Saturday, October 30, 2004
Hungary in crisis
The Guardian reports on a serious crisis in Hungary:
Hungary without paprika is like... like... [China without rice? Italy without pasta? Russia without cabbage?--ed.] No, it's worse than that. There are dishes in those countries without the essential ingredient. I'm sure it's true of Hungary as well, but during my time there, I can't recall of a single thing I ate that didn't have paprika in it [Even the paprika ice cream?--ed. Oh, shut up.]
Everyone here at danieldrezner.com wishes the Hungarians the best of luck as they deal with this gastronomic crisis.
What to make of the bin Laden videotape?
It's understandable that most of the media reaction in this country to the bin Laden videotape is to engage in half-assed speculation on its electoral ramifications.
However, regardless of who wins, is there anything useful that can be garnered from the videotape to guide U.S. foreign policy for the future? Perusing the text, here's a possible list -- based on my half-assed speculations:
[But what about the electoral impact?--ed I'll leave that to the comments.]
UPDATE: Juan Cole makes an interesting point:
Friday, October 29, 2004
The scientific method revealed!!
It's funny because, all too often, it's true.
The expertise schism
Actually, I think Fukuyama understates the problem. It's not just that there was a divide between the security people and the development people. There was also a divide between the security experts between those who believed the revolution in military affairs (RMA) would transform all military operations, and those who believed that the RMA is important for warfighting but has little relevance for postwar occupation and peacebuilding activities.
Anyway, read the whole thing.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
So who's going to win the election?
I don't know.
You don't know either.
Oh, and if you think you know, well, you're full of it. [I know, I know!!--ed. No, no you don't.]
There are now a lot of sites providing Electoral Map projections, and all of them showing a close race in way too many battleground states. But these are all based on polling techniques that, in recent years, have elevated margins for error. Over at Slate, William Saletan, David Kenner, and Louisa Herron Thomas have a summary of the various bells and whistles each polling service has -- but none of them can correct for the problem of declining response rates. Richard Morin makes this point in today's Washington Post:
Keep this in mind when someone trumps a one or two point lead by their candidate. And check out Mark Blumenthal on the cell phone issue.
There is one wild card, however, that I haven't seen discussed all that much. While much of the concern about third party tickets is whether Ralph Nader would get votes for Kerry, this Electoral Vote Map points to another potential third-party spoiler:
I've largely tuned out on the polls, but I don't think I've seen many of them with Badnarik included. With the number of states within the margin for error, that three percent could matter. UPDATE: The Weekly Standard's Rachel DiCarlo runs with the Badnarik meme, observing, "In September, a Rasmussen poll gave Badnarik three percent of the vote in Nevada, and in August Rasmussen showed him taking five percent of the vote in New Mexico--both considered potential swing states."
Readers are invited to suggest the biggest factor that is not showing up in the polling data but could decide the election -- as well as who you think will actually win.
It's not your father's Turkish military
Susan Sachs has a New York Times story highlighting one of those below-the-radar developments in world politics that gets drowned out during the campaign season -- the institutionalization of the Turkish military's slow withdrawal from politics:
If this change is genuine, it makes Turkey more democratic -- but it would also make Turkey a more "Eurocentric" country, as the country bends over backwards to gain entry into the European Union. This should act as an excellent bulwark in keeping Turkey a secular country -- but it would also probably mean a worsening of Turkey's relations with Israel (the Turkish and Israeli militaries are on very good terms).
On the whole, this is probably a net benefit to U.S. foreign policy -- but I'm sure that others may disagree.
Take that curse and shove it!
There will be years to come, no doubt, when the Boston Red Sox will lose when they could have won. There will be playoff games that may not go the way of the Olde Towne Team, miscues that prove costly. There will be reverses, setbacks, losses -- that's baseball.
You know what there won't be? Any talk about a f***ing curse. Any expectation that things will go wrong because they always go wrong. Because THAT'S ALL OVER, BABY!!!
The Red Sox didn't just win -- they won with style and bravado:
Congratulations to the ownership group (Steve Kettman was right!), GM Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, and the whole roster.
The Boston Red Sox are the 2004 World Champions of Major League Baseball!
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Just feel that love for Kerry -- not.
Slate has published the voting preferences of its contributors, editorial and business staff. Not surprisingly, it's overwhelningly tilted to Kerry.
Going through it, two things struck me:
People can say I used tortured logic to reach my decision -- but at least I made one. [UPDATE: Apparently Hitchens did not intend to endorse anyone -- click here for more]
2) Is there anyone out there -- beyond the New York Times editorial page -- who actually likes John Kerry? Compared to some of the other entries, Mickey Kaus actually comes off as warm and fuzzy towards the junior Senator from Massachusetts. Jacob Weisberg pretty much sums up the mood of the responses:
UPDATE: This commenter sardonically points out the leap of faith those voting for Kerry are taking. Indeed, on foreign policy and on trade policy, even Kerry's own advisors aren't completely sure what the hell he's going to do.
So are Kerry supporters taking risk? No, I suspect they, like me, are adopting a minmax strategy. The question to ask is: assume both Kerry and Bush will completely embody their worst stereotypes -- which candidate leaves the country better off? By a hair, I think it's Kerry.
UPDATE: I've finally found my voting bloc (hat tip to alert danieldrezner.com reader T.D.)!!
Monday, October 25, 2004
What happens after November 2nd?
I'm crashing on several projects at the moment, so blogging will be very sparse this week. However, that doesn't mean you can't talk amongst youselves.
Today's topic: assume that next week's election ends cleanly -- i.e., it's clear to one and all who wins and who loses, and the losing candidate concedes defeat on election night. Does the country remain as polarized as it has been during the campaign season (or as polarized as the discussion thread in my last post suggests)? And can that question be answered differently depending on who the winner is?
UPDATE: Richard Rushfield's unscientific one-man journalistic experiment suggests that polarization will be stronger if Bush wins -- not necessarily because of Bush, but because of his opposition.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The ever-industrious Tom Maguire offers advice for Republicans if Kerry wins over at Glenn REynolds' MSNBC blog.