Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another look at Terrorism

Positive Disruption
By ROGER COHEN
23 June 2011

Checking out the NYTimes this morning, I found an interesting article that asked me to reconsider the 'west's' influence in Afghanistan.

When I was finished reading Cohen's report, I wondered if the framers of the US Constitution were correct in assuming that one had to reach the age of 45 to be wise enough to govern as President of the USA. And then, it occurred to me that a younger candidate vs. an older one (Obama vs. McCain) might give us a more successful mind set.

I do realize there are many other parameters by which a presidential candidate ought to be considered, but in the instances reported in Cohen's article, some of which I have copied below, younger may be the better choice.

Cohen writes:

'I’d come by to see two former State Department guys now trying to do good things for the world through networks rather than diplomatic cables. Call them T-shirted envoys with algorithms.

Both seemed to be bubbling with relief at finding themselves out of the unwieldy bureaucracies that address the world as it appears on a physical map and in a company that views the globe in the same borderless way as the 52 percent of the world’s population that is under 30.

Something immense is happening as the world transitions to a hyperconnected state where, for many, the distinction between the real and virtual worlds has ceased to exist. All the trailing paraphernalia of states and borders and government-to-government palavers, not to mention privacy laws, look so 20th century.

. . . Carpenter is working with Jared Cohen, who’s heading up a new unit called Google Ideas, after a stint at the State Department. Cohen, at 29, starts with the notion that technology is agnostic: It can be used in the cause of freedom — and has been to great effect from Tunis to Cairo — just as it can be used in the cause of repression. So how do you “tip the balance in favor of the net positive?”

. . . the Summit Against Violent Extremism . . . will look at entrance and exit tipping-points: What factors push young people toward identification with violent groups and what may usher them out again.

More than 80 “formers,” as Cohen calls them, will attend — former Islamists, former neo-Nazis, a hard-line former Israeli settler now working on conflict resolution, former Los Angeles gang members. If technology, as Cohen and Carpenter believe, is “a great way to amplify and network credible voices,” then the hope is these shared experiences of aggression and disillusionment can be channeled to positive effect.

I don’t think the world’s leaders have begun to grasp the implications of unstoppable connectivity. Some people are calling this the Age of Behavior: What I do affects what you do, more directly than ever before.'

If you want to read more of the article, click on the title to today's blog entry to go to the NYTimes. Here's the link just in case technology doesn't otherwise cooperate. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/24iht-edcohen24.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212

And remember, if there is hope for peace on this lovely planet, it will probably occur as a result of good folks using good technology to access each others experiences and opinions in the planetary discussion - at least that's what I believe.