Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things You Should Be Reading

Three things you should be reading:

Two of them are from Daniel Larison. The first is this denouncement of the broad exception that Israel gets regarding international law and wars of aggression. I would advise Israeli hawks to listen to people like Drezner; we Americans know a thing or two about wars of aggression inspired by hyperbolic fears. I agree with his central assertion whole-heartedly though, and have made it somewhere on my blog before; essentially, that we should not concede to the hawks and neocons that the only argument is about the effectiveness of an invasion or assault. We should also be arguing about whether it's right or wrong to go to war. Old-fashioned notions I know.

Speaking of old-fashioned, perhaps you missed the revelation that former British Prime Minister Margeret Thatcher was secretly opposed to German re-unification. This is what Andrew Sullivan refers to as "staggering news", though as Drezner points out it made perfect sense at the time for British realists to be, if not opposed, then at least leery of German reunification. As Drezner explains, Britain had been opposed to the formation of a single strong continental power for centuries, and none of us had any reason to believe in 1989 (or 1991) that things would turn out as peaceful as they have. Of course now we associate Germany with economic progress and stability, but Margeret Thatcher was thinking of World War II. For my part, I was somewhat relieved to read about a nation's leader behaving in a manner that reflect caution and traditional interests. That sort of thing is passe around here these days.

Lastly, there's Glenn Greenwald on Bagram, the new "black hole" for terrorist detainees the world over:

No wonder they want to close Guantanamo: who wants to be bothered with irritating habeas reviews -- 28 out of 33 have resulted in judicial findings that insufficient evidence exists to justify the detention -- when you can just ship them off to the Black Hole of Bagram and imprison them for as long as you want with no court interference? Apparently, what the Bush administration did that was so terrible, the heinous "shredding of the Constitution" they perpetrated, wasn't about the fact that they imprisoned people indefinitely with no charges -- but that they did it in Cuba rather than somewhere else. Who knew that such grave Constitutional transgressions -- such severe denial of fundamental rights -- could be fixed so easily with a little change of scenery?

If I have written about the Obama administration's gradually worsening record on civil liberties and the "war on terror" (you thought it was over, didn't you?) it's only because of a blogging ennui in general, not because I'm giving the Obama administration a pass. As excited as I was about the Obama candidacy, not for one single instant did I believe that the Obama administration would easily surrender powers claimed by the Bush administration. To believe they would do so requires a willful ignorance of Presidential history. No President has ever surrendedered such power without a fight, and so the fight continues.

No comments: