This book includes a chapter that is an unapologetic sales pitch for software developed by one of the authors, but is engrossing nevertheless. The theThis book includes a chapter that is an unapologetic sales pitch for software developed by one of the authors, but is engrossing nevertheless. The thesis is that with relatively simple public health monitoring tools, the public health system could deal with epidemics or bio-terrorist attacks much more effectively than it can now.
Several chapters describe different types of infectious disease outbreaks that have caused, or could have caused, serious, widespread health problems. The authors identify potential bio-terrorist agents, but conclude that conventional weapons are far more accessible to terrorists....more
Sharansky, a Soviet political prisoner become Israeli government minister, tells how the desire of the Soviet peoples for freedom led to the downfallSharansky, a Soviet political prisoner become Israeli government minister, tells how the desire of the Soviet peoples for freedom led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. He argues that everyone wants freedom, and that given an adequate opportunity, the people of any nation will choose democracy over tyranny. He states his belief that democratic governments are much better world citizens than dictatorships, and much less likely to wage wars. He applies this theory to the Arab/Israeli conflict, urging the West to pressure the Palestinian Authority and the repressive governments of Arab states to build democratic institutions. 10 In the Soviet Union, “truth” and “falsehood” were, like everything else, the property of the State. 40 A society is free if people have a right to express their views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm. 74 Elections are never the beginning of the democratic process. Only when the basic institutions that protect a free society are firmly in place—such as a free press, the rule of law, independent courts, political parties—can free elections be held. 82 Propaganda, state control of the media, personality cults, and so on will only go so far toward maintaining the convictions of true believers and trying to recruit new ones. Accordingly fear regimes look to other methods to stay in power. One of the oldest and most effective is the creation of external enemies, which are used to slow down the natural process of alienation within fear societies. ...more
Chayes gives a first-hand look at the politics and society of southern Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005, with some chapters on the history of the area siChayes gives a first-hand look at the politics and society of southern Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005, with some chapters on the history of the area since the ninth century. She tells a tragic story of a country steeped in tribalism, a government saddled with a tradition of corruption, and damaging U.S. policies based on misunderstandings of the Afghan social power structure.
11 I don’t believe in the clash of civilizations. I believe that most human beings share basic aspirations and values. It seemed urgent to me to counteract the tendency to caricature. My background and abilities equipped me. I could talk to people on both sides of the alleged divide. I could help them hear each other. 57 My editor wins, so I never get to tell the story I think is key to what kind of Afghanistan will emerge from U.S. intervention. I’m doing that now. 68 A tribe’s feeling for its ancestral territory ran deeper than its loyalties to the institutions of national government. So when that empire or national government came under attack, Afghans were quick to dissolve it, and run like water between the fingers of their would-be conquerors. 123 Afghanistan defeated the British in the 1878 second Anglo-Afghan war, as it would the Soviets a hundred years later, by dissolving. 129 Fighting a war at a distance is an invitation to disaster. [Heterogeneous groups that join forces to fight their biggest common enemy are generally more successful than those who fight each other first.:] 169 Westerners, to a degree unique in history, invest their loyalty in institutions, regardless of the individuals who happen to be staffing them at a particular time. But Afghanistan is not there yet. In Afghanistan, loyalties and allegiances are to individuals. 181 – 185 Governor Shirzai exerted a high degree of control over U.S./Afghan interaction, selectively permitting and distorting communication to promote his own interests. 193 By supporting warlords like Shirzai, American policy in Afghanistan was not encouraging democracy, it was institutionalizing violence. 236 By refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change or the Land Mine Treaty, and by seeking to undermine the International Criminal Court, the United States seemed to be sticking out its tongue at the rest of the world, and the rest of the world had no leverage to respond. Afghanistan is a place where mutually assured destruction remains a viable doctrine. It is a culture retribution. 237 The way to stay safe in Kandahar was to suggest the certainty of violent revenge should you be killed or dishonored, so as to deter attack be it is undertaken. 237 – 238 The humanitarian community expects its neutrality to assure its safe conduct of its mission, but aid workers are now in the crosshairs themselves. Their services tend to reduce polarization and extremism, which is detrimental to the goals of militants. Humanitarian workers are the principal foes of extremists. 241 – 242 Pakistan supports religious extremists as a way to maintain an upper hand in the regional balance of power, especially vis-à-vis India. 243 Pakistan welcomed Usama bin Laden’s aid to the Taliban, but his agenda was global, not local. He wanted to provoke world war. After 9/11, Pakistan stopped protecting Al-Qaeda operatives, but detained dozens of them and turned them over one a time in exchange for U.S. indulgence. 244 Pakistan continues to support the Taliban. 285 I would up briefing officers of the Twenty-fifth Light Infantry Division by way of a coincidence. No concerted effort was being made to educate the army about the radically new peacetime nation-building duties that had been thrust upon it. 286 The U.S. Army, I discovered to my disbelief, had no institutional memory at all. How is it that an organization as rich in capabilities and resources as the U.S. government can so neglect the fundamental task of learning? 310 – 311 The September 11 terrorist attacks were designed to help bring about some version of the “clash of civilizations.” Those attacks were an effort to force people—Muslims as well as Westerners—to withdraw from contact and exchange with each other, and to acquiesce to oppressive policies at home and bloody ones abroad that they might not really approve of, because the situation seemed to warrant them, and because the other side no longer seemed to be composed of human beings. ...more
This book has two sections. The first discusses the developments that have “flattened” the world by empowering small businesses and third-world countrThis book has two sections. The first discusses the developments that have “flattened” the world by empowering small businesses and third-world countries to compete with world-leading organizations. The remainder of the book recommends ways for countries and companies to deal with increasingly rapid globalization.
68 The value of compatibility with communication standards was greater than that of having a private network. 90 Everyone has access to powerful business tools. You have to develop a unique way to apply information technologies to your core value proposition, whatever it is. 96 “Open-source is nothing more than peer-reviewed science.” - Marc Andreessen, inventor of the Mosaic browser. 116-117 Andrew Rasiej suggested empowering every citizen to take an active role in government by, for example, posting pictures of potholes or suspected crimes. 255 Yahoo's service agreement provides that a member's account and its contents terminate at death. 284 We will continue to need good explainers—people who can see the complexity, but explain it with simplicity. 286 There will continue to be demand for good leveragers—people who can apply technology to make people more productive. 290 Today's workers need to prepare for careers the way an athlete would prepare for the Olympics, but without knowing what sport they'll compete in. They need generally applicable skills, and they need to be able to adapt to whatever career opportunities they find. 296 There will be career opportunities for people who can use software modeling to provide information for decision-making. 303 A good way to learn how to learn is to take whatever courses are taught by the best teachers, because they will inspire you to learn. 346 Disparities in funding between wealthy and poor school districts impair school systems' ability to be an agent of social mobility. 359 “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” - Paul Romer, Stanford economist 401 In order to take advantage of the flattened world, countries need to develop adequate infrastructure, education, and governance, so people will have the tools and legal framework to innovate and collaborate at the highest levels. 411 Two aspects of culture strongly affect its ability to participate in globalization: the openness of the culture to foreign ideas, and its level of interest in economic development. 422 “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” - Will Rogers 436 The way that big companies act small is not by targeting each individual consumer and trying to serve that customer individually. They do it by making their business into a buffet and allowing individual customers to serve themselves in their own way. 481 To beat back the threat of openness, the Muslim extremists have, quite deliberately, chosen to attack the very thing that keeps open societies open, innovating, and flattening, and that is trust. [Militants attack faith.:] 488 Terrorism is not spawned by the poverty of money. It is spawned by the poverty of dignity. It is when people or nations are humiliated that they really lash out and engage in extreme violence. 517 Dell laptop components come from suppliers in many different countries. 545 In a flat world, individuals do not need to control a country to threaten large numbers of other people. 550 Those of us who are fortunate to live in free and progressive societies have to set and example. We have to be the best global citizens we can be. 552 One of the most dangerous things that has happened to America since 9/11 is that we have gone from exporting hope to exporting fear. 553 Our values are the real foundation for our security and the real source of our strength. 560 A Muslim woman strongly criticized the imam of New Delhi's biggest mosque on live national TV. She could do that because she lived in a context that empowered and protected her to speak her mind—even to a leading cleric. 561 Give people freedom, and they usually don't want to blow up the world. They usually want to be part of it. 562 People living in democracies tend to spend their time focusing on what to do next, not on whom to blame next. ...more