The Importance of Bluster

The livable landmasses in today’s world are choked and even the seaways are extremely busy. Even as the members of NATO are not as well bonded together as they used to be in the last decade; China has been increasing in power and influence for a few decades now. New alliances may form as Russia sidles closer to China; North Korea and Pakistan, besides several countries of the African continent also look more towards Beijing for leadership. The political developments in the US in the last few years have led to a situation where a show of strength as well as a display of willingness to engage in combat has become essential as is shown by some recent events:

South Korea fires warning shots at Russian military aircraft

We need not wonder why Russian planes flew through the airspace over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands. When you pass through sea or land, you are claiming your right and ability to do so. While the Americans have tried to carry out similar moves near South China sea and Taiwan, these do not seem to be having much impact as China continues to entrench itself by building and expanding its bases in the South China Sea.

Beijing strengthens its hold on South China Sea

The submarines and rivalries underneath the South China Sea

Though the current US administration comes across as inconsistent and ungainly, with hardly a week passing without a senior officer handing in papers; it must be said that global trends and realignments were already evident under the previous presidency of president Obama, who perhaps saw it as a fact of life about which nothing much could be done. Every problem that you overlook has the potential to become a monster and eat you up. He concentrated on his priorities in righteous support of the Arab spring which ultimately led to the turmoil of an Islamist Arab winter. The longer term effects are still being revealed.

The present US administration began by being extremely friendly to Russian president Putin, which wasn’t such a bad thing, except President Putin continues to work more with China and also increasingly with Pakistan and at the same time noticeably less with India. To top it all here’s what a recent study by the National Defence Study Commission of the US says:

US military ‘losing its competitive edge’

In order to bluster effectively, countries need to have the muscle to back it up. So whatever be the principles leaders mouth, nobody is a pariah anymore and countries are making bilateral arrangements in attempts to stay strong and safe. Even as Britain continues to be stuck in an isolationist Brexit, hoping for a golden age Boris Johnson is going to bring in.

Imran Khan: Pakistan PM meets Trump in bid to mend ties

Trump uses veto to unblock $8bn weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

My Top 5 Non-Fiction Picks

When I decided to make this list, I could immediately see what a difficult task this was. I mean there are so many books one reads and I ended up liking so many of them, it is like a betrayal when I chose one over the other. But though books are full of feelings, I don’t suppose they feel self-pity, so here goes; (Clicking on the picture of book and a few other links, takes the reader to amazon’s website):

Number-5

5- D-Day by Stephen E Ambrose

At number 5 is D-Day June 6 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E Ambrose. We read books and comics about the war, watch movies on the Normandy Landings and all this leaves us with a number of images and stories but you still want something definitive on the subject which doesn’t read like the encyclopedia. This book tells you the story of the D-Day landings from preparations through execution to the impact of this momentous military action. It is full of anecdotes such as the ones about the the Higgins boats and the LCTs; and about the calamity of gliders landing into hedgerows. The terror and tragedy of Omaha beach is overwhelming. The book celebrates the victory, but also gives detailed analysis of where, who and what went wrong. This book may answer at least some of your questions about the Normandy landings.

Number-4

4- War Games The Psychology of Combat by Leo Murray

Leo Murray has been studying the psychology of combat and this book resulted because the military wouldn’t use it. The book presents some great insights on the psychology of battle and how the human mind reacts to violence in predictable ways, as the author puts it, the four f’s of fighting, fussing, freezing or fleeing. It is for people who are seriously curious about armed combat.

Number-3

3-Songs of Blood and Sword, A Daughter’s Memoir by Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto writes about her family, her country and the eventful lives and violent deaths of the people closest to her and yet her humanity shines through the narrative. She doesn’t spare any names, however powerful they be today and courageously continues to reside at Clifton, Karachi. This is a very interesting read for all Pakistan watchers.

Number-2

2-The Rise and fall of the Third reich, AHistory of Nazi Germany by William L Shirer

William L Shirer was in Germany during the pre-war years while the Nazis were consolidating their hold on the country. During World War II and afterwards, he was a broadcast journalist, based in Vienna but often traveled with the German troops. His book is the most reliable record of this piece of history and has been since it was first published in 1950.

My Number-1 Non-fiction book

This is not a history or psychology of war like my previous choices. It is Bill Bryson‘s One summer America 1927.

1-One Summer America 1927 by Bill Bryson

Were so many things happening in America in 1927 or is it just Mr Bryson? This book is about Charles Lindbergh and Al Capone and countless colorful characters and its about America surpassing Europe and coming into her own. This book features here because it is worthwhile to spend time lazing with it on a weekend.