Saturday, July 2, 2005
Daniel W. Drezner -- the magazine?
Hey, if ESPN can do it, why not the hardworking staff at danieldrezner.com?
If you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, click over to James "Outside the Beltway" Joyner for some background about the FEC's slow-motion investigation of how to regulate the blogosphere. Anticipating the inevitable FEC screw-up, some bloggers, like Bill Hobbs, have decided to simultaneously a) retiring from blogging, and b) declare themselves to be "online daily interactive magazine(s) of news and commentary."
Over at Captain's Quarters, Ed Morrissey is valiantly resisting this trend, stating:
Ed makes an excellent point. However, Duncan "Atrios" Black makes a persuasive argument about joining the online magazine community:
Make it twister with Salma Hayek, and this would be the easiest call in blog history.
Decisions, decisions.... I will humbly leave it to my readers to decide for me.
And, no, there would be no swimsuit issue.
Friday, July 1, 2005
The Supreme Court's long, hot summer
Orin Kerr has some interesting (but mildly contradictory) musings on O'Connor's resignation. Of particular interest:
Brian Fletcher at SCOTUSblog has a roundup of initial reactions. They've also set up a Supreme Court Nominations blog that will undoubtedly be worth checking out.
Open Ahmadinejad thread
More generally, It's still unclear to me what the precise relationship is between Ahmadinejad and the clerics that actually run Iran. Yesterday's New York Times op-ed by Abbas Milani said the clerics "masterminded Mr. Ahmadinejad's victory." However the NYT editorial of the same day argues that Ahmadinejad, "offered a populist economic platform that implicitly challenged the cronyism and corruption of more than a quarter-century of clerical rule."
I don't know enough about Iran's internal politics to comment -- but I'm sure that will not deter you from commenting.
[Isn't this just a case of life being complex? Maybe Ahmadinejad agrees with the clerics on some issues but not others?--ed. Undoubtedly true -- but the question that's still unanswered is whether he's willing to address certain sacred cows within the clerical establishment even as he's agreeing with them on other issues.]
How to reverse New England's demographic decline
Click here for the Globe's accompanying photo essay.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Some cautionary notes on aid
Longtime readers of danieldrezner.com -- all seven of you -- are aware of my studied ambivalence about the idea that boosting foreign aid and debt relief to Africa will improve economic conditions in that area.
With the Live8 concert approaching, and the One campaign being hyped by celebrities (including a certain former poli sci student from south of the border), it seems worth pointing out that there's a big difference between wanting to help alleviate poverty and pandemics in Africa and actually doing it.
It's with that frame of mind that I came across this Financial Times story by Andrew Balls:
Read the whole thing.
Oh, and for conservatives who stress the productive role that remittances can play in fostering economic growth, be sure to click onto this IMF staff paper by Ralph Chami, Connel Fullenkamp, and Samir Jahjah. The abstract:
[So you're saying the situation is hopeless--ed.] Nope. The FT story goes on to observe:
Click here for the World Bank's press release on its latest Africa report.
Vladimir likes the bling-bling
Some stories are so odd that all you can do is post them without comment:
It's an amazing coincidence.... it's my understanding is this is exactly how it worked with Gazprom as well.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Open Bush speech thread
I wasn't able to watch Bush's speech tonight, but that doesn't mean you can't comment on it here. Fire away!
[What if they missed it?--ed. Then go check out David Adesnik's liveblogging.]
Signs that the end is not upon us
As the New York Times frets about China's rise to economic pre-eminence, Americans are understandably concerned about the size of the trade deficit and the possibility of a housing bubble. I've been moderately concerned about both -- but two small stories muddy up my worries a bit.
The first is the fact that the U.S. is relying less on official purchases to finance its current account deficit:
This is always the thing to remember about the U.S. economy -- as parlous as conditions may look right now, one must always compare the United States to other possible locations for investors. Compared to the regulatory, demographic, and political uncertainties present in Europe, Japan, and yes, even China, the U.S. looks pretty good.
As for the housing bubble, Daniel Gross points out in Slate that housing has been the primary job engine since the start of the 2001 recession -- but that could be changing:
None of this is to say that the U.S. does not suffer from some serious economic imbalances that will require a combination of policies to solve. However, the situation may not be as hopeless as many prognosticators are saying.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Interpreting Iran's election
The Economist asks the questions on many people's minds following Iran's presidential elections:
However, Gordon Robison has an op-ed in the Beirut Daily Star suggesting that the western media fell down on the job in covering the Iranian elections:
Well, to be fair, some of the western media had already figured some of this out:
Irwin Stezler's short-term memory
When Americans get skittish about China's growing economic power, free market advocates -- myself included -- tend to remind everyone about the excessive skittishness Americans had about Japan in the late eighties.
In the Weekly Standard, Irwin Stezler offers some reasons for why China now is different from Japan back then:
Now, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with Stezler's big point about the differences between China now and Japan then, but I remember enough of the late eighties hysteria to point out the various ways in which Japanophobes would have rebutted Stezler's alleged differences between Japan and China:
One final tidbit -- in 1990, Robert Reich conducted a poll of both elites and ordinary citizens and asked them to choose between a world where the U.S. economy grew by 25% and Japan grew by 75% over the next decade, or one where the U.S. grew by 10% and Japan by 10.3%. With the exception of economists, majorities in both groups preferred the second choice to the first one.
My point in this little exercise is not to exonerate China's less desirable qualities -- it's to point out that when another country is perceived as an economic threat to American hegemony, it is easy to find ways of painting that country in a sinister light.
UPDATE: The Economist has two articles worth reading on China's new interest in foreign direct investment. Neither the article about CNOOC in particular or the article about Chinese outward FDI is terribly sanguine about what's going on.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The similaities/differences between Japan and China were also the topic of Paul Krugman's column today. Krugman also touches on a theme mentioned by the other articles linked here:
Maybe my memory is off, but the Japanese also set up a fair amount of greenfield FDI in the auto sector as well.
Also, what difference wlould it make how the Chinese use their investments? None, unless you care about relative gains a fair amount -- which is what Krugman seems to be doing, according to both Tyler Cowen and Don Boudreaux.
Both also link to Sebastian Mallaby's sensible observation in the Washington Post:
LAST UPDATE: Alex Tabarrok goes completely medieval on Krugman.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
So how's the transatlantic relationship doing?
One of the bizarre sociological facts of attending multi-day conferences about current events is that – even as one is discussing policy topics of the day in earnest – a news vacuum is created, shielding participants to facts both new and salient to the topic of debate.
So, even as your humble blogger tirelessly debated the state of transatlantic relationship in conference rooms, poolside bars, sumptuous restaurants, and then back at more bars, the following events didn’t come up that much in conversation:
[So, the conference was a bust, eh?—ed.] First, no conference held at this location can be a bust. Second, I left this conference feeling much better about transatlantic relations than I have in quite some time.
This time around, there was a much greater sense of humility on both sides – the Americans on Iraq and the Europeans on, well, the future of the EU. From this humility, a fair amount of pragmatism appeared. Americans on both sides of the aisle emphasized the need for the United States to accentuate its soft power resources in the rest of the world. Regardless of their attitudes towards Iraq, the Europeans who attended were far more accepting of a value-oriented foreign policy than in the past -- i.e., democracy promotion. It was also the Europeans, and not Americans, who were questioning what the next step would be if engagement talks with Iran fell apart.
Does the growing public resentment of the United States mean that this new spirit of pragmatism at the elite level will die out quickly? I'm not sure. I doubt Bush's meeting with German President Gerhard Schroeder will be warm and fuzzy, but the leaders who are on the rise in Europe -- the UK's Tony Blair, Germany's Angela Merkel -- are the ones who favor closer relations with the United States. Despite Pew's findings, it remains the case that anti-Americanism is an empty platform for governance.