"His junior year, Ryan took an internship with Wisconsin Sen. Bob Kasten’s foreign affairs advisor. Ryan says he spent more time opening mail than working on the study of Soviet containment, but it got his foot in the door when a real internship with Kasten’s small-business committee opened up over the summer."

Paul Ryan’s foreign policy experience (via mohandasgandhi)

(via mohandasgandhi)

shortformblog:

You can’t make this stuff up. If Ronald Reagan liked jumping off bridges, Rick, would you make a speech while jumping off a bridge?

I was concerned that he was going to the one in Wisconsin; I love that Jelly Belly factory.

It also confuses me. Why is he going to the one in California, when their primary is two months away, rather than the Wisconsin one, when their primary is less than one week away?

Foreign Policy:

On Friday, April 8, as members of the U.S. Congress engaged in a last-minute game of chicken over the federal budget, the Pentagon quietly issued a report that received little initial attention: “A National Strategic Narrative.” The report was issued under the pseudonym of “Mr. Y,” a takeoff on George Kennan’s 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow (published under the name “X” the following year in Foreign Affairs) that helped set containment as the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union.
[…]
The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report says Americans are overreacting to Islamic extremism, underinvesting in their youth, and failing to embrace the sense of competition and opportunity that made America a world power. The United States has been increasingly consumed by seeing the world through the lens of threat, while failing to understand that influence, competitiveness, and innovation are the key to advancing American interests in the modern world.
Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world. Instead of simply pumping more and more dollars into defense, the narrative argues:

By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans — the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow — we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America’s youth.

Yet, it is investments in America’s long-term human resources that have come under the fiercest attack in the current budget environment. As the United States tries to compete with China, India, and the European Union, does it make sense to have almost doubled the Pentagon budget in the last decade while slashing education budgets across the country?
[Read More]

Foreign Policy:

On Friday, April 8, as members of the U.S. Congress engaged in a last-minute game of chicken over the federal budget, the Pentagon quietly issued a report that received little initial attention: “A National Strategic Narrative.” The report was issued under the pseudonym of “Mr. Y,” a takeoff on George Kennan’s 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow (published under the name “X” the following year in Foreign Affairs) that helped set containment as the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union.

[…]

The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report says Americans are overreacting to Islamic extremism, underinvesting in their youth, and failing to embrace the sense of competition and opportunity that made America a world power. The United States has been increasingly consumed by seeing the world through the lens of threat, while failing to understand that influence, competitiveness, and innovation are the key to advancing American interests in the modern world.

Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world. Instead of simply pumping more and more dollars into defense, the narrative argues:

By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans — the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow — we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America’s youth.

Yet, it is investments in America’s long-term human resources that have come under the fiercest attack in the current budget environment. As the United States tries to compete with China, India, and the European Union, does it make sense to have almost doubled the Pentagon budget in the last decade while slashing education budgets across the country?

[Read More]

I’m currently fascinated and, honestly, frightened by Muammar Gaddafi’s speech to Libya right now, which has been going on for more than hour.
He’s essentially promising to shoot any people that protest his regime in order to maintain his position. He blames everything that’s happening in Libya on Israel, the United States and other foreign entities.
Al-Jazeera is picking and choosing what it wants to translate, leaving out the most inflammatory statements, specifically what I mention in the previous paragraph.
For background on Libya, read this from Mother Jones.
For what the United States and other nations can/should do, read this from Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch.
For more options, read this from POMED.

I’m currently fascinated and, honestly, frightened by Muammar Gaddafi’s speech to Libya right now, which has been going on for more than hour.

He’s essentially promising to shoot any people that protest his regime in order to maintain his position. He blames everything that’s happening in Libya on Israel, the United States and other foreign entities.

Al-Jazeera is picking and choosing what it wants to translate, leaving out the most inflammatory statements, specifically what I mention in the previous paragraph.

For background on Libya, read this from Mother Jones.

For what the United States and other nations can/should do, read this from Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch.

For more options, read this from POMED.

Foreign Policy:

 A few words in defense of land mines

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks

 
I want to be careful here. But I also keep in mind that writing a good blog is not a popularity contest.FP ran a terrific column the other day about land mines, provoked by the nasty little one that ripped off Joao Silva’s feet in Afghanistan the other day. He is the legendary New York Times photographer.
Land mines are awful little things, as this article shows so well. Especially evil are the simple little ones, no bigger than a can of tuna fish, last for decades, and blow up kids, dogs, sheep and photographers. Once, while studying the Soviet war in Afghanistan, I read an article about the secondary and tertiary damage done by land mines. It turns out that not only do they maim intentionally, rather than kill, they also punish the organs — liver, kidneys, heart — but especially the brain. People who step on land mines are likely to have years of lingering agony from these invisible blast effects. That medical study came to my mind when in the spring of 2002, while wandering around the neighborhood in Kabul in which I’d lived for two years as a teenager, I wound up in what my driver tardily said appeared to be a minefield. (And thanks to the U.S. Army Europe for the mine-awareness course they made me take before I embedded in Bosnia in 1995. Their lessons came in handy that day, especially in re-tracing my steps as I exited that overgrown, animal-less field in the middle of a city.)
So why do I have even one good word to say about land mines? Because those that are built to self-destruct after a set period — say six months — can still be useful. For example, if Pakistan descended into total chaos, it might be a very good idea to air-drop land mines around the bunkers holding its nuclear warheads, just to keep them from falling into terrorist hands while the situation is sorted out. Considering that the alternative could be a nuclear 9/11, in New York, Bombay, Madrid, Paris, or London, suddenly land mines don’t seem so bad. This is of course an extreme situation, but it tells me there are some instances where an argument can be made for certain kinds of land mines.

[Emphasis in last paragraph mine]
Sorry, but no matter what scenario one might create, I cannot find any rational justification for the further deployment of land mines anywhere in the world.
Assume the scenario he suggests plays out and land mines are dropped around Pakistan’s bunkers. Assume also that six months, one year, two years, however long after this, Pakistan stabilizes. There are now untold amounts of land mines in unknown locations in the Pakistani country/mountain-side.
So, way to go. You’ve just turned Pakistan into a minefield.
Also, and maybe I’m overestimating Pakistan’s technological prowess, but I seriously doubt it, wouldn’t they have some sort of remote connection to the bunkers? So, if the terrorists took control of the government, captured Zardari, or at least gained access to his files - potentially with the aid of elements within the Pakistani government and military, wouldn’t they be able to access the bunkers remotely as well?
Just a thought.

Foreign Policy:

 A few words in defense of land mines

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks

 

I want to be careful here. But I also keep in mind that writing a good blog is not a popularity contest.FP ran a terrific column the other day about land mines, provoked by the nasty little one that ripped off Joao Silva’s feet in Afghanistan the other day. He is the legendary New York Times photographer.

Land mines are awful little things, as this article shows so well. Especially evil are the simple little ones, no bigger than a can of tuna fish, last for decades, and blow up kids, dogs, sheep and photographers. Once, while studying the Soviet war in Afghanistan, I read an article about the secondary and tertiary damage done by land mines. It turns out that not only do they maim intentionally, rather than kill, they also punish the organs — liver, kidneys, heart — but especially the brain. People who step on land mines are likely to have years of lingering agony from these invisible blast effects. That medical study came to my mind when in the spring of 2002, while wandering around the neighborhood in Kabul in which I’d lived for two years as a teenager, I wound up in what my driver tardily said appeared to be a minefield. (And thanks to the U.S. Army Europe for the mine-awareness course they made me take before I embedded in Bosnia in 1995. Their lessons came in handy that day, especially in re-tracing my steps as I exited that overgrown, animal-less field in the middle of a city.)

So why do I have even one good word to say about land mines? Because those that are built to self-destruct after a set period — say six months — can still be useful. For example, if Pakistan descended into total chaos, it might be a very good idea to air-drop land mines around the bunkers holding its nuclear warheads, just to keep them from falling into terrorist hands while the situation is sorted out. Considering that the alternative could be a nuclear 9/11, in New York, Bombay, Madrid, Paris, or London, suddenly land mines don’t seem so bad. This is of course an extreme situation, but it tells me there are some instances where an argument can be made for certain kinds of land mines.

[Emphasis in last paragraph mine]

Sorry, but no matter what scenario one might create, I cannot find any rational justification for the further deployment of land mines anywhere in the world.

Assume the scenario he suggests plays out and land mines are dropped around Pakistan’s bunkers. Assume also that six months, one year, two years, however long after this, Pakistan stabilizes. There are now untold amounts of land mines in unknown locations in the Pakistani country/mountain-side.

So, way to go. You’ve just turned Pakistan into a minefield.

Also, and maybe I’m overestimating Pakistan’s technological prowess, but I seriously doubt it, wouldn’t they have some sort of remote connection to the bunkers? So, if the terrorists took control of the government, captured Zardari, or at least gained access to his files - potentially with the aid of elements within the Pakistani government and military, wouldn’t they be able to access the bunkers remotely as well?

Just a thought.

"

Dans le Tea Party on veut qu’on nous foute la paix, qu’on nous laisse vivre comme avant, quand tout allait bien, quand l’Amérique vivait sous le status quo anglo-saxon, lorsque le Taliban était à la solde de la CIA, et que ni les Chinois ni Al Qaeda ne s’opposaient à l’hégémonie de l’oncle Sam. Dans le Tea Party on est typiquement blanc, et ok financièrement, du coup on panique un peu lorsque le monde change comme ces temps-ci. Par contre on ne se préoccupe pas trop du climat, car comment concevoir que l’homme puisse avoir en son pouvoir de défaire ce que Dieu a créé.


[In the Tea Party, they wish to be left alone, to live as before when everything was going well, when America embodied the Anglo-Saxon status quo, when the Taliban were on the CIA payroll, and when neither the Chinese nor al Qaeda opposed the hegemony of Uncle Sam. Those in the Tea Party are typically white, and ‘ok’ financially and hence in something of a panic ever since the world began to change as the times changed. They don’t worry about climate change, because they cannot imagine how mankind could have in its power to mess up what God created.]

"

Le Monde on the Tea Party

(via Foreign Policy)

Foreign Policy’s “Postcards from Hell