Friday, September 9, 2005
Post-Katrina American foreign policy
Read the whole thing. And then, go read this Economist summary of the past week.
UPDATE: One thing I'm hoping about Katrina -- like what happened after 9/11 -- is that the estimated body count turns out to be less than originally expected. This AP report (link via Instapundit) offers some hope that this will also happen post-Katrina.
ANOTHER UPDATE: James Joyner thinks Haass is overstating his case -- particularly on the energy angle:
Andrew Sullivan takes a gloomier view: "What the response to Katrina has done is make the U.S. super-power look a lot less credible, a lot less fearsome, a lot less capable. Ditto, of course, with regard to the inept conduct of the war in Iraq."
Thursday, September 8, 2005
The commercial peace?
I know Erik, and I know that Erik knows a lot about the causes of war, so this tidbit definitely piqued my interest.
You can read Gartzke's paper by clicking here. His policy conclusions are provocative. For example:
I'd really like for Gartzke's theoretical conclusions to be true, and he makes a persuasive case in the paper. I have three small cavils, however:
Again, I still think Gartzke is onto something. Plus, I can't pass up mentioning Gartzke's observations about offshore outsourcing:
Helping the homeless from Katrina
Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution relays an excellent policy proposal from the University of Virginia's Ed Olsen on how best to find housing for those displaced by Katrina. I'm reprinting it below in its entirety:
I'd like to think that there actually would be bipartisan support for such a proposal. As Megan McArdle points out, "Section 8 vouchers, while certainly not perfect, have been a big improvement over the failed government housing projects they replaced." They use Republican-friendly means to achieve Democrat-friendly ends. And, since Congress is currently not doing much of use with regard to Katrina, maybe they could act on this. And this proposal is much better than some of the other ideas that are floating around. [That's a bad, bad pun--ed.]
Let's see if someone notices.
Assignment to Mickey Kaus: what would be the secondary and tertiary effects of such a proposal?
"Katrina is not the Worst Case Scenario"
Amy Zegart -- danieldrezner.com's resident expert on homeland securit and intelligence reformy -- e-mailed me these thoughts on Katrina's lessons for defending against terrorist attacks:
Zegart also has a sobering reminder -- it is easier to cope with natural disasters than terrorist attacks:
Take that, Lincoln Park!!
Residents of Hyde Park are keenly aware that although our neighborhood possesses many fine qualities -- ample bookstores, nice housing, diversity of residents -- one quality it does not possess is a surfeit of great restaurants.* For that, you have to go up to the downtown, the West Loop, or the North side.
Read the whole article, if you care about such things. I've heard this kind of talk about Hyde Park many times since I've been here, but Kleiner's track record makes me more optimistic than usual. Look out, Lincoln Park -- in, say 20 years, we will have closed the restaurant gap!
Of course, this section of Vettel's piece brings me back to reality. It quotes Mary Mastricola, the owner of La Petite Folie, the one high-end restaurant in the area:
Left unspoken in the piece is why Mastricola doesn't just hire neighborhood residents beyond the student population.
And don't get me started on the supermarket situation around here.....
*Yes, devotees of Dixie Kitchen, or Medici, or Pizza Capri, there are some lovely places to eat around here. But a neighborhood of this size needs more than just a handful of good eateries.
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Whither Egyptian democracy?
Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections were held today, and much of the press coverage echoes this London Times account by Richard Beesron: "the experiment in democracy risked being seriously compromised by intimidation, electoral abuse and widespread voter apathy."
Dan Murphy's account in the Christian Science Monitor includes corruption among the sins of this elecvtion:
Sounds rather depressing. However, Steven Cook writes on Foreign Policy's web site that in the long term, Hosni Mubarak may get more reform than he originally planned:
UPDATE: The AP's Maggie Michael reports that Egypt's regime might be feeling some blowback earlier than he had anticipated:
So how's the transatlantic divide going?
Some of the more interesting results highlighted in the press release:
Click here to view all of the topline results. One interesting finding that should temper concerns about a European desire for superpower status: when asked whether "a more powerful European Union should compete or cooperate with the US," 80% of Europeans in the big seven countries say "cooperate" -- and those numbers are higher in France and Germany. [Yeah, but don't forget to mention that only a bare plurality of Americians believe that a European superpower actually would cooperate--ed.]
IISS weighs in on Iran's WMD program
When we last left the Iranian WMD saga, it turned out that U.S. and U.N. intelligence were downgrading the likelihood of Iran developing nuclear weapons anytime soon.
In this week's installment, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) weighs in. Reuters provides the summary:
Click here to read Chipman's press release.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
The perils of teaching in Italy
As a public service for readers of danieldrezner.com, below is a photo of Ms. Bonci.
Readers can judge for themselves.
I'd blog more if it wasn't for that darn Jacuzzi-tusion
In honor of the the 10-year anniversary of Cal Ripken's breaking Lou Gehrig's iron-man streak in baseball, Jayson Stark has an amusing column at ESPN.com on his "favorite injuries, calamities or miscellaneous excuses for missing games during Ripken's fabled streak."
Go check them out -- my two favorites:
I was convinced that last one had to be a misprint, but I stumbled across this fine Peter Gammons column on Ripken that mentioned the same injury:
September's anti-Book of the Month
The topic of Slate's Book Club this week is Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream . The book is about Ehrenreich's efforts to create a fictional persona and land a job in "media/public relations work." Along the way, the career self-help industry is mocked.
Let's see how the reviewrs went for it. Hmmmm.... Tyler Cowen didn't like it very much:
Well, one would have expected Cowen, a free market economist, to dislike Ehrenreich. Surely Alan Wolfe, the other reviewer, who believes that capitalism, "cause[s] needless suffering to far too many innocent people," has a more positive take?
Do not read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Kieran Healy weighs in on Ehrenreich and suggests an intriguing alternative read.
I guess protecting Iraq's border isn't really that important
Read the whole thing.
Given the bolded portion, either one of two things is happening:
UPDATE: Greg Djerejian has a nice pre-Katrina round-up of what to read around the blogosphere about Iraq.
The revenge of ham radio
Among those debating the relative influence of the blogosphere in American politics, the facile question has always een whether blogs will become "talk radio or ham radio?" The obvious implication is that talk radio is now a permanent feature of the media ecosystem that covers politics, while ham radio was a fad that remains sustained only be true enthusiasts. Blog enthusiasts tend to favor the former comparison over the latter.
After reading this Wall Street Journal story by Christopher Rhoads on what ham radio has done in the wake of Katrina, perhaps the blogosphere should become more comfortable with the latter comparison as well:
Good news about Chernobyl
Peter Finn reports in the Washington Post that twenty years after the disaster at Chernobyl, the health effects have been much less than prior estimates would have suggested:
Here's a link to the World Health Organization's press release on the report -- compare and contrast with this media assessment from a decade ago.
Environmentalists will likely not appreciate the irony of Finn's closing paragraphs:
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Underreaction and overreaction on Katrina
President Bush appears to have figured out that the federal government's first response to Katrina was pretty pathetic (though not just the feds -- see this Glenn Reynolds post and this jaw-dropping Brad DeLong post), and is now working overtime to correct that first impression, for political reasons if nothing else.
A White House official told me Friday night that, after fumbling around for days, practically every White House agency was getting involved in coping with Katrina. As this New York Times story by Adam Nagourney and Elizabeth Bumiller suggests, Bush has revamped his schedule this month to respond to Katrina.
This readjustment is clearly necessary to a point. But here's the thing -- the criminally slow underreaction from last week could lead to a criminally big overreaction in the next few weeks. As this Knight-Ridder story by Warren Strobel points out, the President has other things on his plate this fall:
Add to those things the WTO ministerial in Hong Kong.
Let's be clear -- I'm not saying that the president should not be devoting a healthy fraction of his attention to rebuilding the Gulf Coast. My point is that by screwing up in one direction last week, the administration will now screw up in the other direction for the next several weeks, and I guarantee you that a year from now we'll be bemoaning some foreign policy crisis that would have been defused if everyone had kept their eye on the ball in the present.