Democrats, Republicans and Intervention

by Henry on January 18, 2006

The “Boston Review”:http://bostonreview.net/ has just put “the results”:http://bostonreview.net/BR31.1/stateofthenation.pdf of a very interesting opinion survey online. They’ve asked respondents whether they would approve of military intervention to support a number of goals, and provided a breakdown of how party ID correlates with the answers. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to approve of military intervention to ensure the supply of oil, to destroy terrorist camps, and to assist in the spread of democracy. The differences are much less marked when military intervention is intended to prevent genocide or to assist an ally under attack. When military intervention is intended to help the UN support international law, Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to be in favour. This provides a valuable corrective to the widely discussed Transatlantic Trends “survey”:http://www.transatlantictrends.org/index.cfm?id=2 of a few months ago, which reported that Democrats were far less likely than Republicans to support interventions aimed at helping the international spread of democracy. As I interpret these results (and I acknowledge that they could be interpreted in various ways), Democrats are more likely than the earlier numbers suggest to favour such interventions – but only if they’re in accordance with international law. The interesting question – which we’ll never know the answer to – is how Republicans and Democrats would have responded to these questions in 2000 or even in late 2001. I suspect that Democrats would have been more likely than today to favour intervention to spread democracy, but that very few Republicans indeed would have been favorably disposed to actions of this sort.

The Boston Review suggests that this is the first in a series of ‘State of the Nation’ surveys that they’ll be running and reporting – this looks set to be a very valuable resource indeed.

Shadows and Fog

by Henry on January 18, 2006

As a follow-up to Ted’s post, Chris Bray, a historian on duty as a sergeant in Kuwait has some interesting “reflections”:http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/20531.html.
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The 17c grad student meal

by Eszter Hargittai on January 18, 2006

JoAnne at Cosmic Variance discusses graduate student culinary experiences inspired by this article in Symmetry Magazine.*

Jonathan Bagger, a Physicist at Johns Hopkins reminisces about his grad student days: “I lived with four housemates in Princeton. We had an ongoing competition to see who could make the cheapest meal. The winner, at 17 cents a serving, was pigs’ feet. Not cooked the way pigs’ feet normally are, but simply broiled.”

At least some people can recall their grad student eating experiences (then again, are these experiences you necessarily want to recall?). For me, several years are a complete blank although Kieran may want to remind me – having shared offices for a couple of years – that junk food does not equal blank. What saved me was a fellowship in my fourth and fifth years that came with money to be spent at the student center cafeteria. It was more money than you could possibly want to spend in the dining hall so you ended up inviting friends. That was a nice perk. Unfortunately, it was only after my fellowship with that program had run out that we realized you could spend those points in the faculty dining room eating good meals. Not that I’m complaining. At least I had some regularity in my eating habits for those two years.

[*] If I didn’t happen to own symmetry.org they could have a much cooler URL.

The politics of country music

by Chris Bertram on January 18, 2006

A few days back Dsquared and I were involved in “a comment thread over at Stumbling and Mumbling”:http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2006/01/merle_haggard_a.html about Merle Haggard’s politics. That post had been prompted by Chris Willman’s “Rednecks and Bluenecks”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1595580174/junius-20 , and that’s also the subject of a “Jesse Walker review in Reason Online”:http://www.reason.com/links/links011606.shtml which is worth a read. I’ve been meaning to get hold of Willman’s book and this is a further spur to me doing so.

Cheese-eating mechanization monkeys

by Ted on January 18, 2006

I started reading The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century by Colonel Thomas X. Hammes tonight. Hammes is a 29-year career Marine who has spent his professional life studying what he calls fourth-generation warfare, or counterinsurgency. In the small portion that I’ve read, it’s striking how scathing Hammes is about “transformation”, the push for a smaller, high-tech force:
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