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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Additional Blogging and Writing

This week, Millennium: Journal of International Studies has published my article on "Cooperative Security: Grand Strategy Meets Critical Theory?" The piece is a revised version of the paper I delivered at the London School of Economics conference during October 2011. Here's the abstract:
Major powers are frequently urged to embrace grand strategies tied to particular International Relations theories. In the case of United States foreign policy, scholars generally analyse a well-known set of strategic choices – primacy, selective engagement, offshore balancing, collective security and cooperative security – favoured by relatively mainstream realist and liberal thinkers in International Relations. This article explores the evolution of cooperative security as an idea from its clear ties to liberal and neoliberal international relations theory to its current understanding in world politics, which is surprisingly consistent with many emancipatory ideals of critical International Relations theory. Cooperative security no longer merely implies multilateralism, negotiation and arms control. Rather, security is now more frequently described as indivisible, and genuine cooperation is said to require shared decision-making and consensual practices. Non-governmental organisations are more and more granted a voice in security discussions, as are international institutions. While weapons and warfare remain important security concerns, the cooperative security agenda today includes ideas associated with human security, including environmental calamity, global inequality and hunger.
Last Tuesday, May 22, I posted "How the Sausage is Made" on the Duck of Minerva group IR blog. Andrew Sullivan kindly linked to the post and nearly 15,000 people have viewed it to-date. Apparently, in the 7-year history of the Duck, it is the most-viewed post!** Thank you Zack Beauchamp.

If you haven't read the piece, it includes audio (with pictures) of world leaders speaking frankly about their negotiating position on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The audio track is from  the 2009 Copenhagen climate change summit and the leaders apparently didn't know the session was recorded. I cross-posted "Making Sausage" on the e-IR climate blog as well on May 23.

On May 5, I posted "Climate Change and Godwin's Law" on Duck of Minerva and it was cross-posted on e-IR on May 6. In case you are not familiar with the phrase, "Godwin's Law" refers to the implications of someone referencing Hitler or the Nazis in an internet debate.

This is me a few years ago, playing poker.


** It appears that the Google source I used for this information has only been tracking Duck of Minerva since July 2009.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pakistan: Failed or Rogue State?

451px-A.Q.Khan Pictured: A.Q. Khan, "Father of Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Program." 

It has been a few weeks since the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. However, I meant to blog this line from a May 2011 piece by Cyril Almeida, a columnist for Pakistan's widely-read Dawn.
"If we [Pakistan] didn’t know [bin Laden was in Abbottabad], we are a failed state; if we did know, we are a rogue state."
Almeida continues with a question, "But does anybody really believe they didn’t know?"

Some readers may recall that I presented a conference paper about Pakistan as a possible target in the "war on terror" back in October 2008. In that paper, I argued that Pakistan could easily have been viewed as a foe all the way back in September 2001.

Actually, I've not been especially kind to Pakistan on this blog for some years:

Pakistan is the "ally from hell" according to a December 2011 Atlantic piece by journalists Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder. While they discuss many of the same problems I've been addressing on this blog over the years, the authors end their piece by taking on the question of command and control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Indeed, they urge U.S. policymakers to remain "focused on the most important goal: keeping Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal secure and holstered." That might not be easy, as they report:
In 2006, General Kidwai, the SPD [Strategic Plans Division] leader, told a U.S. audience at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, that Pakistan maintained for its nuclear arsenal the functional equivalent of two-person control and permissive action links, or PALs—coded locks meant to prevent unauthorized arming of a weapon. When asked about Pakistan’s PAL protocols, one former U.S. defense official replied, “It has never been clear to me what Pakistani PALs really entail. The doctrine is ‘two people’—but is it two people to unlock the box around the warhead, or is it two people to launch the thing once you’ve mated the warhead to the missile?”
In short, bin Laden is dead, but there are still many reasons for security analysts to worry about Pakistan. A nuclear-armed failed state is just as worrisome as a rogue state with the bomb.  

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 Bolts from the Blue

For years, I've been posting the roster of my entry in the Hardy House fantasy baseball league. On Saturday, April 14, in Louisville, I attended my 24th consecutive auction draft. Only one owner had to participate by phone, but the rest of us enjoyed the auction, a local baseball game, some beer, and camaraderie.

As a reminder: the league has 12 teams and uses American League players exclusively to accumulate statistics in various hitting and pitching categories. For 22 years, we tabulated results in the traditional 8 categories (HR, RBI, SBs, Batting Average, Wins, Saves, Earned Run Average and ratio/Walks-plus-Hits per Inning Pitched), but in the 2011 off-season we voted to dump BA in favor of On Base Average. Also, we added runs scored (R) for hitters and strikeouts (K) for pitchers.

My 2011 team finished 3rd, but was 10 points behind the championship squad. It featured terrific starting pitching as the squad won ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts and finished 2nd in wins. The team finished 7th in saves, so I hoped to do something about that this season. Offensively, the team had good power, lots of regulars (so plenty of RBI and runs scored), but was weak on speed and horrible at OBA.

Please note one roster quirk now in its fifth year: we added a 10th pitcher and subtracted an outfielder from the "normal" roto squad. We continue to believe that this better reflects roster management decisions that real baseball teams have made over the past 20 years. Again this year, we allowed the purchase of any player on an American League 40 man roster. After the auction, only players on 25 man active rosters or the major league Disabled List (DL) can be obtained. We did vote to allow teams to retain ownership of players sent packing to the National League.

The 2012 Bolts from the Blue (9 retained players in blue):

C Mike Napoli (TEX) $19
C Hank Conger (LAA) $1 (AAA)
1B Adam Dunn (CHX) $14
2B Chris Getz (KC) $1
3B Mike Moustakas (KC) $15
SS Elvis Andrus (TEX) $30
MI Jean Segura (LAA) $1 (AAA)
CR Mike Carp (SEA) $3
OF Eric Thames (TOR) $8
OF Ben Revere (Min) $3
OF Josh Willingham (MIN) $21
OF Michael Brantley (CLE) $11
DH Billy Butler (KC) $23

Hitting $150 (down $25 from last season, which is a lot)

P Jered Weaver (LAA) $24
P Jon Lester (BOS) $26
P Matt Moore (TB) $19
P Alex Cobb (TB) $1 (AAA)
P Francisco Cordero (TOR) $2
P Mark Melancon (BOS) $9
P Aaron Crow (KC) $4
P Glen Perkins (MIN) $5
P Greg Holland (KC) $3
P Matt Capps (MIN) $14 (acquired in pre-draft trade for C Jarrod Saltalamacchia TEX)

Pitching $107 ($24 more than last year)

Andrus cost about 10% more than his price in most guides or early expert drafts, but our league typically has an inflation rate of about that amount. I think he is the best shortstop in the AL and worth the gamble.

I kept Perkins because he seems to be the likely substitute for Capps if the latter should falter as the Twins closer. It meant spending $19 for a likely bad team's saves, but there are lots of potentially good innings there. I also took stabs at saves in the bullpens in Toronto, KC, and Boston.

I did not mean to buy Moore at the listed price, but because I spent the money there at that time of the auction, I barely lost out on the bidding for 2B Jason Kipnis (CLE) a short time later. Their salaries are identical and I was offered a straight-up 1:1 trade at the auction. My team would certainly look more as intended if I had taken that trade, but I didn't really like very many of the remaining starting pitchers.  So far, Kipnis is far outperforming Moore.

Additionally, I rejected the deal because I thought one team was hoarding cash and I therefore feared that inflationary pressures were about to kick in big time. It turned out that a team left a great deal of cash unspent -- over $30, which is enough to purchase a star player!

I left $3 on the table, but I had reserved some extra cash to purchase a few AAA players at the end of the auction to fill in my roster. The guys I really wanted went for too much money (or only qualified at positions I had already filled), so I ended up with several dime AAA players instead of a couple that cost a bit more. Because of injuries and roster limits, I've already had to release Hank Conger, who was injured in the minors.

Moustakas was on my 2011 team and I bought him again for a much lower salary than he cost as a minor league free agent last year. Butler is a long-time favorite and former member of the Bolts. Lester was on my 2010 championship team.

To replace minor league players Conger, Segura, Revere (sent down early), and Cobb on my active roster, I bought C Anthony Recker (OAK) for $1, MI Jason Donald (CLE) for $2, OF Bobby Abreu (LAA/LAD) for $11, and P Casey Janssen (TOR) for $3. I also nabbed CI Eric Sogard (OAK) for $2 to replace the then-injured Carp. Donald and Sogard have already been waived. So has Cordero, once he lost his job to Janssen.

Obviously, I'm hoping for a big bounce back year from Adam Dunn -- and the decision looks good to-date as his HR total in mid-May 2012 already exceeds his 2011 output. Also, I bought a large number of KC Royals, the hometown-favorite team of my youth. I've got a lot of confidence in Moustakas and Butler as hitters. Eric Hosmer cost too much for my tastes. I avoided KC starting pitching.

As I noted above, my team's OBA was terrible last year, so I intentionally sought to avoid guys with poor on-base skills. It was a major reason for trading Saltalamacchia. He and Vernon Wells were a bad 1-2 combination of sub-.300 OBA in 900 plate appearances during 2011.

You can find posts about the 2005, 2007 , 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 auctions elsewhere on this blog.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ethnic Cleansing in Freedonia?

Faithful readers may remember that in early 2010 I promised to blog about real-world references to film.  While I often write about film and teach a course on "Global Politics Through Film," I'm not sure I've been faithful to that promise.

In a recent book review of a satirical novel, I found an old reference to film. Specifically, literary critic Liesl Schillinger reminded readers of this 1993 prank that was apropos of its Marx Brothers film reference:
It’s worth remembering that in 1993, when Spy magazine prank-called U.S. congressmen, asking what the administration should do about ethnic cleansing in Freedonia, several of the officials demanded immediate action. Freedonia, as it happens, was not a warring Balkan land but the fictional setting of the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup. Spy soon exposed the trap it had laid...
If readers are unfamiliar with the 1933 film Duck Soup, my advice is to watch it! Turner Classic Movies airs it frequently. For now, however, suffice to know that it is a farce about the buildup to war between Freedonia and Sylvania. Groucho becomes Prime Minister and his brother Chico serves as his Secretary of War. The storyline is wacky and as I wrote a few years ago, one would be "hard-pressed to learn any valuable lessons about international relations or war from the film."

In any case, I found a news item about this old prank in The New York Times of January 13, 1993, which means the congressional interviews must have occurred about the same time as the U.S. humanitarian intervention into Somalia.  The newspaper of record supplied some details about Spy's methodology:
Posing as the host of a New York radio talk show, Spy's staff called about 20 first-term House members and, after a series of innocuous questions, asked, "Do you approve of what we're doing to stop what's going on in Freedonia?" or "Do you approve of what we're doing to stop ethnic cleansing in Freedonia?"
The Times also quoted some of the responses: 
Representative Corrine Brown, Democrat of Florida, said she approved of what the United States was doing in Freedonia, and added, "I think all of those situations are very, very sad, and I just think we need to take action to assist the people."

Representative Jay Inslee, Democrat of Washington, was candid. "I have to be honest with you, I'm not familiar with that proposal," he said. "But it's coming to the point now that a blind eye to it for the next 10 years is not the answer."

Representatative Steve Buyer, Republican of Indiana, said, "Yeah, it's a different situation than the Middle East."
The magazine also called Nick Smith (R-MI),  who said that "moving through the United Nations effort has a great deal of merit."

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel noted January 27, 1993, that "All 20 of them were tricked by the clever editors of Spy magazine, who concocted this little exercise in political embarrassment.....not one of the gullible freshmen caught on to the joke."

Before closing, I should note that members of the general public also provide answers when pollsters ask them questions about fictitious issues.




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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Obama's Drone War

This is just a quick note to save some statistics I read recently. In the April 30 issue of The Nation, University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole referenced some hard numbers about US use of drones:
American drone strikes on individuals and groups in the tribal belt of northwestern Pakistan, as well as in Yemen, also typify Washington’s global shadow wars. The United States has 7,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, which it has deployed in strikes in six countries. Both the CIA and the US military operate the drones. Rather than being adjuncts to conventional war, drone strikes are mostly carried out in places where no war has been declared and no Status of Forces Agreement has been signed. They operate outside the framework of the Constitution, with no due process or habeas corpus...

...the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that not only are civilians routinely killed by US drone strikes in northern Pakistan; often people rushing to the scene of a strike to help the wounded are killed by a second launch. The BIJ estimates that the United States has killed on the order of 3,000 people in 319 drone strikes, some 600 of them civilian bystanders and 174 of those, children. Some 84 percent of all such strikes were launched after Obama came to office.
Those are some disturbing stats. Even worse, as Cole notes, this is not an area of great government transparency or publicity. Quite the opposite -- secrecy prevails:
...the drone operations are classified. When asked about strikes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refuses to confirm or deny that they have occurred. The drones cannot be openly debated in Congress or covered in any detail by the US media. Therefore, they cannot be the subject of a national political debate, except in the abstract. The Congressional intelligence committees are briefed on the program, but it is unlikely that any serious checks and balances can operate in so secret and murky a realm...

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

2012 Louisville Sluggers

This is my annual post about the Louisville Sluggers of the Original Bitnet Fantasy Baseball League. We drafted many weeks ago in March, but I didn't get around to putting this together until now.

The OBFLB crowns champions for both the "A" first half and "B" second half of the baseball season, divided by the All Star game. For obvious reason, I can only report results of the draft in preparation for the first half season. As I list the team roster, keep in mind that the OBFLB is a 24 team head-to-head fantasy baseball league using 10 categories: home runs, stolen bases, batting average, runs produced average, plate appearances, innings pitched, wins, saves, earned run average and "ratio."

Here are the 2012 Sluggers (players in red were retained from 2011). Since I kept 11 players, I started the draft in round 12:

 Starters

 C: Nick Hundley(16th round)
1B: Joey Votto (CIN)
2B: Jason Kipnis (CLE)
3B: Scott Rolen (CIN) (17th round)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
OF: Cameron Maybin (SD)
OF: Jeff Francouer (KC) (12th round)
OF: Chris Heisey (CIN) (15th round)
DH: Billy Butler (KC)

SP: Tim Lincecum (SF)
SP: Josh Beckett (BOS)
SP: Brandon Morrow (TOR)
SP: Chris Capuano (LAD) (14th round)
SP: Joe Blanton (PHI) (18th round)
RP: Joel Hanrahan (PIT)
RP: Chris Perez (CLE)
RP: Jonathan Broxton (KC) (13th round)

Bench

 C: Jose Lobaton (28th round)
IF: Maicer Izturis (LAA) (19th round)
3B: Wilson Betemit (BAL) (21st round)
SS: Jurickson Profar (TEX)  (minors)
UT: Kyle Blanks (SD) (23rd round)
OF: Craig Gentry (TEX) (24th round)
OF: Roger Bernadina (WAS) (26th round)

SP: Kevin Slowey (CLE) (20th round)
SP: Alex Cobb (TB) (25th round) (minors)
SP Felipe Paulino (KC) (22nd round)
RP: Tom Gorzelanny (WAS) (27th round)

Already, Blanks has been lost for the season and I replaced him with Todd Frazier (CIN).

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Lego House

One of my neighbors has built three houses on our street out of Lego blocks. This one is mine:

1450

Check out his Flickr page to see the others and additional photos of my home.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Jim O'Sullivan

On occasion, former colleagues read this blog. For those who remember Jim O'Sullivan, I am saddened to pass along his obituary:

James L. O’Sullivan, retired Foreign Service officer, retired Head of the Political Science Department at the University of Louisville (KY) died at the Connecticut Hospice Center in Branford CT on Tuesday April 10, 2012. O’Sullivan was born on October 23, 1916. He attended Orange Center School (Orange CT) and Hillhouse High School (New Haven) and Canterbury School in New Milford before attending Williams College (AB 1938) studying economics and receiving a letter in golf. In addition, one of the things Jim was most proud of was his receiving the Eagle Scout medal in 1933 as a member of Derby ’s Troop 3. He served in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service from 1942 until 1971. In 1945 he served in the American Embassy in Chungking , China after an adventuresome ride over the Hump in a C-140. He met Chang Kai-Shek and Chou-en-Lai and other important figures while there. He then continued on to Hanoi where he served from spring of 1946 until December 1947, observing Ho Chi Minh and the conflict with the French colonial forces as the only American official in northern Indochina.
Following those early years he served in Rome , Tunisia , Brazzaville , Congo , Kinshasa Congo/Zaire, Djakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney , Australia. Jim joined the faculty at the University of Louisville in 1967 as a visiting Diplomat in Residence. Following his final posting to Australia as the Consul General in Sydney (1968-1971) he returned to Louisville and joined the political science department. He served as head of the department from 1974-1977. He was an active member of the faculty senate and served on the Athletics Committee and as the faculty representative to the NCAA committee. Jim was the 1st recipient of the Minerva Award for the University of Louisville . Jim was an avid and excellent golfer, playing nearly to the last day of his life. He was a life member of the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur and won championships in Italy , Tunisia as well as being a renowned player in Louisville and on courses across Connecticut . He was also a life member of the Oronoque Country Club. Jim was very active at the Oronoque Village Condominium and served as an officer on the board of OVCA. Jim is survived by step-son Robert Hilgendorff of Fairfield, CT and step-daughters Katherine Blanchard of Oxford, NH and Jane Huggins of Altamont, NY as well as step-grandchildren Stevens, Emily, Jeffrey and Andrew. Additional survivors are his brother Robert and family, ( Lakewood CO ), and sister Patricia ( Orange CT ), Jeff, John, Kathy, Patrick and David, children of his brother Thomas and his friends and acquaintances in Oronoque Village , especially his friend Myrtie Hall. He was predeceased by his first wife, Eleanor Goode (d. 1977) and his second wife, Jean Fraser Hilgendorff (d 2008). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, April 14,2012 at 10:00 AM Directly at St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church, Shelton, with father Chris Samele officiating. Interment will follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Stratford . Friends may greet the family on Friday, April 13, 2012 from 3 to 7 pm at the Dennis & D’Arcy – Abriola & Kelemen Funeral Home, 2611 Main Street Stratford . For online condolences please visit www.dennisanddarcy.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested for the Community Soup Kitchen, 84 Broadway in New Haven Ct (06511).
Jim would have been 96 years old this October, so he certainly lived a long and productive life. I'm not sure of the last time I saw him -- perhaps when he was in town to accept the University's Minerva award. At the ceremony honoring Jim, I sat directly behind Denny Crum.

In the early 1990s, Jim used to warn everyone about the possibility of future disorder in China -- perhaps a return to the brutal politics of the warlord era. He and I had several discussions about "gender norming" in the State Department. And he wanted  outsiders to realize that Kentucky farmers are incredibly dependent upon marijuana as a cash crop.

One last memory shared by others: Jim used to trounce various junior colleagues in racquet sports -- he repeatedly challenged me to play, but I declined.

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