So, it appears that the issue of just who the rebels in Libya are is finally beginning to receive greater attention. Good for the policymakers and the press! Even before the question of arming the rebels came into question, this should have been front and center. The presumption up until this point seems to have made is that the ouster if Ghadaffi is a good thing for regional stability. A solo-act rebel takeover would leave us in fundamentally the same situation that a western-backed ouster would leave us in. Specifically, we are left with the destruction of a regime, and Continue reading Another Word on Libya
Conference seasons is chugging along, so blogging has been sparse after my early-spring surge. But I had a couple of thoughts on the goings on abroad—mainly (entirely actually) about Libya. First, I'm surprised that I haven't been hearing about more just how little we seem to know about the goals and composition of the "rebel movement" in Libya. I suspect that referring to it as a homogenous or single movement is by no means an accurate depiction of what's going on. I'm primarily surprised that this subject has not come up far more frequently given our experiences in Iraq and Continue reading A Quick Word on Libya
I received an email this afternoon from Wikistrat inviting political scientist graduate students to participate in a competition for $10,000. Before this email, I have heard nothing about this program/website and I am still relatively ignorant about their presence and history, but it seems, at the very least, worth getting a bit more information about. The actual competition is for a team of 5-10 political science graduate students from the same university to: 1. Forecast their team’s national trajectory;2. Develop scenario pathways and national policy options for specific strategic issues;3. Articulate national grand strategies;4. Brainstorm future regional security environments (alternate Continue reading Wikistrat Competition
Dan Drezner has a good post that is worth a read. Again, I think the issue he's discussing raises the question on how some of these lower-level actors fit into the policymaking process. This piece also sort of raises the issue of how these actors should fit into the broader public discourse over policies as well. But I suppose my advice to Senator Graham would be, if you're not prepared for, or don't want to hear the answer, then don't ask the question. Unless you're purposely trying to bait the DNI to bash him, that is. I agree that it's Continue reading Stupid people doing their stupid jobs
I posted a few days ago about openheatmap.com, a website that will convert your csv files into fancy thermal maps. One problem with our initial attempts to map out the presence of American military forces abroad was that the data are highly skewed. Some countries host upwards of 50,000–60,000 American military personnel in the year we’re looking at (2005). In the past this figure was even higher—Germany at one point plays host to roughly 250,000 members of the American military during the Cold War. As you can imagine, we don’t have that many soldiers in most countries. The original map Continue reading Maps Maps Maps, Part Deux
Earlier today I discussed how Wisconsin Senate Republicans could not credibly commit to compromising on the collective bargaining portion of Governor Walker's budget repair bill. To recap, the Republicans were trying to reduce the collective bargaining rights of public employees and Senate Democrats left the state of Wisconsin to prevent them from moving forward on the bill. In response to the public outcry against the bill, some Republicans signaled that they were willing to make some compromises on the issue. Nevertheless, they were unable to credibly commit to a compromise as there was nothing preventing them from passing the bill as soon as the Senate Democrats returned to Continue reading Update: Wisconsin Senate Republicans have commitment issues
What do the Wisconsin Senate Democrats hope to accomplish by being absent from the Senate and out of the state? Publicly they claim they fled the state in mid-February in order to prevent the Senate Republicans from passing a bill that would reduce the collective bargaining rights of public employees. In order for the Republicans to pass the bill, three-fifths of the Senators need to be present to constitute a quorum for a vote for passage. There are 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats, meaning that at least one Democrat must be present in the Senate to meet the quorum requirements. A Continue reading Can Wisconsin Republicans Credibly Commit to Compromise?
Back in December I had a brief post about CRACK, a mapmaking software package for Macs. The downside was that CRACK only worked for making maps of the United States. As the need has arisen, Michael Allen and I began looking for something similar that could handle world maps. This brings me to OpenHeatMap, an online platform for making those fancy looking thermal heat maps using data from a spreadsheet. We were looking for something to visually display some data that we have on US Military Personnel abroad, and this seems to work pretty well. Here’s an example: The program Continue reading Maps Maps Maps