We’re Still In A War

I’m not bothered by this.

As posted: The Man Who Shot Osama Bin LadenThe Man Behind Bin-Laden.

Let’s have a little fun at the Washington Post’s expense.  Maybe that ISIS Caliphate coulda been a democracy, and now one of its leaders has died in darkness.  It’s all relative.

Perhaps ISIS was attracting global refugees, interested in fighting for change in a harsh climate of oppressive Western violence.


Related On This Site:

From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”

Are secular humanism and the kind of political freedoms we enjoy in the West incompatible with Islam?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

A quote from this piece over at the Atlantic: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.”

Via The Washington Post: ‘D.C. Schools Chancellor Bats Away Calls For Resignation After He Sought Special Treatment’

As I see things, by the time institutional rules are being written and enforced not by those with the most talent, making the most sacrifices, with their own skin in the game (the people whose habits, skills and resources you most need), but by secondary and tertiary actors pursuing their interests, there is already a lot of rot.

Public institutions and political parties, at any given time, are full of a lot second- and third-raters, and a lot of rot.  Even among talented people, meaning well and making serious sacrifices, you’ve got to get the incentives right to keep hope of competency and to stay ahead of the rot.

In a voluntary system, the people whose habits, skills and resources you most need often are often the first to flee from the institutions charged with public obligations if they have the resources to do so (it’s not merely a matter of race, but the pursuit of rational self-interest and basic human nature).

Cities are places of serious freedom, competition and inequality.

In inner city schools, particularly, the social problems are often so grave there is little hope, but the below may be a special indicator of rot:

Don’t forget:  It’s the kid ready to learn, eager to engage, with some care and concern for his/her natural gifts who most loses out amongst kids who are maladjusted, acting-up, potentially violent, and who place no internalized value on learning.

It doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t have some moral obligation to our fellow citizens, but I think it does mean that we all need the freedom to discuss the rules governing our interactions with our fellow citizens, and the kinds of arrangements into which we choose to enter. These are reciprocal relationships full of hopes, ambitions and dreams.

Wouldn’t you want as much?

May you let others be free to do as much.

As previously posted:

Full post here.

‘Rhee believed that mayoral control gave her the power to work her will and to ignore dissenters or brush them off as defenders of the status quo. Mayoral control bred arrogance and indifference to dialogue. She didn’t need to listen to anyone because she had the mayor’s unquestioning support. Mayoral control made democratic engagement with parents and teachers unnecessary.’

Diane Ravitch seemed to think that Michelle Rhee didn’t allow the people who need to ulimately take control of their own lives do so…which is why she was voted out.

Yet, the endemic poverty and political corruption in D.C. has led to an untenable situation, not able to be solved by those who hold up ideals of democracy broadly either.

This is still not a reason to get into bed with the status quo, and all the political, ideological and monied interests involved who want to keep things as they are and get their share.

Judge the men of systems, moralizers, rationalists, idealists and utopians not by intentions, but by outcomes:

Also On This Site:  From Reason.Tv: ‘NBC’s Education Summit-Joe Trippi, Michelle Rhee & More’From The Washington Post: ‘D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee To Announce Resignation Wednesday’

Rhee stated much the same here:  She didn’t with the people who I are most involved…Michelle Rhee At Newsweek: “What I’ve Learned”Repost-’Too Much “Quality Control” In Universities?’

Robert Samuelson Via Real Clear Politics: ‘Why School Reform Fails’From The Bellevue Reporter-Walter Backstrom’s: ‘Educational Progress And The Liberal Plantation’

Walter Russell Mead has a series built upon the argument that the ‘blue’ progressive social model (building the Great Society) is defunct because America will have to adjust to new economic and global realities.   In the [then] current post, he focuse[d] on the part of the model that creates and directs government agencies to try and alleviate inner-city poverty and its problems for black folks.

‘This is one danger for the Black middle class and it’s an urgent and obvious one: the good jobs are going away — and they won’t be quite as good anymore.  The second danger is subtler but no less important.  In the past, government work served to integrate ethnic minorities and urban populations into society at large.  In the current atmosphere of sharpening debate over the role and cost of government, the ties of so much of the Black middle class to government employment may make it harder, not easier, for Blacks to take advantage of the opportunities that the emerging Red Age economy offers.’

A quote from John Locke, found here:

For wherever violence is used, and injury done, though by hands appointed to administer Justice, it is still violence and injury, however colour’d with the Name, Pretences, or Forms of Law, the end whereof being to protect and redress the innocent, by an unbiassed application of it, to all who are under it; wherever that is not bona fide done, War is made upon the Sufferers, who having no appeal on Earth to right them, they are left to the only remedy in such Cases, an appeal to Heaven.”

Two Thursday Links On Foreign Policy

Claudia Rosett At PJ Media: ‘The Upside Of Russia’s Threat To Trash The Iran Nuclear Talks:’

Reaching out to the leadership in Iran is risky, but Rosett seems to think it isn’t worth the risk at all:

‘I’ve been in Vienna for the first two rounds of these talks, Feb. 18-20 and March 18-19, and there’s no sign that this diplomatic process is going to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Rather, Iran is making some temporary and reversible concessions, while continuing to enrich uranium, and refusing to give up its ballistic missile program or abandon construction of a heavy-water de facto plutonium-factory reactor near Arak’

Zavid Jarif seemed pretty clear about Iran’s right to enrich as of March 20th, 2014.  This will be tough to bridge.

Putin’s pursuing an ethno-nationalist petro-empire and our most common interest would still be in preventing Islamist terrorism (Iran funds terrorism, mind you).  Is the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus alliance worth bargaining with?  Meanwhile, the Saudis and Israelis are taking their own precautions, given Iran’s right next door.

Many Chinese interests line-up against ours.


Robert Kagan at the Washington Post: ‘President Obama’s Foreign Policy Paradox:’

Per Kagan:  You wanted isolationism, withdrawal, and a light footprint, America, you’ve got it and you don’t seem pleased:

‘For many decades Americans thought of their nation as special. They were the self-proclaimed “leader of the free world,” the “indispensable nation,” the No. 1 superpower. It was a source of pride. Now, pundits and prognosticators are telling them that those days are over, that it is time for the United States to seek more modest goals commensurate with its declining power. And they have a president committed to this task.’

So, what next?

Two Tuesday Links

Peter Suderman at Reason on ACA claims that the law is lowering health spending overall:

‘Obamacare may be having a small effect on health spending growth at the margins, and it’s possible it will have a bigger effect in years to come. But the bulk of the slowdown so far is more likely a result of the recession over the last few years and significantly increased adoption of consumer-driven health plans in the years prior to the economic downturn. ‘

Bob Woodward At The Washington Post on Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates new memoir.  War or continued war that is likely to bear little fruit, this blog is concerned about coming up with a strategy for Afghanistan.

Appealing to a pro-peace base, setting a timeline, and pulling-out does not necessarily meet our objective:

‘As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”

More on Gates’s career at the link.

Addition:  Another Gates quote:

‘Today, too many ideologues call for U.S. force as the first option rather than a last resort. On the left, we hear about the “responsibility to protect” civilians to justify military intervention in Libya, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere. On the right, the failure to strike Syria or Iran is deemed an abdication of U.S. leadership. And so the rest of the world sees the U.S. as a militaristic country quick to launch planes, cruise missiles and drones deep into sovereign countries or ungoverned spaces’

Where Do We Go?-Via The Washington Post: ‘Al-Qaeda-Linked Force Captures Fallujah Amid Rise In Violence In Iraq’

Full piece here.

Our current strategy is seriously lacking, the Islamic and Islamist revival isn’t over, the Syrian conflict is helping to cause serious instability, and our Iraq strategy under both Bush and Obama’s leadership isn’t working out as advertised.

We could use some fresh thinking:

‘A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago’

We’re being guided by more liberal internationalist and further progressive Left ideas at the moment, but more conservative and neo-conservative ideas face similar challenges, and as a nation we’ve got a lot of work to do given the state of our politics.

Addition:  Eli Lake at the Daily Beast notes that the Sunni Sheiks aren’t too happy with the situation in Fallujah.

Perhaps you won’t agree with all of Samuel Huntington’s ideas, but he maintained a deeply learned understanding of the animating ideas behind Western/American political organization with keen observation of what was happening on the ground in foreign countries.

Robert Kaplan’s brief summation of Huntington’s ideas here:

“• The fact that the world is modernizing does not mean that it is Westernizing. The impact of urbanization and mass communications, coupled with poverty and ethnic divisions, will not lead to peoples’ everywhere thinking as we do.

• Asia, despite its ups and downs, is expanding militarily and economically. Islam is exploding demographically. The West may be declining in relative influence.

• Culture-consciousness is getting stronger, not weaker, and states or peoples may band together because of cultural similarities rather than because of ideological ones, as in the past.

• The Western belief that parliamentary democracy and free markets are suitable for everyone will bring the West into conflict with civilizations—notably, Islam and the Chinese—that think differently.

• In a multi-polar world based loosely on civilizations rather than on ideologies, Americans must reaffirm their Western identity.”

Worth thinking about.  His Political Order In Changing Societies challenged modernization theory.

From Erik Kauffman’s article:

Huntington was instinctively a conservative because he valued an ordered society, but he also championed conservatism as a necessary instrument to defend liberal institutions against communism. In many of his books he attacked idealistic liberals for holding such institutions to impossible, utopian standards that undermined their effectiveness in the world.”


“An iconoclast to the core, Huntington never threw his lot in with left or right. He was too statist to be a libertarian, too realist to embrace neoconservatism, and too sympathetic to nationalism, religion and the military to identify with liberal Democrats. As a conservative Democrat, then, he is an intellectual rarity.”

Samuel P. Huntington - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2004 by World Economic Forum

from The World Economic Forum’s photostream.

9:26 min on Huntington here.

Click here if you’re interested in some of the backstory of Al Qaeda (The Egyptian government’s brutality, its socialism and the extremely rigid Islamic backlash that’s formed in the Arab world) Lawrence Wright’s article has insight.

Did Bush over-simplify both the depths of the neocons and the American left?

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’

Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’Seth Jones At Foreign Affairs: ‘The Mirage Of The Arab Spring’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

How do we deal with the rise of Islamism: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Could Amazon and Jeff Bezos Make the Washington Post Profitable?’

Full post here.

As mentioned on this site, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, knows how to focus on the customer, sit on cash reserves while combining the new technology and retail sales, and be patient.

He may already be in your living room, with a firm handle on the new digital supply chain.  Once there, the thinking goes, he may also be able to place a competitive, new-media Washington Post in front of you.  Perhaps he can aggregate it in such a way that you may be willing to pay, piecemeal and personalized, for the news, information and journalism you consume.

Of course, in purchasing the Washington Post, Bezos has also purchased the old supply chain:  The potentially valuable WaPo brand (influence), the potentially much less valuble linotype and newsroom culture of journalists and cultural gatekeepers battered in the surf of new media and technology.  If anyone has a chance to innovate and stay ahead of the curve of new technology, many hope, Bezos can (assuming he is so inclined).


‘So here’s your new Washington Post: primarily delivered on Kindles, other Android platforms, and on Kindle apps on iPhone and iPad. Amazon applies your reading preferences and generates content with the selection optimized to what you like to read — my “front page” would have lots of politics, science, and foreign news; yours might have the sports pages and feature stories instead.’

I understand that news isn’t free, but I also can’t remember the last time I was willing to commit to a pay-wall without just surfing on, especially in the realm of politics, ideology, news and information.

Sometimes the writer is very knowledgeable, and the writing brilliant. Sometimes I think people really ‘nail it’ and I’m glad they’re there. Sometimes it clearly took years of development and dedication and I feel moved by a piece. But honestly, the wallet rarely comes out. If it isn’t business or something I need, and it isn’t family, friends, and fellow bloggers and connections who’ve exchanged time and ideas with me, I’m not inclined to pay for it.

I’m sure I’m not alone.


***It’s worth mentioning there is a difference between opinion and ideas and providing reliable information, quickly and accurately to those who can pay for it and are responsible for that information to others, but that’s a smaller market:  Financial institutions, traders, businesses with fiduciary and contractual obligations to clients, politicians and other institutions, for example.

Addition:   From an insider at the Post: ‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back

Related On This SiteBig Data And Filthy Lucre: Neil Irwin At WonkBlog-’Here’s What The Bloomberg Data Scandal Reveals About How The Media Really Makes Money’

The Disruption Of Education-From AVC: ‘Video Of The Week: Mark Suster Interview of Clayton Christensen’

Good luck making money blogging:

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

Whence journalism?:

From The Atlantic: “Information May Want To Be Free. But Not Journalism”

Jack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? 

Malcolm Gladwell argues here that apart from the information/journalism divide, the technology still ultimately costs something as well…”Free” is a utopian vision, and I suspect Gladwell knows this pretty well:  From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”

From The Economist: ‘No News Isn’t Good News’

Jeff Bezos, Founder Of Amazon, Acquires The Washington Post

Just a few thoughts:

Interesting sidenote: Bezos’ involvement in the 10,000 year clock, buried deep in a mountain.

In American life, a tremendous amount of wealth has shifted hands from industry and manufacturing over to technology.  Like the industrialists who came before (too often maligned as robber barons), these tech entrepreneurs have added value to all of our lives, driving down the costs of their products in an extremely competitive marketplace.

Naturally, with all that money can come the desire for influence, or to achieve other social aims.  Print media’s model has been dying, and it’s doubtful how successful a business model journalism, news-gathering, and opinioneering has ever really been.

Technology has been changing business, politics, learning, higher education and culture quite dramatically.

Furthermore, Americans yearn for explainers, and many people nominate themselves to fill the role.  James Fallows, former speech writer for Carter, opines:

‘For years anyone thinking about the future of news has realized that, completely on its own, what we consider “serious” journalism has never been a viable business. Foreign reportage, serious investigative or government-accountability coverage — functions like these have always been, in economic terms, parasites that need to ride along on some profitable host body. In the old days, that was the fat, bundled newspaper, which provided a range of information to an audience with no technological alternative. We’re in the un-bundled era now, and serious journalism has been looking for new host bodies — much as higher education, museums, the fine arts, etc have also needed support beyond what the flat-out market would provide’

This blog has been tracking similar developments, especially with regard to the eroding influence of print media.  There’s a rush to fill the public square, and thousands of new voices have sprung up, with everybody knowing something each one of us may not.   Many individuals and groups of individuals desire to either acquire or maintain influence over our institutions, our political economy, and shape public opinion.

From a previous comment on this blog:

‘Opinion and news are now a commodity in this age, hard to extract money for that with the internet.’

We live in interesting times.

If you have a few minutes, it might be worth checking out Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappo’s online, putting $350 million of his own money into downtown Las Vegas to change the city.  From his original company LinkExchange which he sold, to Zappo’s customer focused business model, to Las Vegas itself, Hsieh is after scalability of interaction.  He wants to create a live/work environment that puts people densely enough to continue urban growth and human interaction.

At least he’s putting up his own money to achieve his vision:


From Slate: “Newsweek Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up”

Big Data And Filthy Lucre: Neil Irwin At WonkBlog-’Here’s What The Bloomberg Data Scandal Reveals About How The Media Really Makes Money’

Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

Related On This SiteJack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’..

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? From Slate: Jack Shafer On The Pulitzer Prize-Who Cares?  Who Reads The Newspapers?

The Newseum Opens On The Mall: More From The Weekly Standard

A Free Lunch?-Megan McArdle At The Daily Beast: ‘How To Get Ahead On Facebook Without Really Trying’

Malcolm Gladwell argues here that apart from the information/journalism divide, the technology still ultimately costs something as well…”Free” is a utopian vision, and I suspect Gladwell knows this pretty well:  From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”

Who Needs An Ombudsman?-From Best Of The Web: ‘Journalism That Dare Not Speak Its Name’

Full piece here.

A reader, upset that the Washington Post’s stance on same-sex marriage didn’t represent his/her views on the matter, wrote as much to a WaPo reporter who responded that same-sex marriage is one of the core ‘civil rights issues of our time.’  Eventually, the dispute went upstairs to the ultimate referee, the WaPo’s ombudsman, who presented both sides to readers in an attempt at fairness.

In response to the ombudsman, Taranto writes:

‘That “libertarian” is quite a dodge. Most journalists are anything but libertarian in areas where that would mean siding against the left, such as guns, education, taxes, nonsexual health care and nonmedia corporate free speech. And as blogress Mollie Hemingway notes, Pexton’s disparagement of those who disagree with him as “religionists,” which means zealots, is invidious. Was Martin Luther King a religionist?’

One key to the fairness question lies in keeping the market open, and the market signals coming into papers and news-gatherers, whatever their persuasion.  Some papers were quite ‘conservative’ themselves when it came to protecting their own interests and revenue streams after the rise of internet technology.  Most still haven’t found as effective of a revenue stream to fund their activities.  Journalists are naturally going to self-select, and many do think of themselves as cultural gatekeepers in pursuit of justice and ‘fairness,’ and probably are more liberal often times.  What’s important is that as a group they’re not overly protected in their self-selection by law or political favoritism.

Addition:  As for people with conservative views, they are often closeted minorities in our universities, misrepresented and misunderstood in many media outlets, and maligned as old, white, and out-of-touch in much of the popular culture at large (The Footloose Theory).  That means an uphill climb through the current institutional landscape.

Another Addition:  Elections can change a lot, so we’ll see where we are in four years regarding partisan bias, and whether or not the press earns some respect back from the people.

Here’s John Stossell, discussing how his libertarian views were seen as outside the norm while working at ABC news:


Related On This Site: Douthat’s The Grand New Party…The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama…Hate Is A Strong Word-Some Links On The BBC, The CBC, & NPR

Ken Burns makes a good documentary, but he’s also arguing he absolutely needs your tax dollars in service of what he assumes to be a shared definition of the “common good” as he pursues that art.  The market just can’t support it otherwise. Repost-From ReasonTV Via Youtube: ‘Ken Burns on PBS Funding, Being a “Yellow-Dog Democrat,” & Missing Walter Cronkite’From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?…

Jack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’..

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? From Slate: Jack Shafer On The Pulitzer Prize-Who Cares?  Who Reads The Newspapers?

The Newseum Opens On The Mall: More From The Weekly Standard

David Ignatius At The Washington Post: ‘Lingering Questions About Benghazi’

Full piece here.

‘Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night. Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire. But the anguish of Woods’s father is understandable: His son’s life might have been saved by a more aggressive response. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.’

If the decision was made to not save Tyrone Woods and Glenn Dougherty after they disobeyed the second order given to them to stand down, and in so doing the White House put some other priority first, what was that priority?

If the order was given just for policy reasons, and to protect a larger vision for the Middle East, then how is that vision working out?

This decision may be a pressure point where the the whole of the current administration’s foreign policy platform met the realities of the Middle East and continuing threat of radical Muslim terrorism.

We are using drone strikes, military and intelligence capabilities to protect ourselves from Al Qaida and other terrorist threats.  We are doing this 24/7.   Such actions can bring retaliation.  The liberal internationalist vision Obama is trying to project upon the Middle East appeals to the Muslim on the street, and tries to redirect American power so that either ‘moderate’ Muslims push the terrorists and radicals aside, or that Muslim sentiment is such that Muslim countries are induced with carrots and sticks into some international framework or a place at the international bargaining table.  Even further, Muslim sentiment may be such that Muslims agree to overthrow a tyrant and accept the burdens and responsibilities of more democratic institutions that come after a revolution (that America aids, instead of imposes, which is why this approach is the anti-Bush approach and one of Obama’s main points of pride).  Libya was a mild success in this regard, and there was some public sentiment to push out Ansar Al-Sharia after the Benghazi attack, but it is still chaotic and very dangerous and it remains to be seen what will happen there.  Iran and Afpak look much more daunting, as does Syria.

Some explanation would be nice, least of all for the four Americans who died to protect themselves and their country, and their families.

Addition:  Was it even a mild success?

Adam Garfinkle At The American InterestBenghazigate, Republicans Missing The Point-For Garfinkle, the point is that the Libyan war was a mistake in the first place, not the Bush-lite, masterfully played pivot off of Obama’s Cairo speech.  It’s spilling out all over the place.   It’s not meeting its objectives.  Regardless, politics does have its uses, and the main one is to hold our leaders accountable, regardless of party affiliation.

More emails?

Related On This Site:  Via Fox News: ‘CIA Operators Were Denied Request For Help During Benghazi Attack, Sources Say

From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

From Michael Totten’s Blog: ‘Two Hours’From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Al Qaida back in AfPak: Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

The rise of Islamism across the region…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Didn’t we have this discussion a while ago:  Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

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Charlie Rose Via Youtube: ‘The Future Of Foreign Policy’

Full video here. (Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Ignatius, Jim Jones and Michael Mazarr respond to Mazarr’s new article “The Risk Of Ignoring Strategic Insolvency“) More discussion of the piece here.

Are the days of 20th-century hegemonic power truly over?  Has America stretched her military thinner and thinner much beyond what her economy and public sentiment can bear?  Is prudence the best guide and are we groping towards a new foreign policy model with more balanced powers?   Can our politics respond?

How and whom do we lead, according to what ideas, and how do we get others to follow?

A few interesting points mentioned:


1.  Even with a good strategy, we can still get bogged down in responding to event after event tactically.  Without a good strategy or model, it’s much more likely.  We may need to think about a major realignment of our resources.

2.  Brzezinski points out that either through Iraq and Afghanistan-like military occupation or through the Libya model, America is still betting on horses in the Middle-East by supplying guns, supporting rebels with special-ops on the ground, and I’d argue even through advocacy for human rights through NGOs which could eventually involve us more deeply.  Such activities involve us morally, and could involve us in future unforeseen ways even if our primary focus is no longer the Cold War.  We need to take a step back and recognize this.  Brzezinski’s “oughts” for America lean toward the the more liberal internationalist framework which would require checking our power and inducing say, China and Russia who don’t share many of our interests and values, into greater involvement.

***Despite his depth (he’s usually a few steps ahead), I think this leads Brzezinski to say that the American on the street, self-interested, mostly ignorant and focused on his own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, will be insufficently broad-minded to support the kind of policy Brzezinski might ultimately like to see.  This involves a vision of who does have legitimate moral authority over the rest of us.

I’d add that all participants in the video have their own ideas, professional obligations and responsibilities (defending their own records or promoting their careers and positions) in trying to define tough problems, gather facts, and figure out the best way forward.

Interesting discussion.  Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This SiteObama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’…Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are…upon the raft of Kantian perpetual peace?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy

From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington

Brzezinski and Kissinger still having it out?:  From Newsweek: Henry Kissinger ‘Deployments And Diplomacy’ Youtube Via Foreign Affairs: Zbigniew Brzezinski Discusses NATO And Foreign Policy

From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington….is neoconservative foreign policy defunct…sleeping…how does a neoconservatism more comfortable with liberalism here at home translate into foreign policy?: Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’

Francis Fukuyama At Foreign Affairs-’Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose on Charlie Rose…how are our moral obligations determined, and what can political science do?:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

The liberal vision for higher ed:  From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

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