FM newswire for July 8, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.   If you find this useful, please pass it to friends and colleagues.

  1. Very powerful: “Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope“, Eugene Volokh (Prof of Law, UCLA), Harvard Law Review, February 2003
  2. The Future of Global Oil Supply: Understanding the Building Blocks“, Peter Jackson, Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), 4 November 2009 — Interesting, but IMO they grossly underestimate the relationship.
  3. Recommended:  “Stage-Managing the War on Terror – Ensnaring Terrorists Demands Creativity“, Stephan Salisbury, TomDispatch, 6 July 2010
  4. The Persian Gulf And The Future Of The U.S. Navy“, Daniel Goure, 7 July 2010
  5. RecommendedCNN fires Octavia Nasr, yet another example of the “liberal” news media bowing to neocons, analysis by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 8 July 2010 — This is how our news gets shaped.  People are policy.
  6. Our ally — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — expressed views similar to those of Octavia Nasr.  Will the neocons  try to have him fired?
  7. Recommended:  The significance of Mitt Romney’s op-ed opposing the new START nuclear arms control treaty:  “It means, first and foremost, that the responsible Republican foreign policy establishment is not coming back“, Barron YoungSmith, blog of The New Republic, 8 July 2010 — The Republican leadership continues its drift to the far right, adopting factually wrong beliefs.  Disclosure:  I voted for Romney in the Presidential primary.

(8)  Advice from the past

“The people should fight for their law as if defending the city’s wall.”
— Sayings of the Ionian philosopher Heraclitus (c.535 BC – 475 BC) — fragment 100

The good stuff is below the fold:  excerpts about the big business of espionage, why Obama should give Petraeus 5 stars, conservative’s health care logic, and another thought about McChrystal.

(9)  Former Top CIA Spy on How US Intelligence Became Big Business“, The Nation, 7 July 2010 — Excerpt:

In 2007, journalist Tim Shorrock, who wrote the definitive book on the privatization of intelligence, Spies for Hire, obtained and published an unclassified document from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence showing that 70% of the US intelligence budget was spent on private contractors. … Grenier called the system of allocating funds to US agencies the “most illogical process ever devised by the mind of man.”

(10)  Desperate nonsense by the war’s advocates:   “Give Petraeus 5 Stars“, D. B. Grady (formerly with U.S. Army Special Operations Command), blog of The Atlantic, 7 July 2010 — Excerpts:

  • “Today, it helps that Petraeus did the impossible” {Where the Sunni Arabs turned on al Qeada in Iraq, the Shiite Arabs did massive ethnic cleansing; Iran turned against the Mahdi Army.  Yes, it’s all about us}
  • “Eighteen months after taking office, President Obama can hardly claim moral authority on military affairs, first tacking left as the anti-war candidate, now following through with the Bush-Petraeus plan to the letter.”  {False.  Obama consistently opposed the Iraq War and supported the Af-Pak War}
  • “… the president wasted precious months deciding whether to commit troops requested by the general” {Quite sensible given the strategic incoherence of the previous 8 years}
  • “Presently, he {Petraeus} is sainted, destined for a glorious profile in military lore, with a biography and set of accomplishments that rival any American general since George Washington.”  {Too absurd to warrant comment}

(11)  “The Right’s Health Care Incoherence“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 7 July 2010 — Excerpt:

Conservatives are against “socialized health care” (i.e., the public financing of health care services) and they’re also against “rationing” (i.e., limits on the availability of public financing of health care services). Their position is that whoever’s already been granted socialized medicine—i.e., old people—are entitled to have an infinite quantity of funds spent on their health care services. At the same time, they deem it intolerable for the government to provide health care to anyone else, since to provide it in unlimited quantities would be unaffordable.

(12)  Against counterinsurgency in Afghanistan“, Hugh Gusterson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1 July 2010 — Excerpt:

It says something about American politics that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not fired because U.S. casualties in Afghanistan are running at record levels, because the much vaunted Marja initiative has failed, or because the Kandahar offensive is already in trouble during its preliminary rollout. No, he was fired because he and his team embarrassed the White House with carelessly frank talk to a journalist.

“This is a change in personnel, but not a change in policy,” said President Barack Obama in announcing General McChrystal’s dismissal. Or, in the words of Rep. James McGovern, we have the “same menu, different waiter.”

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