Ask any question about geopolitics, broadly defined. We — and others reading the FM website — will attempt to answer it in the comments. All answers welcomed! This will be the last of these. The experiement started well, but the questions have tapered off in quality and quantity — and it requires a lot of work.
- Questions received so far
- Quote of the week, a judge speaks to us from his heart
- To start the discussion: articles of interest this week
- People are asking questions about COIN. It’s time to trot out the “no true Scotsman fallacy.”
(1) Questions received so far
Click on the link to go directly to that thread. Please use the REPLY button when replying to a previous comment, to keep threads together.
- Why doesn’t America consider energy independence an issue of vital national importance/security?
- Why should we care which sized firms hires more. Of what importance does this have for policy-makers?
- Important: Is there a way to stop The Enemy Expatriation Act?
- About the article in the latest Nature: “Climate policy: Oil’s tipping point has passed“
(2) Quote of the week, a judge speaks to us from his heart
While, as a member of this Court, I am bound to follow Citizens United, I do not have to agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. And, to be absolutely clear, I do not agree with it.
For starters, the notion that corporations are disadvantaged in the political realm is unbelievable. Indeed, it has astounded most Americans. The truth is that corporations wield inordinate power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins; the transition is seamless and overlapping.
In my view, Citizens United has turned the First Amendment’s “open marketplace” of ideas into an auction house for Friedmanian15 corporatists. Freedom of speech is now synonymous with freedom to spend. Speech equals money; money equals democracy. This decidedly was not the view of the constitutional founders, who favored the preeminence of individual interests over those of big business.
— James C. Nelson, Juctice of the Montana Supreme Court, in his dissent in Western Tradition Partnership vs. Attorney General on Montana, paragraph 125 (source here)
(3) To start the discussion: articles of interest
We’ll start with some classics:
- The world changes; often we are slow to see the changes: “Scott McClellan on the ‘liberal media’”, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 28 May 2008 — I was very slow to see this change.
- About the moment America went off the rails, granting corporations the same rights as citizens: A Short Dialogue on Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, Brad DeLong (Prof Economics, Berkeley), 22 February 2007 — More good comments here.
- “Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young“, John Haltiwanger et al, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2010 — It’s not small firms, despite the myth.
- One of the most psych experiments, ever: “The Menace Within“, Romesh Ratnesar, Stanford Magazine, July/August 2011 — “What happened in the basement of the psych building 40 years ago shocked the world. How do the guards, prisoners and researchers in the Stanford Prison Experiment feel about it now?”
- The Top 100 Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord by Peter Anspach
- A pale imitation of the real thing, but still contains some valuable advice: “How to be a dictator“, Alastair Smith (Prof Politics, NYU), The Economist, 1 January 2012
Some recent articles which deserve attention:
- Making stuff up to discredit Keynes: conservatives claiming that the recovery from the 1920-21 recession vindicates austerity policies. See Krugman at the New York Times, and “A note on America’s 1920–21 depression as an argument for austerity“, Daniel Kuehn, Cambridge Journal of Economics, January 2012
- “Iran: The Scientists & the Bomb“, Jeremy Bernstein, New York Review of Books, 20 January 2012
- “The Israel lobby’s role in American politics“, Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, 20 January 2012 — Slowly the truth can be told, if you’re willing to tolerate the smears in retaliation
- “The predictable aftermath of the anti-CAP smear“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 27 January 2012 — A serious illness exposed in the US foreign policy machinery.
- The truth about Ron Paul: “Paul pursued strategy of publishing controversial newsletters, associates say“, Washington Post, 27 January 2012
- Left attempts at McCarthyite tactics: “Political Activists Gagging Our TV Meteorologists on Climate Issues“, Michael A. Lewis and Anthony Watts, 22 January 2012
- State capitalism driving out free-market capitalism: “Private Inequality“, James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, 30 January 2012
- “The Caging of America – Why do we lock up so many people?“, Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 30 January 2012
- “More rebuttal to the “China will conquor the world’ loons: “The Future of the Yuan”, Sebastian Mallaby and Olin Wethington, Foreign Affairs, 15 December 2011 — “China’s Struggle to Internationalize Its Currency.” Free copy here.
(4) People are asking questions about COIN. It’s time to trot out the “no true Scotsman fallacy.”
“Soldiers and Marines are expected to be nation-builders as well as warriors.”
— Counterinsurgency, Joint U.S. Army-Marine Corps field Manual 3-24 (2006)
Both Sides of the COIN – Defining War After Afghanistan: “Theory versus Practice“, Christopher Sims (doctoral candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London), Foreign Affairs, January 2012 — Excerpt:
Lastly, it is worth remembering that Afghanistan and Iraq were not the chosen wars of the warrior-intellectuals who came to be counterinsurgency’s greatest champions. A project of nation building in which the central government is neither reflective of nor responsive to the needs of the people is not the desired terrain; Kilcullen, for example, has criticized the decision to invade Iraq. Yet the anthropological potion that he and others created — modern counterinsurgency doctrine — turned out to be a remedy for a seemingly incurable malady. It should not be abandoned because it has not been implemented effectively or homogeneously; it is an invaluable intellectual reservoir that the U.S. military should draw on, adapt, and modify for the future.