Prague Twin

Monday, June 25, 2007

Must Watch


As regular readers know, I really don't have time to blog properly anymore.

I will, therefore, only bother with things I find really interesting or really funny. This is mostly the former, and a little of the latter.

Seriously, watch it. Then, please give me your thoughts.

This thread could be a long one..... I hope.

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11 Comments:

  • When discussing the 'everything else' Barnett says:
    "We're better than anyone else and we still suck." (may not be exact quotes, my notes are in short-hand)

    I think that sums up the situation. I cannot attest as to whether or not we are better than anyone else; that may be national pride and it may be accurate. But, I do like his emphasis on "better than anyone else" not being enough. Better doesn't cut it when better equals bad.

    How to come up with a system -- an international system -- of addressing "politically bankrupt states" is a difficult question. I agree that it is a question that needs to be addressed, but resolving it is going to be a huge challenge.

    Some (perhaps many) in this country (USA), would consider China a "politically bankrupt state," though probably not to the same extent as others (like those African nations discussed in the last post). Yet China would almost certainly be one of the states who we'd work with to define what a "politically bankrupt state" looks like. This could pose a problem -- and imo it almost certainly would pose a problem.

    However, this gem is, imo, indisputable:
    "Don't plan for the war unless you plan to win the peace."

    To me, that has been our biggest failing in Iraq. We are still failing to attain that peace. And, for any true success to happen in Iraq, we need to plan for and win that peace. For ourselves and for the Iraqis. (The red line being "Mission Accomplished" was great!)

    Barnett's case for System Administrators is very strong and very moving. It plays on both the American qualities of compassionate concern, and peace-loving.

    Americans, as a whole, don't love war. We're not an empire-building nation (despite some claims to the contrary). We want peace, but we also do not want to stand by and do nothing. That compassionate concern and peace-loving clash, because we don't have the strategies to combine them. Thomas Barnett seems to have that strategy; and I hope he sees the fruit of his work within his life-time. We need it; and we need it now.

    (PT, thank you for taking the time to post that video!)

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 4:28 PM  

  • Pretty good, I thought. I like the idea of the young killers versus the 40 year old cops (private contractors?) If you shoot at the latter our elite forces will kill you. Good concept. I'm not sure he's right about everything, but a lot of good basics. I also doubt it will happen. And China is the only power left who could make us take them on with fighter on fighter, etc. We can't lose sight of that. I believe he's right about losing our way at the Berlin Wall fall but I don't see an effective way to set us on the right track. I'm also not sure his idea would prevent the 3 mil dead in Chicago thing he aludes to a couple of times. I don't know how to prevent that so I look on what will surely be our terrible reaction as the way to make things like al Qaeda be afraid to attack us. The only future I see is an ever growing use of robots with 19 year olds at the game like console back on the base. Thanks for posting this.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 4:52 AM  

  • Amazing. 23 minutes went buy like a snap of the fingers. Interesting concepts.

    By Blogger Frederick, at 4:18 PM  

  • I really like the part where he says, "...and Congress' eyes glaze over, 'Will you build it in my district?'".

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 9:55 PM  

  • imperialist nonsense. He ought to apply his a to z formula to his own country.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 12:16 AM  

  • Thanks for your comments everyone.

    I think we pretty much ran the board with opinions, from almost perfect, to imperialist garbage.

    My feeling is that if the U.S. is going to engage in interventionism (which it appears they mean to no matter which of the parties is in charge) some kind of force that Barnett refers to should be in place.

    Perhaps the private sector would do a better job however, and I think that a private sector version of the force he is proposing is already being built. Coordinating the various parts of this force is a major challenge, perhaps the major challenge that we face.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:23 PM  

  • I think the risk of having the private sector handle this sort of affair is that it would most likely seen by a vigilante force -- at least by those who disagreed with their actions/decisions. Also, the private sector force could not be the least bit democratic, which would taint its legitimacy in the minds of some.

    My question is this: Wouldn't the Peace Corp be something akin to the System Administrators described? Is there a way to expand the Peace Corp to fit this need?

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 12:56 AM  

  • Stephanie,

    I don't think the peace corps is really the model we are looking for. They tend to focus on the least developed areas of the planet. There are some private sector people doing what Barnett describes, but it is nascent, piecemeal, and underdeveloped.

    Clearly there is a void, but the question remains, "how to fill it?"

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:21 PM  

  • I don't know. It should definitely be international -- or else it would just be the US being "better" bullies. But... The difficulty is that corruption is a natural aspect of human organization. Whether it's government, religion, or academia -- no matter the intentions -- corruption worms its way in.

    Yet, corruption would counter-act the stabalizing element we'd intend to create. It's an interesting problem, and one worthy of an honest solution, but is the solution we're likely to get going to be an honest one?

    Or, perhaps, I'm just jaded.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 10:17 AM  

  • Nothing is perfect. We have to try to do the best we can.

    Throwing up our hands and saying there is no point in even trying because there will be corruption solves nothing.

    There is corruption here in CZ: a lot of it. Yet we have a cranking economy, universal health and education, clean safe streets, astounding public transportation.

    Sure, it could be better, but to say we shouldn't have a government because there is corruption is truly to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:40 AM  

  • I was thinking less about babies and bathwater, and more about caution. Corruption is inevitable as long as people are what they are. Whether one considers it a matter of being "fallen" or a matter of being un-evolved, human beings have a core of corruption within them. Not everyone gives in to that corruption, at least not to the degree of others, but that core of corruption seems to creep into organizations no matter how well designed.

    The difficulty I see is to create an organization that is well-designed anyway. It would be expedient to say, we need this as a world-body, so taking the easily-corrupted way to get it is okay, because we need it. However, I contend that it would be better to create an organization that fights against its own corruption so as better to handle "politically bankrupt nations."

    Throughout human history, there has been those who have pushed for an organization capable of world tyranny. This could be just such a tool, even though it would be intended to do the opposite. Going in, I think it's necessary to recognize that and to design the organization with that realization in mind -- appropriate checks and balances and the like. They're not perfect, as the US demonstrates, but they stay power from those who'd wield it more watonly. I think that is necessary, and that any such organization should be designed carefully.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 9:19 PM  

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