What the fuck, indeed
September 11, 2008

I think Mike’s pretty much got exactly the right reaction here, and I have nothing to add.

Except to say that it should be pretty obvious that a McCain-Palin administration would base their foreign policy on trying to figure out what the most insane use of American military force would be and then doing that.

And so the anti-Biden backlash begins
August 23, 2008

I really should be packing right now, but this kind of irritated me:

Obama, whose mushy Iraq plan excites no one, is marrying his own’s flawed ideas — which mostly revolve around beefing up US forces in Afghanistan and unilaterally attacking Pakistan — with Biden’s discredited notion of partitioning Iraq into three squabbling mini-states.

The headline of that article, by the way, is “Biden is Worse than McCain.”

First of all, thanks again for dragging up the old, “Obama’s going to invade Pakistan” canard. But that’s not why we’re here, folks. We’re here to talk about the three-state partition plan.

A nice cold cup of cynicism
August 21, 2008

It is indeed, as Matt points out, extremely good news that the Bush administration has hammered out an agreement to withdraw combat forces from Iraq. Another underreported yet unambiguously fantastic component of this agreement is that the White House has finally admitted that Blackwater and its ilk aren’t immune from the law of the country their employees are currently stationed in.

These are the most important parts of the story. The domestic political ramifications, and which party this is “good for,” are ridiculously minuscule issues compared to matters like the bloody occupation of a sovereign nation.

That being said, since everyone’s talking about who this is good for anyway, I think Matt’s take is a little off base:

However, the medium to long term effect will be the vindication of Obama’s plan and taking the issue of Iraq off the table as an election issue for the GOP.


Radical Islam Russia: This summer’s hot new existential threat
August 15, 2008

A few days ago I wrote a post wondering aloud why modern conservatism looks so much like Manichaeism. That’s not really a new idea – Glenn Greenwald wrote a book on it.

What makes this whole worldview even weirder from a foreign policy perspective, though, is that it looks like part of this philosophy is that there’s only one Ultimate Evil at a time. Which I guess is why John McCain appears to be trying to position Russia as the new one and forgetting all about last week’s big Ultimate Evil.


Bipartisan compromise: Let’s just bomb everyone and call it a day
August 12, 2008

Help me out here, guys. I can’t decide which one of the following quotes is more wildly irresponsible. First up, we’ve got VP hopeful and and adult contemporary virtuoso Evan Bayh explaining why Iran is the most dangerous thing ever.

You just hope that we haven’t soured an entire generation on the necessity, from time to time, of using force because Iraq has been such a debacle. That would be tragic, because Iran is a grave threat. They’re everything we thought Iraq was but wasn’t. They are seeking nuclear weapons, they do support terrorists, they have threatened to destroy Israel, and they’ve threatened us, too.

Here’s what’s scary about that: Evan Bayh was co-chair for the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, so is it unreasonable to suggest that if he supported invading Iraq and Iran = Iraq (but for real this time), then maybe, just maybe, that’s a place he’d like to invade as well?

If anything, this shows that Bayh for VP would be a shrewd choice. So far, Obama’s made a pretty strong coalition out of the sane and the slightly deranged, but where he’s weak is in support from the completely batshit crazy people. Picking a running mate who’s in favor of invading not just one but several countries for terrible reasons would be a good way to shore up support with that key demographic.

On the other hand, at least invading Iran would be a slightly less suicidal move than going to war with Russia. The one thing that stops John McCain from winning the crazy contest this time around is that he manages to restrain his tumescent bloodlust just short of actually advocating a military conflict.

A mostly rhetorical question
August 11, 2008

Without getting into the intricacies of the conflict – I’ll leave to people far more knowledgeable than I – the conflict between Russia and Georgia has got me wondering again: Why is it that John McCain, Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol and a host of other neoconservatives insist on portraying every single conflict that occurs as a battle between good and evil? This isn’t Middle Earth. Without getting into IR theory, I tend to think of most countries, and most large bureaucracies as a whole as amoral rational actors on their own behalf.

Actually, I just needlessly slurred the good name of JRR Tolkien. Even Gondor (the good guys) had, at one point, a ruler who made poor decisions. That alone is apparently more moral complexity than the neoconservative worldview can handle.

“Prime Minister” Putin
August 9, 2008

One thing that’s interesting about this whole South Ossetia thing going on right now is it’s the first real test of President Putin’s executive authority under the new government.

Oh damn, did I just say President Putin? I meant President Medvedev.

No, wait, actually I did mean President Putin after all. Because it looks like if Putin is pretending that Medvedev is anything more than a figurehead, he certainly isn’t pretending very hard.

I’m sure you’re all completely shocked.

Charles Krauthammer: Hate Goblin
July 18, 2008

Charles Krauthammer is angry for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense.

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast — a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins — would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final “tear down this wall” liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder — who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap — called “a Europe whole and free”?


Bah humbug
May 8, 2008

If anyone was wondering what the proper way to commemorate Israel’s 60th birthday is, apparently it involves taking over Washington Square Park and blasting godawful 80’s pop so that it becomes very difficult to study in neighboring buildings. Leave strained analogies to Middle Eastern politics in the comments.

Putin in charge
May 8, 2008

Vladimir Putin resigns as president, becomes prime minister. But he’s totally gonna be a hands-off kind of prime minister. Right, guys?

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