The EU and the PA

by Ted on February 16, 2005

Glenn Reynolds has responded to this post, and explicitly stated that he doesn’t believe that American liberals or Democrats are treasonous. As I mentioned below, I’ll resist a few opportunities for point-scoring and just accept that. (The one point I’d really like to make is laid out here at Finnegan’s Wake.)

However, he still believes that it’s appropriate and accurate to argue that European leftists are supporting terrorists in the hopes of destroying the United States. More specifically, he believes that Europeans (especially the French) are fighting a “proxy war” with Americans in the Middle East

While I don’t take this charge quite as personally (“Oh, you mean the other Timberites? Well then, never mind”), I don’t think that the argument has improved tremendously. Let’s look at the evidence that Reynolds brings to the table. (This sounds like an attackblogging post, but it really isn’t. It’s about Israel and Palestine, so I’ll have the flame retardant up.)

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Debating Grand Strategy

by Henry Farrell on February 16, 2005

The _Boston Review_ has a fascinating debate on the future of American foreign policy, with a long “lead essay”: by Stephen Walt, and responses from Richard Falk, Joseph Nye, Ivo Daalder, Mary Kaldor and Ann-Marie Slaughter among others. The Walt piece is on-line; the others are only available in the print edition at the moment (but if you enjoy CT, you should “subscribe”: to the _Review_; you’ll almost certainly like it, and it’s a cheap read). I suspect that he’s going to get most flak for his bald statement that it is not in the national interest of the US to offer unconditional support to Israel, but the most interesting bit of the essay, to my mind, was his discussion of non-proliferation policy. Walt is a realist – perhaps one of the three or four most prominent IR realists out there – and he’s calling for the US to give up most of its nuclear weapons in order better to encourage other states to sign up to a revamped version of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

bq. If the United States is serious about reducing the dangers of nuclear terrorism (and it should be), then it must offer the rest of the world a “grand bargain.” In exchange for a more reliable nonproliferation regime (accompanied by an aggressive effort to secure existing stockpiles of loose nuclear materials) and the verifiable abandonment of nuclear ambitions by countries like Iran and North Korea, the United States would simultaneously agree to 1) abandon current plans to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, 2) significantly reduce its own nuclear arsenal (while retaining a few hundred warheads as a deterrent against direct attacks on the United States), and 3) take concrete steps to reduce the threat that it presents to so-called rogue states, including a willingness to sign some sort of nonaggression agreement with them.

This seems to me to be a thoroughly sensible set of arguments – but I’m rather surprised to find a realist advocating them. I’m even more surprised to find that I agree more with Walt’s essay than with the replies of some of his more ‘liberal’ critics such as Slaughter and Daalder (but then Walt, unlike Slaughter and Daalder, got it right on Iraq). Anyway, it’s a fascinating essay – anyone who’s interested in these debates should definitely give it a read.

NB – as per my usual policy, comments relating to Israel or Palestine will be expunged, to prevent the comment section degenerating into a flame-fest.

A pointy-head post about issues

by John Q on February 16, 2005

I’d just about finished this lengthy post when I got the news that our readers and fellow bloggers are calling for lots of juicy attackblogging instead of dryasdust issues analysis. But it’s done now, so I’m going to post it anyway.

Matthew Yglesias had a well-argued piece a couple of days ago on Social Security and the Efficient Markets Hypothesis (EMH), in which he quoted me on the (generally left-wing) implications of rejecting the EMH. This spurred me to start on a post (or maybe a series) on the EMH, the equity premium and the implications for Social Security reform. Most of what I have to say is consistent with what Matt and others have said previously, but perhaps there will be a bit of a new perspective.

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Hands across America

by Ted on February 16, 2005

Letters are what we get:

Regarding destroying the sun and all–you missed a good one. Power Line’s “Hindrocket” finished off a pessimistic quote on the Iraqi elections from Jimmy Carter by noting: “Jimmy Carter isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side.”

I gotta say, I’m a conservative and all (of the old-fashioned, pre-Bush type), and I dislike Carter as much as the next conservative, but openly accusing an ex-president of treason is way, way, way, way, way out of @#$@#ing line.

Why, oh why, do left-wing blogs not keep this kind of odious insanity ever before the public eye, like right-wing blogs with their Democratic Underground posts and their Ward Churchill obsession? The past year’s worth of John Derbyshire’s commentary alone would be enough to tar all of wingerdom with the taint of racist, xenophobic idiocy from now until the midterm elections. And this is from the so-called “in-flight magazine of Air Force One.”

The sooner you guys take a breather from pointy-headed debates over “issues” and devote some time to good, old-fashioned propaganda, the quicker we can crush the caricature of conservatism that is the “right-wing movement’ and get back to real left-right debate in this country.


I should note that (1) I’ve got to disagree about taking a breather from pointy-headed debates. Personally, I’d like a little from Column A, and a little from Column B; I think that folks like Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum are having a real effect in the debate about Social Security privatization. (2) I don’t know J, and can’t personally vouch for his conservative credentials, and (3) I think we do a reasonable job with the odious insanity. But, “reasonable” doesn’t mean “effective”.

Related post from Digby.

UPDATE: Here’s a good collection from MyDD.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Discover the Network! I’ve been wondering about the connection between the well-known liberals Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ayatollah Khomeini and Barak Obama. Now I know!

ON A ROLL: David Horowitz, you’ve done it again! So I clicked on Katrina vanden Heuvel, an unambigious liberal and presumably a juicy target. Here’s the beginning of the profile:

· Editor and co-owner of the leftwing magazine The Nation
· Limousine leftwing daughter of William J. vanden Heuvel, who worked for the founder of the CIA and for Robert F. Kennedy, and Jean Stein, whose father founded MCA-Universal.
· Married to New York University Russian scholar and Gorbachev enthusiast Stephen F. Cohen
· Fluent in Russian. Worked as reporter for state-run Moscow Times in U.S.S.R.

AAAH! Teh foregin language knowledge! RUN!

(Incidentally, the Moscow Times is a private English-language newspaper that started in 1992.)

AAAND: Commentor abb1 made the reasonable point that the Moscow Times might have existed in a different incarnation prior to 1992. To confirm, I spoke to Katrina vanden Heuvel, who told me that she worked for a few months in 1989 for the Moscow News covering the first multiparty elections.

I’m Lovin’ It

by Belle Waring on February 16, 2005

The 15-year-long “McLibel” case came to an end yesterday. Two anti-McDonald’s protesters won their fight in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that they did not recieve a fair trial in the UK. They were not provided with legal aid to assist them in their defense against libel charges brought by McDonald’s (thus the ruling was against the UK government rather than McDonald’s itself; Mickey D’s won the original libel suit in 1995). I think the Independent is right in calling the original suit, over a leaflet accusing McDonald’s of bad labor practices and worse food “one of the biggest own goals in the annals of corporate public relations.” Seriously, they should have just let that slide.

Slightly OT: damn, y’all have really got some supra-national organizations over there in Yurp, dontcha? It’s like faceless bureaucrats in Strasbourg are telling everybody what to do, or something. Voting for some incompetent Tories would probably straighten that right out; you might want to look into it.