Thought I’d start with a Point-Counterpoint theme and then go from there:
Food for thought for this community of readers and bloggers in particular. Burton deserves praise for getting the esteemed Tanji out of his usual, eliptical, IC blogger’s shorthand and into something closer to an actual essay
Reviving the rule-set theory discussion along with other normative political questions. I was tempted to jump into this one and then just backed away slowly and put the keyboard down.
This one is NOT “point-counterpoint”, simply two good, meaty, posts on Iraq and Afghanistan, the second one one by rookie Troy.
Patricia deftly reviews the extent to how badly the State Department is internally screwed up and beset by bureaucratic favortism in personnel policies. That being said, IMHO any major reforms at State need to be accompanied by increases in funding and personnel so that State can morph into a 21st century institution with effective, operational, IO and administrative capabilities to complement traditional diplomatic skills. A major project for the next president, if they can see the dire need.
I’ve attended lectures by David Kyvig on several occasions and found him to be a serious, careful and first rate scholarly mind. Here however, he is falling prey to the same sort of Boomer generational political and Constitutional assumptions that plague Robert Dallek, David Kaiser and many other liberal historians who came of age intellectually in that period. These assumptions do not have traction with people from previous or successive generations, at least not on the scale Boomers imagine they do, because the lack of emotive associations (or more accurately, different ones) cause them to consider other variables than the Boomers do.
You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch…..
At Jamestown. Scheuer writes:
Such talk signals how deeply mired Western leaders remain in Cold War thinking; they are trying to manage the Afghan war-not win it-and speak almost as if there was no aggressive, thinking and adaptable enemy opposing them. It is as if they are saying: “If we just get funding levels right, curtail corruption, increase troop strength marginally, and be patient, we will win. After all, the enemy is only a few unreconstructed ‘Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants’ and they will oblige us by giving us time to get our house in order.”
Well, no. The truth is that time is about up for the United States, and NATO in Afghanistan; they will soon have to choose between massively reinforcing their Afghan garrison-Minister Fitzgibbon’s 10,000 soldiers might be a one-twenty-fifth step toward a workable total-or withdraw ignominiously. The idea that the West is confronting only the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda is a beloved figment of the official Western imagination