The name-calling in that part of the world is getting more colorful than usual reported Ambassador Dennis Ross to John Batchelor last night, as the melee in the Middle East careens toward Black Friday at Best Buy with bombs and automatic weapons. Everybody is fighting everybody else, coalitions unimaginable two years ago have formed and reformed with dizzying speed.
Through all the confusing events leading to the outbreak of the region-wide war, Batchelor has managed to keep accurate score but also handicapped so well that much of what is happening today in the Middle East is old news to his radio audience.
A big chunk of Batchelor's show last night was dedicated to guests' analyses of the current scoreboard. But if you're late to the melee I'd suggest listening to two of his talks in February with strategic analyst Gregory Copley. They're a good crash orientation to the furniture rearrangements that have radically altered the geopolitical map in a matter of months.
Gregory Copley also wears the hats of author, historian, and erstwhile industrialist in addition to his consulting work for the highest levels of governments around the world. He's also founder and Editor-in-Chief of Defense&Foreign Affairs group of publications, founder and Director of GIS (Global Information System), co-founder of ISSA (International Strategic Studies Association), and has competed barefoot in the Marathon des Sables.
I am joking about that last, I hope, although I wouldn't put it past him; he's a tough Aussie. But it's no joke he has the kind of mind well suited to analyzing the free-for-all era of Westphalianism -- as does John Batchelor, by the way. And of course as does Pundita, which is how I know Copley and Batchelor can chew and walk their way through data maelstroms.
Ah! I see from the author bio for one of his books that Copley has written extensively on the role of monarchies in governance. I must try to learn whether he's studied Thailand King Bhumibol's Sufficiency teachings, which I think if adopted on a wider basis could go a long way to solving the problem of today's societies gobbling their own tails. In the way they're doing in the Middle East, to bring the conversation full circle.
All right; here are links to the two talks, posted on the JBS podcast page:
February 20 - first segment
February 27 - third segment
Be sure to listen to the Feb 20 segment first. I'd also check out Eli Lake on his visit to Baghdad (he's reporting for Bloomberg View nowadays); second segment in the Feb. 20 block linked above. The intelligence he reported is still vital.