Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Brazil Drops Out," from Walter Russell Mead

At The American Interest Online, June 21, 2010.
“We got our fingers burned,” Amorim told the FTThe Daily News, an English-language Turkish newspaper published by the Hurriyet group, tried to cast doubt on the story, saying that there were ‘conflicting’ reports about the Brazilian position.  As the smoke cleared this morning, however, both the AP and Reuters confirmed the FT account...

The endless nattering about ‘emerging powers’ is particularly misguided; it probably led to the brash overconfidence which is ending so badly for both Turkey and Brazil.  It also leads far too many people to underestimate the clout that the world’s true great powers have...

The fundamental analytical flaw is due in large part to simple ignorance of history and an over-dependence on theory.
Yes! Agreed. I am a political theorist suspicious of theories.

If we add to that the media’s restless hunger for new and exciting big stories and headlines, we get to the kind of overheated universe of commentary that surrounds us today.  The death of free markets, the rise of Japan, the triumph of laissez-faire: surely we have all heard enough of these proclamations to realize that they almost always describe short term trends rather than seismic shifts.  The first task for anybody who wants to understand the world today, much less to change it, is to cut through the useless chatter and infatuation with cheap and shiny trends that surround us on every side.

As someone who recently started a blog, I should probably feel sheepish.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Lebanese Ship Plots Course for HypocriSea

Here comes another batch of useful idiots and aspiring martyrs to try to break the naval blockade of Gaza. A few fun facts about this latest publicity stunt: 
*Their ship is named after an ancient Israelite lady, Miriam. Irony bonus points! 
*Probably no Palestinians are more marginalized than the 425,000 whom Lebanon has kept in refugee camps for 3+ generations, denying them citizenship, banning them from working in most professions, denying them access to public education, health care, and social services. All in the name of "preserving their identity"--the cynical abuse of the Palestinian cause in sharp relief. Please excuse me if this outpouring of solicitude for Gaza strikes me as hypocritical and more about sticking it to the Jews than about helping Palestinians.  (Don't believe me about that Lebanon would be so cruel to its "brothers?" A powerful case comes from even the most unlikely corners...)
*Hezbollah banned Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe's request to join flotilla on grounds that
her 'nudity, degradation and immodest dress' would shame passengers. (Wehbe denies the story). I guess this means there won't be any racy floorshow, the staple of any good Mediterranean cruise.
*Hezbollah's Executive Council Chief, Hashem Safieddine (what is up with all these crypto-Zionists names?), is already claiming victory; says Zionists are quaking in their boots at the prospect of this "women's flotilla." "Zionists fear boat carrying women who want to deliver aid to Gaza, so how will they be able to face rockets in next war?" It's always nice to hear terrorists at least be honest about the level at which they are operating--that old medieval nexus of honor, fear, and shame.