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The Next 100 Years (George Friedman, 2009) 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
James Gifford wrote:
I was, amusingly enough, plowing through one of his thumping passages on the superiority of the US in world seas as the news of the pirate rescue came in.


I am not normally hawkish, but I have to wonder why the US doesn't just station a spare warship in international waters off Somalia and use the pirates for target practice. I mean, it would give them something to do, and even if it technically violates some law, who's going to object? Maybe I'm missing an unintended consequence.


Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:21 pm
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Peter Scott wrote:
James Gifford wrote:
I was, amusingly enough, plowing through one of his thumping passages on the superiority of the US in world seas as the news of the pirate rescue came in.


I am not normally hawkish, but I have to wonder why the US doesn't just station a spare warship in international waters off Somalia and use the pirates for target practice. I mean, it would give them something to do, and even if it technically violates some law, who's going to object? Maybe I'm missing an unintended consequence.


I was stumped myself (Hmm..send them all to Davey Jones' locker - why not?) until I remembered reading that you can't really tell who is a pirate until they actually attack a vessel. Apparently, the Somali pirates are using ordinary fishing trawlers as cover and as a "mothership." When they spot prey, they then launch rubber speedboat rafts to attack. I suppose the Navy could just blockade the entire Somali coastline without much trouble, but that gets expensive and probably not worth the investment. Besides, the first time they blast an unarmed fishing boat out of the water for trying to run the blockade, there would be hell to pay.

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Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:00 pm
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
I agree, Peter - it's one of those situations where some active, frisky world-policing would pay dividends. However, there seems to be an odd reluctance to do ANYTHING - I was almost shocked at how hard the Navy stressed its case for opening fire, as if the situation needed any justification, let alone bend-over-backward, we-hadda-doit, gosh-we're-sorry justification.

Pirates. Kidnapping. US hostage. Weapons in play. BLA-BLA-BLAM, game over. How do you send a six-pack to a SEAL team?

I further fail to understand why the merchant ships have not armed themselves. I understand it's not a usual practice and probably needs some preparation and licensing/approval/something, but this situation has been going on for a while and likely will continue. A couple of sniper rifles and a few AR-15s per ship would cut the incidence to zero, methinks.

Even after the Bush era, I sincerely hope this is not a sign that the Obama administration has smaller balls than the Carter team.


Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:56 pm
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
About halfway through (damn I need to find more reading time... I've never had so little) and I noticed a couple of things worth noting.

First, and quite unusually, Friedman has written this book military-style instead of business-style. Nearly all mass-market/pop books are written business-style, which is fact-fact-fact-conclusion. Great for building suspense, hiding your goals, and dragging the reader along.

Military style is summary/conclusion-fact-fact-fact, and for complex, counter-intuitive stuff like this, it's great. He outlines his notions, then spends several pages supporting them point by point. You're never left wondering where he's going and the presentation of even abtruse and detached facts is given a basis, a foundation on which to grasp them, rather than floating around until the author oh-so-graciously assembles them for you. Fabulous.

I am also in awe at the spareness of his writing. In this era of mega-books, I fully expected this to be a 600+ page brick. But with the sort of intellectual candor and grace Heinlein would have appreciated, he boils things down to essentials - like, for example, reducing the key reasons for the attack on Pearl Harbor to one succinct (and accurate) sentence.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.


Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:10 am
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Best piece of speculative fiction (yeah I know - it's not technically fiction) I've read in a long, long time, and as Jim says, so Heinlein-esque in its style. Thanks, Peter, for recommending. I'm starting on it again.

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Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:01 am
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Haven't read the book myself, but as my secret vice is C-SPAN, I note that George Friedman is slated to appear on C-SPAN 2 ("BookTV") next Monday, 20 April, at 7 AM EDT for an hour. You may wish to catch it. Maybe I'll ask Mr. Tivo to watch it for me.
http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=10186&SectionName=&PlayMedia=No

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Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:28 am
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Stratfor just posted an article that enabled me to understand for the first time the US relationship with Cuba: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090413 ... ssion_cuba . If you can't see it, you can sign up for a free introduction to Stratfor that will let you access everything, I think.

Now I'm looking to see if they have anything to say about pirates...


Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:30 am
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
James Gifford wrote:
About halfway through (damn I need to find more reading time... I've never had so little) and I noticed a couple of things worth noting.

First, and quite unusually, Friedman has written this book military-style instead of business-style. Nearly all mass-market/pop books are written business-style, which is fact-fact-fact-conclusion. Great for building suspense, hiding your goals, and dragging the reader along.

Military style is summary/conclusion-fact-fact-fact, and for complex, counter-intuitive stuff like this, it's great. He outlines his notions, then spends several pages supporting them point by point. You're never left wondering where he's going and the presentation of even abtruse and detached facts is given a basis, a foundation on which to grasp them, rather than floating around until the author oh-so-graciously assembles them for you. Fabulous.

I am also in awe at the spareness of his writing. In this era of mega-books, I fully expected this to be a 600+ page brick. But with the sort of intellectual candor and grace Heinlein would have appreciated, he boils things down to essentials - like, for example, reducing the key reasons for the attack on Pearl Harbor to one succinct (and accurate) sentence.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Without having seen the book yet (it's on reserve) I'd like someone to interview this guy for the Journal.


Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:42 am
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Bill Patterson wrote:
Without having seen the book yet (it's on reserve) I'd like someone to interview this guy for the Journal.


Bill, you're the obvious candidate. None of us appear to have any more of a lead on him than you. Read the book first though.

So, when is the next THJ coming out? Did I miss any, or has it been a while?


Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:22 pm
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Post Re: The Next 100 Years
Peter Scott wrote:
Bill Patterson wrote:
Without having seen the book yet (it's on reserve) I'd like someone to interview this guy for the Journal.


Bill, you're the obvious candidate. None of us appear to have any more of a lead on him than you. Read the book first though.

So, when is the next THJ coming out? Did I miss any, or has it been a while?

It's just a matter of time, insufficiency of. I've got at least three issues' worth of material by now, and no freaking time to put it together. The wheels on the red queen's hamster cage are turningmadly. Same comment applies to my doing the interview, only more so. Any spare time I can rustle up has to be applied to pushing the biography into print by main force. Hartwell has had the *final* edit after 2 passes for three months now and he's still "reading the manuscript." Aaargh!

On the brighter side, I just got galleys for the intro for the new Baen Puppet Masters, so that's making progress at any rate.


Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:40 pm
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