Hello!

July 3, 2010

Long time no see. Almost three years, apparently. A few things have changed: I live in Washington DC now (in the Truxton Circle neighborhood, at present); I work for a policy-oriented environmental consulting firm (the views expressed here still do not reflect those of my employer and are solely my own); and I feel a lot older than I did before.

I’m not sure I will be able to maintain my former pace of posting. Frankly, having a summer job with low expectations, followed by a period of unemployment, was much more conducive to blogging than my current lifestyle. Still — I’ll try to get something up most days, and we’ll see how that goes. Looking forward to it.


Hiatus

August 22, 2007

The Hollow Horn is on temporary hiatus while I finish settling into my new place. I’ll be back before long.


Jordan and the Lack of an Iraq

August 16, 2007

Over at Slate, Shmuel Rosner points to one of the often-ignored side effects of the Iraq debacle: its effects on neighboring Jordan. To wit:

It was the powerful Iraq that provided the threat then [in 1991], and the weakened, chaotic Iraq that is threatening now. Jordan has a permanent “stability issue,” as one U.S. official describes it. In the past, it was intimidated by its two powerful neighbors, Israel and Iraq; now it is troubled by the weakest of the weak, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this problem. Jordan, despite its ambivalent attitudes toward democracy and civil rights, remains a fairly modern, fairly stable ally in a region where they are hard to come by. Jordan already suffers from instability caused by its large, more radically Islamic Palestinian community. (A former professor of mine, an expert on Jordan, claimed to know which American political scientist the monarchy hired to gerrymander districts several years ago).

However, to date, they have managed to contain the internal dissidents, more or less, with only very occasional attacks in recent years. However, if, as the article claims, 750,000 Iraqi refugees, some doubtless radicalized, have now entered the country, it may prove more than the secular monarchy can contain. That would not be a good thing.


The Rundown

August 16, 2007
  • Steven Stark at RCP argues that Obama and Edwards are their own worst enemies in the debate format. I don’t disagree.
  • Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta has some advice for the Bush Administration on how to avoid lame-duckery. I’d bet good money Podesta is wasting his time here.
  • Don Rumsfeld actually resigned the day before the election. How about that.
  • The Democrats really should make a point of passing the South Korea – US free trade pact. They won’t, but they should.
  • Especially not if this is any indication. Please, Democrats, please stop doing this. I want to vote for you. I really do.

Rudy Scares Me

August 15, 2007

Wow. I never was a big Giuliani fan, but I am less of one every day. Apparently, the problem with George Bush’s foreign policy is that it hasn’t gone far enough. As Yglesias says:

Rudy, though, has another problem. He’s got a kinda unconservative record on God, guns, and gays, to say nothing of the baby-killing or his past stances on immigration. Can he really afford wiggle room? Maybe not. That kind of political calculation combined with a gut-level love of confrontation and years of association with the strange faction that is New York City-based conservative intellectual life has produced a striking decision to double down on neoconservative foreign policy.

Wow. Heaven help us all if we elect this man.

UPDATE: Slate’s Fred Kaplan discusses the piece. I blow a fuse in my brain every time I try to think hard enough about it to write anything, but he does a better job than I would have anyway.


Michael Totten on Iraq

August 15, 2007

I found this lengthy dispatch from independent journalist Michael J Totten on RCP today. Totten’s credentials definitely lean to the right; his publications list reveals articles for Pajamas Media, Reason, and WSJ’s Opinion Journal. Nonetheless, I think his assessment is pretty level-headed overall. There’s so much interesting stuff in there I don’t really know how to quote it, I’d recommend you read it all.

The main point I think to take away from Totten is that things are both terrible and great, improving and declining, and that it’s easy to read the tea leaves however you like. He seems to think we shouldn’t change our strategy much for the time being, but I read what he’s saying and draw a different conclusion. And so it goes.

Ross Douthat’s comments today on the war are pretty good as well. He takes a Max Boot piece in Commentary to task for making the lazy argument in favor of the surge. And indeed,  such lazy arguments in favor of the surge seem to be dominating these days.


The Rundown

August 15, 2007
  • Two big names have recently proposed reforming the farm subsidy system. One wants to retarget subsidies to family farms. The other wants to do away with subsidies altogether. The two people are John Stossel and John Edwards. Guess who proposed what.
  • Could Superfund survive a cost-benefit analysis? Almost definitely not. I am not sure what we should do about it.
  • Big media is out to screw the little guy. I know, that’s not really news, but on the other hand, it is.
  • Fred Kaplan weighs in on the draft at Slate.
  • Robert Samuelson calls for more clear-headed reporting on global warming, and makes the alarming and probably true assertion that we really don’t know how to solve this one. We probably shouldn’t do nothing though. Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias critiques Michael Gerson’s global warming hand-wringing.