Friday, October 26, 2007
I was in a nowhere job... going nowhere....
until I heard about the Robert Mugabe National School of Intelligence!!
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has launched an intelligence academy named after him, saying it would produce officers able to counter growing threats from Western powers, state media reported on Friday.Request to commenters: please propose possible course names for the Robert Mugabe National School of Intelligence. Pedagogically, which courses should be required? What are the possible areas of concentration?
Hat tip: Blake Hounshell.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Gonna be a fun hotel jihad
Note to self: never, ever deny Megan McArdle a bed.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My productivity will be down this week
The World Series starts tonight. In a choice between the hottest team in baseball and the best team in baseball, most of the prognosticators have picked the latter. But we know the value of expert prognosticators here at danieldrezner.com.
What about the statheads? They have spoken too.
Diamond Mind simulations ran the series a thousand times and had the Red Sox winning over 70% of the time.
In other words, to a longtime Red Sox fan (as opposed to the more secure post-2004 variety of fan), this seems eerily like a reverse mortal lock -- i.e., if the Rockies beat Josh Beckett in Game 1, look out.
Of course, I have changed since 2004, so although I will never be able to eliminate the fear of imminent collapse by the Olde Towne Team, I have managed to reduce that fear to a tolerable nervousness.
Still, contra the Steinbrenner clan, I do believe that the journey is just as valuable as the final quest in baseball. Therefore, I heartily encourage all Sox fans to click on the video below to remember this past season.
And if the Sox win the World Series, all the better.
My not-so-sunny predictions for U.S. trade policy
Policy Innovations -- "The central address for a fairer globalization" asked three trade experts what they see for the future of U.S. trade policy. It appears that Mac Destler and Gary Hufbauer were too busy, so unfortunately for their readers I'm one of the experts, along with Susan Aaronson and Kevin Gallagher.
Go check it out -- you can guess my mood about the future.
My basic point:
In a jittery economy, neither Americans nor members of Congress care about how globalization affects the rest of the world. Their primary concern is how imports are destabilizing their jobs and depressing their wages.I should have put "allegedly" somewhere in that sentence, but you get the basic idea.
October's (very, very belated) Books of the Month
I'm juuuust a wee bit late on this month's book club selections. So, to be quick about it:
The international relations book is Michael Tomz's Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt across Three Centuries. In recent years, some of the most interesting work in international relations theory has been about the significance of reputation effects in world politics. Tomz argues for a dynamic theory of reputation, in which actors can update their beliefs over time about whether governments will honor their commitments. He marshalls considerable empirical evidence to make this case by looking at the behavior of sovereign borrowers and lenders over the past few centuries.
The general interest book is Cass Sunstein's Republic.com 2.0. This is one of those arguments -- the Internet will foster cyberbalkanization -- that I pooh-poohed when the original book came out. That said, trends in the blogosphere suggest that his argument has held up better than I would have predicted a few years ago.
Naturally, by waiting until very late in the month to make this book recommendation, Sunstein has gone and published yet another book. So I promise to be more punctual next month.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The kind of conversations that happen at IR conferences
UPDATE: As God is my witness, I did not know about this when I posted the exchange below.
The following transcript approximates a real exchange that took place at the conference I attended this past weekend among serious members of the international relations community.
This is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent:
POLICYMAKER A: You know, they've done experiments with monkeys where they have to do tricks to earn a cucumber. The two monkeys can see each other do the tricks, as well as the rewards they receive.For the rest of the conference, this last exchange was referred to as "the cucumber paradigm."
I wonder if George Orwell hung around international relations types all that much.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The metamorphosis of Red Sox Nation
With the Red Sox in the World Series for the second time in four years, one fan ponders the change in the team.... and Red Sox Nation:
The 2007 version of the Boston Red Sox -- with just 28 percent of the team held over from three years ago -- may be scrappy, and they might be a tad scruffy, but they're not underdogs. Not with that payroll, not with that record, and most certainly not with that air of confidence we saw on display the last three games....As Art Martone reports in the Providence Journal's SoxBlog, however, Red Sox fans are also displaying a maturity that I don't remember existing before 2004:
As the Indians' players made their way from their clubhouse to the team bus, which was parked in right field, they found themselves being honored by an unlikely group of people.UPDATE: Of course, it's worth pointing out that the Red Sox are merely one prong of a sports town that's become an emerging hegemonic power (Patriots, Celtics, Boston College, etc.). This apparently has New York sports fans in a bit of a lather:
Being a New Yorker, I'm still getting used to this strange new world. I wake up in the hotel, turn on the TV, and there's Belichick, the cheater. "We had a lot of trouble with Miami," he says. "They're a good team."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Not good. Not good at all:
At least 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush by Kurdish militants shortly after midnight on Sunday, in an audacious attack that sharply increased the pressure on Turkey’s government to send troops into northern Iraq.UPDATE: The AP calms me down... a little:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday it appears Turkey's military is not on the verge of invading northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels responsible for a deadly attack on Turkish soldiers.ANOTHER UPDATE: The NYT has more on what the U.S. will need to do to prevent Turkey from a cross-border incursion:
Mr. Erdogan said he had told Ms. Rice in a phone conversation Sunday night that Turkey expected “speedy steps from U.S.” in cracking down on Kurdish rebels, and according to The Associated Press, he said that she had expressed sympathy and asked “for a few days” from him. The Iraqi government also began a concerted effort to reach out to Turkey.