Goodbye, Cold War


A well-written piece on what the end of cold war could mean. But, I doubt if the cold war has really ended. Maybe it has just morphed into something else, which will be clearer in the years to come.

THE UNITED STATES is in a remarkable place: for the first time, we are living in a truly post-cold-war political environment. For those on the center-left and center-right, there remains a desperate hope that if Trump were to be removed from the scene, through impeachment or defeat, the US could somehow return to its previous trajectory. And for all the past year’s politics of despair, a likely electoral outcome, because of popular revulsion toward Trump, is that centrist politicians in both parties will gain another shot at power. Given the razor-thin margin of Trump’s victory—despite institutional advantages like the electoral college and voter suppression—there is little reason to assume that Trump the politician will enjoy lasting political dominance. But as long as party stalwarts persist in recycling cold-war tropes, they will remain trapped in the same cycles of social crisis and popular disaffection. Even if this combination of nostalgia and outrage works for a couple of election cycles, it cannot work indefinitely. This is not 1989.

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Aziz Rana — n+1

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How President Trump Changed Your Imagination

Scott Adam’s views.

In 2015 I told you that candidate Trump would change far more than politics. I said he would change how we understand reality itself. And one of those biggest changes is in the scope of our imaginations. One year ago it was hard for me to imagine Saudi Arabia taking a sudden turn toward modernization. One year ago it was hard for me to imagine an uprising in Iran that could reshape its destiny. I assume it was hard for the Iranian public to imagine it as well. But they sure are imagining it now.

President Trump isn’t the only variable in the world. But he does create a pattern in our minds of making the impossible seem achievable. Don’t underestimate the impact that pattern has on the imaginations of everyone watching.

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Scott Adam’s Blog


A detailed look on terrorism.

One commenter suggested that Abrahms almost has it right. Terrorists are seeking social ties, but only as a substitute for female companionship. The specific example was the American novel/movie Fight Club; certainly, when one thinks about it, it’s hard to not notice that the narrator goes–thanks to leading a terrorist organization–from being a single loser who has to pretend to be ill (mentally and physically) to get any attention or social interaction, to being an incredibly popular guy with dozens of subordinates to hang out with day and night and a girlfriend.

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What caused Cape Town’s water crisis?


A sign of times to come when cities start running out of water.

While within the Mother City a blame game seems to be the only way for politicians to attempt to absolve themselves of direct responsibility, the truth is that the looming Day Zero has a host of geneses. And, given these multiple causes, there should be little surprise as to the pending crisis.

Firstly, South Africa’s budget planning is myopically short-term. The country has lurched from election cycle to election cycle as both national and local spheres attempt to plug the deep holes in social expenditure and exclusion. Politically, elected office bearers regard this as providing immediate benefits to the poor and in return, expecting electoral rewards at the polls.

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Daniel Silke — Fin24

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Why America Hasn’t Learned to Win Wars


A critique of America’s foreign misadventures.

A THIRD lesson might be called the impotence of idle threats. Inasmuch as Richard Nixon had a “secret plan” for peace, as he claimed during the 1968 campaign, it was based on the so-called “madman theory,” a stratagem of persuading an enemy of one’s irrationality and then threatening the use of nuclear weapons to force a settlement. “They’ll believe any threat of force Nixon makes because it’s Nixon,” the candidate confidently told aide Bob Haldeman while strolling on the beach.

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George C. Herring & Michale C. Desch — The National Interest

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Post Truth


It is a cynical view of politics that envisages the public as a television audience. In an interview for the film Get Me Roger Stone Trump evaluates his campaign, his political ambition and its efficacy: “I’ve always got good ratings. Ultimately it’s all about the ratings, and it is all about people watching and the eyeballs”.[xvi] More recently he boasted that his ratings on Fox News ‘Face the Nation’ were the “highest they’ve ever had… It’s the highest for ‘Deface the Nation’ since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage”.[xvii] It is the drive for these ratings that motivates his post-truth attitude to the media. For Trump ratings are akin to a traditional notion of democratic legitimacy. Crucially, this is not a public that speaks. This is a public that watches.

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Elle Aspell-Sheppard — Verso

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Congo’s evolution from political crisis to humanitarian emergency


No end to these man made crises.

In recognition of the severity of the crisis, Congo has been categorised a “Level 3” emergency by the international relief community, to galvanise the aid response. The measure will last for an initial six months and is focused on the situation in the greater Kasai region, as well as Tanganyika and South Kivu, where conflict and displacement have soared this year.

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