RE: Some interesting academic political essays

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 10 Nov 2002 - 03:25:15 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Some interesting academic political essays"

    >Pollack was on the Clinton National Security Council, for the Middle East.
    >He has turned into quite a hawk on Iraq - one of the more thoughtful ones.
    >He is not greatly knowledgeable about the Middle East except for its most
    >recent US-related history, where he is very good. His book is probably the
    >best case for Bush's Iraq posture, but weak on the political impacts of
    >a move. His thinking focuses on the WMD and preemptive action themes.
    >"Saddam's Bombmaker" has been out for quite a while. It is a mixed bag of
    >fact, spin, and fiction, and if one can discern which is what, the book is
    >very interesting. It was one of the first exposes of Saddam that caught
    >public eye, and had a big impact on the US hawks.
    >FYI, the Policy Review, which comes out of Stanford's Hoover Institute, is
    >generally and unabashedly right-wing, as is the Institute. The Policy
    >Review was started as a counter to Foreign Affairs. I'm not sure what the
    >left-wing counter to Foreign Affairs is. They all try to publish articles
    >written by Washington insiders and supportive academics.
    >The Hoover Institute has one of the great collections of Middle Eastern
    >primary materials.

    Thanks again. I don't usually read the Foreign Affiairs type magazines because I find them boring and often have articles by people with an axe to grind but don't have the knowledge to back it up. I make this judgement based on articles I've read about China in these magazines where the writer usually knew less about what was going on in the country than I did. All they knew was what the government positions were on the subjects they talked about but usually didn't understand what was going on outside of Beijing and Washington. I always suspect coverage of the rest of the world is pretty much the same.

    Of course, I've had a front row seat from which to watch what was going on in the Far East since 1950 when I was dumped into the Korean War as an 18-year-old Marine and spent most of the rest of my military career in that area. Later, I went back as a teacher and worked for a number of computer companies writing their manuals. Needless to say, this kept my attention focused on the people and places where history was being made over there.

    I don't divide the world up into good guys and bad guys. I just see the world we live in as the result of the choices we made. Most of the people who made the choices couldn't have made any choice but the one they made because of the memes that run their lives. It reminds me of a software program that allows the computer to make if-then choices but it can't make any choices that aren't built into the program. Genes, in my opinion, act as a CPU for humans and memes act as the operating system and the working programs. The main difference between people and computers is that we keep evolving our software as we interact with the world and each other. That's why Saddam can only be Saddam and Bush can only be Bush. They both have to work within the parameters of the programs that they operate under. The same goes for the rest of us for the same reasons.

    I don't know why I'm going into this social analysis and exposition of my personal philosophy. Who cares other than me? I guess it's just one thing leading to another.



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