Recommended Reading

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:

Would a default by the US government help America?

….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.

ShlokyLara 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.

WSJ (Evgeny Morozov)- The Digital Dictatorship (hat tip Adam Elkus)

….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.

FuturejackedSocionomic Trendspotting 2010 – The Gritty Reboot

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