Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Blog Year In Review

Well it has been really fun blogging this year. Because several postings overtaken by events they were eliminated but still over 300 entries this year. Interestingly to me is that yesterday's blog drew a statistically significant increase in hits. Guess with nothing to do but blame the Mayor the snowbound were playing on the computer.
Also of interest is the getting more hits out of Great Britain, France, Iraq (perhaps US forces?) and Russia. Well I can and do argue that the policy choices and issues underlying EM and HS are universal [well perhaps only Earthly wide] in their application.

Domestically Haiti and the BP Oil Spill and the Blizzard of 2010 looking like having some lasting impact. I first met Professor Tom Birkland, PhD after 9/11/01 when collaborating on some projects with Claire Rubin including research on her timeline projects and other matters. Tom is really the guru on how "focusing events" have impacted EM. His articles and books seem to have definitely withstood the test of time even with some might argue is an academic career likely to run for several decades more. So strongly urge reading his work.

What is beginning to scare me, however, is that while events might focus attention that does not mean that long lasting reform or learning from those events will occur. Hoping I am wrong of course. The whole purpose of this blog is to add what little I can to learning from the past and also from current events.

The end of the first decade of the 21st Century (depending on how you count of course)I think has locked in EM and HS as features of governance for the rest of the century. One of the things that interests me is that there is no question that the oldest and richest democracy (actually a Republic) continues to lead the world in many aspects of EM and HS. But not exclusively of course. And the NOT INVENTED HERE syndrome continues to plague much of EM and HS even while brains equal to anything here deal with the same issues elsewhere.

And below the surface the increasing effort of the USAF to become involved in domestic EM and fund an extensive effort is fascinating to watch. I was told that USAF funded over 500 personnel, both enlisted and officers, to attend one of the IAEM biannual meetings this year. While not exactly sure on funded the attendance at that meeting by these personnel was definitely authorized and encouraged. Of course NORTHCOM was led several times already by USAF flag ranks.

In a way 2010 and its events clear the way for a whole host of new problems that I believe will dominate events starting in 2011 but extending far past that calendar year. These include the forced withdrawal from Iraq, the potential of Iranian influence there, the dissolution of that nation state and other long term impacts of the US invasion of 2003. I am predicting civil war and sectarian violence but hoping I am wrong for that potentially powerful country.

Mexico is of the deepest concern to me and I separate out that nation-state from other international concerns of the US in its foreign policy and relations. The 2010 Decennial Census documents again how we are becoming a single country and each mutually dependent on the other--and unfortunately dependent on each other for losing to the drug cartels.

Haiti of course looks like a preview of many efforts by other nation-states to repeal the MONROE DOCTRINE by using their soft power, not hard power, to influence the West Hemisphere for both good and bad. You do understand that China runs the Panama Canal and many S.American ports do you not? And the Canal is being widened significantly and that effort will be complete by 2016 so that VLCC [Very Large Cargo Carriers] that can carry three times the containers of current ships can get through the canal. Oddly the Baltic Dry index continues to drop as world trade freezes up from the economic distress of many countries including the US that are significant debtors. The last major country to repudiate its foreign debt was Russian in 1997 but I suspect more are on the way.

And of course MOTHER NATURE will be heard from again in many ways in 2011. But it is the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES under its new Republican majority and despite what some argue an incompetent Senate Majority, weakened by the election but not overturned,and a bumbling or worse Executive Branch that indicates that Bill's ranking of the US in its governance stands about 2 on a scale of 10 being the best largely because of corruption and lack of leadership and brainpower.

Well hoping as always for improvements in that ranking. And of course all know now that the Shanghai school system is best in the world based on standardized tests. That may not be the only measure but still significant.

And finally the Chinese have done a really great job promoting what I call the Chinese Condominium this year. If they can just manage successfully internal dissent and pressures from religion to ecomomics it could be their century. I do believe that the geriatic leadership of China means that the next generation will be even tougher to deal with. And the recruitment of Chinese-Americans with technical skills continues and now I see and hear more and more of recruitment of non-Chinese American talent and from elsewhere in the world that is a wonder to watch.

And wondering if the longer term rivalry of India and China will turn primarily on language and demographics. The seizure of Tibet by military conquest by China in 1959 looking more and more like driven by water resource issues. That topic may soon be dominating much of the relations of various nation-states.

Happy New Years To All!