#War

non-ideally realistic is the ideal realism and real idealism etc.

Realistically, a merely more rather than ideally realistic policy may be as much as is really achievable, and for any realist president will remain the ideal.

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

Chris Hayes and American Heroism

The word “hero” in contemporary usage is an unambiguously affirmative, but anodyne, secular-sounding term for the conversion of the “fallen” from tragic victims into celebrated martyrs within a long tradition, indeed within a trans-generational chain of sacrifices all the way back to the founding of the nation in revolutionary war. To deny access to this form of transcendence, as Hayes and many like him seem to want to do – are in a sense ideologically compelled to do – is to reduce whatever act of war into killing and mayhem merely, the conduct of a state possibly unworthy of allegiance at all, much less of even one individual’s life, liberty, and happiness. It is to convert the martyr symbolically into the pitiful dupe at best, the murderer or war criminal at worst.

Posted in Featured, Internet, Philosophy, Politics, TV, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Call of Post-Modern Warfare – Video Games as Propaganda

Despite the game’s macho bluster, Call of Duty speaks to us as a culture of fear: fear of terrorism, fear of foreign invasion, fear of duplicity and deceit on the part of our leaders. It helps accustom us to a post-9/11 view of war that is perpetual and global, a conspiratorial view of world events, and an apocalyptic outlook that views collapse and catastrophe as ever imminent.

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , ,

Whatever its causes…

Pax Americana?

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

Toward a Society of the Anti-Spectacle

Jonathan Bernstein asked for suggestions on 9/11 Reading/Viewing/Listening.  I suggested: Gillespie THE THEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF MODERNITY Wright THE EVOLUTION OF GOD Lilla THE STILLBORN GOD Ansary DESTINY DISRUPTED (A History of the World through Islamic Eyes) Van Creveld THE TRANSFORMATION

Posted in Future History, Movies, Religion, US History, War Tagged with: , , ,

On Scorpions and Frogs

Says bob, sarcastically, regarding the Scorpion and the Frog: As long as anthropomorthized animals deliver the message, I guess it’s OK. The first time I ever ran across the parable, it was in a book about the Middle East by

Posted in War Tagged with: , , , , ,

Libyan Quagbump?

The British press has been reporting on Libya more extensively than American outlets, which makes sense considering the greater ongoing involvement of the U.K. in the NATO-led operation.  Two articles suggest that we may, but then again may not, soon

Posted in War 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like I said, we’re no angels

A further observation on the rather tired “celebration of the death of OBL” question. I sometimes pride myself on an unusual ability to happen actually now and then to manage to notice the obvious, but it’s false pride, I know.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, War 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: , ,

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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