Thursday, November 13, 2003
A marriage made in protest
The marriage between French foreign policy and the anti-globalization movement was a marriage waiting to happen. From today's Financial Times:
My only surprise at reading this is that it took this long.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
I'm off to join another secret cabal
Blogging will be intermittent for the next week, as I'm travelling again. [Don't you have one of those fancy wifi laptops that lets you post at Starbucks?--ed. Alas, the big blogger money seems to escape me.]
This time, I'm off to the United Kingdom. First a brief lecture at the University Cambridge, followed by a four-day conference of the British-American Project (BAP), which is an organization that annually brings thirtysomethings from both sides of the Atlantic together to discuss issues of the day.
Or so they would have you believe. A quick Google search reveals that several conspiracy web sites allege sinister motivations behind this conference. For example, this site characterizes BAP as, "a small and extremely covert group." But wait, there's more:
For another good conspiracy-sounding descriptions of the BAP, click here.
Your intrepid blogger promises to infiltrate this suspicious-sounding organization and report the truth! [What if they offer you a "position of considerable fame or influence"?--ed. It would take a lot more than that to destroy my hard-earned reputation for intellectual integrity in the blogosphere!! What if they offer you a "position of considerable fame or influence" and a private candlelit dinner with Jennifer Garner?--ed. Yeah, that's about my price.]
Is Howard Dean too extreme to win?
Read the whole post (and this one too) -- he has additional arguments.
Of course, Marshall posted this before the slow-motion implosion of the Kerry Campaign. Which raises the one way in which Marshall could be proven correct -- if a number of the centrist Democrats drop out of the race in rapid fashion, it permits coordination around a challenger to Dean. Clearly, this was one of the rationales underlying Wesley Clark's entry into the race.
However, Bob Graham is the only one to drop out so far, and the others have more money in the bank. So, I guess I'm more sure of Dean than Marshall.
Kristoff, while never mentioning Dean by name, makes a similar argument about his supporters vis-à-vis the general election:
[Hey, you said this two months ago!!--ed. OK, so Drezner gets results from Kristoff... and I'm sure someone else posted on it earlier, getting results from Drezner. Sigh. I think I'm going to have to retire that catchphrase.]
How blogs affect politics
Pejman Yousefzadeh (who has lots o' good stuff on his blog) has a Tech Central Station essay on how blogs affect political debate. As a case study, he looks at Josh Chafetz's recent triumph at the Oxford Union. The highlights from Pej:
As someone with an interest in this topic, I must thank Pejman for adding to my reference list. His reward.... a footnote!! [That's a reward?--ed. For a U of C graduate, yes, it is.]
UPDATE: Robert Tagorda has further thoughts on this.
The battle over trade policy: it keeps going and going and going.....
In the wake of the WTO's ruling against the U.S. on steel tariffs, there are signs that the Bush administration might try to formally accede to the WTO while maintaining high levels of import protection. According to the Financial Times:
Alas, this is entirely consistent with my prediction of "hypocritical liberalization." This move would nevertheless increase the likelihood of triggering a trade war with the European Union. [C'mon, isn't that an exaggeration? The New York Times thinks everything Bush does will trigger a transatlantic row! OK, here's some more tangible evidence.]
In other depressing trade news, interest group pressure is mounting to renege on the planned end of Multi-Fibre Agreement on January 1, 2005. The Cato Institute's Dan Ikenson has more:
Will the administration do so? For my money -- and the New York Times -- it's a coin flip.
The depressing fact -- that's still better than any of the Democratic candidates for president.
UPDATE: Drezner gets results from Andrew Sullivan! He posts:
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
What happened while I was gone?
Back from Berkeley. I had to get into a cab to race to campus to teach a class. Just sitting down now and catching my breath for the first time.
So, a very belated thanks to David Brooks for citing my recent Slate essay in today's column. I first heard about it via my brother, for those who care [You mean Brooks didn't give you a heads-up?--ed. It's funny, people who've congratulated me on this are assuming I know Brooks. I'd like to, but as of now we've never communicated.]
For those New York Times op-ed readers expecting to find more on the subject here, go to this post, which was the genesis of the Slate article. Then click over to this post, which elaborates on a few points that got cut from the Slate essay, and deals with the inevitable statistical contretemps that such essays produce. Finally, click here for a further discussion of Halliburton and Bechtel -- there's some stuff there that Brooks did not mention in his able op-ed today that nevertheless bolsters his case. [You know that David Adesnik already did this for you--ed. D'oh! Advantage: Adesnik!]
UPDATE: Via Tom Maguire, I find this letter to the editor of the Washington Post from Bill Allison, the "managing editor [?] at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, responding to the Steven Kelman op-ed. A similar statement has now been placed at the bottom of my Slate piece. Among the key tidbits:
If CPI's story is now that there needs to be more transparency in the bidding process, that's fine with me -- I say, here, here.
However, while I will flatly concede that they never use the words "clear quid pro quo," that's what they're implying. Stating that, "There is a stench of political favoritism and cronyism surrounding the contracting process in both Iraq and Afghanistan" sounds like a completely different kind of accusation from one of a lack of transparency. The first charge implies disorganization and inefficiency. The second charge implies malfeasance and, well, quid pro quo corruption. The first graf of the CPI report reads:
The link between campaign contributions and contracts was also the lead of all of the initial media coverage of the report. I'd say it was pretty damn clear that CPI was implying a quid pro quo.
Monday, November 10, 2003
I'm giving a talk today at the University of California at Berkeley. Talk amongst yourselves.
Here's a topic -- what do you do with Saudi Arabia?