Archive for April, 2009

Lessons for Western Powers in Asia …

Posted on April 22, 2009. Filed under: Books, From a Services Career |

For Barak O bama, winning the war in Afghanistan or getting out with as much dignity as possible, is highest priority.  Because there is History.

The Russians with their steam roller tactics did not last a decade; and the Brits, when they ruled India,  made three expeditions, in the first of which only one medical man, mounted on a mule, came back from the thirty thousand that had gone in. Thereafter the next two times they went in,  shot up some, placed their minion on the throne and wisely came back quick!

The Brits were also wise when they chose to let the North West Frontier Province (which neighbors Afghanistan) have  semi autonomy ie they left it strictly alone. Whenever the tribals got restive and made trouble, a battalion or brigade marched in,  burnt the crops, razed some structures,  shot up some and got shot up even while ‘picketing’ the return back. After each such expedition there was  a period of some quiet till the tribesmen again got restive.

There is a very nice story titled ‘Students Interlude’ (Slim was trying to learn urdu) in Slim’s ‘Unofficial History’. He recounts a tale of one such expedition at the end of which through the round about existing communication channels, his unit sends a message to the tribals telling them to pull up their socks as this time they had fought badly and suffered severe casualties. A while  later, back comes the reply confirming that this time that indeed was unfortunately the truth. While not offering excuses, they however,  gave a reason which was that whereas their rifles had been captured from the Brits (a neat punch that), their ammunition was Russian. Unfortunately the two had not been synchronized; now that detail had been attended to and the Brits could look forward to  getting a warmer reception when they came next! Who can, but not, respect such  types?

The French and the Americans were both defeated in Vietnam. Bernard Fall in his ‘Street Without Joy’, recounts this small incident which was a pointer to him that the French had lost the War.

He narrates that he needed some travel papers to be signed and was told that the Captain was in the Club. He proceeds thither to see two French officers playing a game of tennis while their wives are chattering over cake and coffee. A Viet Namese Sergeant, with full medals and in starched shorts, also with some papers, comes in and waits standing on the fringe. In due time the game finishes, the officers come over to the lady’s table, the Sergeant marches up to the Captain,  gives a sharp salute and proffers the papers saying,  “Papers, mon Captain.” The Captain gives a stern look and growls, “Dont you see I am busy, Sergeant?”

Another sharp salute, an about turn and back marches the Sergeant and stands in his old place. The officers finish their drinks and resume their game. After some time, the Sergeant, despite the starched shorts,  squats on his haunches. The sun goes down, the bugles  begin sounding the ‘Retreat’  and the Tricolor begins to be hauled down. The game carries on smoothly  without a seconds break, the ladies continue their chatter. The Sergeant, however,  is standing sharply at ‘Attention’ and saluting the French Tricolor as it comes down.

Bernard Fall says that this scene hit him hard and it told him that the French had lost the War.

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John Maynard Keynes ‘n’ the Finance Crises …

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: American Thinkers, Business, Personalities, The English |

John Maynard Keynes was a British economist whose ideas have had a major impact on modern economic and political theory and on many governments’ fiscal policies. He advocated interventionist government policy, by which the government would use fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions, depressions and booms. The older ideas held that free markets would automatically provide full employment as long as workers were willing to lower their wage demands.

Shortly before the end of the great depression Keynes’ ideas were put into practice by leading western economies. During the fifties and sixties, the success of Keynesian economics was so resounding that almost all capitalist governments around the world adopted its policies.

However in the 7os, Milton Friedman and others were less optimistic about the potential for interventionist government policy to complement the free market. But in 2008 Keynes’s ideas enjoyed a revival, with Keynesian thinking being behind the plans of President Barack Obama and other global leaders to rescue the economy.

Time Magazine named Keynes one of 100 most influential people of the 20th century and reported “His radical idea that governments should spend money they don’t have may have saved capitalism”. He is one of the fathers of modern theoretical macroeconomics.  

The crux of the current problem was articulated so well by Keynes:                       

 ‘Nothing corrupts society more than to disconnect effort and reward.’

However. more to the point, Bill Maher observes,

“If you have a gun, you can rob a bank but if you have a bank, you can rob everyone”.

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Physical aspects of the ‘Magnetic’ …

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism |

Personal impact is made by how we are seen, heard (voice, words and thought) and our moods. Here are the attributes of the magnetic men and women of the world.


The first quality is … P O I S E.

Waking, sleeping, walking, talking, sitting, standing, doing most anything. An inherent consciousness of being and remaining in poise. No awkwardness, stiffness, embarrassment.

There is a natural  C O O L N E S S and R E S E R V E, in muscles and nerves.  Movements are smooth, fluent, languid; never jerky, erratic, spasmodic. No restlessness, uneasiness, fidgetiness  – physical, mental or nervous. A perpetual, natural watchfulness over one self aimed at remaining cool, relaxed and in poise.


The next two qualities are diametric opposites and seem to alternate. They are difficult of description and are detailed elsewhere.


On the one hand there is an aura of Controlled N E R V O U S   I N T E N S I T Y.  High ‘Nervous Tautness‘, alertness or tension energybut always under leash. Controlled yet relaxed intensity. Pulsating life is present in every fiber of the body. The palpable alertness of the carnivore.


Alternating with this leashed nervous intensity, there is a ‘L O O S E N E S S of BODY & LIMB’. The physical aspect is languid, the movements relaxed, rugged, natural – yet  with mind and thought behind them..  The naturalness depicts a rugged strength borne in ultra grace. Some descriptions, “A peculiar lightness even for such a heavily built man” ………… “The lithe indian like tread” ………  “Lazy as a panther stretching in the sun; lethal as a panther ready to strike”.


Next is a facial characteristic. It is the ‘O P E N’ face. This gives a genuinely positive and friendly impression. It also helps gives the eyes a vital aspect when being addressed or when speaking. The eyes are never piercing or staring but there is a subtle friendly quality.


Finally the V O I C E. This immediately draws attention and  commands respect. All voices are developed by habit or training. Voice development is an exact and near mathematical process –  and not slow at that.


To recap;


1. Poise coupled with physical, mental and nervous coolness.

2. Nervous intensity under leash.

3. Relaxed looseness of body and limb.

4. An ‘open’ face and, 

5. Voice.           

Constant companionship with one naturally gifted with magnetisml induces magnetism.  But it is better developed by study and training.

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Schiller – friend of Goethe …

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personalities, The Germans |

Friedrich Schiller formed a productive friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang Goethe. They discussed issues like aesthetics and he encouraged Goethe to finish works Goethe had left merely as sketches. Here are some gems from his thought –
The strong man is strongest when alone.
Utility is the great idol of the age, to which all powers must do service and all talents swear allegiance.
A fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished.
Honesty prospers in every condition of life.
Be noble minded! Your own heart is what matters – not the opinions of others.
Dare to err, and Dream. Will it, and briskly set to work.
Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing; and he who considers too much will perform little.
It hinders the creative work of the mind if the intellect examines too closely the ideas as they pour in.
Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.
Appearance rules the world.
It is criminal to steal a purse. It is daring to steal a fortune. It is a mark of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases.
Of all the possessions of this life, fame is the noblest.
It is easy to give advice from a port of safety.
Great souls suffer in silence; and happy is he who learns to bear what he cannot change.
As freely as the firmament embraces the world or the sun pours forth its beams impartially, so Mercy must encircle both friend and foe.

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