by Tyler Cowen
on November 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm
1. Shapin reviews Monk on Oppenheimer.
2. The original Twinkie had banana filling, until WWII rationing.
3. Wikipedia on Gaza Strip, and a Stratfor analysis of Gaza, and a Foreign Affairs piece.
4. What do animals want?, and monkeys want to ride on capybara.
5. Can the unconscious mind solve math problems?
Nothing like clicking on obscured links – as if anyone would trust a ‘Stratfor’ link anyways. Completely leaving aside questions of accuracy or insight.
OT, but I just watched Bill Gates talking smack about Tyler on the Fareed Zakaria show. (Admittedly, he was responding to Fareed’s characterization of the Great Stagnation thesis). I’m not sure how much he and Tyler actually disagree, but his arguments against technical stagnation were pretty uninteresting in my opinion.
A couple of years ago, Hostess released some “retro” twinkies that had banana filling. They were really good. I always wondered why they would ever stop.
Thx for the linx.
The capybara seem to be like London buses.
Interesting off-topic tidbit about the capybara:
“During Lent, capybara meat is especially popular in parts of South America, especially in Venezuela, as the Catholic Church, in a special dispensation, is claimed to have allowed eating capybara meat when meat consumption was otherwise not allowed.” [Wikipedia]
Vatican never ceases to amaze me….
Is Walter Russell Mead ( http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/11/18/america-israel-gaza-the-world/ ) really correct that Europeans are outraged by the Israelis because Europeans see warfare as a gentlemanly tit-for-tat kind of affair?
I don’t know outrage is the right term, but I do agree America’s tradition is a different one. When the British fought the French or even the Germans, they knew at the end of the war, the French would still be there over the water. That limited the ruthlessness of the fighting. You have to live with them afterwards. When Americans fought Indians they fought to win on a more permanent basis. They did not expect them to be still there afterwards.
In Israel’s case, in the end, whatever happens, the Palestinians are still going to be there. The Israelis may hope to erect an Iron Wall and in the end the Arabs will have to accept a total defeat, but I am not sure that is going to happen. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that are.
Is he right that people look at dead babies and blame Hamas? I think almost by definition this is not the case. We can see declining support for Israel all over the world. Because what he misses is that in the end people are more willing to support a chivalrous campaign than a war of extermination. If Israel does not play by the rules, people tend to distance themselves from what is going on. As America discovered in Vietnam, a one-sided blood bath looks bad and alienates public opinion. Will Israel reach this point domestically? I don’t think it will have to as the threat of Europe reaching this point is much greater. WRM ought to look at those pictures of a Vietnamese girl covered in napalm burns and reflect that even though America’s cause was absolutely just, America did not win.
I also think he is wrong about Israel being a friend of America. America may be a friend of Israel, but that does not mean the love is reciprocated. Parts of Likud may look to the American experience as a model, but generally American politics do not find a home in Israel. America supports Israel and so Israel supports America. That is not the same as friendship.
Who is fighting a war of extermination?? The Palestinians, surely?
Well yes, them too. They just aren’t very good at it. Which is the point. Perhaps Europeans would flip once more if the Palestinians were better at it.
The problem now is that Europeans see a very one sided fight it is not seen to be fair. Which it isn’t. For very good reasons as it happens. In that Israel is a functioning modern state and the Palestinian Authorities, especially in Gaza, are, to put it mildly, not. But in the end, when people see a bigger boy beating the crap out of the weaker one, they don’t usually sympathise with the bigger one.
What if the bigger boy sends medical supplies and aid in a clumsy attempt to undo some of the collateral damage to the weaker one while beating the crap out of it, but no one finds out about it?
I think that would just look spineless as well as malicious.
Israel has a lot more to fear from the decline of the the dollar than Iran/Hamas/Hezbollah etc.
“If Israel does not play by the rules, people tend to distance themselves from what is going on…”
Israel is playing according to the rules as generally understood in the mid-twentieth century and as implemented by essentially all of Europe’s nations in all their wars even to the present, the rules as codified in international law and treaty. It is killing many innocent people, yes – the rules have always said that may can kill whatever innocent people may be standing too close to the people who appear to be shooting at you (or giving orders to the people who are shooting at you, making weapons for the people who are shooting at you, etc).
If there are rules Israel is breaking, someone needs to be specific about what those rules are and from where their authority comes. It would also be helpful to demonstrate that it is possible to win a war while playing by those rules, something far less dangerous for Europe to do than for Israel. And, they might also want to explain how it is that Palestine does not face even greater criticism for breaking the rules.
Well no, Israel is not. Israel is taking a highly legalistic approach that keeps them on the right side of the US and on the right side of international law most of the time. But no, they are not obeying the law. They may claim they are hitting military targets, but they aren’t really. TV stations? Really?
I doubt it is possible to win according to international legal standards. God knows Western countries have tried to use them fighting “national liberation” movements and have uniformly failed. Whereas Third World countries do not use them and have almost uniformly won – Ethiopia being an exception.
As I said, the Palestinians are pathetic so Europeans do not consider them much of a problem. They don’t get to kill many people. Sure, they should be criticised a lot more but until they are effective at something, they probably won’t be. In the meantime, America will look at Israel and see Indian fighting. The Europeans will look and see the French Resistance.
TV stations, yes, really. Government-operated radio broadcast stations have been considered legitimate military targets from the start, and I’m pretty sure that extends to television. So, Israel is taking the “highly legalistic” approach of, you know, not breaking the law. And winning at least the military conflict, according to international legal standards.
The standards or “rules” that Israel is accused of violating, I’m pretty sure those aren’t laws, and again, someone needs to actually spell them out and explain why the rest of us should care.
That Europe and some parts of America want only Happy Fun Wars where just the Evil Overlord and his Faceless Stormtroopers are killed is of course understood. We’ve got movies for that. Real life is different.
Sorry but could you please quote me the piece of international law that says attacking TV stations is acceptable? No, I don’t agree that Israel isn’t breaking the law. Settlements for instance. Israel takes the interesting legal position that there is no pre-existing government there so taking the land is not illegal. I don’t know anyone else who would agree with this.
It is winning the military conflict. But it is likely to lose the peace. How can this end well for Israel? The world sees brave Palestinians stand up to a bully and Hamas wins even more support. I think this is a bad thing. But does Israel?
I agree about the Happy Fun Wars.
Yes, WW I, the war to end all wars, was really gentlemanly, ‘cept for all those premature deaths. Never mind the aftermath, bringing us WW II. That was gentlemanly in the West, ‘cept for those premature deaths, but not gentlemanly in the East, as shown by far more premature deaths than usual.
Whatever European Foreign Ministries’ attitudes, they have little to do with the past.
No cheers for this one,
Actually the First World War was remarkably gentlemanly all things considered. It was the first step on a long path downwards, but all in all, it was fought remarkably cleanly. As was World War Two in, as you say, the West.
It wasn’t fought very cleanly by the standards of the time. Even by the standards of WWII there was a lot of brutality on the Eastern Front from all sides that was pretty nasty, including toward civilians. Not to mention the use of poison gas – which was so horrific that even the Nazis refused to use it in WWII.
Slightly away from the thrust of the Israel-Hamas discussion above, this is quite an interesting perspective on the effect of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
Ad #5, my belief in this is why I always allocate several minutes to read through an entire exam before I allow students to start writing.
Could an economist give a solid reason for bailing out GM and Chrysler but on Hostess?
Can a fanatically ideological/theoretical/abstraction-worshipping poster not tell the pragmatic/’real world’ difference between the 2 cases?
The UAW is far more powerful than the Bakers union? 😉
The Auto industry is highly concentrated. That makes it useful for re-election purposes. Is the same of the Twinkie industry?
There is no point bailing out industries that aren’t in swing states.
As to #3:
what might work, or at least put the cat among a couple of categories of pigeons is a suggestion that Egypt, which does not want to annex Gaza with all its economic and social problems, takes “protectorate” control of Gaza and in cooperation with other “Arab” states (which excludes Iran), becomes responsible for all hostile attacks originating from Gaza. With military matériel aid from the United States this could be accomplished in about three weeks time for a little Philadelphia in the Sinai.
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