Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Best of Spencer Ackerman Weekly: November 24, 2006 Edition

The best of Spencer Ackerman weekly:

toohotfortnr: But the hangman isn't hanging so they put you on the street: Anne-Marie Slaughter's piece in the Gigantic Self-Parody issue of TNR is among the more interesting ones. She takes a tour d'horizon and finds that Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia are threatened by the Iraqi civil war.... [Here we have] a liberal-hawk's hawkishness undermining her liberalism, and then rebelling to subordinate her hawkishness within her liberalism. AMS contends... that we have a first-order interest in pulling out of Iraq and allowing the civil war to consume our adversaries instead of us. She finds this distasteful, and shameful, and not without some reason: civil wars are bad. But strategically, this is a hash.... If we have an interest in leaving, and not in staying, get the f--- out.... And if you're not comfortable doing what's in America's interests, shut the f--- up about foreign policy and national security.


Behold Moqtada Sadr, the true ruler of what remains of Iraq. At present, Sadr is being challenged: the Sunnis have stormed his health ministry and bombed his stronghold. So now he's pulled rank on Nouri al-Maliki. His followers are threatening to walk out of Parliament if Maliki meets with Bush in Jordan as scheduled.

Smart move, Moqtada. Leaving Bush high and dry in Amman would stick a thumb right in the White House's eye -- the government that nearly 3,000 Americans have died for would be snubbing its benefactors. It's extremely hard to see how Maliki can acquiesce, which I gather is Moqtada's ploy. If Maliki calculates that he can't afford to snub the president, he will cut himself off from the rising Shiite power... does he insult the Americans or his own Shiites? Whatever Maliki does, he will forfeit what remains of his political profile, and will be revealed either as Moqtada's man, or Bush's.

Look to this as the start of the end of Maliki's tenure as PM. An overwhelming 74 percent Shiites want the Americans out within the year. If he goes to Jordan, the Shiites don't need to believe in Moqtada to see Maliki as the wrong man to deliver the end of the occupation....


What gives you the right to f--- with our lives: LII to LVII...


My Name is Rachel Corrie has been pretty roundly panned as poor theatre and tendentious politics.... [T]he young American activist who travelled to Gaza to stop Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and was run over, perhaps accidentally, by a bulldozer. That said, this TNR review... James Kirchick, pretends not to know about a million and one things about how people view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For instance:

The selection of Corrie's writings on display never adequately explains why she would so determinedly seek out a dangerous place she knew little about, other than that she had a deep antipathy toward "injustice."

"Other than"! Is this so hard to understand? If one expresses despondence over injustice, it is not hard to see how that might lead one -- especially if one is a perhaps-fluffyheaded college student -- to be pissed off at Israel.... [T]his passage is idiotic:

[T]his adorable video is meant to convert your sympathy for Corrie into sympathy for her cause. How dare we ridicule such an precocious and idealistic young girl who now lies dead because of her devotion to world peace? What right do any of us have to question the cause for which Corrie gave her life?

Sorry, a------, but yeah, how dare you ridicule Rachel Corrie? What drives you to do so, aside from an adolescent impulse.... Kirchick attempts to turn Rachel Corrie into a suicide bomber.... [H]e says that Corrie has become a "Palestinian suicide martyr," knowing full well the implication of that term -- except, you know, she didn't commit suicide, nor did she murder anyone.... And he accuses others of eliding "intricacies"...


Seriously now: I'm a religious reader of the Weekly Standard's blog, written by Daniel McKievergan, largely because I find it amazing that someone so old and so wild-eyed insane can be so illiterate. And today, he doesn't disappoint, as he cheers the hiring of Marshall Wittmann to Joe Lieberman's communications team. Goody goody all around.... McKievergan really likes John McCain. And that's cool -- so does the Standard, so do lots of people.... [S]houldn't he have some kind of disclaimer saying he used to work for McCain? Seems, you know, pertinent...


New piece from The American Prospect about the Baker-Hamilton commission's implications for both the Iraq debate and the 2008 presidential contest:

[V]iewing Baker and Hamilton's work as primarily intended for a Bush administration unwilling to change its approach is a mistake. It's true that the day after the midterm victories by the Democrats, Bush accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and replaced him with a member of the commission, his father's CIA director, Robert M. Gates. But the commission itself is under no such illusion that it will have much more than cosmetic impact on the administration. When I asked someone close to the Iraq Study Group if the group intends to save Bush from himself, the source laughed. The greatest utility Baker and Hamilton's report will provide, he suggested, is for Bush's would-be successors. In one fell swoop, the commission is likely to transform the nascent 2008 presidential primary fields. By blessing withdrawal, it will unite the Democratic Party -- and rip the Republican Party wide open, along its most volatile fault line...


Put me down on the side of Anne-Marie Slaughter, however. The proper grand strategy for the U.S. is not one of jockeying for advantage and causing trouble for our "enemies" by creating situations in which lots of hapless innocents get killed. The proper grand strategy for the U.S. is that of a hegemonic benevolent superpower seeking to spread peace and prosperity throughout the globe.

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