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Showing posts from March 10, 2014

The Real Origins of Realpolitik

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[Long but interesting piece on the historical origins and revival of Realpolitik written, unsurprisingly, by the holder of the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. *RON*]
John Bew, The National Interest, March-April 2014 issue

IN 1934, a young British historian published his first book, The Italian Problem in European Diplomacy, 1847–1849. In it, he announced that a nation’s foreign policy “is based upon a series of assumptions, with which statesmen have lived since their earliest years and which they regard as so axiomatic as hardly to be worth stating.” It was the duty of the historian, he wrote, “to clarify these assumptions and to trace their influence upon the course of every-day policy.”

By that apodictic verdict A. J. P. Taylor, who soon became one of the greatest British historians of the past century, meant realpolitik, which he believed was the true motor …

Snowden SXSW Talk a 'Call to Arms' to Tech World

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[Whistleblower chose technology conference platform to urge the 'innovators, makers, hackers, geeks' to build a more secure system. *RON*]
Lauren McCauley, staff writer Common Dreams, March 10, 2014

In his first live video appearance since his earth-rattling disclosures, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke before audiences at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, music and film conference in Austin, Texas on Monday.

With a live stream provided by the Texas Tribune, the world was able to witness the conversation between Snowden and Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. The talk focused specifically on the impact of the NSA's vast dragnet operations on the technology community and ways in which users can protect themselves from mass surveillance.


UN Official: States Must Not Hide Civilian Drone Deaths

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[Civilian drone killings have nearly disappeared from the news and public awareness. Phyllis Bennis: "This report is the beginning of chipping away at US impunity." *RON*]
Sarah Lazare, staff writer Common Dreams, March 10, 2014

Increasing drone strikes are causing "disproportionate civilian casualties," and the U.S. and other states must not be permitted to continue hiding this trail of death from the public,charged a UN official in a recently released report.
"This report is the beginning of chipping away at U.S. impunity," said Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, in an interview with Common Dreams.

In a damning 21-page report, UN special rapporteur on human rights Ben Emmerson identifies 30 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Gaza in which civilians were killed, injured, or threatened by drone strikes.

Here’s one way to rally support for oil and coal exports: Tax them

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[An interesting approach in general toward large monied interest groups who lobby for ways to make even more money: pay-for-play. *RON*]

Steve Mufson, Washington Post, March 10

The group Third Way says it has a way to rally support for lifting the four decade-old ban on U.S. oil exports: Tax them.

We should tax exports of coal and natural gas, too, the group says. And industry will like it.

The idea is that a modest tax on exports of fossil fuels would raise money for research and development of carbon capture and storage and other innovations to control climate-harming carbon dioxide emissions, areas that Third Way says have not received anywhere near the level of R&D they deserve. In return, Congress would lift the existing ban on crude oil exports, and the administration would approve more natural gas export terminals.

Irredentism Is Not the Only Inconsistent Thing in International Relations

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[Strategic reasons to support or not support separatist movements. BTW, irredentism is "a state advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged."*RON*]

By Steve Saideman, politicalviolenceataglance, March 10, 2014

I am shocked, shocked that countries may develop inconsistent policies as they react to separatism in other countries. Ok, I am not. After all, my quantitative piece on this stuff is entitled:Discrimination in International Relations. That and the related book, The Ties That Divide, argue that countries will support those secessionists that they “like” and oppose those that they “dislike.” What do I mean by like? Domestic politics FTW! That is, often but not always, domestic audiences in country x will have a preference about what happens in country y based on whether the folks in x have ties to anyone in y, particularly ethnic ties. …

The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld

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[An interesting historical counterpoint to the essay posted here on March 7th, The Anatomy of the Deep State. My apologies that the footnote links did not transfer in working order. *RON*]
By Prof Peter Dale Scott, Global Research, March 10, 2014 (The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 12, Issue 10, No. 5)

In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have called
two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1 And in 2013, particularly after the military return to power in Egypt, more and more authors referred to this second level as America’s “deep state.”2 Here for example is the Republican analyst Mike Lofg…