Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Undoing of Peggy Noonan’s Rationality

Peggy Noonan’s column today heralding President Obama’s imminent political death is one of the more garbled, disjointed, and confused documents I’ve seen in a long while. The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he … Continue reading

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Korean War Gaming, and More World Cup Geopolitics

Did you wake up this morning wondering about the prospects of war on the Korean peninsula? Dan Drezner did, over at Foreign Policy. He managed to work a clip of Footloose into his analysis, which is an advanced blogger move … Continue reading

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The Strange World of Nation Branding

The arrival of the World Cup is always a great time to remember that nationalism ain’t going anywhere. The best matches, well for someone who writes a political blog anyway, are the ones with awkward geopolitical implications. I find most … Continue reading

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North Korea: Choose Your Own Nightmare Scenario

Last week in my post on North Korea’s deliberate sinking of a South Korean warship, I basically came to the banal but unavoidable conclusion that there are no good options. After wondering about the contours of a South Korean response, … Continue reading

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On Rand Paul and Freedom

This Rand Paul case has been picked over pretty thoroughly the last few days, but it’s a fascinating issue so indulge me. To recap: In a series of interviews, most recently on Rachel Maddow, Kentucky Republican candidate for Senate Rand … Continue reading

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North Korean Statecraft: Lie, Deny, Counter Accuse

An occasion of North Korea acting in an audacious, mendacious, and all-around infantile way is not really shocking. But this is particularly nuts: The South Koreans have come out with evidence that conclusively links North Korea to the sinking of … Continue reading

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Specter May Be Old, But Not As Old as Mr. Burns

Arlen Specter saying that he twice voted for Adlai Stevenson (b.1900), in an attempt to show his Democratic bona fides, reminded me of one of the greatest Simpsons episodes ever, Homer at the Bat (1992). Mr. Burns wants to stack … Continue reading

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Arlen Specter is Very Old

I’ll leave the electoral "what does it all mean" analysis to people like Nate Silver, but I’ve been keeping a close eye on the fate of Arlen Specter, who’s been in the Senate my entire life, and who lost his … Continue reading

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Zionism vs. Liberalism

I largely sympathize with Peter Beinart’s much-discussed, important essay in the New York Review of Books. Beinart writes of the growing ideological gulf between older, uncritical supporters of Israel—whose views are championed and reflected back to them by the American … Continue reading

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Bizarre Political Ad Roundup

I haven’t posted crazy political ads in a while. Here’s one for Alabama governor: Oh boy. I like how incredulous the speaker is when he says “…origins of life!?” as if he’s not sure what those words might mean together. … Continue reading

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America’s Got Talent—Explosive Deep Water Oil Rig Edition

So BP has a suggestion box for ideas on containing/fixing the oil spill. Does this comfort you? Some 5,000 suggestions have been submitted through an online suggestion box set up by the oil giant and the Coast Guard, and thousands … Continue reading

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International Development is Really Hard

People in the international development world absolutely amaze me. Here is an earnest column by Nick Kristof on some of the challenges in Pakistan related to public education: If we want Times Square to be safer from terrorists, we need … Continue reading

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More on Terrorism and Causation

I was a little unfair to Bob Wright yesterday. I disagreed, and still very much do, with his insistence on confusing proximate and ultimate causation when considering the question of what led Faisal Shahzad to load a Nissan Pathfinder with … Continue reading

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What "Causes" Terrorism?

In the New York Times, Robert Wright endorses the narrative that U.S. policies in the Middle East help radicalize jihadist sympathizers and “cause” them to commit terrorist attacks, such as the failed Times Square bombing, the Ford Hood shooting, and … Continue reading

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Some of Elena Kagan’s Critics are Out of Line

David Brooks writes today about Elena Kagan’s resemblance to something he calls "Organization Kids": These were bright students who had been formed by the meritocratic system placed in front of them. They had great grades, perfect teacher recommendations, broad extracurricular … Continue reading

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