Showing posts from January, 2006

Democratic Peace and its Discontents

Two Men I admired: One was a scientist; the other was a political scientist

The guys at Democratic Peace have responded to my response to their response to my response to their post which was a response to an op-ed I'd published about The Myth of Democratic Peace which was a review of a book by Jack Snyder and Peter Mansfield which was originally published in the Singapore Business Times and was then posted on
A longer piece of mine on all the issues of Democratic Peace and against the backdrop of the great showcase for democracy in the Middle East, the Hamas electoral victory in Palestine, will be published in the next issue of the American Conservative. But let me respond here briefly to some of the comments posted on the Democratic Peace blog(their stuff is in bold).

The Myth Of "The Myth Of Democratic Peace"

This is a continuation of the exchange between Leon Hadar, a research fellow in foreign policy studies with CATO, and political scientist Pro …

Condi: The dog ate my homework

From the January 30, 2006 New York Times "(Rice Admits U.S. Underestimated Hamas Strength" By STEVEN R. WEISMAN)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Sunday that the United States had failed to understand the depth of hostility among Palestinians toward their longtime leaders. The hostility led to an election victory by the militant group Hamas that has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East.

"I've asked why nobody saw it coming," Ms. Rice said, speaking of her own staff. "It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse."

Immediately after the election, Bush administration officials said the results reflected a Palestinian desire for change and not necessarily an embrace of Hamas, which the United States, Israel and the European Union consider a terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction. But Ms. Rice's comments seemed to reflect a certain second-guessi…

Hidden "Cache:" The Shape of Things to Come?

Playing now in Palestine and Iraq

CACHE Repeat Performace: Now in Your Neighborhood

Sometime in the early 1980's I was watching the film Battle of Algiers in a small movie theatre in Jerusalem. The West Bank and Gaza were relatively peaceful and quiet at that time, and when the movie ended I suggested to my companions that, you know, this could happen here. An uprising a la Algeria. They all thought that I was out of my mind. Since then we've been seeing that movie twice -- in Palestine and Iraq.
I was thinking about the way the "Battle of Algiers" -- which was directed by an Italian communist -- provided us with warnings about our current reality, as I watching over the weekend the French film Cache in a big movie theatre in Bethesda, Maryland. It's directed by Michael Haneke with the magnificent Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche in the central roles(above). It's a thriller and so I won't spoil it for you. The two play a middle-aged, successful literary …

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Yes, Wal-Mart. I've never done shopping there. But I can't figure out why so many people hate it. It's Big, they say. And so is Microsoft. So are we going to break-up Wal-Mart into little Wal-Marts? Someone responded to my article by arguing the following:
The point you missed is this: there is a visceral sense in 'small-town America' that the entire population of America has devolved into a certain gluttony. Wal-Mart promotes a mindless feeding frenzy- and an endless appetite for cheap crap. The rage against Wal-Mart has less to do with economics than a deep-seated fear of the loss of the American soul.

So now Wal-Mart is responsible for the loss of the American soul... First, no one forces you to shop there. And secondly, "soul" is something that houses of worship, literature, arts, music, etc. are supposed to nourish. If you don't have to spend a lot of money on buying underwear, you have more dollars to spend on the really important things. It see…

Re-releasing the Democraticialis ad to celebrate the Hamas climax

"Democraticialis, it's for my man whenever he wants it"

We tried almost everything. Reading together the Weekly Standard and holding hands while watching Bill O'Reilly. We even signed up for one of those Restoration Weekends in Florida that David Horowitz organizes and were hoping that Jim Woolsey's address would arouse my husband to take up this white woman's burden. But his imperial drive remained dormant until an old friend, "Scooter" told us about Democraticialis ("Judy loved it," he said). And it was shock and Awe from then on... A Regime Change for My Man whenever and wherever he wants it... Democraticialis, experience the neocon difference. ***

*** Side effects could include anti-Americanism, terrorism, bloodshed, chaos,violations of civil rights, and rising budget deficits. If taken together with stupid policies they could lead to Shiitism and Hamasus. If you experience an insurgency that lasts for more than four years, please consu…

More Silver Lining...

Since Global Paradigm went to sleep before reading the Sunday's NYT I wasn't able to include in my earlier post this op-ed, The Long Transition (sounds...mmm... prtentious...) from the guy who predicted how the Iraq war would bring demcoracy in the Middle East and Peace on Earth. So you know he's right (for some reason Brooks reminds me of this kid in migh high-school class who used to complain to the teacher: "But you forgot to give us our homework":
Yet a democratic tide is sweeping the globe, promoted not only by the U.S. but by the spirit of the times, and an election came to Palestine. Voters had to choose between two revolutionary movements, one corrupt and one attentive to their needs.
But flight has begun and the democratic transition hurtles on. Palestine is entering the most traumatic phase, when a romantic, revolutionary people is compelled to transform itself into an ordinary, democratic polity.
But there is progress. Palestinian voters have already bro…

The Silver Lining News from Palestine...

(pics via

I had a mini debate with two readers about whether Hitler was elected to power in a democratic election. He was. In the July 1932 Parliamentary elections, the Nazi party led by Hitler gave the Nazis 13,745,000 votes, 37% of the total, granting them 230 seats in the Reichstag, becoming the largest in Germany. President Hidenburg was reluctant to nominate him as chancellor but did that eventually in January 1933 (President Abbas could do the same thing in Palestine and nominate a non-Hamas figure as PM. But unless Hamas agrees to that it won't be a very, well, democratic decision). In March 5, 1933, the last free elections were held in Germany, and Germans gave Hitler 44 per cent of the total vote, 17, 277,180. In any case, all of this reminded me how the German communists reacted to the Nazi victory. Believe it or not, they actually welcomed it. They declared that the new Nazi-dominated government was the “dying gasp of moribund capitalism” and that …

The Hamas Victory: Another failure of intelligence

I'm not talking here about the other kind of intelligence, although as I watched President Bush in his last press conference trying to give his interpretation of the Hamas electoral victory and as I was trying to hide under my my bed, feeling embarassed for W. that thought came to my mind. Here is a highlight:
And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories. I like the competition of ideas. I like people who have to go out and say, vote for me, and here's what I'm going to do. There's something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting.

I suppose someone could have made similar comments when Hitler got elected. Whatever...
I was thinking more about the other kind of intelligence, like one in the "CIA," especially since Bush in his press conference was explaining to me why he and his spooks need to listen to my phone conversations and read my emails in order to "…

Three brief observations on the Hamas shocker

Sorry, but I was a little busy "doing Hamas," that is providing newsbites, for a few broadcasting outlets. I even had to interrupt my pilates exercise to give a three-minute interview to radio station CJOB-AM in Winnipeg, Canada... And I'm working on a long analytical piece for the American Conservative on the topic as it relates to the Bush Administration's crusade to "democratize" the Middle East. The three recent mostly free elections in the region gave us a nutty president in Iran, his radical Shiite pals in Iraq, and now Hamas... Since you've been following the news from the Holy Land and reading what all the "usual suspects" -- always wrong! -- have to say about the subject, let me just make three brief and contrarian observations:

1. Why did the media, pollsters, etc. failed to predict the Hamas victory? Two main reasons: First, they relied on unreliable Palestinian pollsters like Dr. Khalil Shikaki director of the Palestinian Center fo…

George W. Saladin

Free Iraq...

Democratic Palestine....

Next Stop: Syria? Iran?

Will an Iran with nukes be good news for Israel?

Well, when I put it this way it sounds a bit crazy. Something that only Dr. Strangelove would consider. But try to think out of the box. And to help you do that here is an article, "Is Nuclear Parity with Iran a blessing for Israel?" that my friend, Trita Parsi, who (as his name suggests) is an Iran expert, published in the January 2006 issue of Jane's Intelligence Review
Here are some of the main points that Parsi makes:

* Israel's strategy of maintaining military might in the Middle East may not be the best way to bring peace to the troubled region.
* While neither Iran nor the West has shifted their resolute stances in the nuclear stand-off, Israel is slowly starting to prepare itself for the "day after."
*A nuclear Tehran will not only end Israel's nuclear monopoly, it will also shake a fundamental tenet of Israel's military doctrine -- the idea that Israel can only survive in the Middle East by maintaining military superiority.
* An increasing numbe…

Is it time for a BHL Blog?

How about "Bhloging with BHL." I wish someone would do that. It would be a waste of time. But it could also be hillarious. Meanwhile, Steve Sailer posted a Garrison Keillor's entertaining review of Bernard-Henri Lévy's book on his blog. Here is a sample:
And what's with the flurries of rhetorical questions? Is this how the French talk or is it something they save for books about America? "What is a Republican? What distinguishes a Republican in the America of today from a Democrat?" Lévy writes, like a student padding out a term paper. "What does this experience tell us?" he writes about the Mall of America. "What do we learn about American civilization from this mausoleum of merchandise, this funeral accumulation of false goods and nondesires in this end-of-the-world setting? What is the effect on the Americans of today of this confined space, this aquarium, where only a semblance of life seems to subsist?" And what is one to make of…

more on BHL and on LH...

An interesting exchange on BHL between on Alan Wolfe and Franklin Foer on And the folks at "Slate" also mentioned my blog in their blog review by Torie Bosch And I've been worried that only my mom and personal trainer have been reading the blog... Thanks, Torie! And btw that line about my mom and personal trainer resulted in several emailes, beginning with "I'm not your mom or personal trainer, but I've been reading your blog..." My response: "I can assure you that one (Jewish) mother and one personal trainer is more than enough in one's life-time...

BHL: His stream of consciousness is running amok

Take an Existentialist/ Communist philosopher and add a New Age composer and what do you get? A New Philosopher

Michael Brendan Dougherty has a great post on his great blog, Surfeited with Dainties on the French intellectual fraud, the "New Philosopher" Bernard Henri Levy. His politics of liberal imperialism makes him an ideological pal of Andrew Sullivan and the confused-about-Iraq editors of the New Republic.

Who Lost Iran?

Stephen Hadley:
Not the Best and the Brightest

David Ignatius, one of the best foreign policy analysts in the American press has been trying to rationalize his support for the Iraq war by arguing that President Bush and his aides actually know what they're doing and that things in Iraq and the Middle East will eventually work out for the best. Sort of. In a recent column in the Washington Post he even suggests that the Bushies, and in particular Secretary of State Condi Rice and national security advisor Stephen Hadley (who does LOOK -- those Big Glasses -- very smart) know what they're doing on Iran. He desecribes how the two are trying to figure out "how should the United States think about Iran? What explains the fanaticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and what can America and its allies do to change it?"

These baseline questions are at the heart of an informal review of Iran policy that's taking place at the highest levels of the Bush administration. The d…

How to say that Condi Rice is not very bright -- without using these exact words...

Sebastian Mallaby
teaches us how to do that:

Rice's Blind Spot

Monday, January 23, 2006; A15

Nobody doubts her star power. She speaks Russian and talks football, wears dominatrix boots and plays Dvorak, weaves her segregated Alabama childhood into speeches about geopolitics. But the strange thing about Condoleezza Rice is that, when it comes to the stuff that a professor-politician should be really good at, she can be oddly flat-footed. This was true when she emerged as George W. Bush's fitness buddy and foreign policy tutor seven years ago. It is still true now.

In January 2000, as the Bush campaign got underway, Rice published a manifesto in Foreign Affairs that laid out the classic "realist" position: American diplomacy should "focus on power relationships and great-power politics" rather than on other countries' internal affairs. "Some worry that this view of the world ignores the role of values, particularly human rights and the promotion of democr…

U.S. federal financing of elections? It's happening. In Palestine

Two millions of your tax dollars to get this guy elected?

That's according to a long piece in Sunday's Washington Post authored by Scott Wilson and Glenn Kessler:

The Bush administration is spending foreign aid money to increase the popularity of the Palestinian Authority on the eve of crucial elections in which the governing party faces a serious challenge from the radical Islamic group Hamas.

The approximately $2 million program is being led by a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development. But no U.S. government logos appear with the projects or events being undertaken as part of the campaign, which bears no evidence of U.S. involvement and does not fall within the definitions of traditional development work.

U.S. officials say their low profile is meant to ensure that the Palestinian Authority receives public credit for a collection of small, popular projects and events to be unveiled before Palestinians select their first parliament in a decade. Internal documen…

Pro Forma as a PD Commissar: We Helped discover America

...And I want to thank the people from the DP discipline from showing us the way to the promised land of democratic peace

A colleague of Professor R. J. Rummelwho is one of the most renowned and respected scholars in the field of political science has attacked me. I'm a political scientist and I do have a lot of respect for professor Rummel, who is not only an accomplished scholar and writer (he even authored very entertaining fiction) but who is also one of the few political scientists who is considered to be a "libertarian." His work is interesting, original and provocative. He is one of the leading figures in the very controversial field of research called "Democratic Peace" and argues (as the title suggests) the the spread of democracy worldwide helps strengthen the foundations for international peace. What can Mini Moi say? I salute Dr. Rummel.
But... Unfortunately, a colleague of the same Dr. Rummel has read my review of a recent study in political scienc…