"What is more worrying is that politicians themselves are adapting to the situation rather than trying to change it. The new regime seems to have slipped in to the shoes of the former. Officials squat in the opulent residences of their predecessors, whose era they claimed they were ending. Almost no infrastructure has been built in Baghdad over the past 10 years, except the local government headquarters, the road to the airport and a few flyovers. Traffic police shelters at crossroads are stamped “gift from the town hall”, recalling the “donations” (makarim) of Saddam: a personalised substitute for what should be provided anonymously by the state. Public service salaries remain insufficient, driving employees to find supplementary sources of income, legal or not. High-level corruption is tolerated, documented and used as leverage when necessary. Pervasive social climbing, nepotism and incompetence are poisoning institutions." -- Almost ten years after the start of the War on Iraq, Le Monde Diplomatique looks at what has really changed
posted by MartinWisse
on Mar 3, 2013 -
"If nothing else, "Argo" is an exercise in American exceptionalism - perhaps the most dangerous fiction that permeates our entire society and sense of identity. It reinvents history in order to mine a tale of triumph from an unmitigated defeat. The hostage crisis, which lasted 444 days and destroyed an American presidency, was a failure and an embarrassment for Americans. The United States government and media has spent the last three decades tirelessly exacting revenge on Iran for what happened." -- Nima Shirazi explains what's wrong with Argo's depiction of the Iranian hostage crisis
posted by MartinWisse
on Mar 2, 2013 -
Is hypocrisy essential to the New World Order?
Whilst I appreciate the seductive insights and plausible analysis offered by Lee Harris in this lengthy and generally intelligent essay
, I worry that the linking of themes in the intellectual form here merely provides, if not more ammo to the hawks in GWB's Cabinet, the justification for his unending 'war on terror'. There's thinly veiled xenophobia, I'm sure; but also some self-limiting principles compatible with a new kind of 'liberal hegemony' - called 'neo-sovereignty', viz., "It (neo-sovereignty) will only be viable if the U.S. scrupulously refuses to intervene in the self-determination of any state except for the purposes of maintaining the double standards in respect of nuclear weapons... At the heart of the dialectically emergent concept of neo-sovereignty is precisely the double standard that Mr.
(Richard, the Chief Arms Inspector of the United Nations) Butler denounced - a double standard imposed by the U.S. on the rest of the world, whereby the U.S. can unilaterally decide to act, if need be, to override and even to cancel the existence of any state regime that proposes to develop WMD, especially in those cases where the state regime in question has demonstrated its dangerous lack of a sense of the realistic."
posted by dash_slot-
on Mar 11, 2003 -
Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror.
"During the war on terrorism, George W. Bush has shown a split personality on the promotion of democracy abroad. Bush the realist seeks warm ties with dictators who may help in the fight against al Qaeda, while Bush the neo-Reaganite proclaims that democracy is the only true solution to terror. How the administration resolves this tension will define the future of U.S. foreign policy."
posted by homunculus
on Jan 8, 2003 -
Chinese checkmate ?
"Those who love to quote Sun Tzu might consider his nationality', says James Webb, as he offers still more cogent reasons why a 30 year "MacArthurian regency in Baghdad" is probably not in America's national interest. Why are the military men the ones who have to keep pointing out the unwisdom of an invasion of Iraq? Quoth Secretary Webb:
"The issue before us is not simply whether the United States should end the regime of Saddam Hussein, but whether we as a nation are prepared to physically occupy territory in the Middle East for the next 30 to 50 years."
posted by rdone
on Sep 4, 2002 -
Terror and Liberalism
I have found this piece in The American Prospect to be one of the most balenced pieces I have yet come across. It considers all aspects of the terrorist groups--Israel, American policy, poverty, Iraq, fundamentalisim, history of the area, westernization, etc and finds the rights and wrongs in each, offering finally a way to cope with things in the future while at the same time dealing with present needs.
In other words, it avoids the overly simplistic formulas offered by so many stalwarts of the far Right or far Left.
posted by Postroad
on Oct 5, 2001 -