Thursday, April 13, 2006
Remind me again.... why hasn't Rumsfeld resigned?
The official position here at danieldrezner.com has been that Don Rumsfeld should have resigned about two years ago.
Thomas Ricks reports in the Washington Post that this has increasingly become the public position of Army commanders who have served in Iraq:
The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining several other former top military commanders who have harshly criticized the defense secretary's authoritarian style for making the military's job more difficult.Peter Spiegel and Paul Richter put this into context in the Los Angeles Times:
The officers said that challenges to civilian policy were not new — similar opposition flared during the Clinton administration, particularly around the issue of gays in the military. But many of the latest condemnations come from officers who served in the Iraq war, and the controversy has split the ranks over whether attacks by those officers so soon after retiring are appropriate.The general has a point.... but then again, don't Batiste and others have a point as well?
Question to Rummy-supporters: how can this kind of criticism be ignored? Why should Rummy still be the Secretary of Defense?
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Open Mark Steyn thread
OK, the Sy Hersh thread seemed to prompt some vigorous discussion... so let's try the same thing with Mark Steyn's new essay in City Journal arguing that the Bush administration is correct to contemplate military action against the mullahs.
The key paragraphs:
The bad cop/worse cop routine the mullahs and their hothead President Ahmadinejad are playing in this period of alleged negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program is the best indication of how all negotiations with Iran will go once they’re ready to fly. This is the nuclear version of the NRA bumper sticker: “Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.” Nukes don’t nuke nations. Nations nuke nations. When the Argentine junta seized British sovereign territory in the Falklands, the generals knew that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power, but they also knew that under no conceivable scenario would Her Majesty’s Government drop the big one on Buenos Aires. The Argie generals were able to assume decency on the part of the enemy, which is a useful thing to be able to do.Discuss amongst yourselves.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The realist tradition in American public opinion
Remember my query about journalists' attitudes towards U.S. foreign policy from a few weeks back? It was a very small part of a paper I've written entitled, "The Realist Tradition in American Public Opinion", which I'll be presenting at Yale tomorrow. Here's the abstract:
For more than half a century, realist scholars of international relations have maintained that their theory is inimical to the American public. For a variety of reasons – national history, American exceptionalism – realists assert that the U.S. government pursues realist policies in spite of public opinion. This paper takes a closer look at the anti-realist assumption by examining survey data and the empirical literature on the mass public’s attitudes towards foreign policy priorities and worldviews, the use of force, and foreign economic policy. The results suggest that, far from disliking realism, Americans might be most comfortable with the logic of realpolitik. The persistence of the anti-realist assumption might be due to an ironic fact: American elites are more predisposed towards liberal internationalism than the rest of the American public.One of the many germs from which this paper grew was from this blog post from two years ago.
Horror stories about anonmous peer review
Henry Farrell links to a Chronicle of Higher Education story by Jeffrey Young about how Microsoft Word's tags have eroded anonymity in peer review. Henry adds:
Word documents preserve a lot of metadata, including, very often, the author’s name – so that if you submit your review via a Word email attachment (as many journals ask you to these days), and the journal forwards the review unchanged to the article’s author, he or she can figure out who you are without having to play the usual guessing game. I’ve been aware of this for a couple of years (I carefully strip all data before sending reviews out, just in case) – but I suspect that many academics aren’t (some of them may not even realize that Word collates this data automatically).I've been outed once as a reviewer after I rejected a piece, but it was not due to anything as high-tech as MS Word metadata.
I faxed the journal -- which shall remain nameless -- my review. The journal then faxed it to the paper-writer -- who shall also remain nameless. The problem was that the journal's fax to the writer contained my department's fax number and identification -- and from there it was pretty damn easy to identify the referee.
Here's a link for potential referees about how to stay anonymous if you electronically submit your referee reports.
Monday, April 10, 2006
The market for matchmakers
Craig Wilson has a story in USA Today about how high-end personal shoppers have added new functions -- such as trying to marry their clients off:
[Claire] Wexler's concierge service helps the wife-seeking man deal with, well, just about everything he needs in his search, from what flowers to send ("Not roses, they're trite") to what shoes to wear ("Brown goes with almost everything"). And if he has less romantic desires like finding a good doctor or choosing new appliances, she can handle that, too.Three thoughts (beyond the obvious reference to Tyler Cowen's "markets in everything" meme):
1) You have to think that some Hollywood executive read this article today and immediately conceived of a romantic-comedy-starring-Rachel-McAdams-kind-of-like-The-Wedding-Planner-but-funnier-and-with-more-heart.
Open Sy Hersh thread
I am on the road and will not be blogging up a storm for the next few days. However, continuing our conversation on Iran, readers should avail theselves of this Sy Hersh story in the New Yorker on U.S. preparations to attack Iran and comment away.
The two paragraph that stood out for me:
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”I think I'm at the point where I don't want any more legacies from the Bush administration.
UPDATE: Tyler Cowen offers his thoughts. Here's another question for readers: even if the intel on Iran is a slam dunk -- is anyone else bothered by the prospect of using tactical nuclear weapons as bunker-busters to ensure that Iran doesn't acquire nukes?