By Fareed Zakaria
“Outsiders have long gamed the Middle East: What if the Ottoman Empire hadn’t been divvied up by outsiders after World War I? Or the map reflected geographic realities or identities? Reconfigured maps infuriated Arabs who suspected foreign plots to divide and weaken them all over again,” writes Robin Wright in the New York Times.
“I had never been a map gamer. I lived in Lebanon during the 15-year civil war and thought it could survive splits among 18 sects. I also didn’t think Iraq would splinter during its nastiest fighting in 2006-7. But twin triggers changed my thinking.
“The Arab Spring was the kindling. Arabs not only wanted to oust dictators, they wanted power decentralized to reflect local identity or rights to resources. Syria then set the match to itself and conventional wisdom about geography.”
“Every college and university worth its salt has a ‘grand strategy’ program today (indeed, I taught in one when I was at Yale). Yet for all the hundreds of twentysomething strategists we produce every year, not to mention the endless conferences and edited volumes on ‘American strategy,’ we are becoming less and less adept at strategic planning and are falling dramatically behind in diplomatic skill,” argues Michael Auslin in the National Review.
“There is a damning dearth of creative thinking among our foreign-policy mandarins, an inability to clearly articulate the consequences of American choices, an unwillingness to decide American goals, and a lack of initiative to figure out the middle ground between diplomatic accommodation and military action. Occasional flashes appear, such as the Bush administration’s financial sanctions on the Kim regime’s bank back in the mid-2000s. Yet those are almost always surrendered on the altar of negotiation.”
“By volume the output of Chinese science is impressive,” notes The Economist. “Mainland Chinese researchers have published a steadily increasing share of scientific papers in journals included in the prestigious Science Citation Index…From 2002 to 2012, more than 1 million Chinese papers were published in SCI journals; they ranked sixth for the number of times cited by others. Nature, a science journal, reported that in 2012 the number of papers from China in the journal’s 18 affiliated research publications rose by 35% from 2011. The journal said this ‘adds to the growing body of evidence that China is fast becoming a global leader in scientific publishing and scientific research.’
“In 2010, however, Nature had also noted rising concerns about fraud in Chinese research, reporting that in one Chinese government survey, a third of more than 6,000 scientific researchers at six leading institutions admitted to plagiarism, falsification or fabrication. The details of the survey have not been publicly released, making it difficult to compare the results fairly with Western surveys, which have also found that one-third of scientists admit to dishonesty under the broadest definition, but that a far smaller percentage (2 percent on average) admit to having fabricated or falsified research results.”