Let’s not call it exceptionalism.

I do appreciate what Mark is trying to do. The stereotypical American exceptionalist wants to argue that the transcendently unique ideals of the U.S.A.’s founding justify a broader range of actions in dealing with other nations, whereas Mark wants to say that the our historically unique ideals should actually limit what we allow ourselves to…

Best Analysis of Pakistan

If you are not reading China Matters on Pakistan you must.  Start here. Key quote: But nobody has a solution that reconciles two fundamentally contradictory positions: America’s desire to pressure the Taliban (at the cost of Pakistan’s internal stability) vs. Pakistan’s willingness to tolerate Afghan jihad in exchange for local peace (at the cost of…

An Exceptionally Moral United States

I have a confession to make.  Despite all my criticisms of waterboarding, American foreign policy interventionism, and a whole host of other aspects of the modern federal government, not to mention my refusal to consider most of Europe to be a socialist hellhole, I am a proud American exceptionalist.  Which is to say that I…

To Helmet or Not to Helmet?

David has some interesting musings up on the Dutch bicycle, the sublime, and the pros and cons of wearing a helmet whilst cycling.  Personally, I’m a helmet guy.  However ineffective helmets may be, I still appreciate the contents of my skull enough to do whatever I can to protect them, including donning the rather clumsy…

Simon Johnson’s…

…Quiet Coup, over at the Atlantic, is excellent.  I read the print version because I can’t read long articles online.  I always resort to the actual copy or to the wonders of my inkjet printer…

Poulos on Taylor on Re-Structured University Education

James Poulos points to this Mark C. Taylor op-ed in the NyTimes on ending the university as we know it. The core of Taylor’s counterproposal to the currently balkanized world of graduate education is the following: 1. Restructure the curriculum, beginning with graduate programs and proceeding as quickly as possible to undergraduate programs. The division-of-labor…

State of Print

Resting at the heart of  State of Play (2009) is not so much the personal relationships of the characters – who are mostly forgettable save for Crowe’s Cal McAffrey – or the grand (and oddly relevant) political conspiracy involving the Blackwater imitator PointCorp, but rather the struggle facing the newspaper itself.   McAffrey, a rugged, rough-around-the-edges…

Look Back in Anger

I suspect the debate over torture, atomic weaponry, and morality is rapidly reaching the point of diminishing returns, but I did want to say one last thing on the subject before moving on. For the record, I do not think Truman (or Bush) is a Nazi; I do recognize that the decision to drop the…

Sunday Celebrity Spotting Roundup

Vancouver where I live is known is kind of the Canadian Hollywood as it were.  Lots of TV shows & movies are filmed here. But generally I don’t see the people on the street.  Once my wife and I got seated at a well known vegetarian restaurant here in the city next to David Duchovny…

Dirty, dirty hands.

“He orders the man tortured, convinced that he must do so for the sake of the people who might otherwise die in the explosions—even though he believes that torture is wrong, indeed abominable, not just sometimes, but always. . . . When he ordered the prisoner tortured, he committed a moral crime and he accepted…

One way forward for the West Bank

by max socol In the bowels of ED Kain’s most recent Israel prophecy, there’s a (pleasantly civil) debate swirling around the security implications of a West Bank withdrawal. As I mentioned there, it reminded me of speaking to Akiva Eldar, the Ha’aretz reporter and author whose anti-settlement politicking has made him a national star, of…

quote for the morning

Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. . . . The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives. . . .  ~ Charles Krauthammer Impermissible! I do not think…

A great headline…

A.O. Scott’s review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is headlined, “I, Mutant, Red in Face and Claw,” which I think is wonderful. It gets me wondering, though: do movie review headline writers have some kind of forum where they make sure they don’t accidently double up on puns? Because it sure would have been embarassing if…

War Crimes, Then and Now

In the course of a very thorough fisking of Michael Goldfarb’s latest attempt to justify torture, Julian Sanchez makes the rather banal observation that failure to prosecute war crimes in World War II doesn’t obviate the need to prosecute war crimes today. Goldfarb’s argument has never made a whole lot of sense to me, but…

Time to Pretend

One thing I like about the blogosphere is that everyone ignores the rituals and forms of establishment politics. To take a recent example, no one bothered to pretend that Arlen Specter switched parties for any reason other than naked self-interest. Banging out a predictable op-ed for the Times, on the other hand, requires a different…

revert to principle

 There’s been quite a conversation on imperialism abrewing. This is Louise-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis de Saint-Veran. A French war hero, he was the most successful of their generals fighting in the French and Indian war. Montcalm was a man of his time, back when imperialism was waged unapologetically, and my reading of his life doesn’t…

“blindingly stupid”

“So, the latest New York Times OP/ED page conservative affirmative action case has his debut editorial for the paper, and what is his trenchant analysis? It’s that the Republicans should have nominated Richard Milhaus Cheney as their presidential nominee in 2008.” ~ Matthew Saroff in a post titled “Ross Douthat is a F$#@ing Moron!”

Hate Crimes

The House is considering new legislation that, as best I can tell, provides state governments with grants for combating hate crimes and mandates additional penalties for criminal acts motivated by racial, religious or sexual animosity.  This is not a debate I’m very familiar with, and my political “team” – such as it is – generally…

The Right to Exist

Upon returning from her visit to the West Bank last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, ““For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-à-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts. They go hand in hand.” Clinton’s visit to…