Book Review Folder - 2005/2006/2007

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Postby svinayak » 05 Jun 2007 00:58

Demography and national security

R.K. Ohri: The Bell Tolls: Tomorrow’s Truncated India, Manas Publications, 284 p, Rs 495.00

Written by a law enforcement officer by profession, this book is a topical study of the political scene in contemporary India.

Demography has always played a vital role in the history of mankind. Auguste Comte, the French philosopher of 19th century, had remarked, “Demography is destinyâ€

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Postby svinayak » 10 Jun 2007 02:42

Indoctrination U:The Left's War Against Academic Freedom
by David Horowitz (Author)

# Hardcover: 175 pages
# Publisher: Encounter Books (March 25, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1594031908
# ISBN-13: 978-1594031908

Should Conservadom, in the spirit of positive reinforcement, ever decide to create awards for its most valuable commentators, it is quite likely that David Horowitz will be summoned to the podium each and every year until the time of his death. Few other figures have so resolutely, and creatively, battled the left over the course of the past two decades.

The cure Horowitz offers to the propagandizing of the bottom10 percent of the professorate is called The Academic Bill of Rights. The context and story behind Indoctrination U is the author's attempt to gain publicity for the proposition. Having it enacted by state legislatures was never his primary goal. What he sincerely desired was for universities to preemptively adopt its essence into their own bylaws.

The Bill itself is reproduced in an appendix. Its language is well-crafted and rather innocuous, yet one would never know this from the reaction it received from its critics. They dubbed it "crazy, Orwellian, a witch hunt," and totalitarian in nature. Their disparagement is perhaps a ruse to better enable them to protect their own privilege as tenets like, "No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political or religious beliefs" is not the stuff of McCarthyism. Although, should it be rigidly interpreted, a clause like, "Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination" would completely threaten the activists' way of life. Commandments like that are far more threatening than having their beloved Fairness Doctrine applied to network news broadcasts or NPR.

Those who actually discussed the initiative were generally dismissive. One proclaimed it a "solution in search of a problem." How much better off the country would be if such a view was correct. The liberal arts programs within our universities have become leftist bastions whose purpose is no longer to pursue truth. Unlike with the sciences, whose colleges are the finest in the world, numerous liberal arts departments have become completely politicized and are little more than ad hoc centers of agitprop.

Many of our tenured luminaries even question whether there is such a thing as truth or objectivity at all. Their skepticism makes for all kinds of classroom mischief as they idolatrously worship the troika of race, class, and gender. What "social justice" should mean is that the citizenry has the right to keep what they've earned, but, in the mouths of radicals, it is morphed into a description of government's attempt to pit one social group against another via an arbitrary, and authoritarian, redistribution of wealth scheme. Political correctness functions as the academy's Cerberus. It tyrannizes the marketplace of ideas and uses wonderland logic to turn its critics into peddlers of hate speech.

To explain what I mean, imagine that you are in a debate about which side the United States fought on in World War Two. You claim that we fought against Japan, while your opponent says that we and Japan were allies against China in that war. Anyway, the evidence that we fought against Japan is overwhelming, and you say so. In addition, you use some anecdotes to confirm it. But to your annoyance, your opponent cites some anecdotes that purport to show the opposite! The discussion gets into details about the anecdotes, and the whole issue looks controversial. Well, that's one reason I am less than enamored of anecdotal evidence.

Continuing my example, your opponent may then attack you as an untrustworthy person. Suddenly, the topic has changed. The issue is no longer World War Two. It's you! That is when you realize that when one has no case, the rules appear to change. You, with an overwhelming case, have truth and logic on your side, so you need to be careful to respect truth and logic. Otherwise, you will cede your advantage in a reasoned discussion. However, your opponent is under no such restrictions!

All this is a little like the theme of this fine book. Yes, there are some anecdotes. And there are discussions about unwarranted ad hominem attacks that are often used by indoctrinators to avoid having to discuss the truth. And we see that although free speech is protected, there are consequences for it. Horowitz says that "a pastor who goes into church on Sunday to preach a sermon that God does not exist will be looking for work on Monday, free speech rights or no." I agree. A person who makes elementary misstatements about mathematics may be entitled to do so, by their rights of free speech. But that in no way says that there will be no penalties. A student who does this may get a bad grade on a math exam. A professor who does so may be subject to disciplinary measures. The issue here is not academic freedom but simply academic standards. And I think these are occasionally at stake when a few professors simply substitute political propaganda for what is supposed to be scholarly work.

I don't need to debate a few anecdotes to see that there is a problem in some universities. In a field I know something about, namely the Arab war against Israel, I can see what material some professors assign in an assortment of universities. And I can see what is in the college bookstores on this topic. There's a manifest problem in quite a few of these universities.

The main point of Horowitz's book is that we should support an academic bill of rights, which he shows us in Appendix 1 of the book. These rights include ensuring "intellectual independence of professors, researchers and students." And they include demanding that faculty hiring be based on competence and knowledge of a field. In many areas, I think we already have this. But in some fields, I think competence may be of secondary value compared to "political correctness," and that is totally contrary to what ought to be the charter of our academic institutions.

While Horowitz wants to avoid political indoctrination by either liberals or conservatives, he makes it clear that the liberals look to him like the bigger problem at the moment. After all, in this book he reports that the number of "self-described `liberals'" in university positions outnumber the "self-described `conservatives'" by more than seven to one.
Well, that may be a good point. But I think that the solution would be to recruit plenty of academics who might support such academic standards, and that means trying to appeal to a group of people, the majority of whom call themselves liberals.

I'm strongly against the indoctrination that Horowitz complains about. However, I think that it is not easy to make rules about it. Indoctrinators can often attempt to claim that you, not they, are in violation of your own rules. I also feel that "balance" is a tricky concept. In many classes, it is important to illustrate concepts by showing dissenting opinions. And professors should use their skills to determine what sorts of material to use in these situations. But at other times, the dissenting "opinions" are simply unreasonable, insincere, or gross propaganda. I'm not so sure what benefits there are, educationally speaking, to systematically assigning some of that subject matter in the name of "balance." To Horowitz's credit, that's not what he has in mind either.

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Postby svinayak » 10 Jun 2007 02:58

Kissinger: A Biography
by Walter Isaacson (Author)

# Paperback: 896 pages
# Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (September 27, 2005)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0743286979
# ISBN-13: 978-0743286978

The fullest account of Kissinger's life and career to date, other than for his memoirs, this massive biography provides plenty of ammunition for the former Secretary of State's supporters and detractors. Growing up in Nazi Germany as an Orthodox Jew, Kissinger faced beatings and virulent anti-Semitism, and in Isaacson's view these burdened him with lifelong feelings of insecurity and distrust, as well as a yearning for stability and order. Isaacson, assistant managing editor of Time , sees Kissinger as the foremost American negotiator of this century, but one whose furtive, conspiratorial, at times deceitful personality shaped his conservative realpolitik and diplomatic maneuvering. He maintains that Kissinger's foreign policy, rooted in stealth and surprise, mirrored and reinforced the darker side of his increasingly jealous patron, President Nixon, and goes on to reveal how Chief of Staff Alexander Haig undercut his rival. He also pierces the secretive world of Kissinger's lucrative, globetrotting post-White House career as a business consultant. A spooky, engrossing portrait of the only European-style realist ever to guide U.S. foreign policy.

From Library Journal
Isaacson, assistant managing editor of Time , has produced much more than another unauthorized biography, giving extensive insights into the younger years of Heinz Kissinger in Bavaria and how they shaped his character, his style in dealing with others, and his worldview. Over 150 interviews with Kissinger intimates, enemies, subordinates, and the man himself generate a less-than-flattering portrayal of the man behind the intellect and the myths. Isaacson covers Kissinger's Americanization, his use of Harvard ties to enhance his career, his forays into the stratosphere of the Council on Foreign Relations (NY), and his Washington years and exploits. He also examines Kissinger's ill-fated negotiations with the North Vietnamese, empire building as national security assistant, shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, arms control efforts, and later years as private citizen and consultant. While there are other excellent Kissinger biographies (Stephen Graubard's Kissinger , LJ 6/1/73; John Stoessinger's Henry Kissinger: The Anguish of Power , LJ 9/15/76; Bruce Mazlich's Kissinger: The European Mind in American Policy , LJ 9/15/76), this work is the best to date on Henry K. Superstar. Essential for general libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/92.

It's impossible to write a completely objective biography on a contempory and highly controversial figure - but Walter Isaacson has come decently close with "Kissinger."

This massive best-seller is a wild, often uproarious and always entertaining read. Isaacson traces Kissinger from his turbulent childhood in Nazi Germany, his formative years in the US Army during the Second World War and his storied tenure as a Harvard underclassman, graduate student and imperious young professor. He presents Kissinger as undeniably brilliant yet completely insecure, callous and driven by unbridled ambition. His ultimate success as an academic, a bureaucrat and a statesman were all attributable to an uncommon mix of exceptional talent, incredible hard-work and constant manipulation.

Isaacson highlights Kissinger's academic focus on 19th century European diplomacy and attempts to show how the method and practice of Napoleonic era foreign secretaries such as Metternich directly influenced his behavior as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. His attempts to centralize power and decision-making across all facets of foreign policy result in some of the most entertaining pieces of the biography: Kissinger's bizarre relationship with his boss, Richard Nixon. For instance, Isaacson tells how Kissinger always did his best to keep Nixon away from direct meetings with foreign leaders and diplomats, citing the president's "Walter Mitty tendencies" - as if the chief executive's desire to play an intimate role in his administration's foreign policy were ominous signs of delusions of grandeur. He also describes how the totalitarian leadership in the Soviet Union and North Vietnam were often befuddled by the incessant use of back-channel contacts and covert diplomatic horse-trading proposed by Kissinger and the Nixon White House. Finally, Isaacson's description of a maudlin Nixon begging Kissinger to kneel and pray with him in the White House on the eve of his resignation is simply unforgettable.

In the end, the best description of Kissinger is the one Isaacson writes in the final pages of his biography: "...[Kissinger's] mixture of brilliance and abrasiveness, ego and insecurity, charm and furtiveness, humor and ambition had made him, for better and for worse, one of the premier stars of his era."

Walter Isaacson, who has written esteemed biographies of Benjamin Franklin, The Wise Men, and Einstein, tackles the complex character of Henry Kissinger, academic, diplomat, and consultant. Kissinger is a difficult character to pin down, as Isaacson notes. He was devious, self-promoting, self-deprecating, intelligent, ambitious, and successful. The author interviewed over 150 people--including Kissinger himself--to gather information for this lengthy volume (767 pages of text).

At the outset, Isaacson says (page 9): "Three decades after he left office, Henry Kissinger continues to exert a fascinating hold on the public imagination as well as intellectual sway over the nation's foreign policy conversation." He was a well-known apostle of "Realpolitik," emphasizing doing what had to be done to advance the national interest, balancing power with power, concerned more with accomplishing things than getting caught up in ideology and morality. Again, a realist as opposed to an idealist. And this is the tension that is described throughout the course of this powerful volume (page 15): ". . .Kissinger had an instinctive feel. . .for power and for creating a new global balance that could help America cope with its withdrawal syndrome after Vietnam. But it was not matched by a similar feel for the strength to be derived from the openness of America's democratic system or for the moral values that are the true source of its global influence."

The book begins with a brief early biography of Kissinger, including the misery he experienced after the Nazis came to power and the departure of his immediate family from Germany when they came to understand how inhospitable that country was becoming for Jews. The book also notes that many of his relatives died during World War II, part of the Holocaust. There follows the tale of his adolescence, his military service, his graduate study, and his promising academic career.

But the major portion of this book focuses on his role as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon's presidency and Secretary of State under Gerald Ford. There is a relatively brief discussion in several chapters of his life after Nixon-Ford, as consultant, commentator, intellectual-without-portfolio.

After having worked with Nelson Rockefeller as an advisor, it is somewhat surprising that he ended up serving one of Rocky's antagonists, Richard Nixon. The book traces the odd relationship between Nixon and Kissinger. Sometimes hard-edged and combative, sometimes oddly supportive of one another. The secretive Nixon and Kissinger as lone cowboy accomplished a great deal in foreign policy; however, their penchant for secrecy also created problems of its own. Kissinger could be viewed is devious (for telling different people things in such a way as for each to think that Kissinger was on his/her side), but he also earned the trust of many leaders as he invented "shuttle diplomacy." Leaders might become exasperated with his style and his deviousness, but he was effective in a number of key instances. Examples worth exploring and reflecting upon in the book include the negotiations with North Vietnam to extricate the United States from a quagmire of its own making; the effort to end the Yom Kippur War in a manner that would stabilize the Middle East; the opening to China; détente with the Soviet Union.

This is a biography that is worth investing time and energy into. It portrays Kissinger, warts and all, in a manner that illuminates this complicated individual. On some pages, one will think of railing against him; on other pages, one may well feel admiration for his strengths and accomplishments.

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Postby svinayak » 10 Jun 2007 13:59

Einstein: His Life and Universe
by Walter Isaacson (Author)

# Hardcover: 704 pages
# Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 10, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0743264738
# ISBN-13: 978-0743264730

As a scientist, Albert Einstein is undoubtedly the most epic among 20th-century thinkers. Albert Einstein as a man, however, has been a much harder portrait to paint, and what we know of him as a husband, father, and friend is fragmentary at best. With Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson (author of the bestselling biographies Benjamin Franklin and Kissinger) brings Einstein's experience of life, love, and intellectual discovery into brilliant focus. The book is the first biography to tackle Einstein's enormous volume of personal correspondence that heretofore had been sealed from the public, and it's hard to imagine another book that could do such a richly textured and complicated life as Einstein's the same thoughtful justice. Isaacson is a master of the form and this latest opus is at once arresting and wonderfully revelatory. --Anne Bartholomew

Read "The Light-Beam Rider," the first chapter of Walter Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe. Five Questions for Walter Isaacson What kind of scientific education did you have to give yourself to be able to understand and explain Einstein's ideas?

Isaacson: I've always loved science, and I had a group of great physicists--such as Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, and Murray Gell-Mann--who tutored me, helped me learn the physics, and checked various versions of my book. I also learned the tensor calculus underlying general relativity, but tried to avoid spending too much time on it in the book. I wanted to capture the imaginative beauty of Einstein's scientific leaps, but I hope folks who want to delve more deeply into the science will read Einstein books by such scientists as Abraham Pais, Jeremy Bernstein, Brian Greene, and others. That Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he revolutionized our understanding of the physical world has often been treated as ironic or even absurd. But you argue that in many ways his time there fostered his discoveries. Could you explain?

Isaacson: I think he was lucky to be at the patent office rather than serving as an acolyte in the academy trying to please senior professors and teach the conventional wisdom. As a patent examiner, he got to visualize the physical realities underlying scientific concepts. He had a boss who told him to question every premise and assumption. And as Peter Galison shows in Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps, many of the patent applications involved synchronizing clocks using signals that traveled at the speed of light. So with his office-mate Michele Besso as a sounding board, he was primed to make the leap to special relativity. That time in the patent office makes him sound far more like a practical scientist and tinkerer than the usual image of the wild-haired professor, and more like your previous biographical subject, the multitalented but eminently earthly Benjamin Franklin. Did you see connections between them?

Isaacson: I like writing about creativity, and that's what Franklin and Einstein shared. They also had great curiosity and imagination. But Franklin was a more practical man who was not very theoretical, and Einstein was the opposite in that regard. Of the many legends that have accumulated around Einstein, what did you find to be least true? Most true?

Isaacson: The least true legend is that he failed math as a schoolboy. He was actually great in math, because he could visualize equations. He knew they were nature's brushstrokes for painting her wonders. For example, he could look at Maxwell's equations and marvel at what it would be like to ride alongside a light wave, and he could look at Max Planck's equations about radiation and realize that Planck's constant meant that light was a particle as well as a wave. The most true legend is how rebellious and defiant of authority he was. You see it in his politics, his personal life, and his science. At Time and CNN and the Aspen Institute, you've worked with many of the leading thinkers and leaders of the day. Now that you've had the chance to get to know Einstein so well, did he remind you of anyone from our day who shares at least some of his remarkable qualities?

Isaacson: There are many creative scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking, who wrote the essay on Einstein as "Person of the Century" when I was editor of Time. In the world of technology, Steve Jobs has the same creative imagination and ability to think differently that distinguished Einstein, and Bill Gates has the same intellectual intensity. I wish I knew politicians who had the creativity and human instincts of Einstein, or for that matter the wise feel for our common values of Benjamin Franklin.

From Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed biographer Isaacson examines the remarkable life of "science's preeminent poster boy" in this lucid account (after 2003's Benjamin Franklin and 1992's Kissinger). Contrary to popular myth, the German-Jewish schoolboy Albert Einstein not only excelled in math, he mastered calculus before he was 15. Young Albert's dislike for rote learning, however, led him to compare his teachers to "drill sergeants." That antipathy was symptomatic of Einstein's love of individual and intellectual freedom, beliefs the author revisits as he relates his subject's life and work in the context of world and political events that shaped both, from WWI and II and their aftermath through the Cold War. Isaacson presents Einstein's research—his efforts to understand space and time, resulting in four extraordinary papers in 1905 that introduced the world to special relativity, and his later work on unified field theory—without equations and for the general reader. Isaacson focuses more on Einstein the man: charismatic and passionate, often careless about personal affairs; outspoken and unapologetic about his belief that no one should have to give up personal freedoms to support a state. Fifty years after his death, Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (1879–1955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. 500,000 firsr printing, 20-city author tour, first serial to Time; confirmed appearance on Good Morning America. (Apr.)

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Postby vivek_ahuja » 10 Jun 2007 14:28


I happened to finish reading your book and I have to say that I liked it very much. Since its posted here on BR as an e-book, I thought I might ask you as to why you have never considered publishing it on paper…it seems under-exploited at the moment. I have read it, and I bet so will have many others interested in reading it in this form, but I am sure you could have targeted a much larger audience (including decision making ones) to your book.

Hope you don’t mind taking a review from someone as new to this field as I am, but the book itself seems like a first class book to be read by all those claiming to understand Pakistan. I bet it can teach them a thing or two out of hand. Having said that, it’s a also a must read book for all those interested in counter-terrorism in India. I don’t mean it as a training course, but something that should be read to really understand Terrorism. It is useful Not for reporting terrorism, not for stopping it, but in Understanding it’s roots and causes...which is something that most people just skim through while discussing Terrorism. Ours is just a superficial understanding of the term Terrorism, but this book helps in reading what goes on in the mind of the Pakistani terrorist. And if thought over properly, how to control this war and eventually stop it.

Secondly, I happened to read a book named: “Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islamâ€

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Postby SSridhar » 10 Jun 2007 16:01

I was hoping to discuss this topic in further detail here on BR, but the current threads didn’t seem the right place, as it is essentially a new topic.

If it pertains to TSP, you may post in that thread because we discuss anything and everything about TSP there except TSP-sponsored global terrorism for which the thread is separate.

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Postby JE Menon » 10 Jun 2007 18:32

>>I have the e-version of the book in case you want to see it.

Feel free to email, if possible, to

jmarvind at yahoo dot com

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Postby vivek_ahuja » 10 Jun 2007 19:01

If it pertains to TSP, you may post in that thread because we discuss anything and everything about TSP there except TSP-sponsored global terrorism for which the thread is separate.

Okay, I will start posting it there. If the discussion develops along a different direction, then we can always move it to some other place.

JE Menon,

You have mail. Please check whether you have received it.

-Vivek Ahuja

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Postby ramana » 10 Jun 2007 19:27

vivek, Please start new thread .

Also please send me a copy of the e-book.Esposito is an apologist too.

Last edited by ramana on 10 Jun 2007 20:26, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby SSridhar » 10 Jun 2007 20:01

vivek, Please start new thread as this is for book reviews since 2005.

ramana, he is not talking of posting here. He is referring to the TSP/IRoT thread.

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Postby vivek_ahuja » 10 Jun 2007 20:16

vivek, Please start new thread .

Also please send me a copy of the e-book.Esposito is an apologist too.

Okay...done. Please check your mail.

in any case, i was merely using the reference to the book as a possible source of interest for Shiv, whose book i was commenting on. i will take SSridhar's advice and move the discussion to the TSP and/or IRoT thread. let's see where ot goes from there

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Postby svinayak » 11 Jun 2007 09:46

Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life
by Ted Gup (Author)

# Hardcover: 336 pages
# Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (May 29, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0385514751
# ISBN-13: 978-0385514750

In this probing exposé, former Washington Post and Time magazine investigative reporter Gup (The Book of Honor) surveys the post-9/11 mania for secrecy, focusing on the ubiquitous classification of routine information, the gutting of the Freedom of Information Act and the persecution of whistle-blowers. The government, he notes, is busy reclassifying information that has been in the public domain for decades, and a Pentagon report criticizing excessive secrecy was stamped Top Secret. It's all part of a national obsession with confidentiality, Gup argues, that afflicts corporations, universities and the press itself, whose reliance on unnamed sources corrupts and misleads its reporting. Gup's muckraking sometimes misfires (he reports on an intelligence operative who either murdered two other agents or was pulling his leg), and he ups the anxiety by conflating government secrecy with surveillance and wire-tapping programs. Democracy seems more gummed up than actually threatened by the problems he spotlights, such as the concealment of crimes, defective products and corporate chicanery, gossip replacing verifiable news, government pursuit of misguided policies based on secret information rather than public information that can be checked and debated. Still, this is a cogent critique of a tight-lipped America that is increasingly paranoid, dysfunctional and absurd.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Description
In The Book of Honor, Ted Gup uncovered some of the CIA's closest-held secrets: the names and stories of the seventy-one undercover operatives who were killed in the line of duty. Now he turns his attention to a broader range of American institutions, exposing how and why they keep secrets from the very people they are supposed to serve. Drawing on original reporting and startling analysis, Gup argues that a preoccupation with secrets has undermined the very values—security, patriotism, privacy, the national interest—in whose name secrecy is so often invoked.

Gup shows how the expanding thicket of classified information leads to the devaluation of the secrets we most need to keep, and that journalists have become pawns in the government’s internal conflicts over access to information. He explores the blatant exploitation of privacy and confidentiality in academia, business, and the courts, and concludes that in case after case, these principles have been twisted to allow the emergence of a shadow system of justice, unaccountable to the public.

Drawing on Gup's decades of work as an investigative reporter, NATION OF SECRETS will shake our faith in some of our most trusted institutions, piercing the veil of secrecy to reveal an alarming new threat to democracy in America. Gup presents a vision radical in its clarity, conservative in its roots, of a country teetering on the brink of losing its identity.

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Postby svinayak » 11 Jun 2007 10:00

Act Of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations : A Story of Superpowers, Secret Agents, Wartime Allies and Enemies, and Their Quest for a Peaceful World
by Stephen C. Schlesinger (Author)

When President Roosevelt died in April 1945, the plans for a United Nations suddenly fell into peril. Many wondered if the unassuming new president from Independence, Mo., would postpone the long-planned San Francisco conference scheduled to begin in two weeks' time. But Truman's commitment to the global organization was steadfast. For the previous 50 years, he had carried in his pocket a folded piece of paper with the words of his favorite poem, "Lockesley Hall," by Alfred Lord Tennyson: "Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd/In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World./There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe/And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law." Thus, nothing halted the gathering of delegates from all over the world to discuss the thorny issues that would be addressed in the U.N. charter. Most of Schlesinger's book covers the nine-week San Francisco conference, a fascinating web of intrigue, power and greed. Most interesting is the performance by the American secretary of state, Edward Stettinius, chief overseer and coordinator of the conference. While his ability was doubted and he was criticized by many, Stettinius performed brilliantly, according to Schlesinger, who credits him with the conference's success. Whatever the reader's opinion of the U.N. and its current role, Schlesinger, director of the New School University's World Policy Institute, provides a masterful account of the drama acted out on the pressure-filled stage of San Francisco. He handles the complexities with ease and provides the reader with an engaging and thorough account. 16 pages of b&w photos. 40,000 first printing.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Never has a book been more relevant to present dangers and future hopes." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Postby jrjrao » 11 Jun 2007 22:57

India Today
June 18, 2007

HEADLINE: Pride And Prejudice

BYLINE: G. Parthasarathy
The first military dictator of Pakistan misreads global developments and spells out his dislike of India in his self-serving memoirs spanning a turbulent period in the history of the subcontinent

Edited and annotated by Craig Baxter

Oxford University Press

Price: £26.99, Pages: 638

India-baiting has been an abiding characteristic of Gohar Ayub Khan, who as speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly loudly proclaimed, during the course of an official visit to India in 1993, that India would disintegrate. This propensity was also more than evident in his comments about virtually every aspect of India’s national life—from its industries to its armed forces. In these circumstances, one would naturally be concerned about the authenticity of the diaries of his father—Pakistan’s first military dictator, the self-proclaimed “Field Marshalâ€

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Postby svinayak » 15 Jun 2007 12:40

Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower
by Zbigniew Brzezinski (Author)

# Hardcover: 240 pages
# Publisher: Basic Books; First edition edition (March 5, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0465002528
# ISBN-13: 978-0465002528

Bush 41 Gets a grade of B
Clinton gets a grade of C
Dubya gets a grade of F

The Iraq war has America's foreign policy mavens waxing nostalgic. Partisans of the elder George Bush long for the days when realism and caution reigned in the White House. Bill Clinton's fans fondly recall an era when presidential trips overseas drew admiring crowds rather than angry protesters. U.S. foreign policy, it would seem, should go forward by going backward.

Zbigniew Brzezinski will have none of that. In his engaging and briskly argued new book, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser sees little worth emulating in the past 15 years of U.S. foreign policy. He asks how Washington has led since becoming the world's first truly global leader after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His answer? "In a word, badly."

To make that case, Brzezinski grades the performance of presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush -- or, to use the ungainly terms he prefers, Global Leaders I, II and III. Second Chance even comes complete with a full-blown report card. (You can guess which president gets an F.) Brzezinski's unsparing assessments will warm the heart of anyone worried about grade inflation.

George H.W. Bush, Brzezinski argues, was a superb crisis manager who missed the opportunity to leave a lasting imprint on U.S. foreign policy because he was not a strategic visionary. He earns a solid B. On the other hand, Bill Clinton had the intellect to craft just such a post-Cold War strategy but lacked the discipline and the passion, leading to eight years that produced more drift than direction. He gets an uneven C. Finally, the younger Bush offered "catastrophic leadership" after 9/11 that has already stamped his "presidency as a historical failure."

These portraits will strike many readers as conventional -- and others as unfair, particularly to the first Bush. Yes, Bush 41 famously foundered with the "vision thing." But then again, less than a year passed between the Soviet Union's demise and his reelection defeat -- not much time to devise, let alone institutionalize, a new world order. And it goes beyond unfair to argue, as Brzezinski does, that had the elder Bush deposed Saddam Hussein when he had the chance in 1991, "a subsequent U.S. president might not have gone to war in Iraq." The younger Bush chose to wage war on Iraq; he was not forced into it by the choices his father made.

So much for the grades. So what does looking backward tell us about going forward? Brzezinski believes that George W. Bush's choices have been calamitous but not fatal. There's still no other country that can play the role of global leader. So America will get a second chance -- but not a third -- to reclaim the mantle of global leadership.

As much as Second Chance criticizes Global Leaders I, II and III for failing to devise a sensible geopolitical strategy, it does not offer one of its own. The few specific policy recommendations it does offer are unconvincing. Brzezinski wants to establish an executive-legislative planning mechanism to inject greater coherence into foreign policy. But this proposal fails to realize that consensus can produce bad policies as well as good ones. After all, we plunged into Iraq in 2003 because Congress followed rather than resisted the White House's lead.

Brzezinski also wants "stricter lobbying laws" because ethnic lobbies have too tight a hold on Uncle Sam's ear. But this exaggerates their importance. Yes, lobbying groups favoring countries such as Israel, Armenia, Greece and Taiwan complicate the lives of policymakers, but they seldom prove decisive on major issues. When they do -- as in the case of the Israel lobby, which Brzezinski believes distorts U.S. policy in the Middle East -- it is not because they mobilize narrow interests but because they can mobilize a broad swath of public opinion. That, for better or worse, is what democracy is all about.

What Second Chance does offer is a wise insight that should guide any effort to fashion a strategy to restore American leadership. We are in the midst of what Brzezinski rightly calls a "global political awakening." Technology has made global "have-nots" painfully conscious of their relative deprivation. It has also given them the tools to punish those they see as blocking their aspirations. If the United States is to avoid becoming the target of their resentment, its foreign policy must be seen as serving their interests as well as its own. That means exercising self-restraint rather than pressing every advantage that comes to a superpower; it means listening to others and not just working to preserve our own peace and prosperity but helping others to build their own. The Global Leader IV who can find a way to translate these precepts into practical policies should be able to impress even the redoubtable Prof. Brzezinski.

Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

Last edited by svinayak on 15 Jun 2007 20:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby abhischekcc » 15 Jun 2007 14:40

I have the e-version of the book in case you want to see it.

Shri Vivek Ahuja,
I would love to get that book <<drool>> <<drool>>.

Pliss to send at - bigbadwolf at goowy dot com

Thanks in advance

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Postby shiv » 15 Jun 2007 15:08

Vivek Ahuja - I just saw your post. thank you. I got the ecopy of that book and will go through it.

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Postby shiv » 15 Jun 2007 19:28


Secondly, I happened to read a book named: “Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islamâ€

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Postby ramana » 15 Jun 2007 20:18

ramana wrote:vivek, Please start new thread .

Also please send me a copy of the e-book.Esposito is an apologist too.



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Postby svinayak » 16 Jun 2007 07:40 ... /book1.htm

Challenges to India’s security

V. N. Datta

Will the Iron Fence Save A Tree
Hollowed by Termites?

Defence Imperatives Beyond the Military.
by Arun Shourie. Rupa. Pages 587. Rs 595.

Will the Iron Fence Save A Tree Hollowed by Termites?This big book (not the short one, as the author claims), full of massive information, and overflowing with facts and figures, focuses on the challenges, particularly military, that India faces from her neighbouring countries: Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. This work is a revised and extended version of the Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa and J. N. Chaudhari Memorial lectures, which Arun Shourie had delivered to the armed forces in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Shourie’s credentials as a writer are impeccable of 19 books, he is acknowledged as an outstanding journalist and an acute analyst of contemporary politics.

In the opening chapter, Shourie attacks the Indian political leadership for mishandling the crucial political questions for which we are still made to pay a heavy price both in men and material. He does not spare Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who he thinks, committed a grave blunder in taking the Kashmir problem to the United Nations, when there was absolutely no need for doing so. Shourie thinks that Indira Gandhi too dithered. She could have resolved the Kashmir question at Simla after Pakistan’s defeat in 1971. But she lost the golden opportunity. The author maintains that it was the political immaturity of Indian leaders that led to the recrudescence of terrorism in Punjab, insurgency in Assam, the infiltration of lakhs of Bangladeshis in India, and a complete collapse of administration in Bihar. Shourie asks, "Is not UP going the Bihar way?"

A major portion of Shourie’s book, almost one third, discusses the genesis, growth and nature of terrorism in Pakistan. He shows how the mushrooming of various Islamic organisations inspired by a fanatical spirit of Jihad had caught the imagination of the youth, who indulged in reckless killing in the name of Islam. He emphasizes that a process of ideological mobilisation always precedes terrorist violence. In this connection, he analyses closely K. K. Aziz’s study of the textbooks prescribed in Pakistan for schoolchildren. The textbooks, Shourie maintains, by their wilful distortion, misrepresentation and concoction of facts, have fostered a spirit of antipathy and inveterate hatred among the Muslim youth against India and her people.

From chapter 9, Shourie’s main focus is on China. It is a matter of concern to the author that China is collaborating with Pakistan in developing atomic weapons. He sums up the China policy as "grasp, hold and time passes". Shourie warns that we should not be taken in, as had happened in 1961, by the Chinese smiles and courtesies. For India, still the issues remain unresolved: Tibet, Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. Shourie states that just as China can stand up to the US, why can’t India muster strength and will to fight back. Strength, of course, the author emphasizes, does not lie in weapons but in the development of our capacities. Hence we should concentrate on modernising our military equipment.

The most illuminating part of the book relates to Henry Kissinger’s negotiations with Chinese Prime Minister Chou-En-Lai, which Shourie discuses in the light of the secret US documents reproduced in the US Press. Shourie shows how countries professing lofty moral principles play with "clinical aloofness" a game of ruthless "Realpolitik" for promoting their national interests.

In Chapter 13, Everyone for Himself, Shourie gives primary importance to self-reliance in the building of a nation. Towards the end of his life, Bismarck was asked: "How did you make Germany a great country?" The Iron Chancellor replied: "Alone, alone, alone." But, I think, it was Bismarck’s system of alliances and alignments that enabled Germany to consolidate. I wish that Shourie had emphasised the need for refining our diplomatic skills, too.

Shourie emerges from this assiduously conducted research work as a fervent Indian nationalist deeply concerned about the future of his country in a topsy-turvy world. He is absolutely right that there is a total absence of scholarly work on security issues—the quantum of serious studies on China, Japan and Nepal is woefully little. He asks, "How many persons in RAW are fluent in Chinese, Japanese and Farsi." Doubtless, there is an urgent need for us to know our neighbours through their history, literature and languages.

It appears from this study that Shourie’s formulation of the principles of foreign and military policy have a close resemblance to that of Bismarck and his disciple Henry Kissinger’s, who regard military power and balance of forces as instruments of a successful state policy.

Throughout the book, the author persists in suggesting maxims for guiding political and military leaders for forming government policies. Such a convenient rule-of-the-thumb approach universally applied tends to overlook the role of "contingencies" and " in the vicissitude of human offices. History, by no means, is a cookbook to offer recipes, as Kissinger tells us. History cannot give us any conceptual framework within which evolving political or military systems can be conveniently fitted. Towards the end of the book, Shourie urges his countrymen to "make nationalism their religion". The learned writer should know better than this reviewer that nationalism, unless leavened by liberalism, turns into chauvinism and fascism.

This work is a document of primary importance for policy makers interested in strategic thinking on crucial political and military issues facing India.

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Postby svinayak » 17 Jun 2007 23:38

The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence (Modern War Studies)
by Raymond J. Batvinis (Author)

# Hardcover: 332 pages
# Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 15, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0700614958
# ISBN-13: 978-0700614950

As the world prepared for war in the 1930s, the United States discovered that it faced the real threat of foreign spies stealing military and industrial secrets-and that it had no established means to combat them. Into that breach stepped J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

Although the FBI's expanded role in World War II has been well documented, few have examined the crucial period before Pearl Harbor when the Bureau's powers secretly expanded to face the developing international emergency. Former FBI agent Raymond Batvinis now tells how the Bureau grew from a small law enforcement unit into America's first organized counter-espionage and counterintelligence service. Batvinis examines the FBI's emerging new roles during the two decades leading up to America's entry into World War II to show how it cooperated and competed with other federal agencies. He takes readers behind the scenes, as the State Department and Hoover fought fiercely over the control of counterintelligence, and tells how the agency combined its crime-fighting expertise with its new wiretapping authority to spy on foreign agents.

Based on newly declassified documents and interviews with former agents, Batvinis's account reconstructs and greatly expands our understanding of the FBI's achievements and failures during this period. Among these were the Bureau's mishandling of the 1938 Rumrich/Griebl spy case, which Hoover slyly used to broaden his agency's powers; its cracking of the Duquesne Espionage Case in 1941, which enabled Hoover to boost public and congressional support to new heights; and its failure to understand the value of Soviet agent Walter Krivitsky, which slowed Bureau efforts to combat Soviet espionage in America.

In addition, Batvinis offers a new view of the relationship between the FBI and the military, cites the crucial contributions of British intelligence to the FBI's counter-intelligence education, and reveals the agency's ultra-secret role in mining financial records for the Treasury Department. He also reviews the early days of the top-secret Special Intelligence Service, which quietly dispatched FBI agents posing as businessmen to South America to spy on their governments.

With an insider's knowledge and a storyteller's skill, Batvinis provides a page-turning history narrative that greatly revises our views of the FBI-and also resonates powerfully with our own post-9/11 world.

From the Back Cover
"A richly detailed account of the FBI's response to the world crisis of the 1930s and 1940s that overturns much accepted 'wisdom' about FBI intelligence failures and turf battles. Batvinis stays close to his sources while telling an engrossing story that should become the new standard account of FBI counter-intelligence. A stimulating and fascinating work."-Richard Gid Powers, author of Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover

"A strong and compelling book on the FBI's pre-World War II transformation."-Katherine Sibley, author of Red Spies in America: Stolen Secrets and the Dawn of the Cold War

"An important book on a little-explored aspect of FBI history."-Athan Theoharis, author of The FBI and American Democracy: A Brief Critical History

This book is a fast, easy read with lots of details and facts about the early history of FBI. It is a must read for students of the pre-WW II era. Batvinis has done some supurb primary reasearch, even gong back to FDR's personal files to see what he said about the threats against our country. I just retired from the FBI after 30 years and I didn't know half the stuff in this book.

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Postby svinayak » 18 Jun 2007 07:45

Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power
by Marcus Mabry (Author)

# Hardcover: 360 pages
# Publisher: Rodale Books (May 1, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1594863628
# ISBN-13: 978-1594863622

President George W. Bush has said of Condoleezza Rice, "Whatever she says, it’s like talking to me." Mabry writes that many of Rice’s sponsors, from Brent Scowcroft to a Marxist professor, have felt the same affinity, each to be "left scratching his head as he saw Rice make a 180-degree turn away from the core beliefs he thought they shared." Mabry, who had Rice’s coöperation here, succeeds in giving coherence to her character, from her roots in segregated Birmingham—where her middle-class parents were both inspired and mortified by Martin Luther King’s radicalism—to her broken engagement to the 1975 N.F.L. Rookie of the Year and her bond with George Bush. On Iraq, Mabry has less to offer, in part, perhaps, because of his subject’s detachment; her supreme self-confidence, he writes, has made it hard for her to recognize the disaster unfolding on her watch.

It has always seemed to me that writing a biography about a living person is fraught with intellectual risk and potential embarrassment. After all, living human beings are never static and one can well imagine that on the very day a particular biography is published, the subject of the work has undergone a recent metamorphoses and is no longer the person written about. (By the way, I admit to having the same fear about making statements which I deem to be "absolutely certain"; I just know that if I absolutely deny the existence of unicorns, one will show up in my backyard the next day!) Anyway, I have to admire Marcus Mabry's willingness to tackle a biography of Condoleezza Rice. She is still alive and well and, moreover, holds a very controversial political position in very controversial times. Not only is Rice one of the most powerful public figures in the world; she is also a Republican, more or less politically "conservative," a person of the female gender and, most notably I think, a person of "color" -- a Black leader in a predominately White establishment. She is, in fact, the first Black woman to hold an office as high as U.S. secretary of state. No mean feat, that.

There are two important points that need to be emphasized at the outset. First, this is the first biography of Rice to be written since she assumed her role as U.S. secretary of state. Second, it is apparently the first biography with which she has cooperated and, also apparently, without putting any editorial restrictions on the author. As far as I can judge -- admittedly from a distance -- Mabry is as "fair and balanced" (as the popular saying goes) as can be expected. I found no particular "agenda" on his part nor any specific bias in dealing with the subject at hand. I am well aware that it is suspected that mainstream journalists are "modernist liberal" in their orientation and critical of political conservatives and Republicans, but I found no obvious attempt on Mabry's part to skew his writing negatively toward Rice's political views, even though he does now and then critique them. But rational critique is fair play and, for that matter, there are many points upon which I disagree with Rice and especially her boss, the current president of the United States.

The heart of Mabry's book, as far as I am concerned, is not his presentation of Rice's evolution as a political and academic luminary, which she surely became, but his telling about her upbringing, her childhood, her family, her early relationships, and so on. One can only admire Rice's mother, Angelena, and her father, Rev. John Rice, who planted the first aspirations in their daughter to rise above the circumstances in which she was born and raised, which was, of course, the American deep South where to be Black was to be not only endangered, but to be considered less than a full member of the human community. She was encouraged by her parents to dismiss the thought that she was a lesser person than Whites simply by virtue of her race. She was encouraged to reject the "victim" label and to set her own goals and achieve them regardless of the environment surrounding her. Furthermore, her parents saw to it that Condoleezza was provided every opportunity possible to enhance herself as a person, including the dream of becoming a concert musician. And this was during the heyday of the civil rights movement when even young girls were targets of terrorist bigotry resulting in death (e.g., the Birmingham church bombing which killed four little girls in 1963 and is described in Mabry's book; Rice felt the blast as she sat in the pew of her father's church two miles away).

It may be difficult for some readers to understand how Rice could dismiss and overcome the minority status she was supposed to recognize and accept and go on to become the exceptional person and high official that she has become. I do not find that difficult to understand at all. I grew up during the 1940s and 50s as a "member" of two minority groups which were also discriminated against, although my personal situation was not as drastic or obvious. I can recall the taunts that I and my Native American cousins were subjected to by some of our contemporaries in those days, some of the sneers ethnic in nature and some of them religious since many of us were also members of a religious minority. Don't get me wrong here: I am not equating being female and Black (which are obvious features) with my situation where the minority status was not obvious and could be hidden. Also, without doubt, Condoleezza Rice faced many more difficult obstacles to overcome. Nevertheless, one does have a choice, and Rice truly exemplifies what a person can do to defeat any hardships one encounters. One decides, as she must have done, to ignore the negatives and to seek the positives. I was the first member of my family to graduate from college and -- surprise! -- earn a doctoral degree, then go on to live a so-far satisfying and successful professional life. It can be done.

Marcus Mabry has written an excellent biography of this amazing woman and that is not hyperbole. His book is well researched (over thirty-five pages of notes and references in fine print!) and includes fascinating interviews with Rice's family, friends, and colleagues. And, by the way, not all of them are flattering. It is, moreover, a revealing look into the private and public soul of a very complex individual, including many of the internal contradictions one would expect to see in a person as intelligent, dedicated, and complicated as Condoleezza Rice obviously is; furthermore, Mabry's book does not, fortunately, descend into that morass of tabloid biographical "journalism" which has become so commonplace in this day and age. In my judgment, Mabry, a journalist who is now chief of correspondents at "Newsweek" magazine, conducts himself as an objective observer in every way and can now proudly add the title "professional biographer" to his résumé.

Postscript: As I was preparing this brief review, Dr. Condoleezza Rice was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by "Time" magazine. Good choice! Mabry's book will certainly provide the rationale for that citation. Also, I just received my June 2007 copy of "The Atlantic" magazine today. Can you guess who's on the cover? Condoleezza Rice, of course, with a story about her ventures into resolving the Middle East situation. So, is Mabry's biography of Rice timely? I should think so. Highly recommended; don't miss reading it.

The author describes the life and times of Dr. Condoleezza Rice with
both personal stories and historical events. For instance, the Secretary's
assimilation into Stanford University was discussed . The historic contention between the State and Defense Departments was highlighted.

Several great crises presented early in the current Administration.
For instance, Hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless in the USA.
The Asian Tsunami left thousands dead with billions of dollars in
property claims.

The aftermath of terrorist attacks in New York City cost many lives and displaced people and businesses . Sunni insurgents destroyed the Golden Dome of the Askariya Mosque- one of the holiest places of Sh'ia Islam. The Hezbollah kidnapped an Israeli soldier and the Hamas prevailed in open elections to become a voting majority. Add to this the current Iraqi difficulties in coordinating internal security with an iterative withdrawal of the United States at some future time. The current fear centers around
control of Baghdad when the United States leaves or withdraws to a
position outside of the current daily skirmishes between the Sunni,
Sh'ia and protagonists outside of Iraq.

The peacekeeping forces in Iraq must manage historic contentions between warring factions while hoping that the conflict does not spill over into neighboring countries like Turkey or Iran. There have been significant border clashes between the Turks and the Kurds, as well as Iranian involvement in the conflict.

All of these events rose in unison to present the Secretary with
an unparalleled series of challenges not seen in recent years.
The author combines the Secretary's personal dynamic with the job
of Secretary of State. In these times, the job of Secretary of State
requires a facilitative persona with considerable practical and academic
acumen. Dr. Condoleezza Rice is such a person.

The book is highly recommended for students of government, politics,
journalism and academe everywhere.

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Postby svinayak » 18 Jun 2007 08:11

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power
by Robert Dallek (Author)

# Hardcover: 752 pages
# Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 24, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0060722304
# ISBN-13: 978-0060722302

Starred Review. Bestselling author Dallek (An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy) delivers what will quickly become recognized as a classic of modern history: the definitive analysis of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's complex, often troubled partnership in running American foreign policy from January 1969 through August 1974. Dallek has had unprecedented access to major new resources, including transcriptions (20,000 pages) of Kissinger's telephone conversations as secretary of state, unreleased audio files of key Nixon telephone conversations and Oval Office discussions, and previously unexamined documents from the archives of Nixon, Kissinger (who served first as national security adviser, then as secretary of state) and White House hands Alexander Haig and H.R. Haldeman. Dallek's eloquent portrait of power depicts two men who were remarkably alike in important ways. Both harbored ravenous personal ambitions. Both suffered from (and operated out of) profound insecurities and low self-esteem. Both were deeply resentful (to the point of paranoia) of criticisms and challenges. Digging deep into the various archives, Dallek artfully fills in the back stories behind such debacles as the pair's policies in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Middle East, as well as such triumphs as the opening to China. In what many will consider the book's darkest moment, Dallek reveals for the first time the discussions and strategic thinking that led to the U.S.-orchestrated coup d'état against Chile's democratically elected president Salvador Allende in September of 1973. As he did with his Kennedy biography, Dallek finds important new material that will revise our thinking about a president and the man the author terms "a kind of co-president." 16 pages of b&w photos. (May 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Washington Post's Book World/
Reviewed by Margaret MacMillan

Historian Robert Dallek has made his reputation with biographies of American presidents, Kennedy and Johnson among them. In this massive new book, he focuses on a relationship between one of the most controversial recent American presidents and his most influential foreign policy collaborator. So close was the partnership between Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger that one historian has talked of a "Nixinger" foreign policy. In the first 100 days of his presidency, Nixon met with Kissinger, then his national security adviser, 198 times; by contrast, William Rogers, the secretary of State, met with the president only 30 times.

Nixon and Kissinger shared a similar view of the world -- that nations should act to promote their own interests and to encourage international stability. Both worried about what Vietnam had done and was continuing to do to the United States; both wanted to mend relations with their allies, particularly in Europe; and both wanted a better understanding, including arms control agreements, with the Soviet bloc. Yet they were never friends, and both tried to take credit for the administration's foreign policy successes.

Dallek paints a vivid portrait of two clever, insecure men, each wanting a place in history. Although at the start of their relationship, in 1969, Kissinger was a relative unknown and Nixon his powerful patron, by 1974 it was Kissinger, then secretary of state, who remained popular with the American public as a reviled Nixon left the White House. In later years, they rarely saw each other.

One of the great challenges in writing a history of the Nixon administration is the extraordinary wealth of material, most of it now released. Rogers rightly warned Nixon and Kissinger that they would regret taping everything, but both men were eager to ensure their place in history. Dallek has trolled through thousands of pages of transcripts from the Nixon and Kissinger tapes and caught them at their best and their worst, vindictive, funny, statesmanlike, petty, wise and absurd. A word of warning, though: Their lengthy conversations ought not always be taken at face value. Nixon worked his ideas out that way; Kissinger tended to flatter and agree with his president and even joked about it.

The tapes show the two men egging each other on to savage their enemies. The Democratic senators who are talking of impeaching Nixon during Watergate are, says Kissinger, "******** traitors." The two men gloat that the 1971 war between India and Pakistan will cause American liberals "untold anguish" because their beloved India was so clearly the aggressor. They celebrate when Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrows Salvador Allende's government in Chile, reassuring each other that, in Kissinger's words, "we didn't do it," although in the next breath he admits, "I mean we helped them."

Dallek recognizes the real successes of the Nixon administration -- China, the end of the Vietnam War and détente with the Soviet Union -- and its failures, such as the coup in Chile. He also reminds us of how dangerously distracted Nixon became as a result of Watergate. Sen. Barry Goldwater came away deeply worried after a bizarre dinner in 1973 at which Nixon "jabbered incessantly, often incoherently, to the end." Increasingly, it was left to Kissinger, the administration's "one figure of stature remaining," as Time put it, to manage American foreign relations and cope with crises such as the October War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. For all the fascinating detail, the big picture remains elusive. Curiously for a book about one of the key relationships in American foreign policy, there is little extended analysis of what the two men thought about the world and the role of the United States. Nixon, Dallek tells us, wanted to advance world peace. So do beauty pageant contestants. Nixon is "an idealist" and "a defender of national traditions," and Kissinger is America's "chief practitioner of realpolitik." We need more explanation. The two men "had a hidden agenda that they themselves did not fully glimpse." Well, neither do we.

This also is very much a history of the period as seen from inside the Beltway. Other countries and their leaders serve as background and obliging extras. In 1969, Nixon tells Charles de Gaulle that he is "somewhat pessimistic on the Middle East." It would be nice to know why. We get very little sense of what it is the Soviets or the Chinese, or indeed any other peoples, actually want.

Dallek also commits odd omissions. There is almost nothing on the tensions within the Western Alliance, for example, which we know were a major concern for both Nixon and Kissinger. We also know that they had serious reservations about West Germany's "ostpolitik," or rapprochement with its Communist neighbors (which involved much more than "détente with the Communists"), but these barely get a mention. There is no discussion of how Nixon shocked his allies in 1971, when the United States effectively abandoned its support for the dollar and imposed wage and price controls; and there are no references to the impact of the new American relationship with China on allies such as Japan and Taiwan.

Early on, Dallek promises the story of a collaboration "that tells us as much about the opportunities and limits of national and international conditions as about the men themselves." For all his industry, he does not seem to have shaken himself free of his material to deliver on that promise. They can be dangerous things, those tapes.

There are several excellent books already in print by or about Richard M. Nixon and/or Henry A. Kissinger, notably Memoirs of Richard Nixon and Richard Reeves' President Nixon: Alone in the White House as well as Walter Isaacson's biography of Kissinger and The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top-Secret Talks With Beijing and Moscow. However, with access to a wealth of sources previously unavailable, Robert Dallek has written what will probably remain for quite some time the definitive study of one of U.S. history's most fascinating political partnerships.

I defer to other reviewers to suggest parallels between the wars in Viet Nam and Iraq, especially when citing this passage in Dallek's Preface: "Arguments about the wisdom of the war in Iraq and how to end the U.S. involvement there, relations with China and Russia, what to do about enduring Mideast trensions between Israelis and Arabs, and the advantages and disadvantages of an imperial presidency can, I believe, be usefully considered in the context of a fresh look ast Nixon and Kissinger and the power they wielded for good and ill."

Until reading Dallek's book, I was unaware of the nature and extent of what Nixon and Kissinger shared in common. Of greatest interest to me was the almost total absence of trust in others (including each other) as, separately and together, they sought to increase their power, influence, and especially, their prestige. In countless ways, they were especially petty men and, when perceiving a threat, could be vindictive. They seemed to bring out the worst qualities in each other, as during their self-serving collaboration on policies "good and ill" in relationships with other countries such as China, Russia, Viet Nam, Pakistan, and Chile.
Neither seemed to have must interest in domestic affairs (except for perceived threats to their respective careers) and Nixon once characterized them as "building outhouses in Peoria."

According to Dallek, "Nixon's use of foreign affairs to overcome impeachment threats in 1973-1974 are a distubring part of the administration's history. Its impact on policy deserves particular consideration, as does the more extensive use of international relations to serve domestic political goals throughout Nixon's presidency. Nixon's competence to lead the country during his impeachment cruisis also requires the closest possible scrutiny."

Most experts on this troubled period agree that the ceasefire agreement with North Viet Nam in 1973 was essentially the same as one that could have been concluded years before. However, both Nixon and Kissinger waited until after Nixon's re-election in1972 before ending a war that (by1966) Kissinger had characterized as "unwinnable." According to Dallek, with access to 2,800 hours of Nixon tapes and 20,000 pages of Kissinger telephone transcripts, Kissinger would "say almost anything privately to Nixon in the service of his ambition." Nixon referred to opponents of the war as "communists." As the Watergate crisis intensified, Meanwhile, Kissinger conducted press briefings that were "part reality, part fantasy, and part deception" and referred to Democratic senators critical of the administration as "traitors."

Although they were in constant collaboration until Nixon's resignation, Nixon and Kissinger were never very close. Anti-Semitic elements in Nixon's personality have been well-documented and certainly had some influence on his attitude toward Kissinger. At one point, he recommended (through John Ehrlichman) that Kissinger needed psychiatric therapy and should obtain it. Kissinger frequently referred to Nixon as "the meatball mind," "our drunken friend," and "That madman." It is certainly discomforting to realize that these two men, working together over a period of several years, made decisions and pursued policies that affected hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, "for good and ill."

I am now eager to read two other books (soon to be published) that may perhaps provide new insights and additional information about a political partnership that was probably doomed from the beginning because of so many irreconcilable similarities. Specifically Elizabeth Drew's Richard Nixon (part of "The American Presidents" series) and Jeremi Suri's Henry Kissinger and the American Century. However, I think Dallek's probing analysis will remain the definitive source of whatever can be known about these "partners in power."

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Postby ramana » 20 Jun 2007 23:16

Hindu review of Ramachandra Guha's book India after Gandhi

Democracy in practice


A tribute to Indian democracy capturing the pain and the struggle, the humiliations and the glories

INDIA AFTER GANDHI — The History of the World’s Largest Democracy: Ramachandra Guha; Pan Macmillan, Picador India, 5A/12, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 695.

In 1977 after a spell of Emergency for two years Indira Gandhi had, to the surprise of many, including her influential son Sanjay Gandhi, dissolved the Parliament and ordered fresh elections. There was much speculation about the reasons for this momentous decision, which as it turned out, resurrected Indian democracy from the brink of doom. Several reasons have been attributed to the decision to revoke the Emergency, but it is difficult to be certain till Ms. Gandhi’ s private papers are available for scrutiny. Whether she was lulled into a sense of safety by intelligence reports or was stung by the comments of those foreign observers impossible to dismiss as enemies of India remain in the realm of speculation. However, that the election was ordered and Ms. Gandhi and her party were defeated was essentially due to the strength of democratic ethos in society, to the making of which her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his generation had handsomely contributed.

Success story

The Emergency, though was the gravest, was not the only crisis that Indian democracy had to face. Linguistic conflicts, regional secessionist movements, communal tensions and riots and political violence had often made its existence rather precarious. On many an occasion, it so seemed that the existence of India as a nation was itself in danger. It not only survived all of them but also emerged from them much stronger, reinforcing in the process its commitment to democratic ideals. “The sapling (of democracy),â€

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Postby Multatuli » 27 Jun 2007 03:23

A few ( maybe ) interesting "Open Courses", Enterprise Network Security, Introduction to Macromedia Flash, Introduction to Java Programming, Webpage Authoring. These courses are accessible online for free.

A few "Open Textbooks" :

This site offers physics textbooks you can download for free.

Topics : Newtonian Physics, Conservation Laws, Vibrations and Waves, Electricity and Magnetism, The Modern Revolution in Physics.

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Postby ramana » 29 Jun 2007 21:32

Book Review
From Telegraph, 29 June 2007



Islam in the public sphere: Religious groups in India 1900-47 By Dietrich Reetz, Oxford, Rs 650

This book “traces the genesis of madrasa-based movements and Islamic groups in South Asia and...the roots of the current state of Islamic activism and militancy in the regionâ€

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Postby svinayak » 02 Jul 2007 12:33

Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers
by Michael Barone (Author)
# Hardcover: 352 pages
# Publisher: Crown (May 8, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1400097924
# ISBN-13: 978-1400097920

Political journalist and historian Barone (Hard America, Soft America) elucidates the template for America's independence movement in this well-written history of its forerunner: England's Glorious Revolution of 1688. The author describes the origins of the revolution, a mostly bloodless change of government, as a mixture of religious, political and diplomatic factors. King James II's Roman Catholicism, hostility to Parliament, and French sympathies alienated an increasing number of his powerful subjects including John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, who invited Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange and his wife, Mary, James's sister, to intervene. Among the revolution's consequences was a Bill of Rights that limited the monarch's powers and strengthened representative government. A Toleration Act encouraged variant forms of Protestant worship. The creation of a funded national debt and the foundation of the Bank of England laid the groundwork for financial development. Involvement in the long series of wars with France moved England from a country standing apart from Europe to one that took responsibility for maintaining a continental balance of power. It was a Glorious Revolution indeed that laid the political groundwork for the world in which we now live, and Barone's lucid work honors its heritage. (May 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Washington Post's Book World/
Reviewed by H.W. Brands

Voltaire dismissed the Holy Roman Empire as not holy, Roman or an empire. Historians have long given a similar back of the hand to England's Glorious Revolution of the 1680s. It was glorious, they asserted, mostly in avoiding mass bloodshed, and compared to later revolutions in France, Russia and China, it wasn't much of a revolution.

Michael Barone disagrees. The change in English government as a result of the events of 1688-89 was not simply astonishing on its own terms, he argues, but pregnant with consequences for the English-speaking world. Barone is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report, a longtime coauthor of the Almanac of American Politics and an occasional historian of recent American public life. In his current book he digs three centuries into the English past to unearth the roots of contemporary political practice on the Western side of the Atlantic -- the "Our" of his title refers to us Americans.

Some of the digging is not for the easily distracted. To motivate his main story, Barone traces the turbulent politics of mid-17th-century England, France and what became the Netherlands. It's a complicated era, just similar enough to our own to be misleading, and the careless reader risks getting overwhelmed. Thankfully, Barone entices us forward with such tidbits as that Tangerines were veterans of military service in Tangiers before they were little oranges, and that the difference between local time in London and Paris was once measured in days, 10 in the 1680s, because England refused to update its calendar.

Once Barone reaches his actual starting mark, the story snaps along. "A young Prince borne, which will cause disputes," he quotes a diarist of June 1688. The arrival of the heir was crucial, for the fate of England hung on the issue of issue -- namely whether Catholic king James II would be succeeded by a Catholic son or daughter. Religious wars had convulsed Europe for most of the century and a half since the start of the Protestant Reformation; in England the religious disputes had triggered a regicide, a civil war and several lesser eruptions of violence. Protestants insisted on observing the royal birth, suspecting that Queen Mary Beatrice wasn't really pregnant and that a surrogate would be smuggled under the bedclothes. Their attendance hardly settled the case. " 'Tis possible it may be her child," conceded James's estranged daughter Anne. "But where one believes it, a thousand do not."

The prospect of another Catholic king inspired a small group of Protestant worthies -- the Immortal Seven, their admirers called them -- to commit treason against James by inviting William of Orange, the husband of James's daughter Mary, to invade England and seize the throne. William responded by mounting the last successful invasion of England. John Churchill, James's military commander, deserted his patron and defected to William. "I am actuated by a higher principle," Churchill wrote in a letter he left for James: to wit, "the inviolable dictates of my conscience, and a necessary concern for religion." (Churchill neglected to explain why his conscience hadn't troubled him before William arrived.)

Thus William assumed the throne, ruling jointly with Mary. Yet he did so under constraints negotiated with the political brokers who invited him from the Netherlands. These restrictions constituted the "revolutionary"' aspect of what otherwise would have been a coup d'etat: In an age of absolutism elsewhere, the English monarch would defer to Parliament on key questions. A Bill of Rights ensured basic liberties to Englishmen, and the principle of self-government took what Barone rightly calls a "giant step forward."

Barone detects even larger consequences. The settlement of 1689, by marrying Dutch business sense to emerging English constitutionalism, laid the foundation for the 18th-century expansion of the British empire. An offshoot of that empire became the United States of America, whose founders wrapped themselves in the mantle of the Glorious Revolution. The 1689 settlement also fortified Britain to balance what Barone calls the "hegemonic power" of absolutist, then revolutionary, and finally Napoleonic France.

The hegemonic label is important to Barone, in that he traces the effects of the Glorious Revolution into the 20th century and beyond. The United States, he argues, was the continuing heir of the 1689 settlement, its growing strength undergirded by the same elements of law and commerce that had built the British empire. Americans eventually adopted the anti-hegemonic philosophy pursued by William and his English successors. Barone takes pleasure in noting the historical symmetry in the anti-hegemonic -- that is, anti-German -- alliance of the United States and Britain during World War II, the former led by the Dutchman Franklin Roosevelt, the latter by John Churchill's descendant Winston. He might have noted something else. Barone asks what the world would have been like had the United States not acquired the habit of opposing "tyrannical hegemonic powers," and he proceeds to list among the bad guys Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Stalin and "the terrorists of Osama bin Laden and the mullahs of Iran." Leaving aside that Osama and the mullahs are hardly in the same geopolitical league as Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin, Barone might have mentioned how long it took the United States to reach the stage of peaceful self-government, and how many people died -- in the American Civil War, most conspicuously -- getting there. At a time when the present administration remains committed to establishing democracy in Iraq, the most important lesson of American political history may be that democracy doesn't come easily. William of Orange and John Churchill spared England a war in the 1680s; America in the 1860s wasn't so lucky, and neither is Iraq now.

Last edited by svinayak on 03 Jul 2007 11:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Ananth » 03 Jul 2007 08:06

Heads up for the bookworms. A book on R&AW by B. Raman will be published this independence day. More details here

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Postby svinayak » 16 Jul 2007 03:42

Richard M. Nixon: The American Presidents Series: The 37th President, 1969-1974 (The American Presidents)
by Elizabeth Drew

# Hardcover: 192 pages
# Publisher: Times Books (May 29, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0805069631
# ISBN-13: 978-0805069631

Drew, a long-time political journalist who covered the Watergate scandal, reminds readers in her excellent addition to the American Presidents series that Nixon was more than the scandal that forced him from office. Nixon's forays into domestic policy matters like welfare and economic reform were eclipsed by his focus on the foreign policy issues he savored. His doggedness produced the twin triumphs of his presidency: the diplomatic openings to the Soviet Union and China. But he failed to end the war in Vietnam, and his strategic miscues (such as the bombing of Cambodia) brought about public unrest and sowed the seeds of the Watergate debacle. Though details of Nixon's personal life are sparse, Drew does a commendable job of conveying his personal quirks, and the chapter on Watergate deftly conveys the angst over White House skullduggery that gripped Washington as the nation began to grasp the enormity of the scandal. The author's account of Nixon's inglorious departure from public life and his largely successful attempts to reinvent himself, are tinged with both amazement and disdain, and in a stinging rebuke to her subject, she concludes that there are "large doubts" that Nixon was "fit to occupy the most powerful office in the nation." Readers who lived through the tumult and those new to the period will find much to commend in this crisp biography.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
In this American Presidents series volume, esteemed Washington correspondent Drew depicts Nixon as a man who let anger, suspicion, envy, and vanity determine his everyday conduct as president. His intransigence about "peace with honor" in Vietnam unnecessarily prolonged the conflict and entailed delivering Cambodia to the murderous Khmer Rouge. He laudably opened relations with China and warmed those with the Soviet Union, but he bungled Middle East affairs, greenlighted Pinochet in Chile, and ignored Africa. Major environmental and consumer legislation distinguished his administration, but he saw the bills as sops to whining liberals and didn't work for them. He pretended he had grand plans but actually lurched from crisis to crisis. With Watergate, he so abused executive power that presidential prestige hasn't recovered yet. Driven from office, he soon began pestering his successors with "advice" and selling himself as an elder statesman. He begs the question, Drew concludes, of whether he was fit to be president. Despite too much tortured syntax (Drew's writing lurches like Nixon's management), a cogent basic book on Nixon. Ray Olson

On NPR, Elizabeth Drew declared that she had written this contribution to the AMERICAN PRESIDENTS series to fend off the growing popular nostalgia for Nixon. And contributors to this lively but uneven series set out to write concise treatments of the chosen president and his presidency. As someone who has actually read this book, as a constitutional historian who has worked on the subject and as someone who lived through the Nixon Presidency and paid attention, I think that on the whole she has achieved both goals. I well remember her first book, AMERICAN JOURNAL: THE EVENTS OF 1973-74, one of the best of the Watergate books, and this one is worthy to stand alongside it. It provides a neat and reliable synthesis of some of the best Nixon and Watergate literature. It also is unsettling in that its portrait of the Nixon administration -- which is solid and well-grounded in memoirs by participants as well as in the secondary literature -- shows that the Nixon administration was in many ways the harbinger of tendencies that dominate the administration of George W. Bush. The one real flaw in this book is the writing, which is usually clear but sometimes cliched and now and then clumsy. The unevenness of the writing surprised me, as both the author and the book's editor are able and have done great work in the past. One example will suffice: In her Watergate chapter Drew describes Nixon giving one speech with his shoulders above his head -- an act of contortionism that boggles the mind.

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Postby svinayak » 16 Jul 2007 03:52

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Hardcover)
by Tim Weiner (Author)

# Hardcover: 720 pages
# Publisher: Doubleday (June 28, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 038551445X
# ISBN-13: 978-0385514453

Starred Review. Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy. (Aug. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Tim Weiner has read widely and dug deeply to produce this marvelous and convincing history of the CIA across six decades. That every quote is also on the record is a testament to his skill and also, thankfully, to the transparency that endures in the American political system.â€

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Postby SSridhar » 17 Jul 2007 09:21

Dispatches from Pakistan
The author was The Hindu's special foreign correspondent in Islamabad during the crucial period of 1997 and 2000.
[quote] DATELINE ISLAMABAD: Amit Baruah; Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110017. Rs. 295.

With Islamabad racked by the Lal Masjid violence and global attention focussed on the growing footprints of jihadi terrorism, it is on a perceptive note that Baruah ends his reflections on his stint in Pakistan, as the special correspondent of The Hindu from April 1997 to June 2000. Pondering over the almost Delphic question of whether General Musharraf can reverse the Zia legacy of the Islamisation of Pakistani polity, the author pithily observes: ̶ 0;In the final analysis, General Musharraf has failed to put Pakistan on the road to becoming a more tolerant, moderate society. He hasn’t been able to undo the wrongs of Zia’s pernicious legacy. Ending the veto-power of the religious right will need more than the professed personal liberalism of a military general in Pakistan. It will need a political party that can mobilize the people to uphold the rule of law, create jobs and educate the masses.â€

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Postby ramana » 17 Jul 2007 21:24

Art of the Long View- Peter Schwartz

If you liked Arie de Geus' book, The Living Company, or The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, you will find The Art of the Long View a related, helpful exploration of how to go beyond "forecasting" the future to "preparing" for it.
This book is about using future scenarios to make better current decisions. As Peter Schwartz alerts us, "Scenarios are not predictions." They represent instead, possible alternative dimensions of the future that reflect the driving forces of that future. This is particularly valuable now because unpredictability is growing. "Unpredictability in every field is the result of the conquest of the whole of the present world by scientific power."

You are encouraged to use these scenarios as simulations to help you think more concretely and accurately about what might come next. Then you choose decisions and actions that leave you better off than the alternatives, regardless of the future scenario that occurs. Such scenarios are like projected script plots for a movie, and help us develop "memories of the future" (as David Ingvar noted) that make thinking about the future more practical for us. Generally one scenario will be better than the current direction, one worse, and one different.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of these practices is that "scenarios are . . . the most powerful vehicles . . . for challenging our 'mental models' about the world and lifting the 'blinders' that limit our creativity and resourcefulness." So you can think of scenarios as a stallbusting technique for overcoming the miscommunication, misconception, and disbelief stalls, as well.

One of the book's great strengths is that it takes you through the process by which the author discovered these qualities about how to use scenarios. He begins with his exposure to the kind of scenarios that Herman Kahn was using for government policy development in the 1970s. You then meet Pierre Wack at Royal Dutch/Shell who used scenarios to help the company successfully prepare for the big price increases in oil during the Arab Oil Embargo. Mr. Schwartz later replace Mr. Wack in that job and describes his experiences with later scenarios. One example that I found particularly interesting was thinking about putting in a new natural gas field offshore from Norway. Whether it made sense or not depended on whether the U.S.S.R. would continue to be an enemy of Western Europe and not ship its own low-cost natural gas to that market. That work led to understanding that the U.S.S.R. probably would fall many years before that occurred.

Another powerful section was on the global culture of teenagers as a precursor to other changes.

You will get plenty of concepts in the book to use to create your own scenarios and to make better decisions. You can get ideas from looking at themes like revolution, cycles, winners and losers, challenge and response, infinite possibilities, and the perspective of your own generation.

He has three scenarios for the year 2005 to give you a sense of what scenarios can look like. These focus about a market-driven world, a world without progress, and new geographical political alignments.

There is a user's guide with eight requirements for holding strategic conversations built around these scenarios. That is followed by an appendix with an 8 step process for developing the scenarios to use.

I thought that his section on "Information-Hunting and -Gathering" was especially good in helping you to spot the early sources of new future directions. These can come from technology trends, music, fringe areas, perceptions shaping events, remarkable people, sources of existing surprises, filters (such as magazines), and new networks.

Although I have never seen anyone conduct scenario planning exercises, I felt confident that I could do so after reading this book. I think you can, too.

Mr. Schwartz is an open, likeable person, and you will enjoy his writing style. He knows how to tell a good story that will stimulate your imagination.

After you have finished understanding the book and applying it to your business, I suggest that you take a look at your personal life in the same way. What are you assuming about your family, your health, and your future work-related circumstances? What are an appropriate range of alternative scenarios? What decisions do you have to make that are affected by these scenarios? Which decisions leave you much better off? Asking and answering these questions will provide the greatest possible benefit from developing your new skills in this area.

Be more thoughtful and purposeful using scenarios . . . and more happy endings will follow in reality!

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Postby svinayak » 20 Jul 2007 11:59

The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us
by Robyn Meredith (Author)

# Hardcover: 256 pages
# Publisher: W. W. Norton (July 16, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0393062368
# ISBN-13: 978-0393062366

Meredith, who covers India and China for Forbes, upends conventional wisdom in this well-reported book, arguing that the U.S. shouldn't fear these two rising economic powers. The U.S. (buyer to the world) and China (factory to the world) have, respectively, the largest and fourth largest economies, but they will reach parity in 2015. Though American politicians tax Chinese goods, Meredith points out that Americans actually gain from the undervalued yuan: our companies profit from the cheap goods the Chinese manufacture.

Meanwhile, India (backoffice to the world) has picked up most of the one million white-collar jobs that moved out of the U.S. by 2003. But Meredith notes that for every dollar that goes overseas, $1.94 of wealth is created—all but 33 cents of which returns to the U.S. Protrade and antiprotectionist, she makes a compelling argument that China is doing better than India because it moved toward a market economy in 1978, while India began to liberalize in 1991.

She also looks critically at each country's plans for the future, noting that China's citizens save more, while India's infrastructure and education system are falling behind. She concludes that if inward-facing India and communist China can transform themselves, so can the United States of America. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes
Meredith's systematic analysis…is spirited and readable.


The Elephant and the Dragon
12. March 2007

Tectonic Geopolitical movements are happening right on front of our eyes.
I cornered senior editor at Forbes, Robyn Meredith, from Hong Kong and peeped into her new amazing book:

The Elephant and the Dragon: The rise of India and China and what it means for All of us.

In the 14th century China became the cornerstone of most international trade by moving goods along the silk road, across the Arab world and on to Europe. Today the silk road is renewed and the power nations of China and India is moving forward at a pace that is almost not understandable and only compares to the rise of the USA, 100 years ago.

With the brisk growth that the global economy has enjoyed since 2002, this should be the best of all times. There are many BUTs though. One of the greater ones is the battle on energy ressources that is tightening up and is an element in turning the 21st century into one of instability. New power landscapes are arising with China as the factory of the world and India as the Knowledge Center.We see the outlines of a power landscape where the US, China and India are the players.

DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK – it is about the present status of geopolitics and tells us a lot about the globalized future we have to prepare ourselves for.

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Postby vsudhir » 20 Jul 2007 22:37

The partition of India by yasmin Khan (Economist book review)

The unruly end of empire
Jul 19th 2007
From The Economist print edition
An epic tragedy brought about by hubris, confused thinking and lack of planning

SIXTY years ago this August one of the greatest and most violent upheavals of the 20th century took place on the Indian subcontinent. It was an event whose consequences were entirely unexpected and whose meaning was never fully spelled out or understood either by the politicians who took the decision or the millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs who were to become its victims. In 1947, faced with irreconcilable differences over the demand for a separate state for India's Muslims, Britain decided, with the consent of a majority of India's political leaders, to partition the country and give each bit its independence. Tragedy followed.

The break-up of Britain's Indian empire involved the movement of some 12m people, uprooted, ordered out, or fleeing their homes and seeking safety. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, thousands of children disappeared, thousands of women were raped or abducted, forced conversions were commonplace. The violence polarised communities on the subcontinent as never before. The pogroms and killings were organised by gangs, vigilantes and militias across northern, western and eastern India. They were often backed by local leaders, politicians from Congress and the Muslim League, maharajahs and princes, and helped by willing or frightened civil servants.

Yasmin Khan, a British historian, has written a riveting book on this terrible story. It is unusual for two reasons. It is composed with flair, quite unlike the dense, academic plodding that modern Indian history usually delivers. Second, it turns the spotlight away from the self-posturing in the British viceroy's palace and the well-documented political wrangling between Congress and the Muslim League leaders. Instead, it focuses on a broader canvas that leads the reader through the confusion, the uncertainties, the fear and eventually the horror faced by those who were soon to become citizens of the two new states, India and Pakistan.

IOW, more psy-ops, == whitewashing, and such. A note about forced conversions of abducted women that were 'commonplace'. These were primarily Hindu and Sikh women left behind in TSP. MEntion finer points rather than gloss over them in == fashion. :evil:

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Postby svinayak » 23 Jul 2007 04:07

The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger With Mexico and Canada
by Jerome R., Ph.D. Corsi (Author)

# Hardcover: 241 pages
# Publisher: WND Books (July 4, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0979045142
# ISBN-13: 978-0979045141
In The Late Great USA, Corsi proves that the benignly-named "Security and Prosperity Partnership," created at a meeting between George W. Bush, Stephen Harper and Vincente Fox, is in fact the same kind of regional integration plan that led Europe to form the EU. According to Corsi, the elites in Europe who wanted to create a European nation knew that "it would be necessary to conceal from the peoples of Europe just what was being done in their name until the process was so far advanced that it had become irreversible." Could the same thing be happening here? Is American sovereignty doomed?

Using dozens of documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act and his trademark hard-hitting interviews, Jerome Corsi sets out a chilling view of America's possible "harmonized" future -- one being created covertly, without voter input or Congressional oversight. Could our government's unfathomable position on illegal immigration be tied to the prospect of an integrated North American Union?

From the Publisher
Jerome Corsi received his Ph.D in political science from Harvard and is an expert on political violence and the U.S. anti-war movement. He's written many books, including co-authoring the #1 New York Times best-seller Unfit for Command. His most recent book is Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders.

In this meticulously researched and footnoted book, Jerome R. Corsi, Ph. D. (Harvard) warns of the slippery slope from free trade to regulatory integration to a North American Union that would obliterate America's soverignty.

Is foreign investment in a Mexico to Canada NAFTA superhighway a danger that outweighs the value of the foreign capital spent here to build it? Does outsourcing of America's manufacturing jobs outweigh the advantage conferred to everyone by lower prices? Does the North American Trusted Traveler Program presage a North American passport that results in free movement of millions more Mexicans to America?

Corsi's answer to all the above queries is a resounding "Yes!" And he makes his case rather convincingly.

Whether or not readers agree with Corsi's premises and conclusions, he raises questions that thoughtful readers should pose and issues they should analyze.

This book will especially appeal to those with an inherant mistrust of multinational corporations and free trade agreements.

This book clearly outlines the steps taken to end the democracy which formally began with the Constitution of the USA. Every American should be clear with the think-tank papers, treaty laws and international agreements which form the framework for the integration of Mexico, Canada, and America. The Queen wants her property back!

Dr. Jerome Corsi, the co-author of the best-seller "Unfit for Command" which many credit with having cost John Kerry the presidency in the 2004 election has presented with facts and hard hitting interviews of a secret plan of the current administration to promote political, social and economic integration of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Dr. Corsi reveals how the The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), an agreement signed in 2005 by Bush, Paul Martin of Canada and Vicente Fox of Mexico, may slowly transform into nothing less than a North American Union, very similar to EU.

"The Security and Prosperity Partnership is not just unconstitutional, but an act of treason at the highest levels," writes Corsi.

"The Late Great USA" may read like a clichéd conspiracy theory. But one cannot ignore the well researched facts the author has accumulated over the years to uncover the master plan, which is being written in secret.

President Bush would have definitely thanked Dr.Corsi in 2004, but this time around this Harvard Phd has turned out to be a super villain to the same man he was vouching for in 2004.

The most astonishing revelation that I read with shock and awe was the so called SPP was never presented to congress for approval (!!!). Go figure.

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Postby svinayak » 23 Jul 2007 04:13

America Misunderstood: What a Second Bush Victory Meant to the Rest of the World (Paperback)
by N. Sivakumar (Author)

# Paperback: 200 pages
# Publisher: Divine Tree Publications; 1 edition (February 14, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0975514016
# ISBN-13: 978-0975514016

On November 2nd 2004, nearly six billion people from around the world closely watched their future being defined by 100 million American voters. Whether we like it or not , an American election does drive the rest of the world crazy every four years. To our utmost surprise, America being the lone Superpower, the rest of the world considers American voters as their sole representatives.
So, when President Bush was re-elected in 2004 - much to the dismay of the rest of the world, did Americans ever bother what the unknown world wrote about them? While our mainstream media was busy educating us with our own opinions, somewhere around the globe, in a tiny town in Africa , Asia or in the Middle East, an opinion about Americans were written and drawn in a language that none of us would understand. These opinions may very well have answers to a famous question.
"Why Do They Hate Us?"

From the Publisher
More than 40 journalists and cartoonists from around the globe have contributed to this book.

With a fitting epilogue consisting the reaction to 2006 mid-term election results, the book couldn't be more interesting.

The book also decrypts complex modern immigrant voter behaviors that will help us understand the dynamics of every future election campaign.

I used to be like the typical American, unable to understand how come we had such a bad reputation in the world's opinion. With some of our recent actions on the global stage, I don't think I'm quite as clueless any more. But the book America Misunderstood: What a Second Bush Victory Meant to the Rest of the World by N. Sivakumar does a very nice job in allowing us to see, via the international press, exactly how others view us and our government.

Contents: Introduction; Acknowledgement; Great Expectations; Carte Blanche To Murder; The Lighter Side; Osama Helped Bush; Faith-Based Presidency; The Israel Factor; Change Or No Change?; What's Next - Optimism?; Conclusion - War Fair?; Epilogue; Index

Sivakumar, a Sri Lankan who lives and works in the United States, decided to take a look at how the world reacts to the presidential elections through the lenses of the international press. He used the 2004 re-election of Bush to collect different opinion columns and cartoons from throughout the world to answer the question "Why does the world hate America?" It's an eye-opening experience to see media from outside our own country, to experience our reputation without the filters of our own biases. Much of the anger comes from our actions in Iraq, and Bush squandered much of the goodwill that we had right after 9/11.[...]. The major difference seems to be in what each group considers important. It's pointed out a number of times that Americans are looking at a variety of issues when they vote, many of them internal (economy, morality, etc). But to the world, it's more our stance on international affairs.[...].

For me, the biggest "takeaway" from this book is the necessity to look beyond your own borders when it comes to interpreting world events and opinions. It seems like half the people think our media is controlled by the government, and the other half think it's part of a liberal conspiracy. Taking the additional time to read and understand how the rest of the world looks at us is key in understanding the reality of our effect on the world, not just what we think we represent. No matter how "noble" we think we are, our actions portray something else completely.

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Postby svinayak » 09 Aug 2007 05:48


The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia

By Lesley Chamberlain

Illustrated. 414 pages. St. Martin’s Press. $27.95.

Russia’s Castaway Intellectuals in Revolution’s Wake

Published: August 8, 2007

In 1922, five years after the Bolshevik revolution, no one knew where Russia was headed. In an about-face, Lenin had initiated the quasi-capitalist New Economic Policy.
For the moment, a nervous sort of freedom persisted, notably in the arts but, to a limited degree, in politics as well. Anyone looking for a portent, however, might have noticed a ship leaving Petrograd that September, carrying into permanent exile a carefully selected group of writers, intellectuals and scholars whose ideas the Bolshevik regime found objectionable. The Philosophy Steamer, as it came to be known, was followed six weeks later by a second ship. The machinery of totalitarianism was kicking into gear.
Lenin deported intellectuals but did not have them executed.

This little-known chapter is recounted in fascinating detail by Lesley Chamberlain in “Lenin’s Private War.â€

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Postby svinayak » 09 Aug 2007 06:30

In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia
by Ronald Spector (Author)

# Hardcover: 384 pages
# Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (July 10, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0375509151
# ISBN-13: 978-0375509155

Americans considered World War II over in August 1945, but in this enthralling sequel to Eagle Against the Sun, historian Spector recounts the brutal postwar conflicts inside former Japanese conquests. Although hailed in American media as China's savior, Chiang Kai-shek enlisted and received the help of the undefeated Japanese army in fending off Mao Zedong's Communist forces. The modest assistance of two U.S. Marine divisions barely slowed Chiang's ultimate defeat. WWII's end in Malaya produced a vicious racial conflict between Malaysians and the Chinese minority. Vietnam considered itself independent when the French returned to resume control, a bloody process that, after eight years, failed. Before surrendering, the Japanese granted independence to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), but four years of warfare and anarchy passed before the Dutch withdrew. American occupation forces arrived in South Korea, entirely ignorant of its culture and language, and remained till 1949, leaving a turbulent country ruled by the only Koreans the U.S. could understand: missionary-educated, English-speaking and very conservative; U.S. troops returned the following year. Spector relates dismal accounts of civil war and mass slaughter, much of it provoked by the blundering victorious powers—a painful lesson backed with impressive research and delivered with Spector's usual wit and insight. (July 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Description
The New York Times said of Ronald H. Spector’s classic account of the American struggle against the Japanese in World War II, “No future book on the Pacific War will be written without paying due tribute to Eagle Against the Sun.â€

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Postby svinayak » 09 Aug 2007 18:55

How The World Really Works
by Alan B. Jones

# Paperback: 336 pages
# Publisher: ABJ Press (January 1997)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0964084813
# ISBN-13: 978-0964084810

A powerful digest of commentary that unveils the sorry state of today's American condition. And it smarts! A searing 320 pages that Jones produced by reviewing other books of common complaint and sewing them together with his own observations . It "will convince you that our problems are interconnected in a way that you probably never guessed." Names names, pulls no punches.

Book Description
This extensively indexed book succinctly summarizes the findings of a dozen or so of the most important works of the 20th century - from both sides of the conflict - which expose how and why a cabal of international plutocrats is planning to destroy America and any other country preventing the ultimate hegemony of their New World Order.

I am going to put my reputation on the line, and the 850+ non-fiction books I have read that make me the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction (and to my great surprise, today #49 over all fiction, movies, music, and software as well as non-fiction) for the simple reason that too many people discuss books such as this by labeling it "conspiracy theory."

It's not a conspiracy theory if it is true. I will try to be brief as well as illuminative.

First off, the author has culled a handful of books that support his case against a global financial elite, and these tend, with the exception of the Quigley book, to be left of left of center. I am however happy to add a number of books that support his essential theses that a handful of banking families control the central banks which are NOT government banks, and through loans, control governments, impoverish the middle class, and harvest profit without conscience from the "working poor."

Try these on for size:

1) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. 85% rock solid, 15% flakey, but in my view, a perfectly reasonable slam on the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund as instruments for impoverishing lesser developed countries, not empowering them.

2) The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs, another slam on the WTO/IMF, which he relegates to third rate out-dated economist ranks, not at all focused or able to achieve what he calls "developmental economics."

3) The Global Class War by Jeff Faux, a fine discussion of how our elites bribe the elites in other countries, and the both screw the public by looting the commonwealths of gold, oil, etcetera, without returns to the people whose families have lived on top of these resources for centuries.

4) Running on Empty, by Paul Peterson of the Council of Foreign Relations (which the author hates, in my view it has two types of members--one manipulative like Henry Kissinger, another honest, like Paul Peterson), in which both the Republican and the Democratic parties are lambasted for being the ignorant slaves of the ultra-rich elites, and hopeless out of touch with reality and unable to represent We the People.

5) War is a Racket by General Smedley Butler, the highest decorated Marine of his time, who complained about being an enforcer for banks and businesses that lent money to the Third World then sent the Marines to get it back for them.

There are many other books that support this author's book reviews in great detail and from many varied perspectives. I refer you to my various lists, including the list on "Screwing the 90% that do the work."

The author has some pretensions and some slop, his arguments are not always consistent, but then neither are mine. On balance I regard this book as a first rate personal effort that should be read by every middle class person wondering, as Lou Dobbs on CNN has wondered, why we are exporting middle class jobs and importing poverty in the form of illegal aliens.

The author wraps up his varied reviews with a focus on the relationship between organized crime and the super-elite as well as their political elite (e.g. the Bush family, the best of the servant class), and on the relationship between drugs, covert operations, and Wall Street. Here again the author draws on a very tiny sub-set of books while not listing many others that support his thesis so I will mention a few here.

Having been through both Viet-Nam as a youth and the Central American Wars as an adult, I am quite certain that there are at least four different slices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where I served for ten years as a clandestine case officer:

A small slice does what the White House wants, including black bag jobs.

A small but more important slice does what Wall Street wants, and helps Wall Street with access to financially relevant information that the public which pays for the CIA does not get. Buzzy Krongard, until recently Executive Director of the CIA, comes to mind as the most recent leader of this section.

A larger slice, that does covert action off the books with funding from Saudi Arabia and others, sometimes called the Safari Club, sometimes having off-shoots like Ted Shackley's Southern Air Transport, and so on. This slice can provide the intersection between criminal activities, white collar crime profits, illegal White House activities, and plain profiteering.

Finally, 90% of the CIA, folks like me that did not realize they were simply going through the motions and giving the local counterintelligence service a full-time rabbit to follow while the commercial clandestine boys and girls looted the bank in bright daylight.

I have two intelligence lists that can be helpful here, but I have not focused on creating crime lists. I'll just say that between the books on the "working poor" and on being "nickeled and dimed" and books on immoral predatory capitalism and unilateral militarism of the Dick Cheney variety (I have compiled a list of 25 specific impeachable actions by Dick Cheney based on three books: One Percent Doctrine, VICE, and Crossing the Rubicon). There is a very clear-cut and direct relationship between dictators, transnational organized crime and terrorism, and Wall Street as well as the Republican and Democratic National Committees.

That reminds me: there is an entire literature on petroleum, peak oil, petrodollars, and so on. Americans have been betrayed by their government since at least 1975, and more likely, back to the 1950's when naiveté about international affairs was replaced by active complicity.

Good news. 1) Internet leveled playing field. 2) Not enough guns to kill us all. 3) A few of the really rich have realized they need to help us create infinite wealth for ourselves, or lose all they have to locusts. Read, be vocal, be active, we're going to get a grip on our commonwealth soon.

Tip of the Hat to Jere for the following added links:
When Corporations Rule the World
The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. a. Hayek)
Money Masters of Our Time

See also my longer reviews of:
Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil

1-A Century of War
2-Tragedy and Hope
3-The Naked Capitalist
4-The Tax-Exempt Foundations
5-The Creature from Jekyll Island
7-Report from Iron Mountain
8-The Greening
9-The Politics of Heroin
10-Final Judgment

11-Dope Inc.
12-Let's fix America!

The author has researched the works of writers who are seeking to find out WHO is impoverishing us, and WHY and HOW they are doing it. The findings are presented via a series of in-depth reviews of a carefully selected set of books, mostly little-known but a few famous. Taken together, a coherent picture emerges which precious few among even our political activists understand or care to admit to knowing.

As the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction about global issues and national security (#66 over-all), as a former spy, founder of the Marine Corps Intelligence Command, and CEO and proponent for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), I think I have a good foundation for evaluating this book. It is so compelling and so troubling that I was obliged to create an eight-page worksheet to ensure I understood the details.

The author alleges that Dick Cheney personally oversaw the 9-11 scenario, with largely fabricated hijackers used by the U.S. military as OPFOR exercise personnel and aided by Israel and Saudi Arabia, that most of the so-called hijackers were not actually on the airplanes; that the two airplanes hitting the WTC were flown by remote control in at least the final minutes from WTC 7 where the Secret Service (Cheney's personal vehicle for running the government) and CIA had their offices; that all three buildings, including WTC 7 which was not hit at all were brought down by controlled explosions, and the Pentagon was hit by a missile aided by a homing device, not Flight 77, which was put down elsewhere. (He notes that Congress was not evacuated, suggesting that either Cheney was incompetent or he knew the missile would hit the homing device in the Pentagon.)

Bottom line: he has NOT provided enough evidence to convict Cheney, but he HAS provided enough evidence to suggest that the 9-11 Commission was very derelict in its duties; that very select elements of the U.S. Government are engaging in a cover-up after facilitating the murder of U.S. citizens; and that a public investigation and trial of Dick Cheney are required.

Here are just a few highlights from this very complex and earnest book:

1) The end of cheap oil is a global crisis. Central Asian reserves were thought to be a temporary respite from global chaos. When this was known not to be the case, in 2000, Wall Street cashed out and allowed the public to bear the brunt of the stock market crash, and the Clinton Administration began to develop Al Qaeda, with Saudi Arabia and Israel, as a covert operation. I am more inclined to believe we allowed Al Qaeda to develop, rather than nurtured them deliberately.

2) Wall Street depends heavily on drug money for liquidity. When the Taliban killed the opium crop in Afghanistan, this was a form of economic warfare against Wall Street's immorality, and they were more than glad to support a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan which had the direct result of jumping Afghanistan's contribution to global heroin from 0 to 80%, with all that money going to Wall Street.
Stunningly, the author reports that the head of the Stock Exchange traveled to Colombia to invite the FARC to invest its drug money in US stocks--the "ultimate cold call." Specific companies associated with laundering drug money through off-book deals include HP, Ford, Sony, GM, Whirlpool, GE, and Philip Morris.

3) The author provides a very compelling case for the possibility that there are two CIA's--a very small elite that work for Wall Street, and were until recently led by Buzzy Krongard as Executive Director of CIA (his "former" firm did most of the puts on United Airlines and profited greatly from 9-11), and a "lip-service" CIA that bumbles around. The links that he establishes between oil companies and logistics support companies to the U.S. military, and their importation of drugs that seem to explode anytime CIA goes into Laos or Afghanistan or Colombia or anywhere else in a big way, are remarkable. He has very specific details, including references to drugs going to oil rigs off New Orleans and then directly in through the most corrupt police force in the country.

4) Congress passed the Patriot Act without reading it.

5) Massive deception has occurred in relation to terrorism. The U.S. refused multiple offers from both the Taliban and Somalia to deliver Bin Laden--everything about post 9-11 has been about damage control, not investigation; the Kean Commission was riddled with conflicts of interest that the author discusses in detail.

6) Specific corporations are named that appear to merit investigation, including Acxiom, Brown & Root, Carlyle, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, DynCorp, Lockheed, and Raytheon. One corporation, from Israel, broke its WTC lease at great expense the week prior to 9-11.

7) Numerous individuals are named who were not properly interviewed by the 9-11 Commission. Both those on watch and off watch (e.g. BGen Winfield who asked to be relieved from 0830 to 1100 from his post as director of the national military command center) have not been grilled. Mayo Shattuck of Alex Brown resigned on 12 September. Dave Frasca, the FBI leader that blocked all investigations, Admiral Abbott, key person for Cheney, Karl Inderfurth, General Ahmad from Pakistan ($100K to Al Qaeda in US the week before the attack), a whole host of people were simply not investigated.

8) This is massive evidence of sustained fraud by Wall Street, mortgage companies, and others, inclusive of schemes to draw money out of the U.S. Government (i.e. from the taxpayer) through Housing and Urban Development mortgage fraud in drug-affected neighborhoods, and from the Department of Defense. The author alleges that by his detailed estimate, Wall Street has looted three trillion dollars from the U.S. Treasury. As a side note, he points out that Enron's records were moved to Switzerland in what could be a deliberate cover-up of their role in all of this.

9) Murder hangs heavy in this book. Lest anyone believe this is a fairy tale, the author ends the book with a copy of Operation Northwind, the JCS plan from 13 March 1962, to murder Americans in a series of events designed to provide a pretext for invading Cuba.

Last edited by svinayak on 09 Aug 2007 19:29, edited 1 time in total.


Postby Raju » 09 Aug 2007 19:25

Having been through both Viet-Nam as a youth and the Central American Wars as an adult, I am quite certain that there are at least four different slices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where I served for ten years as a clandestine case officer:

A small slice does what the White House wants, including black bag jobs.

A small but more important slice does what Wall Street wants, and helps Wall Street with access to financially relevant information that the public which pays for the CIA does not get. Buzzy Krongard, until recently Executive Director of the CIA, comes to mind as the most recent leader of this section.

In other words basically hatchet jobs for an elite clique.

A larger slice, that does covert action off the books with funding from Saudi Arabia and others, sometimes called the Safari Club, sometimes having off-shoots like Ted Shackley's Southern Air Transport, and so on. This slice can provide the intersection between criminal activities, white collar crime profits, illegal White House activities, and plain profiteering.

A lot of private benami airlines are owned by the CIA & all of them are used for smuggling drugs throughout the world and esp within the US.

The links that he establishes between oil companies and logistics support companies to the U.S. military, and their importation of drugs that seem to explode anytime CIA goes into Laos or Afghanistan or Colombia or anywhere else in a big way, are remarkable. He has very specific details, including references to drugs going to oil rigs off New Orleans and then directly in through the most corrupt police force in the country.

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