Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some Summer Reading

I'm sitting on a porch looking out over Lake Sunapee, in Newbury, NH -- here for a family reunion and to enjoy the absolutely incredible company, water, and weather. So, though I feel quite irresponsible (especially having missed last week's Sunday post as well due to the ever-ongoing and thus-far unfruitful job hunt in which I am engaged), I will not have much today, either. In lieu of an essay, I want to recommend a few blogs, Twitter accounts, Sunday op-ed pieces, and other reading material that I've really enjoyed and found worthwhile the past few months.

Some Blogs


Andrew Exum's counterinsurgency and foreign policy blog, Abu Muqawama, is worth reading more or less every time he posts. CNAS (The Center for New American Security), the organization he works for, is an impressive and rather new think tank in DC, involving an impressive number of veterans and foreign policy experts, and their reports are always worthwhile.

Kings of War is an academic blog run and maintained by various faculty and research students of the Department of War Studies, King's College London. Their format was a major factor in my deciding to start writing here, and their work is of serious quality and deep thought.

Continuing the tangential trend, Edible Geography is a continually-fascinating, entertaining, and insightful look at the rather intriguing combination of food and geography. "Harvests of War" is a perfect exemplar of what this blog does, and a great read.

Strange Maps, which I've just recently discovered, provides a wonderful cartographic-geekiness fix. Some of the examples they talk about in cartographic history are simply too bizarre to make up -- if the phrase 'Land Octopus' doesn't sell you in the context of a cartographic blog, then I don't believe anything will.

Some Twitter Accounts


@abumuqawama
@BlogsOfWar
@ThinkTankedWaPo
@DaveedGR
@caidid
@attackerman

I figure describing them isn't really that crucial, so just look them up. If you're on Twitter, I'll be doing a 'Follow Friday' tweet this week, so I apologize for the double dip.

An Op-Ed


Though I would not often recommend his column, Thomas Friedman has written an important and worthwhile op-ed in today's Sunday New York Times ("Clash of Generations," here) about the generational bases of the financial conflicts in Greece and the United States. Though this isn't strictly foreign-policy related, the financial magnitude of military and foreign-policy expenditures warrants serious thought on these issues by anyone who engages with foreign policy in this country's political scene, and Friedman has articulated a sentiment among the young that I feel has not really garnered the attention it deserves in this country. Perhaps the openness of the discontent in Greece will provide a bit of spark for similar sentiments to be expressed in this country, and with the incredible amount of money dedicated to welfare and medicine in the United States, Friedman has done something important in at least sparking a discussion about the state of our economy.

Of course, I am by no means an economist, so take what I say with a grain of salt. As a relative and economics professor here just pointed out, the discussion of origins can occasionally preclude discussion of solutions -- in this case especially, what matters in an economy is just as much the society's ability to produce work and capital in the present moment as it is the past performance and pre-existing debt.

Anyways. I'll be writing again more in the coming weeks, now that my schedule has locked down a bit and become more of an actual routine. Thanks for sticking with me.

Cheers,
Jeff