Dream of the Dragon

Tag: revaluation

David Foster Wallace on Reagan, Kennedy, and Leadership

by Justin

In response to yesterday’s ramble about Obama’s shortcomings and what he stands to learn from the skills of Reagan, a friend (and dedicated opponent of all things Reagan) sent me some selections from David Foster Wallace.

The catch here is that I’m madly in love with most everything he writes, reluctant to disagree with his opinions in the way the parishoners are with their priest. Not at all that extreme, actually, but I have great faith in his ability to think deeply and with great devotion to truth. So I’m inclined to set my prejudice aside and let his thoughts work on me. Miss E. Leas sent this selection to me, out-of-control capitalization her own:

“SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT RONALD W. REAGAN (1981-89) WAS OUR LAST REAL LEADER. BUT NOT MANY OF THEM ARE YOUNG VOTERS. EVEN IN THE 80S, MOST YOUNGER AMERICANS, WHO COULD SMELL A MARKETER A MILE AWAY, KNEW THAT WHAT REAGAN REALLY WAS WAS A GREAT SALESMAN. Read the rest of this entry »

Scratched Coin

by Justin

Even the sudden evidence that journalists can wield great power and exert great influence can’t change that I associate the word coin exclusively with Two Face. And that association lands somewhere between Arkham Asylum and Tommy Lee Jones.

I’m a little late in addressing the remarkable piece Michael Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone that achieved no less than the resignation/sacking of the chief director of the war in Afghanistan. President Obama appointed McChrystal barely a year ago to lead a calculated escape from the Afghanistan imbroglio – the revelation of insubordination and the firing of a four-star general should have placed Obama squarely in GOP cross-hairs.

But the man who literally wrote the book on counter-insurgency tactics (this is the COIN we hear so much about) stepped into more than fill McChrystal’s shoes. Upgrade time, really. And it may be that the firm move by Obama to remind the general of the relationship between civilian government and its military arm ends up showing some needed steel. Who knows, this debacle may change things for the better. That’s just politically, mind you, and just for Obama’s reputation in the immediate future. The Rolling Stone profile of General McChrystal resulted in not only a changing of the guard but a sudden, piercing spotlight on the entire counter-insurgency strategy.

That’s the exciting bit, really. Read the rest of this entry »

Silver Lining

by Justin

New tradition. The onslaught of terrible news, certainly not a new trend but one into which I’m newly tuned, started to murder my morale. So Saturday will feature a unique weekend-review mission: to identify the bright side of the darker stories of the week. These are specific headliners that dragged me down with their revelations of dishonesty and general badness. The weather’s doing its summer dance, people are generally happier, and why should the news do its best to battle that? Answer: because the world is full of reckless, ignorant, and greedy people. But I’ll do what I can to tread the air above the din for at least one day of the week. Here we go.