What We’re Reading
Preeti Aroon Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. A letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post explains why it’s perfect reading for Gen. David Petraeus, who has been consulting authors as he prepares his strategy for Afghanistan, as it’s ...
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. A letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post explains why it’s perfect reading for Gen. David Petraeus, who has been consulting authors as he prepares his strategy for Afghanistan, as it’s a powerful story of how to win hearts and minds.
In “Their Own Worst Enemy,” James Fallows shows how China is shooting itself in the foot with bobbled PR gestures. Why announce sanctioned “protest areas” for the Olympics, only to have the international press find out all applicants were turned down and some even arrested? Perhaps China is still far from realizing its own international reputation.
When it comes to economic turmoil, one of the few places I turn to for reason and decency is my old employer, The Economist. “When Fortune Frowned” expounds on how it was cheap money, poor oversight, overseas currency reserves, and not just a “drunken” Wall Street that sunk property values. In agreement with FP‘s Moises Naim, The Economist warns that the response to the crisis could worsen the economy more than the crisis itself.
While not about ice cream, Robert Kuttner’s “The Case for Plain Vanilla” has a certain delish factor. In calling for a return to a more pure financial system, Kuttner employs language this old lit major can grab on to, such as when he compares the risk-spreading factor of derivatives to “the way an epidemic spreads diphtheria.”
“This Week in Magazines: Dirty Elections Edition,” at the Huffington Post. James Warren romps through last week’s “World’s Ugliest Elections” list, but wonders why FP didn’t include Zimbabwe. Answer: We purposely excluded elections marred by massive electoral fraud and violence and just focused on those characterized by searing personal attacks.
Peter Suderman of the new conservative online magazine Culture11 disliked Oliver Stone’s W. more than I did, but he makes a good point: The left-wing director and his subject have some things in common. “Like Bush, Stone is a man of great ambition, stubbornness, and personal confidence, and he’s just as likely to embark on grand projects he clearly hasn’t thought all the way through.” Any Given Sunday and Alexander aren’t on quite the same scale as Iraq and Guantánamo, but you get the picture.
In “The Things He Carried,” Jeffrey Goldberg tries desperately to be flagged by airport security. He passes through security checkpoints with fake boarding passes, a polyurethane bladder filled with beer, even his trusty “Osama bin Laden, Hero of Islam” T-shirt — all to no avail. America’s airport security procedures, he comes to realize, are more for show than protection.
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