Light Reading, Heavy Thinking

Most of my ideas and inspirations occur when I am driving my truck. Apart from negotiating and the occasional profanity at the growing trend of distracted drivers (we have smart bombs and smart phones, but combining the latter with vehicles makes for more destructive power than any GPS-guided munition), I am usually rocking out to a playlist of ‘80’s songs, Massive Attack, or – more recently – podcasts.

Yeah. “Rockin’ out to podcasts” makes no sense, really. It’s not like I am tapping my foot to the rhythm of a narration or singing along with any particularly salient point being made… but you get the idea, and I am digressing…

A few days ago, John Little’s Blogs of War had cycled to one particularly interesting episode “Exploring Divergent Options with Phil Walter” from February 20, 2017, and I mentally flagged it for further review once I was safe from the errant and semi-guided vehicular missiles. What made this episode stand out was the idea of Phil Walter’s project. The concept is fascinating and captured succinctly:

In 1,000 words or less, Divergent Options provides unbiased, dispassionate, candid articles that assess a national security situation, present multiple options to address the situation, and articulate the risk and gain of each option.

With present media attention remaining tenaciously fixed on a revolving door of controversies which, while important to those directly affected, are inconsequential in the bigger picture of where we are at this moment and where we will be in the future. To me, I view these as distractions of easy convenience – it takes little effort to work an audience into a fury over something which is either poorly understood by the public or selectively edited to draw more attention to the outlet rather than the content. Outrage sells much better than objectivity, after all.

Hard questions today make for less painful truths tomorrow. The difficult questions which need to be continuously posed to those in positions of trust and authority require an educated and involved public invested in long-term policy:

“What are we doing today about the potentially volatile global energy market of next year?”

“Is our growing dependency on the electronic realm going to be a liability for future defense and industrial interests? How do we minimize such a threat?”

“If internal domestic factions may continue to be exploited by external belligerent entities, what measures can be easily adopted by the average person to identify and correct these issues on the lowest level?”

The key issue in these matters of national security is simple and obvious, but also nebulous – public engagement and interest. Who benefits from informing the public? How does this relate to the average person? The challenge with increased public involvement and interest is a matter of answering the first question of benefit. While the nation as a whole would enjoy an overall improvement in a cohesive approach to crafting the best domestic and foreign policy along with the ever-important financial obligations associated with the implementation of these programs, the risk of excessive transparency is but one potentially dangerous aspect of an involved public. As for the average person’s interest, this poses the tricky and slow process of restoring the credibility and accountability in the political and journalistic reputation and activities critical to the communication process between the government and those who it serves. Without faith in either, there would be little to any benefit in any effort to draw the citizenry into a more active role in shaping tomorrow’s nation.

I am one of the many “average citizens.” I hold no degree in Political Science, International Relations, or Intelligence Operations. My interest in these matters is that of an outsider looking in, but the difference is that I am starting to peek through the windows where most are preoccupied with the static of “news.” Perhaps my musings on these matters will continue to be a topic which receives more attention in this blog for the sole purpose of my own attempts to process, develop, and refine my own personal interest in these matters of the future. In doing so, I may possibly help others understand their own role in the grand scheme; it is not necessarily my future I am pondering – it is that of our kids and our own legacy which they will be left to wrestle with.

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The future requires deliberation. (Ft. Benning, 2014. Source: Author.)

We shall see.

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4 Replies to “Light Reading, Heavy Thinking”

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