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Monday, July 25, 2011

Anders Breivik: A derivative mind should be wasted

Dear Anders:
If you are so Islamophobic then why don't you really try something? Contact me so I can fly you first class to Gaza. Have you no Viking pride? What does killing your own Lutheran tribe do, fool?

There are followers and there are followers. Breivik is incapable of an original thought. Not deranged but derivative. Even his bombing strategy was unoriginal and clearly an effort to frame Bin Laden. But hello, Bin Laden is dead. You acted too late, A.B.

You are a nihilist, a death believer because what you constantly think of and worry about never existed, except in the railings of media pundits, bloggers, generals, and politicians. Necrophiliac. So desperate to find your nemesis called the 'Muslim terrorist' that you were compelled to mimic what you thought he was and would do. The only true question is why didn't you follow through with a self-suicide? 

With no regards,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Focus on deficit talk not deficit problem


has nothing been learned since the 1980's? There are now 2 ways to analyze politics. One looks at the politics of the object of discourse (modern). The other addresses the politics of the discourse (pomo).

Take the current deficit talks in DC. You could think all day about how to solve the deficit, count up the numbers, decide who to tax or what to cut.

Or you could think about the politics of the talk. Thus, who gains from the fear such talk create? Like the Prez. saying yesterday that he cannot guarantee Social security checks will be sent  if the deficit issue is not resolved. In one swoop, the other party got deflated, no doubt as phone calls came in from scared seniors  (who do vote by the way). That is just one example.

Overall, what this deficit talk does is reinvigorate official politics. The Prez., Congress, The Fed. all become important players again. You see, citizens' attention is less and less on them given Facebook or sheer survival needs today. So to get their attention back, the politicians scream ever louder. (The press loves it of course; more ad sales for their product).

So expect more drama, more kibuki dances, because the one thing that the official political world cannot stand is to be ignored as irrelevant to your life.    

Friday, July 1, 2011

Towards a post-Gates Afghanistan

Bob Gates has left the US Department of Defense. Many would say that he has been something of a sure hand there. But on Afghanistan he has been mistaken. He is famous for the statement that the US is 'not trying to create a new Switzerland in Afghanistan.' To him it seems like a perfectly obvious and pragmatic view. We all chuckle at the thought of Afghans crafting Rolex watches or munching on chocolates.

But the policy that Gates has pursued is even more idealistic than that. For him and his boss presumably to not pursue such a transformational project would be costly. Curiously however massive transformation is exactly their project, with all the forces of history and politics against them. A new Switzerland would be easier.

Here's why. The Gates' view is to make Afghanistan a unitary state, like France run from Paris, only in this case Kabul would run the place  After all, it is the capital city, no? Switzerland also has a capital city but it does not run the country...the provinces or cantons do. The national government is a creature of the cantons. Switzerland is a confederal state. So is Afghanistan historically. And with Gates gone maybe there is a chance that the US could now implement a confederation policy. 

What has been worse about Gates' policy is that it not only counters Afghan history and politics but it goes against global trends. The centrality of Westphalian-style states is fading worldwide. Not completely mind you. But there is more competition in the global space. There are now strong IO's and NGO's and MNC's and stateless peoples and stateless insurgencies, etc. etc.

Sometimes the definition of a hero is one who triumphs against all the odds. Indeed Gates has said he does not care how much it all costs monetarily and his Defense budget never ever declined during his tenure. But today's heroes simply need to win not win bullheadedly.