About those test results you’re (still) waiting for…

Ran across this during “old bookmarks clean-up”:  From about one year ago, here’s leftwing seer extraordinaire Matthew Yglesias reacting to criticism of Obama’s tepid reaction to events then unfolding in Iran:

The appropriate test of US policy toward the Iranian political crisis continues to be whether or not it actually improves the situation—helps save lives, helps promote political change—not whether or not it’s deemed adequately expressive.

A survey of Yglesias’s Think Progress blog finds no mention of the one-year anniversary of the disputed Iranian presidential election, much less of the Iranian “Green” Movement.  Maybe a big post is coming soon on those hope-and-change test results, perhaps further expanding on the effect of the historic Cairo speech and all of the wonderful changes it helped bring about.  True, all we managed here at ZC were links to writers who haven’t forgotten the events of June 2009 – “Fouad Ajami: Iran and the ‘Freedom Recession’” and  “Misreading Tehran: The Twitter Devolution” – along with a bit of fisticuffical commenting, but, then again, ZC didn’t exist at that time, and those of us arguing in the Contentions threads or maybe at the HotAir Greenroom weren’t the ones claiming that the President’s reticence was somehow helping the protesters – or helping him either.

OK – Yglesias did mark the anniversary with one stirring commemoration:  Of the movie Starship Troopers.  Like Yglesias, I’m in the “it’s a classic” camp on that film, though I suspect I’d put my appreciation in somewhat different terms than he does or than the writer whose recent essay he links.

As for Iran, I’m sorry to say I just don’t see Yglesias “doing his part,” at least not yet.


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52 comments on “About those test results you’re (still) waiting for…

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  1. So, this is what you came up with by way of taking on some of the Left’s encrusted assumptions and narratives? Seems kind of mild so far–not exactly the Glenn Beck treatment.

  2. Giving anything “the Glenn Beck treatment” is something I have no intention of attempting. Though I wouldn’t mind some of the Glenn Beck money.

  3. Dude – this was just a light post. I’ll keep on calling ’em as I see ’em in the way that I see ’em. Hardly anyone’s ever heard of Matthew Yglesias. He’s not in a position to do anywhere near as much harm as Glenn Beck does.

  4. @ CK MacLeod:

    don’t be quite so sure.

    Yglesias is going to be around quite some time and has a pretty fair following in DC.

    absolutely first-rate mind and quite naive, particularly in regard to Iran. hopefully he’s been wising up in the last year, but prior to that he was parroting the same stupid stuff coming from the Leveretts.

  5. I like the idea of following up on assertions by partisans one year down the road.

    I hope you’re also preparing a follow-up on the assertions of a certain amphibian last August when President Obama stupidly announced a fixed withdrawal date from Afghanistan.

  6. @ Sully:

    Feel free to point to froggish assertions , but you’ll be feeling foolish trying after trying to find that fixed withdrawal date from Obama, you silly Sully.

    you’ll find something far less fixed or firm, and more like a date when we’ll begin “transitioning”.

  7. Your man is backpedaling but his “pal” Karzai ain’t buying it. The stupidity was in making any statement about a date in connection with withdrawal.

    Assuming, of course, that it was stupidity. There are other possible interpretations.

  8. CK, Great Satan, is like 30 years old, already, now Rafsanjani compared to Khomeini comes off as moderate, then again the same
    can be said of the old Moussavi, vis a vis, Ahmadinejad. Maybe he
    turned a corner after the events of June ’09, yet another instance
    where Obama seemed out to lunch

  9. @ Sully:

    Yeah, there are quite a few, Sully, and some of them don’t involve giving up the fight. One or two involve pulling all but a rump force from Afghanistan because 1) we will have gotten the Pakistanis to do what we need them to do and AQ has to move elsewhere 2) we’ll need our troops to go elsewhere.

  10. @ narciso:

    and the Horn. Where they go, we follow. We don’t have to go in numbers, because we’re preventing them from settling in, laying roots and securing popular cooperation, rather than having to uproot them and any friends that they’ve made.

  11. We’ve already been there, I once met someone who had done three tours with the Marines, two in Iraq, one in the Horn, he found the
    latter kind of uneventful

  12. @ factualizing frog:

    Thinking the American people will support a forever war across the Muslim world while their elites continue to pretend Islam is a religion of peace is madder (more mad? more insane?) than Bush’s notion that we could establish long lived democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  13. @ Sully:
    Sometimes, I’ve managed to believe six impossible things before breakfast, and that’s still hours away.

    But you’ve must have missed much of the twentieth century if you can still go around thinking that what the people and leaders of America say relates invariably to what they’ll do.

    I’m definitely not supporting anybody for re-election unless they run on a slogan of “He kept us out of war”.
    unless they really, really promise that they have a secret plan to end the war that they’ll only unveil after we elect them……

    or…..

  14. Well we’re testing that premise now aren’t, one hates to quote Mo Dowd, with the ‘passion of a million sons’ but it looks, like Richard Nixon Obama

  15. News Flash,now we know why we’re in Afghanistan,finally a WOT that makes sense,let’s get rich,we need the money. Thank you Afghanistan.
    BTW,I’m sure we just found this out;we had no idea,did we?

  16. well actually no, according to this

    In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

    During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

    “There were maps, but the development did not take place, because you had 30 to 35 years of war,” said Ahmad Hujabre, an Afghan engineer who worked for the Ministry of Mines in the 1970s.

    Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

    The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

  17. That’s good news,NARC,I can understand waging War to obtain something tangible,Territory,oil,minerals. I hate war for ideology,nation building,and moral issues. That makes me sick. When do we start mining?

  18. Is does beg the question, why did the Brits, and the Russians crave that piece of real estate for so long, the first two Afghan War was clearly done to clear out the latter from the area. Now it’s not unobtanium, but it’s close enough

  19. Theoretical valuation of minerals in the ground seems a very problematic matter when the minerals are in a very rugged landlocked country with virtually no large scale infrastructure. Tens or hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure would probably be needed to make a start at production of anything worth exporting, and then a healthy vigorish would have to be paid to the extortionists who control the government of one of countries controlling routes to the sea, which also aren’t up to heavy traffic.

    That’s before noting that the locals have a 2500 year documented history of ambushing people. And co-religionists of the locals have a history of nationalizing assets after infrastructure is in place.

  20. Sully wrote: Forget it. It’s just wealth.

    Sully,are you a Nancy Boy,or a full blooded Conservative that Craves Financial Gain for his poor beleagured country?

  21. @ Rex Caruthers:

    The trillion dollar figure being bandied about is what I question.

    The wealth is the net profit after extraction, processing and shipping to delivery. I suppose a mineral deposit in the center of Antarctica would be more risky and expensive to develop but I’m not sure; at least there aren’t malicious natives and grasping government kleptocrats in Antarctica.

    Let the Chinese and the Indians fight over it. The Chicoms richly deserve Afghanistan, and the Indians will have to go through Pakistan to get to the fight, which has certain strategic advantages from our point of view.

  22. Let the Chinese and the Indians fight over it.

    Except we need the money,they have our money plus their own,we have Bills to pay and Nations/Terrorists to vanquish before we sleep.

  23. The Trillion is the new billion, (Dr. Evil raised pinky) which means Quadrillion will be the next unit of measures, the value of derivatives
    are already near that level. I say bring in the gunships and the powered
    suits

  24. narciso wrote:
    The Trillion is the new billion, (Dr. Evil raised pinky) which means Quadrillion will be the next unit of measures, the value of derivatives
    are already near that level. I say bring in the gunships and the powered
    suits

    We will process the unobtanium into obtanium plus. This will revitalize the empire F–k off Gibbon,Spengler,and Toynbee.
    And thank God someone,besides myself,is talking about Derivatives.

  25. Our geat and Good Fried JE Dyer has written a piece for Contentions today,which makes good sense unless you want to challange the assumption behind her opinion,which is that we should be figuring out ways to help stabilize the “Flotilla” situation in favor of Israel. However,Obama’s policy towards Israel is very obviously to destabilise this Israeli Government,and replace it with a much more Liberal Government,which the Administration can identify with.
    “Turkey’s involvement in the recent flotilla should already have resulted in a moment of reckoning with its NATO allies, if only behind closed doors. The West’s lackadaisical approach to its core alliance is on borrowed time. If the impending parade of flotillas produces only disorganized posturing from NATO, while allowing Israel’s enemies to create havoc at sea and score propaganda points against Israel, the next challenge is likely to emerge almost automatically in the Persian Gulf.”
    This makes sense if George Bush were President,but Obama wants to dump Netenyahoo,and forcing Israel to clean up its own mess is in Obama’s interests.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/j-e-dyer/314011

  26. @ Rex Caruthers:

    As always J.E. Dyer is illuminating, interesting and almost surely right. Except about Obama’s objectives, which I think are much more sanguinary with respect to “that country which cannot be named” as the Rev Wright put it.

  27. @ narciso:

    Wow, I’ve really been out of the loop. I wasn’t aware they made a first sequel to Starship Troopers, let along a second one.

    Does Sky Marshall Anoke bow down to the arachnid king in that movie?

  28. Pretty much, he was turned by the Master Bug, now Jolene Blalock
    (Commander T’Pal) was in it, so I wasn’t paying that much attention
    to the plot. It has a bit of a “Forever War” feel to it, being much less
    satirical than the first.

  29. Sully wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    As always J.E. Dyer is illuminating, interesting and almost surely right.

    When we’re talking about Obama,the Punditocracy here at ZC is very clueless. Forget official policy,look at what is actually happening,that’s the key. Obama wants Iran to have a Nuclear weapon to act as a balance to Israel’s Nuke weapons. This is about the Application of a Balance of Power Policy.

  30. No, Rex, you forget he thought the nuclear freeze didn’t go far enough, in that 1983 Sundial piece, it’s not about balancing, it’s
    about neutering any aggressive Western looking power, remember
    he thinks Iran with 60 million people, is a ‘small country that doesn’t
    pose a threat’

  31. about neutering any aggressive Western looking power

    We’re in agreement then,to Obama,either Israel gives up their Nukes,or Iran is allowed to have them. Balancing and Neutering,Bingo.

  32. Tell me the fate of the last scientist connected with the dissident movement in Iran, oh yes, he was blown up by a motorcycle born
    IED, there is no tradeoff

  33. This is interesting/regarding the Oil Problem.

    “The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean.
    And the Marshall Islands, a maze of tiny atolls, many smaller than the ill-fated oil rig, outsourced many of its responsibilities to private companies.”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-inspection-20100615,0,3043517,full.story

  34. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Obama wants Iran to have a Nuclear weapon to act as a balance to Israel’s Nuke weapons.

    Could be. Could also be he wants them to have nuclear weapons so they will use them. Iran takes out Israel. Israel takes out Iran. Both the Jewish and the Shiite problem solved in one go. Perhaps the Sunni countries get their hair a bit mussed; but that’s a small price for reunifying the Ummah. Plus the Saudi oil becomes more valuable after Iran’s fields are thoroughly irradiated.

  35. Obama, the Oil Spill, and 9/11
    John Podhoretz – 06.15.2010 – 8:27 AM
    What was the president thinking when he likened the oil spill to the attacks of September 11? My analysis here.
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/obama_envy_wnEUzeEjokge0aLypdq1iL

    This is JPOD/NEO-CON thinking at its worst. First he explains in great detail that 9/11&the OIL Eruption have nothing in common except that they are both important events. Thanks John,I really needed your help on that one.
    However,to give John his due,there was one intruguing comment.
    “One(9/11) was a brilliantly conceived and diabolical act of war…”

    Was it?

    Legal Definition of War:
    “National war is a contest between two or more independent nations) carried on by authority of their respective governments”

  36. Certainly a particular faction in the Arabian Government, possibly General Intelligence,( istikbarat) were likely providing support to
    the operation, was it a direct attack by Saudi Arabia, no just as it
    didn’t have to do directly with the Taliban, but they provided sanctuary

  37. Certainly a particular faction in the Arabian Government, possibly General Intelligence,( istikbarat) were likely providing support to

    We’re in Michael Moore territory now.

  38. Contentions knuckleheadedness cont.:

    Abe Greenwald quotes Saad Ibriham,”—showing a picture of George W. Bush and the words “Miss me yet?” the irony was not lost on many in the Arab world. Most Americans may not miss Bush, but a growing number of people in the Middle East do. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain unpopular in the region, but his ardent support for democracy was heartening to Arabs living under stalled autocracies. Reform activists in Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait and elsewhere felt empowered to press for greater freedoms during the Bush years.”

    WTF,this is worth quoting?,”a growing number—” growing from 2-4,100% increase,
    CONTENTIONS should outsource to ZC,and let our Czar handle things there, JRUB is writing 75% of Contentions by cutting/pasting.

  39. @ Rex Caruthers:
    The 2 – 4% thing is a little silly. There is, or was supposed to be, a rational re-consideration of Bush democracy promotion policy, which thoughtful observers in Democratic foreign affairs circles criticized as “right idea, clumsy execution.” The Obama Administration gives the impression of thinking it’s just the wrong idea, period – a matter of complete indifference to us how a given regime treats its people. That point of view goes against core American values going back to the Founding and before. That we’ve frequently acted at variance with those values, or accepted bad trade-offs, isn’t to our credit. If we’re not willing to stand for them internationally, however imperfectly, we’ll lose sight of them completely, and that will be the end of the American experiment, properly financed or not.

  40. @ Rex Caruthers:
    On this one, I think you’re right that JPod overdoes it. Obama’s actual statement was not “bizarre” on its face. JPod’s further analysis makes some good points, I think, but his hyperbole may overshadow them for anyone not already primed for a simplistic “Obama=bad, Us=good” position.

  41. Actually it kind of is, in the context of where he gave the speech, at Al Azhar, in one of the most hidebound autocracies in the region, one might make a parallel with Czarist Russia, because many of the reforms
    that Sadat had introduced, in the political sphere, were reversed by
    Mubarak, and the EIJ, including Zawahiri, became stronger and the
    core of AQ for it, from A tef to Seif al Adel to the the latest fellow
    Yazid, not to mention Rabia and Co.

  42. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Another similarity to 9/11, come to think of it, is the ostrich syndrome: Afghanistan and offshore oil platforms, out of sight and out of mind until a disastrophe makes ignoring the facts impossible. Similar to certain other matters that more typically concern you.

  43. CK/ Similar to certain other matters that more typically concern you

    Here’s the quote of the Day concerning RCARnomics:
    “It’s hard to decide what’s more frightening: that investors are losing confidence in paper money or that the shepherds of the world’s major currencies don’t get what’s going on. Gold’s climb of almost 30 percent in a year reflects fear, not just market concern over inflation or deflation risks. People have lost trust in the global financial system.”—“thinking that all they had was a little inflation problem on their hands, the world’s brightest economists and sharpest policymakers seem largely unaware of the possibility that the system of paper money and out-of-control spending by governments may be failing right before their eyes—“It’s not what the Greenspans of the world envisioned 15 years ago. Back then, warehousing gold bars seemed a bit retrograde. Central banks had gotten so good at whipping inflation that paper money was just fine. Fort Knox was no longer needed.
    The post-Lehman world is dispelling such notions and we may be on the cusp of history’s greatest gold rush. Bernanke and his peers would be wise to contemplate why.”
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/209934-bernanke-gold-and-the-keynesian-endpoint?source=hp_wc

    CKM,Do you remember for how long we’ve been discussing these issues,it should be a bit alarming that now,almost every day,there are articles discussing the endgame of the Fiat Money era. Go to Real Clear Money,today,and check out an article by Paul Farrell,very disturbing.

  44. CK/ That point of view goes against core American values going back to the Founding and before.

    There are competing core American values going back to that Founding,you are indicating that process is monolithic.

  45. @ Rex Caruthers:
    I’ll happily acknowledge that there are competing values or value systems going back to the Founding and before. However, among the ones commanding the allegiance of the vast majority of Americans, none included “acting to encourage the denial of American freedoms in other nations.” There was ample and extensive disagreement as to how involved we should allow ourselves to become, but that’s something much different. Even most isolationists, left or right, believe that by non-intervention and cultivation of our own garden, we set a good example. Since we don’t have an isolationist policy, and since we are in fact heavily involved worldwide, we have no choice but to stand for something. If what we stand for contradicts our supposed values, then it will eventually affect how we conduct ourselves among ourselves.

    A foreign policy built on denial and non-accountability tends to coincide over time with a domestic/economic policy built on the same things. You of all people should understand that.

  46. We’ve been interventionist, not on purpose, but almost by accident, from when the French and the British feud got in the way of our trade, with the Beys of the Barbary Coast, hijacked our ships, when our settlements in Northern Mexico, (Texas) were overrun, you get the point

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