I am tempted to comment on the political process that finally resulted in a debt ceiling deal this week, but there is just too much crazy to come up with a coherent observation. Instead I’ll note what Walter Russell Mead said to me on Twitter yesterday (one of my favorite pastimes is to tweet strangers with random comments). In his book Special Providence from 2001, Mead argued that it might be “the very sluggishness and unresponsiveness” of the American political system that has made the United States into a superpower and kept it there for so long. I asked . . .
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The Cato Institute’s Malou Innocent sparked an interesting conversation last week on the nature of the terrorist threat America faces. Writing at the The Skeptics, in a post appropriately titled “They Hate Us Because We Don’t Know Why They Hate Us,” Innocent says of the trend of Western-born Muslims who have become radicalized in recent years,
The narrative that most of these men subscribed to in the wake of 9/11 was that America sought to weaken and control the Islamic world. To them, the West was not only fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also threatening to . . .
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Next week the Pentagon will unveil the largest budget in its history, a whopping $553 billion dollars. Trying to justify the record-level budget, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said it “represents, in my view, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the complex and unpredictable array of security challenges the United States faces around the globe,” writes McClatchy.
Pressure is building on the Pentagon to save money, both in and out of Washington, and Gates has been trying to preempt demands for larger cuts by proposing his own plan to save $100 billion over the next . . .
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Harvard international relations scholar Stephen Walt has a very good piece over at Foreign Policy discussing the origins of bad ideas in policy formulation. Prof. Walt makes some very interesting points along the way, but his final reason for the persistence of bad ideas is somewhat problematic. Walt claims, “Perhaps the most obvious reason why foolish ideas persist is that someone has an interest in defending or promoting them….Self-interested actors who are deeply committed to a particular agenda can distort the marketplace of ideas.”
Continue reading Self-Interested Intellectualism