Provides a link to Max Abrahm's recent work to discuss what I've been saying for at least the past three years: the model of the terrorist as rational agent working toward rational ends is to miss the point. I've not read Abrahm's work yet (although I am now excited to be doing so), but it sounds like it's great. Really great work is work you read about and you say, "well duh..." and then realize that you were the one that should have said it first. So it's, duh...I should have followed that train of thought. I'm very excited to read Mr. Abrahms' work.
I now understand better why China is so keen to keep Tibet in "Our China" - massive amounts of water. Tibet is the source of a number of the most important rivers in Asia. China wants to develop its Wild West by redirecting water from Tibet using the Great South-North Water Transfer Project. The East-West Center's Christopher McNally seems to be heading a research project on China's western development. Is it possible that China will use water as a soft power weapon of mass destruction? Here is yet another example of why it's so crucial that the U.S. begin to make very significant inroads to developing the technologies that will minimize ecological destruction.
Japan is viewed as a model nation for a number of good reasons. One area that is totally under appreciated is Japan's homelessness problem: in fact, it's thought widely here that there is no homelessness problem in Japan. Some of the reasons for this attitude are the role of extended families in Japan (kids stay with parents well into their mid-30's, even married couples live with the parents for long periods of time). But also, you just don't see many homeless people in Japan. This article (about the recent arson in Osaka at a video viewing business) suggests some of why you don't see homeless people in Japan: they are sleeping in internet cafes or these video rooms, not in the streets (as is practiced in the U.S., say).
"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility."- Edward R. Murrow, March 9, 1954