An Old Debate Wrapped in New Clothes
The traditional opponents in the Afghanistan/America debate have once again taken their place: buildup versus withdrawal. However, recent news reports lack any historical perspective of America’s presence in Afghanistan dating to the Cold War. Details of Washington politics are not sufficient to inform the public about the war in Afghanistan.
Begun as a proxy war between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., the Afghanistan conflict has been a dumping ground for Marxist, capitalist and jihad ideologies as well as their common enforcement mechanisms: automatic weapons and explosives.
Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to the oh-so-troubled “state” of Afghanistan, is now advising President Obama against troop increases given the amount of corruption he sees in the current Karzai government. Meanwhile, Obama’s security team, including Secretaries Clinton and Gates, support sending 30,000 additional troops.
That there was only jubilation on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, even though it coincided with Obama’s rapidly approaching moment-of-truth on Afghanistan, demonstrates that the media are blind to history.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was instrumental in the development of America’s policy toward Afghanistan, which had been until that moment to make the Soviets pay for their Asian adventurism. The event rekindled the very debate we are still having: buildup versus withdrawal.
Buildup did not win, but certainly neither did withdrawal.
Once the Soviet Union dissolved, the American CIA remained in Afghanistan supporting Pakistan's regional interests by funneling arms through Pakistani intelligence to anti-communist rebels.
Today the CIA is most likely on Karzai’s side since (a) this is the official American position and (b) his brother is a paid informant.
According to Steve Coll’s 2005, Pulitzer-winning Ghost Wars, the Karzai family supported the Taliban for reasons of political exigency. Now that position is surely untenable given that he has American backing, but the point is that alliances in these circumstances have been as inconstant as the wind.
Belief that the Afghanistan question can be answered without a little history on the table will not, in the most meaningful sense, produce any lasting results.
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.