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The credibility argument is the important one.  We've already established that there is nothing to be gained by a dictator by trusting US promises--ask Qadaffi's corpse, or ask the Isrealis about the Bush Letter from 2005.  

 

We're on the brink of establishing that there is no reason to fear US threats, either.  That's not a good position to be in.  

 

With that at stake, the question of which group of murderous thugs runs Syria becomes secondary.   I don't see much difference from a US point of view in whether Syria is controlled by allies of Hezbollah or allies of Al-Qaeda.  So go ahead, launch the Tomahawks, declare a no-fly-zone, and when the al-Qaeda flag flies over Damascus, shrug and say "We told Assad not to use chemical weapons." 

 

1 year, 4 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt

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 @John at MrSEC  That's true when schools leave the Big XII, whose bylaws were apparently written in crayon while drunk, and had contradictory clauses.  Everyone leaving the Big East has paid list price(TCU) or a premium to leave early.  

 

On the other hand, the Big East would have had a very easy time showing damages--look around.

 

The only school that a Grant of Rights wouldn't bind is one of the only two schools it's supposed to bind--Texas.  Texas in the Big Ten would probably pay its way even without TV rights to home games.  Texas @ Michigan adds to the Tier 1 package, Texas @ Minnesota is a valuable BTN game, etc.   And 2-3 Longhorn football road games, together with UT basketball road games and the rest of the BTN content could be enough to get the BTN on basic cable in Texas.  

 

I don't see a consolidation of the top tier--that makes the four surviving superconferences equals.  I see the Big Ten and SEC increasing the gap at the expense of the Big XII and ACC.

1 year, 8 months ago on Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 1)

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 @DanielKerlinsky Sure, I could see a case for calling Netanyahu and Barak "the center", with most of his coalition as the "Right," with Lipni and Mofaz and Lapid as "the Left."  That might not be exactly right, but it matches the math.  What's not supportable is saying "the center" for a group who clearly doesn't include the Israeli median voter, and certainly doesn't include the Jewish-Israeli median voter.  It's a common rhetorical device, speaking as if there is only a right and a center.  Part of it is a hangover from the extinction of what was the Israeli left after the Second Intifadah--language still hasn't caught up.    

1 year, 9 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/30/king_bibi

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Semantic quibble:  If the rightist bloc is expected to pull around 65 seats out of 120, that leaves 55.  The Arab parties have 11 seats, and don't really sit on the Israeli spectrum.  That leaves 44 seats.  Is it fair, therefore, to call that part of the spectrum "the center"?  Isn't it more accurate to speak and think of an Israeli "right" with around 65 seats and an Israeli "left" with around 45 seats?  

1 year, 9 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/30/king_bibi

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If she was so superduperextra awesome, why did she need a ghostwriter for her Petraeus bio?  Or is that fact a false report?

1 year, 9 months ago on A defense of Paula Broadwell from one of her colleagues | Daniel W. Drezner

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Isn't the problem of the day, however, whether or not 2008 Obama voters will vote for him AGAIN?  Granted, the first time was magical, transcendent, an exercise in idealism that will be treasured etc.  

 

But how many of us are still with Our First four years later?  

1 year, 10 months ago on Conversation @ http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/25/is_obama_taking_ad_ideas_from_vladimir_putin

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One question I have is, how much stuff is left? Nunn-Lugar was a very good program, but is it still needed?  I'd like to see estimates of how much Cold War WMD is left to safely dispose of.  

 

Maybe the job is only half-done, maybe the job is 90% done.  Maybe we've only scratched the surface, securing the material but leaving the task of destroying it for another day.  That seems to me a crucial part of the equation, in deciding whether this is a serious problem or simply Putin's anti-American blustering, like withdrawal from the CFE treaty.  

1 year, 10 months ago on Conversation @ http://hoffman.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/11/how_dangerous_is_the_end_of_nunn_lugar

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3 is an answerable question.  SAnctions are designed to give you leverage in a negotiation.  Iran's nuclear program and hostility to Israel and America are non-negotiable--they are pretty much woven into the DNA of the regime.  Iran's commitment to its nuclear program and to an anti-Western foreign policy is pretty hard-wired into the Islamic revolution--elections are pretty cosmetic, the regime's legitimacy is religious, and for the former-IRGC's like Ahmenijad, partially derived from their suffering during the war.  The generation which marched barefoot uphill both ways to fight Saddam's army isn't going to be moved by the plight of Iranian smartphone-slinging youngsters, no matter what the unemployment rate or economic statistics are.  

 

The newly-democratizing Arab countries, on the other hand, are more malleable, although that word is to be avoided.  They are currently negotiating what sort of societies they are going to be.  So the leaderships have to balance various goals--economic development, poverty, Islamic social agenda, building a democratic state, staying in power, peronal wealth, etc.    

1 year, 10 months ago on New rules for debating U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East | Daniel W. Drezner

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I have to support Podhoretz on polling. He's not making a case against polling in general, (or he shouldn't be).  He is implying that we are at a moment in the evolution of polling like 1936, where previously reliable polling techniques broke down completely.   Two major polls, Rasmussen and Gallup, who had the race tied or a 1-2% Obama lead, after the debate still have the race tied.  Meanwhile, another set of polls which Republicans had dismissed because they showed ahistorical Democratic partisan skews, now show ahistorical Republican skews.  So we're pretty sure that the pre-debate Volatile polls were wrong, which implies that the new Volatile polls today are wrong.  We are also very skeptical of the Stable polls (largely because they show movement Sunday to Obama, for no visible reason, that cancelled out Friday and Saturday), which show no net movement.

 

So it's not an anti-statistics argument to say "Until pollsters can figure out how to avoid all these crazy mood swings and white noise, they should be put on political and pundit probation."  It's not crazy to argue that the polls aren't going to tell us anything reliable and useful in 2012, and to posit the Nine Percent Hypothesis to explain it.  

1 year, 10 months ago on Ideologiues to social scientists: get off our lawn!! | Daniel W. Drezner

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The Benghazi Libyans have already provided all the "swift, certain justice" we are likely to get, when a bunch of the local militias, when they trashed the Ansar al-Sharia compound in Benghazi.  

1 year, 10 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/03/tk_crenshaw

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'Course, it is your job to write articles worth reading.  Saban's doing his job, you're doing your job, everything's good.  

1 year, 11 months ago on Saban Doubles Down That Media’s Disrespect For WKU Is Hurting His Team

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It's not Saban's job to make sense.  It's his job to win football games.  (And keep his players off academic probation, out of the police blotter, etc.  But that's part of winning games.)

 

Saban could say "My complaining is total BS?  And contradicts what I said last week?  NMP."

1 year, 11 months ago on Saban Doubles Down That Media’s Disrespect For WKU Is Hurting His Team

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This article is really shaky.  The headline said that Houston had the highest bid, but the article didn't say that, just that Houston, Dallas and New Orleans were the three highest.  

JerseyGuy is also talking about a rotation for the Champions Bowl, and might be confusing it with the rotation for the semifinals.  

 

That said, I believe that Houston will put up the most money.  "Champions Bowl at JerryWorld" would do more total revenue, but Jerry & Co are comparing that to the revenue they get from being an Access Bowl.  Houston is either going to land the Champions Bowl, and be one of the top 5 revenue games of the year, or be the Houston Meineke Car Care Bowl.  

 

Lets say Champions Bowl tickets average $500 each, Cotton Bowl tickets $400 each, and Houston Bowl tickets $100 each.  

Champions Bowl @ JErryWorld:  110,000 x $500 = $55,000,000

Cotton Bowl @ JerryWorld:  110,000 x $400 = $44,000,000.  So upgrading from Cotton Bowl to Champions Bowl is worth $11M.

 

Champions Bowl @ Reliant Stadium:  70,000 x $500 = $35,000,000

Houston Bowl @ Reliant Stadium:  70,000 x $100 = $7,000,000.  So upgrading from the Meineke Bowl to the Champions Bowl is worth $28M.  

 

Everything has a price tag that makes it not worth it.  The Cotton Bowl committee hits that point way before the Houston group does. 

 

1 year, 11 months ago on Report: Houston Puts In Highest Bid For "Champions" Bowl

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Kentucky is possible.  Tennessee could be enough of a big-bad-wolf program to pass on Petrino on grounds that he's not a permanent answer, if they can get a Gary Patterson or a Chris Peterson.   If not Tennessee and not Kentucky, then not the SEC next year--everywhere else either has a new coach or has a coach who has had some success.  

 

Maryland can't afford to fire Randy Edsall for another couple of years.

 

If the Big East does get a good contract, maybe UConn upgrades from Paul Pasqualoni?  Washington and Colorado could be open, and that PAC money will start rolling in...

2 years ago on Petrino Opens Up To ESPN; The Rehabilitation Begins

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The conferences will keep every penny of that $80M.  Let's be super-conservative, and say 60,000 seats get sold at an average ticket price of $50.  (Give the rest of the seats away to band, family-and-friends of the athletes, boosters, etc.)   That's $3,000,000 in gate receipts, before you sell one plate of nachos, sell one Budweiser.  

 

The bowl committee that asks for a cut of the TV money in their presentation gets laughed out of the room.   

2 years ago on Report: “Champions” Bowl To Ink $80M Contract With ESPN

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Maybe the Secretary of State job is increasingly a rock-star job.  

 

If we look at the last bunch of Secretaries-of-State, evaluated by say Tom Friedman's readership as success or failure.

 

Hillary--success

Rice--marginal failure

Powell--would have been successful except for Iraq, which wasn't his fault

Albright--marginal success

Christopher--failure

Baker--success

 

I'd make a case that percieved success and failure here are measured as much by pre-appointment celebrity as by tangible performance.

 

The only failure was the boring, dry Warren Christopher, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense.  He was followed by the First Woman Secretary of State!   Then by the First Black Secretary of State!  Then the First Black Woman Secretary of State!  Then by the first woman with a real shot at being President.   I'm too young to really remember, but by political standards of the time Jim Baker generated excitement--I do remember the 1992 campaign, when President Bush announced that Baker would be taking over domestic policy after the election, and Bush looked like he expected America to wet our pants from excitement.  

 

If Obama is reelected, the rumored pick is John Kerry--former Presidential candidate, a pretty big political celebrity, fitting the post-Cold War mold of Secretaries of State as senior political celebrities more than policy-makers or implementers.  I'm not sure who the Republican counterpart would be--no one from the Bush Administration has that level of recognition except for Rice, and no one outside the Administration with the recognition has the level of instant credibility.    Maybe Petraeus changes jobs again?

2 years, 1 month ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/07/10/on_secretary_clinton

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I think the Big East goes coast-to-coast with or without AQ. They need UCF, Houston and SMU to have a football conference with 8 all-sports members. They need Boise State to have any hope of a decent football TV contract. And they need SDSU because Boise State says they do.

2 years, 7 months ago on Big 12 Reopens The Expansion Can Of Worms

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Another reason an unseeded plus-one is more likely, perhaps with some rules to protect at-large bids. The SEC could send teams to the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Cotton, but they'd have to play someone from outside the SEC to advance to the NCG. Would that make an all-SEC final more palatable? Would there have been less grumbling about an LSU-Bama rematch if Bama had beaten OK STate last Monday?

2 years, 7 months ago on BCS Title Game Observation 3: Wait'll Next Year, SEC Haters

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@HAMMY05@Ron2001 Thank you. That makes sense.

2 years, 7 months ago on Report: LSU’s Chavis Turns Down $1 Million Offer From UT

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@oreo He was the DC at UT for 13-14 years. He was about to be run out of town when he got a better job. Now UT offers him the same job? Call back when your head coaching job is open.

That's how I see it. I don't see a lot of others seeing it this way, so I could easily be wrong. But I don't know why.

2 years, 7 months ago on Report: LSU’s Chavis Turns Down $1 Million Offer From UT

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@Ron2001 I don't. Is he not head coaching material? Why not?

2 years, 7 months ago on Report: LSU’s Chavis Turns Down $1 Million Offer From UT

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Isn't it almost insulting to offer the LSU DC the Tennessee DC job? Shouldn't he be looking at head coaching jobs?

--John Bragg

2 years, 7 months ago on Report: LSU’s Chavis Turns Down $1 Million Offer From UT

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