“Wherever you go in the World”, blurted my mate supping cider, “these bloody #Muslims are trouble!” I considered this statement and having had a few sups myself, was tempted to agree. Islam bans alcohol and doesn't allow sports where women (or men for that matter) wear shorts. That’s definitely a downer in my book. But even with my analytical faculties reduced I thought of #Indonesia. This country has world’s biggest Muslim population and just elected a new president in a feisty democratic plebiscite. So whilst many Muslim countries are both bloody and in trouble, my mate's statement just doesn’t cut it.
China's Heihe–Tengchong Line
I am intrigued by this map of the so-called Heihe–Tengchong Line that is making the rounds of the English tweeting Chinese commentators that I follow. It shows that according to 2002 statistics, west of the line, 57% of the area is inhabited by only 6% of the Chinese population, east of the line, 43% of the area, is inhabited by the majority 94% of Chinese the population. Apparently these percentages are little changed from 1935 which is probably why the CPC are making such a great effort to build infrastructure in the West and are improving transport links such as high-speed rail. This graphic should make #India and #Russia feel much more comfortable about the future war over resources (water in particular) in the Far East. As the heat map shows, any serious movements of military or civilian people to the West and North West of China to threaten these countries will be easy to spot.
The #HBR publishes another one of those inane blog pieces about ‘leadership’- here
http://is.gd/EKjj6w For what it’s worth this time they anchor it around a survey of “332,860 bosses, peers, and subordinates”. There probably aren’t they many good leaders amongst that lot! Other than the personal qualities required to be a good leader, integrity, listen, be smart, etc the most important on this list is: “Connects the group to the outside world”. By doing this a leader anchors them to the reality in which they operate. So, for example, the top one, ‘inspires and motivates others’ is fine but if the organisation that you and your leader work for has institutional practices that crush morale – your still screwed. Every needs to get real about their circumstances. When they achieve them they can change them or suck it up! Click here for HBR
Both my kids want to do a Joint Honours degree in International Relations at university (one w/History, other w/'Development Geography') and I'm a proud dad. I mean int. rel. is the most exciting thing to study on the planet right now - particularly for Generation Z who seemed to be hooked on 24x7 social media and reality TV. Example: tomorrow's #Ukraine Parliamentary Vote on #Russia transit sanctions. What excitement! See this chart of the countries likely affected as winter comes. Still as I've said before, this is a battle of pain between Europe and Russia - who can suffer the most wins!
Friday share prices of London’s oil companies operating in the Kurdish region
fall and US president stands in front of Marine One on White House lawn and
promises to bomb the crap out of the Islamic State ‘terrorists’ (surely they are
more than this now) before choppering to Cape Cod vacation. Poor intelligence is
cited as a reason for Obama’s lack of action against ISIS to date supporters say. Yet public media like the WSJ regularly plot military positions of warring parties in this soon to be failed nation-state. More evidence that military indecisiveness is what you get when you elect a ‘community organiser’ as Commander-in-Chief.
According to the Wiki, a ‘Troll’ in Internet slang, is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory messages. This tweet by the President of Azerbaijan must be the ultimate in ‘trolling’ (see how easy it is to turn slang nouns into verbs) and is also the first case I know where a sitting head of state has promised to go to war with another with terrifying consequences via social media. Unfortunately, the historic enmity between Azerbaijan and Armenia suits Russia's Putin little power game in this region rich in natural resources but war between these two countries can't be in the interests of anyone. On the bright side, from a diplomatic point of view at least we know where the Dude stands. Tell us what you really think Mr President!
On flight home in Iraqi airspace just north of Mosel over the newly proclaimed Islamic State. I snap a map photo as we keep south of Donetsk and the MH17 shootdown area. I am greeted in London with an FT front page questioning the safety of the Iraq route. But is flying over Iraq any LESS safe than flying near the beefed up naval base in Crimea? Last week’s news reports say the Kremlin is to spend even more to boost its military Black Sea presence. I’m only a landlubber army guy but on a map such investment seems silly when the Istanbul channel is a dangerous choke point. But Putin Rules!
Concise Ballsy Thinking as the latest news rolls off the ticker tape. (Er, if you are under 20, Google it!)