Friday, February 18, 2011

Come on, Karimov. You're not even trying anymore, are you?

A dark spectre is haunting Uzbekistan, according to Karimov. There exists a force, slippery yet destructive, that is out to destabilize the most stable country in Central Asia, according to Karimov. This group of Islamicist Terrorists coming to destroy us all? The Jihadists.

Seriously. This is even lamer than "The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan."

Whenever somebody tells you about the nefarious Muslim plan to take over the world, remind them: you don't want to turn into Uzbekistan.

I'll hopefully add more, but I've been attacked by a pretty bad case of the lazies.

Book Review: History of Danish Dreams by Peter Hoeg

There's a pretty rad book exchange off a side street in Asmali Mescit neighborhood here in Istanbul. Full of old folks who tell awesome stories and let you take books from 'em for free...yeah, it's a good deal.

And I was sitting there, trying to find some more books, when I stumbled upon The History of Danish Dreams. Considering I have Danish friends and turn into a deaf mute whenever talk gets going about their homeland, I figure it would be a good introduction. And the author apparently is an ex-mountaineer, ex-fencer, and ex-ballet dancer, so he seems like the kind of dude I'd patronize.

So the book follows 4 generations or so of a family tree from Denmark's medieval feudalism into the 1970's. Apparently most of that change happens in the 20th century, and the book could be better called "Denmark in the 1900's: a novel"

There's some likable characters and some fun quotes. The 1920's were an awesome time to be rich, apparently. And lawyers and the law make for terrible people, but if you ran in my circles, you'd know this already.

And honestly, I finished this book a few weeks ago and it didn't make that much of an impression on me. Maybe it was a mediocre translation, who knows? But let's just move on and start talking about Central Asia again sometime soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When all you have is a hammer

Trite sayings aside, Joshua Foust cleared up why, no, military solutions to everything under the sun do not actually make sense.

In the realm of the military, he did everything right, including seeking local confirmation of where to hand out reconstruction money. But the realm of the military is wrong—it is structured wrong, and it provides the wrong incentives. 

I remember listening to a talk given by Dr. Nazif Shahrani back in the day about the numerous different solutions that are possible to deal with Afghanistan. And instead there's a lot of "ARP! Kill Terrorists! ARP!" Which sounds great, it really does, but it doesn't always match up with reality.

Not much more because Mubarak's about to speak. But hey. There's this. And remember: if al-Ikhwan has a place in the new Egyptian government EVERYONE STAY CALM