This story is not terribly interesting, in and of itself:
Bolivia admiral denies coup plan
Admiral Luis Aranda
The head of Bolivia’s armed forces has denied that the military is planning a coup and has criticised two officers for calling on the president to resign.
Commander-in-chief Luis Aranda called the officers’ statement in a radio interview irresponsible and untimely.
Sun rises, coup plotters gather in a Latin American country. No big deal, right? But wait. . .
Bolivia has admirals?
Bolivia has a navy?
Bolivia has a coastline?
The answers, it turns out, are positive to the first two questions and negative to the third. Bolivia does indeed have a Navy. It seems that Bolivia is still reluctant to accept the verdict of the 1884 War of the Pacific, in which Chile seized the only territory linking Bolivia to the ocean. So, Bolivia maintains a navy, in the hopes of one day reacquiring a coastline.
Learn something new every day.
Ismail Merchant produced a tremendous number of over-rated films. He also produced Howard’s End and Remains of the Day, both of which feature Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and both of which are outstanding. I like the former very much but prefer the latter, largely because of the source material.
Damn useful corrective to Niall Ferguson in the March 3 London Review of Books. Bernard Porter reviews books by Caroline Elkins and David Anderson on the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. Also see Neal Ascherson’s review of the same books in the April 7 NYRB, available by subscription only.
The British declared the Kenya Emergency in 1952, when seven years of restless dissatisfaction with British rule culminated in the full-scale rebellion known as Mau Mau. It was very largely the struggle of the Kikuyu, the country’s majority ethnic group – about 1.5 million in a native population of five million – who had lost much of their land to white settlers and had moved into reservations or continued farming as tenants. The Emergency saw out two prime ministers – Churchill and Eden – and ended in January 1960. In that time, Mau Mau supporters killed at least 2000 African civilians and inflicted some 200 casualties on the army and police. In all, 32 white settlers died in the rebellion. For their part, the British hanged more than 1000 Kikuyu, detained at least 150,000 and, according to official figures, killed around 12,000 in combat, though the real figure, in David Anderson’s view, is ‘likely to have been more than 20,000’. In addition, Caroline Elkins claims, up to 100,000 died in the detention camps.
It is the scale of the British atrocities in Kenya that is the most startling revelation of these books.
Heh. And I thought that only francophone imperial powers committed colonial atrocities, and that the British Empire brough civilization, democracy, and crumpets to all of its subjects. Go figure.
Expect minor visual changes this week. The most consequential, going into effect within the next hour or so, will be a switch to light as the default background. This reflects the apparently overwhelming preference of our readers. However, if you typically view LGM with light background, you’ll need to click “light” again to reset the cookie.
Dave Noon continues to lead blah blah etc.
The real news is that I’ve moved out of last and into 5th place. Scott now has cellar-dwelling honors. Look out, Loomis!
1 Axis of Evel Knievel, d. noon 1914
2 Swinging At Space, K. Jepsen 1780
3 The Spot, D. Watkins 1695
4 New Mexico Alterdestiny, E. Loomis 1690
5 Oregon Bearded Duck, R. Farley 1584
6 Discpline And Punish, S. Lemieux 1566
I have no desire to refight the Tacitus war here, or to contribute to the skirmishes in that war which have taken place at Daily Kos and other locations. Due fairness to the other side, however, mandates some attention to this nonsense.
Atrios professes stupefaction that this study (PDF) lists tacitus.org as a “liberal blog.” Of course, had he read the study in question, he’d see that its timeframe was the couple of months leading up to the November 2004 election: a period in which I was posting almost exclusively at Red State, and this site was, even to my mind, overrun with leftist commentary. Indeed, it’s one reason I decided to take the place back.
I’m not going to hold my breath that Duncan Black will acknowledge his error — which does, in addition to displaying his own ignorance, also do a disservice to those lefties who sunk a great deal of time and energy, admirable in itself, in this site back them. But I do think it’s worth noting, at the least, the malleability of perception here, and the evidently rather woeful effects on discourse of this manner of pigeonholing. Inasmuch as he has missed out on some allies here, Black is a fool. Inasmuch as Black is indicative of a larger phenomenon, it is even more the political culture that is foolish.
What what what?
Long time readers will recall my obsession with the insipid Bird Dog, premier poster at Tacitus.org during the months of Josh Trevino’s absence. In short, Bird Dog combined an admirable commitment to GOP talking points with a mind singularly incapable of conceiving of an original thought. His posts were both plentiful and terrible, and eventually caused me to drift away from the site. Tacitus never became a liberal blog, but it did become a bad blog during the months that Levin worked at Redstate.org. Tac’s assertion that the blog was liberal during this period is stupefying; I suppose that he must have been reading the same community as I, but at the same time can’t imagine how that is possible.
The Tacitus community has managed to achieve a more bipartisan profile than most other such communities. The cause for this lies primarily with Trevino, his appreciation of some good work coming from the left, and his general unwillingness to adopt Bush administration talking points as conservative first principles. Some on the right think that this means liberal. Nobody with any sense thinks this, however, and assaulting Duncan Black for calling a spade a spade is unbecoming.
The New York Times headline reads U.S. Memo Faults Afghan Leader on Heroin Fight. It ought to read U.S. Memo Finds that Hamid Karzai is Neither Stupid nor Insane.
Some policymakers in this administration would like to believe that the interests of US established leaders are identical to the interests of the United States. In the case of Iraq, this leads to the fairly bizarre belief that a democratic Iraq will be supportive of Israel. In Afghanistan, the situation is somewhat worse. Some in the administration seem to believe that cutting down on poppy cultivation would be both in the capacity and interest of the Afghan central government. Hamid Karzai, of course, is under no such illusion; he understands the weakness of his government, appreciates the paucity of US support, and realizes that any vigorous program aimed at poppy destruction would result in the collapse of his regime. In short, Karzai understands that the demands of the War on Terror conflict fundamentally with the demands of the War on Drugs. Bush administration policymakers, incapable of grasping value trade-offs, cannot bring themselves to understand this.
Notably, the British do grasp these problems:
The cable also faulted Britain, which has the top responsibility for counternarcotics assistance in Afghanistan, for being “substantially responsible” for the failure to eradicate more acreage. British personnel choose where the eradication teams work, but the cable said that those areas were often not the main growing areas and that the British had been unwilling to revise targets.
While the British haven’t had the good sense to stay out of the US imperial project, they do have some sense of how such a project should be conducted, and realize that trade-offs are necessary. For this, they come under attack.
With us, or against us. Even when we can’t decide if we’re with or against ourselves.
In no particular order. . .
Watching Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson hit 889′ worth of home runs in the space of four pitches reminds me why I was mildly optimistic about the Mariners at the beginning of the year.
The powers-that-be at Safeco Field ought to be commended for Extreme Hat Trick. For the last six years, I have endured the slow dumbing-down of Hat Trick, such that any idiot could tell which hat the ball was under. Extreme Hat Trick, dragged out only a few times a year and involving normal Hat Trick at triple speed, restores some of the challenge.
The “Wave” is inappropriate at baseball games. Football is a vulgar sport, and “the wave” is appropriate at a football game. No one who “waves” at a baseball game is deserving of my respect. Similarly, no decent human being puts ketchup on a hot dog.
While I once viewed the electronic hydrofoil races at Safeco Field with indifference, I now actively cheer against the Comcast sponsored boat. This is a strange thing, as Comcast certainly brings me more joy (through internet access and cable TV) than either Oberto Beef Jerky or Schucks Auto Parts. Nonetheless, I find myself hating those who bring me what I love.
That is all.
At some point in the last ten years, the People’s Republic of China discovered diplomacy. The increased appreciation for diplomacy on the part of the Chinese more or less mirrors the increased contempt for the same on the part of the United States. This should be troubling to hawks who want to find themselves in a new Cold War. Unfortunately, virtually none of China’s activity has been discussed in the US news media.
Via Elaine Supkis, we learn that the President Hu is moving to solidify good relations with the Palestinian Authority. Elaine views this as a touch more consequential than I do; in my view, the Chinese are creating a stick to point at Israel regarding some arms deals. Nevertheless, combined with the PRC’s newfound appreciation of the Vatican, India, Uzbekistan, and Russia, it’s a development of some interest. China, the authoritarian great power, is attempting to reach its goals through diplomatic means, while the United States increasingly eschews diplomacy in favor of military force.
Chinese diplomacy isn’t perfect. The anti-secession law passed at a particularly inopportune moment, given the apparent willingness of the EU to relax its arms embargo. But the Chinese leadership has managed even to reach out to the Taiwanese. The recent visit by the Nationalist party chief to the tomb of Sun Yat Sen has put Chen Shui-Bien in a bit of trouble. China has grown increasingly popular in south and southeast Asia, largely because it doesn’t care about human rights.
Will any of this matter? China, over the last ten years, has been able to significantly increase its military capabilities without ANY balancing behavior on the part of its neighbors. This is almost unprecendented, and must be considered a magnificent diplomatic achievement. Rather than spend diplomatic capital fighting unwinnable battles with the United States, like France, the Chinese have been happy to allow the US just enough rope to hang itself. Meanwhile, the US has managed to crack the Atlantic alliance and to create widespread popular opposition to its policies even in its closest allies.
I’m messing with the template this afternoon in order to fix the sidebar problem (it seems to get shifted to the bottom whenever I open the page with Explorer, although not the same problem when I use Firefox).
Incidentally, any ideas are welcome.
UPDATE: Problem solved.
Best wishes to Michael Berube on a speedy recovery.