So last night was an interesting night for me. (Get your heads out of the gutters.) I went to a lecture held at the grad school I attend to see Colin S. Gray speak. I don’t know if you know who Professor Gray is, so I provide this link here ( ) to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge. The paragraph there doesn’t really do him justice, the man is a poli sci legend.

That dude up there. He is British, which made the lecture all the better.

The lecture was on morals and ethics in the context of war and warfare. Basically, the idea, as I understand it, is that morals and ethics are situational. It’s like saying, “I am an American, I don’t believe in torture. I would never torture someone.” But then you have exceptions to that rule. “I would never torture someone…unless they had the information I needed to save millions of American lives.” Once you throw in a situation, it becomes difficult to uphold your morals and the ethics. He did not mean that people shouldn’t try, because war is an “ugly ugly business”. It is a means to an ends and it uses violence to get to that end. It is very hard to apply ethics and morals to nuclear weapons, which was a large part of the lecture. It was interesting. There were cookies afterwards.

The reason I know this guy is because I have read some of his work on strategic culture. Dudes, I am all about strategic culture. I believe it is also referred to as “strategic studies” but I may be outside my mind. Anyway, the man is some sort of genius that spouts out acres of knowledge for strategic culture, grand strategy, nuclear stuff….Amazon has many of his books for cheaps. I suggest it, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I also got to talk to one of my first professors, Dr. Kartchner. (His name is difficult for me to spell sometimes.) I have this idea for a thesis, stemming from one of the books I have to read right now for a totally different class. But, his class (Strategic Culture) rocked my world and I want to do culture studies for the rest of my life. So, as I was reading this one book for a different class (Nuclear Logics, pictured to the right) I happened upon a sentence which gave me the idea for my thesis. The writer asked why the Middle East and East Asia had such different nuclear paths. The Middle East has a bunch of little buggers with the desire to acquire the nuclear bomb and East Asia (with the exception of North Korea) has gone without. (They have considered, but never actually had the bomb.) The writer asked the reader, why is this so? I’m pretty sure she/he/it also gave an answer, but I wasn’t paying attention, because I was busy saying to myself, “Self, I bet it’s cultural.” And then I pooped my pants. (Not really.)

So, for a thesis, I was thinking, how wonderful, I can do a strategic culture analysis on two cultures (one in the middle east, one in east Asia) and compare them, hopefully with the idea that I can find cultural reasons why one group has chosen to go nuclear and why another abstains.

I’m really excited about it. Nerd out.


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