Rosa Parks Way

While driving to a picnic on Saturday, I was disoriented to discover that a portion of “Capitol Parkway” had been renamed Rosa Parks Way. I was first struck by the criminal nature of this pun, and then secondly struck by how it seems typical of how misguided much of black community politics is.

Much self-consciously “black” politics seems to focus on either the deification of early leaders or rent seeking. Strivers such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Jessee Jackson are celebrated, in a move that both marginalizes non-Southern black political cliques and obscures the actual nature of their opponents. The other purpose of the movement appears to be the political diversion of funds from other parts of the conomy. Companies are Coca-Cola are urged to spend resources on the victorious southern black clique, while “affirmative action” programs broaden the clique’s powerbase in an iron triangle of patronage.

Latino politics, in contrast, seems focused on a different goal: increasing the number of latinos. This has been quite effective. Rising from negligible status, latinos have risen to be the largest “minority” group in the country. At their current rate of growth, it’s likely that in the future “Latinos” will be all places and no places in the same way that, say, “German-Americans” are.

America may be tuned for a large supply of low-wage labor, but the fact is that labor is not coming from the Afro-Carribena or even Africa. The largest quantity of new immigrants are coming from Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

In part because of their different political strategies, the “black community” has consumed greater resources than would otherwise be the case but have made little systematic headway over the past generation. Latinos, by contrast, are becoming every more powerful.

Because they have avoided the “Rosa Parks Way” of doing politics.

Review of "Mao’s Last Revolution" by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals

This book by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schnoenhals a history of the insane Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. I saw “insane” purposefully. Such actions as the Holocaust and even Cambodia’s “Year Zero” in a way make sense, as they were purposeful applications of an ideology designed to achieve a defined end. Mao’s war against the Communist Party, however, Hitler was more-or-less in charge of the destruction of the Jews, as Pol Pot more-or-less oversaw the destruction of the Cambodians. Mao opted for a less conventional approach. Rival “Red Guard” organizations tested dirty bombs in a series of escalations and even attacked arms shipments intended for the Vietnam War. Mao’s Last Revolution is the story of this madness.

Mao’s Legacy

The Cultural Revolution took place in the context of Soviet “revisionism,” where first Khrushchev and then Brezhnev reformed the soviet system away from a cult of personality to the nondescript party oligarchy it eventually became. Mao feared a similar transformation of the People’s Republic, and identified “Khrushchevs” around him. Immediate threats were the pragmatic Secretary-General of the Communist Party Deng Xiaoping and Mao’s designated successor, Liu Shaoqi. Mao recognized the broader threat as the Chinese Communist Party itself, however, and proceeded to destroy it.

Smash the Liu-Deng Line!

Mao first purged the Mayor of Beijing and the Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation Army to severe the Party’s links to supporting organizations. Then he proceeded to destroy it. Red Guards were incited to tear down the Party organization, and the Army was then unleashed to tear down the Red Guards. (The self-described Red Terror is told in enough detail that one positively roots for the Army as it mows down “student demonstrators.” The context of Tiananmen has never been more clear.)

Red Guards (Useful Idiots)

Throughout the book specific incidents and anecdotes are elaborated on. The cities of Beijing (radicalized by the presence of Peking and Tsinghua Universities, not to mention the sometimes presence of Mao himself), Shanghai (where the Red Guards were subsumed by the organization of factoryworker-cum-intellectual Wang Hongwen, later one of the Gang of Four), and Wuhan (where Mao might have been deposed). Wuhan is especially notable as the beginning of the misfortunes of Wang Li, a high-ranking but not especially powerful member of the Central Cultural Revolutionary Group. Wang is attacked and tortured by enraged followers of a PLA General that Wang completed peace talks with, later is imprisoned by his fellow Culturally Revolutions, and only released by the Deng government in 1982.

The People’s Liberation Army

Mao, whose Lou Gherig’s disease worsens as the history continues on, is a master politician who is able to place one group against the other. His Red Guards destroy the Party, the People’s Liberation Army (headed by toady Lin Biao) destroys the Red Guards, and the purging of Lin and other top generals in the PLA returns the government to “civilian” rule. Mao’s 5GW is in a brilliant position on his death, with his wife and the rest of the Gang of Four in power behind a hapless toady, Hua Guofeng. Only a rump and discredited band of “survivors,” those kept alive and with nominal party membership by Mao Zedong, remain.

Happily for the fate of the world, Madame Mao is an idiot many times over and provokes a defensive coup by Hua Guofeng which results in Deng Xiaoping’s final, and successful, rise to power. In an epilogue, the authors note that Mao is the last of the “traditional” Chinese rulers (anti-market) and Deng the first of the radicals (pro-market). Deng has now been succeeded by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, who now “re-envision” Mao’s legacy in what must be a nightmare to the Chairman’s Ghost.

Mao’s Last Revolution is one of the best histories I have ever read, and easily the most readable. Strongly recommended.

Iraq Against Appeasement

Great news

Iraq’s parliament adjourned Monday for an August recess without receiving from the government a series of U.S.-backed draft laws designed to promote national unity and stem support for the Sunni-led insurgency.

In spite of pressure from Baathists, Qaedist, and Bushist (heh) elements, the democratically elected government of Iraq has resisted pressure to divert monies and resources to the insurgency. While each group has its own reason to force the Republic of Iraq to bankroll terror (the Baathis to salvage as much of their democidal regime as possible, the Qaedis to bankroll an Islamic Revolution, and the Bushis for reasons that make sense only inside the Beltway), most Iraqis prefer not to.

The Iraq War is a form of feedback to the Sunni Arab World in particular and the Gap in general. It is a demonstration of the bankruptcy and a stunning indictment against all those who took sides against Iraq, against democracy, and against America. Forcing the elected government of Iraq to have a half-victory against terror by cynically compelling it in bankroll the insurgency would be a shameful act. Fortunately for us, for Iraq, and for history, the Iraqi Parliament will not be so capitulating. At least not this August.

To the parliament of Iraq: have a good vacation. You’ve earned it.

Introducing "Security Today" Blog

July must be a good month for blogs. Not only has Shane Diechman of IATGR and Enterra started blogging at Wizads of Oz (be sure to check out the discussion at “Future Warfare?“), Joel Helgeson (who recently commented here on Blackwater) has begun Security Today. From his first post:

What has happened is that every time the IC has tried to develop a database of information, or share, disseminate or declassify information it is lambasted by privacy rights groups. So, more and more, the IC themselves are turning to private organizations who have databases on the American public that are far more comprehensive than ANYTHING the intel agencies would ever be permitted to gather. Think ChoicePoint, Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, LexisNexis, and so forth. As a private citizen, I have more access to this information than the IC or LEO.

It is astounding to see how often common blog posts are cited in intel reports as reliable sources for actionable information – and they should be. Blogs are the greatest, most efficient method of gathering intel from distributed sources around the globe.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Joel!

Graduation Update

I am extremely lucky to have a very caring and very hard working academic adviser. Unfunded out-of-state graduate tuition is quite pricey, and owing to the logic of bureaucracy my summer credits for Notes on Rails were going to be charged as such. A few phone calls later all that was taken care of.

Now, in spite of having completed all the work, I will graduate until December. This doesn’t change the PhD timeline at all, it doesn’t alter my fall assistantship, and I won’t need to re-comp. The only thing it does impact are the date on a peace of paper (meaningless!) and a chunk of change (meaningful!).

So unlike what happened to my bike, this is good news!

Dreaming 5GW, Part V: A Boydian Approach to 5GW

Dizzying Kadath (from

“If there’s anything you know
Please send me a letter
PS: Kiss my ass

Dick Is a Killer, Rx

5GW is substantively different from all previous forms of Modern War. Yet it is a natural evolution of warfare and the basic Art of War remains the same. And specifically, the lessons of Colonel Boyd’s Patterns of Conflict hold even in 5GW, where only one side knows it is fighting.

Slide 6

Idea of fast transients suggests that, in order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries—or, better yet, get inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop.

Commentary: Or best yet, arrange the enemy’s OODA loop, so his thoughts never flow into the orient-decide-act power-line relative to you, your plan, or your organization.

Slide 11

Diminish adversary’s capacity for independent action, or deny him the opportunity to survive on his own terms, or make it impossible for him to survive at all.

Commentary: In limited 5GWs, removing the enemy’s “capacity for independent action” is the goal. Specifically, the fighter tries to entangle the enemy into a web of obligations that effectively reharmonize the enemy, without the enemy knowing that he has “conditionally surrendered.”

Slide 115

Fire and movement are used in combination, like cheng/ch’i or Nebenpunkte/Schwerpunkt, to tie-up, divert, or drain-away adversary attention and strength in order to expose as well as menace and exploit vulnerabilities or weaknesses elsewhere.

Commentary: In a successful 5GW, the enemy’s attention won’t so much needed to be “diverted” away from a focus but “misdirected” from ever attaining that focus.

Slide 76

Create tangles of threatening and/or non-threatening events/efforts as well as repeatedly generate mismatches between those events/efforts adversary observes or imagines (cheng/Nebenpunkte) and those he must react to (ch’i/Schwerpunkt)

Commentary: In a successful 5GW, the events the enemy “must” react to are an “unknown unknown.” The enemy doesn’t know what they are, and doesn’t even know that he needs to know what they are.

Dreaming 5GW, a tdaxp series
1. The Dream-Quest of Unknown 5GW
2. The Uncaring War
3. Lessons from Software Development
4. 5th Generation Networks
5. A Boydian Approach to 5GW
6. A Dream of 5GW