Thank You Sherlock Holmes

Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes once said this of Inspector Gregory: "See the value of imagination," said Holmes to Doctor Watson, "It is the one quality which Gregory lacks. We imagined what might have happened, acted on the supposition, and find ourselves justified. Let us proceed."I lived this very moment yesterday in writing and researching my book on 96 hours of Abraham Lincoln. Upon … [Read more...]

No Point-Scoring: A Fresh Look At A Link In Foreign And National Security Policy

Some of you know that I have an expertise in national security issues with a specialization in irregular warfare. I'd like to draw on that body of knowledge in order not to score political points (you see enough of that with various talking heads yelling at each other on cable and the internet). My purpose is to illuminate an interesting connection in current foreign and national security … [Read more...]

I Rise In Defense Of Sagacious

So, they're changing the SAT. Fine. But I'm a bit chagrined at learning they're switching out words in the vocabulary aspect of the test. "Sagacious" is gone. A new word will be "synthesis."Now, I realize the folks in charge don't look at each individual word they eliminate and put one in its exact place. I get it.However, something feels a little too trendy here when we yank … [Read more...]

The Young Man At McDonalds And John Quincy Adams

Stopping by a local McDonalds to work and enjoy a cup of coffee, I chanced to sit near a young man being interviewed for work at the franchise. He was maybe late teens, wearing a backwards cap on top of unkempt hair. Earrings. A couple of piercings in his lower lip. Very thin and pale. I'm guessing that, on any given day, you and I see probably a hundred young men who fit this description. … [Read more...]

The Singular Point

Go with me into one of my Creative Conversations. Our topic is your leadership. Our historical river is the life of Winfield Scott. Our goal for these few seconds is to have you think as part of a stream of time.Scott was the arguably the greatest American general for half of the 19th century. He served for 50 years and left a deep imprint on the American military and the American way of war. Here … [Read more...]

When The Classified Seals Come Off

One of the most consistent aspects of foreign policy and national security in the Obama Administration is drone warfare. As recently as a week ago, another round of drone strikes occurred, this time in Yemen. By my last reading, more than thirty people were killed. There are no reports of civilian casualties, so we must assume that terrorists, or irregular soldiers in my lexicon, were the … [Read more...]

Sameness And Differentness

I've uncovered a point of leadership in writing my upcoming book on 96 hours of Abraham Lincoln. This point is the importance of sameness, differentness, and the leader's involvement in each.A leader probably spends most time in sameness. I'm referring to the appropriate desire to ensure that followers are on the same page, share the same vision, know the same common identity, and … [Read more...]

For My Liberal Friends

Having offered a gentle nudge to my conservative friends, I take the same opportunity to do the same for my liberal friends. Consider below one of the greatest failings of modern liberalism.That would be in the response to collectivist governments in foreign affairs and international tensions.Around the end of the nineteenth century, liberalism became identified with collectivism. That affinity … [Read more...]

Neptune And You

Here's an exercise for your use of history. Neptune.What's the difference between the past of Earth and the past of Neptune? Answer that; it's not a trick question. I'd say that somewhere on the list of answers is this: people. Earth has people. Neptune doesn't. People are part of the story of Earth's past. Not true for Neptune.Now, what's the difference between … [Read more...]

For My Conservative Friends

I consider myself ideologically to be a blend of classical liberal and modern independent conservative. Having said that, I'd like to offer my conservative friends a suggestion. They might want to spend time reflecting what could have been a conservative alternative to American civil rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s. Cutting straight to the point--modern conservatism did poorly in … [Read more...]