Syria And Our Techno-Bureaucratic Wonder Machine-Three Links

Over a generation ago, there was an alliance of anti-Western interests working in Damascus, Tehran, and Moscow.  Now, it seems, Putin continues to place bombed-out and war-torn barricades between himself and the West, advancing his interests.

And yes, you can trace current U.S. decision-making and its lack in Syria (despite the very difficult choices there) in allowing a good deal of the current chaos.  And no, many people in the media and present U.S. policy circles won’t connect the dots between cherished and not-so-cherished political ideals and the practical consequences to U.S. interests.

It’s always someone else’s fault when peace doesn’t show up for dinner…

Adam Garfinkle finishes with:

‘And so it is, strange as it may sound, that the verve of a “conservative” German Chancellor whose refugee policy, as a colleague has put it, appears to originate from Human Rights Watch, whose energy policy resembles that of the early Greens, whose defense policy seems to derive from the peace movement, and whose social policy (minimum wage) is set by the trade unions, is pretty much all that stands between the Russians and their goals. Her and those five guys in Syria’

The Russians have been doing this for years now.

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Michael Totten notes the same:

‘Syria has been a Russian client state since the 1970s. The reason for its original alliance with Soviet Russia is obvious enough. The Arab Socialist Baath Party was a natural ally of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Syria’s take on secularism and socialism isn’t as severe as Soviet Russia’s, but Syria was ideologically much closer to Russia than to, say, Sweden. That was for damn sure.’

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On the homefront, Megan McArdle notes how managing the ACA-mandated-exchanges has been handled:

‘The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspector general has issued a new report on what went wrong with the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Or rather, one thing that went wrong: how the agency mismanaged the contracts so that they experienced significant cost overruns.

You can take this report as a searing indictment of the agency and its contracting personnel. I took something rather different away from reading it:

  1. The architects of the law were incredibly naïve.

  2. Federal contracting rules are crazy.’

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Avik Roy summed it up nicely:

Any serious health reform program—left, right, or center—would involve some disruption of our existing health-coverage arrangements. What makes Obamacare such a deeply flawed piece of work is not that it disrupts our existing arrangements, but that it disrupts those arrangements by forcing people to buy costlier coverage.’

Some people owe others, you see, and it’s not up to you to decide what you owe others in the eyes of this law.  Such things have generally been decided for you and will be worked out by all the best and brightest.

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