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Dispatches from the edge a memoir of war, disasters, and survival - Dispatches from the Edge - Wikipedia



With the world focused on the scary possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, not many people paid a whole lot of attention to a series of naval exercises this past July in the Malacca Strait , a 550-mile long passage between Sumatra and Malaysia through which pass over 50,000 ships a year. With President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanging threats and insults, why would the media bother with something innocuously labeled “Malabar 17”?

Malabar 17 brought together the U.S., Japanese, and Indian navies to practice shutting down a waterway through which 80 percent of China’s energy supplies travel and to war game closing off the Indian Ocean to Chinese submarines. If Korea keeps you up at night, try imagining the outcome of choking off fuel for the world’s second largest economy.

While Korea certainly represents the most acute crisis in Asia, the diplomatic maneuvers behind Malabar 17 may be more dangerous in the long run. The exercise elevates the possibility of a confrontation between China, the U.S. and India, but also between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed countries that have fought three wars in the past 70 years.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living abroad and why I don’t. I have plenty of international experience—from living in Chile and Poland to extensive travels on four continents. Despite my wanderlust, something keeps me on home soil, and a week spent with Magic, Science and Religion by Bronisław Malinowski, Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn, and Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper taught me something about the kind of writer I want to be and helped me understand why I choose to live in the US these days.

A random reference in another book led me to finally pull this tattered paperback from my to-read shelf. I have a cultural bias toward Poles and though I had no real idea what this book was about, I was in.

I wish I had known what the book was about. I have a degree in sociology, so observing cultures should be my thing, but Malinowski’s book made me profoundly uncomfortable. I appreciated how he started out by validating more primitive uses of science (even though I hated the use of the word “primitive”). I did not like anything thereafter. Magic, science, and religion should be fascinating topics, but when a culture’s most precious myths are told with complete scientific detachment, I’m out.

With the world focused on the scary possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, not many people paid a whole lot of attention to a series of naval exercises this past July in the Malacca Strait , a 550-mile long passage between Sumatra and Malaysia through which pass over 50,000 ships a year. With President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanging threats and insults, why would the media bother with something innocuously labeled “Malabar 17”?

Malabar 17 brought together the U.S., Japanese, and Indian navies to practice shutting down a waterway through which 80 percent of China’s energy supplies travel and to war game closing off the Indian Ocean to Chinese submarines. If Korea keeps you up at night, try imagining the outcome of choking off fuel for the world’s second largest economy.

While Korea certainly represents the most acute crisis in Asia, the diplomatic maneuvers behind Malabar 17 may be more dangerous in the long run. The exercise elevates the possibility of a confrontation between China, the U.S. and India, but also between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed countries that have fought three wars in the past 70 years.


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