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Questions From the Headlines

When headline writers use questions, Burt Likko answers them. Briefly, completely, and unabashedly expressing his own opinion. Ten questions about politics, the business of news, news of business, and grizzly bears.

A Hagelian Dialectic

Via Shane Harris, on the resignation of defense secretary Chuck Hagel: “Hagel wasn’t brought in to tackle these crises, and some defense sources say he simply wasn’t up to it. The presumption at the beginning of his tenure was that he would be a drawdown defense secretary—something that world events ultimately wouldn’t allow.” These last…

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Casus Contendentes (Now With Update)

Burt Likko wonders whether, despite the unmitigated human rights awfulness that is the nascent would-be state forming in northern Iraq, swallowing our idealism and adopting a strategy of economic containment wouldn’t be a more practical alternative to making war against ISIS.

UPDATE: Reaction to President Obama’s address of September 10.

Sketching Out States in Fantasy: Two Cases from Avlis

As promised here are two cases from Avlis of magic equipped societies. I will begin with a (moderately) short description of each state, then compare the place of magic and its political economy. This post is meant as a sketch, with further development and detail to be presented based on comments received. If there are…

A Theoretical Case for a Romney Presidency From a Foreign Policy PoV.

Over at Blinded Trials the esteemed Dr. Saunders has a post up about how W. Mitt Romney, much like John McCain before him, has managed to alienate potential voters with his mendacity and pandering to the Republican base. In response to said post Jaybird says: There is a part of me that is vaguely troubled by the…

Sketching a National Security State Saner Than Today

As my isolation from the chattering classes continues, I’m inclined to go into hypotheticals and counter-factuals. One such hypothetical I returned to over the past few days is the following: What would a saner (but necessarily flawed) national security state look like? A handful of disclaimers before I provide my ruminations. First, this exercise is…

There Was No Civil Liberties Mandate

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has a widely read explanation of why he cannot, on moral grounds, do as he did in 2008 and vote for Barack Obama. It’s a long piece and it’s not structured as an essay so much as a series of interrelated but independent criticisms; in general, Friedersdorf is outraged by…

Conflicting Accounts of Obama’s Foreign Policy Achievements

Andrew Sullivan wants Obamaites to more aggressively tout the President’s foreign policy achievements: “I think the Obamaites need to be more aggressive in foreign policy arguments. Obama ended one war in Iraq, dispatched Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi without a single US casualty, re-set relations with Russia, brought unprecedentedly united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential, wiped…