Monthly Archives: June 2010

Crazy Polls and Public Ignorance

At his NYT blog, Ross Douthat discusses a new poll that shows 24% of Americans don’t think President Obama was born in the United States. Ross says he never takes very seriously the results from this sort of shock polling … Continue reading

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Robert Byrd: Not Only Merely Dead, He’s Really Most Sincerely Dead

Andrew Sullivan isn’t much interested in deference to the deceased: Well, let me simply say that the racist, populist, larcenous bigot of a Senator – a man who robbed the American tax-payer to pave his state with baubles and bribes … Continue reading

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Petraeus, Afghanistan, and Endless Graveyard Metaphors

In the wake of the Stanley McChrystal fiasco there’s been a lot of talk about the perspicacity and creativity and credibility and courage of this or that individual general or political leader, and how the abundance or dearth of same … Continue reading

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On the Mutability of Memory and Knowledge

I’ve compiled some links from quite disparate sources today. They all deal with the problem of epistemic awareness, and how we can be sure of what we know and what we don’t know. First, Jonah Lehrer has an interesting post … Continue reading

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Arab Dictators and U.S. Foreign Policy

Why is the Arab world full of dictators and despots? It’s a common theme of debate in Middle East foreign policy circles, and one’s answer to the question can be an illuminating window into one’s broader ideological and political worldview. … Continue reading

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Is Turkey a Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma?

The title refers to Winston Churchill’s famous line about Russian foreign policy in 1939: I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. … Continue reading

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What the Hell?

Andy Garcia at the NBA finals:                  ….and Leon Trotsky:                   I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but this probably has something to do with the Bolshevik plot the president’s been alluding to.

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The Quiet Palestinian Success Story

We have heard plenty in the last few weeks about the immiseration of the Gaza Strip, attributed alternatively to Hamas’ fanaticism or Israel’s intransigence, depending on your perspective/ideological bias. The recent international focus on Gaza is understandable, but what of … Continue reading

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Afghanistan Strikes it Rich! It’s Really Screwed Now…

From the NYT, a fascinating deus ex machina in the Afghanistan saga: The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy … Continue reading

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Whither the Green Movement in Iran?

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the fradulent presidential elections in Iran, I present two competing analyses of where the Green Movement stands today, and what the U.S. should do going foward. First, Hooman Majd, whom I’ve seen … Continue reading

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On Structural Interpretations of Events, Foreign and Domestic

In large part through reading people like Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and Nate Silver, I have really tried to absorb and integrate into my own thinking a more structural interpretation of events and their consequences. This has been easier for … Continue reading

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On the Simple Pleasures of the Liberal Arts

For self-interested reasons I enjoyed David Brooks’ column today on the unheralded value and pleasures of a liberal arts education. Brooks adds a few important entries to the usual list of virtues; ones that I hadn’t thought about before and … Continue reading

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The Rise of the Rest and the Return of the Great Game

Writing in the Financial Times, Josef Joffe makes the point that the centrality of the Israel-Palestine conflict in perpetuating global tensions is quite overstated. While used by demagogues the world over, the invocation of Palestinian suffering is most often just … Continue reading

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The U.S-Israel-Turkey Frenemy Triangle

Daniel Larison has a series of interesting, provocative posts on the U.S. and Israel’s deteriorating relationship with Turkey, made all the more acute by the Gaza flotilla disaster which left four Turkish nationals dead. Larison makes the larger point that … Continue reading

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The Elusive "Next Post" on Israel-Palestine

Versions of my post yesterday on the Gaza flotilla disaster could be found all over the internet: decrying the casualties, condemning the tactical blunder, expertly judging proportionality, criticizing the efficacy and morality of the blockade, alluding to the arbitrary and … Continue reading

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