Monday, July 14, 2003
# Posted 8:52 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
"Appointed Iraqi Council Assumes Limited Role" --Rajiv Chandrasekaran, WaPo, July 14.What's even funnier is that you could switch the headlines around and both articles would still make just as much sense.
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# Posted 8:36 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
MAKE MILLIONS WITH YOUR BLOG!And to think most bloggers just have a tip jar... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:21 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In today's paper, Walter Isaacson writes that Benjamin Franklin long ago discovered how best to deal with the French:
"always play to their pride and vanity by constantly seeking their opinion and advice, and they will admire you for your judgment and wisdom."With all due respect to Mr. Hundred-Dollar Bill, that is pure bullshit. No resilient alliance can rest on a foundation of cynical condescension. Instead, we must constantly remind both ourselves and the French that our nations are founded on shared ideals.
Both "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as well as "liberte, egalite, fraternite" are expressions of the same democratic ethos underlying both of our revolutions. (So what if the American revolution lasted for seven years while the French one lasted for eighty? What do you expect from a nation with a 35-hour work week?)
Anyhow, the better the United States is at living up to its ideals, the more persuasive it can sound when demanding that France live up to those same ideals as well. There will come a day, I hope, when the Tricolor, the Stars & Stripes and the Union Jack are recognized around the world as symbols of a single Enlightenment faith that has brought freedom and democracy to the four distant corners of the earth. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:21 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Robert won for his post on Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for the California state house. Impressively, the Ah-nuld post won the endorsement of Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan as well as numerous others.
Embarrassingly, I forgot to vote in the Showcase even though I told Robert he should enter. So I'm glad that everyone else thinks as highly of Boomshock as I do. As I did once before, let me put it in terms an LA Dodger fan can appreciate: Folks, your looking at the Rookie of the Year. Next up, MVP? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:01 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In some respects, Saletan and Drezner aren't far apart. Both recognize that the most offensive thing about Dean's foreign policy is not its substance, but the arrogance with which the candidate conveys it.
While Saletan and Drezner suggest that Dean's arrogance is a personal characteristic, I tend to think that it reflects the anti-Vietnam heritage of the Democratic Party's far left. While the overwhelming majority of American were anti-Vietnam by the time the war as over, the anti-war resentment of many protesters and activists became the foundation of a worldview that was automatically suspicious of American power to the point of being anti-American (in the foreign policy sense of the word.)
Since the end of the Cold War, only those Democrats who share this heritage resentment have been able to criticize American foreign policy with the same bravado dispalyed by Howard Dean. Whereas many other Democrats have offered thoughtful criticism of US foreign policy under both Clinton and Bush, they advance their criticism in the spirit of loyal opposition to a foreign policy that has done great things for the world.
In contrast, it often seems that Dean wants to tear down the accomplishments of his predecessors. The irony, of course, is that Clinton and Bush have slowly, sometimes unwillingly, brought American foreign policy around to the values vocalized so forcefully by the anti-Vietnam protesters.
Two decades ago, humanitarian intervention in Africa and nation-building in the Middle East would have been written off as hopeless causes. Admittedly, the US military has played a greater role in these endeavors than peace-loving protesters might be comfortable with. Still, the values animating the enterprise are the same.
In many ways, we are living in Howard Dean's America. The strange thing is that Dean himself isn't aware of that fact. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:27 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 5:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
President Bush's massive increases for such subsidies is yet another indicator that, in economic policy, he's much more of a socialist than he lets on. Big debt, deficit financing, huge new entitlements, and bigger subsidies: Bush's economic policy is a Democratic dream. So why are Republicans voting for it?The answer is simple: Republicans are not economic conservatives. They are tax-cutting revolutionaries who will let nothing get in their way.
The Republican party has inherited its economic platform from the Reagan era. It insists that tax cuts will promote both economic growth and sound government finance. Of course, that idea was implausible in Reagan's time and discredited further by the Reagan deficit; according to a fellow named Bush, it was a classic example of "voodoo economics".
What made Reagan so successful as a tax-cutter, however, was that he knew not to touch the entitlements that Americans have come to depend on thanks to Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. This pragmatism continues to inform Republicanism today, giving it the debt-laden, welfarist character Sullivan rails against.
And so we now inhabit a strange world where the Democratic Party has become the most credible advocate of free trade and balanced budgets, i.e. economic conservatism.
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# Posted 8:59 AM by Dan
Saturday, July 12, 2003
# Posted 10:27 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
I have to admit, it's pretty persuasive. I would've linked to it even if someone other than Frank had written it. But for the moment, I'm still wondering whether Clark's inability to generate his own momentum says something about him as a candidate. While my heart says "Lieberman in '04", my mind is very much open.
Also, make sure to check out "Everything is Illuminated", the debut novel by Frank's brother (and my friend) Jon. It's fantastic. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:06 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 9:51 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
After some very sharp analysis, Trent comest to a conclusion that I strongly disagree with: We need to reinstitute the draft. A draft is a very bad idea on both practical and political grounds. As Phil Carter has observed, the superior performance of our soldiers is a direct result of the fact they are part of an all-volunteer force. On the political side, I have a very hard time imagining that the American electorate wants anything to do with a draft, especially if its purpose is to facilitate nation-building.
So what are the alternatives? Patrick, Rachel and myself have talked about this and are slowly working our way towards the idea of a nation-building force that has the virtues of both the Peace Corps and the Foreign Service. Like the Peace Corps, it should be composed of idealistic young men and women who want to better the lives of impoverished nations. Like the Foreign Service, it should be composed of professionals whose expertise in local languages and cultures enables them to advance American ideals and interests.
Given that the Foreign Service accepts only an infinitesimal percentage of its applicants (and the Peace Corps is extremely selective as well), there is clearly an untapped reserve of American citizens who want to serve their country abroad. One should also note that the Foreign Service is extremely attractive because it offers what is, in essence, lifetime employment and excellent benefits. If we want to establish a professional corps of nation-builders, attached to the Department of State or any other, I think that offering similar terms will be absolutely necessary.
And extremely expensive. Without knowing much about military logistics, I still suspect that having combat divisions serve as nation-builders is far less cost effective than having a purpose-built nation-builiding corps. To be sure, there will still have to be significant combat forces deployed to protect our nation-builders. However, the nation-building corps should be able to perform those tasks which resemble the work of an American police department.
In other words, nation-builders should not be afraid of carrying a gun. If you are a pacificst, go to the Peace Corps. If you a warrior, enlist. But if you are prepared to face the maddening complexity of working on the margins of peace and war, then you are ready to build nations.
Admittedly, this is a role for which Americans are not naturally suited. Our political culture does not recognize that some nations must live neither at peace nor at war. If anything, this transitional state of being reminds us of Vietnam. The British, on the other hand, have a long historical memory of imperial service that bridged the divide between peace and war. Sadly, the purpose of such service was control, not liberation.
What America does have is a historical faith in the importance of promoting democracy abroad. Impressively, the Founding Fathers recognized the universal applicability of their values. They knew that there could not be democracy in just one country. And they believed in helping others to achieve the freedom that is the inherent right of man.
Thus, America has the necessary faith to engage in nation-building, even if it does not have the necessary experience. However, if this Administration maintains its commitment to a democratic Iraq, we will be on our way to having both faith and experience. Let the tyrants beware. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, July 11, 2003
# Posted 7:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Yesterday, the WaPo published an in-depth, front-page report on the pervasiveness of opium cultivation in Afghanistan. In part, this trend reflects pure desperation. Growing poppies is the only way to earn a secure living. The situation is so bad, in fact, that Muslim clerics are disregarding the tenets of the faith and entering the drug trade themselves.
On its own, however, desperation was not enough to fuel the massive spread of opium growth. Far more important is the impotence of the Afghan central government. The WaPo reports that
In the eastern province of Logar, convoys of trucks loaded with drugs and guarded by men armed with semiautomatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers travel toward the Pakistani border at least two or three times a week. The police chief says that his men don't have the firepower to stop them and that some well-armed militiamen are in league with the smugglers...While all that is bad enough, the real impact of the opium crisis may not be felt until Afghanistan holds its first elections. In the same WaPo report,
Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani called the drug trade "a threat to democracy" as Afghanistan tries to prepare for elections next year. "Elections are expensive propositions," he said in an interview last week in the capital, Kabul. "The liquid funds from drugs, in the absence of solid institutions, could corrupt voting practices and turn them into a nightmare instead of a realization of the public will."Bad as that sounds, it is an accurate description of exactly what happened to democracy in Colombia. Given that Afghanistan is far more impoverished than Colombia, the influence of drug money will be even greater. Moreover, the Colombian military is fundamentally committed to preserving the constitutional order, something that cannot be said of either the (non-existent) Afghan army or the provincial warlords and their militias.
So, yes, things are better than they were under the Taliban. And they always will be, because you can't put a price on the right to vote or speak your mind. But if the warlords and the drug barons aren't brought under control, corruption and violence will soon rob most Afghans of the personal freedoms that democratic citizens are supposed to enjoy. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 5:02 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Josh himself is taking both Bob Woodward and the New York Times to task for playing down the whole story. While I agree that Uranium-gate says a lot about the irresponsible spin doctoring that is characteristic of this administration, Josh seems to think this story has the potential to become a major scandal. Why else would TPM focus so obsessively on every unfolding detail?
But the fact is, Uranium-gate will never become much more than a diversion from the more important issues of the day. Why? First of all, because Niger's alleged sale of uranium to Iraq was never more than a peripheral aspect of the case for going to war.
Perhaps more importantly, it was well-known two solid weeks before the invasion of Iraq that the documents describing Saddam's uranium purchase had been forged. Josh Marshall points this out himself, albeit without recognizing its significance.
The big accusation now floating around is that Bush misled the nation into going to war. For uranium-gate to matter, there would have to be evidence that concern about the alleged uranium sales played an important role in generating support for the war. Yet if we all knew before the war that the uranium story was a fabrication but still supported the use of force, then it is self-evident that no one was misled.
Now, instead of looking backward, let's look forward to 2004. It may turn out that Bush or Cheney knew before the State of the Union address that the uranium story was implausible or even flat out untrue. That may cost the President some votes. But unless the American public comes to believe that its sons and daughters gave their lives because of a lie, Bush will still be untouchable on foreign policy. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
comments really feed into the media critique of Christian conservatives, that they are not sophisticated, they don't care about others, all they care about are Christians around the world -- when in fact that is a caricature of the faith-based human rights movement.While I admit to being highly suspicious of faith-based politics, I believe it is extremely important to work with its advocates when they embrace such worthy causes. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:41 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Thursday, July 10, 2003
# Posted 8:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:34 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
"Rhodes Scholars Are Split on a New Foundation for South African Awards" (news article, July 6) hints at opposition to the Rhodes Trust's efforts in South Africa. In truth, however, the letter to the trust cited in the article, signed by 115 current scholars, focuses on issues of internal management and transparency, while unambiguously expressing the signers' "full support for the trust's new commitment to South Africa" and applauding "the creation of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation." Nowhere does it complain that the foundation is diverting funds from the scholarships.Well-said.
UPDATE: Kikuchiyo has some nice comments on my first post about the Rhodes Scholarship. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:21 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 4:15 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Henry writes that:
...Through OxBlog, I have learned that you have been working on your dissertation. As I said, I was reading the archives of your blog when I encountered a post you made on May 11th of this year when you characterized President Reagan as someone who battled isolationists and realists within the Republican Party as a finding in the course of your research. I write in to inform you of my disagreement with that perspective.Well-said, Henry. Here's my response:
I am much obliged for your extensive comments on President Reagan. And I apologize for not responding sooner. In case you didn't notice my recent post on the subject, my e-mail has been down, thus preventing me from sending responses to all those who've been in touch.For those of you haven't had enough, I suspect that there is more to come...
UPDATE: PS says that
I'm not going to weigh in on whether or not Reagan is a realist or idealist, but I do think you might be misinterpreting Mearsheimer-ian offensive realism. You state thatPS is right that I have given short shrift to Mearsheimer's thoughts on regional hegemony. Prresumably, John M. lays out those thoughts in his new book, which I haven't yet had the time to read. Still, given the content of Mearsheimer classics such as "Back to the future: instability in Europe after the Cold War" (International Security 15:1, Summer 1990), one has to wonder if he has been revising his theories to account for his failed prediction of Europe falling apart in the 1990s."Whereas offensive realists predict that states will engage in aggressive behavior, they also accept that such behavior is ultimately self-defeating because of the inevitability of a restored balance of power. According to offensive realists, the only reason that statesmen pursue such self-defeating strategies is because they fail to recognize the inevitability of a restored balance of power."I think this is actually more true of defensive realists - see Jack Snyder's "Myths of Empire", in which he talks about self-encirclement as a result of foolish domestic ideologies of expansion (Van Evera and Waltz are other defensive realists who can strike similar tones). Mearsheimer (who I have had the pleasure of being taught by) doesn't think that balancing is under all conditions inevitable. States act offensively to gain regional hegemony,
More importantly, with regard to Reagan, potential arguments about regional hegemony cannot enable offensive realists to reconcile Reagan's views with their own since Reagan unabashedly believed in the inevitability of American global dominance. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:02 PM by Patrick Belton
Armed Iranian Islamic vigilantes (the volunteers, or basj) seized three student leaders as they left a news conference where they announced they had cancelled protests to mark the anniversary of 1999 university unrest. (see NYT, also VOA). The three students were Ali Moghtaderi, Arash Hashemi and Reza Amerinassab, and were thrown into three separate cars by roughly 15 armed vigilantees. Moghtaderi's face was covered with blood, after his having been shoved to the ground by the volunteers.
Police fired tear gas at groups of students near Tehran University's campus, and Reuters reports three-way street battles being fought between student pro-democracy demonstrators, police, and the basj.
Iran's reformist newspapers, for their part, complied with government threats and didn't comment on the events of July 9th (from BBC). Reformist paper Yas-e Now writes today, "We apologise to all the people and our readers for not being able to write a word yesterday, 9 July, about this tragic and criminal event." And MSNBC, somewhat inexplicably, decides to blame the students.
Demonstrators in Oslo attempted to enter the Iranian embassy yesterday, and were dispersed by police (reports the Norway Post). Iran's ambassador was taken to the hospital for a heart ailment.
More dignified, DC's protest at the National Capital drew 400, including Sen. Sam Brownback (sponsor of the Free Iran Act currently before the Senate) and Reps. Rohrbacher and Cox (and, incidentally, Rachel, who was holding up half of the banner reading "Students for Democracy in Iran...." We've befriended the organizers of many of the local rallies, and are looking forward to planning together with them and with our blogosphere friends and readers new ways to build the democracy in Iran cause into a sustained movement...watch this space in days to come for more on this.....). (see press release by one of the organizing groups). Austin's event outside the Texas State Capitol also went off well.
We've received numerous reports from our correspondents and friends who attended different rallies yesterday - we'll post them shortly.... Thanks, and warm congratulations, for all of our friends who went out to stand for humanity and democracy against repression and coercion. But this must only be the beginning.
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Wednesday, July 09, 2003
# Posted 12:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In the editorial that goes along with its front page essay, the Post spins the President's trip as an indication of Africa's rising importance as a strategic front in the war on terror. While it is right about Africa becoming more important, the Post is mistaking the forest for the trees.
Consider the closing sentences of the Post's editorial:
In a world where "failed states" and regions of perpetual conflict are breeding grounds for terrorism, Africa is no longer as far away as it once seemed. Like it or not, its conflicts are now America's problem, too.Now try this: strike the word "Africa" from the first sentence and replace it with "Southeast Asia", "Latin America" or any other place on earth. The sentence will still make just as much sense as it did before.
Why? Because the war on terror is global. And in a world with one superpower, nowhere is off limits.
Consider this argument from the NYT editorial arguing for intervention in Liberia:
Liberia's turmoil also has a regional dimension. Continued mayhem there will feed further instability in neighboring Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea. If the world fails to act now, the region's problems will probably grow worse, requiring more extensive, and expensive, intervention later. A multinational military force will provide no instant cure. But it can buy time for more lasting political solutions.That sounds sort of like Lyndon Johnson's argument for going into Vietnam, doesn't it? Now, I'm all for intervention in Liberia. But we have to recognize that the logic behind our intervention is an updated version of the Domino Theory.
Even though it fell into disgrace after the war in Vietnam, the Domino Theory continued to express certain fundamental truths about the Cold War. Above all, it served as a reminder that no strategist -- not even the most dispassionate Kissingerian realist -- could decisively write-off even a single region as irrelevant to the outcome of the Cold War.
Thus, the lesson of Vietnam is was not that peripheral conflicts are unimportant, but rather that the United States must not invest all of its resources in the defense of a single domino. After all, some of them manage to fall without knocking over their neighbors.
In advance, it is often impossible to know which dominos matter. Thus, the constant reassessment of our commitments will be just as important as our initial decision to go in. Thanks to the war in Vietnam, the American media has become adept at constantly asking whether any given intervention has become a quagmire. If anything, the greater danger is that the United States will cut and run at the first sign of trouble.
Perhaps more than the success or failure of any given intervention is the way in which the United States conducts itself abroad. In the final analysis, the tragedy of Vietnam was not that the United States lost, but rather that in the process of doing so it demonstrated its brutal disregard for those it was trying to save.
At any given moment, there will be a temptation to sacrifice principle for short-term advantage in terms of security. It was that sort of thinking that led the United States to install the Shah of Iran, work with corrupt generals in Vietnam and with violent reactionaries in the jungles of Nicaragua.
In the long-term, however, the United States has far more to gain from living up to its self-image as the champion of freedom. It was that sort of enlightened self-interest that led us to promote democracy in Japan and accept membership in an Atlantic alliance grounded in partnership rather than subordination.
If we are to prevail in the war on terror, we must remain true to our selves, even at the moments when doing so seems to be most dangerous.
UPDATE: DN responds
You write:My respone to DN:"That sounds sort of like Lyndon Johnson's argument for going intoThe answer [to your quesiton about Johnson] is either "sort of" or simply "no."
I don't think we are all that far apart on the domino theory. If failed states facilitate terrorist organization, than the spread of regional instability would seem to fulfill the second assumption you list as critical to the domino theory. However, instead of "each state they conquered [bringing] them closer to conquering the homeland," each state destabilized brings them closer to launching another devastating attack on American territory.Or perhaps French territory. Osama has a wicked sense of humor. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:11 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 9:04 AM by Patrick Belton
Okay, okay, I admit. I actually called the number for the free university degree. Nobody picked up, but there was a answering machine. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:55 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:50 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 6:35 AM by Patrick Belton
But that doesn't mean that those of us who live in free nations can't show our support for them. We've listed here a few demonstrations of support that are taking place in several US and European cities. And the first of these, in Dallas last night, has already begun. Here are pictures, and one of our readers wrote in last night:
The ... demonstrations are going on right now in Dallas. Can't be sure on the size from looking out my 31st floor window from about two blocks away, but I'd guess it's between 50 and 75 people. They are making up for their numbers with their volume. They've been going strong for a over an hour.
There are many more today - Rachel will be attending, and reporting back on, a demonstration at the U.S. capitol in Washington. Eve Tushnet will also be at the Capitol (look for each other?), and Asparagirl is planning to attend the event in New York. It would be wonderful if all of our readers and fellow bloggers could report back on the events they attend - this will accomplish a great deal toward keeping the Iranian cause in the public eye, and spurring on public support and coverage in other non-blog media. (Incidentally, also in Washington and timed to coincide with July 9th, Senator Sam Brownback's Iran Democracy Act, to increase funding for beaming pro-democracy radio programming into Iran, is coming up for a floor vote.)
On a purely personal note, I've been truly astounded by the extraordinarily generous degree of interest and support that's been shown for the brave pro-democracy demonstrators in Tehran. My inbox has been filled to the brim all week with messages from people wanting to show their support (and I'm very sorry if there's anyone I've managed to miss getting back to). In the blogosphere, InstaPundit and Andrew Sullivan have been devoting great space to the Iranian students and sympathy protests; Winds of Change, Pejman, and Jeff Jarvis have been continuing their usual excellent level of coverage and commentary; and Hoder and Iranian girl have been adding very poignant, personal perspectives.
With all of this interest and support, we'd be awfully interested in hearing your thoughts about how to begin cementing this groundswell of support into a movement in the US and Britain, one which can galvanize more widespread print coverage and lobby governments in support of the cause of Iranian democracy. It's starting to seem very possible.
First, though, for today and its important events - here's a quick run-down of a few sympathy demonstrations taking place today in the US and Britain:
New York: from 11-2 at the Ralph Bunche Park and Dag Hammarksjold Plaza, at 47th and 1st Avenue
Washington, D.C.: 10:00 am at the West Front of the Capitol (with the participation of several Senators and administration officials)
Los Angeles: 5:00 pm, times outside the Federal Building in Westwood.
London: 2:30-4:30 Wednesday, in front of Number 10
Austin: 6 pm in front of the Capitol
Dallas, 5 pm on July 13th, at the Intercontinental Hotel
Houston: 5 pm on July 13th, at the Hilton on Westheimer Road.
And finally in Tehran, there is at least one student group which in spite of the danger is still planning a sit-in in front of the UN's headquarters in Tehran. Godspeed, our friends. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
# Posted 7:25 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:01 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 5:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
It used to be that every time a U.S. soldier was killed in a traffic accident, it was a major news story. Now it's just "Another Marine got killed today..."Much as I disagree with Kitman, it's always better to deal with someone who is introspective enough to recognize his own prejudices. That way, you can address the fundamental issues at stake rather than getting lost in the details. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:43 PM by Patrick Belton
Jacob: I can't wait to make your acquaintance. May you take after your wonderful parents, and my treasured friends who share your name. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:21 AM by Patrick Belton
For those of us whose life labor is the conversion of coffee into text (particularly political science scholarship, which I wake up each morning thinking there isn't enough of in the world), this last bit could be cause for some trepidation.
AND THEN A FAIRLY INSTANTANEOUS UPDATE: That, of course, requires a paean. (Hey, we do it for Manischewitz, fireworks and Irishmen, and a few of our friends in the Blogosphere; perhaps soon we'll be like the royals and have a whole set of OxBlog-approved, eco-and-hawk-friendly household products....) Pope Clement VIII, responding to mercantilism-influenced pleas from Spanish Jesuits to ban the drink when it migrated to the west from the Middle East (like, incidentally, algebra, Aristotle, the number zero, Jews, and a heckofalot of other very nice and useful additions to the west), famously responded saying: "This Satan's drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels [note: OxBlog does not endorse the branding of members of other religions as infidels, even by members of other centuries] have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."
Coffee. Papally approved since 1592, OxBlog endorsed since 2002..... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Monday, July 07, 2003
# Posted 9:02 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 9:00 PM by Patrick Belton
Good for him. Those bills with Saddam's picture were getting a little old. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:54 PM by Patrick Belton
"The New Jersey trio were planning to kill randomly in the streets of Oaklyn, which has inhabitants."(This, presumably, cannot be taken for granted with respect to mass teenage killing sprees in the Highlands....) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:35 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The growing number of attacks on U.S. forces has also disquieted some Iraqis, who worry that rising casualty figures will prompt President Bush to start withdrawing troops before Hussein is caught and fighters loyal to him are rounded up.Ironically, though, it isn't the American people but rather the American soldiers who are interested in getting out of Iraq as fast as possible. (Ditto for the soldiers' wives.) I guess Mr. Majid has this war confused with Vietnam.
Speaking of which, another WaPo front pager has announced that US forces are
becoming enmeshed in a full-blown guerrilla war, military experts said yesterday.While Colbert King is already calling for a roadmap out of Iraq, most of the individuals quoted in the WaPo and elsewhere seem to think that the real answer is to capture Saddam Hussein.
While I still think that the guerrilla threat is overrated, Phil Carter strongly disagrees. Given the tremendous respect I have for his opinions, Phil's post on the subject has led me to question my own beliefs.
Still, I think we are seeing more spin the substance -- except when it comes to our soldiers' morale. Their performance will deteriorate if they feel abandoned to a hostile population. Even if things aren't looking bad from on high, it is a rough existence on the ground in Baghdad. So let's give our armed forces the support they deserve by sending in enough troops and the right kind of troops to get the job done. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:46 AM by Patrick Belton
Sunday, July 06, 2003
# Posted 8:50 PM by Patrick Belton
Furthermore, the lesson - that western democracies are acceptable models of democratic participation, even for those who disagree with American Mid-East policy - is spreading beyond the reformers to the street, according to Hamzawy. He points as evidence to the Saudi initiative of January 13th, in which the Saudi government promised a new social contract respecting the right to criticism of the government, expansion of political participation, and freedom from violence. In comparison, the conservatives' message - that an apocalyptic battle between Occident and Orient is brewing, and the West, ever the colonialist and crusader, is conspiratorially seeking to annihilate Arabs (beginning with the children of Palestine and Iraq), and all they hold holy - gradually is becoming as dated as it is comfortable. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:29 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 7:00 PM by Patrick Belton
UPDATE: so this week, read this parody instead. (via Jeff Hauser, by email) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:06 PM by Patrick Belton
A former compsci department employee, with guns and books about explosives found in his house, is apparently under investigation, as is a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who last year was convicted for stealing materials worth $2.5 million from Beinecke. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:30 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 5:22 PM by Patrick Belton
Estonia won. The "Estonian Carry" technique once again proved invincible.
And for all of you out there who might feel inclined to make light of such serious and competitive international sport, we could note that it is safer than England's dangerous roll-down-a-hill-with-seven-pounds-of-cheese-contest, or, heck, any of these. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:02 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Given the fierceness with which I have criticized Mr. Kristof on occasion, I actually felt embarrassed about going up and talking to him. While some might say that business is business and that no one should take it personally, I still think that one dare not forget that one is criticizing actual human beings with actual emotions.
The point here isn't that Nick Kristof would be hurt by anything I say, but rather that I don't want to be the kind of person who criticizes in a hurtful way. Admittedly, I am always far nicer to fellow bloggers than I am to professionals, even to hardcore liberals like Kos and Atrios. Still, running into Sheryl & Nick reminded me that you never really know who you're going to meet. And since it doesn't hurt to be civil, why not?
Now, it would be nice if I could end this warm and fuzzy post by saying something nice about the NYT as a whole. But I won't, since they went and pissed me off by printing something misleading and insulting about me. The collective "me", that is, in my incarnation as one of 250 current Rhodes Scholars.
In this article about the Rhodes Centenary, the NYT presents current scholars as selfish brats because of our alleged resentment of the Rhodes Trust's decision to donate £10 million for the benefit of South African children rather than spending it on extending our stay at Oxford.
In fact, almost none of the Scholars oppose the decision to support South African children. I, for one, am behind it 100%. In truth, our resentment of the Trust comes in response to the arrogance, incompetence, condescension and neglect we have encountered in the person of Dr. John Rowett, CEO of the Trust and the Warden of Rhodes House.
For the moment, I am going to hold back on fisking the NYT article, since the Scholars may decide on a collective response to the NYT's Blair-esque reporting. (Blair as in Jayson, not Tony, of course.) The only thing to be said in the NYT's defense is that the Times of London [no link] and the Independent got the story completely wrong as well.
However, given that the NYT cited two Scholars' response to the Independent (in the form of a letter to the editor [no link]), there is no excuse for its negligence. I guess firing Howell Raines wasn't enough.
CLARIFICATION: A fellow Scholar thought it might be wise to point out that my comments regarding the Warden do not reflect the official position of those Scholars (including myself) who signed the letter protesting his conduct. At present, the contents of that letter have not been made public. Thus, I am not in a position to let the readership of this website compare my personal opinion with that of my fellow Scholars. For the moment, the best I can do is assure you that my sentiments are little different from those of the overwhelming majority of Scholars I have personally spoken to. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:58 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 10:48 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
In addition to the usual signs informing users that no food or drink is allowed in the store, there is also a sign which says "No Sleeping Allowed". To its right is a sign which informs users that first aid is available at the Subway sandwich store downstairs. I guess that means that if someone is slumped over at one of the desks, they may be dead and not just resting.
I think I will go for a walk. By the way, this No Sleep and First Aid signs remind of my favorite internet center sign from Buenos Aires: "No Screaming Allowed". No, that wasn't for the benefit of those who had decided to sleep at their computers. It was a reminder to those playing Doom, Duke Nukem, et al. to stop disturbing the rest of us. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:10 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
In Pakistan, a suicide bombing by Sunni extremists resulted in the death of 44 Shi'ites. The attack was both the first suicide bombing and the bloodiest sectarian assault in Pakistani history.
In Iraq, Ba'athist guerrillas murdered seven police cadets who had just graduated from an American training program.
These attacks have emphasized yet again that anti-democratic forces in the Middle East have no more regard for innocent Muslim life than they do for innocent Christian or Jewish life, including the twelve concert-goers murdered by a Chechen suicide attack yesterday in Moscow.
While there is no question that the democratic forces are the weakest of the contenders for power in the Middle East, their possession of the moral highground is becoming tragically self-evident. This ethical difference ought to remind American policymakers that only brave allies from abroad can salvage the democratic cause in the Middle East. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, July 05, 2003
# Posted 10:16 PM by Patrick Belton
Texas has several: in Austin, at 6 pm in front of the Capitol; in Dallas, at 5 pm on Tuesday in front of the Kennedy Memorial and Sunday the 13th at 5 pm at the Intercontinental Hotel; and in Houston at 5 pm on Sunday the 13th at the Hilton on Westheimer Road.
A solidarity protest in London is scheduled for 2:30-4:30 Wednesday in front of Number 10. (Other protests are scheduled in Bern, Brussels, Paris, Oslo, Rome, and the Hague- please email us if you'd like details. All of the times listed above are for the 9th if not otherwise noted.)
As the students write, "please bring your friend(s) along." Do. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:26 PM by Patrick Belton
That is, unless you live in Phoenix. In that case, actually, sorry: no one in America has it worse than you. This according to a recent study by Proctor & Gamble of sweat levels in different U.S. cities (so they can decide, among other things, where to market and stock higher levels of deoderant and cologne). The results?
In first place is Phoenix, Arizona; then come, in order, Houston, Miami, San Antonio, Fort Myers, Florida, West Palm Beach, and Tampa; rounding out the top ten are Waco, Austin, and N'Awlins.
So sorry, Chafetzes and Fishkins. At least you're not sweaty Phoenicians. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:16 PM by Patrick Belton
A few salient facts: Of the 495,000 troops in the U.S. Army, 370,000 are already deployed around the world. Compared with the normal requirement to have two units at home resting, training, and tending to stateside tasks for each unit deployed, we currently have the equivalent of over five of the Army's eleven divisions deployed overseas. Finally, we've been calling on our reservists to do the work of full-time soldiers: not a very good way of thanking unusually committed and patriotic citizens, many of whom have been called up for between once and two years, to the detriment of their families and civilian professions. And a number of crucial roles needed in tasks such as providing an interim government for Iraq- civil affairs, for instance - are disproportionately (upwards of 90 percent) concentrated in the reserve component - so as it stands now, lots of people won't be going back to their families, companies, or law schools any time soon. A heckuva nice way to treat our selfless volunteers.
Kagan estimates the Army needs a manpower increase of 25 percent. This basically coheres with other estimates. We'll hope that Congress and the Secretary of Defense heed his, and others', call.
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# Posted 9:01 PM by Patrick Belton
The failed model is the power state, known in Islamic literature as "saltana," whose legitimacy rests on the possession and use of the means of collective violence. In saltana, there are no citizens, only subjects, while the ruler is unaccountable except to God.One hopes our Arab brothers and sisters come to Taheri's conclusion, not that of Khomeini and his heirs.
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# Posted 8:46 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 8:40 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 9:25 AM by Patrick Belton
Friday, July 04, 2003
# Posted 8:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:48 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
I agree wholeheartedly with the President that Liberia's unique history justifies international expectations that the United States will devote some of its greater power and wealth to restoring stability in that war-torn nation.
At the same time, I share the concerns of a military friend of mine who thinks that if we are already neglecting Afghanistan, it is absurd to take on the responsibility of policing a potential Somalia. As Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution has argued, the United States Armed Forces have been dangerously overstretched by deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and the Balkans.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the President has made Charles Taylor's resignation a precondition of American participation in an international peacekeeping force. Moreover, the President (wisely IMHO) wants to avoid another nation-building project by ensuring that the objective of the American peacekeepers will be to establish a minimal level of stability and then turn matters over to an international force.
Now, some might ask, why the United States should do anything in response to Kofi Annan's request that it restore order in Liberia, given how unhelpful Annan and the United Nations were regarding Iraq.
Fair enough. But it would be wiser to take advantage of the situation in Liberia to rebuild our relationship with the United Nations while exacting an important quid pro quo in return for our deployment. As Jim Hoagland argues in the WaPo, Annan should facilitate American intervention in Liberia by persuading other nations to commit substantial forces to the occupation of Iraq.
As David Ignatius suggests, the European Union can demonstrate the seriousness of its common defense and security policy by providing an effective peacekeeping and reconstruction force for Iraq. Thus, all Annan has to do is persuade the Europeans to get their act together so that the United States can send the Marines into Liberia without undercutting its deployments elsewhere.
Going into Liberia is the right thing to do. And if the EU and the UN cooperate, going into Liberia can also serve America's national interest.
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