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Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Nations have grievances.  Look at the Balkans, always fighting over some mid-fourteenth century slight.  But most leaders have the good sense to recognize that the rest of the world might find their problems slightly ridiculous.  Asif Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto and possessor of big enough balls to become famously corrupt in Pakistan – reflect, for a moment, on how corrupt you have to be in Pakistan for it even to be noticed – decides to take his issues to the Times.

But consider the history as seen by Pakistanis.  Twice in recent history America abandoned its democratic values to support dictators and manipulate and exploit us. In the 1980s, the United States supported Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq’s iron rule against the Pakistani people while using Pakistan as a surrogate in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. That decade turned our peaceful nation into a “Kalashnikov and heroin” society — a nation defined by guns and drugs.

Did he say “peaceful”? (more…)

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For the first seventeen years of the Peloponnesian War, Athens and Sparta fought to something of a draw.  Sparta dominated the land, but could not breach Athens’ walls.  Athens dominated the sea, but could not march inland with enough force to defeat Sparta.

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The First World War ended ninety-one years ago.

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Once upon a time, there was a hedge fund named Hermitage Capital.  Its head was Bill Browder, and it had the clever idea, back during the Yeltsin Administration, of investing Western capital in Russia.  It worked spectacularly well, until it didn’t:

Browder is a smart guy.  He made a lot of money and managed to get his money and his life out of the country, which would be reason enough for me to refrain from paying for Youtube videos naming the Russian government agents who defrauded me. (more…)

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Even as we wobble towards a coherent Afghanistan policy, Iran continues to be a massive thorn in our side.  What do we do when all of our options are terrible?

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Second and Crazy

When it comes to firearms, crazy is never crazy enough:

The Senate voted on Wednesday to allow Amtrak passengers to carry unloaded and locked handguns in checked baggage, even though Amtrak officials had raised concerns that the proposal could present “numerous challenges.”

The measure was sponsored by Roger Wicker (R-MS):

“Only the federally subsidized Amtrak prohibits law-abiding American citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights in checked baggage.”

Twenty-seven Democrats who undoubtedly know better but are terrified of the NRA voted for the measure. (more…)

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Undeterred by his own attorney general and common sense, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon intends to prosecute Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and David Addington (collectively, the “Bush Six”) for their role in providing the legal framework for Guantanamo:

On Saturday, however, Público reported that Judge Garzón had accepted a lawsuit presented by a number of Spanish organizations … and three former Guantánamo prisoners (the British residents Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes, and Sami El-Laithi, an Egyptian freed in 2005, who was paralyzed during an incident involving guards at Guantánamo).

Spain?  Welcome to Spain, Now Coup-Free for Twenty-Seven Years?  The nation that had a Fascist dictator until 1975?  Good work.

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Eight years.

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Warren Buffett, occupying the role of avuncular billionaire once held by Ross Perot before he turned out to be absolutely insane, has an article in the New York Times advocating a balanced budget.  At least, that’s what I think he is advocating; he runs from specifics with the dogged determination of Habermas:

Slowing them down will require extraordinary political will. With government expenditures now running 185 percent of receipts, truly major changes in both taxes and outlays will be required. A revived economy can’t come close to bridging that sort of gap…

Our immediate problem is to get our country back on its feet and flourishing — “whatever it takes” still makes sense. Once recovery is gained, however, Congress must end the rise in the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio and keep our growth in obligations in line with our growth in resources.

St. Augustine of Omaha. (more…)

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Brazil has announced that it wants the national oil company, Petrobras, to control all future deep-sea oil resource development.  Ever since Lazaro Cardenas nationalized Mexico’s oil reserves it has been the dream of oil-producing nations to control the wealth beneath their lands.

Two can play that game.  But it takes courage and communication, and I doubt our willingness to deploy either. (more…)

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