Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Rival to NATO?

There's an article on CSM about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a military alliance potentially involving China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the various -stans. It's an interesting idea, but do these countries have anything in common other than an interest in increasing their influence? It would be an extremely potent group, one that probably could rival NATO in power in coming decades, but I have a hard time seeing any coherent policies or positions that these nations could all agree on.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not Our Biggest Fans

(Or 'How Gerhard Schröder Made a Career Out of Dissing Americans') CSM has an interesting column on how Katrina played in recent German elections. I'm curious how much of this will persist after 2008...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Friendly Fire

The more this Harriet Miers thing goes on, the funnier I think it is. Like this article on Laura Bush rebuffing Miers critics. What could be funnier than this scenario: The White House nominates a lame candidate. Conservatives criticize the candidate. The White House, as it has done a hundred times before, responds to criticism by shooting the messenger. Conservative critics say, "Hey! Wait a second! It's us! Hold your fire. We're not sexist pigs!" Pure comedy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Spirited Debate on Civil Rights

I happened across this Legal Affairs magazine debate on the Patriot Act between Chicago Professor Geoffrey Stone (against) and Judge Richard Posner (for). Both make some good points and fire off some nice jabs. My favorite exchange:

Posner: "My mother was forced out of her job as a public school teacher, and later hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee, because of her communist sympathies. I consider her political views to have been idiotic, but I am quite sure that she was completely harmless."

Stone: "Let's see, how does it go: A liberal is a conservative who's been mugged; a conservative is a liberal who's been arrested; and an advocate of law-and-economics is a Red diaper baby whose mother's been hauled before HUAC."

George and Harriet Sittin' In a Tree...

This stuff just makes me laugh. I think the confirmation hearings are going to be a lot more fun this time around.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Barack to Kos: Tone it Down

Last Friday Senator Barack Obama wrote a blog post addressing extreme partisanship among special interest groups and party activists (including the Kossacks). It was based on the Roberts confirmations, but obviously has wider applicability. It's a very well written and well thought-out post.

Remember Iraq?

The Washington Post has an excellent editorial summarizing Iraq's constitutional conundrum. It does not appear that the constitution will be the panacea that some folks had thought it would be. It simply boils down to the same old problem that concerned me even before we invaded: how do you come up with democratic government in Iraq that will not dissolve into violent factionalism between the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis? I wasn't sure it was possible then, and nothing I'm seeing now is convincing me otherwise. It just isn't clear to me that the population in Iraq is homogeneous enough or has a strong enough sense of nationalism to be able to support a democratic federal government.