Turkish Anti-Americanism

Soner Cagaptay doesn’t like what he’s been hearing from Erdogan and other Turkish politicians, and has some advice for Obama:

The effect of this [anti-American sentiment] is that millions of young Turks, like the men who attacked the consulate, have seen America only through the AKP’s foreign-policy rhetoric, including a very negative spin on the Iraq War. There is now a tsunami of young Turks ready to die while trying to kill Americans. The lesson for you, President-elect Obama, is clear: with such anti-Western rhetoric, and because Turkish attachment to the West is so tenuous, your strategy must be to constantly remind Turks that they belong to the West. You must recognize that while the United States cannot stop this entrenched anti-Americanism altogether, the AKP government can, and you should make this issue a part of your conversation with Ankara. Your policy ought to be zero tolerance toward official anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric in Turkey.

The parallel with Pakistan again stands out — an ally perhaps slipping away.

Buffalo’s Hidden History


Given that a lot of peeps in my family still live in Buffalo, I try somewhat to keep up on what’s happening back there. Needless to say, the town has obviously fallen on hard time. The NYT, however, had an excellent piece in Friday’s paper about how some folks are trying to preserve some of the city’s best architecture. Well worth the read.

The South Shall Fall Again

Kevin Drum believes the recent election blunted Southern influence in Washington:

For the first time since Reconstruction, the South will be almost completely shut out of national power. There are still a few liberal Southerners who belong to the Democratic Party, of course, but the reactionary, traditionalist South is, for the time being, nearly powerless. They will not control anything, their caucus is a discredited rump, and their influence will be negligible. There is no reason to fear them or to care what they think. Their power to filibuster, itself guttering and only barely alive following the 2008 election, will be all they have left.

It’s nowhere near that simple, given the GOP’s continued dominance in places like Texas and the upper Plains and Obama’s breakthroughs in Virginia and North Carolina.

Barnett on Missile Defense

Tom Barnett is hoping that Obama gently puts the kibosh on the whole missile-defense thing:

The planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe serves no purpose vis-a-vis Russia’s vast remaining arsenal except to provocatively suggest America is aiming to alter the continental correlation of forces — which it can’t.

In reply, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev now threatens to target those planned sites with conventional missiles, putting our newly elected leader in the position of choosing between “caving in” to Russian pressure or standing up to Russia’s idiotic threat to our equally pointless provocation.

With two wars and a global financial crisis in full swing, this is the “crisis” on which American strategists want our future president spending precious diplomatic capital?

Ah, not really. The fundamental, technical problem is that any defense will leak. Proponents believe we can live with one warhead in 100 getting through. The reality is that the one would be a morale breaker. The certainty of retaliation is what keeps things in check. And we have other things we need to do with the money, even in the defense sphere.

G-20 Summit Results

Bush or no, there’s consensus among the leaders of the world’s most important powers on the causes of the meltdown:

3. During a period of strong global growth, growing capital flows, and prolonged stability earlier this decade, market participants sought higher yields without an adequate appreciation of the risks and failed to exercise proper due diligence. At the same time, weak underwriting standards, unsound risk management practices, increasingly complex and opaque financial products, and consequent excessive leverage combined to create vulnerabilities in the system. Policy-makers, regulators and supervisors, in some advanced countries, did not adequately appreciate and address the risks building up in financial markets, keep pace with financial innovation, or take into account the systemic ramifications of domestic regulatory actions.

4. Major underlying factors to the current situation were, among others, inconsistent and insufficiently coordinated macroeconomic policies, inadequate structural reforms, which led to unsustainable global macroeconomic outcomes. These developments, together, contributed to excesses and ultimately resulted in severe market disruption.

The summit communique can be found at the NYT. There’s also agreement on the need for cross-border regulation:

Supervisors should collaborate to establish supervisory colleges for all major cross-border financial institutions, as part of efforts to strengthen the surveillance of cross-border firms. Major global banks should meet regularly with their supervisory college for comprehensive discussions of the firm’s activities and assessment of the risks it faces.

The Washington Post offers a good summary of the outcome. Sarkozy is happy.

Another Public Housing Failure


Sad story in the NYT about the elevator problems dogging the Wagner homes in East Harlem. The lifts are extremely unreliable and have caused serious disruptions to the lives of people who hardly need the added aggravation. Needless to say, the poor maintenance of public housing is a serious and nationwide issue.

The Libertarian Core

Ezra Klein:

Libertarianism, for all its pretensions, isn’t an economics department dressed up as an ideology. Rather, it’s a belief — anti-statism — that gets dressed up as an economics department. Fundamentally, it’s about battling government, not supporting markets.

In some versions, yes. In others, not so much.

Crackberry Withdrawal


Obama probably will have to give up his Blackberry and e-mail, says the NYT. Given the technology’s addictive tendencies, this will not be well-received by the new president. Question: Couldn’t he just use PGP?

Sarkozy: Not So Fast

If Google’s Russian and Polish translations are to be believed, French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants both the US and Russia to cool it on the whole missile deployment/missile defense front for six months or so. In other words, let’s wait for Obama. He also wants a Euro security conference. The Poles apparently aren’t thrilled by any of this.