What I’ve been reading

Peter Gatrell, The Unsettling of Europe: How Migration Reshaped a Continent.  A very nice history of earlier post-war European migration, such as Turks and Greeks moving to West Germany, Cape Verdeans settling in Portugal, and so on.  Excellent background for the current debates.

Cristiano Bianchi and Kristina Drapić, Model City Pyongyang.  An excellent picture book, mostly of architecture, presenting Pyongyang as yet another installment in the 20th century series of deeply weird cities.

Jason Lyall, Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War.  Perhaps the most thorough look at how cohesion has made some armies and fighting forces stronger than others.  For instance there is a chapter “African World Wars: Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Modern Battlefield.”  I view this more as a cohesion story than an “inequality” story (current U.S. forces seem pretty sharp), in any case a good integration of military history with modern social science.

Paul Blustein, Schism: China, America and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System.  Given the import and timing on the topic, I am surprised this book has not received more attention.  It is “more boring” than Blustein’s earlier works, such as on Argentina, but full of facts and substance on every page.  For now it is the go-to book on this topic.

Four very good books!


"Schism: China, America and the Fracturing of the Global Athletics System"

Sounds pro-Hong Kong!

Someone should write a book named "How can anyone support China over the U.S. in the effort to make trade between the two countries fair". Subtitled "How the crazy never Trumpers are deaf dumb and blind".

I Find It beneficial To Ignore Never Trump Losers Who Are OK With Liberals And Other Enemies Winning.

What was the main idea in Blustein's book? You left a meta-commentary but not a quick synopsis like the others.

If you'd like to keep your neighbors and raise your kids the way you were raised don't engage in forever wars.

Those "forever wars" are what make your energy intensive lifestyles possible. Be thankful that American soldiers risk their life so that you may live in comfort and freedom.

Is this parody, or do you truly believe we would be unable to procure oil without GI's around the world?

Should add more books on forestry and ecology to prevent remarks like "deregulating tree-cutting prevents wildfires" from slipping out into the internet.

Architecture as political statement in India: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/t-magazine/bijoy-jain.html

Military as class: It's no secret that America's soldiers mostly come from the working-class. For that reason, I thought the working-class would turn against the Republican Party after the fiasco in Iraq. It did, for one election. The working-class has become the strongest supporter of Trump and Trumpism. Will Trump's decision to abandon America's Kurdish ally in Syria cause the working-class to abandon Trump and Trumpism? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/13/world/middleeast/russia-bombing-syrian-hospitals.html

A subset of a lager question. Since most Republican policies are anti-"working class" specifically (anti-ACA, less progressive taxation, trade wars) or just anti-economic growth generally (deficits during full employment, anti immigration) why has the "working class" not already turned on this Administration?

Because politics is not about policy. Especially now, it's pure tribalism.

The threat from within: Absent the choice made by America's "big business" to shift production of finished as well as intermediate goods to China, the China miracle would never have happened. To the extent China is now a threat to America, the threat came from within.

The reason that immigration seems so different in Europe than in America is that here the self-fulfilling expectation is that immigrants would assimilate whereas in Europe the idea of "multiculturalism" is still prevalent. In fairness, America has received far fewer immigrants from non-Western cultures, so assimilation was much easier.

"current U.S. forces seem pretty sharp": yeah, give 'em two or three more generations and maybe they'll win a war that lasts longer than one battle.

Since Truman fired MacArthur for being so insubordinate as to intend to win the Korean War, America has had no desire to win a war.

They have killed over 100,000 Americans and squandered trillions of dollars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in pursuit of "world order, multilateralism, or collective security."

@tyler: it would be super cool/helpful if you had some running list of books and reading materials you highly recommend by topic. I’m sure that I am not the only one who says “I’d like to learn more about [X], let me see if Tyler has some recommendations”

Lyall's book about military inequality sounds interesting (although "inequality" seems an inelegant term, I would've thought "inequity" or "discrimination" would be more apt). I wonder how he characterizes US forces through the first half of the 20th century? Blacks were segregated and discriminated against both in civilian life and in the military until after WW II. Japanese-Americans were literally imprisoned en masse during WW II.

Yet both fought hard and well in the US military when given the chance.

The Austro-Hungarian army in WW I reflected its highly multi-national empire. I don't know how much inequality their military had, but it seemed to generally outfight the Italian army despite being more diverse than the Italians.

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