My Conversation with Samantha Power

Samantha Power has a new and excellent book out, The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir, which I very much enjoyed.  And so a Conversation with Tyler was in order, here is the audio and transcript, here is one bit:

COWEN: For a final closing segment, I just have some super simple questions about foreign policy again. Over the course of the last summer, Iran apparently seized two British tankers. There’ve been other incidents in the Strait of Hormuz in some way connected with Iran. From a game-theoretic point of view, why would they do this? Why does this make sense?

POWER: Well, the one thing that they would know that would give them some point of leverage is the extreme war fatigue within the United States, and really within the Western world. So, by upping the stakes, arguably — I mean, who knows why the hell they’re doing what they’re doing?

But by upping the stakes, they arguably could be sending a signal like, “You want to get in this game? It’s not as if we’re an island and you can just break the deal, penalize us gratuitously, penalize the people who are still trying to maintain the terms of the deal, and that there won’t be collateral consequences outside the nuclear space.”

Because the nuclear consequences, as they begin to enrich and violate the terms of the deal — having legitimately argued that we had violated the terms of the deal — the effects of those are not day-to-day effects in the news world. It’s a bit abstract for the public and even for policymakers. It’s an incremental abrogation.

But acts like this show that they have leverage, that they are active militarily in parts of the world where we have a vested interest in maintaining freedom of navigation. So I think they’re showing that they can hit in domains outside the nuclear domain. I think that is probably what they’re doing.

Here is another segment:

COWEN: In which ways do you feel your thought is in some manner still Irish in orientation in a way that would distinguish you from, say, American-born individuals?

POWER: It’s hard to know because I can’t run the counterfactual, so I don’t know what’s just because my mother is a physician and very empathetic toward her patients, and do I learn from that? Or am I moved by having come from a small country, at that time a poor country, that was sending —

COWEN: With a history of oppression, right?

POWER: With a history of oppression, with a history of the dignity of its people being trampled. Is that why I care so much about individual dignity? Again, I can’t run the history a different way.

And finally:

COWEN: Very simple — are baseball games too long? Why not make it 7 innings?

POWER: Why not make it 12?

COWEN: It’s boring, right?

POWER: For you and, as it turns out, for others.

COWEN: For me. So many games are over 3 hours. Shouldn’t the game be 2 hours, 17 minutes?

We also cover her first impressions of America, being a wartime correspondent, China and Iraq, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, van Morrison vs. Bob Dylan, robot empires vs. robot umpires, her favorite novel, how personal one should get in a memoir and why, and German defense spending, among other topics.

Definitely recommended.


'The deal' - that didn't age well.
"Iran had secret nuclear weapons development site in Abadeh"

Most people paying attention at all already knew this though.

Didn't know this was coming. I will read the transcript. As it happens, there is an excellent review of her new book by Tom Friedman in the NYT today. She is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan! From the review:

"During a Situation Room debate on Syria, as Power was advocating for stronger action, Obama wearily says to her: “We’ve all read your book, Samantha.” Obama, she recalls, repeatedly told her, “you get on my nerves.” But at the same time, when she wouldn’t speak up for idealism, Obama would ask her: “Are you sick, Power?” He wanted to hear it. It’s complicated."

Now, I see. For eight years, it was the blind leading the blind.

I realize it's International Law in 2019 to have a colon in your book title, but ": A Memoir" is really scraping the bottom of the post-colon barrel, wouldn't you agree? Talk about mailing it in.

+1, That really is pointless verbiage

Maybe that's why it's "Definitely recommended" rather than self-recommending. Colon fatigue.

I'm developing a new game where you take TC's What I've Been Reading list and randomly mix and match the titles before the colon with the titles after the colon. A test run the other day worked pretty well, thanks to the book on Russian bath houses

In double-barreled non-fiction book titles, the part before the colon is meant to be catchy. It's a kind of clickbait, except for books instead of web articles. The part after the colon explains what the book is actually about. It is as verbose or as concise as it needs to be.

In this case "A Memoir" fits perfectly, indicating that this is an autobiography rather a biography. Omitting the subtitle entirely would create confusion by failing to make it clear that this is not intended to be a work of fiction.

Late 19th century book titles (and before) used to be extremely longly, like a full paragraph explaining in great detail what the book was about, almost an abstract. There was a short title, and a long title. In some cases what has come down as the title (that we known, as in Gulliver's Travels, for example) wasn't actually the original title. Now there is a short title and colonized title. The more things change.
Publisher decide how to package and present the work.

Baseball. Only one comment, or question. Related to the idea that games "take too long." I do NOT understand why, after warming up in the bullpen, pitchers come to the mound and then get to do a few tosses to the catcher, before settling down to pitch. Do substitute quarterbacks get to run a sample play? Do basketball players called off the bench get to take a few shots, just to get ready? I do not understand this practice, which further slows down the game. It's even in the rules, right? Two minutes or so allowed for every pitching change? And we do SO many changes. Baseball fans, help me out on this one.

Some guesses:

1. The mound on the diamond may e different than the one in the bullpen, so it takes a few tosses to get used to.

2. Way back when, relief pitchers were more in the nature of emergency replacements than part of an overall plan for pitching the game, so they weren't as well warmed up in the bullpen.

3. It provides extra time for TV commercials.

In my opinion the time spent between innings, and at other times, could be shortened with no damage to the game. This was actually done this year, but they could take it further.

I think that the too-long inning breaks are self-defeating, even from an ad revenue perspective. Longer games equals fewer viewers, and, speaking from a position of ignorance on the subject, ISTM that commercials on shorter games would be worth more, because of audience size, time of night, and better attention.

Oh, and seven inning baseball would be an abomination.

If TC finds the game boring, how will that make it interesting?

Non-fans of the game should have zero input into how to change it.

Just get rid of it. Baseball is the sport of cucks. Agree with TC here.

Cucks don't deserve a sport of their own?

Thanks for the insights, all seem reasonable. Though if #1 holds true, one would think the best minds in baseball could find a way to make the bullpen mound match the one on the field. Your #2 seems spot on... if pitcher swaps at one time were very rare, some warmup I guess makes sense. I still wonder what the original debate about the rule was: does cricket allow a bowler a few warm-up throws?

"Because the nuclear consequences, as they begin to enrich and violate the terms of the deal — having legitimately argued that we had violated the terms of the deal —"

In other words, it's Trump's fault. Yeah, right. Boring.

More drivel from Samantha/Tyler:

"the one thing that they would know that would give them some point of leverage is the extreme war fatigue within the United States"

So I guess we should killing innocents with drones like Obama or we need another Benghazi. Things have worked out so well in Libya - Europe was so overrun by "migrants" from North Africa that it changed the politics there. Well, I guess some good came out of it.

Funny that Tyler can never seem to find someone on the other side of the fence to interview.

I keep hoping for TC and Douglas Murray.

That would be an interesting interview, I'd like TC and Greg Cochran but Tyler seems to go for soft interviews with guests who share his leftie viewpoint of the world.

Greg Cochran would take TC way outside his safe space.

True,Tyler rarely has a conversation where he has to pushback or even disagree, indeed many of them seem to consist of two true believers mouthing platitudes at each other.

I love you Connie!

"So I think they’re showing that they can hit in domains outside the nuclear domain. I think that is probably what they’re doing."

That's a poor quality comment. Iran has been hitting in domains outside of nuclear for 40 years. They've been funding dissident groups throughout the Middle East. There's the entire Syria Civil War for an example.

None of that directly threatened gas prices down on the corner.

It's a good comment. Iran was asking Trump if he wanted to be a gas crisis president.

PpB crude today: $56.03

PpB crude September 2014 : $92.27

OK, and what is your projection for gas prices with full war in the trait of Hormuz?

If you have super sekret squirrel information on the likelihood of a shooting war in the “trait of Hormuz” you should definitely trade on it.

Let us know how it pans out!

Dude. This was Power's whole point. That the Iranian skirmishes with shipping in the region were precisely to say "if you push us into a corner, we will go there."

The US isn't dependent on middle East oil as much as it was. I suspect the Chinese would deal with the Iranians like they dealt with the Tamil rebels if they closed the strait.

No, it wasn’t. That is why the market shrugged it off immediately. Completely not credible threat, if that were their intention.

That’s also why they are detaining British or Arab flagged vessels. And not attacking tankers of any flag nor detaining tankers of any other country.

Shutting down the “trait of Hormuz” as you say would mean the immediate destruction of the IRGCN as well as destruction of harbor facilities, oil facilities, and every tanker Iran owns. You’re not looking at this from a game theory perspective. The ironically idiomatic expression here, “nuclear option” would leave Iran decimated and bankrupt. It’s not credible and that’s not the signal.

Iran is sending a signal to Europe to (1) not detain Iranian ships violating UN sanctions by shipping oil to their ally Syria and (2) to throw cash at Iran now, or they will humiliate their nations by temporarily detaining their ships and causing financial loss to any company contracted with their ships flagged or connected to companies from that specific country.

It’s a giant middle finger, but it’s specific and is not a threat to start blowing up every tanker in the “trait of Hormuz.”

Power has an almost perfect track record. For being wrong. Her foreign policy is Bidens but 1000x more Black Hawk Downs.

So Iraq war yes, Afghanistan War yes, Iran nuclear deal yes, Libyan War yes, Syrian War yes. She’s a journalist who doesn’t like bad things happening and so wants to send 100,000 soldiers because it makes her sad :(

Basically to sum up Powers it’s Michelle Obama’s tweet of “bring back our girls” but with soldiers coming home in body bags because of tweet level objectives.

Powers is “let’s kill 10,000 American soldiers on the offhand that Afghans learn to appreciate 3rd wave feminism.”

She’s a literal monster on the level of Eichmann. Hundreds of thousands of deaths on her plate in the pursuit of ideology.


Again, when trying to appear sensible, try to hold it together.

"COWEN: Very simple — are baseball games too long? Why not make it 7 innings?"

+7 Tyler. The 7th inning is win are family usually leaves, because the small kids have had enough.

Concerns about baseball and time stem directly from the post-modern obsession with time. When the structure of baseball was created there was no electric lighting, radio, television or movies and few people even owned a watch. People weren't as obsessed with the passage of time as they are now.

The game has already been modified to suit the ideas of its ownership, who want it to be a "family" affair rather than a sport played by and observed by male adults. The designated hitter, lowered mound, actually almost every change in baseball since the nineteenth century has been made to encourage more offense, apparently to excite mom and sister suzy, and to speed the game along. "Progressives" are altering the game negatively to make it appeal to the disinterested in order to make it more profitable. Notice the balls that have been flying out of the parks this season, an obvious effort to upset the balance of the game in favor of cheap offense.

Ultimately, the people that inspect you as you enter the ballpark don't hold up your exit. You're free to leave at any time, as people concerned with the amount of time they'll be tied up in traffic who check out before the end already demonstrate. If you wish to see the last inning you can arrive late, as others also do.

The timelessness of baseball is one of its most appealing features. Other popular team sports focus on use of the clock. Baseball is above that.

Good post. (Certainly better than reading Power sharpen her hatchet on Trump.) My worry is that baseball will adopt some of basketball’s strategies for “increasing appeal”. As ice hockey has done, basically changing the game.

"My worry is that baseball will adopt some of basketball’s strategies for “increasing appeal”

Rob Manfred just does not like the sport he leads so is likely to make terrible decisions.

The juiced ball is a disaster. The games have more homers but ludicrous scores are becoming a norm.

Astros won 21-1 on Sunday, 15-0 on Monday and lost 21-7 on Tuesday.

The juiced ball is a disaster.

I agree with Bob.

Just wanted to get that in, for the record.

The timelessness of baseball is one of its most appealing features.

Correct. No running out the clock in the bottom of the ninth. Get three outs or lose.

Fair points.

Absolutely correct, the lack of a game clock is one of baseball's killer apps. Others include the different dimensions of each playing field, the use of human umpires' judgement on every pitch, and the pleasure of statistical minutia. These things are what makes baseball unique, and it seems dumb to try to make the game more like other sports.

Baseball feels too long because its a boring sport.

anyone who says baseball is boring is showing their ignorance for the's the only game played professionally where outcome isn't determined by the clock..there are many subtleties beyond the understanding of those who say it's boring

Seven innings would undermine the symmetry of a perfect game: the top of the order would have more at-bats than everyone else. Twelve would be too many, as it would require roughly 140 pitches, and few if any of today's pitchers could manage that. Nine innings is the sweet spot: nine batters, three at bats each, three outs each. Perfect.

Indeed, why not go further and make it like little league and call the game after two innings if one team is up enough runs? The other team might not even get to the bottom of the lineup.

That a game with no action by one team is considered 'perfect' is indicative of the problems with baseball.

But if both sides start to pitch a perfect game it is called a “Pitching Duel”, which is the most despairing phrase found in American English.

It could have no action [except mindless running back and forth] from both teams like soccer.

Also miserable to watch. Soccer pitches should be 60% as long as they are now.

My personal opinion is that Van Morrison is underrated as a song-writer, a little overrated as a musician. Bob Dylan seems properly rated.

A game in which history and stats were more important than in any other, even when the information had to be tediously looked up in a book: you'd think an economist, even if he never played or cared for baseball, would be immune to this weird desire to fiddle with the architecture of the game and ruin that aspect of it.


I think it would be better if baseball were more like soccer: with unpredictable action-packed games.

"action packed"?

1-0 after double penalty kicks is "action packed"?

Unless the teams are badly mismatched in talent, soccer is just aimless running.

My point is that soccer is filled with action.

It's not. And yes you do know what I am talking about, because you are Thiago. So before you post that I am mistaken, I am calling you out for your lies before you even make them.

I think you are mistaking me for another person, maybe a friend o yours? There is a reson millions of persons love aoccer all around the world. It is because it is a dynamic, action-packed, fun-filled, high stakes game.

I agree with Thiago on this one.

If you aimlessly run in soccer you will fail.

As I'm sure is the case in baseball, there's nuance and action not reflected on the scoreboard.

Soccer is war by another name. Uneducated observers may notice only the pandemonium and carnage, but it is actually a carefully planned affair, one riddled with strategy and heroism. Soccer is the moral equivalent of war. We choose to play soccer and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal serves to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that game is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

Soccer works very well on tv. You can get the wide view for strategy and the closer stuff for finesse. Baseball doesn't. Baseball on the radio is excellent.

'I mean, who knows why the hell they’re doing what they’re doing?'

Because a tanker carrying Iranian oil was seized in Gibraltar, leading to the Iranians to attempt and do the same to British connected tankers? Just spitballing, based on what was an obviously extremely obscure event.

+1, the UK attempted to stop an Iranian tanker from delivering oil to Syria in violation of international sanctions. The Iranian's were retaliating in kind.

The Iranians were blatantly breaking international law, but it's pretty clear why they were doing it.

My opinion of Power is extremely low [Ctrl+F "Libya" 0 results] but the fact that Iran (and other non-US-allied powers) have their own legitimate interests and power that actually limits US abilities is so rarely discussed, and since she talks about it in somewhat sensible terms that raises my estimation of her a little bit.

"[Ctrl+F "Libya" 0 results] "

Seriously, Cowen, what is the matter with you?

Idealism: the cheery midwife officiating at the births of Pessimism, Cynicism, and Nihilism.

Did she insist that unmasking was off limits, or did you just choose not to ask?

That was certainly on my "Questions for Samantha Power" several months ago

The opportunity cost of —Tyler— asking her that question would just be obscene. Fortunately (for us), CwT upholds a much higher standard of question.

He doesn't just lick her boots?

I haven't listened yet.

If you get to interview Bill James be sure to spend 20 minutes asking him if too slow-moving

COWEN: Why won’t Germany and some of the other larger NATO countries spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense? Germany’s not even coming close. How can that make sense? How can they expect NATO to last? Isn’t NATO a good deal for them? From a game-theoretic point of view, please explain that to me.

POWER: Yeah, I find it outrageous. But...

yada yada yada including the phrase "shriveled constituency"

I’m not an apologist for their politics, but


The irony is that Trump is known for his lies.

How is it not true in a directly observable sense?

Germany is a democracy. If Germany wanted a high military investment, it could have it. That it doesn't is probably for broader cultural reasons that they think someone else will pay for it.

Because obviously someone else paying is not securing oneself.

Germany also is whinging that Trump might bump up our tariffs, now 2.5 percent, on German cars imported here while the EU tariff on US cars sent there is 10 percent. You don't have to be Trump fan to want the free riding to stop..

Is that 10% a punitive tariff or a uniform VAT adjustment?

It matters. And we too could have a VAT and an adjustment in the same range, balancing things out without "trade wars."

It might even be more economically efficient than the status quo ante.

It's a tariff and yes the discrepancy is fairly significant.

"Germany’s chancellor said Thursday she’s willing to back lower tariffs on U.S. auto imports as a potential European Union (EU) concession to the Trump administration – just one day after CEOs of Germany’s biggest carmakers reportedly voiced support for eliminating such tariffs entirely.

The EU tariff rate on all U.S. car imports is 10% while the U.S. tariff on imported European cars is 2.5%."

Wow. According to this, there are two adjustments, and the 10% is the smaller one:

"A car or other motor vehicle imported to Germany from outside the EU is normally subject to a 10% import duty and a 19% import value added tax. (The value-added tax on imports is called import turnover tax (Einfuhrumsatzsteuer))."

So anyway, if you get rid of the 10 and keep the 19, because 10 is greater than 2.5, that's an improvement.

But maybe it's kind of pointless to compare (10+19) to 2.5

Maybe 2.5 is clearly too low.

The entire thing is ridiculous.

Free trade. That means zero tariffs, and zero barriers.

Let them choose what to buy. The bargaining point should be free trade and no nonsense. No tariffs on our side and no protections on theirs. We have the leverage.

" No tariffs on our side and no protections on theirs. We have the leverage."

In theory we have the leverage, in practice the EU gets away with a 10% tariff on cars and China turns a blind eye to IP violations. The US has refused to use it's leverage and has signed off on some deals that were more about "managed" trade than free trade. I'd be absolutely happy to see an across the board Zero tariff deal.

"Free trade. That means zero tariffs, and zero barriers."

That seems a bit of a religious argument.

If other countries have a variety of taxes schemes, it may take a variety of border adjustments to balance them.

When you get right down to it, demanding that other countries have exactly the same tax and tariff schemes as us is not compatible with their right to self-determination.

Good point. Other countries do indeed have the right to set their own rates, as does the US. So why couldn't the US decide, unilaterally of course, to match German tariffs?

I'm not an expert on automotive economics, but my guess is that the US imports many more Audis and MBs and BMWs and Germany imports far fewer Fords and Chryslers and GM vehicles.

Between much higher tariffs and more cars shipped, Germany collects a lot more money from the US than vice versa.

Would an equivalent tariff policy be punitive or just a bit more fair?

The main reason Germany isn’t paying is because it doesn’t have any enemies and has no real interest in joining in America’s endless wars.

after WW2 Germany is done with war as are most Euro nations...parade ground armies at best...why bother

"The main reason Germany isn’t paying is because it doesn’t have any enemies and has no real interest in joining in America’s endless wars."

So Germany has just been lying when it has agreed to meet its NATO spending commitments?

Or maybe it prefers not to be on the hook for defense of post-unification NATO countries in Eastern Europe.

Germany, and Japan and even Italy, are territories occupied by US forces. If any of these attempted to expand their militaries to a meaningful dimension the US, and smaller nation states, would be outraged, as would their own citizens. American taxpayers and some political figures simply want monetary commitments that subsidize the US military.

Baseball is like sailing: it's not the destination, it's getting there that makes the experience worthwhile.

That Cowen posted this on 9/11 may not be a coincidence. Power is an interventionist for humanitarian/idealistic reasons not military or strategic reasons. I might point out that our host generally opposes government intervention in the economy because it usually does more harm than good. I suspect that he generally opposes government intervention in other countries for the same reason. Bad regimes fail on their own without help from the outside. Indeed, outside intervention is likely to prolong the suffering not accelerate the liberation (even assuming that the intervention is with good intentions).

Did GWB have good intentions when he invaded Iraq? I give him credit for attacking the Sunni dictator in Iraq: the 9/11 terrorists were all Sunni Muslims, most of them from our "ally" Saudi Arabia. He might have invaded Saudi Arabia but the economic consequences (oil) would have been severe. He might have chosen to invade Iran, for no good reason since Iran and Shia Muslims had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. Having invaded Iraq, we did confirm that our enemies are Sunni Muslim extremists funded by the Saudis: they killed and maimed thousands of American soldiers in Iraq. Which brings us to Syria. Should we have supported the Sunni Muslim insurgents, many of them having fought against American soldiers in Iraq? Should we have supported the Shia (Alawite) Muslim dictator al-Assad? Or should we have stayed out of the war and let the Syrians resolve their differences? War isn't like baseball: in war, it's the destination that matters not getting there.

baseball, along with other pro sports are not about efficiencies of time, but are a distraction from dull lives. the longer the distraction (within reason) the better, even if it is boring. perhaps one feels superior to the bored caused by these games. also the provide great opportunities for conspicuous consumption. see all the celebs at the US Open and on their phones, they go to be seen and remembered and to show they can afford to.

Nobody's life is dull.

Stupidity from the outside may seem dull but to the stupid person LIFE IS THIS AMAZING THING they navigate by their own stupid self. You have no idea, unless you understand stupidity from the inside and outside, as I do, how interesting the lives of stupid people are.

I mean these are people who think, for example, that Steve Colbert is witty or that Scott Adams is a philosopher, that is some high-proof weirdness that you only get with a base line of what appears from the outside to be dull stupidity.

And intelligent people - even the boring ones who teach subjects at expensive colleges, but who are not really all that passionate or competent in their own fields ----- are sort of interesting - I mean I have met a lot and if you get them on a topic they find interesting they are often not all that dull.

Or maybe I am wrong and you are right (not mutually exclusive) and baseball is really a distraction from dull lives.

i agree one's life is only as dull as one wants to believe

Samantha Power is maybe the most opposite to me of any person I can think of in terms of basic world view and perceptual framework. So I’m looking forward to this one, hoping to be bewildered.

no tech talk on clothes, smh

Nothing on Brexit either

Re: Baseball

Do you go with friends? Do you drink? IMO, its really not about the game, the game is just a place to go and hang out that isn't the house. Take the kids, get out of the house, enjoy the weather.

As such, it would seem 9 innings is the perfect length of time for those who want to do that. Any longer and they get bored, any less and then they're looking for somewhere else to go after.

Great questions right at the beginning about what makes a good diplomat. Her answers were essentially about personality (the diplomats' and the people the diplomat interacts with). This is so different from when I took a course in diplomacy while in college (a very long time ago). In that course the professor (and the textbook we used) approached diplomacy objectively. I can still remember the little boxes that lead to the outcome (the "if, then" approach). I don't know if we considered it at the time, but looking back it seems the approach was intended to take personality out of the equation, to the extent that's possible. Ms. Power, being a humanitarian/idealist, may have a very different concept of "diplomacy", one that is in fact driven by personality. Anyway, Cowen's questions are very good.

"Ms. Power, being a humanitarian/idealist, may have a very different concept of "diplomacy", one that is in fact driven by personality."

Perhaps this is why she is so well-beloved and trusted on the international scene.

A great discussion about China. America has been soft on Saudi Arabia because of our dependence on their oil; America has been soft on China because of America's dependence on China's production of goods for American firms. Ms. Power comes across as very much a realist on the issue of China, recognizing its brutality (with the Uighur) while also recognizing the essential role played by China in America's economy and the profits it generates for American firms. I do wish Cowen would have dug deeper in the role of American business in this. I realize Cowen is an apologist for American business, but just the same.

Cowen said: " As you know, China for years had promised the United States and also President Obama that it would not militarize the South China Sea. Then they went ahead and they did that. "

The "militarization" has been almost entirely China building a modern navy over the past two decades. The artificial rocks mean nothing strategically.

Good interview. Perhaps not surprising, but reassuring nonetheless.

Great question on Iraq: "Is there the danger that 20, 30 years from now, people look back — they simply see Iraq as a successful US operation?" Of course, the implication of Cowen's answer (the US operation was a success!) actually confirms that history was inevitably headed in the direction where it ended up, but the US intervention prolonged the misery. Thiel's friend Peter Thiel believes in this linear view of history, and Power's response seems to imply the same. Cowen might have asked Power if she too has a linear view of history.

I'm not being critical of Cowen. The opposite: he is one of the most optimistic intellectuals I follow. He has written entire books on the inevitability of progress and a better tomorrow (provided the rest of us have the same optimism).

Even though he thins productivity will be stagnant for another 20 years?

By the way, Cowen put Power on her heels in her defense of intervention (read down to when Cowen switches the subject to baseball). Again, Cowen is a very good interviewer, asking a broad question about policy (intervention) and then letting the interviewee answer it. No need for Cowen to intervene.

For what it's worth, my take was that Power gave the steady, sober, answer. Perhaps that wasn't "novel" enough for some audiences.

I read it as TC trying to push his neocon neolib take on "growth" in Iraq on Powers - even as a failed state in every quantifiable and subjective sense but Iraq can only grow from there! Whereas a penny stock ceases to exist at some point.

Maybe TC should go visit Iraq since he's into non-cliche tourist, vibrant street food/markets type places if he is so confident about it as a vibrant democracy like he is proclaiming.

And yes Libya was the elephant in the room that was conveniently avoided. I was actually surprised Powers was so forthcoming against liberal interventionism but it was more of a (rightfully so) dig at GWB then her former boss.

I find it amazing just how Democrats keep trying to find ways to bring Trump into conversations about their own problems. Syria was 100% Obama's decision (for better or worse) and she still tried to bring Trump to the mix. At the same time, she is harsh on Iraq (i.e. Bush) but cannot even mention Obama's impact on that mess. At the end of the day, she is smart and interesting but the interview was really dull and predictive. It seems that most Dems (including high position ones) are still traumatized by Trump in a way that is hard for me to understand.

You don't say.

We may be in a suboptimal situation here, but is entirely possible the "leakers" are spies and patriotic Americans who don't want us to forget exactly what is going on.

Meh, not much of a story there.

CNN has TDS and went with an absurd story that didn't match up with the actual facts.

Even someone working for CNN should have a pretty hard time believing that Trump was responsible for national events that happened the year before he took office.

And to be fair to the Left, the NYT's promptly shot the story down.

Frankly, the real jarring note of this story was that it was so off target that it drew an actual response from the CIA.

Also, the name isn't meant as a direct insult or rebuttal to your argument. I just found it amusing.

The timeline makes a horrific kind of sense. Our mole sent out the papers on Putin's desk showing that he directly managed intervention in the US election of 2016. In 2017 Trump didn't want to hear it, fired Comey, slapped Russians on the back, and shared top secret Intel with them. In fact, even knowing about the papers on Putin's desk, Trump said he was put off by the whole spying business, because it might compromise his relationship with Putin.

Stop right there in the story for a very big WTF!

So of course the source was pulled.

For those keeping score at home, if Trump knew about the papers on Putin's desk, then on day one Attorney General Barr certainly should have known about the papers on Putin's desk.

And so all of this drama about Christopher Steele was just a show for the rubes.

They themselves knew that the Intel came from the top.

Which makes Devin Nunes, and his quest for secrets behind Christopher Steele, kind of a useful idiot, to a useful idiot.

More delusional TDS from the mouse. Also, from the article that the mouse linked to:

"The CIA on Monday evening slammed what it called CNN's "misguided" and "simply false" reporting,"

"The extraordinary CIA rebuke came as The New York Times published a bombshell piece late in the evening, which largely contradicted CNN's reporting. "

tldr; CNN demonstrates clear signs of TDS by reporting a story that both the CIA and the NYT's declare is bullshit. But the mouse agrees with CNN, of course.

The thing I find most interesting about attending baseball games is that you never get to see the most important aspect of the game- pitch movement and balls and strikes. 90% of the fans in a stadium have no idea where a pitch crossed the plate. Compare that to baseball on TV where this is a primary focus of the broadcast commentary.

I love going to games, but I always feel like I'm missing out on what is actually happening. Didn't Joe Maddon comment this year that baseball is primarily about pitching? If so, attending a game in person gives you almost no understanding of the game.

In any sport, you see much more of what is going on at home, with close ups and replays and slow motion. Only hockey is worse on TV.

But in baseball it's on another level for the reasons I just described. Unless you don't understand baseball, you'd get the difference. Basketball and soccer balls are much larger and the game isn't decided by inches as it is in baseball. The difference between a curve ball and a slider cannot be seen by the great majority of the people at a ballpark. Nothing like this applies to soccer or basketball. In soccer, for example, I can see the curve on a free kick from across the field for example. You might miss a foul or two, but that is not as fundamental a part of the game as pitching is.

Pitch movement and balls and strikes are a primary focus of the broadcast community because it needs verbiage to fill air time. In reality, there is no end to the activities taking place all over the field during a baseball game and sophisticated spectators choose to observe those things that interest them the most. On any given pitch, whether it's hit by a bat or not, every player on the field must be prepared to make the correct response to the ensuing situation, one of thousands of possibilities. Failure to be in a position to make a play is what decides the outcome of most games.

However, many of those in attendance are not seriously interested in the nuances of the game. They may be there to be one among many with a common purpose, a hope for victory by the home team. Or being able to talk later about the experience with those that watched from the couch might give them an element of prestige. Many, especially wives who are there to insure that hubby doesn't put away too many expensive beers and makes it home in time for enough sleep to get to work on time the next morning, spend most of the game on their smart phones, shopping for lingerie and asymmetrical jeans.

chuck generalizes his own life to that of everyone else. He does that a lot.

Hard on the heels of Lizzie O'Leary (with Hassett the other day), Power can;t resist tossing in the "Trump throwing little children in cages" thing. This is where I tune people out

@Known Fact. Thanks for saying that.

Of course you do, hun.

I haven't listened yet, in my podcast queue. Did Tyler ask about Libya and the slave markets?

"The plight of Ali Ismail Abbas, who lost 15 relatives and both his arms when an US missile hit his home in the suburbs of Baghdad three weeks ago, has become the human-interest story of the war. Two days after foreign journalists found him in a Baghdad hospital bed, the young Iraqi was hailed worldwide as a living example of "collateral damage"."

Of course this is anecdotal, and US weapons aren't purposely aimed at people's homes and weddings, so not a problem right?

Keep trying to hype Iraq as success story TC and you will believe it in a few decades.

Power emphasized Obama's "Asian Pivot" despite that it was almost all talk and no action. Tyler doesn't follow this so couldn't question her on it.
She also knows full well that Clinton was anti-TPP.

I haven't carefully read the transcript yet, but unfortunately it doesn't seem that TC really challenged Power on whether she really believes her story about "humanitarian intervention". Rather than asking her directly whether she is a fool or a knave, one could pose this as a problem of the elephant in the brain and of revealed preference.

Let's give TC the benefit of the doubt and assume this Straussian take on the interview: the complacent class remains complacent and revels in their past complacency.

Also, see this Matt Welch review of Power's book over at Reason:

His take: "the muddled track record of applied Powerism occasions a troubling lack of introspection from its intellectual architect."

I can't begin to describe how happy I am to see Tyler making podcasts because it always made me sad that Russ Roberts wasn't able to organize Econtalk (with his wonderful choice of guests and topics) well. Tyler Cowen has done an amazing job: appropriate questions, guiding the guest in the right direction, effective and to the point. The only thing I can suggest is some introduction for the topics and events discussed for non-very-familiar-with-the-topic audience considering the very broad range of topics.

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