On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, I spoke with Erica Chenoweth about the practicality and effectiveness of non-violent protest:
See especially implications for Occupy and other protest in the United States.
Category: Robert Farley
The peoples are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launching of HMS Warspite. A quick review of Warspite’s World War II fighting record confirms that the most common understanding of the role that battleships played in World War II is wrong, or at least incomplete. While Americans tend to concentrate on the rarity of surface battleship engagements in the Pacific, most Royal Navy battleship took part in surface combat of some type during the war, with Warspite fighting in several battles. I quite enjoy Iain Ballantyne’s account of Warspite’s career.
Look, math is really complicated. Sometimes it’s difficult to see whether one half of the equation matches up with the other half, or something. There may, or may not, be alleged injustices, whatever they may be, but it’s important to note that you have no responsibility for them, and what’s really important is that you don’t take sides, by which I mean that you should take my side.
Interesting stuff from Xavier Marquez:
Consider this passage Clendinnen quotes from the Florentine Codex (one of the main sources for pre-conquest Mexica thought and culture), coming after the speech with which the Mexica greeted a newtlatoani (ruler; literally, the “Great Speaker”) and exhorted him to good behaviour:
Those early and anxious exhortations to benevolent behaviour were necessary, ‘for it was said when we replaced one, when we selected someone … he was already our lord, our executioner and our enemy.’ (p. 80; the quote is from Book 6, chapter 10, in Dibble and Anderson’s translation from the Nahuatl).
It’s an arresting thought: “he was already our lord, our executioner, and our enemy.” (Clendinnen comments on the “desolate cadence” of these words). The ruler is not understood by the Mexica as normally benevolent though potentially dangerous; he is the enemy, and yet as the enemy he is indispensable. There is something profoundly alien in this thought, with its unsettling understanding of “legitimacy,” something I do not find anywhere in the classical Western tradition of political thought. (Indeed, as longtime readers may guess, I think the political thought of the Mexica is further evidence of how impoverished and irrelevant our ideas about legitimacy are in the vast majority of historical cases).
Read the rest. I’m not sure whether to think about the Mexica political vision as anti-Hobbesian, hyper-Hobbesian, or post-Hobbesian, but as Marquez notes it’s certainly a challenge to how Western political theory tends to treat political community and legitimacy. I’m curious about how this vision of legitimacy would fit into Scott’s conception of the “exit option;” I suppose that the theatrical state replaces the protection racket state, at least in terms of emphasis.
My latest at the Diplomat evaluates some friction with offshore balancing:
Last week, James Holmes described the ongoing difficulties involved with establishing forward U.S. bases in the Philippines. Despite the evident threat that the PLAN poses to Philippine territory in the South China Sea, the process of balancing has moved slowly, largely because of domestic concerns in Manila about a military U.S. presence.
The lesson Dr. Holmes describes is that international threat, especially at incipient levels, does not automatically transform into the sort of domestic flexibility that offshore balancing demands. Friction, whether generated by organizational dynamics, concerns about sovereignty, or historical grievance, can slow the balancing machinery. It’s difficult to solve the problem of friction in alliance politics, especially if key procedures haven’t been worked out in advance. Yet, eliminating friction requires building relationships over the long term, usually involving the kind of commitments (at least implicit) that Offshore Balancers tend to resist.
Well, this was gruesome. Fortunately, I missed the entire game; by the time my plane landed, it was already into the third quarter. The problem of generating high expectations for a football team is that a two loss season (and the way the Ducks played today, I’m not confident about beating the Beavers) feels like a disaster.
The only redeeming point I can think of is that if the Ducks had beaten Stanford and then lost like this, I would be considerably more distraught.
Leaving early this morning to visit the United States Military Academy. First time at West Point, very excited to see the grounds and meet the students.
On November 16, the Indian Navy finally took delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Adm. Gorshkov, at Sevmash Shipyard in northern Russia’s Severodvinsk town. The acquisition marks a new phase in India’s quest to become a true blue-water navy.
The handover ceremony of the 44,570-tonne carrier is sure to have generated more than a passing interest within the PLA Navy and across the rest of the continent, since India will be the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers in its fleet. Admittedly, the 55-year old INS Viraat is “long in the tooth” as India’s Navy Chief Admiral D. K. Joshi himself described it in a recent interview, but it will continue to operate until India’s locally built carrier INS Vikrant becomes operational by 2017.
I’ve discussed my concerns about India’s naval aviation project before, but it’s good that they’re finally getting the carrier they expected to take possession of in 2008. I’m kind of curious as to the long-term plans that the Soviet Navy had for the Kiev class, whether they were planning on keeping them around in their current form, or updating them once better carrier aircraft came available. I suppose it depends to some extent on how the Yak-141 would have worked out: