#Daniel Larison

Controlled Demolition, not Flypaper (Ten Years After Cont’d) – UPDATED

We do not have an in fact unresolved history of war with Syria or Assad as we did with Iraq/Saddam, and we operate from greater confidence in regard to terrorist threats than in the early 2000s. If this confidence is misplaced, it is something that will have to be proved to us before we embark upon some new improved version of a newly vindicated Bush Doctrine.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Politics, War Tagged with: , ,

The Libya Intervention: another worst decision except for all the others

The Libya decision will be revealed, predictably, to have been a very American decision – instrumentalizing military force on behalf of political-economic popular sovereignty (i.e., “freedom”) against a vulnerable tyranny, in cooperation with allies, with “respect for the opinions of mankind.” It entailed risks and real human costs while shifting them from one group to another – as would every other decision. It may even have been the “wrong” decision from other perspectives. If so, that conclusion would not necessarily imply that there was a simply “right” or “better” decision to be made, or that the American president can be asked or expected to give every or any other perspective higher or equal priority.

Posted in Politics, War Tagged with: , , ,

Prelude to an Initial Consideration of American Syndrome

Just by virtue of occupying a different spot on the globe; of possessing a different culture, history, economy; and simply of being in the position of client, the newly democratized and liberalized state would naturally develop differences with its American sponsor.

From the old imperialist perspective, recognition of this inescapable fact would introduce certain simple pragmatic considerations. Some potentially valuable clients or territories would have to be ruled directly to prevent them from straying too far. Others would be deemed impractical for any form of conquest, but might need to be neutralized or denied to competitors.

The ideology of the neo-imperialist or liberal-democratic hegemonist transforms all such calculations – at least in the missionary’s own mind.

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

The Obama Doctrine Has Never Looked Better

Officer Bolton thinks Obama has already “bungled” Libya, but an even better sign for U.S. foreign policy is that Douglas Feith, with Seth Cropsey, has taken to the pages of Commentary to define and indict the entirety of the “Obama

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Long day’s blogging into evening – pre-game festivities

Am about to disappear into Lakerdom – either a further descent into tedious misery, a temporary revival on the way to even deeper misery, or the Turning Point we’ve been waiting for and falsely identifying this whole desperately non-compelling season

Posted in Economics, Philosophy, Religion, Sports, War 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.

Comment →

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.

Comment →

[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.

Comment →
CK's WP Plugins

Categories

Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins