3-19-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Experience Isn't Everything

A sycophantic write-up in the New York Sun on the "Palin Doctrine" (part of which appears to be on the way to being carried out with American help) illustrates to me just how rudderless this administration's foreign policy really is.

[A]sking that a UN "no-fly zone" be imposed over Libya -- is not only without precedent but it puts in formal terms what Governor Palin stated three weeks ago should have been America's response to the political and humanitarian crisis now unfolding there.

... Mrs. Palin's formulation had been blogged about for nearly a week when it was echoed by the man who, before the Iraq war, had led the Iraq democratic movement in exile, Ahmed Chalabi.


Mrs. Palin also continues to link America's energy policy -- a realm in which she has experience -- and U.S. foreign and anti-terrorism policies. She recognizes that the ongoing transfer of billions of U.S. petro-dollars to unstable or even hostile Mideast regimes has, since the formation in 1973 of the Organization of Petoleum Exporting Countries, been an drain on U.S. financial resources.
Just give a bullhorn to a popular (if clueless) figure, and watch what happens...

In the context of America's decades of appeasement and half-measures in the Middle East, I can understand Chalabi's endorsement of a no-fly zone. But regarding American interests, Palin's "doctrine" will: make petroleum even more needlessly expensive than it now is, continue the handover of the Middle East (and its oil) to Islamic totalitarians, and further entrench America's "allergy to self assertion."

Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute eloquently sums up what needs to be done, generally, in the Middle East, in the article at the last link:
Another means of addressing the threat would be to remove Middle Eastern oil fields from Iranian and Saudi control, put them in the hands of private companies, and then employ surveillance and troops to secure that oil supply. Contrary to popular assumption, Middle Eastern dictatorships have no right to their nationalized oil fields, which should be private property--the property of individuals who work to find and extract the oil.
A no-fly zone created to support an uprising we have good reason to believe won't simply result in replacing one hostile regime with another can be a useful tactic. Nevertheless, I see nothing in Palin's energy policy or the rest of what I know of her foreign policy to suggest that she sees this no-fly zone as part of a broader plan to advance American interests in the Middle East.

With opposition "leaders" like Palin, I see no reason not to expect a second term for Barack Obama.

Weekend Reading

"For a company that received numerous bailouts exceeding $17 billion dollars in total, it takes chutzpah to run ads promising to 'treat your money like it's actually yours.'" -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Ally Bank's Straight Talk Is Crooked" at Smart Money

"In this chatty age when just about anybody, qualified or not, can mount their electronic soapbox and spout off, the quiet demeanor of a pet can be a welcome relief." -- Michael Hurd, in "Pets Are Life's Little Perks" at DrHurd.com

From The Vault

Last year, I took a look at why I liked a rule of cell phone etiquette so much.

The rule?
If you're in a situation where you'd excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, you should also excuse yourself before reaching for your phone.
Farhad Manjoo dubbed this "the bathroom rule."

Why did I like it?
It succinctly illustrates the power of principles to guide our actions no matter what new or strange situation we find ourselves having to navigate.
I often find questions of etiquette interesting, and, in that post, I quoted my favorite commentator on etiquette, Judith Martin.

Hipster How-Tos

How to be one, and how to catch one. Useless information to me, but quite amusing.

-- CAV


Andrew Dalton said...

On hipsters (in Britain):

Being a Dickhead's Cool

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, in re hipsters, heh. I only encountered the term "hipster" about four or five years ago when I ran across the rather lame Hipster Handbook and discovered there was a more family-friendly name in existence than I had for those types. (Working in a used bookstore in a college town is right up there with a used LP store for encountering them, though they're not nearly as bad as the scraggly-bearded pasty white young men looking for books by Alastair Crowley shudder shudder.) And "How to catch a hipster?" Oh, that's probably so easy I shouldn't even try, but I suspect it would involve either John Cusack or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, depending on gender and persuasion, and a small film series led by Wes Anderson at a local anarchist bookstore or record shop.

Gus Van Horn said...

I seem to have touched a (frayed) nerve or two by bringing up hipsters!

Just to be on the safe side, the video linked in Andrew's comment is, although very good, probably NSFW.

On reading the links from Snedcat's comment, my first thought regarding "manic pixie dream girls" was of Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I see I was wrong:

"Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours."