Saturday, August 30, 2014

MEMO: US Troops in Afghanistan Timeline

Date: August 30, 2014

MEMORANDUM: US Troops in Afghanistan Timeline


Will we be there indefinitely or are we going to set an arbitrary move out date?


Arbitrary everyone is out date.

Arbitrary troops out but still money for their military to function.

Perpetual occupation force.

If we leave will it be like ISIS? 

I don’t think we can know, but are we saying we're going to have a perpetual troop presence there? If the answer is no, then we need to leave.

MEMO: British argument on why it's OK to work with Assad (Sir Malcolm Rifkind)

Date: August 30, 2014

MEMORANDUM: British argument on why it's OK to work with Assad (Sir Malcolm Rifkind)

- When have we worked with bad people before and people didn't yell at us/it worked? 

 ○ Stalin?

- Is Stalin a parallel to Assad in modern terms? 

 ○ Yes.

- Conclusion: 

 ○ It's OK.

How are Stalin and Assad parallels? 

Authoritarian regimes, personality regimes, ruthless and in touch with what is going on in their own territories. Also, they're currently engaged with the enemy and have no ideas about surrender. Both Assad and Stalin will fight until the end.

Friday, August 29, 2014

MEMO: Master strategy re Ukraine, Russia invasion

Date: August 29, 2014

MEMORANDUM: Master strategy re Ukraine, Russia invasion 


Will we concede the territory or fight for it?

Concede Territory: 

Stop the sanctions, not helping but hurting our economies.

Fight for it: 

Send in special forces teams soon and assist the Ukrainians with the Russian convoys who are lost on the Ukrainian side of the border.

MEMO: Putin's Arctic Threats

Date: August 29, 2014

MEMORANDUM: Putin's Arctic Threats 

What is Putin doing? 


Which means what? 

He feels defensive, I think he still doesn't know what the domestic sentiment is right now so in the meantime he's deflecting international criticism.

Does he really mean that about the Arctic? 

Well, I left early from the Arctic discussion, my understanding is that it's like the internet, there is no infrastructure in place at all for people to start thinking about who has right to what up there.

So, if he's saying he's going to bypass the process of forming that infrastructure and just start putting dudes up there in jackets with ice breaker boats, it's possible, but it would be a big project for him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MEMO: Russian Public Opinion and the Future of Ukraine - Spatial Representation

Date: Aug 27, 2014


Russian Public Opinion and the Future of Ukraine - Spatial Representation

What is the Ukraine Conflict doing right now?

Until now it's given Russia a focal point outside of the borders of Russia, but if that focal point is obscured it could lead to chaos internally.

MEMO: Why do American scholars inaccurately characterize Sino-Russian relations as antagonistic in nature?

Date: June 15, 2014

MEMORANDUM: Why do American scholars inaccurately characterize Sino-Russian relations as antagonistic in nature?

Summary of Theory:

American scholars see a parallel between Sino-Russian and Sino-Indian relations when none exists.

Framing the Perceived Parallel:

Both relationships were peaceful in nature until the mid-20th C when both Sino-Russian and Sino-Indian relations experienced a period of open hostility.

Divergent Trajectories:

Neither China nor Russia retains feelings of animosity; only India retains ill will.

Why the Different Reactions to Mid-20th C Period of Open Hostility?:

While India was shaken to its core by Chinese aggression in 1962, Russia and China view the Sino-Soviet split in the greater context of their ancient geopolitical paradigms.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MEMO: Ways to interpret the buzzing Chinese fighter jet on US vessel (Aug 2014)


Ways to interpret the buzzing Chinese fighter jet on US vessel (Aug 2014):

1) Rogue Pilot

2) Rogue Military Commander

3) CCP reminding us that we're supposed to be rebalancing to Asia and now we're interested in ISIS and also we don't have a carrier fleet anymore so how interested are we in protecting the South China Sea from Chinese aggression?


Saturday, August 23, 2014

MEMO: Master Strategy re ISIS

Master Strategy re ISIS

Coordinate efforts w/ Iraqi government, Kurds, and Assad.

West can play a supportive role, rely on Assad for intelligence.

Lukman Faily

Iraqi Ambassador to the US, saw him speak July 2014
Washington, DC
Photo by Donna Welles

Friday, August 22, 2014

Catholics and Contraception - Symbolic Logic Approach

Catholics and Contraception - Symbolic Logic Approach

Why does the Catholic Church oppose contraception?

It confuses the ultimate form of intimacy with the only acceptable form of intimacy.

MEMO: How many Russian convoys entering Ukraine constitutes an invasion?


How many Russian convoys entering Ukraine constitutes an invasion?

Don't think the answer is 1, it's between 1 and infinity….

Why is this significant?

No matter how many convoys Putin sends, he can always argue they're convoys rather than an invasion.

Any number the west assigns will in truth be arbitrary.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Archetype of John the Baptist - Insufferable Despair/Break with Reality

Archetype of John the Baptist - Insufferable Despair/Break with Reality

John the Baptist:

Archetype for insufferable despair, break with reality. When John learned Jesus wasn't going to rescue him, he no longer accepted God's perfection. Could not resolve the paradox, how Jesus could 'fail' him and God be God.

"Ghetto University" Defined

"Ghetto University" Defined:

People are hungry, $20 means a lot. And what people do to survive when $20 means so much creates stress, and some people emerge with better lives, some stay and get addicted to drugs, some go to jail, and some die.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paradox of Christian Theology - Symbolic Logic Approach

Paradox of Christian Theology - Symbolic Logic Approach

God exists between the moments.
Those moments include pain.
God exists amid the pain.
Pain is acceptable.
Pain isn't painful. < ---- that's the paradox

Tribute to James Foley

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rear Admiral Charles McVay III and the USS Indianapolis


Rear Admiral Charles McVay III and the USS Indianapolis

Historical Significance:

It's an important story re US military history, WWII. Was a heavy cruiser that got sunk by a Japanese sub in 1945. Significant because 900 sailors had to float around in the ocean for 4 days, many got eaten by sharks. Rear Admiral Charles McVay III commanded it when it went down, he survived and was court martialed for not zigzagging. McVay ended up killing himself.

Personal Significance:

Story is important to me because I think he didn't deserve to be court-martialed, it was politically motivated. He'd been at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and by all accounts was a good man. It wasn't until Bill Clinton that his memory was officially exonerated of the sinking of the Indianapolis.

Friday, August 15, 2014

MEMO: Scenarios Re Russian Convoy in Ukraine

MEMO: Scenarios Re Russian Convoy in Ukraine

Purpose of the Convoy:

Raise the Temperature

Possible Scenarios:

-> Convoy will stay the same

Seems they can stay as long as they like, might be there a while.

-> Convoy will leave

Convoy could stay for a very long time, but Putin might decide he wants to lower the temperature at which point he'd recall it.

-> Convoy is precursor to full scale invasion of Ukraine

Possible but unlikely, Putin doesn't have the resources for full scale invasion.

-> Putin doesn't even know what he'll do next re the convoy, he's waiting to judge the international reaction and he'll make his next move accordingly.

My favorite option.


Convoy has already served the purpose of the convoy, he has raised the temperature and has only paid the price of gas to drive into Ukraine. Nobody has died and everyone is freaking out trying to figure out what is going on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MEMO: Iran a Normal State - Benefits to US Interests

MEMORANDUM: Iran a Normal State - Benefits to US Interests

Historical Context:

After the fall of the USSR, Iran became the US' nemesis.

What would happen if Iran were to become a normal state?


Likely there would be some residual 'revolutionary' behavior such as arms shipments to people we might not want to have guns.


Iran's intellectual class would revert to their 3,000 year old Persian roots and they would contribute to the global fabric in new and exciting ways.


Generally, it is in everyone's best interests for all nations to be happy and healthy.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

MEMO: China's Modern Tributary System Invalidated

Date: June 16, 2014

Modern People's Republic of China (PRC) vs. Imperial China - Tributary System

Summary of Theory:

The PRC wants to return to Imperial China's tributary system but has little to offer in exchange for the allegiance of its subordinates.

Tributary System Under Imperial China:

Imperial China extended an umbrella of technological advancement, economic sophistication, and military protection around its subordinates.

Modern PRC Lacks Imperial China's Sophistication:

In addition to the spillover manufacturing jobs China's neighbors enjoy when Chinese wages rise, the PRC can offer its regional partners only trade and cash.

Western Influence:

Technology and security alliances are coming from the West.


It is unlikely the PRC will rise to the level of Imperial China's sophistication anytime soon.

Territorial Claims:

The PRC's land and maritime claims are perhaps invalidated if they are rooted in Imperial China's quid pro quo.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MEMO: China Internal Security Thresholds

MEMORANDUM: China Internal Security Thresholds

Greater Context: 

China's internal security spending eclipses its defense budget.  

Many violent local uprisings (VLU) occur annually, CCP has to date effectively contained.  

Pollution is raising the pressure of public unrest, people are being poisoned by the air they breathe.

Will China's masses pose an existential threat to the CCP through a violent uprising? 

Possible Scenarios: 

  1. VLU stays the same in terms of frequency and size, small riots throughout the country that are quickly contained by the PLA.
  2. VLU decrease, trend toward pacification.
  3. A single VLU spreads faster than the PLA is able to contain it, unknown consequences.
  4. Multiple VLU are coordinated into a national anti-CCP campaign. 

Likelihood of Various Scenarios: 

1),2) Assess the sparks that ignite VLU. Often they result from corruption of local magistrates, violent local law enforcement. Ask: Are the sparks becoming less frequent, severe? 

  1. Is the pressure building up such that one of these VLU would spread faster than the PLA is able to contain it?
  2. Who would coordinate the VLU into a national campaign? So far the VLU seem spontaneous and aimless. Internet is method to coordinate, but it is closely monitored by the PLA.  


The impetus for a VLU spreading faster than the PLA is able to contain it would be how many people are dying from pollution.  

Need to study methods of PLA riot control.  

Need to study the frequency, severity of the sparks.