Closet Enemies

The NYT looks at Obama’s diplomatic challenges vis-a-vis Pakistan. They don’t seem to get that the army there sparked the terrorism related to Kashmir, or that it’s hostile to us because we won’t side with Pakistan against India. But the Pakistanis have a few blind spots too:

Exhibit A for the Pakistanis is India’s nuclear deal with the United States, which allows India to engage in nuclear trade even though it never joined the global Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Pakistan, with its recent history of spreading nuclear technology, received no comparable bargain.

The nuclear deal was devised in Washington to position India as a strategic counterbalance to China. That is how it is seen in Pakistan, too, but with no enthusiasm.

“The United States has changed the whole nuclear order by this deal, and in doing so is containing China, the only friend Pakistan has in the region,” said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani Army general.

Let’s see if we can come with the reasons why India’s bomb doesn’t particularly bother the US, shall we?:

  1. They haven’t sold it or the underlying technology to anyone else.
  2. There doesn’t seem much chance that US-Indian interests would clash so violently as to invite them to use the bomb against us.

Such niceties don’t really seem to be understood in Islamabad.

Leaking Air

diag1_strip

NASA researchers close in on why Mars lost its atmosphere.

When Sects Collide

One of Sullivan’s readers makes a good point:

The Unitarians have been marrying same-sex couples for some thirty years, and likewise some congregations of the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Church, and I’m sure a number of other religious groups I don’t even know. Why do the fundamentalists get to discriminate with the force of civil law against the U/U, the UCC, and the rest? When did they get the right to have their religious interpretation enshrined in civil law at the unavoidably explicit expense of the others’  interpretation?

Which is why government has to stay neutral on matters of religious doctrine.

Cabinet Reaction

Tom Barnett likes what he sees so far of Obama’s appointments:

Obama is trying to satisfy in a lot of different directions, and I think it’s a good mix to date. They reflect a true CEO mindset that wants very strong subordinates, and I like a cabinet for America right now that reflects too much agenda and too much leadership rather than too little in either category. I don’t want an America that simply accommodates or surrenders to presumed trends. I want an America that leads as it always has, but does so in a smarter fashion. 

DVD Slowdown

Studios have more or less mined their vaults for what DVD-releasable material they have, says The New Yorker. This was going to happen at some point.

Supply Issues

The US is trying to find new supply routes into Afghanistan because the Taliban and their friends are causing trouble for convoys on both sides of the Khyber Pass:

A week ago, a bold Taliban raid on a NATO supply convoy on the Pakistani side of the pass forced authorities to temporarily close traffic through Torkham [the first Afghan border town]. For days after the attack on the 23-truck convoy, many of the hundreds of truckers who regularly traverse this treacherous route were stranded, forced to watch their profits dwindle. Pakistani authorities reopened the NATO supply route through Torkham on Monday after assigning extra security to the convoys.

But on Tuesday, a day after the reopening, dozens of truck drivers seemed far from certain that their troubles were over. The attack in the Khyber tribal area on the Pakistani side of the border last week was one in a series in recent months that has cost NATO suppliers millions in losses this year. In March, insurgents set fire to 40 to 50 NATO oil tankers near Torkham. A month later, Taliban raiders made off with military helicopter engines valued at about $13 million.

The solution in part lies in running supplies through Russia, which illustrates why getting into a pissing match over Georgia or missile defense is not such a hot idea at the moment.

“Worst Possible Backdrop … No Worries”

Funniest thing I saw all day: