From NPR: ‘U.S Troops Fill NATO Training Gaps In Afghanistan’

Full piece here.

We need to send more troops to Afghanistan because:

“The contingent is needed because other NATO countries still haven’t fulfilled their pledges to send their own troops to train the Afghan army and police.”

In order for us to engage the locals, push back the Taliban, and strengthen the central government to help meet basic security needs and some level of basic service soon afterwards, we need European and international support, military, political and moral.

Also On This Site:  From Newsweek: ‘Meeting Of The Diplomats’ From The CSM: ‘U.S. Consulate In Peshawar Attacked By Pakistan Taliban’

From CSIS: ‘How the US Must Expand and Redefine International Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism’

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From The American Interest Online Via The A & L Daily: ‘The Return Of The Raj’

Full piece here.

A suggestion from our author:

‘Rather than frame the relationship with India using such ambitious but unrealizable multilateral goals, or drag Delhi further than it wishes to go into the Af-Pak mess, the Obama Administration needs to elevate the bilateral military engagement with India to a strategic level.’

Much of the will seems to be there…

See the previous post.

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From Foreign Affairs: ‘The Geography Of Chinese Power’

Full post here (a free registration is available)

Kaplan states:

“Summary: Thanks to the country’s favorable location on the map, China’s influence is expanding on land, and at sea, from Central Asia to the South China Sea and from the Russian Far East To The Indian Ocean.”

I suspect this is the kind of Cold War thinking we don’t necessarily need.  We need facts on the ground, and various interpretations of them. Our relationship can put us in potential tension politically and culturally (militarily?), but it need not be like this.

Addition: As emailers point out, Kaplan is simply offering a concise, and profound strategic analysis of  the forces that shape this part of the world. In so doing we can help to understand what our interests are in dealing with China.

Also:  Robert Kagan’s 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’

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Repost-Immigration: Will A Wall Work?

Originally posted 07/21/07:

Clearly, Mexico does not have the political will to examine why so many of its citizens come here to work.   Mexico has corruption, lack of education, and an enormous wealth disparity to deal with, among other things.  They’re getting angry at us for not solving their problems to their satisfaction.

A wall could work as a deterrent, but personally, I don’t think think it’s the most effective long term solution.  People climb around walls, or under them, or tear them down.  Walls can get covered in resentment, graffiti and wasted dollars.  I think it’s more of a way for some politicians to release the steam of their constituents at the moment.

Here’s a recent wall proposal:

  • from 10 miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry;
  • from 10 miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry;
  • from 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas;
  • from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and
  • 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.
  • Estimated cost: at least $2.1 billion dollars

    Here’s some Robert Frost.

    It’s a long, difficult border to police, and if you’re worried about cost after the virtual fence project (boondoggle?), the minutemen have their own proposal.


    1.  Perhaps we’re still suffering from the logic of excessive relativism and multiculturalism, the closest some elements of the left can get back to reasonable nationalism (at the moment, anyways), and enforcing the laws that illegal immigrant are breaking…is not close enough for my taste (or at least the other side…those who would take the law into their own hands and in their own mission statements).  We’re losing our middle ground, and the more effective solutions that come with it.

    This would not merely a problem of the left, of course…and that is if this is a proper analysis.

    2.  Sadly, this is politics, and once we leave it to the politicans, it will be used accordingly…from where I sit (generally center right, and libertarian) I expect Obama will use the broad middle ground election appeal (still!) but then end up having to fire up the base on immigration too.  Such is politics.  I would not likely be happy with the result.

    I’ll leave the rest of the debate to those most directly affected who live with these issues every day (jobs, crime, safety, taxes, local government) and people who know more than I do (too many to count).

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    From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

    Full post here.

    ‘The posting on says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.’

    No, I wouldn’t take that as a threat at all…

    Update:  Did Comedy Central censor the potentially offensive parts…as a result of the ‘threats’?  What is insidious about a terroristic threat is how much it works.  Also, how much (if there is a causal connection) of the decision might be fear of legal action, loss of revenue, pc related?

    Comedy Central, by most accounts, doesn’t want to re-air the episode.

    Related On This Site:   From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

    Is Islam incompatibile with freedom as we define it here in the West, or is this a false choice?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

    Ayan Hirsi Ali has used the ideals of the West (especially women’s rights) to potentially confront Islam; which has served her politically as well:  Repost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’ Certainly, excessive relativism can create ghettoes of un-integrated Muslims in European society, and turn out more violence and threats of violence.

    See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  Libertarians stand firm on this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant

    Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale SurrendersYale concluded that the risk of violence and the potential consequences that stemmed from their decision to publish a scholarly work about the Mohammed cartoons (reprinting those cartoons) was not worth the risk.

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    A Few Links On A Theme In Journalism

    -Michael Kinsley puts the Judith Miller case in perspective:  ‘Who Owns The First Amendment?’ not necessarily journalists.

    -From, the series Ethics in America (Fred Friendly seminars, narrated by Charles Ogletree) was produced in late 1987 and has many interesting figures such as Rudy Giuliani, Antonin Scalia, Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes etc.  It is thought-provoking and well done.

    -James Fallows at the Atlantic had a piece a while back, referencing the Friendly seminar with Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace: ‘Why Americans Hate The Media.’

    Also On This Site: Was Jared Diamond acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?:  From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

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

    Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

    Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

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    From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

    Full piece here.

    Malik is British, the son of East Asian immigrants, and offers quite a bit of insight about his experiences and the culture that received him:

    “The Rushdie affair gave notice not just of a new Islam but also of a new left. Radicals slowly lost faith in secular universalism and began talking instead about multiculturalism and group rights. They became disenchanted with Enlightenment ideas of rationalism and humanism, and many began to decry the Enlightenment as a ‘Eurocentric’ project.”

    Also On This Site: On relativism: Repost-From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn..

    From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…Scruton also suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

    A different take: From Wikipedia’s Page On Leo Strauss: A Few Quotes:  From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?

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    From Foreign Affairs: ‘A Substitute For Victory: Adopting A New Counterinsurgency Strategy In Afghanistan’

    Full article here.

    Don’t go for COIN, but rather:

    “By systematically attacking insurgents’ strongholds, an army can erode insurgent combat power, overturn the narrative that the insurgency is winning, and ultimately compel the insurgents to compromise. Military force in this case becomes instrumental.”

    in order to arrive at a conclusion thus:

    “For the first time since the United States intervened in Afghanistan in 2001, it is possible to outline a coherent political-military plan that would yield, if not a clear-cut victory, at least an outcome that enhances U.S. security.”

    An exit?  A long-term plan to protect our security interests?

    Recently On This Site:  From The CSM: ‘U.S. Consulate In Peshawar Attacked By Pakistan Taliban’

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