Texas, Kyiv, Kabul?

One of my faithful readers asked me if I had been too busy to post on my blog.  Yes, I have.  With the NH clan one member larger and all of the travel and treachery going on at work, I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and write.  I’ve been a little more active on Twitter but I realize that they’re two different things.

So, just hours from catching a flight to the middle east, I’ve decided to check in – albeit with a cursory stop-gap post.  I’m flying from Prague to Dubai and then on to Kabul where I will be this time tomorrow.  It promises to be an interesting trip.  I never knew I wanted to go there (and I’m still not sure I do) but I’m looking forward to it.  No doubt, there will be some future post fodder that I will collect while I’m there.

In the meantime, I’ll see you at the end of the week.

Sarkozy Sees the Obvious, Obama Does Not

‘President Obama dreams of a world without weapons…but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

Yes, he was referring to Obama’s UN speech about a world without nukes from last week.  Of course, he could have been referring to the speech Obama gave in Prague this Spring.  It was the same dreamy rhetoric only, months earlier.

So, the question is, what took Sarko so long?

Life Through the Lens of Kosovo

I’m just a few hundred miles south of where I was last night but it feels like a different world.  In many ways, it is.  I’m in Pristina, Kosovo.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s the last place in the world where they actually like Americans.

I just got back from dinner with a journalist that has lived here since he was born, through the war and is now a citizen in the independent Republic of Kosovo.  He feared for his life on a daily basis during the war but kept fighting the fight.  I asked him why, how?  “In hopes that my children would never have to if I did,” he answered.

That was enough for me.  Something clicked and that was all I needed. 

Somewhere along the way, the job I do hasn’t changed but the reason why I keep on doing it did.  It just took a guy from Kosovo, a fellow dad, to make that clear.

September 11th, 2009

Pentagon on the horizon 9-11-01
Pentagon on the horizon 9-11-01

Looking back on that day, Clifford D. May‘s analysis is thought provoking:

If this struggle is too much for the present generation, we will deserve what comes in its place. Americans used to say that freedom is not free, that it must be earned by generation after generation. That sounds hokey to 21st-century ears, I know. That doesn’t make it less true.

You Say You Want A Revolution?

I’m not looking for crow recipes yet – but I’m not giving up all hope.

I’m still not getting tingles up my spine from what is going on in Iran, though.  Here’s why:  First, I’ve seen revolutions in Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia (among others) in my lifetime and I’ve seen what happens in the aftermath.  In the heat of the moment of those revolutions I got excited.  My heart shouts, “Liberty!  Freedom!  Democracy!”  But having traveled to all but one of these countries in the aftermath and dealt with people from all of them, it has become clear that liberal democracy does not take root as easily as one would hope.  In fact, in each of these cases, liberalization has failed and has been overtaken by corruption and oligarchy.

Much the same thing is happening now in Iran.  What we’re seeing there are two parts of the establishment fighting for power and using the third (English-speaking, twittering, liberal) segment of the society to gain an advantage over their adversary.  The folks at Stratfor agree and helped put into words what my gut was telling me last night when I watched extensive coverage of the “revolution” on television.

Ah, so this is how it feels to be a cynic.

Unrest in Iran

There’s a lot being made of the post-election unrest in Iran.  Some people are getting tingles up their spines and proclaiming it the beginning of the end for the Iranian theocracy.  I’m going to go on record and say that this is just wishful thinking.  Mousavi isn’t much better than Ahmadinejad and even if the whole thing explodes into civil war, the end result would be no better for the US.  Not to mention the fact that the sitting US President just sent a huge love note to the “Muslim world” and somehow aiding the opposition would greatly contradict that.  And, you know, Obama never contradicts himself.

There you go.  I’m on record.  Check back in a few weeks and see if I’m eating crow pot pie.

Michael Yon is Back

“The sniper controlled his breathing and slowly exhaled one final breath.  He squeezed the light trigger…BAM! Bear-stopping bullet launched at three times the speed of sound over the corn, startling birds that fluttered away.  The slug hit a tree, splintered through bark, ricocheted, and struck the man, who fell.

What can be said other than, oops?”

Read it all…