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Thanks for the plug!
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2012 on Military Capabilities at The Quantitative Peace
Hey, Mike. Excellent points, all around.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2012 on Ron Paul Foreign Policy Ad at The Quantitative Peace
There are a number of things that are interesting about it. I think you're right that it won't play well with most Republicans, but the ad is nonetheless framed in a very different way than it would be if it had been put out by a Democratic candidate from the left fringe. It makes appeals to nationalism, implies that Texas is the heartland, plays on fears of China and Russia, etc. Another thing I find interesting about the add is its response to the frequent claim the's isolationist. He's anti-interventionist, yes, but that's not the same. The same misunderstanding of isolationism leads people to describe certain periods of US history as exhibiting an isolationist foreign policy, or to describe Washington's Farewell Address as advocating isolationism. How did we reach a point in history where we think that opposition to invading countries that maybe kinda sorta pose a threat, maybe, and then occupying them for a decade afterwards, is synonymous with not wanting to have any engagement with the international system whatsoever?
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2012 on Ron Paul Foreign Policy Ad at The Quantitative Peace
I was up early today. I'm not normally. In fact, I'm more of a night owl than anything. I'm sure the journalists wouldn't actually copy and paste the story. That would imply they sometimes go back and read what was written a few years ago. Which it seems they either do not, or, if they do, they have a veritably charming inability to notice how often rhetoric does not match reality. It'll definitely be interesting to see how it plays out. My sense is he can afford to ignore criticism about being "soft" on Iraq in a way he can't with Afghanistan, for various reasons, but who knows.
And let's not forget Iraq. According to the NYTimes, violence this week calls into question whether anything has actually changed since 2006 after all. Not that anyone saw *that* coming. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/world/middleeast/17iraq.html?_r=1&hp I wonder if they'll just copy, paste, and change a few proper nouns when they write the same story about Afghanistan in 2013 or 2014. As to the title, if it ain't broke... :)
Nice variety. And good point about the Lion King. I mean, really, Shakespeare wishes. Oh, and the commitment problem point is spot on too.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2011 on War/Politics Songs (2) at The Quantitative Peace
Interesting choices. I'll definitely check these out.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2011 on War Songs at The Quantitative Peace
Good point. But I think the reason that's so striking to most people is we assume that relative position in the global system is what matter, since Waltz told us so. But power projection is costly, and the US can't be everywhere. So in a way, it's not all that surprising that the US has to be cognizant of the needs or actions of local actors when pursuing objectives that are peripheral to its survival, territorial integrity, etc. I think the more puzzling thing is why the US is still expending vast amounts of resources in this region, long after any credible argument that it is necessary in order to prevent another 9/11 was tenable. Of course, as I've been arguing for some time on my blog, there are domestic politics-based arguments that could plausibly account for that. But I'm not sure how well any state-centric approach can.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2011 on Love Triangle at The Quantitative Peace
Interesting point. I confess, I had been assuming that sponsorship by the US and China were incompatible because they would ask for different, mutually exclusive, policy concessions in return. But I think you're right that one of the main things either state would hope to accomplish is stabilizing Pakistan. Viewed in that light, it does seem possible that China is free-riding on the US's aid provision, and the US could free-ride on China's if the US rolled back aid to Pakistan. Of course, the US would need to withdraw from Afghanistan before that would be relevant. Because one of the other things the US is buying with its aid is maintenance of supply routes. And we know the US has threatened to rollback aid a few times recently, but whenever they do the Pakistanis just ask how the US feels about losing its supply routes to Afghanistan, and then the US keeps right on giving...
Toggle Commented May 18, 2011 on Love Triangle at The Quantitative Peace
Yeah, I'd love to know what's being said off the record. You're probably right about relations being repaired in the long run. But I do wonder whether this is going to end up with the US tightening its ties to India and China stepping in as Pakistan's new primary sponsor.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2011 on Aid to Pakistan at The Quantitative Peace
Good points all round. I do wonder whether, at least at this point, there's little hope that the US would get 20% cooperation out of Pakistan anyway though. The civilian government is widely viewed as just barely holding on, and while bin Laden wasn't exactly popular with the average Pakistani, neither is the US. (The large number of innocent civilians the US has killed there may have something to do with that.)
Toggle Commented May 6, 2011 on Aid to Pakistan at The Quantitative Peace
Well, eviscerate is undoubtedly giving me too much credit. But sure, I'll send you some papers.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2011 on Welcome Aboard! at The Quantitative Peace
I agree that Berlusconi might see involvement as beneficial because of 1) and 2). But that's not a diversionary story. I see your point about shifting attention. But I'm not sure that works. Lots of leaders have found that using force amidst a scandal only leads to more negative coverage, coverage that...often accuses the leader of diversion. Think Clinton lobbing missiles at Iraq amidst the Lewinsky scandal. Plus how valuable is it do shift attention anyway? Valuable enough to justify the use of force when you otherwise would not have found the use of force to be worthwhile? As you say, there are obviously significant risks associated with using force. I agree it's intuitively appealing, at least to a lot of people. And there have been a few studies that do seem to find pretty decent evidence consistent with some of the obvious implications. There are also some big problems that are mostly just ignored. But anyway, I've said enough. If you're interested, I can send you some of the papers I've written on the topic.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2011 on Welcome Aboard! at The Quantitative Peace
Interesting. And thanks for the link, though I'm not sure I deserve any credit for that argument. I'm skeptical of the diversionary argument (as probably shows since most of my publications so far are criticisms of diversion). The evidence that politicians use force more often when times are bad is sort of there. Not overwhelming, but somewhat plausible. The evidence that they benefit from it is much weaker. Why would the public reward transparently politically motivated behavior? There's pretty good evidence that they don't (see Colaresi's 2007 IO piece). I'm actually finishing up an R&R right now that I hope will be the last paper I ever write about diversion. Folks in that literature see what they want to see to the point that anything but a complete null finding will somehow convince them that there's something to the diversion story, no matter how flimsy the logic is or how little evidence there is that it actually works. Maddening.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2011 on Welcome Aboard! at The Quantitative Peace
Yeah, anywhere from 50 to 500,000 sounds right to me. :P
Ah, mission creep. Who could have seen that coming? But I'm sure we'll draw the line at military advisers. Worked out well in Vietnam. I think you're mostly right about burden sharing within NATO. Germany ain't getting behind this. Neither are Poland or Turkey. But if the US doesn't send some advisers of its own, I'll be pretty surprised.
Yeah, things are getting back to normal. I think you're right that the Navy and Marines will be the winners going forward, while the Army has tough adjustments ahead of it. I'd love to be privy to those discussions, yeah. My sense is that the military voices are losing out to civilian leadership, but it's hard to gauge.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2011 on Mr. Y. is no Mr. X. at The Quantitative Peace
Very good points. I confess, I had thought it interesting when I first read about it, but you make a good argument that calls for lower spending coming from Marines mean something different than similar calls would if they came from Army or Air Force generals.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2011 on Mr. Y. is no Mr. X. at The Quantitative Peace
Agreed, it would be nice to know why the media have allowed this collective memory loss to occur. Yeah, the Saturday panel is at 2 or 2:15 or whatever that time slot is. I expect a couple of us will be going out for drinks after the panel, and you're more than welcome to join. I don't have any real plans before the panel either, so if that works better for you, that would be good too.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2011 on A Quick Word on Libya at The Quantitative Peace
Good points, both. Shocking how it really does seem like we're in a post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan age...and those wars are still going on!
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2011 on A Quick Word on Libya at The Quantitative Peace
Yeah, adding 1 to each value can be problematic in some cases. Especially if your largest value isn't very large. But if the mean, median, max, and so on are all big, then adding 1 doesn't distort as much. At least, that's my sense of the concern here. That is strange that the software does that. Too bad. Still, it does a nice job of distinguishing the very large values from the rest at least.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2011 on Maps Maps Maps, Part Deux at The Quantitative Peace
It does look better. South Korea, Japan, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan clearly stand out now. And it's quite striking how many countries have a US military presence. With respect to the thing about 0s and 1s, you mean it does this even with raw data? Because you're going to lose 0s when you log the data anyway (you can't take the log of 0), but that wouldn't be due to the software. I also think the red looks better than the blue. Good choice.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2011 on Maps Maps Maps, Part Deux at The Quantitative Peace
Awesome.
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2011 on Sounds About Right at The Quantitative Peace
Very interesting. Maybe logging the numbers first would help?
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2011 on Maps Maps Maps at The Quantitative Peace
Very interesting. Is the software treating Taiwan and PRC as the same? Or does the US in fact have more troops in PRC than many countries? And what about Russia? If you'd asked me to name those countries where the US has no troop presence, I'd have listed China and Russia right up there with Iran and North Korea.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2011 on Maps Maps Maps at The Quantitative Peace