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Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2015

  1. #41
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default out out brief candle

    We Kill Because We Can by Laurie Calhoun


    This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things by Whitney Phillips

  2. #42
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    Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

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  4. #44
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    Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, by Robert Kaplan

    http://www.amazon.com/Asias-Cauldron...KPT8AFK0GCTS5V

    For those unfamiliar with the strategic challenges in the South China Sea and the surrounding area that is driving the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific this book is an excellent primer. I can almost guarantee that old Asia hands will also learn something new from reading this book. It is an easy weekend read, yet it covers an wide range of relevant historical issues in an easily understood manner. While it tends to focus on the state actors, it also touches among the growing Islamic Fundamentalism in Malaysia (and elsewhere), and the potential expansion of radicalism in the region that may further contribute to regional instability.

    Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, by Peter W. Singer and August Cole

    http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Fleet-No...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

    This is a novel about a future war between China (post communist China) and the U.S. It focuses on how the opponents use high technology weapons, drones, cyborg tech, cyber, and operations in space among other things. I agree with the critiques that if you're looking for a good fiction book with developed characters this isn't your book. Character development was shallow, but if you want to explore how future wars may be fought this is an interesting read.

    Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Peter W. Singer

    http://www.amazon.com/Cybersecurity-...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

    If you are a military planner, homeland security planner, any sort of national security strategy advisor, then you need to read this book to ensure you have a realistic grasp of what cyber threats really are and the implications of those threats. Singer does a great job of putting them in context. This definitely is not a sky is falling book, but it is a clear eyed view on the nature of the challenge we face in this domain.

  5. #45
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    Default Ghost Fleet

    I'm about 1/3 though...

    I have to say I'd rather keep my techno-thrillers focused on the technology, not superficial characters.

    There's supposed to be a high-tech, high-speed war in a global battlespace, and yet we see actually very little of the opening salvo. However, the book opens with a killing that at this point has nothing to do with the plot.

    I do appreciate the emphasis on cyber technology and drones, however, a key element of "Red Storm Rising" was that smart weapons would be exhausted within weeks during a great power war.

    Looking at the sheer quantity and quality of tools and technology needed to decimate decades-behind and less-than-peer militaries in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iraq again and Libya, it seems to me that any Sino-American conflict would start to go low-tech rapidly, especially for the Chinese side. Yet somehow China is ahead qualitatively and quantitatively...

    Looking at other conflicts (e.g. in the Donbass and Syria), the RMA has not helped Russia defeat insurgents with small arms, technical, the odd refurbished T-55, and TOWs...

    Mixed emotions at this point...

  6. #46
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    Last edited by Backwards Observer; 11-09-2015 at 05:18 AM. Reason: de gustibus non est disputandum

  7. #47
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A free COIN book

    I reviewed this book a few months ago and recommended it. Now the author has made the entire book free to access:https://t.co/s2nztIo1O5

    'Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the the challenges of modern warfare' by David Ucko & Robert Egnell.
    davidbfpo

  8. #48
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    Default oh do not ask "what is it?"

    Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell


    The Chinese Looking Glass by Dennis Bloodworth

  9. #49
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    Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, by Michel Foucault.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discipline_and_Punish

    Wiki article lay stress on penal system, but Foucault's main idea is that discipline mechanisms shaped the entire European society.
    Last edited by mirhond; 11-24-2015 at 05:46 PM.
    Haeresis est maxima opera maleficarum non credere.

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    Karen Armstrong gets worse every year, but "a history of God" was not too bad.
    Finally read Andrew Roberts "Napoleon". Well worth a read. My (off the cuff) review here:

    https://www.goodreads.com/review/sho...w_action=false

  12. #52
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    Default oh you

    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    Karen Armstrong gets worse every year
    Please explain. I certainly wouldn't want to be mislead by someone with some kinda tenuously cobbled together narrative or self-serving crackpot agenda or whatever

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    I read "History of God" around 2001 or so and it seemed an interesting book then, though I really cannot remember any salient point by now (not an unusual thing with me and books). But since then I have read her articles and interviews (and once heard her speak) and I find her extremely naive and prejudiced (not in the Right wing sense, but prejudiced by her postMarxist/postmodern political views). She has decided that it is her mission to correct what she regards as an Islamophobic Western academic tradition and/or that she will massage all the expectations of her Eurocentric liberal audience. She then cherry picks verses, events and interpretations to fit that worldview. It is not a vicious worldview, but as a guide to policy or understanding it is severely lacking.
    I don't know anything about the author of the following piece and if she is somehow guilty of other thoughtcrimes, please do not hold it against me , but on Karen Armstrong she is spot on..
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/...ill_maher.html

  14. #54
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    Default the mountains of madness

    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    I read "History of God" around 2001 or so and it seemed an interesting book then, though I really cannot remember any salient point by now (not an unusual thing with me and books)
    So true about reading! I barely remember anything about any books I read, I think that makes me more informed. I'm about halfway though "History of God" and all I can recall so far is El Shaddai and a whole bunch of what seems like gang warfare As far as thoughtcrimes, "Your attitude is noticed", as they say


  15. #55
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    Default when the going gets tough, the tough go chopping

    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    She has decided that it is her mission to correct what she regards as an Islamophobic Western academic tradition and/or that she will massage all the expectations of her Eurocentric liberal audience. She then cherry picks verses, events and interpretations to fit that worldview. It is not a vicious worldview, but as a guide to policy or understanding it is severely lacking.
    I don't know anything about the author of the following piece and if she is somehow guilty of other thoughtcrimes, please do not hold it against me , but on Karen Armstrong she is spot on..
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/...ill_maher.html
    Incidentally, re: your link, this is what ye olde culture wars sometimes look like where talk shows have yet to catch on


    Chinese going to Bersih, get ready for bloodbath!

    http://www.rojakpot.com/chinese-bers...ed-with-death/
    Last edited by Backwards Observer; 12-01-2015 at 01:55 AM. Reason: add link for any audience that appreciates cherry picking and expectation massaging

  16. #56
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    Default don't decapitate me abang

    Here's another view of the Bersih thing mentioned above that seems to play down the Islamophobia angle, 'cos turns out it's actually only about pride. That's a relief :

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Thousands of ethnic Malays have rallied to uphold Malay dominance and support Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's government, following calls for Najib to step down over a $700 million financial scandal.

    Wednesday's rally, which included members of Najib's ruling Malay party, is to counter a protest in late August by tens of thousands of Malaysians to demand Najib's ouster and political reforms.

    A nation of 30 million, Malaysia is predominantly Malay Muslim, with significant Chinese and Indian minorities.

    The protesters on Wednesday accused ethnic Chinese of driving last month's demonstration, saying they had insulted Malay leaders and challenged Malay supremacy.

    Wearing red shirts, the protesters chanted "Long live the Malays" as they blew horns and marched from several locations in Kuala Lumpur to a field near Parliament.
    Thousands of ethnic Malays rally to support Malaysian prime minister, uphold Malay pride - Fox News - Sept 16, 2015
    Last edited by Backwards Observer; 12-01-2015 at 07:07 AM. Reason: change bro to abang

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    Malaysia got rich, in large part thank to their Chinese minority, but the Malays have also become more Islamized over time (they were never as relaxed as their Javenese neighbors to begin with) and they will play the race card as well as the "Islam-in-danger" card very freely. I would predict more trouble, except that the Malays also seem to have a functioning "Hard-British-Raj" administrative system, so they may be able to keep a lid on things for a few more years. Plus overseas Chinese communities tend to be docile and not make trouble, especially if they can keep making money.
    But as they say, it's a matter of time.

  18. #58
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    Default grandmother meets egg

    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    Malaysia got rich, in large part thank to their Chinese minority, but the Malays have also become more Islamized over time (they were never as relaxed as their Javenese neighbors to begin with) and they will play the race card as well as the "Islam-in-danger" card very freely. I would predict more trouble, except that the Malays also seem to have a functioning "Hard-British-Raj" administrative system, so they may be able to keep a lid on things for a few more years. Plus overseas Chinese communities tend to be docile and not make trouble, especially if they can keep making money.
    But as they say, it's a matter of time.
    Hey, that's great info. My Chinese family have been living in Malaysia since our grandfather came over in the 1890's 'cos apparently he was too much of a slacker to make it in bad old China. He did okay until the forties when the kempeitai tortured him and chopped his head off for some reason. I was there for the last Malay/Chinese chopapalooza in 1969...bad vibes, but interesting. Our asses got bailed out because the local Sultan sent the Sabah Rangers, who were mostly Christian-ish former headhunters, to our neighbourhood. I remember them slow-walking silently out of the jungle near our house accompanied by a Saladin armoured car one misty morning. They looked cool but kinda scary. Like all backwards foreigners we really don't understand our own countries. It only makes sense when some, uh, 'objective' outsider with no specific agenda to wiggle explains it to us. It's a local code of silence thing, I guess. Thanks!
    Last edited by Backwards Observer; 12-02-2015 at 01:17 AM. Reason: props to the Sabah Rangers and narrative massaging

  19. #59
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    Default huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    (they were never as relaxed as their Javenese neighbors to begin with)
    Maybe I misunderstand, but are you referring to Indonesia where they mellowed out on Konfrontasi and relaxingly killed over half a million people in 1965?

    Indonesia - Malaysia confrontation - Wikipedia

    50 years since the Indonesian massacre of 1965 - Guardian - Sept 30, 2015

    Also:

    May 1998 riots of Indonesia - Wikipedia
    Last edited by Backwards Observer; 12-02-2015 at 02:15 AM. Reason: also

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    I know about 1965, but I just meant that their ISLAM really is a little bit syncretic (mostly East Java), so they are sometimes held up as the poster-boys for how Islam will become all multi-culti thanks to the "tolerant Muslims of South East Asia". Of course, the Javanese are also becoming closer to "classical Islam" thanks to closer links to Saudi Arabia, so the whole story is a bit overblown, but anyway, the thought in my mind was that their mildly syncretic and relaxed Islam is then (casually and carelessly) extended to ALL of SE Asia, which is not true. Malays and Moros used to be more "radical" even in the good old days.
    https://news.google.com/newspapers?n...28327041&hl=en

    I am sure you know more than me about these things and can enlighten us further

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