**--About 50% of California's legislative politics seems to involve Democratic officeholders trying to please public sector unions. That's the game here, much more than on the national level. 11:16 P.M.
Non-fence not working: Is the Bush administration about to ditch the "virtual fence" along the border? Seems like the yahoos were right again. ...10:57 A.M.
"Federalism" vs. "Partition": Max Boot argues that what he calls "federalism" is a better solution for Iraq than "partition." Indeed, he argues that what advocates of "partition"--most recently, Charles Krauthammer--call "partition" really is "federalism."
Question: Is America "partitioned" into 50 states? By the loose definition of "soft partition" that some (like Krauthammer) use, you could say yes. After all, the federal government doesn't provide most basic services, from welfare to policing to education; at most it supplements locally provided services (e.g., the FBI backs up or supplants local law enforcement in a few instances) and provides funding (e.g., "block grants") to pay for locally provided services. While you could describe this arrangement as a "soft partition," the more commonly accepted term is "federalism," and it is a good description of what is happening in Iraq.
Huh? Last time I checked, North Dakota wasn't populated by people who'd been chased out of South Dakota by terrorizing militias, and residents of all 50 states were free to travel in all the other states without fear of being expelled (if they're lucky) or shot in the back of the head because of their state identity. Given Iraq's murderous sectarian tensions, Boot's invocation of the benign "50 state" model suggests he and other "federalism" advocates haven't yet come to grips with the reality in Iraq. But, in any case, Krauthammer is talking about sectarian separatism, not mere Dakota-style line-drawing and devolution. ... Bizarrely, Bruce Kesler seems to agree with Boot. ... P.S.: For Boot's more serious arguments against "partition," see this Commentary article. a) Note that his claim that "most Iraqis do not support partition," based on an April poll, is challenged by commenters on his blog post. Indeed, according to the poll, support for a "unitary" Iraqi government has been falling steadily since 2004 while support for a soft or hard partition has risen. (Update: See also this analyst, who is surprised by the high pro-partition sentiment in Sadr City.) ... b) I also think Boot is guilty of reification--declaring that if a stable partition was established in Bosnia only because of a continuing "NATO troop presence and a quasi-colonial structure of international governance argument" that it can only be established in Iraq with a continuing, large foreign troop presence, etc.. Sometimes things happen for which there is no precedent. (And commentators who don't believe that had no business supporting the invasion of Iraq.) ... 1:14 A.M. link
Saturday, September 8, 2007