A recommendation for your list of blogs to follow: the blog of Bernard Finel. About Politics. National Security. Crime and justice. Social commentary. Incisive writing and insightful analysis. Much of his material runs along similar lines to that on this site.
Two recent posts ask (or imply) interesting questions that have been answered (partially) here.
(1) Health Care
The Other Key Health Care Fact, 16 September 2009 — Excerpt:
As I’ve mentioned before (The Missing Trillion Dollars: The Challenge for Opponents of Health Care Reform), the first key fact to know about the health care debate is that we as a nation spend about $1 TRILLION per year more than we would if we spent at the same rate as other industrialized nations, and we don’t have anything like $1 trillion worth of better health care to show for it.
… The second key fact, is this one: A Number Is Worth a Thousand Words, Ezra Klein:
If health-care costs grow as fast as they have over the past five years, the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. If they grow as fast as they have over the past 10 years, premiums in 2019 will average $30,803. No one quite knows when, or how, the system will crumble. But make no mistake. At this rate of increase, it will, eventually, crumble.
Crumble is a powerful word. The people of that future day might not see it as such. The simple — and IMO most likely solution — is severe rationing. See Beginning of the end of the Republic’s solvency. Soon come the first steps to a reformed regime – or a new regime., 14 August 2009 for details.
(2) The Af-Pak War
Why Not Be Honest and Ask For the 150,000 Now?, 15 September 2009 — Excerpt:
Does anyone doubt that we’ll see continued requests for more forces until we reach at least 150,000 ISAF troops? That plus at least 250k Afghan security forces gives you the bare minimum to do a pop-centric COIN campaign. And I think we all know that is the case. So, what does is say when instead of just asking for the right number, Mullen, et al., are engaged in a salami slicing exercise? How is this anything other than a conspiracy to mute debate by hiding the real costs of the conflict?
For an answer see How many troops would it, 15 September 2009.
Dr. Bernard I. Finel is a Senior Fellow at the American Security Project (ASP) where he directs research on counter-terrorism and defense policy He is the lead author of ASP’s annual report, “Are We Winning? Measuring Progress in the Struggle against Violent Jihadism.”
Prior to joining ASP, Dr. Finel was a professor of military strategy and operations at the U.S. National War College from 2004 to 2006. From 1994 to 2004, he held various positions at Georgetown University, most notably as Executive Director of the Security Studies Program and Center for Peace and Security Studies from 2001 to 2004. He was also on the visiting faculty of the School of Foreign Service and a member of the core faculty of the M.A. Program in Security Studies.
Dr. Finel has published widely on international politics and security. He is co-author and co-editor of two books. Power and Conflict in the Age of Transparency (2000) was one of the first volumes to systematically examine the influence of increasing international transparency on international security. Ultimate Security: Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (2003) highlighted the challenges to the non-proliferation regime and stressed the ineffectiveness of the U.S. government’s response to the issue. His research has been published in the journals Security Studies, International Security, Aerospace Power Journal, International Studies Quarterly, National Security Studies Quarterly, and World Affairs.
Dr. Finel is a frequent media commentator on international developments. Dr. Finel received his B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University and holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University.
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Other posts on the FM website about Bernard Finel
- Second salvo in the Afghanistan Strategy Debate — Bernard Finel, 9 August 2009
- We must stay in Afghanistan to prevent atomic war!, 24 August 2009
- Valuable, powerful articles about our war in Afghanistan, 27 August 2009
- Another attempt to justify our Af-Pak war, and show the path to victory, 31 August 2009
- The advocates for the Af-pak war demonstrate their bankruptcy. Will the American public notice?, 1 September 2009
- Today’s volleys in the domestic battle about Afghanistan, 2 September 2009