US-PAK and Kerry-Lugar Bill

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This past Saturday I attended the Harvard sponsored International Relations Conference “United States-Pakistan Foreign Relations: The Way Forward.” One panel speaker, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, the former Federal Minister of Education and current Information Secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League, spoke about the Kerry-Lugar Bill. His concerns were that reform efforts need to be organically driven, rather than a result of pressure from outside (U.S) influence. Reform measures would be looked at suspiciously if it appears that America is behind them. American motives would cast doubt on the reform process.

It seemed that he thought elements of the Kerry-Lugar bill gave credence to those who would doubt American motives in the region, and Pakistan more specifically. SEC. 302.a(11)(D) “cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups” was one of several lines of the bill which Mr. Iqbal found offensive, since in order to cease an activity one must be engaged in it.

Hamid Mir beside Osama bin Laden Mr. Mir also spoke at the conference and made several proposals that got the attention of the audience. Most interesting, I found, was the suggestion that the AF-PAK border ought to be secured in a similar fashion as the US-Mexico border. Mr. Mir offered to show those in attendance the porousness of the border. I have contacted him with my interest accepting his invitation and visiting for myself. I am waiting for his reply.

Open-source Intelligence

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As part of my ongoing research surrounding open-source intelligence I came across an article by Clive Thompson that reflects the challenges and transitions facing the intelligence community.

That the benefits of openness often outweigh those acquired through secrecy should not be a shock to anyone. But that it is has me concerned about the ability to prevent further strategic warning surprises.

I totally forgot…

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I am ashamed to have forgotten that I started this blog with high hopes and aspirations for it. I was going to add my 2 cents but then I just went on living my life.

I recently had a conversation with a colleague that prompted my remembering my original goals.

I am apprehensive about the comments made by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

I see two major paths down which this can travel, but am unsure of which is best. In the first instance we have the tried and “true” argument that strong IP law encourages private investment.

However, less stringent law may give advantage to those who are first to bring an idea to the market place. This would also, seemingly, push the envelope of creativity and the possible. In terms of environmental remediation/reduction, as Chu discussed, I think this may be a model that both distributes technology more broadly and creates deeper competition while spurring innovation.

Hello world!

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Ah, yes, just another forum for my rants about what REALLY grinds my gears.

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