you want to know how Bush’s gushing support of Rumsfeld went over in the Arab world: Bush’s Backing of Rumsfeld Shocks and Angers Arabs. “‘After the torture and vile acts by the American army, President Bush goes out and congratulates Rumsfeld. It’s just incredible. I am in total shock,’ said Omar Belhouchet, editor of the influential Algerian national daily El Watan.”
Archives for May 2004
Isolated incidents? I don’t think so, and neither does the Red Cross.
after the events of September 11. It’s instructive, three and a half years later, to go and look at his early post-Sept-11 assessment. He proposed three scenarios. One, a quick attack and total victory over the Taliban and Bin Laden. Two, a legalistic approach over a longer event horizon. Three, a worst case scenario in which, “a general anti-US movement in the muslim countries erupts due to a botched US attack…”
Robb meant a botched attack on Afghanistan, I think. In Afghanistan, even with out bin Laden I think his optimistic first scenario played out pretty well. But then came Iraq, and it’s working out much much worse.
What was Robb’s prediction of the fallout from his worst case scenario?
the world loses confidence in the US-based economic system and a multipolar system emerges. A long protracted recession occurs. Many developing countries fall into chaos. The dollar collapses as capital flight occurs. Security concerns slow business activity. The world develops along multipolar lines with no one nation in a position to protect the overall system. The standard of living experienced by the western world drops by over 20%. We enter the world of cyberpunk world of Gibson where technology advances but virtually all other aspects of the world’s systems are inoperative. Countries and regions isolate themselves. Cost to the world economy? $300 trillion over 20 years.
powerfully about the Abu Ghraib situation and its aftermath. Marshall is quickly becoming one of my favourite reads on international affairs and Iraq specifically.
There is one matter, however, where he is wrong. He wrote (in the above-referenced post), “But going back almost three years these men made very conscious and specific decisions to disregard or opt out of the various international conventions, rules and traditions governing the treatment of prisoners of war and enemy combatants that are intended to prevent such things from happening.”
This is is simply not accurate. This aspect of US foreign policy – opting out of international rules – goes back well before the current Bush administration. In fact, it began sometime at the end of the Reagan administration and continued unbroken through the GHW Bush and Clinton administrations. The thing that Americans against the war have to really understand is that although Bush and his administrations obvious incompetence are obvious, but the basic policy is largely unchanged. And I see no evidence that it’s going to change under Kerry.
As I have written before, US policy for years has been to work behind the scenes to support the creation of rules that govern the rest of the world – the International Criminal Court, the landmines treaty, Kyoto, and many more – but has never signed on to a single one of them.
and Biz Stone has posted all the details. In a nutshell: comments, public profiles, new templates, post-per-page à la Movable Type, and a radical new look. Presumably the public profile stuff will merge (eventually) with Orkut-like stuff and feed GMail as well.