Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Yet More Updates

Some interesting articles that serve to follow up on some of my previous posts:

The United States says it will release $200 million in emergency aid to alleviate food shortages in Africa and other parts of the world. While I hope this is a useful step, the cynic (realist?) in me wonders if this may not be another disaster in the making like the one where food aid arrived in a drought-stricken country a year late, and only served to bankrupt local farmers.

The Ghosts of Alexander blog has an interesting post called The Afghan Individual as a Unit of Analysis, which takes to task the intellectually lazy tendency amongst journalists and academics to "talks of groups in Afghanistan as if they were a coherent unit with a single will".

On a similar note, the folks over at the Kings of War blog, take aim at silly statements like this:

"Muslim countries are not like other countries. In as much as occupying troops are a much bigger theological, psychological problem for Arab countries than somewhere like Japan and Germany. And if you don't understand that about Islam, then you really aren't judging and you really haven't learned from the last four or five years."

Quite apart from the lazy, interchangable use of Muslim and Arab, one wonders if what the reporter in question is trying to suggest is that other racial/religious (same thing, no?) groups have much less of a problem being occupied by foreign troops than Arab/Muslims (same thing, no?)

The money quote from the blog: "Whenever I hear talk that smacks of cultural determinism, I reach for my revolver!"

I had also previously written about Obama's attempts to improve his image in Israel. The Rootless Cosmopolitan has an excellent article entitled "Obama and the Jewish Vote".

Barnett Rubin at 'Informed Comment: Global Affairs' provides the text to the policy speech of the ANP's Amir Haider Khan Hoti, the new Chief Minister of NWFP. Its worth reading, and as a policy statement, seems to me to be nuanced and sounding all the right notes. Lets hope the NWFP government has the ability and wherewithal to implement it.

Finally, I leave you with this excellent guest post by Alastair Cooke at the Rootless Cosmopolitan blog about Iraq and the U.S. faith in violence:
Although there are different ideas about how and when to use it, there is, I think, a consensus in Washington on the idea that by applying its overwhelming advantage in military force, the U.S. can do good in the world. It can make the world a better place through the transformative impact of violence, in the way that the violence of the hero in a Hollywood movie “cleanses” the world of incorrigible evil.

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