International Relations

what must be heard

“was gesagt werden muss”/”what must be said,” Guenter Grass’s un-poetic poetic response to current events involving Germans, Israelis, Iranians and all of the rest of the world, is dominated, and justified, by a recognition emerging from geopolitical facticity, by that murderously coercive course of the world that Adorno juxtaposes to art: The wheel of historical fortune has turned in such a way that the national heirs of Nazism (of the genocidal) are supplying delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction (weapons of genocide) to the heirs of Zionism (and of genocide).

Posted in Art, International Relations, Politics, War Tagged with: , ,

Unheard in Open Discussion (re Iranian nukes)

Put simply: Israel = friend, and Iran = enemy – designations that, not incidentally, neither country’s leaderships have striven much to alter over the last generation or two.

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Nuke programs end with a lot of whimpering, not a bang

Qadhafi decided against WMD long before the Iraq war. Osirak was a complete failure. And so on.

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Whatever its causes…

Pax Americana?

Posted in History, International Relations, US History Tagged with: , ,

Hillary Rodham Hegel

I think HRC comes off rather well in this interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:  Hillary Clinton: Chinese System Is Doomed, Leaders on a ‘Fool’s Errand’.  Makes me proud I voted for her in the 2008 California primary, though in those dark,

Posted in History, International Relations Tagged with: , , , ,

Brought us the head of Osama Bin Laden

Though I felt the need to correct Scott’s quote – he fell victim to a widespread quotation mangling – I don’t want to trivialize his perspective.  As I’ve noted, I sympathize with it.  I just feel it’s incomplete.  When some

Posted in International Relations, US History, War Tagged with: , ,

And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day

There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

Posted in Featured, History, International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can’t jump over your Nir Rosen

“Can’t jump over your own shadow” is one of my favorite sayings.  Like you, perhaps, I recall testing out its truth when I was a child.  More usefully, it speaks to a number of higher order syndromes that go under

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Bonfire of the Islamophobic Vanities – Updated after Breaking News

To mark 9/11 this Saturday, I plan to gather together printouts of certain blog posts, articles, and interviews, and burn them on my outdoor barbecue grill – specifically within a charcoal chimney – before fixing some dinner and getting back

Posted in International Relations Tagged with: , , ,

Flamesem & Japesem (Actually Very Shaggy)

Echoing a theme already sounded, and sounded, and sounded again by Victor Davis Hanson, Jennifer Rubin, Charles Krauthammer, James Taranto, Jonah Goldberg, and every other uncultured non-elite intellectual who likes the polls and needs something to talk about other than

Posted in International Relations, Politics, Religion Tagged with: , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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