that it intends to expand territorially into regions hitherto free. 4. A North Korea led by a despot who may do anything. 5. A Pakistan that is unstable and we don’t know how it will tilt. 6. An Iran that may be suicidal, led by its religious leaders toward their view of Armageddon. Which combinations of possible flare-ups are we ready for? Here is another question that requires known unknowns. How many flare ups are likely if they knew they would be sharply resisted by the U.S.?
    I stated that, ““we have had a Commander in Chief who convincingly told enemy forces what military actions he will not employ, and when he will withdraw.” To which Susanna asks, “You really believe that or does your own intellectual acumen challenge the mere notion?” Susanna referred to a New York Times article about an immunity issue scuttling U.S. troop deal. That is the excuse that Obama and his supporters used to justify his desire and his promise to exit Iraq. For this to be the true reason requires us to believe that the force capable of physically ousting Saddam had absolutely no leverage, diplomatic or physical, with which to retain our military’s stabilizing function. That is credibility stretched too far. More credible is the following: A “beachhead” deep in “enemy” territory had been painfully established, was relatively secure, but abandoned.
    I wrote, “My ‘rule for the game’ is for western, science-based values to be so strongly defended that challenge will be rare and always unsuccessful.” Susana asks, “So, is that your PC response to your support for another Hiroshima/Nagasaki deterrent model?” Of many possibilities Susanna apparently assumes that only atomic power can deter or win a fight. Economic and conventional means can go a long way towards discouraging any challenge to our western, science-based values.
    Susanna asks: “Who makes the judgment of “being sufficiently deterred?” The answer is not a “who” but what are the results? A Russia moving into the Ukraine has not been sufficiently deterred. A Putin that leaves his neighbors free of his dictates has been deterred.
    Susanna states: “Never mind the chaos we fomented in a region of which we still have little knowledge and, as a result, lack total understanding.” If we know human nature we will also know that we know a great deal about people in the Middle East and everywhere else.
    I wrote: “Ayatollahs who possess atomic weapons are more likely than others to give parts of our country the glassy surface that justifiably concerns you.” Susanna comments: “Really? I find the statement staggering given the fact that ours is the only country on earth who used the nuclear option … twice. Yes … I know … what goes around, comes around.” I find it hard to believe that Susanna would truly have preferred that we carry out Operation Downfall (with its projected millions of casualties – theirs and ours) over that of an almost certain (now proven) opportunity to end the war quickly. Most likely this means that she considers to be certain an argument that Japan would have quickly surrendered (with little loss of life) regardless the use of A bombs. A tour of the WW2 Museum in New Orleans should put that argument well into the realm of highly improbable.
    The apparent opinion that the U.S. performed a villainous act by its use of the A-bomb opens up a number of issues related to sentiments rooted in “good” and “evil”. This is indicative of “us” and “them” moral crusading. It tends to be sentiment-based, rather than engineering together to structure the best possible future for humanity.
    Thank you Susanna for the brain-cell exercise.

    1. I am sure that S.B. can speak for herself but your response (which I read, possibly incorrectly, as somewhat angry) Don, leaves unclear how you identify engineers rather than crusaders.Is it process or a result?Is it paucity of emotion? If so, despite the warnings of Musk,Hawking,Gates etc,we need an AI that can be developed with survival of “US” rather than “them ” as its prime directive or is human survival to be the goal?What if the AI determines that the most advanced civilizations are the greatest threats to the survival of the species? Who will build it?Surely a world cooperative enterprise?
      In 1936 Hitler had fully engaged the German industrialists and the Maginot line could still be walked around..Then, in that sequel to WWI and prelude to WWII, world alliance was required and unavailable.

      1. RMV suggests a “timeout” and a return to issues and problems one by one.This makes sense insofar as there doesn’t appear to be an inductive leap or a digital formulation that can condense and solve the problems of mankind.(Which I believe to be evolutionarily linked both to mother earth and to our genetic heritage)Don’s defense of a use of conventional arms both backs us away from an external doomsday scenario of nuclear origin and brings us closer to economic collapse due to the cumulative cost (financial and political of such actions repeated many times over.Despite Elon Musk’s suggestion that Mars can be rapidly made human friendly by (we’re not ready nor will we ever be in my view to leave mother earth)use of thermonuclear bombing of its poles,

        We can thus return to the use of conventions for steamy words and phrases.Figmo and Snafu,b.s.,bull…..s..t and even the vaunted clusterf—k,permit children who wander on to the site to leave undamaged and gives parents time to apply child locks.(smile?)

        1. My dear professor Thomas … I apologize for having offended The Octogenarians … especially you. I appreciate and value your thought-provoking “musings.” It appears that one person’s realism is another person’s realm into idealism … and vice versa. Light is darkness … darkness is light. Will the Darth Vaders of the world succeed? Is certainty a sign of youth and doubt representative of age? One thing is certain: in the long term, the results of differences of approach expressed here, based on the scientific method of probability, will be proven in the future. Not in my lifetime, at least. In turning to “cruel” nature for the rules of survivability … required annihilation of “them” rather than “us”? … what are the chances for human life as we know it? The dinosaurs adaptation might provide a clue. The birds.

          I did not realize I was playing in the sandbox. With RMV’s suggestion of a “timeout,” I will now go to my room with my grandson’s question: “Are you going to close the door, Mimi?” However, my mind will continue to heed Joseph Campbell’s advice and follow my bliss.

        2. Timeout is from the lexicon of sports,not child care.From the same source”No harm no foul”rings out.So Susanna “come out,come out wherever you are !

      2. Daedal2207 asks good questions.. Life is more like a verb (action) than a destination (or result) but a sense of goal helps us to understand and enjoy the process. The engineer sets mechanistic goals and strives to structure events to play out to that end. Probability dominates. The crusader is setting forth to advance spiritual beliefs of right and wrong, good and evil. Faith predominates. “Moral” is perhaps more often associated with the spiritual. However it can apply to the mechanistic when the goal is that of structuring systems to save and benefit life.
        My GPS does a pretty good job helping me navigate to where I want to go. I suppose that an Artificial Intelligence worth its salt would take into consideration how its chosen plan for our future could be workable by understanding the human nature factor in its equations. Whether it is AI totally at the helm or humans alone, we will continue to careen along the road of life – hopefully filled with emotions of wonder and enjoying the process.
        I remember reading about a German General who later stated that his most sleepless night was that following his march into the Rhineland. He knew that if the French were to enforce the Treaty of Versailles with an attack against his weaker forces he (and the Nazi cause) would lose.

  3. Daedal2207 again stimulates the questing mind:
    About Republican desires for increased military strength – Daedal2207 clearly presents one half of the equation. A large military will indeed be expensive. Here is the other half: Learning too late that we have an inadequate military will be cost us everything.
    Daedal2207 skillfully tells us that chess and tennis players compete with subtle skills. I would note that they also agree to abide by the rules and start with the same number of players. How can their particular skills actually apply to international affairs? Because Serena or Marshall used a certain technique cannot be of great importance if we do not know the details of current conditions of conflict.
    I am curious. Whether it was said by MSNBC or by Daedal2207, in what way was the Republican debate a “charade”? If it was not a charade, or to the degree that it was not, why was the word used?
    Regardless the strange tweets by Ann Coulter, almost all Republicans consider Israel to be an example of democratic rule that has proven itself astonishingly inventive and productive to the benefit of all mankind. It exists in a part of the world that remains mostly devoid of these values. In fact, it exists in a part of the world where the prevailing religious-based sentiments (supporting sharia) bias their populations to despise and literally threaten traditional western values of freedom.
    How do we know that the firing of workers is necessarily a bad thing? Can it ever be a good thing to force a company to give paychecks to workers who are not contributing to the company’s success?
    Tom Perkins, a HP board member said recently in a New York Times add, “Critics often claim Carly was fired at HP because she was unsuccessful,” Mr. Perkins wrote. “As a member of the board, I can tell you this is not true. In truth, it was the Board I was a part of that was ineffective and dysfunctional.”
    The computer on which I have composed this is an HP. It was purchased because it had a high rating in Consumer Reports.

    1. Charade is my word Don and I use it whenever,in my view, hypocrisy is the underpinning of an event.It will hopefully occur to mankind that doomsday scenarios cannot be worked with.The inevitable war that is the outcome of not playing the complex game of diplomacy and force with and through major alliances will not come when we are most ready for it.
      The Palestinians are calling for a “Day of Rage” and Israel is mobilizing;China is building Potemkin Village islands in the disputed islands of the south china sea,North Korea is rattling its nuclear saber.Putin is threatening to arm and militarily support Assad ,Germany has discovered that it cannot go it alone with the immigration issue unagreed upon in Europe,etc, etc, etc.It is certainly not a comfortable world but this is the nature of things and it is likely to be so from hereon.

      1. Daedal2207’s use of “Charade” is apparently based on an opinion that Republican- expressed desires for more stringent actions against Iran are certain to result in a “doomsday” war. Daedal2207 tells us that “doomsday scenarios cannot be worked with.” I see here a premise that is questionable.
        Some equated Reagan with “doomsday” when at Reykjavik he broke off talks with Gorbachev and decided to go ahead with an increased US military buildup. It seems likely today that this was a brilliant maneuver that helped convinced the Soviet Leader that the USSR could not prevail – thereby ending the cold war and possibly saving untold millions of lives. Possibly this kind of happy result would help calm the world if we applied this rather clear lesson of recent history. What reasons support Daedal2207’s apparent thesis that Iran would not back down under such threats? Beyond this, it seems that “doomsday” is not an accurate description if involved in a conventional war. A war now with Iran would not be nuclear. Aren’t “doomsday” results made more probable by giving Iran additional time to cheat and thereby allowing them to surprise us with a nuclear strike (even if it is suicidal). In fact, isn’t it a possibility that their Supreme Leader’s apocalyptic religious beliefs may cause them to prefer that their nuclear strike be suicidal?

        1. Don:
          The doomsday scenario can be understood by unfocusing on Iran and the rantings of it’s Ayatollah and looking at the other players who can unleash nuclear hell ! As for the allwise Reagan,nobody wants to gainsay his planning (and good fortune)but again unfocusing permits you to see Gorbachev in charge of a different USSR from that of his predecessors;only some of that difference accountable for by an expensive arms race.
          Impatience is not an asset and the three dimensional chess players who do not embrace ritual suicide know that the cheapest way to bring down democratic capitalism is to allow it to deteriorate from within becoming more and more inverted and absolutist with each threat and eventually unable to distinguish one threat from another.It is a doctrine of complexity and it is hard to accept that this is what we can expect; possibly till the end of time.Without the treaty what is to prevent Putin from giving nuclear arms to Iran at some future time,declaring the act to be deterrence of a nuclear armed Israel?Iran is being pressured by the desires of its people for more material goods as well as freedom of thought.Eventually the Ayatollah will have to reflect that along with its secular leader.
          The real contest is for the model of governance for those nations that can destroy the earth and which can propel them in the direction of world government.The advocates of Sharia law with all their terror are forever outside of that dialogue unless they are allowed in by virtue of monolithic,unfocused obsession.Proper three dimensional play requires that they be regarded as a world problem.Certainly approaching life as an engineer rather than as a crusader enables you to see,if not enjoy,the doctrine of complexity.Is that not the issue of the presidential contest? Who is the engineer?The crusaders are putting us in jeopardy.

    2. Don … you’ll have to forgive me, but I’m sooooo computer illiterate that I’m not sure I’m directing this correctly … so, here it goes. Quoting you:

      “Daedal2207 again stimulates the questing mind:
      About Republican desires for increased military strength – Daedal2207 clearly presents one half of the equation. A large military will indeed be expensive. Here is the other half: Learning too late that we have an inadequate military will be cost us everything.”

      I don’t know Daedal2207, though appreciate his stimulating mind posits. Are YOU suggesting that we have an inadequate military … budget? Based on what statistics?

      http://www.globalfirepower.com/defense-spending-budget.asp

      When will you feel safe? Quoting you again:

      “Daedal2207 skillfully tells us that chess and tennis players compete with subtle skills. I would note that they also agree to abide by the rules and start with the same number of players.”

      What are your rules? Are you suggesting that we are overdue for another Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to send a clear, deterrent message? What does your alternative mean? Would you grant that guerrilla warfare is extremely effective and not quite as expensive as conventional one? Do you believe that turning whole areas in our planet where human life is considered or judged to be cheap into a glass surface is the proper response? Where is the practical … if not moral … assurance? What’s the carrot?

      May I suggest that, without any one of us being privy to internal national security preparations (or, are you suggesting that they should be made public through congressional hearings for friends and foes to know?), Professor Thomas’ cautionary scenario reflects sober maturity and worthy of consideration rather than cavalier mocking (quoting him):

      “The inevitable war that is the outcome of not playing the complex game of diplomacy and force with and through major alliances will not come when we are most ready for it.”

      P. S. On Mrs. Fiorina … she “deserves” separate discussion space … perhaps combined with “exceptionalism.”

      P. S. #2 Thank you for stimulating my grey cells (as Poirot would say).

      1. Your thinking is very clear and computer compliance must follow! What more can you say about C.Fiorina?There is an issue here about outsourcing for the benefit of shareholders(mostly bigs)vs insourcing for the benefit of homegrown workers and U.S.taxes.Tax reform is once again a hefty issue.Please say more…

      2. Susanna;
        I try to approach every intellectual challenge as objectively as possible, more like an engineer than a marching Crusader. Truth for me is a working truth, adjustable, a matter of probability. It is linked to best evidence, not certitude. When testing an idea, whether it be my own or that of others, it seems to be a good habit to frame the issue as fundamentally as possible. Daeda2207 made a logically secure statement when he points out that a large military will be expensive. However, to conclude from this statement alone that this military should not be built is shown to be excess certitude when tested against another logically self-evident statement: “If our military might is inadequate, the cost could be that of everything we value.” Framed in this manner, a truth-seeking mind will understand that cost comes in many forms and cuts many ways. The real issue is then shown to be that of adequate preparation.
        You ask the right question with, “Are YOU suggesting that we have an inadequate military … budget? Based on what statistics?” It is a blend of statistics, consensus of military experts, and an understanding of human nature derived from history and personal experience that leads me to believe that we will need more military might than exists today. It is understood that a smaller force efficiently employed can be equivalent to a bigger force less efficiently employed. For instance, we have had a Commander in Chief who convincingly told enemy forces what military actions he will not employ, and when he will withdraw. Logically, to this degree, he diminished the deterrent value of our existing military strength – no matter its percentage of the budget. The dramatic spread of an ideology that declares itself to be at war with us, means that more of the globe will have to be policed if we wish to successfully stop its crushing of weak governments. PEW statistics demonstrate that vast numbers of Islamists support the use of force to impose sharia law on the world. (Just 10% of 1,300,000,000 would have us facing a widely dispersed enemy of 130,000,000). But PEW statistics show us that many populous countries contain far more than 70% who favor the spread of sharia law.
        Guerilla warfare is relatively inexpensive for an aggressor. It is relatively expensive for the defenders.
        My “rule for the game” is for western, science-based values to be so strongly defended that challenge will be rare and always unsuccessful. It should be understood that freedom can be so free that it can allow the seeds of its own destruction to grow under its protection. It is a matter of good judgment to identify its conflicting limits and when to destroy the killer weeds that would despoil the healthiest-for-human-life garden.
        Leaders who want to live can be deterred. Leaders who value an apocalyptic vision of greatness rewarded after (and by sacrificial forms of death), may be inspired to choose the path of death. Ayatollahs who possess atomic weapons are more likely than others to give parts of our country the glassy surface that justifiably concerns you. Iran’s history of deception should clarify the risk. As a French intervention would have stopped Hitler in 1936 when he marched into the Rhineland, a conventional war with Iran is far preferable to a much greater future devastation. Sadly, life experience reveals that for some religious (or religious-like) fanatics there is no “carrot” other than capitulation.

        1. Don:

          Your eloquence is dazzling … and intimidating, for this lowly housewife (who’s not an engineer … not even close!). However, much like a current leading presidential challenger, it does not appear that specific questions have been answered (though, if so, I plead guilty to my obvious ignorance). At the risk of responding in a too-edgy manner (and, to that degree, I apologize in advance), I will quote you the comment of an Air Force pilot who flew with a member of my family: “If you can’t baffle them with brilliance, dazzle them with b-ll sh-t.”

          You stated: “I try to approach every intellectual challenge as objectively as possible, more like an engineer than a marching Crusader.”

          Agreed and I’ll take you at your word. Furthermore, my heritage is that to question EVERYTHING … to resist herd mentality. Again, from you: “The real issue is then shown to be that of adequate preparation.” What do you consider “adequate preparation”?

          http://www.army-technology.com/features/feature-countries-with-the-biggest-nuclear-weapon-stockpiles/

          “More than 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the US and Russian inventory. Army-technology.com ranks the countries with the biggest stockpiles of nuclear weapons. …

          Russian Federation — … current stockpile of deployed warheads stands at 1,800 …
          United States of America — … currently has a stockpile of 7,700 nuclear warheads, including more than 2,000 deployed weapons, 2,650 non-deployed warheads and about 3,000 weapons awaiting disassembly.
          France — … holds around 300 deployed nuclear warheads, making it the third-biggest stockpile in the world.
          China — … is now estimated to hold about 240 warheads, but this is expected to increase as the country develops new ballistic weapons.
          United Kingdom — … current stockpile includes 225 nuclear warheads, including 160 operational and 65 non-deployed warheads.
          Pakistan — … currently has 100 to 120 nuclear warheads, most of which are believed to be in central storage. The stockpile is expected to grow as the nation continues the development of new delivery systems, such as submarine launched ballistic missiles.
          India — … nation’s stockpile is currently estimated to include 90 and 110 nuclear warheads.
          Israel — … thought to have produced enough plutonium for 100 to 200 warheads, but its current stockpile is anticipated to be only 80 warheads.
          North Korea — … believed to have plutonium and uranium stockpiles to produce 12 to 27 nuclear weapons …”
          To back your assertions, you then continue: “It is a blend of statistics, … ” What statistics? Adding “… consensus of military experts, … ” Unanimous? Really?:
          Dozens of retired generals, admirals back Iran nuclear deal
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/retired-generals-and-admirals-back-iran-nuclear-deal/2015/08/11/bd26f6ae-4045-11e5-bfe3-ff1d8549bfd2_story.html

          Retired generals and admirals urge Congress to reject Iran nuclear deal
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/retired-generals-and-admirals-urge-congress-to-reject-iran-deal/2015/08/26/8912d9c6-4bf5-11e5-84df-923b3ef1a64b_story.html

          Continuing quoting you: “… an understanding of human nature derived from history …” How subjective? Or, objective? Love historical references.

          “… and personal experience …” This I cannot address for I’m not privy to your military expertise, which could nullify a significant amount of public information to which I refer and base personal opinion. BTW, I truly respect and honor your privacy if you are holding to the confidential standard/requirement of our national security personnel.

          Finally, your declaration concludes with: “… that leads me to believe that we will need more military might than exists today.”

          The United States has 800 military bases outside the 50 states. The source may not be of your liking, but the truth is the truth: http://www.thenation.com/article/the-united-states-probably-has-more-foreign-military-bases-than-any-other-people-nation-or-empire-in-history/

          Still waiting for supportive material.

          Unfortunately, I see that your claim to “to approach every intellectual challenge as objectively as possible” does not pass the objectivity test when you state: “we have had a Commander in Chief who convincingly told enemy forces what military actions he will not employ, and when he will withdraw.” You really believe that or does your own intellectual acumen challenge the mere notion?
          Iraq prime minister: Immunity issue scuttled U.S. troop deal.
          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/22/iraq-pm-immunity-issue-scuttled-us-troop-deal/

          I see the ideology/agenda from where you approach your concern. Funny. You state: “My ‘rule for the game’ is for western, science-based values to be so strongly defended that challenge will be rare and always unsuccessful.” So, is that your PC response to your support for another Hiroshima/Nagasaki deterrent model? For surely, it can’t be the science that requires the stewardship of our planet that multiple nuclear mushroom clouds would surely destroy. In support of war over diplomacy you state:

          “Leaders who want to live can be deterred. Leaders who value an apocalyptic vision of greatness rewarded after (and by sacrificial forms of death), may be inspired to choose the path of death.”

          Who makes the judgment of “being sufficiently deterred?” All depends on the powerful’s agenda. Saddam Hussein told us he had no nuclear weapons, yet we opted to do away with him. Lest you think I’m defending the despot, rest assured NOT so! But, an already-weakened despot who had outgrown his usefulness was easily dispensed. Replaced with … the predictable other despots? Never mind the chaos we fomented in a region of which we still have little knowledge and, as a result, lack total understanding.

          “Ayatollahs who possess atomic weapons are more likely than others to give parts of our country the glassy surface that justifiably concerns you.”

          Really? I find the statement staggering given the fact that ours is the only country on earth who used the nuclear option … twice. Yes … I know … what goes around, comes around.

          I like your reference to the garden: “… when to destroy the killer weeds that would despoil the healthiest-for-human-life garden.” I’m an avid gardener … was outside the whole day (that’s why my response is so late), cleaning up in preparation for the change in seasons. I used to watch PBS’ “The Victory Garden” many years ago. So, I leave you with these thoughts …

          “We can in fact only define a weed, mutatis mutandis, in terms of the well-known definition of dirt – as matter out of place. What we call a weed is in fact merely a plant growing where we do not want it. ~ E.J. Salisbury, The Living Garden, 1935.”

          “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
          ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic, 1878.”

          On this, I agree with you … “Truth for me is a working truth, adjustable …”

          Again, Don, my little grey cells thank you.

  4. My dear professor … I relate to Kareem Abdul Jabbar http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/magazine/what-the-world-got-wrong-about-kareem-abdul-jabbar.html?action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=MostPopularFB&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&_r=0 … and Vincent Cronin’s “Catherine, Empress of All the Russias.” James Bradley’s “The Imperial Cruise” is waiting in my iPad and your reference has, once again, raised my desire to get to it … though I must finish Juan Gonzalez’s “Harvest of Empire” first.

    Was last night’s calculated non-response by Donald Trump the much awaited unforced error exposing him as the shallow coward and opportunist that he is? Let’s see how our “national character” is further defined.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. Thanks for the pickup on my misspelling of Catherine the Great.Our national character is hopefully further definable and not fixed.This coming election and the next decade will indicate the degree of its malleability.I think that our future and the future of the world may hinge on it.
      Trump’s main value seems to be his ability to make hypocrisy a visible issue.This of course makes him a poor politician but adds to his popular appeal.As he becomes a better politician his popular appeal will have to go down and unforced errors will be identifiable by his reaction.The non response may mean he’s learning.His air of invulnerability is almost like a cloak of armor.

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