Top Billing! Instapundit & Fabius Maximus - First, Glenn Reynolds
SO HERE’S A QUESTION: Would a default on Treasuries accomplish what the Balanced Budget Amendment was supposed to achieve, by forcing the government to spend no more than it takes in? With more collateral damage, of course. . . .
Then Fabius Maximus responds with this very important post:
….There are no easy or certain solutions. We have to work our problems carefully, in the correct sequence, aware of trade-offs. I believe a default – in any form – is not necessary at this time. Nor will it be if we act quickly and wisely. The costs of default would be large and avoidable if feasible.
The chief problem we face today is a weak economy, and the risk of a double-dip recession (historically quite common). In the third year of this recession the reserves at all levels are drained – households, businesses, and governments. We are weak, as was the world in a physical sense after WWI - vulnerable to the 1918 influenza. Another downturn might be worse than the first. Should the economy weaken from here, failure to promptly enact another stimulus program might have cataclysmic – even historic – consequences
Too often, discussions of foreign policy and military strategy are divorced from economic realities. Debt financing deternines the current outlier of using American power. This could change if we change our fiscal and monetary policies, but right now, operations are largely debt-financed, like government spending in general.
Shloky – Lara M. Dadkhah On CAS = FAIL
Lara M. Dadkhah, a graduate student in Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, has written the most brain-dead op-ed I’ve read on the war in Afghanistan in years. It’s an infantile perspective on a complex dynamic. Lots of cheerleading, no insight.
An epic slam, and quite deserved. There was a lot of online speculation as to who the author was, given the minimal available info online about “Lara M. Dadkah”, but I have seen a highly credible person vouch for her as his former student, so she was not a “sock puppet”
or a character with a hidden agenda. It was simply a mediocre op-ed by an employee of Booz Allen.
….It’s easy to see why a world in which young Iranians embrace the latest technology funded by venture capitalists from Silicon Valley, while American diplomats sit back, sip tea and shovel the winter snow on a break from work, sounds so appealing. But is such a world achievable? Will Twitter and Facebook come to the rescue and fill in the void left by more conventional tools of diplomacy? Will the oppressed masses in authoritarian states join the barricades once they get unfettered access to Wikipedia and Twitter?
This seems quite unlikely. In fact, our debate about the Internet’s role in democratization-increasingly dominated by techno-utopianism-is in dire need of moderation, for there are at least as many reasons to be skeptical. Ironically, the role that the Internet played in the recent events in Iran shows us why: Revolutionary change that can topple strong authoritarian regimes requires a high degree of centralization among their opponents. The Internet does not always help here. One can have “organizing without organizations”-the phrase is in the subtitle of “Here Comes Everybody,” Clay Shirky’s best-selling 2008 book about the power of social media-but one can’t have revolutions without revolutionaries.
Futurejacked – Socionomic Trendspotting 2010 – The Gritty Reboot
….Rest assured, the mob, whether led by NY Attorney General Cuomo, some upstart in Congress that we have not yet heard much of or some Federal DA, will get back to the bankers. The end result will not be pretty. People will want scalps and these jokers are the most blind scions of privilege seen strutting and preening on the world stage since the French Revolution.
SWJ Blog (William McCallister) – The Men Who Would Govern Marjah
….While simple cause and effect narratives make for good reading, cultural complexity is inseparable from the study of cause and effect, especially in a place like Marjah. We continually espouse what we believe ought to happen but rarely how a given political or economic initiative might actually play itself out within a given cultural context. What might the Afghan approach to gaining a foothold in Marjah look like? How might the landowners, merchants and farmers, civil administrators, leaders of the Afghan National Army (ANA), local police, local fighters, and allies of the Taliban interact with one another? How might the imposition of government authority in Marjah play itself out? How might elements of the ANA and police support government administrators in imposing a central authority?
New Atlanticist (Dr. James Joyner) - The (New) German Question
Steven Pressfield - Writing Wednesdays #27: “Help!”
Don Vandergriff – Sun Tzu and America’s Way of War
Scholar’s Stage – Musings – How We Ought To Think About History