Tuesday, August 19, 2003
# Posted 2:13 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 1:17 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 11:01 AM by Patrick Belton
There has been some speculation that the intense criticism of Burma's ruling junta from neighboring Asia Pacific countries may result in Suu Kyi's release before a regional border committee meeting scheduled between Myanmar and Thailand on August 22.
At its summit ending June 17th, ASEAN issued a statement breaking with three decades of non-interference with member states' internal affairs and calling for Suu Kyi's release. Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad has since pressed farther, calling repeatedly for Burma's expulsion from ASEAN if Suu Kyi is not released.
Perhaps most important among regional condemnations of the SLORC has been that of Japan, previously Burma's chief donor (giving the country aid worth $17 million in 2002), which has frozen all aid to the country. Also expressing repeated disgust (and bringing rare credit on their institutions) has been Kofi Annan, who dispatched a special envoy to the country the week after Suu Kyi's imprisonment, and the EU, which responding to British pressure placed sanctions on the junta on June 16. Pepsi and other large corporations have also stopped doing business with the Burmese government in protest. Some corporations, however, have been less scrupulous - British American Tobacco, for one, which rejected calls by the UK government for the company to quit Burma, saying "We're not a government or an international statesman. We'll do business in countries if it's legal to do so." Not very praiseworthy, that.
On July 29, President Bush signed sanctions against Burma into law in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which had been shepherded through Congress by Senators McConell and McCain and Reps. Jim Leach and Tom Lantos (only three legislators voted against the sanctions). The law, which enters into force at the end of August, bans all imports from Burma (its textiles trade is crucial in keeping that country's economy from collapse), freezes Burma's assets and property in the US, authorizes the president to aid Burmese democratic activists, and widens the visa ban on junta officials.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained since May 30. Among other groups working to keep the Burmese people's cause in the world's eye, worthy of mention are the Free Burma Coalition and the Burma Campaign UK. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:11 AM by Patrick Belton
(Which, to think of it, is even worse...) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Monday, August 18, 2003
# Posted 9:32 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 9:24 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 6:18 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 2:49 PM by Patrick Belton
We have BlackBerrys that are also telephones and Palm Pilots that are also cameras and cellphones that also send text-message mash notes. We take it on faith that the power will come on when we switch on computers to send e-mail around the world instantaneously from our air-conditioned, well-lit, cable-TV-equipped, key-coded, A.T.M.-financed worlds, without ever knowing that our power might be originating in Canada — eh? — or looping eerily around Lake Erie. Now comes news that our foamy lattes are steamed by the antiquated, overloaded system at Niagara Mohawk? I thought we'd already seen the Last of the Mohicans.Geesh. Even he does it better.... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:18 AM by Patrick Belton
(I always knew it - it was something about the way he blinks.....) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Sunday, August 17, 2003
# Posted 7:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Barnes also goes to great lengths to contrast Bush to Reagan, the supposed paradigm of small government conservatism. But Reagan did all the same things then that Bush is doing now, albeit with greater pangs of conscience. The bottom line is that Republicans maintain a rhetorical commitment to small government but tacitly admit that their cause is hopeless.
Finally, Barnes makes the untenable statement that "Neocons tend to be big government conservatives." While I can't speak as a neo-con, I think it's fair to say that many neocons have strong libertarian leanings which go against the foundational tenet of big government conservatism, i.e. that
"using what would normally be seen as liberal means--activist government--for conservative ends. And [being] willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process.In the final analysis, I think Barnes' essay falls into a well-known genre of opinion journalism, specifcally the attribution of a coherent political philosophy to officeholders who have strong instincts but are unable to articulate a coherent philosophy on their own.
In general, this genre tends to be considerably more popular among conservative journalists, since Democrats have a habit of nominating and electing egg-headed Presidents who can speak for themselves, whereas Republicans prefer men such as Reagan and George W. Bush. In fact, Barnes essay reminds one of the endless battles of the Reagan years in which conservatives spent as much time claiming the President's loyalty for their own Republican faction as they did responding to Democratic broadsides against the GOP as a whole.
You see, in a democracy it's entirely possible to be a 'C' student and a 'A+' president...as well as vice versa. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:02 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The European in question is none other than Austrian-born megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger. MoDo says that the California frontrunner
is running on pecs and running away from peccadilloes...he's smoked marijuana and his father was a Nazi...First of all, the Nazi reference is just plain offensive. I have vague recollections of other journalists asking questions about the elder Mr. Schwarzenegger's politics, but unless his son has actually said something that demonstrates insensitivity to the plight of the Holocaust's victims, there is absolutely no reason to blacken Arnold's name by mentioning him in the same breath as the Third Reich.
On the other hand, the Nazis were Europeans, so perhaps I should compliment MoDo for recognizing that they were evil. Or is this just the exception that proves the rule?
Anyhow, one still has to ask how Ms. Dowd could turn her back on a European candidate for American political office, given her fondness for all things from the Continent. I think I have an answer for this one, and it entails laying out a corollary to the Fifth Immutable Law. It is as follows:
Whereas under normal circumstances Europeans are always right, a European abandons the privilege of automatic rightness if he or she shuns his or her superior cultural heritage by embracing American popular culture and/or taking on American citizenship.Given Mr. Schwarzenegger titanic role as a worldwide ambassador for Hollywood action flicks, his sins against the Dowdian way of life are unforgivable. Or perhaps it would just be simpler to say that Europeans are never right if they decide to become Republicans.
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# Posted 9:54 AM by Patrick Belton
Saturday, August 16, 2003
# Posted 6:42 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
For those of you who do not worship at the comedic altar, "A Model Idiot?" is the headline of Time Magazine's fictional cover story on Derek Zoolander. The purpose of that story was to demonstrate that a well-known and well-respected public figure was actually nothing more than a mindless hack with delusions of grandeur.
As you might have guessed, I am trying to suggest that Time's cover story was the inspiration for Josh's excellent, excellent cover story in this week's Weekly Standard. Its purpose, of course, is to demonstrate that a well-known and well-respected public institution, i.e. the BBC, is populated by mindless hacks with delusions of grandeur.
What is especially impressive about Josh's article is its ability to disentangle an extremely complex narrative and forcefully spell out its political implications. While most readers of this site may already have a negative view of the BBC, that is all the more reason to read Josh's article both carefully and thoroughly. Whereas quick posts here and elsewhere (for example, on Andrew Sullivan's site) often provide anecdotal evidence of the BBC's prejudice, Josh's article provides a in-depth portrait of the institution at work and play.
Finally, in case you were wondering, this is the same article Josh himself referred to earlier today. But he didn't play up it's importance nearly enough (or at all for that matter). If only the BBC were that modest...because in contrast to Josh, it has every reason to comport itself with greater humility. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:08 PM by Patrick Belton
And it's fun to get to see two Arabic-speaking Rhodes scholars debate each other.... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 1:39 PM by Patrick Belton
Lowe, a television actor since the age of 8, has played the role on television of a Princeton graduate and White House Deputy Communications director. Lowe remarked, "my extensive experience playing a television character arguing for education reform has given me able preparation and great desire to take that message to the television audience of California." Schwarzenegger, for his part, responded by commenting "as I said in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 'My CPU is a neural-net processor - a learning computer.' I look forward, with the help of the man who played Sam Seaborn in NBC's hit series The West Wing, to bringing those talents and desire to serve to the good people of California." (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:48 PM by Patrick Belton
In a paradox, those Americans now clamouring for an exit from Iraqistan should be pushing their government to do much more in its new dominions, not less.
For a superbly fleshed-out piece on this theme, see Dan Drezner's recent piece in TNR online. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:34 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 11:06 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 1:29 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
4) Constraints(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, August 15, 2003
# Posted 11:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
2) Objectives:To Be Continued... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:19 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
While I can't republish my friend's remarks, you don't need to know exactly what he said in order to understand what I'm saying. If something doesn't make sense at first glance, just read a few more lines and I'm sure you'll pick it up from the context. So here goes:
1) Grand Strategy: [Defined as] Objectives, Capabilities, [and] ConstraintsTo Be Continued...
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# Posted 5:03 PM by Patrick Belton
More on this topic shortly. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:56 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 4:36 PM by Patrick Belton
The travails of the Iraqi media, both independent and U.S.-backed, have been covered in depth in pieces by Netherlands Radio, a report by the BBC World Service Trust (also this), and the Guardian; excerpts from the indigenous press are regularly catalogued here by MEMRI.
The Beltway received wisdom, at the moment, lays a fair portion of blame for the weakness of the US-backed media presence at the feet (or postal drops) of paralyzing bureaucratic battles between the government bureaucracies involved. Winkler and Kampelman couldn't be more right on, in saying that Washington must find a way to provide a media presence for the interim government, and that the focus of that media's broadcasting should be strongly on democracy - in Iraq, and in other democracies around the world. This isn't too much to ask for, and it's keenly needed. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:11 PM by Patrick Belton
The event in Georgia which PNAC is criticizing is this event, from two weeks ago, in which President Schevardnadze's faction in parliament voted down an election law that had been based on the U.S.-proposed "Baker Plan" - an event which receives excellent and more expansive analysis here by Eurasia Insight.
As regards Annette Lu's cancelled visit to Boeing, other versions of the story are circulating - most notably, in the China Post and Taipei Times, both of which allude to versions in which it was not Boeing or Beijing but rather Washington, annoyed by Taiwan's unilateral disclosure of Vice President Lu's travel plans, which vetoed the visit.
PNAC is a wonderfully talented organization, but still seems to be searching for a way to bring its weekly statements up to the high level of the group's letters and statements of principles. I, for one, will be watching and encouraging from the sidelines. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Thursday, August 14, 2003
# Posted 5:18 PM by Patrick Belton
This is not one of them.
In an unnamed country (reportedly Thailand, according to Fox and other sources), key terrormaster Riduan Isamuddin was taken into custody earlier this week, where he is undergoing interrogation. Isamuddin, whose nom de guerre was Hambali, may well have been the mastermind behind the infamous attacks of September 11th which reminded our country that evil in the world did not die with the Soviet Union. Isamuddin is one of the faces of that evil: he was the principal operational commander in Jemaah Islamiyah, and the principal liason point between that organization and Al Qa'ida.
For coverage: CNN, SITE Institute, MSNBC, FOX, Washington Times.
And for those who must labor in quiet to protect freedom from doers of evil: we congratulate you, even though we will never know your names. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Boomshock also had the correct answer, as did RP and BS. I have decided to award each of them three OxPoints for effort. And I've also decided to award GB five bonus OxPoints for having a subject line that read "That David Adesnik is so hot right now".
Moreover, I'd like to address GB's contention that OxPoints "don't actually exist". In point of fact, they are no less real than Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Actually, I'm still trying to decide what OxPoints are good for. I was thinking that each one could be traded in for ten words on OxBlog, e.g. GB now has the right to post an 100-word message saying whatever.
Of course, there would have to be better prizes for those who save their points for a rainy day. 100 points could get any photo of your choice on OxBlog (since, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.) And 1000 OxPoints could be traded in for sexual favors (not from me, though, I'm a prude. But Chafetz may be able to work something out with his OxBlog groupies...) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:11 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Meanwhile, Tom Friedman is waxing Krugmanesque with ridiculous statements such as
To wait in line for 30 minutes and then be told you have to go across [Baghdad] to a different gate produces humiliation and rage, and eventually grenades tossed at Americans. I saw it in the eyes of those Iraqi women and their husbands as they drove away.I guess Iraqis are less patient than Russians, since the latter stood on line for several decades without ever managing to throw grenades at the local commissar. Then again, I wouldn't exactly want Iraq to turn out like the Soviet Union (a position that puts me at odds with most San Franciscans!)
Perhaps more shocking than the turnaround on the op-ed page was the objectively pro-Israel coverage provided by the lead story on the NYT front page. After reading this article, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that Israelis are the victims of Palestinian terror (and not vice versa). Multiple anti-Palestinian quotations from Israeli citizens as well as officials (including Arik Sharon himself) pass by without any sort of critical response.
The Times' token effort at balanced reporting consists of a ridiculous bit of invective from Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi that does more to undermine his credibility than advance his cause. The Times doesn't even mention that Rantisi was the victim of an internationally condemned (and sadly unsuccessful) targeted Israeli killing.
However, there is a catch. The Times reported that
By tonight the Israeli military had not retaliated, as it often has after suicide bombings in nearly three years of renewed fighting here.You see, if Israel wants favorable coverage, it has to let its citizens get killed. In contrast, the PA and Hamas get favorable coverage so long as Israel responds to terrorism the same way that the US, the UK, Germany and France always have: with force.
Moving on, the Times has also bothered to put some relatively favorable coverage of Iraq on the front page. The principal subject of the article is the obsession of Islamic militants with derailing the occupation of Iraq. While that sort of angle suggests a quagmire motif, the actual contents of the article come across as an accidental instance of patriotic cheerleading.
The case for promoting democracy in Iraq gets made by Kurdish leader Barham Saleh, who inspiringly observes that
Iraq is the nexus where many issues are coming together — Islam versus democracy, the West versus the axis of evil, Arab nationalism versus some different types of political culture...If the Americans succeed here, this will be a monumental blow to everything the terrorists stand for.Then, the Times lets the local terrorists undermine their own credibility the same way it let Rantisi embarrass Hamas. According to the head of Ansar al-Islam
The resistance is not only a reaction to the American invasion, it is part of the continuous Islamic struggle since the collapse of the caliphate...All Islamic struggles since then are part of one organized effort to bring back the caliphate.Talk about two birds with one stone. Not only does the Ansar spokesman makes himself look ridiculous, but he argues that American aggression isn't the real cause of Arab anger!
If this kind of coverage keeps up, I may actually subscribe to the paper edition of the New York Times!
PS Ten OxPoints to the first person (other than Chafetz) who e-mails in the name of the character who said "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"
CORRECTION: Make that five OxPoints, since I just discovered you can identify the quotation with just one try at Google.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2003
# Posted 6:48 PM by Patrick Belton
Question: What is the necessary transitional stage between socialism and Communism?
Question: What's meant by an exchange opinions in the Communist party of the Soviet Union?
Answer: It's when I come to a party meeting with my own opinion, and I leave with the party's.
During the period of Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s, this scenario was frequently heard.
"How long are you here for?" the prison guard asked the newly arrived inmate.
"Ten Years," the prisoner replied.
"What did you do?" asked the guard.
"Nothing," came the reply.
"That's not possible," said the guard. "For nothing, they give you
five years, not ten."
Question: What does friendship among Soviet nationalities mean?
Answer: It means that the Armenians take the Russians by the hand; the Russians take the Ukrainians by the hand; the Ukranians take the Uzbeks by the hand; and they all go and beat up the Jews.
And this one putatively actually happened: "At a political agitation meeting at government store that my grandma worked at in the 50s ... one of the shop-hands stood up and asked in complete sincerity the speaker "So are we in 'communism yet, or is it going to get worse?" ... Everyone tried to keep from laughing and the dumbfounded speaker at first tried to give an answer and then just went to the next question."
Find more here. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
# Posted 10:24 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 8:36 PM by Patrick Belton
UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias has a thoughtful post up on the topic as well. While I'm not sure I'd want to agree that Karimov makes radical Islamists look good comparison, I strongly agree that Karimov's religious policy has driven a naturally moderate Central Asian religiosity into a radical path. More importantly, I fully subscribe to his point that neo-cons should take equal interest in the promotion of democratic freedoms and forms of governance in Central Asia as well as the Middle East. Along the other path lies short-sighted policy conduicing to worldwide cynicism about U.S. motives, and spawning radical religious oppositions which are much more of a security threat to U.S. interests than the temporary security alliances of despots could ever make up for. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:27 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 10:24 AM by Patrick Belton
Monday, August 11, 2003
# Posted 10:55 PM by Patrick Belton
But why wait? You can have a conversation with him now here. Heck, I did:
Patrick: Yeti, how's it going, man?Maybe you'll hit it off better than me. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:33 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 6:55 PM by Patrick Belton
The people of Liberia, though, and not Taylor, remain the principal losers of their nation's conflict. Water supplies are nonexistent, and aid workers fear a cholera epidemic. One million Liberians are internally displaced, and malnutrition is widespread.
Reuters, characteristically, writes an oddly poignant piece about Taylor's last moments in office:
On his last day in office, Liberian President Charles Taylor prayed, sang hymns, joked, defended his record and boarded a Nigerian plane to exile under a grey sky.Compared to them, Guardian comes off disconcertingly sensibly in printing the AP's review of Charles Taylor's regrettable public life and bio of his hand-picked successor-for-now, and its history of Liberia. MSNBC also has a chronology of events in Liberia since Taylor's accession to power. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:32 PM by Patrick Belton
Our freedom encourages us to cast aside arbitrary authority and topple unjust hierarchy, but it also undermines the just claims of political order and moral excellence. It severs onerous bonds of association, but it also separates and isolates. It is the touchstone of our equality, yet it permits and indeed encourages competition, which results in vast disparities in wealth, power, and glory. It makes us responsible for ourselves and infuses us with a sense of the humanity and rights that we share with all people on the planet while loosening the claims of duty. It is bound up with the realization of our most cherished hopes while putting awkward pressure on and destabilizing them. It eloquently exalts choice and then falls crushingly silent concerning what actions and ends are choiceworthy, leaving it perilously close to teaching that the choice is all.His arguments are even on his own admission half of a larger dichotomy - but Peter is always readable, and a beautiful stylist. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:51 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 4:37 PM by Patrick Belton
And Josh, you'll be happy that they've also included Oyez Baseball, which combines your two (non-blogging) hobbies so that you can "build Supreme Court knowledge through America's favorite pastime." Fun. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, August 09, 2003
# Posted 1:19 PM by Patrick Belton
We're meeting at the Bertucci's restaurant by the Clarendon metro stop at 8:00 pm, and we've assembled some readings on the subject (together with a few current foreign policy openings in Washington and abroad) here. (Also, we've got chapters opening up soon in New York, New Haven, Boston, Chicago, and Oxford, so please let me know if you'd like to join up or start up a chapter near you.) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:27 AM by Patrick Belton
In her defense, Cheng said the designer "wanted the clothes to have a military theme and did not realize that the Nazi symbols would be considered offensive."
Fortunately, though, where the company had lacked acumen about the quaint delicacies of public taste, it is making up for it with firm and decisive action now. Sort of. Ms. Cheng said the Nazi-themed line of decorations and clothes "may" be withdrawn. "We're seriously considering removing the displays. But before we take them off, we have to find a replacement," she said.
Good for her. Someone should give her an award. That is, like this one. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, August 08, 2003
# Posted 11:14 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 10:47 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 6:34 PM by Patrick Belton
Thursday, August 07, 2003
# Posted 12:33 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 9:19 AM by Patrick Belton
These include at the moment the Terminator, the Porno King, a fellow accidentally (his parents may differ on the point) named Michael Jackson, and Georgy - who, barring CalPundit's entry, we along with the WaPo are rooting for.
Somewhere, Tocqueville's loving this. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:45 AM by Patrick Belton
The NYT focuses on the Festival's supposed fall from fringe-theater innocence: "The festival's opening party...was held in Plaid, on East 13th Street, a swanky new club whose ideal clientele is probably more likely to be Britney Spears than the experimental director Richard Foreman." The Daily News beats on the same drum.
But hey, this is still some of the quirkiest, most creative theater to be seen anywhere, and good, clean fun (if at times also saran-wrapped and naked). (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:53 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 12:52 AM by Patrick Belton
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
# Posted 9:39 PM by Daniel
# Posted 9:33 PM by Daniel
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
# Posted 10:20 PM by Patrick Belton
UPDATE - which occasioned the following riposte from one of our friends,
Now that you have pledged NOT to leave half-a-million dollars of your Powerball winnings in a parked car in front of strip in order to be stolen, for what purpose WILL you leave half-a-million dollars in your Powerball winnings in a parked car in front of a strip club?
All the best,
P.S. My favorite example of the above question is (supposedly) due to Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War military officers from a variety of European countries came to America to observe the carnage. Most were deeply impressed and frightened as to what would happen if the United States were to use such power against others than their fellow citizens. A group of British officers had done the tour and were invitied to have lunch with the President at the White House (no record of whether they had to contribute to Lincoln's re-election campaign). Lincoln asked them whether they had any observations they wished to report to him. One of the British officers said: "In the British Army generals do not polish their own boots." To which the 16th President reponded: "Really? Whose boots DO British generals polish? In a similar vein there is the line attributed to, among others, Milton Friedman who once asked: "If the ends don't justify the means, what does justify the means."
Lester then poses the question about whether there is a technical name for the rhetorical devise there applied. Readers?
UPDATE 2: Answering my plea, Tom Comerford suggests "squelch," "similitude," or the plain-vanilla "retort" - but also suggests a contest for the best rhetorical coinage. What's more, he offers up another one:
A, who never went to Oxford on finding out that B is an Oxford grad, says to B: "You don't look like an Oxford man."
B replies: "Funny, neither do you." (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:02 PM by Patrick Belton
Talk of his capture and torture sets Bob Deenee's fingers into jagged arcs that clutch the edge of the table. He looks away, silent for a moment, then recounts the weeks of darkness and pain administered by hard-nosed soldiers.
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:50 PM by Patrick Belton
Monday, August 04, 2003
# Posted 4:58 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 4:13 PM by Patrick Belton
UPDATE: The WashPost went. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:22 AM by Patrick Belton
So I started wondering – what if you had an organization, springboarding perhaps off of churches, community organizations, and youth and professional groups - in which participating whites and blacks of roughly the same age would agree to spend time with each other socially and one-on-one, at least once every month? We already have Big Brothers/Big Sisters to pair up older and younger people , and help foster friendships between adolescents and adults - why not have an organization devoted to fostering friendships between race and ethnic communities? There are many ways a group like this could be structured - one might be to begin with mixing people who’d have more to talk about – i.e., evangelicals with evangelicals, dentists with dentists, plumbers with plumbers, English majors with other English majors. And a group like this wouldn't have to limit itself to forming friendships between white and blacks, either – though that might be a more common framework for the northeast and southeast, in the southwest, it might involve more of pairing Latinos and native Americans with members of other races; in metropolitan Detroit, Arab Americans; and so forth.
I would be very interested in moving forward with this, and would very much like to invite your comments, to hear from you if you might be interested, and your ideas – among other things, about what to call it. Any suggestions? Let me know! (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:47 AM by Patrick Belton
The New York Times speculates this morning about the positions of Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary, and DCI coming vacant in a second Bush term. Powell attributes this to a promise to his wife, and Armitage to his desire only to serve under his close friend the current secretary. The current horse race? It's Condi vs. Wolfowitz for Secretary, with Wolfowitz having short odds on National Security Advisor if Condi moves out of the Old Executive Office Building and into Foggy Bottom. Lugar and Gingrich round out the long list to be signing SecState on the cable traffic. For DCI, Rep. Porter Goss, a former case officer, is being batted around, along with DOD intelligence officials Stephen Cambone and Richard Haver, and the omnipresent Wolfowitz. Also being mentioned for Langley are current NSA director LTG Michael Hayden (USAF), former NSA director and Agency deputy director Adm. William Studeman, along with retired senators Warren Rudman and Fred Thompson - Thompson, incidentally, played DCI in a 1987 film, No Way Out. (I'm not a DCI, but I do play one on tv…) While the prospects of a Condian elevation to the seventh floor do make one’s pulse race, her writings do display a bent slightly more Kissingerian than idealistic; for my part, I'll be cheering in the peanut gallery for Wolfowitz, Lugar, and Goss.
UPDATE: Greg casts his ballot over at Belgravia Dispatch. (And whoever said you couldn't vote for appointed officials?) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, August 01, 2003
# Posted 6:31 PM by Patrick Belton
UPDATE: Our friend Armed Liberal at Winds of Change comes up with some useful responses to Hope Street's first batch of white papers. The folks at Hope are serious, dedicated, good folks, and I'm sure they'll appreciate and take constructively all the thoughts and suggestions our readers want to lob their way. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:06 PM by Patrick Belton
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
# Posted 2:05 PM by Patrick Belton
And here's what the BBC reported in its lede: "Mr Blair, who said his appetite for power remained 'undiminished'...."
And not to let a good distortion go, the website then links to the story thusly: "Tony Blair sidesteps questions on the David Kelly affair - but says his appetite for power is "undiminished"."
The Beeb: the (kind of) grown-up version of telephone. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
# Posted 6:14 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 10:13 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Hail and farewell! I'll be back on August 12th.
-David (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, July 26, 2003
# Posted 5:52 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 5:40 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
JAT adds that
You might want to notice that US mediators were apparently involved in the signing of an accord allowing the president of Sao Tome and Principe to be reinstated. So too were the UN and the African Union -- everyone appears to be trying to take some credit.Finally, EC notes that the New Yorker published an in-depth look at Sao Tome last October. An in-depth look at Principle is expected to follow... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:15 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 9:04 AM by Patrick Belton
And they say you don't learn anything at conferences... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:47 AM by Patrick Belton
Granted, the House Democrats treated the GOP largely the same way before 1994 - but that doesn't make it right. And while you can't deny a majority party the ability within reason to use parliamentary tactics and rules to increase its power, to completely lock out the minority party - irrespective of which party that is - distorts the constitutional purpose of having an elected assembly in which all of the people's chosen representatives may sit, and, with comity and in an orderly fashion, debate. Mr. Hastert, the American political tradition expects much better of you than this. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, July 25, 2003
# Posted 6:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
So, the first thing I do when I come back to New York City is head straight for the legendary 2nd Ave. Deli. Within an hour of dropping off my luggage at home, I was out the door and on my way to enjoying the best chopped liver in town along with a mountainous center-cut tongue sandwich.
After dinner, I set about enjoying the finest entertainment that UPN has to offer: WWF Smackdown. Now, it actually isn't hard to find pro wrestling on television in the UK. But since it's on on Friday and Saturday nights, you have to give up either going out or getting adrenalized. But that's a little much, even for a Hulkamaniac like myself.
Often, those who know me can't figure out how a New York intellectual like myself can get so excited about watching muscle-bound, Speedo-clad warriors beat the living s*** out of each other. My answer: What's not to like?
If that's not a good enough answer for you, than you might find some consolation in the fact that once Smackdown ended I started going through back issues of the New Yorker so that I have a look at all the cartoons I missed. My favorite of the week has one sheep telling another that
"Sure, I follow the herd -- not out of brainless obedience, mind you, but out of a deep and abiding respect for the concept of community.Heh. Like pro-wrestling, the New Yorker is also available in England. Once in a while, I would go to the college library to look at the cartoons. But how can you sit in a stiff wooden chair and read the New Yorker? What it's really all about is lying down on the couch after dinner and forgetting that there's any other way to spend your time.
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
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# Posted 1:39 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
First and foremost, let me say this: Thank God I am home. It feels really damn good. Because it isn't just a visit. I am now back in the United States for good (unless Paul Bremer decides that OxDem ought to establish a chapter in Iraq ASAP).
For the first time in three years, I truly feel that I am where I belong. I am not a guest. I am not an observer. Three years ago, I did not fully understand what it meant to belong. Nor did I understand what it meant to be out of place.
Before coming to Oxford, I had visited foreign countries ranging from Canada to Germany to Hong Kong to Argentina. Perhaps because I never intended to live in any of those places for more than a matter of months, I never felt that I had overstayed my welcome. I never felt that I had to fit in.
But fitting in is the challenge laid before us at Oxford. We are warned that Britain has a very different culture from the United States in spite of having striking similarities. We are told that our response to this difference should not be to retreat into the protection of the American community, but to reach out and truly learn what it means to live in Britain.
Instead, I learned what it meant to live in America. The longer I spent in the UK, the more out of place I felt. This is not to say that all the differences are negative. Much of Britain is incomparably charming and civilized in a way that America simply cannot be. But I never felt that I was a part of that Britian either.
It was not a lack of British friends that made me feel separated. In fact, I had more British friends than many of the other American Scholars. But in the presence of every bus driver, every homeless man and countless other strangers, I preferred to put on my Australian accent.
Because every encoutner is an international relation. Because the curiosity, awe and resentment that American provokes transforms every encounter into a social experiment. Like it or not, every American has to stand in for America.
Not every. But enough that it begins to feel like every. It reminds me of the paranoia that our teachers so conscientiously instilled in us in our Jewish elementary school. Every time we stepped out of that building, we became representatives of the Jewish people. Our teachers told us that if we were loud or obnoxious that those around us would decide that the Jewish people are loud and obnoxious.
Interestingly, I don't remember ever being told that if we behaved as model citizens that those around us would come to see the Jewish people as model citizens. We had nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Looking back, it is painfully evident that we were being taught to systematically underestimate the intelligence and open-mindedness of our fellow Americans. In fact, it made it hard to even think of them as our fellow Americans. While no one questioned that 20th century America had been better to the Jews than any other time and place on earth, it was never thought of as a final destination.
Nor was Israel. It was uncivilized. It was dangerous. A nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. The Israelis were far tougher than their American cousins and they wouldn't let you forget it. They had survived five wars and countless terrorists attacks but didn't have cable television. (That was in the 1980s.)
So perhaps I was being disingenuous when I wrote above that until now I did not understand what it meant to be out of place. Because I was never in it. Then in college, America became my unequivocal home. When making friends, it didn't matter what state we were from, how much our parents income was, or whether we were black, white, Hispanic or Asian. Of course those things mattered. But if you found out that you both liked skiing or history or Led Zeppelin, then those things started to matter a helluva lot less. It was precisely because Yale was so diverse that I was able to see how little one's identity mattered.
I felt in place because I no longer had to decide between being Jewish and being American. Yet at the same time, it was no longer apparent that I had to decide between being American and being anything else. In college, I spent two summers in Germany and never felt that being American was a bad thing at all.
After graduating from Yale, I spent a year working in Washington at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In the fall of 1999 and spring of 2000, globalization was everything. Hundreds of thousands of protesters were against it, even though most of us at Carnegie were for it.
But so what? On both sides, we were American. The question at hand was to what degree we should also be international or global. In that sense, being American was a good thing, since it meant being national.
As a pundit-in-training, I decided to write an op-ed about the protest movement. According to conventional wisdom, globalization bore more than a passing resemblance to Americanization. Therefore, protests against one were tantamount to protests against the other.
I disagreed. If the protesters were against American power, why were they more concerned with transparency at the IMF than with the fact that the United States had just bombed Milosevic into submission? Since the protesters were explicitly for human rights, they silently decided to recognize that the United States was fighting their battles for them.
Before sending my column off to the editors, I decided to run it by my supervisor, who happened to be Robert Kagan. While generally supportive of my writing projects, Bob thought that this one should go in the garbage. It was pretty clear that Bob was asking himself how someone relatively smart could have written something that was much more than relatively stupid.
The answer was naivete. I just didn't understand that the anti-globalization movement had within it the potential to become an anti-American movement just a few years later. Not that protesting against the war in Iraq was, in and of itself, anti-American. But the simplistic and cynical arguments made by so many of those protesters demonstrated that their opposition to the war was an extension of their anti-American worldview (and not vice versa).
While I had the good sense to throw my op-ed in the garbage after getting Bob's comments on it, I was still a long way from recognizing how wrong I was. Even September 11th was not enough to change that. After all, Le Monde's headline the next day was "Nous Sommes Tous Americaines". Who says one has to decide between being American and being anything else?
The attacks on New York and Washington coincided with the beginning of my thesis research. Thus, the growth of my own knowledge of American politics paralleled the growth of the anti-American hostility around me.
The political differences that divided Britian and America after September 11th helped me to place all sorts of other Anglo-American differences in context. For example, my occasional Australian accent was a product of my first, pre-Sept. 11 year at Oxford. But the anonymity it provided became something entirely different after the Towers fell.
The more I read about America, the more I identified with its historical sense of mission. I began to recognize that I had always had that sense of mission, but did not understand the degree to which it was part of my American heritage. Over the past two years, that degree became apparent precisely because there was no comparable sense of mission on the far side of the Atlantic.
Again, one cannot reduce the question of invading Iraq to cultural differences. But that was a part of it. Even before Sept. 11, I had begun to sense Britain's nation discomfort with the concept of a mission.
At Yale, the President and the Dean could not give a speech to any number of assembled undergraduates without waxing eloquent about their role as the leaders of the next generation and about their obligation to give back to the society that gave them so much. While the rhetoric was sometimes excessive or hollow, the students seemed to take for granted that it was the expression of a shared ideal.
In contrast, Oxford seemed to have no message for its undergraduates. When I told my British friends about Yale, they said that no one at Oxford would take that sort of rhetoric seriously. Oxford encouraged intellectual excellence. But the purpose of such excellence was not apparent. Personal fulfillment? Social sophistication? A job at an investment bank? I don't know. My friends didn't either.
I have come to believe that Americans' frenetic obsession with taking action is inextricably tied up with our sense of mission. We have to always be making everything better. It goes without saying that we often fail and that our obsessive activism is the cause of our failure. That might even turn out to be the case in Iraq. But without that activism and that sense of mission, we just wouldn't know what to do with ourselves.
God, I'm glad to be home.
[NB: This post could really use some editing, but I'm jet-lagged and losing it, so sleep is going to have to come first.] (0) opinions -- Add your opinion