Well, this semester is off to a brisk start, and I can't say I'm fully recovered yet from #APSAOnFire, though the subsequent events near AU added considerable intrigue to what transpired. I watched the president's speech on ISIS tonight, and I think my wife summed it up best, he looked like he wanted to give the speech about as much as we wanted to hear it. I think Jeffrey Goldberg summed it up best when evoked the Godfather and Obama's desperate efforts to extricate the United States from the Middle East to no avail. However pedestrian the speech, at least Obama did not hype the threat to the United States from ISIS, as many o' armchair analyst are wont to do. As others noted, it's kind of amazing that Russia's transgressions in Ukraine are second fiddle to this.
In any event, I'm aiming to have something more to say on the NYTimes expose on think tanks in the service of foreign governments. In the meantime, let me link away to those who beat me to the punch as well as more on Steven Sailata's pre-firing at Illinois (including a statement from APSA), Kissinger's new book, more bad news on climate change and Ebola. I'm on a bit of a good global news slump, and it's a bit hard to take respite in cool findings from political science (though this one with an experiment and aid allocation by my colleagues and collaborators with AidData is pretty cool). that said, the upcoming people's climate march on September 21st is giving me cause for some optimism. By the way, many of you have probably got the TRIPS survey in your email so time to have your opinions counted...
Potpourri this week with Micah Zenko on the tendency for mission creep in humanitarian interventions and other U.S. military missions, Marc Lynch pushing back on whether arming the Syria rebels would have worked, story on ISIS' capture of the Mosul Dam and an interesting twist on water and security challenges, bad air in China (I'm shocked) and the challenges the country is finding tapping its shale gas reserves, and, finally, why the lead Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola didn't get the experiment treatment.
In the wake of the latest Gaza military intervention by the Israeli government, the liberal Jewish diaspora appears to be coalescing quite significantly around the view that, as awful as Hamas' rockets and ideology are, the current Israeli government's actions in Gaza are immoral and unwise.
I start with a link to celebrated Israeli writer David Grossman and a column he wrote for the Times. From the Jewish diaspora, there are important pieces this week by Jonathan Chait, Ezra Klein, Peter Beinart, Michael Walzer, Mira Sucharov, Roger Cohen, Jonathan Freedland, Sam Sussman, and Adam Dembowitz that echo aspects of this perspective. They go beyond the current military campaign to talk about the occupation, settlements, and the ways that the current Israeli government has undermined Palestinian moderates and made a two-state solution less likely. Links and extracts below, plus a re-up of a Tony Judt piece.
This past week has been a doozy for awful international news, and I've been thinking about a post on Gaza, another on Russia, possibly a third on immigration, or staying in my lane of expertise by commenting on wildlife conservation, the environment, and public health.
Well, Thursday is upon us, and I've taken the path of least resistance for now. There are far too many good pieces out there worth a read on all fronts. So, read on for links and comments on the long TNR piece on the failed Israeli-Palestine peace negotiations, Joshua Rovner's optimistic take on Putin's self-defeating actions, and a mix of other stories, South Africa's possible desperate relocation of rhinos from Kruger before they are hunted to extinction.
I'm ready to move on from Brazil and football/soccer news. Really I am. Here are some links related to climate change and I've thrown in a link to Will Moore's post about using satellite rain data rather than rain gauge data to track rainfall (the latter may be subject to variation due to conflict. Hard to collect rain gauge data in conflict zones!). In other news, Australia votes to repeal carbon tax, while lots of action afoot to deal with emissions from autos, HFCs, impacts, etc.
I'm so glad the semester is over so I can leave Friday to head to Brazil for a three week short course with my colleague Eugene Gholz. The topic is
the World Cup "Rising Powers and Global Governance." We have reprised our 2010 edition of our South Africa short course (notice the pattern). I'm hopeful I'll be able to provide some flavor from our trip as we have an exciting series of meetings with government officials, scientists, academics, practitioners, diplomats, activists, and members of the business community.
We're focused on three main themes, the environment, public health, and the economy, and we have stops in Rio, the Amazon city of Belém, and the capital Brasilia. I'm hopeful that the trip is eventful but drama-free, as my wife and two-year old will be joining me in short order. In preparation for this trip, we've put together a hell of a syllabus. I'll post a version of it soon from the road. In the meantime, we identified a few Brazil-centric readings as teaser articles for our students to whet their appetites as we head down. I'm linking to some of them here.
I think everyone is waiting, wondering if the World Cup will come off without a hitch. The preparations seem to be belabored and late. The population is restive, with corruption, cost overruns, and the lack of accountability making this soccer-mad but highly unequal country question whether the Cup was the right way to spend the nation's money. There are thousands of squatters occupying lands right near the São Paulo football stadium, and today marks a day of simultaneous protests against the World Cup across 50 cities. There are questions about whether the country has the appetite or even the ability to pull off the Olympics on top of the World Cup, with preparations lagging way behind. On top of all this, it's an election year, with national elections scheduled for October and the Workers' Party Dilma Rousseff running for re-election. It should be an interesting time!
Editor's note: this post first appeared on my personal blog.
Apologies for the missing linkage from last week. I took a team of students to DC to present to policymakers the key findings from my year-long course on climate change and the major economies (see the embedded video at the bottom). The timing was opportune because this was a big week for climate policy. Thousands of world leaders gathered in Abu Dhabi to prepare for the UN Secretary General's fall meeting on the topic. China appears poised to crack down on polluters. Though air pollution is the primary target, there may be potential co-benefits for the climate.
Here at home, the U.S. scientific community released a major report documenting the effects of climate change already buffeting the United States. Seizing on that report, the Obama administration redoubled its effort to change the political narrative in this country. Jon Huntsman weighed and encouraged the GOP to come around on climate. Meanwhile, the campaign to force universities to divest their fossil fuel holdings landed their first major achievement when Stanford agreed to divest from coal. Read on for links to these stories and more.
Editor's note: this post originally appeared on my personal blog. It contains some links to posts that appeared here at the Duck.
1. An interview with
Editor's note: this post previously appeared on my personal blog. I've been doing links posts on Tuesdays over there for a while now, so I guess I might as well start cross-listing them.
With the tale end of this semester bearing down on me, this Duck is barely keeping his head above water. Fortunately, time has stopped and nothing has happened in the world. Ukraine is fine (no more Russian incursions). The global environment has put the threat of major disruption from climate change on pause. It's clear skies in Beijing. All the poachers of wildlife around the world have dropped dead. I wish. Read on for what's really happening.
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.