Behind US Foreign Policy Scenes

Behind the Scenes of U.S. foreign intervention by Jake Sexton

I was looking at sites that talk about 'American Imperialism', trying to find something that was actually for it. This appeared on the first page of the Google results, and looked interesting. Early on I realized it was an anti-Imperialist screed, but I approached it with an open mind. That is, until I read these two paragraphs:Communism was the ultimate cover story. The Soviet Union was never an actual threat to the United States. The Cold War was essentially a front to fool the American people into accepting our global military campaigns.

Popular apologists claim that those nutty guys over at the CIA, well, they just goofed. Bullshit. The CIA did overestimate the capacities of the Soviet Union, but not by a hell of a lot. Even the most conservative estimates put the U.S. military budget at twice that of the USSR's and U.S. economic power at four times that of the Soviet Union. The policy of anti-Communism was a very handy tool to cover the tracks of immoral acts and it let American citizens pretend that they weren't accomplices in the butchery.

The main problem is that he seems to contradict himself.

"The CIA did overestimate the capacities of the Soviet Union, but not by a hell of a lot"?

So wait, if they didn't overestimate their capacities by a hell of a lot, wouldn't that mean that the threat perception was fairly close, meaning that maybe the threat was real? (Like how the Soviets kept short-range missiles with nuclear warheads, even after the Cuban missile crisis was long over? Or that the Soviets presumbably, according to a defector, had an agent with a 'suitcase bomb' ready to detonate in Washington if need be?) Anyway, much to dislike about the article (plus, I very vaguely remember George H. W. Bush actually saying that oil was a rationale for going in, despite what the article says). Here's a humourous take on American Imperialism, comparing it to the paragon of Empires, Rome.

I was a teenage abstainer

Andrew Coyne: “The politician, in particular, who confesses to having not tried marijuana invites all sorts of doubts. People will question his ability to set a credible example for today's youth. I mean, what kind of loser would never have had even one toke? If he's been covering this up all this time, they will ask, how do we know we can trust him now? It's not just about marijuana, after all. People will want to know what other drugs he hasn't used. Cocaine? Ecstasy? Alcohol? Who wants a killjoy like that for a leader? ¶ Apart from the known health effects [of not smoking marijuana] -- loss of appetite, increased motivation, inability to concentrate on a single spot for more than two hours at a time -- police believe that not using marijuana can be a "gateway" to not using other drugs. Some may scoff, but I can tell you it has been my experience. It starts with a little "no, thank you." Pretty soon you're doing homework, running track, still kidding yourself that you can quit any time. Before you know it, you've joined the chess club.”

Tiger Woods Sucks

Stunning 81 means no British Open title, no Grand Slam for Tiger Yahoo! Sports story: “Woods would go through glove after glove, trying to keep his grip dry. He took his hat off and went bareheaded so water wouldn't drip from it.”

Whoa, Tiger Woods sucked today. Actually, it took the full force of Mother Nature to keep him down (and his score up, way up). Finally a major golf tournament that Tiger doesn't win. Now that's news.

Little Progress?

A Sickening Replay Hartford Courant Editorial

"Little progress has apparently been made since the video of the infamous Rodney King beating exposed the horror of police brutality."

Except for the fact that what occured was a body slam on the hood of a car (which looked rough, but not over the line) and a brutal, surprise punch (crossing the line and then some, but one wonders what the young man said to the police officer right beforehand) instead of, what, half a dozen offers getting their licks after with first trying with a stun gun (twice) and then an attempt to restrain Mr. King physically (the prosecution bungling the case didn't help matters).

Salary Dumping

Hugo Lindgren: “[C]all it the Salary Dumping Disorder. These are the symptoms: You become convinced, based on whatever evidence, that your team cannot win now, so you announce a rebuilding campaign and purge any player who has a big salary and the slightest market value. In return, you demand hot minor-leaguers who will one day develop into stars and lead you to future pennants.”


Yahoo! Sports: NBA - Even without conviction, Iverson could be sanctioned: <q cite=""">[Philadelphia 76ers v]ice president Dave Coskey said Iverson's situation hasn't affected ticket sales, but it is too early to make a determination. The Sixers were fifth in attendance last season, setting a franchise record with 25 sellouts. He could be a criminal (actually, technically he is a criminal, having been found guilty of various crimes), but that doesn't concern his employer. No, whether he still draws fans is the biggest concern. Also note the sentence at the end of the article: “His contract could be voided by the Sixers in the unlikely event they waived him.” Always read a news article the whole way through. The juicy stuff is at the bottom.

Weird, I've noticed a leftward turn in my politics lately. Hmm.

Talking Points

Variety: "GOP targets HIV-positive Muppet"

Talking points for the HIV muppet being blasted by REPUBLICAN members of Congress (this is news?):

The federal government only funds 18% of PBS [source]
4 of the 5 Congressmen come from states won by George W. Bush in the 2000 Election (3 if you don't count Florida) [source]
Jerry Falwell likes the idea [source (last paragraph)]:

"Ironically, one of the few morality mavens coming out in support of the HIV-positive Muppet was none other than the Reverend Jerry Falwell. Falwell, who notoriously tried to out Teletubby Tinky Winky, says he believes the new Muppet will have a positive effect, as long as there is no discussion of its sexuality"

Not one of the members of Congress is from California. And let's not forget, this is an election year for Congressmen.


Michael Lewis: “You might think that I have would come away from this conversation relieved. It obviously could have been much, much worse. But a similar nerve had been struck, the one that is somehow more fully exposed in the male who must constantly defend his self and habits in a house of females. There was a time not very long ago when I didn't think twice of wearing the same hiking shorts for a week at a stretch, or even once of going a year wearing only the shirts that happened to be stacked on top. This was not sloth; this was not indolence; it was efficiency. A minute more spent dressing than was absolutely required was a minute wasted.”

He's been dressing his three-year-old daughter for three months, and her classmates have, well, noticed. What this man obviously does not understand about women, no matter what their age, is that efficiency is not the goal when it comes to getting dressed. It's efficacy. Getting it right. Even if it takes two hours.

Moby's Popularity

Ted Widmer: “If we extrapolate from this track ["We Are All Made of Stars"], Moby's alchemy of the hit can be defined as follows: Take some mechanical drumming, add a farty synthesized bass, inject some noodly guitar, and then sing cryptically about the unlimited potential of the human spirit. Either that, or about extraterrestrials—I can't quite tell.”

Strike Out

Matt Welch: “The daily newspaper, Granma, is thin, horribly written, and used primarily for toilet paper (what with the shortages and all). The director of Cuba's sports Hall of Fame could not tell me how many members it had. It took me a week of asking dedicated baseball fans to find out how one could obtain a schedule for coming games. Periodical libraries -- filled with glorious back issues of Havana's handsome and competitive round-the-clock newspapers from before the Second World War -- are off-limits to most Cubans.”