Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tzipi Livni wins!

Israel's troubles are over! Just kidding. I'll say this: she can't do much worse than Olmert. I once heard a joke about the erstwhile Israeli PM to the effect that it's usually not possible to measure his political support because it's within the margin of error.

Seriously, though, I think Olmert's failures have some lessons to teach us. He took over for Ariel Sharon, a man for whom I have some very ambivalent feelings but who was assuredly competent. He then proceeded to allow Hizbollah to bait him into fighting a disastrous and unnecessary war with Lebanon. The beginning of Olmert's end occurred right off the bat. And I think this is a real danger of John McCain's ultra-hawkish foreign policy. One of Osama bin Laden's primary goals, post 9/11, was to bait us into fighting a big foreign war to get us to overextend ourselves. The GOP was only to happy to oblige--after all, tools don't mind being used, right?--and then we have Iraq.

Luckily--luckily--it appears that we might be able to extricate ourselves from Iraq with minimal embarrassment in two years. But overestimating one's enemies and adopting a paranoid worldview that sees a threat around every corner has very real costs, despite the conventional wisdom that such a course of action is the most prudent. What we need is prudence--the ability to assess and prioritize threats. McCain clearly hasn't got that. Barack Obama does.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.