Archives

Everything Libertarians and Liberals Get Wrong About Drones

April 30, 2013

Seven factoids about drones — the new cause célèbre of libertarians and select liberals — cannot stay aloft.

The Risk of Blurring the Red Lines

April 26, 2013

The Obama administration is ignoring two of the most elementary rules of the use of power: First of all, the more credible threats are, the less power one needs to marshal (and hence less one needs to spend on building it up), and the less often power needs to be actually exercised. Second, every time one makes a threat, one is tested twice: will it bring about the desired outcome? And will it build up or diminish the credibility of one’s power

The Gun Debate I Lost

April 24, 2013

During the opening rounds of a gun debate in London, beamed globally by Google Plus, I thought I was doing quite well. I started by telling the audience, brought together by Intelligence Squared, that I recently was showing off photos of my grandchildren in a doctor’s waiting room, when they brought tears the eyes of a grandma sitting next to me. She told me, “My grandson was cleaning his gun, and he killed his father.” Think about it for a moment. Poof, one life was lost, a child lost his father, there is a terrible guilt, and the grandmother has to live with a grandson she hates and loves. Now, multiply this thirty-two thousand times, eleven times more people than we lost in the World Trade Center attacks which traumatized the nation, six times more than we lost total in the war in Iraq, and you see we’re talking about a very, very serious problems. We’re not talking about the quality of the Duchesses’ hats, or even organic food. We’re talking about a huge amount of life lost each year.

The Reasonable Interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

April 23, 2013

There is something very commendable and seriously troubling in the calls by the so called “responsible media,” the ACLU, and select liberals to preserve the rights of the surviving Boston Marathon

Time for New Paradigms

April 18, 2013

It is easy to understand why so many mavens are trying desperately to conceptualize cyber warfare, drones and transnational terrorists in yesterday’s terms. However, the dissonance has grown to a point where we are forced to look for new concepts and principles rather than try in vain to fit a new reality into obsolete paradigms. We often act like someone who can’t squeeze a size-fourteen foot into a size-nine boot—and would rather cut off the toes than find a larger pair.

Israel — 65 Years Ago

April 15, 2013

Sixty-five years ago it was far from obvious that Israel would survive; it was even far from obvious that a Jewish state would be created in the first place.

North Korea and the U.S. Priorities

April 15, 2013

If someone could get jumping-bean secretary of state Kerry off of his jet long enough to preside over a review of U.S.

How Conservatives Still Run America, Despite Losing Elections

April 05, 2013

There is more than may appear in President Obama’s plan to cut the social safety net in his new budget proposal. The offer, on the face of it, reflects a significant violation of a major liberal creed, discarding the strongest liberal political card and Obama’s peculiar negotiation style of making major concessions at the opening of a give-and-take session. But it also reflects the sad but true fact that the dynamics of American politics cannot be understood in terms of Democrats vs. Republicans. Party labels aside, the nation is still being ruled by what I call a majority “conservative party.”

Individualism vs. Social Science

April 05, 2013

NPR’s social science maven reported that President Obama may have undermined the success of gun control legislation when he stated that “We don’t live in isolation, we live in a society. A government of, and for, and by the people. We are responsible for each other.” Americans, Shankar Vendantam stated, care about individual rights and liberty, not the common good. As evidence he cited a research paper by MarYam Hamedani and her associates called, “In the Land of the Free, Interdependent Action Undermines Motivation,” showing that when researchers evoke concepts of the common good — the subjects did less well on various tasks than when no such concepts were evoked.

Drones: Say it with figures

April 01, 2013

WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) – Attacking drones, the most effective counter-terrorism tool the United States has found thus far, is a new cause celebre among progressive public intellectuals and majo

My Jihad: Just a Spiritual Journey?

March 28, 2013

The ads that recently appeared to the sides of buses in several American major cities declare: “#MyJihad is to march on despite losing my son,” “#MyJihad: Modesty is not a weakness,” “#MyJihad is to build bridges through friendship,” and “#MyJihad is to not take the simple things in life for granted.” The ads are part of a public education campaign sponsored by the Chicago Council of American-Islamic Relations. They remind me of a noble moment during President George W. Bush’s presidency when, on Sept 17, 2001, while the ruins of the Twin Towers were still billowing smoke and many of the bodies had not yet been pulled out, he stated that, “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” It was a magnanimous and even courageous statement to make — although not a particularly accurate one.

Obama: Flailing

March 20, 2013

If you understand where President Obama is headed in his second term, pray send me an email. I like him, wish him Godspeed, and might well support where he is going — if I could just figure out where that is.

Japan, The Poisoned Chalice

March 19, 2013

Making Japan a centerpiece of the U.S. drive to contain China is a seductive idea—but one to which Washington should not succumb. Containment may or may not be the right policy for dealing with China, but even hawks should realize that pushing the most emotive buttons of a potential adversary amounts to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

China Might Negotiate Cybersecurity

March 14, 2013

Instead of responding to its offer to limit cyberattacks, the Obama Administration has chosen to berate China.

We Need A Coffee Party

March 11, 2013

We need a Coffee Party to wake up the American people, and there are fewer better wake up calls than Steven Brill’s outstanding recent Time cover story, “Bitter Pill.” Indeed, if you have time to read only one essay this month, make it this one. It not only reveals how we can protect Medicare from the right-wing assaults (and a president who seems all too anxious to cut a deal) — but also what ails America’s health care system, indeed the whole political system, and what must be done to fix it.