As we hurtle to the end of the semester, here are some stories for the week that caught my eye:
- Felix Salmon on why wonk bloggery is the future of journalism
- From Kyle Dropp and co-authors, Americans who can't find Ukraine on the map are more likely to support intervention there. What does this say about low information voters?
- Kim Yi Dionne and coauthor review the strange raid of a US-funded AIDS effort by Ugandan authorities as part of the emergent state-backed homophobia campaign
- Rich Cincotta pours cold water on the idea that food prices drove the Arab Spring: local prices didn't increase that much
- Seymour Hersh suggests that Turkey might have been behind the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, as an attempt to draw the U.S. in
While Amanda is a glutton for punishment with both ISA and Midwest appearances, my wife and I are tag-teaming it - ISA for me and Midwest for her. In between diaper changes, Finding Nemo, and oatmeal, here is what I'm reading. Cambridge refuses to publish book on Putin for fear of libel, the IPCC Fifth Assessment report on climate change impacts is out, Japan cancels a whale hunt after ICJ ruling, China bags clean mountain air, no climate change at this year's G20, and more.
Greetings from Toronto. In advance of tonight's OAIS blogging awards gathering at 7:15pm in Sheraton Ballroom C, the Duck non-collective collective got together for a pre-soiree soiree. Folks were in good from. For many of us, it was the first chance for us to ever meet in person.
For me, this is a quick trip, as I'm headed back this am after a busy day of panels, the business meeting of the new ISA section on global health, and a lovely dinner sponsored by Bridging the Gap. With a toddler at home and a busy spring of travel, this Duck is needed to tag team on the toddler front before my wife heads to Midwest next week. Before I go, here are a few reads that caught my eye. Bob Gates on Ukraine, expats fleeing Beijing's bad air, new WHO report on deaths from air pollution, debates about the climate coverage at the new 538, and more.
With Crimea's secession and accession drama still unfolding, we wait with baited breath about whether we will bear witness to yet another war (Kimberly Marten's post on the Monkey Cage is sobering). Sure hard to believe that Steven Pinker is right with Syria blazing, the Central Africa Republic aflame, and Ukraine and Russia poised for conflict.
More parochially, I've been reading the story, perhaps apocryphal of the female job candidate whose negotiations for a job led to the school rescinding the offer. I've also been followed additional debates about underrepresentation of women in foreign policy and whether academics have anything to say. Krugman had some choice words for Nate Silver's new enterprise, reminding us of the importance of theory.
We're on spring break here in Austin, Texas so this will be a
short post as I'm just back from some SXSW events (trying to steer clear of the drunk drivers). Mostly, I'll link to some news from the blogosphere, including changes at the Monkey Cage (4 new additions) and Foreign Policy (Drezner and Lynch depart). I also link to some good exchange on RCTs and Bill Easterly's new book on experts and development. Oh, and Les Gelb goes off on all parties with respect to Ukraine (Crimea secession/join Russia referendum this weekend!). I'm also including a playlist of the bands I've seen at SXSW which I hope to add to.
Okay Ducks, here are your links from South Asia and Beyond!
- Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the Vice President of Afghanistan, has died of natural causes at age 57. Marshal Fahim fought along side the Lion of Panjshir, Ahmad Shah Massoud, during the Soviet Occupation. After Massoud's assassination, Fahim led the Northern Alliance against the Taliban during the American invasion in 2001. He became the Defense Minister in the transitional Afghan government under Karzai. Human rights advocates frequently labeled him as a "notorious warlord," but the Government of India at least viewed him as a close friend and ally.
- Swapan Dasgupta asks, "Will Narendra Modi be painted as India's Putin?" (The post itself is rather stupid but provides some insights into Hindu nationalist thinking/fantasizing.)
- India, the world's biggest arms importer, is still talking about creating its own weapons systems. Oy vey! Didn't they read Cohen and Dasgupta?
- Despite starting from a very low base, Japan is looking to increase its bilateral trade and investment in India.
- The anti-corruption Aam Admi Party (AAP) of India has inspired a party by the same name in Pakistan. (Of course, neither party will actually make much dent in corruption, which (to paraphrase Akhil Gupta) is the force that binds the branches of the state and bureaucracy together.)
In the all Ukraine all the time edition of the Duck, here are some essential reads from this week. Will ad more in a bit.
- Dan Nexon channeling his inner Henry Kissinger on the Monkey Cage
- Henry Kissinger channeling his inner Henry Kissinger in the WaPo
- Joshua Rovner on why Russia's intervention in Ukraine is a blunder
- What will Germany, one of Russia's main trading partners, do?
- Obama administration issues new sanctions
- Crimea prepares for a snap referendum in 10 days on secession
- Bob Gates tells Republican critics of Obama and Ukraine policy to cool it
- Hillary unhelpfully compares Putin to Hitler (see Kissinger above)
- Lindsey Graham even more unhelpful on Twitter
This duck is a bit under water these days. We've reached the mid-semester pre-spring break moment of high activity and low energy (warm weather and SXSW beckon). In the meantime, I've flagged a few stories, a great Economist round-up on the health of the oceans (not good), a post by Chris Bertram on the changing face of blogging (more corporate, less fun), Rosa Brooks tells Sheryl Sandberg to take a hike (lean back, don't lean in), the air quality is so bad in Beijing that (the dogs wear masks) and more...
Good morning Ducks, here are your links from South Asia... (I am not even going to pretend I know what's going on in the Ukraine, Syria, Somalia, or Venezuela. I'll stick to what I sort of know...).
Vasundhara Sirnate at The Hindu writes passionately in defence of the offensive. While Indian liberals will (rightfully) continue to be upset at Penguin India's capitulation to the so called "offended" feelings of a small and obscure group of Hindu fanatics, the liberals fail to realize that the increasing pressure to censor and protect the sentiments of various religious communities is actually just an extension of the dominant state ideology, what Manjari Chatterjee Miller labelled as "Post-Imperial Ideology" in her recent book Wronged by Empire. Miller argues that Indian prickliness (in international relations) toward perceived slights in status and Indians' desire to consistently frame relations in terms of victimizers and victims is a major legacy of the trauma of colonialism. So perhaps it should not surprise us that in the domestic arena, the work of a brilliant (foreign) scholar of Hinduism can be painted as little more than an attempt to humiliate and offend pious Hindus. India will need to change more than its censorship policies (which are actually pointless in a digital age), it will need to change its hegemonic ideology -- which is of course highly unlikely. In the meantime, the lesson for foreign scholars and foreign diplomats is clear: speaking boldly in India will result in little more than squabbles in which the foreigner is accused of deliberately seeking to humiliate the Indian state or people.
- Arwin Rahi at the Diplomat argues that Afghanistan must recognize the Durand Line as its permanent border with Pakistan. Rahi is at least correct that Afghanistan needs to come to terms with this boundary -- because for better or worse South Asia has inherited Westphalian definitions of statehood, but if anyone thinks that Afghan recognition of the border will end Pakistani efforts at influencing the character of the regime in Afghanistan, they are forgetting the broader strategic orientation of the Pakistani military.
- Javid Husain at the Nation (Pakistan) calls for national reconciliation in Afghanistan to avoid a civil war. Unsurprisingly, he claims that the Afghan Constitution should be modified to meet the "reasonable" demands of the Taliban. Umm... right. Moving on... He also says that Karzai has displayed a "belated eagerness" to reach a deal with the Taliban, which indicates that the author was mentally on hiatus for the last decade. Despite the howlers, the article may indicate that there is at least a faction in Pakistan that would settle for using the Taliban as a kind of veto player (as opposed to seeking outright hegemony) in post-Karzai Afghanistan.
Good morning. Here are your links ...
This Duck spent the day in the car en route to the Brazilian consulate in Houston to get visas for a summer field course so I'm running behind in my linkage for the week. In the car, I had the amazing experience of listening to an audioversion of The Idealist, Nina Munk's magisterial account of Jeff Sachs and the Millennium Villages Project. I'm moderating a conversation with Ms. Munk on Monday. For those of you who follow debates in international development, I found her take on Sachs to be quite measured, far more nuanced than the media accounts I had read. At times, I found myself admiring Sachs and at other times was amazed by his naivete. Throughout, I was enthralled by the access Munk had to pull off the enterprise. I'll have more to say about it after Monday...
In the meantime, the Winter Olympics have started! Here is some news to accompany what promises to be a weird sporting event, given the live tweets of journalists who found their rooms in disarray, the campaign to kill stray dogs, a blockade on U.S. yogurt, the anti-gay laws, and the specter of terrorism. On top of that, the U.S. ambassador to Russia announced that he is done after Sochi. More curious, a call by the Deputy Undersecretary of State and the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine was leaked on YouTube. At least the skiing and snowboarding tonight was fantastic.
Howdy. Here are your Monday links...
Your humble blogger (I like saying that. Now that Dan Drezner no longer has a blog [sniff], I will say it for him)...Your humble blogger is in London, and after a red eye flight, a noon presentation, ten hours of a sleep coma, another presentation, I'm ready to provide you with your latest in belated Thursday links. Themes this week (surprise!) - HIV/AIDS spending, conservation, pollution, GDELT lives!
Hi Ducks. Here are your Monday links:
- The Disorder of Things has a great post on "Cavity Searches in Intern(ation)al Relations" and ... umm... other forms of intercourse between states.
- Hamza Saif at Chapati Mystery reviews "Globalism and Vernacular in Contemporary Pakistani Rap." (Apparently the real Slim Shady is Pakistani. Who knew?)
- Juan Cole at Informed Comment explains "Why Tunisia's Transition to Democracy is Succeeding while Egypt's is Failing."
- Max de Haldevang at the LA Review of Books discusses Kyrgyzstan and the Uzbeks. De Haldevang writes, "Since 2010, Kyrgyzstan has celebrated Central Asia’s first electoral transfer of power, the creation of a progressive constitution, and the installation of a government that misses no opportunity to underline how they are residing over the region’s first parliamentary democracy. A reasonably boisterous civil society has developed, the media is relatively free — although word is that journalists’ support is easily bought — and, uniquely for the region, the leader is not an autocrat." But it's not all good news in Bishkek...
As sleet and ice descend upon Austin, Texas this Thursday evening, here are some stories in keeping with this wackadoo weather. Rick Perry and weed at Davos with Kofi Annan, Downton Abbey goes on safari, Putin warns gays to stay away from kids, GDELT goes dark, and scientific findings that may be flashes in the pan...
Good mornin' Ducks! Here are your links:
- Oliver Steunkel discusses "The Death of IMF Reform?" at the Post-Western World Blog. The US Congress' rejection an IMF funding request by the Obama administration "... leaves the 188-nation group without additional resources and blocks an increase in voting power for China, India, Brazil and other emerging markets."
- Stephen Harner explains "Why China's ADIZ is Necessary" at the China-US Focus blog. He argues, "The calculation and timing of China’s move may also evidence a reluctant realization that military-to-military dialogue with the United States was proving fruitless in achieving any reduction in provocative U.S. surveillance operations in the East China Sea... At the strategic level, China’s establishment of a clear ADIZ has been made necessary by the Obama administration’s military power focused “rebalance” (or “pivot”) to Asia."
- Stuart Elden critiques and interprets the notion of territory and human predation in the work of Grégoire Chamayou at the Funambulist. Chamayou contrasts Foucault's icon of pastoral power, the shepherd, with the hunter of men. In Chamayou's notion of cynegetic power, "Instead of leading the flock, the hunter follows to seize; it is a territorial power, but one that fluctuates between the fixed space of the city and the exterior, a power that is 'not limited in its predatory extent by any external boundary. It is exercised, from a territory of accumulation, on the resources of an indefinite exteriority.'"
- Lauren Harper at Unredacted enumerates "The 'Top 10' Surveillance Lies Edward Snowden's Leaks Shed 'Heat and Light' Upon."
Apologies for the delayed linkage. This Duck has been in flight all day and just landed (insert joke here...). I'm attending the launch of the new AidData Research Consortium (ARC), which is a USAID funded research effort to use geospatial data on foreign assistance to ask and answer interesting questions. My bit is related to disasters and humanitarian assistance. I'll have more to write on the topic soon.
It's been quite a newsy week, aside from the Chris Christie drama on the domestic front (time for some traffic problems ...). On the foreign policy front, former SecDef Bob Gates' memoir is all the rage. Colin Kahl and Matt Kroenig are back at it in Foreign Affairs on the folly and wisdom of attacking Iran. Bill Easterly and Chris Blattman size up the study of development in light of Nina Munk's takedown of Millennium Villages. The National Security Archive released important documents about the Rwandan genocide. China's foreign health minister comes to grips with the country's pollution crisis that is one of the leading causes of death. New person to head PEPFAR and US HIV/AIDS initiative. And, how blue fin tuna went from cat food to sushi delicacy to near extinction. Links aplenty below...
Hi, Ducks! Happy New Year! I'm back after a semester wandering across northern India. Did you miss me? Well, here are your links anyway...
We're going to kick of 2014 right with our morning linkage. I'd like to say the stories coming out from around the world are festive and joyful, but I suppose the habit in the profession is to be drawn to difficult news from around the world.
Here are some interesting stories that caught my eye this week. The New York Times ran an extended story trying to come to grips with the real reasons for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Abdul Mohammed and Alex de Waal, experienced hands when it comes to South Sudan, provide their take on what's gone wrong there. And will Russia's efforts to ward off disaster in the Olympics work? Finally, there may be some good news out there on the conservation front for once!
Well, I hope you survived the crush of end of term and then the crush of family and holiday stuff, if you are in to that kind of thing. In the meantime, if you stepped away from the media, what did you miss? Well, South Sudan is on the brink while the Central African Republic may be stepping back from it. Syria remains an awful mess, with winter being a desperate time for IDPs and refugees. There are some unexplained dolphin deaths and more difficult conservation news so time to re-double our efforts at understanding and problem-solving of all sorts in the new year. Here are some stories to get you thinking...