Jan 18Liked by Matt Armstrong

Listened to both the podcast and your discussion with Dr. Rangappa's class and always enjoy the points made and brought up. I thought the last questioner in the class was close to a point discussed often in the past which is one difficulty we have in our international info programs is expressing a common understanding of what we, as Americans, believe. This used to be a no-brainer but now everything is up for debate (so it seems) which is partially a problem of the many-on-many debates online using unfiltered strawmen, ad hominim attacks, etc and also, as you persistently point out a problem of leadership.

Another podcast worth listening to was one on the 60's public diplomacy efforts as part of the Apollo program that brought the US space program to the world and highlighted its importance to all of mankind and not just to Americans. https://information-professionals.org/episode/cognitive-crucible-episode-130/

It's hard to imagine us gathering around something like that now though we could cite many instances of American leadership in areas that benefit everyone. Again, we can trace this back to not just having failing to plan and resource PD efforts but who would champion it?

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Jan 12Liked by Matt Armstrong

I'm a student in Asha's class and started to follow her after reading her analysis of the Mueller Report on the Just Security website. Appreciate your expertise in government-lots of agencies, maybe too many for me to comprehend. I’m retired and just learning for entertainment. Currently I'm reading 'Active Measures' by Rid; 'Waging A Good War' by Ricks and 'Bowling Alone' by Putnam. Ricks is good on strategy and tactics. I read his ‘Fiasco’ too.

A very slow reader I found the Vertical History article entertaining. The mention of Max Weber started to knock rust off brain cells and that’s something I’m not sure I want to do. I find pulling weeds relaxing these days. Reinhold Niebuhr, cited Weber, in ‘The Irony of American History’ noting “We are long since familiar with Max Weber’s thesis in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that the “intra-mundane asceticism” of Calvinism was responsible for creating the standards of diligence, honesty and thrift which lie at the foundation of our capitalistic culture. (51)”

Back in the day, when I was reading Max Weber, we pulled some STK tape silos out of a tech boneyard and assembled them to bring a state’s antique storage technology out of the ‘dark ages.’ Don’t want to do that again. I called the first stage of that process ‘the venom spitting cobra stage.”

To answer Asha’s last three discussion questions, from class 5, I tried to pull a timeline together and took off on too many tangents. It got too long to post, I think. I often start at the beginning, like: The ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ (c. 2100 BCE) was recorded on clay tablets. The Hebrew bible was recorded on papyrus scrolls and Sun Tzu’s Art of War (c. 403-221 BCE) was recorded on bamboo strips.

Master Sun said: “Warfare is the art of deceit.” [pg.78].

On Q3 Asha asked: How have some of Russia’s active measures tactics been adopted by domestic actors? Is there a meaningful way to disentangle Russia’s efforts from the way our own political parties and media now operate?

I haven’t been able to form a decent answer for Asha, but this is what I got. From my timeline I was wondering: did Roger Ailes and Newt Gingrich (mid 90’s) borrow tactics [race, religion, media, education, culture, security, labor, economy] from the Russians? Or did the Russians borrow tactics from them? The Russians and our political cults seem to be working together. Convergence?

The Commission on Information Disorder’s most significant observation noted a current lack of leadership in the area of information disorder. Their most significant observation indicated that there is no “strategic approach and clear leadership in either the public or the private sector to address information disorder.” They also noted that we are in a crisis of trust and truth. That was like two years ago (2021).

On leadership Master Sun stated “It takes a person of civic virtue to bring peace to the empire; … the expert … has three basic strategies that he applies: the best strategy is to attack the enemy at the level of wisdom and experience; the second is to expose the injustice of the enemy’s claims; …” [pg.172] Master Sun, whoever he was, left a lasting impression on some people and may be over my head.

I caught your picture of the road bike handles on fat tires, in snow? What the heck? I can’t recall how may Hotter ’N’ Hell Hundreds I rode in and the only bike I have left is an old mountain bike. I put street tires on it, and it’s covered in dust. I always had to be told what to do and had to be dragged to meetings. Not sure where, or if, I fit into this subject, but I am reading and trying to learn more.

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