Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Where I stand
1) Lebanon - don't really care too much. Israel probably overreacted, but so what? Thousands die in an African country in a week and there is a back page story, while if you are a Jew or killed by a Jew it has far greater significance? Well, of course it does matter more, but not that much more (at least to me). Lebanese Christians are economically productive, they'd be a good refugee group for most countries to absorb.
2) Iran - Don't take the rants literally. No need to invade right now, but keep all options open. Rattle enough to make the bluff seem quasi-credible.
3) Syria - Try and keep the Alawites in power. We've got a sectarian melee in Iraq, no need for one in Syria.
4) Iraq - Work behind the scenes toward partition and withdrawl within the next 5 years.
5) Afghanistan - ratchet up the hunt. Substantively it might not matter if Osama and Ayman are killed, but style is substance in terms of symbolism. The next stage of the terror will probably be due to a local cell operating independently, but at least kill their heroes and sap some of their will.
6) Keep supporting Arab autocracies for at least the next generation. Work toward economic liberalization so that a normal civil society can develop.
7) Big picture in regards to terror, use Marc Sagemen's model in Understanding Terror Networks, knock out the nodes and keep killing key individuals. Stop mass immigration from Muslim countries into the West, work to halt arranged marriages between citizens and non-citizens which perpetuate ghettos, and aggressively reassert the universality and primacy of Enlightenment values within the spatial bounds of the West. Do favor immigration of well a number of educated Muslims into Western countries so as to cultivate a nucleus of Western influenced thinkers who might eventually influence the shape of culture in their lands of origin. The key to mitigating the Islamist threat is to the change the distribution of mentalities within Muslim countries so that Islamists are so marginal that they "can't live off the land."
Yes, the West is somewhat flaccid in terms of its cultural assertion right now, but I think that a reemergence of the vision of JS Mill is more likely than the success of the conquest and forced transformation of the Muslim world.
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.