"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Realists" vs. "Hawks"

Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria. Have American interventions in the Muslim world helped progressive forces in these countries?

In an early post, for some reason I misread Matthew Yglesias's comments on the Cedar Revolution. I missed this important sentence about Bush:
I tend to think that John Kerry would have done essentially the same things had he been in office since January (if you can find examples of leading Kerry foreign policy advisors condemning Bush's recent initiatives with regard to Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon I'd be interested in hearing it).
Michael Young does an effective job of tackling Flynt Leverett, formerly of the NSC and the Kerry campaign, who had an op-ed in the New York Times about Syria.

Leverett's piece appeared a day after Yglesias's blog entry and is titled "Don't Rush on the Road to Damascus." It takes the "realist" view on Iraq and applies it to Syria next door.

Although, of course, I don't agree with everything they write, the following "hawks" are worth reading to help counter the arguments of the "realists," anti-war liberals and leftists, and isolationist rightwingers:


David Aronovich

Michael Young

Michael J. Totten

Norman Geras

Michael Ignatieff

Thomas Friedman

Fareed Zakaria

Daniel Drezner

Greg Djerejian

Paul Berman

Michael Walzer

David Ignatius

Bernard-Henri Lévy

Andrew Sullivan

David Brooks

No doubt there are others.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Cedar Revolution
(or In Like a Lion and - hopefully - Out Like a Lamb)

At the increasingly interesting Hit and Run:

Charles Paul Freund says to keep your eye on the autocrats.

Nick Gillespie writes about defining progress in the Middle East.

Elsewhere in the "MSM," the New York Times quotes Michael Young. And still employs the phrase "Arab street."

Fareed Zakaria joins Tom Friedman in a quixotic quest to get the West to moderate its oil consumption.

In the blogosphere:

Greg Djerejian at Belgravia Dispatch gloats.

MaxSpeaks says you can't trust the government, yet wants to save Social Security from the "private" sphere.

Others on the left and anti-war right really aren't discussing what could be another 1989/fall of the Berlin Wall (except, admittedly the Israelis just built one).

Monday, February 28, 2005

Peter Benenson, Founder of Amnesty International, Dies at 83
Educated at Eton and Oxford, Mr. Benenson was a passionate advocate for human rights in fascist Spain, British-ruled Cyprus and repressive South Africa. He was almost 40, a bowler-topped barrister on the London Underground in 1961, when he read a news item about two Lisbon students sentenced to seven years in prison for toasting freedom in Portugal, then under the dictatorship of António Salazar.

In what he called "The Forgotten Prisoners" and "An Appeal for Amnesty," which appeared on the front page of The Observer, a British newspaper, he wrote about the two students and four other people who had been jailed in other nations because of their beliefs.
In its early years, Mr. Benenson ran the organization, provided most of the money, traveled widely to investigate cases and promoted its causes in journals and newspapers. He stepped down as the leader in 1966 after an independent investigation did not support his claim that the group was being infiltrated by British intelligence.

But he continued to have an active interest in the organization's affairs, helped to found and support similar groups and observed Amnesty International's 25th anniversary by lighting a symbolic candle outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the church off Trafalgar Square where he had first envisioned the organization. Its logo is a candle wrapped in barbed wire.

Peter Benenson was born in London on July 31, 1921, the son of a British army colonel. He was tutored privately by the poet W. H. Auden and began his first campaign at Eton - for better food. At 16 he organized fund-raising for orphans of the Spanish Civil War, and later raised money to get two Jews out of Nazi Germany.

After service with the Ministry of Information in World War II, he became a lawyer, was an official observer at the trials of trade unionists in Franco's Spain, advised lawyers for defendants accused of resistance to British rule in Cyprus and prodded London to send observers to Hungary during the 1956 uprising and to racially divided South Africa during a treason trial.
Michael Young writes about the fallout from the war in Iraq.