Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Great Game in the 21st Century

J E Pournell of Chaos Manor makes the following introduction (which is to good to pass up)

If you lie flattened on Pakistan's plains
And a P-wave comes by, to mix gravel and brains
Just scroll to Dow's website, for there Seitz explains
Why the Hindu Kush is raining boulders

scroll to near the bottom - I assume Kipling would not mind.

To an excellent article on the Pakistan earthquakes by Russell Seitz in the Opnion Journal

The first and last paragraphs

When Kipling was a cub reporter in Lahore, the area struck by Saturday's earthquake was a blank on the map separating British India from the "Independent Khanates of Chinese Turkistan." Washington scarcely cared if the Victorian Empire needed a weapon of mass destruction called the Maxim gun to deter hotheads along the Northwest Frontier, for it was a long way from anywhere. Now America's concerns are more ecumenical and acute: Pakistan's 1998 bomb test conjoined the world's three great monotheistic religions in a nuclear trinity (to say nothing of the polytheistic Hindus nearby, with their own nuclear saga).

Mountains like the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush will go on rising whether borders or empires stand or fall, and the erosive force of the Indus River will sweep away whatever the angry earth throws down as the tectonic plates continue their collision. Saturday's quake was as powerful as the one that leveled San Francisco, but one of these centuries the rafting together of the Asian and Indus plates will rock the subcontinent with quakes a hundred times stronger, as it has before. It may take a harder shock than Saturday's to persuade the subcontinent's capitals to recognize that, partition notwithstanding, they are in the same tectonic boat. The region's conflicts may seem intractable, but the Earth is ever patient in its diplomacy. The civilizations of South Asia have a half-billion years' grace in which to resolve their age-old differences before the slow tectonic violence that has put fossil seashells atop Everest crumples Ceylon--unserendipitously--into the mountainous seashore of Tibet.

And there is lots of good stuff in between.

ALSO: We should remember the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan in our prayers and remember to contribute the relief effort if you can.


Anonymous said...

Jerry Pournelle is an idiot. I have spent far too much time with this excuse for a human and can attest to his total lack of anything approaching intelligence no matter what his broken web site might say.

Wow I should mellow out a bit.

Oh well, in spite of having written books on Kipling he knows very little about Kipling's oeuvre.
After writing computer columns for ages and having a F*&^% computer in the F%^$# Smithsonian he knows almost nothing about computers.
The man is a walking sham.

Forgive me.

Do What Now ???... Standards and Practices !

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hank_F_M said...


Well I know Jerry mostly from his fiction science writing. He has tight plots, assumes the Villain is a hero in his own eyes, and examines in fiction several "political science" and military issues without preaching. I don't always like his viewpoint but sets the issue up well.

When he teams with Larry Niven they usually mange to get the best of both and leave the rest behind.

I never did read much of his computer columns. I was unimprssed by the few I did.

The main item is the article I linked. It is very good writing combining several topics, with good points to make.

I started with Jerry's "poetry" because the take off on the "Young British Solider." And something about the news reports the last few year that brings to mind “When your left wounded on Afghanistan’s plains.”

Russell Seitz said...

Dear Hank;
the anonymous PenGun, whether Emperor, Jackass or a Macaroni, is pecking at the wrong Kilgore Trout.

His or her regurgitation of dead fish in Pournelle's direction is off the mark as I wrote the introductory doggerel myself, and the Good Doctor merely shared it with his audience.

Thanks for your kind words about it.
Those rotarian souls disposed to actually do something to assist the stricken

( This means you, PenGun) may wish to contact :

where they will find out how to help , who else, the rotarians ,who are doing plain vanilla good by packing planeloads of warm stuff off to the higher elevations , sans frontieres , before all and sundry there freeze their tails off.

Russell Seitz

hank_F_M said...


Thank you for your comments. Please feel free to drop by any time.


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