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    Geostrategy

  • Informed Comment

    4 Things more Dangerous to Israel than Iran’s civilian Nuclear Enrichment

    By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s strident and continual harping on the alleged dangers of Iran to Israel’s security. Netanyahu has raised this issue repeatedly over the past 20 years, often predicting that Iran was as little as a year away from having a nuclear warhead. Decades later, it does not, and Israel is still there. Many observers believe that Netanyahu is performing as a magician does, trying to make the audience take its eye over the real sleight of hand by pointing in the direction of a distraction.There are, in fact, more pressing dangers to Israel than Iran’s nuclear reactors,Extensive and years-long investigations of Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program by the Internatio...more

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  • Informed Comment

    Palestine to take Israel to Int’l Criminal Court for War Crimes

    RT | –A Palestinian man stands at his makeshift shelter near the ruins of his house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, on a rainy day east of Gaza City February 19, 2015. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)Palestine’s first complaint against Israel’s alleged war crimes will be filed at the International Criminal Court in April, according to a senior Palestinian official. The issue will reportedly be related to the 2014 war in Gaza.“One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the [2014] Gaza war and settlement activity,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told AP on Monday.The Palest...more

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  • Informed Comment

    Gaza’s sole power plant to close as funding runs out

    GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s only power plant is due to shut down by the end of this week as donor funding for fuel in the coastal territory has run out, officials said.The energy and natural resource authority told Ma’an that the power plant had been using a Qatari grant to pay for diesel fuel to maintain operations.Gaza’s sole power station, which was damaged during the war, is struggling with a severe lack of fuel and is only able to supply the enclave with six hours of power per day.In July, Amnesty International said that there could be no justification for “targeting a civilian structure that provides crucial services to so many civilians.”“The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to G...more

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    Melhem on "The Twilight of Middle Eastern Christianity."

    My old friend Hisham Melhem has written some cogent columns recently for Al-Arabiya, but I particularly want to call your attention to his recent "The twilight of Middle Easter Christianity."It's lament for what the Middle East stands to lose as Christian communities dwindle, illuminated by personal anecdotes (Hisham's background is Lebanese Christian). I considered providing some excerpts but on reflection I think I should just encourage readers to click through and read the whole thing....more

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    Will Rising Inequality Being Unions Back?

    The art of the strike makes a US comeback in 2015.The business pages are now filled with stories you thought had gone out of fashion years ago: labor disputes are back with a vengeance. OK, so the level is nowhere near the peak, but compared to the past few years, there is definitely an upswing. It is only natural for unions to think that the long-term trend of declining membership--especially in developed countries--will be reversed during a time of rising inequality. After all, worker discontent is fueled by stagnant-to-declining wages juxtaposed with immense wealth generation as stock markets zoom away powered by cheap money. In a situation where the lion's share of returns goes to capital but not to labor, the unions see potential for resurgence.Me? I think that rat...more

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  • The World

    FT column: Vladimir Putin’s survival strategy is lies and violence

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    Gates of Nineveh on the Mosul Damage

    The Assyriology blog Gates of Nineveh has Part I of its assessment of the damage done by ISIS in Mosul.From the conclusion:It is worth noting that in 2003 around 1,500 smaller objects from the Mosul Museum were relocated to the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad in order that they may be better protected. Nevertheless, many statues otherwise too large or delicate to be moved remained. When it comes to the Assyrian artifacts, by far the most important losses are the lamassu at the Nergal Gate, one of which was exceedingly well preserved. They were some of the few lamassu left in their original locations to greet visitors to Nineveh the same way they would have greeted visitors in ancient Assyria. As for the items inside the museum, a number are replicas of originals held elsewher...more

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  • Moneybox

    Are You 30? Tinder Has Officially Decided You’re Old.

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  • The Fabius Maximus website

    A frontier of climate science: the model-temperature divergence

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  • Moneybox

    Overfunded Uber Will Sink Excess Money Into Print Magazine

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  • The Arabist

    Making fun of ISIS

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  • Moneybox

    If the Supreme Court Guts Obamacare, Republicans Might Just Keep It Alive

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  • Achenblog

    Why there’s no Silicon Valley in outer space

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  • The World

    Smart Reads 2 March 2015

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    Flashback 1996: Netanyahu Accuses Peres of Political Grandstanding for Visiting Washington the Month Beore an Election. I Guess Two Weeks Before an Election is Different.

    I will have only two comments at this point on Mr. Netanyahu's visit. Here's the first:The Associated Press, May 1, 1996:JERUSALEM (AP) _ Less than a month before Israel's presidential [sic] election, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Shimon Peres of exploiting his close relations with President Clinton and several Arab leaders to improve his chances for re-election. Netanyahu is Peres' only challenger in the May 29 vote. ``With all due respect, I want to say to Mr. Peres ... that foreigners do not decide the outcome of the Israeli elections, not the American government, the king of Morocco or Yasser Arafat,'' Netanyahu told parliament. The criticism came after Peres wrapped up a three-day U.S. visit during which he an...more

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  • The Arabist

    Recordings Suggest Emirates and Egyptian Military Pushed Ousting of Morsi

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  • The Fabius Maximus website

    Fears ‘R us. It makes us easy to rule.

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  • The World

    Israel cannot gain Sunni allies through fear of Iran alone

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    Hebei & Today's Super-Polluting, Overproducing China

    The Once-ler would feel right at home in Hebei.A significant part of the world-famous air pollution choking the Chinese capital of Beijing actually comes from nearby Hebei province. Hebei is a truly Dickensian place, with coal-fired plants blackening the skies, with additional help from steel mills, cement plants and more. The excesses of the industrial revolution never really left us; they just picked up sticks and moved to China. Given mounting concerns over pollution and overproduction, Hebei has been marked for dialing back of its dark, Satanic mills that manufacture hell on earth:Last year the province’s economy was one of China’s worst-performing, growing 6.5 percent, below its 8 percent target. Hebei’s mills produce some 25 percent of China’s ...more

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  • The Arabist

    Lure of the Caliphate by Malise Ruthven | NYRblog

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  • The Fabius Maximus website

    Review of “The World’s End”: fun boomer nostalgia.

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    Oscars for 2014 Films

    The Academy Award ceremonies are tonight and my wife and I have been using some of our leisure time these past few weeks to view nominated films and acting performances. Regular readers may recall that I saw only two of the films nominated for best picture during the 2014 calendar year. Until 2015, I didn't see many of the nominated acting performances either.In any case, based on my post-nomination efforts to see most of the contenders, I'm going to rank-order the films and acting performances. Obviously, this is my completely subjective perspective -- and not an ideal way to think about art. Plus, I can only rank the performances I watched. That is a big limit since I failed to see one of the Oscar-nominated Best Picture nominees and I've yet to see many of the actin...more

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    Escaping Decay: Japan Inc's Overseas Shopping Spree

    People used to fear Japan not so long ago, but now we have another situation.There is perhaps no better indication of limited prospects for Japan going forward than its firms investing everywhere but Japan. It is not exactly cheap to make foreign acquisitions at this point in time with the yen at a weak level, but then again, things may get worse as the government tries even harder to pump-prime the local economy. Caught between weak domestic demand and better prospects outside of Japan, many have opted to go abroad despite the rising costs of doing so:With shrinking prospects at home and the threat of further yen weakness, Japanese companies are rushing to buy overseas and seem willing to pay top dollar, as shown by Japan Post's $5 billion bid for Australia's Toll Hold...more

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  • China Matters

    Passport-Gate: Turkey’s Brewing Uyghur Passport Scandal

    Yesterday I speculatedthat the plethora of fraudulent Turkish passports showing up in the hands of Uyghur refugees could be attributed to the connivance of Turkish government elements.  The passports, after all, are smart-chipped biometric documents (in order to satisfy EU requirements as part of the Turkish admission campaign), and seem virtually impossible to forge without the participation of some quasi-official actor.I should also add that Malaysia, the primary channel for Uyghur refugees traveling to Turkey on faked documents, is also the world’s pioneer in biometric passports, having instituted the system in 1998.  It is also a primary channel for Uyghurs seeking refuge in Turkey.  It would seem unlikely that human trafficking of Uyghurs would re...more

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  • China Matters

    Curtain Coming Down on Erdogan’s Excellent Uyghur Adventure?

    To demonstrate that it’s possible, for me anyway, to acquire a lot of useful information in a short period of time via Twitter, I offer for your consideration this series of exchanges (with multipart tweets stitched together for continuity and clarity):Tweets From Aleppo ‏@halabtweets The whole northern countryside of #Aleppo is crawling with mercenaries/terrorists from Caucasus, Central Asia, and Chinese Ugyur. #Turkeychinahand (me)hmm. wonder if this tweeter knows stuff or just says stuff. Interesting to explore if any of Uyghurs given haven by Turkey have gone on to Syria with any kind of Turkish govt encouragement or knowledge.Christoph Germann ‏@newgreatgame  Chechens living in Turkey have been forced to go to Syria http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/...more

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  • Achenblog

    ‘Turing’s Cathedral’

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    The French Minister (Quai d’Orsay)

    The University of Louisville is currently in the midst of its annual French Film Festival. Unfortunately, two screenings of the film I've been most wanting to see, The French Minister (Quai d’Orsay), were canceled last night because of bad weather. The entire University was closed for extreme cold. Yesterday's 5 pm screening was supposed to be followed by a discussion with French professor Matthieu Dalle, and I'm hoping that will occur today at the 2 pm screening.Here's the film's synopsis from IMDB:Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is tall and impressive, a man with style, attractive to women. He also happens to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the land of enlightenment: France. With his silver mane and tanned, athletic body, he stalks the world stage...more

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    Fear and Technology

    In my graduate course, we've been talking a good deal about the role fear plays in international politics. Though war is on the decline and the risks of dying of terrorism are tiny for most North Americans, public policymakers continually invoke fears about other states or terrorist groups to promote preferred policies and to justify unnecessarily high levels of defense spending.In the February 2 edition of The Nation, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow discusses the role of information technology in fomenting fear. Basically, there's always bad news somewhere and our connectivity makes it possible to know about it:We don’t have less time than ever; on the contrary, life expectancy has steadily increased. What we have, at this latest point so far in human history, is more...more

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  • Achenblog

    Mega-droughts, geoengineering, alien contact: Notes from AAAS

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  • Macro and Markets

    The Meaning of Ukraine’s IMF Deal

    While today’s headlines focus on the truce agreement between Ukraine and Russia, a significant economic milestone was achieved yesterday with the IMF’s announcement that its staff has reached agreement with the government on a new four-year program. The Fund’s Board will likely consider the program next month. Whether or not the truce holds, the program is the core of western financial support for Ukraine. Is it enough? The program is for $17.5 billion, representing about $6 billion in new IMF financial commitments. This is somewhat misleading, because this amount is spread over four years, as compared to the two years remaining in the existing program it replaces. It appears that the amounts the IMF will disburse this year are broadly comparable to what they wer...more

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  • China Matters

    Did America Accidentally Give the World’s Most Powerful Cyberweapon to Terrorists?

    Next time Brian Williams or his carefully-coiffed successor assigns blame to some foreign actor for a cyberoutrage, I expect the “Cyber Threats Intelligence Integration Center to figure prominently in the coverage.According to AP (actually, according to AP’s Ken Dilanian, the notoriously obliging amanuensis  to the US security establishment ):White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel has concluded that cyberintelligence at the moment is bedeviled by the same shortcomings that afflicted terrorism intelligence before 9/11 — bureaucracy, competing interests, and no streamlined way to combine analysis from various agencies, the official said.The hack on Sony's movie subsidiary, for example, resulted in a variety of different analytical papers ...more

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    Arming Ukraine Would Be Folly

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  • Macro and Markets

    Greece: Let’s Make a Deal?

    Syriza’s victory in Greek elections yesterday, and the announcement this morning that they would rule in coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, all but ensures a confrontation between Greece and its European creditors over austerity and debt. While Greek markets have continued their sell-off on the result, 10-year yields near 8.9 percent are still down from earlier this month and well below earlier crisis levels. In line with these numbers, most market analysts believe a deal is likely that would avoid a Greek exit from the eurozone, noting some moderation of Syriza’s rhetoric in recent days and upcoming meetings with creditors. But what would such a deal look like? Greece and its creditors are so far apart, their perceptions of their negotiating le...more

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    Kissinger's "World Order"

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  • Macro and Markets

    Lessons from the Ruble’s Dive

    My thoughts on the ruble’s collapse are here. Three points to highlight in particular: Sanctions are a force multiplier. While oil is the dominant factor behind the ruble’s fall (see figure 1), western sanctions have taken away the usual buffers—such as foreign borrowing and expanding trade—that Russia relies on to insulate its economy from an oil shock. Over the past several months, western banks have cut their relationships and pulled back on lending, creating severe domestic market pressures. The financial system has fragmented, and any doubts that the central bank fully backs bank liabilities will lead to a run. Nonetheless, political pressures on the central bank remain intense. In fact, it was news of a central bank bailout of Rosneft that apparently trig...more

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    What Tom Friedman's Interview Revealed About Obama's Foreign Policy

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  • The Moor Next Door

    New World Politics Review Piece

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    Farewell

    In memoriam: Gary S. Becker, 1930-2014. The Becker-Posner blog is terminated. Richard A. Posner

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  • The Moor Next Door

    The Army and the Status Quo

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  • The Moor Next Door

    RND Sketch

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    Sabbatical Notice

    Starting this weekend, we will be taking a one-month sabbatical from blogging. We will resume at the end of that period.

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    The Embargo of Cuba: Time to Go- Becker

    The US embargo of Cuba began in 1960, a year after Fidel Castro turned this island toward communism. It was extended to food and medicines in 1962, the same year as the showdown with Russia over the installation of missiles there. The embargo has prevented American companies from doing business with Cuba, and discouraged tourism to Cuba. The American government also tried with quite limited success to prevent other countries from trading with Cuba. In general economic embargoes are undesirable because they interfere with free trade among countries. Yet a case could be made for an embargo against Cuba. Castro not only allowed Russian missiles to be installed in Cuba, just 90 miles from Florida, but was also actively trying to interfere in other countries by sending troop...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    Can the F-35 Replace the A-10?

    by Nickolai Sukharev  One of the big decisions the United States Air Force has considered over the last few months is whether to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet as a cost saving measure while developing and procuring the F-35A Lightening II. Given the Budget Control Act caps on Pentagon spending and the need to better allocate funds, officials have expressed their preference to prioritize multi-mission platforms in the inventory. But the problem is that the F-35A is not a replacement for the A-10’s close air support. The reason is simple: it lacks comparable capabilities despite a higher operating cost. Given the constrained budgetary environment, the comparative cost to maintain and operate the two aircraft should be a decisive consideration. The A-10 is a...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    After Geneva Talks A Consensus on Moving Forward

    By Homa Hassan The two-day round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran just concluded in Geneva and Western diplomats are carefully reviewing a detailed proposal presented by Iran. As this proposal is being reviewed ahead of the follow-on meetings in November it is important to look at what the realistic prospects of a deal will look like. Going into this week’s talks, a number of commentaries came out attempting to set negotiations up for failure. However, it is widely agreed that a negotiated solution to Iran’s controversial nuclear program is the best way to achieve a sustainable solution and a recent survey of reports and recommendations from bipartisan think tanks and high-level experts demonstrates a broad consensus on how to approach negotiations a...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    TPP, TTIP and Getting America's Competitiveness Back on Track

    By Marcela Heywood Last week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia marked further progress for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and set an ambitious goal to finish negotiations by the end of the year. Although the U.S. government shutdown – and President Obama’s absence in Bali – did not hinder the trade talks, it did call America’s credibility into question. Government shutdown could threaten both TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations by displaying uncertainty in U.S. economic and foreign policy priorities. Congress needs to reach an agreement and prioritize TPP and TTIP, as they are necessary policy initiatives to boost American competitiveness, stimulate the economy, and exert soft power to cr...more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Why US Financial Hegemony Will Endure

    Will and I have a piece, now ungated, over at a fantastic new online magazine called Symposium. Our article translates much of the main points of our Perspectives Piece (co-authored with Thomas and Andy Pennock) for popular consumption. We are also blogging over there this week in support of the article. Please do check out our writing this week on the magazine's website, as well as the other great content on the site....more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Foreign Direct Investment, Human Rights, INGOs

    One of the major areas of underdeveloped research within political science is the interaction between non-state actors. From an international political economy perspective, the literature has largely ignored the interaction of various non-state actors that are growing in importance, and its effects on different forms of trade. In a recently published article "Avoiding the Spotlight: Human Rights Shaming and Foreign Direct Investment" by Colin Barry, Chad Clay and Michael Flynn, they lay the foundation for examining this interaction. They examine the interaction between non-state actors (INGOs) and multinational corporations (MNCs) and the extent to which private actors' choices to invest in countries are affected by the reputational costs of doing business in those...more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Verizon, Vodafone, and Measuring FDI

    Recently back from APSA in Chicago, I've been reflecting on the state of our knowledge about FDI (or perhaps more accurately, cross-border management stakes in enterprises). That, and working on my dissertation, applying for academic jobs, and teaching. Oh, and telling everyone who'll listen about my Optimus Prime sighting on Michigan Ave.Anyway, I find a post-conference review of the discipline is generally a good way to consider potentially fruitful lines of new inquiry. In my experience, the quality of papers at conferences can be rather hit-or-miss. This generally fits into my view of conferences as important sources of external deadlines for getting drafts done as well as interacting with other scholars in more informal settings such as the hotel bar/lobby/over-cro...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Why Defining Terrorism Matters

    This is a guest post by Karolina Lula, a PhD student at Rutgers-Newark.---------------The terrorism industry has grown exponentially since 9/11.  Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, a plethora of terrorism scholars eagerly spoon out their collective wisdom.  The chance to be included in the over-caffeinated media spotlight justifies decades cooped up in small offices pouring over data. In a certain respect, terrorism scholars mirror their subject.  They both love an audience.              Despite their growing presence in the media, academics fail to persuade others about what terrorism is in the first place.  Language evolves and academia is only one source of influence.  T...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Planning to be Shocked

    One of the most repeated, and most dubious, axioms about strategy is the notion that being proactive is wiser than being reactive, and that reactivity is something we should be allergic to. In the words of Briain's foreign secretary William Hague, 'the nation that is purely reactive in foreign policy is in decline.' Likewise, written into the folklore of the US foreign policy establishment is the notion that the 'strategic shocks' that struck America - such as Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor or 9/11 - happened because Washington was passively sleeping. A quick read of Presidential speeches on the anniversary of that attack shows how powerful the creed of active vigilantism lives on, even if it doesn't power all of America's day to day behaviour.Never mind that a...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Quick Note

    If you haven't been seeing any posts for a few months, that's because we moved to http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/. Some readers have informed us that the redirect may not be behaving for some subset of RSS feed readers. If that's the case, you can subscribe to the new feed at http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/?feed=rsshttp://whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/?feed=rss...more

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  • Political Animal

    Wednesday's Mini-Report

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  • Political Animal

    The need for partisan cover

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  • Political Animal

    House rebuffs Boehner, scraps F-35 Jet Engine Program

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Richard Wood Richard Wood

Richard has published papers on wages policy, the taxation of financial arrangements and macroeconomic issues in Pacific island countries. Views expressed in these articles are his own and may not be shared by his employing agency. He is the author of How to Solve the European Economic Crisis: Challenging orthodoxy and creating new policy paradigms