Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Suskind's One Percent Doctrine

Just to stick to the bad conscience theme: Reading is always sweeter when the book you're flipping through as night falls is not the one you ought to read. Actually, in this case we're talking double bad conscience as The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind was a book that was on my list when it came out.

This is not a review, just a recommendation (hereby given) - plus a few general observations:
  • Suskind writes well, very well even. Once in a while even too well when his asides on the general character of modern politics become to fluffy, even if they're generally illuminating.
  • The book underscores the most important lesson one can learn about politics: It is about ideas that are put to work. Not everyone can do grand strategy, but every (political) organization should prize and protect the people they have that will question the assumptions - doxa in Bourdieu's sense - that we take for granted.
  • Explicitness and formalization of the policy process are paramount. It doesn't have to be difficult: hear out the stakeholders and experts, then make a choice. Cherry picking reality is ... evidently idiotic.
  • Even if the GWOT (or the Long war) may be in bad standing in European press and public, nobody can or should close their eyes to the basic challenge that Cheney tries/tried to solve with the one percent doctrine. We cannot allow a nuke to go off in our cities - or elsewhere for that matter. As Blair so emphatically stated in his farewell op/ed in the Economist it is not going to go away - we have to fight this struggle.

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