Friday, February 21, 2003

"Washington is also insisting that the loans be linked to a stringent program of economic reform that is backed by the International Monetary Fund."The Guardian.

Krugman is good today, and his ability to speak from a general awareness of issues at large, including specifically the possible wider impact of our planned invasion - THE FACT THAT HE IS NOT FORCED TO LIMIT HIS FRAME OF REFERENCE TO IRAQ ITSELF- reads as good antidote to
Kenneth Pollack, who once again refuses to ask, or even seemingly acknowledge the relevance of any questions outside his chosen sphere of expertise.
Pollack's "Last Chance" is predicated on the assumption that each time we avoid a fight we encourage Hussein.

"Most ominous today, we have heard from many intelligence sources — including some of the highest-level defectors now in America and abroad — that Saddam Hussein believes that once he has acquired nuclear weapons it is the United States that will be deterred. He apparently believes that America will be so terrified of getting into a nuclear confrontation that it would not dare to stop him should he decide to invade, threaten or blackmail his neighbors."

Leaving aside the possibility, given where we are at this point, that he will be allowed to get that far (we are already, after all, on a war footing with others as well as Iraq and are not going to be standing down any time soon -and Israel already has nukes) Pollack acts, and apparently thinks , only as an analyst. He does not attempt even as an amateur, to construct a scenario for any outcome other than the one he desires. Coming from someone in his position, this is frankly bizarre. The instability of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; The Palestinian situation; Israeli settlements; the occupation; Iran; our history as a self interested and deeply partial arbiter in the region and indeed the world; and the impact of our past behavior on the present. None of these come into play in his argument. We are already in the process of abandoning Afghanistan. We pressured the most popular figure, the former king, to step down from consideration so that we could have more control, and what have we done with Karzai? The list of relevant issues Pollack ignores is mind boggling. And still he returns to his worries about our future 'weakness.' Right now I'm worried about much more than that.
In light of the increasing rate of specialization in intellectual life, let's hear it for the generalists.

Tapped follows Salon in dissing the volunteer "human shields" in Iraq. Their take on it is stupid.
The fact is it depends on how many there are who are willing to go. If 200 get killed it was their decision. If thousands die than it will have become ours.

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