Kissinger on Putin

“For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one. Putin is a serious strategist – on the premises of Russian history. Understanding US values and psychology are not his strong suits. Nor has understanding Russian history and psychology been a strong point among US policymakers.’”

Henry Kissinger 
“Jackson Lears reviews ‘Hard Choices’ by Hillary Clinton and ‘HRC’ by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes”
London Review of Books
5 February 2015

 

Clinton: Adventurista

But Clinton’s hawkishness is a matter of moral and intellectual conviction. In Hard Choices, she tries to construct a coherent rationale for an interventionist foreign policy and to justify it with reference to her own decisions as secretary of state. The rationale is rickety: the evidence unconvincing. Recent history becomes a series of rescue missions, staged opportunities for heroism worthy of Hollywood: mobs of brown-skinned extras look up to see helicopters – we are saved! The Americans have arrived! Such are the dreams that hover unarticulated in our political unconscious, allowing our leaders to redefine war as humanitarian intervention.

via Jackson Lears reviews ‘Hard Choices’ by Hillary Clinton and ‘HRC’ by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes · LRB 5 February 2015.

Aggression or Hypersensitivity?

What is less clear is how much is truly aggressive and how much is pretty micro — whether the issues raised are a useful way of bringing to light often elusive slights in a world where overt prejudice is seldom tolerated, or a new form of divisive hypersensitivity, in which casual remarks are blown out of proportion.

via Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’ – NYTimes.com.

This is a debate that is important to everyone. If we are allowed to over-define racism, free speech dies. If we under-define it, we allow racism to fester and regain acceptance. We walk a perilously fine line.

Please read all the way through an article. The last five paragraphs mark the beginning of a rebuttal to how far the concept has gone.

Fired African-American Professor: Diversity ≠ Fairness

For his part, Mawakana says that making a broken system more diverse won’t make it fair. “It doesn’t matter if the professors are majority white, majority blue, or majority purple: they are achieving a racially discriminatory result.”

via Denied Tenure, Professors Sue Over Discrimination – Bloomberg Business.

Thank you, professor Mawakana. Can we now allow all universities to summarily fire their diversity staffs, and focus instead on enforcing a fair system?

On Selma

The true importance of the celebrations in Selma is that they demonstrate something we forget when we live in the news cycle: that the broad trajectory of this nation in the last 50 years has been positive; that there may be a distance yet to travel and obstacles along the way, but the direction is right; and that this moment reminds us that the debate about what it should mean when we say “all men are created equal” should never be allowed to end.

As to the speeches, the photo-ops, the President’s posturing and George Bush’s alleged exclusion, it is all so much ado about nothing, and it all distracts from the real meaning of the day. Instead, we must think of Selma in the way Abraham Lincoln spoke about another important battlefield in that struggle:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

We must ever remember that the rights of the individual depend on the rights of all. To accept less is to leave the door open to institutionalized prejudice, systemic hatred, and eventual tyranny.