The Best Defense

My simple plan for reviving PME

Recently, in a note to a reader, I summarized my views of how to reform professional military education. It occurred to me that I might share them here:

  • Make admission competitive.
  • Make the education as academically rigorous as it was during the interwar period. (And don't train them. Educate them to think critically.)
  • Make everybody write a lot and get graded on their work. As Orwell said, if you aren't writing clearly, you probably aren't thinking clearly.
  • Post class rankings weekly.
  • Fail at least 5 percent of the class, and dismiss from the service anyone caught plagiarizing or otherwise cheating.
  • Upon graduation, publicly list graduates in order, and give the top 10 or 25 percent preference in subsequent posts.

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The Best Defense

The Chinese ambassador schools the U.S.

By Andrew Kwon
Best Defense diplomatic bureau

Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, speaking recently at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, took as his lesson the need to respect others and act responsibly.

That's a pretty powerful message to convey, given that the man at the lectern was the ambassador of the very state the United States has long criticized for not being a responsible power. Responsibility, the ambassador said, is "being prudent and cautious" in regards to interests, "acting positively and constructively" when confronting and managing differences and challenges, and "taking the long-term view" when calculating gains.

In addition, the talk provided the platform for unveiling China's proposed linchpin for the "new great power relationship": mutual respect. The ambassador stressed that, to understand China and its policies it requires "a close look at its history and culture." He later added, "To respect [each other's] differences, is to show respect to history ... to appreciate why there are these differences will lay the foundation for constructive and productive relations." Overall, if the United States seeks to work with China, it asks to be accepted, and respected, as it is.

It was an interesting time for such a lecture, given the current shutdown of the federal government.

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