Repost-From Foreign Policy: Fabrice Pothier’s ‘Time For An Afghan Surge’

Full article here: (Foreign Policy’s site should be up in a few hours).

I still think the logic of Obama is leading to withdrawal, arguably without securing our security interests, nor solving the underlying issues that have led to the confrontation.  But perhaps so.

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There are some good ideas, and suggestions at cooperation:

“For too long, the West has thrown troops and money at Afghanistan, without any clearly articulated objectives for the mission.”

And thinking on McChrystal’s report (who is also the head of NATO command):

“The real story is what the report only indirectly alludes to and what has been seldom debated until the electoral crisis: the Afghan political “context” in which Afghans will be given reasons to bet on their government rather than sit on the fence or support the Taliban.”

But it also seems to be a suggestion on how to pull out as gracefully as possible.   In fact, I suspect European public opinion may be even lower for the war right now that American public opinion.

But what about American national security interests?  European interests?

Islam is the main glue that unites the tribes together, likely deeper than most national interests.  The Taliban are Muslims, but also warlords.   This country has been in and out of war for decades.  It’s not exactly clear what Afghan opinion is of the Taliban, but I’m open to ideas on how to create a government that could work to serve the people in some way, as this is probably our deepest moral commitment to the Afghan people.

There is also enough anger and resentment across the Muslim world (for many reasons, some valid) that Afghanistan became a training ground for a radical, extreme and violent defense of Islam.   Such problems obviously can’t be addressed by U.S. and NATO military operations alone (think of all the points of contact), but neither are such problems fully addressed by a pull-out either…

…unless I’m missing something.

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From Foreign Policy: Q & A With Kim Barker On Afghanistan

Full post here.

Some reader questions on Afghanistan.

Also On This Site:  From Newsweek: ‘Meeting Of The Diplomats’

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Repost: Daniel Deudney on Bloggingheads

Here is an interesting conversation about Daniel Deudney’s new book (over 2 years ago now), Bounding Power.

Here are a few arguments he makes:

1.  America is in part designed by the founders to avoid the extremes of anarchy and hierarchy; and was a conscious project to not merely recreate the centralized power structures of Europe.

2.  By extension, America continues a Western dialogue that stretches all the way back to the Greeks.   A dialogue that has proposed the basic rights to life and right to subsistence that are taken for granted in our daily lives.

3.  Present day American liberal internationalism can be redirected back to the founding principles and political traditions of our country.  Liberals can do the work they need to do here in order to do it everywhere.

4.  Libertarians should get back to the basic right of freedom from violence.

Fascinating and very well done.  If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts.

Related On This Site:  Are there dangers of idealism/German idealism that come with a Kantian influence in the political realm?  Are they addressed here?:   From The Internet Encyclopedia Of Knowledge: Immanuel Kant And Utilitarianism.  Kantian Metaphysics and J.S. Mill’s Utilitarianism More On Daniel Deudney’s Bounding Power

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From Poemshape: ‘Let Poetry Die’

Full post here.

‘The best thing that could happen to poetry is to drive it out of the universities with burning pitch forks. Starve the lavish grants. Strangle them all in a barrel of water. Cast them out. The current culture, in which poetry is written for and supported by poets has created a kind of state-sanctioned poetry that  resists innovation.’

Has the institutionalization of poetry done it much good?:

‘Lilly’s contribution (and contributions) to the Poetry Foundation are the only reason it is what it is today. In other words, it’s not through any intrinsic or hard-earned merit that the Poetry Foundation is surviving and flourishing today, but because of a drug baron’s fantastic wealth.’

Maybe it wasn’t Emerson that kept Whitman going, but rather, the thought of returning to his tenure track position after a long hiatus.   Yet should there be no state funding at all of poetry…only patronage?

Also On This Site:   Cleaning up the humanities?:

Did Martha Nussbaum succeed in addressing a perhaps broader problem?  From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily argues the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities:Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion (was he most after freeing art from a few thousand years of Christianity, monarchy and aristocracy…something deeper?), at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful

Hopefully it won’t go this far:  From Big Hollywood: ‘The National Endowment For The Art Of Persuasion?’

From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?From 2 Blowhards-We Need The Arts: A Sob Story

Some Links For Afghanistan-January 20th, 2010

Dexter Filkins at the NY Times on the Taliban attack in Kabul on Jan 18th here.

‘A team of militants launched a spectacular assault at the heart of the Afghan government on Monday, with two men detonating suicide bombs and the rest fighting to the death only 50 yards from the gates of the presidential palace.’

The Christian Science Monitor provides details on the military aid effort.  The problems not solved by the Afghan government are being picked up by the military…but how well?  How much can they do?:

‘Amid this backdrop, the US military is working to implement its own development projects. In an area like restive Paktika Province, however, they’re confronted with a layered set of problems.’

As  nearly always, Informed Comment is worth reading on the subject.

Sent in by a reader: Blogs-The Voice Of AfghanistanAbu Muqawama

How do you balance the threat and consequences of a terrorist attack on American soil with limited miiltary resources (after years of a piecemeal, ineffective strategy)…while also dealing with a somewhat weak coalition of interested parties and always limited additional resources…

…while in a foreign land, battling hostile forces and supporting (carefully) a weak and corrupt central government sitting atop a war torn infrastructure and a fairly tribal society…which is tired of war?

Also On This Site:  From Newsweek: ‘Meeting Of The Diplomats’

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From NPR: ‘Author Louis Menand On Reforming American Universities’

Full audio here. (around 5:00 min)

Is it just the humanities…or the whole university?

Menand wonders in his new book, why it often can take 9 years for a humanities PhD to get their doctorate.  He suggests part of the answer lies in the numbers:  fewer opportunities and fewer university programs since 1970.  Over-trained and underpaid.

Related On This Site: Did Martha Nussbaum succeed in addressing a perhaps broader problem?  From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily argues the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion, at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful

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Michael Zantovsky At The World Affairs Daily: ‘Resumption: The Gears Of 1989’

Full essay here.

Zantovsky was with Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia when Communism collapsed.  Meandering but interesting.  He discusses Fukuyama’s End of History thesis a bit:

‘It is simply not the case, as Hegel thought, that “spirit . . . determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose.” History, to borrow a phrase from Adam Ferguson, is not a product of human design but of human action. The end of history is the death of the last man.’

Related On This Site:  Kagan’s new book “The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams“ seeks to challenge Fukuyama’s thinking…does it succeed?: Obama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’

Stanley Kurtz suggested Fukuyama’s Hegelian influence is too much to bear:  From The Hoover Institution: Stanley Kurtz On Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington

Also:  From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonA Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

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From The Wilson Quarterly Via The A & L Daily: ‘Cracks in the Jihad’

Full piece here.

A strong analysis of Al-Qaeda.  Interesting quote:

Yet even Afghanistan’s “big T” Taliban, the ideologues, cannot simply be equated with Al Qaeda. Last fall, Abu Walid, once an Al Qaeda accomplice and now a Taliban propagandist, ridiculed bin Laden in the Taliban’s official monthly magazine al-Sumud, for, among other things, his do-it-yourself approach to Islamic jurisprudence.”

It is still wise to appeal to the people of Afghanistan, and those fighting a local fight within the Islamic tradition against the over-reach and violence (and what is hopefully ultimately a dead-end) of Al-Qaeda [the guiding ideas].

But the Afghanistan task has always seemed enormous …yet our national security still depends on thwarting radical and violent extremists.

Also On This Site: From Newsweek: ‘Meeting Of The Diplomats’

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From The Atlantic Via The A & L Daily: Michael Kinsley’s ‘Cut This Story’

Full post here.

Blog posts are short.  Blogs and internet communication has undercut newsprint’s cutting edge.  Newpapers should be more like blogs:

“ONE REASON SEEKERS of news are abandoning print newspapers for the Internet has nothing directly to do with technology. It’s that newspaper articles are too long. On the Internet, news articles get to the point. Newspaper writing, by contrast, is encrusted with conventions that don’t add to your understanding of the news.”

Well, it seems it has a lot to do with technology…newspapers have maintained outdated conventions…and many new conventions are likely being created right now, elsewhere.

It seems like a question of how much of the old machinery will survive.

Also On This Site: Bill Virgin says newspapers built up their value, and slowly let it die: From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die?..Who Reads The Newspapers?

Two previous two posts which might have some links of interest:  From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”From The Becker-Posner Blog: The Future Of Newspapers.

Nicolas Lemann At The Chronicle Of Higher Ed: ‘Journalism Schools Can Push Coverage Beyond Breaking News’

From Newsweek: ‘Meeting Of The Diplomats’

Full conversation here.

Newweek talks to former and current Secretaries Of State Henry Kissinger and Hilary Clinton.

Quote by Kissinger:

“Nobody has more at stake than the administration in office. But if you look at the debates we had on Vietnam, Iraq, and so forth, ending the war became defined as the withdrawal of forces and as the primary if not the exclusive exit strategy. But in fact the best exit strategy is victory. Another is diplomacy. Another is the war just dying out. But if you identify exit with withdrawal of American forces, you neglect the political objective.”

Also On This Site:  From The Associated Press: The Text Of Obama’s Afghanistan Speech, December 1st, 2009

From Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?From The NY Times Video: ‘A Schoolgirl’s Odyssey’From The WSJ: Graham, Lieberman and McCain “Only Decisive Force Can Prevail In AfghanistanFrom Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”

See Also:  Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

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