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17 September 2012

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AK

A few years back, when I was a student in IR Grad School (of course in Washington DC), I figured out that most of what they teach in IR Grad School is a testament to the limitless power of the human imagination. Thankfully, I had two adjunct professors (i.e. non-academics) who pointed this out to me. However, it made finding a job in the field quite difficult, dare I say nearly impossible. Unless, of course, I went into my interviews with Kool-Aid stained teeth. Le sigh....

The Moar You Know

It's not because anyone considers "revolt" a good thing.

We're doing it because everyone who grew up in America has had it drilled into their heads since they were infants that America is the best and our system of government is best.

It's hard to shake that belief, even in the face of overwhelming proof. We really WANT to believe that every society is capable of self-governance and that every society should get the chance to do so. That belief is pretty much universal among my fellow Americans. It is also wrong.

I would simply point out that the lack of manifest real-world truth contained in any given belief system has never stopped those belief systems from being adapted.

turcopolier

TMYK

You are kidding yourself about the devotees of the idea of revolutionary change who infest the land. they can all see themselves on the barricade with a bare breated Marianne by their side. pl

Harper

To further buttress Col. Lang's point, the events in Benghazi on 9/11 further underscore the downside of allying with the Devil, in this case, Al Qaeda. The founder of Doctors Without Borders recently spent two weeks in Aleppo, working in a hospital in rebel-held territory, and said that there were far more foreign Jihadi fighters being treated in August than there were in March and May when he made previous visits to the area. He admitted that his August findings prompt him to fundamentally rethink his previous support for the rebels. Between the fact that NSA intercepts prove that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was involved in planning the Benghazi assault on the consulate, carried out by a local branch, Ansar al-Sharia (founded by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was captured in Pakistan soon after the original 9/11, and the fact that there are many Libyans from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group inside Syria today as elements of the armed rebel forces, maybe we ought to take pause before repeating the "blowback" blunders of the Afghan mujahideen fiasco. I just watched a video of Hillary Clinton, testifying before Congress a few years ago, where she admitted that we created the very Jihadi forces we are now battling in Afghanistan, way back when it was the Soviet occupation of the country that was the target.

b

You may not want to publish this comment, Pat.

The questions you ask are the right ones.

I asked those questions when the Libyan rebels were the rage, an army of torturing angels.

You, for some reason that you called "unfinished business", were all for them. Why?

The Moar You Know

No, I'm not kidding myself (I associate with far too many academics) but when you put it like that it sounds so much...fun!

turcopolier

b

No. Libya is not really in bad shape. Don't confuse the result of an attack on an insecure facility with a general tendency. You are too sensitvie IMO to the idea that the locals torture each other. They always have and they always will. That was the point of the pictures. The"bastinado" is a long established ME/NA tradition in all ages. the Libya election indicates that as I expected the jihadis don't have much traction in Libya. In Syria the situation is quite different. In Syria rhe alternative the present government is a salafist government. As someone said here, quoting me, "the goose and the gander are different beasts." The ambassadror in Libya had a reputation in the state Department for starry eyed sentimentality about the locals. He paid for it. pl

Cliffiord Kiracofe

This Harvard prof seems typical of the ilk...Wilsonian do-gooders making the world safe for democracy...
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/1575/meghan_l_osullivan.html

walrus

The penny has not dropped in Washington. It never will.

The question I'm asking myself is if America can survive the coming financial conflagration, perhaps larded with a rout from Afghanistan and perhaps war with Iran or conflict with China.

To put that another way, I think I understand a little about States rights, but is it optimum to organize in Fifty small units? Could we have to watch a bloody American Risorgimento?

turcopolier

walrus

IMO the country is more likely to disintegrate into its component states with new confederations being formed among some as well as parts of canada and Mexico. George Mason was correct. pl

Fred

As they say ad-nauseaum in school, one learns more by failing. To quote the bio you link to:

"Her expertise includes nation-building, counterinsurgency, the geopolitics of energy, decision making in foreign policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."

I'd say with record of failures like that think of all the learning one can get.

zanzibar

Pat

Thanks for bringing up George Mason. He deserves much more credit than he gets. Without his agitation, it is unlikely that we would have the Bill of Rights, fashioned from the Virginia Declaration of Rights in our Constitution. IMO, the spirit of the Constitution and the many compromises that went along with those great debates are rather quaint in today's mostly statist society.

Today, as Ben Bernanke and his fellow Ph.D economists at Princeton and the other Ivy Leagues extol the virtue of unlimited money printing as the elixir for our debt challenged economy, I am reminded of the debates in the late 1700s in France around another large money printing exercise with the fiat assignats. At least the debates were real then with real arguments. Now its all faith-based! Maybe we have come full circle from the Age of Enlightenment.

Babak Makkinejad

Bernake is correct.

The financial holes in the corporate and personal accounts must be filled first. That is, private debt - both corporate and personal - must be discharged.

This is done inevitably at the cost of increased public debt (Government Debt).

Once that process is completed, government can start discharging the publicly held debt.

The QE was necessary to prevent deflation.

Government spending in US - QE, Social Security, etc. - is the only thing that is preventing Hoovervilles to emerge, with all the attendant social costs.

There is no other way.

zanzibar

Babak

Your definitive solution theory leads me to believe you are an expert on this subject. So, I have a few questions for you.

1. Can you point me to any instance in history where a national monetary authority conjured up new paper money to the tune of double digit percent of GDP and that led to a sustainable increase in both, the percent of the working age population that was employed and their real median income?

2. What is the explanation for why despite the Fed having tripled their balance sheet since late 2008, a) the number of people working as a percent of our working age population has steadily declined over this period b) the real median wages have declined?

3. How much more money should the Fed print without a sustainable increase in employment and real median wages before you are willing to concede that money printing does not work for those purposes?

zanzibar

Babak

Your definitive solution theory leads me to believe you are an expert on this subject. So, I have a few questions for you.

1. Can you point me to any instance in history where a national monetary authority conjured up paper money of double digit percent of GDP and that led to a sustainable increase in both the percent of the working age population employed and their real median income?

2. Can you explain why despite the Fed having tripled it's balance sheet since late 2008 that the number of people working as a percent of our working age population has continued to decline during this period and the real median income has also declined?

3. How much more money should the Fed print up without a sustainable increase in the real median income and employment rate of the working age population, before you are willing to concede that money printing is not the solution?

Babak Makkinejad

1. No

2. We do not need so many people to work as automation removes the need for actual human beings.

Thus, all over the world, we will be having hundreds of millions of people who are surplus labor.

We need to create for them fake jobs and "clerkships" so that we could give them money to live their lives.

The day is not far when the question in US Congress would be: "What is the minimum income" we need to guarantee to a family of 4?"

3. I cannot answer your question since I lack the data.

The data needed is the debt hold by households and enterprises per quarter from 1999 to the present time and the money velocity.

Setting the comfortable debt amount at 30% of income (household and corporate) one could then project into the future how much money must be pumped into the economy to reach that debt amount (30%).

I agree that printing money will not bring economic expansion and prosperity.

The purpose here is to treat the symptoms of finacial expansion that went beyond the carrying capacity of the World Economy.

What we face is a 43-trillion dollars a year global GDP versus about 340 trillion dollars of un-supportable debt that was generated over the last 15 years.

This is the big problem that no one talk about.

I do not have a solution; this debt cannot be discharged by raiding retirees and pension funds since I have included that in that number.

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