Skimming along quickly this evening after a night at the movies—a disappointing but thrilling Vantage Point (Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, Forest Whitaker) with a fatal plot flaw causing the disappointment. I won't ruin it for you, but it's a character imperfection based on Liberal wish fulfillment.
I love information that comes from the ground view. That's why whenever I see the name Nir Rosen as the author, I always read the piece. His latest, “The Myth of the Surge” is in Rolling Stone. It is a good corrective to the official party line that has been swallowed hook line and tin squid lure that the surge has been working. I recommend it very highly.
As I write the phrase “the official party line” I think to myself that this is what it must have been like for people in the Soviet Union before the first sprinklings of glasnost. Well, a bit of an exaggeration, we are not that far into the forest yet, and so I suppose my real situation is in more in tune with the late I.F. Stone: “All Governments Lie.”
More on that point later when I do some more discussion on Joe Stieglitz, and asymmetrical intelligence.
One of the concerns I have about the Democratic candidates centers around foreign policy. Of the two candidates (did Mike Gravel ever officially drop out of the race?), neither is able to say what they really intend to do. In campaigning, particularity on foreign policy is the death kiss. They fear alienating their supporters or a particular segment of potential voters, or they fear leaving themselves open to an attack of “swiftboating.” We are not going to be educated by the candidates themselves.
We can however, get an education from people like Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. Just listening to him is an education, but if you really want some realistic thinking about the current policy issues, listen to this interview with him on Antiwar Radio. Catch the interview here.
Scott Horton (“the other Scott Horton”) asks some leading questions and then has the sense to sit back and let Clemons talk. He is a valuable mentor, and if you have any interest in the US's place in the world, listen hard to what he says, particularly when he makes the point that the Bush Administration has diminished our place in the eyes of the world, and that we must understand that this has happened. He is particularly good in the second half when asked to comment on the foreign policy advisers that Barack Obama is relying on.
One anecdote stayed with me. Clemons recently visited China and asked one of his Chinese foreign policy people what China was up to. The answer? Something to the effect of “we are thinking up ways of distracting the United States with small Middle Eastern countries.”
Ain't it the truth!