Saturday, May 20, 2006
Hugo Chavez, unwitting friend to America
Juan Forero has a story in the New York Times about how Latin American countries are starting to rebel against a loudmouthed bully -- and we're not talking about the United States here:
As Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, insinuates himself deeper in the politics of his region, something of a backlash is building among his neighbors.Read the whole thing. The Economist has more on Chavez's meddling in Peru:
According to the pollsters most Peruvians dislike Mr Chávez and his meddling. One poll, by Apoyo, found that only 17% had a positive view of him, and 75% disapproved of his comments. Only 23% approved of Mr Morales, and 61% objected to his calling Peru's outgoing president, Alejandro Toledo, a “traitor” for signing a free-trade agreement with the United States.Both articles suggest that Mr. Chávez shows no sign of stopping his self-defeating behavior.
As a citizen of the United States, I, for one, would like to thank Mr. Chavez for his antics -- keep it up, Hugo!!
Friday, May 19, 2006
Matthew Yglesias has some interesting posts and links up on the immigration question. This post takes down Robert Samuelson's recent Newsweek essay on whether Mexican immigrates will assimilate into the United States -- it echoes some of what I wrote about Samuel Huntington's argument from a few years ago.
He also links to this fascinating piece of polling analsis from Bryan Caplan:
I naturally assumed that states with a lot of immigrants would be anti-immigrant. After all, whenever I visit L.A., the complaints about immigration never stop. But it looks like I'm smack in the middle of a biased sample of elderly Angelenos. On average, high-immigration states like California are unusually PRO-immigrant....
Finally, I've signed Alex Tabarrok's open letter on immigration, which is reprinted below the fold.
Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:References and further information can be accessed by clicking here.
Other social scientists who wish to sign can do so by clicking here.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
My quasi-inside (and, apparently, incorrect) dirt on the Plame Game
Steve Clemons also attended the Princeton conference on liberal internationalism. Today he reports as follows:
[O]ne other who was there was former National Security Agency Director Bobby Ray Inman.Tom Maguire, the dean of Plame Studies in the blogosphere, has several questions:
(1) Why would Inman know this? OK, as "simply one of the smartest people ever to come out of Washington or anywhere", he may know this as part of knowing everything. But maybe there is more.In response to Clemons and Maguire, here's what I can say:
1) I can confirm Inman's statements as Clemons reports them. I can confirm them because Inman made these assertions (and others that, like Steve, I will treat as off the record) to me and the others at my lunch table on the second day of the conference.For those in the blogosohere wondering about motive, Tom Maguire mused about Armitage's possible motives back in November 2005.
UPDATE: Steve Clemons' latest post offers up yet another reason why I don't like posting on DC gossip -- because it's often wrong:
Bobby Ray Inman's claims are "BS", claimed one very prominent Washington insider after reading TWN's report on Inman's claim that Richard Armitage would be indicted in the Valerie Plame Wilson outing probe.
Open Thinthread thread
Sorry for the post title -- couldn't resist.
Siobhan Gorman has a story in the Baltimore Sun that suggests that, in the late 1990s, the NSA ditched one kind of data collection program (Thinthread) in favor of another. A lot of NSA types apparently preferred Thinthread:
The National Security Agency developed a pilot program in the late 1990s that would have enabled it to gather and analyze massive amounts of communications data without running afoul of privacy laws. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, it shelved the project -- not because it failed to work -- but because of bureaucratic infighting and a sudden White House expansion of the agency's surveillance powers, according to several intelligence officials.My take is similar to Kevin Drum's -- I'm not sure if this is an example of dumb policymaking or an example of the losers of a policy decision leaking to the press at an opportune time.
I am sure that readers wil have their own opinions.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What is liberal internationalism?
Blogging will be light tomorrow, as I'm attending a Princeton conference on The Future of Liberal Internationalism, which is a follow-up to this conference from last fall.
One question that came up at today's sessions was pretty basic but rather important: how, exactly, would one define liberal internationalism? It's one of those terms that foreign policy wonks like to throw around, but often means very different things to different people.
[So what's your definition, smart guy?--ed. A marriage between the pursuit of liberal purposes (security, free trade, human rights, rule of law, democracy promotion, etc.) and the use of institutionalist means to pursue them (multilateral institutions of various stripes -- not only the UN, but NATO or the G-7 as well).]
Why should foreign policy wonks be the only ones to debate this question? Readers, have at it.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Clash of the regulatory titans
In the Financial Times, George Parker and Tobias Buck make an argument about EU regulation that sounds very, very familiar:
Seen from some European capitals, the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 or 2008 is a worrying sign of overstretch, fuelling fears that the EU is becoming too cumbersome and too diverse to have real clout in the globalised world.Hat tip to Sungjoon Cho at the criminally underrated International Economic Law and Policy blog.
Open Bush/immigration thread
I'm busy packing for yet another conference, but readers should feel free to comment away on Bush's immigration speech tonight.
FYI, Karl Rove said this afternoon that the Bush administration is "doing a heck of a lot better job" in controlling the U.S.-Mexican border than most Americans realize. On the other hand, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=1964630 that, "We do not yet have full control of the border and I am determined to change that." To be fair, these two points are not necessarily contradictory, but I wouldn't exactly call it consistent spin, either.