Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Provocateur

“I’ll never accept being a slave.”

A rap anthem called ‘F*ck Communism’ is going viral in Vietnam

BANGKOK, Thailand – “Hardcore hip-hop” isn’t releasing yet anotherrhymeabout cocaine and Glocksto titillate the American suburbs. Hardcore hip-hop is a Vietnamese MC rapping about executing corrupt officials and overthrowing the Communist Party. One of Vietnam’s most subversive new rap songs isn’t about partying, sex or even drugs. It’s simply called “F*ck Communism.”



Where freedom doesn’t ring… yet

“The Chinese Communists aren’t reasonable. You cannot talk to the government rationally. The majority of the Chinese are now thinking about how to end the Chinese Communist Party rule, and build a democratic system.”

Having slowly, but successfully liberalized its economy, China is now a small step from the kind of modernization that would define, in a real sense, “a great leap forward“. Will China’s leaders at last summon the courage to reform China’s political system?

Tribes, institutions, markets, networks

These categories help us understand the aggregate behavior of individuals as they come together to form different types of human societies. What’s worth noting, especially, are David’s insights with respect to the universality of tribal identity: tribalism is the first and final form of social organization.  A sense of belonging is a core need, and is, in part, at least, what radical extremists exploit when recruiting new members. From SWJ (my bold):

Recent research has shown that isolated and marginalised groups and individuals are more likely to be lured by the messages of vengeance (perceived social and political justice) and a utopian life of the Caliphate (perceived sense of belonging and purpose).

Small Wars Journal

Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog. We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

— Marcus

Aggregate behavioral science

 …in modern societies in Europe and North America, the tribal paradigm is constantly reiterated in large ways and small—not only in expressions of nationalism and “national character,” but also in the often-clannish organization and behavior of civic clubs, social circles, sports fans, urban gangs, and even “cyber-tribes,” to note a few examples.  All such expressions reflect the tribal paradigm, for they are more about traditional desires for identity, honor, pride, respect, and solidarity than about modern desires for power and profit.

From In Search Of How Societies Work, Tribes — The First and Forever Form, by David Ronfeldt, page 57, before chapter titled, Modern Manifestations of the Tribal Form. (My bold text.)

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— M.

The business of war


The Man Who Made Millions off the Afghan War

America’s war in Afghanistan, which is now in its fifteenth year, presents a mystery: how could so much money, power, and good will have achieved so little? Congress has appropriated almost eight hundred billion dollars for military operations in Afghanistan; a hundred and thirteen billion has gone to reconstruction, more than was spent on the Marshall Plan, in postwar Europe.