Update: N.Z. Bear charges that the Dems have unnecessarily "become fully and totally invested in failure." (Tish Durkin has a good Iraqi invested-in-failure anecdote in her underappreciated, agonized Huffington post.) ... Backfill: Thomas Edsall implicitly made an argument like this in the NYT of 3/22. And you don't even have to pay to read it. ... 12:56 A.M. link
Friday, Ap ril 6, 2007
Hawks for Humiliation: Am I missing something? Why exactly was the resolution of the latest Iran hostage crisis a "success" for Iran and a "humiliation" for Britain, as the hawkish Charles Krauthammer argues (and Geoffrey Wheatcroft insinuates but doesn't quite come out and say in his own voice, as opposed to John Bolton's)?The hostages were released in a one-day propaganda stunt, maybe in exchange for the release of an Iranian we were holding and Iranian visitation rights for some others. But the Iranians were also looking at an awful lot of aircraft carriers steaming around their neighborhood. Didn't they blink? If that's humiliation, it's not far from what a U.S.-U.K. victory in the crisis would look like. I counter the right hand with the far right hand--an analysis on David Horowitz's FrontPage site that departs significantly from the Bolton-Krauthammer party line:
As Britain refused to apologize for the behavior of its boarding party, continuing to insist that they were operating in dsfaIraqi waters – not inside Iran's territorial waters, as Tehran alleged – some of Khamenei's advisors began to have second thoughts.
Adding to those doubts were whispered reports that the USS Nimitz was steaming toward the Persian Gulf– making it the third Carrier Strike Group in the area. [snip]
So for now, Tehran's leaders have backed down.
Isn't that what Krauthammer and Bolton would be arguing in other circumstances--i.e, if they weren't favoring some sort of military confrontation with Iran? Would they have been happier if the Iranians hadn't caved so easily? Just asking! .. P.S.: See also Walid Phares' analysis, which focuses less on the Nimitz and more on the looming propaganda setback for Iran. ... 2:28 P.M. link
Another Zogby triumph: Mystery Pollster piles on. But there's a trick ending. ... 12:21 P.M.
Thursday, Ap ril 5, 2007
That was fast: Has David Brooks, who only three weeks ago was proclaiming the death of neoliberalism, revealed himself as a ... neoliberal? I think so. In his recent bigthink column (on the death of Goldwaterism**) Brooks wrote
Normal, nonideological people are less concerned about the threat to their freedom from an overweening state than from the threats posed by these amorphous yet pervasive phenomena [e.g. Islamic extremism, global competition]. The ''liberty vs. power'' paradigm is less germane. It's been replaced in the public consciousness with a ''security leads to freedom'' paradigm. People with a secure base are more free to take risks and explore the possibilities of their world. [E.A.]
That seems like the familiar neolib take on the relation between the welfare state and capitalism--that providing some material security isn't just a way to compensate the random blows and bonanzas of the market, but it's a way to actually encourage greater entrepreneurial risk taking (and that this approach is preferable to trying to dampen the volatility of the market itself through, e.g., subsidies, guilds, trade barriers, union job protections, etc.). [ Discussed on bloggingheads ] ... P.S.: Brooks also declares that shifting to a