FM newswire for April 29, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Libertarianism in Ancient China“, Murray N. Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 23 December 23, 2009
  2. Another important work by RAND:  “How Insurgencies End“, Ben Connable and Martin C. Libicki, RAND, April 2010
  3. Our major political figures reflect who we are:  “Sara Palin, Inc“, Joshua Green, The Atlantic, April 2010
  4. China knows how to make friends:  “China – Sri Lanka’s top lender in 2009“, Sunday Observer, 18 April 2010
  5. Manas Closure Could Threaten U.S.’ Afghan Strategy“, Defense News, 25 April 2010
  6. Rebuttal to the above:  “Clueless at the Pentagon“, Scott Horton, website of Harper’s, 27 April 2010
  7. Congress Is Abdicating Its Authority on Wars“, Stephen R. Weissman, Roll Call, 26 April 2010
  8. Perhaps the most important domestic public policy change during the Obama Administration:  “Wal-Mart Gender Case Divides Court“, New York Times, 26 April 2010 — But no elected official is involved.  Such is American democracy.
  9. More about America’s primitive infrastructure (but we do great wars):  “Denial of Service“, Slate, 28 April 2010 — “Don’t believe the telecoms. Broadband access in the United States is even worse than you think.”

Quote of the day

From “Not Even in South Park?“, Ross Douthat, op-ed in the New York Times, 2 April 2010:

Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place. Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.

This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.

Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy. For that, we should be grateful. Because if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down.

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