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I don't think Max was wrong until he tampered with the machine. If he just found a machine that was broken so that it paid out all the time, he wouldn't be wrong to milk it rather than tell the casino management. That's part of the game. Fixing machines is their concern, not his. But when he tampered with it, he did something I'm pretty sure is illegal. I still don't think it was all that wrong, but it probably was a crime of some kind or another.
1 year, 3 months ago on Player Capsules (Plus): Paul Pierce, the Role Model
It's certainly odd what happened to McGrady. Back during the Kobe-Shaq years, I would have said Kobe and McGrady were equals, and that those Lakers teams would have been just as good if not better if McGrady played for them. When the Rockets acquired him to put with Yao, I thought they would be serious contenders. But look at their paths in the years since--Kobe just kept ascending, to near basketball-godhood, while Mcgrady declined into obscurity and washed-up-ness, even though he's actually the younger of the two. Life is inscrutable.
1 year, 3 months ago on The Greatest Game Ever Played: T-Mac Retro Diary
@The_Iron_Webmaster I don't think so, but not because I think very highly of either neocons, Netanyahu, or al-Qaeda. At the start of every war, the leadership of both sides has wanted war, and mostly been positive about winning, or at the very least avoiding defeat. Would you say the leadership groups of the Central Powers and of the Entente felt a common interest in 1914 and so cooperated in going to war? Did Lincoln and Jefferson David feel a common interest in 1861 and hence cooperated in going to war? Yet all of those persons and groups wanted war more than the alternative. Rather, their interests were diametrically opposed but they all felt could only be achieved by war.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/07/the_maine_thing_you_need_to_know
@goedelite @Granten "any permanent resident in the western hemisphere is as entitled to call himself an American."
So go ahead and call them that. When you meet someone from Peru, call him an American. There's no law that prevents someone from Brazil from saying, "I am an American." The next time a friend from Mexico visits you, introduce him as "my American friend." If you're chatting with people, go ahead and say, "Right now I'm reading an interesting book by American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez." Nobody's stopping you.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/07/27/the_dearth_of_strategy
@mhenriday @Granten @goedelite When the German Democratic Republic still existed, and there were 2 German states, did you demand that we refer to its citizens as GDRians, and citizens of the other German state as FRGians? Prior to the unification of Germany, "German" was an umbrella term that encompassed Prussians, Bavarians, Saxons, Thuringians, Austrians, etc. All those groups could be called German, as well as their most specific group-names. Does that mean, mon cher Henri, that Austrians should rightfully become indignant about citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany stealing for themselves the name "German," when Austrians are equally entitled to that name? Ecuador is not the only country through which the equator runs, yet they have presumptuously taken the name Equatorian, when many other peoples would just *love*, I'm sure, to be called by that name themselves. Colombia is a poetic term for the western hemisphere continents, so any resident of those continents ought to be entitled to that names, yet I don't hear many people complaining that Colombians are selfishly taking the name for themselves. Prior to 1947, the Indus region was unequivocally considered "India," so we would expect that today's Pakistanis would be just livid about the name "Indian" being monopolized by citizens of the Republic of India, who should really be called ROIians. Do you always refer to the residents of a certain east Asian peninsula as ROKians and DPRKians, rather than Koreans? You are aware, are you not, that the Republic of South Africa is not the only southern African country, so I would expect you always call the citizens of that polity RSAians? Because otherwise that would be offensive to people from Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, etc., yes? When you do all those things, then I'll believe your embrace of "USian" isn't motivated by some kind of misguided spite.
@mhenriday @Granten @goedelite Somewhere along the way, some people got it into their heads that calling Americans "USians" or "United Statians" was a way to "put them in their place." But why are Latin Americans and Canadians clamoring to be called "Americans," if indeed they are? You don't see Japanese clamoring to be called "Asians," do you? On the contrary, they would rather not be lumped in with group of people with whom they have very little in common besides sharing the same continent, which is absolutely the least significant aspect of any person's identity. Unfortunately, Confucius was wrong--names derive their qualities from the things they describe, not vice verse. Google, e.g., the Euphemism Treadmill. I would not hold out much hope that a change in name would change the things to which those names are applied.
Hey, who's that ruddy-cheeked chap in the photograph? Whoever he is, I certainly wish he was born into a position of unfathomable luxury and that, someday, his wedding is broadcast to hundreds of millions of adoring fans.
1 year, 5 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/06/29/european_defense_post_libya_towards_the_rubicon
"#10. Travelers who rant about acts of fate/God"
I actually like it when someone gets angry. He's red-faced, he's yelling, "This is unacceptable!" He's complaining at the airline employees, but in the end there isn't anything he can do. His loss of composure makes it easier for me to keep mine. If I'm unhappy, I always enjoy the spectacle of someone else being even more unhappy.
1 year, 5 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/06/22/the_top_ten_things_that_make_air_travel_annoying
@TheTieMan "Just about any American strategist regardless of his or her foreign policy preferences wants to maintain American dominance."
Are there strategists in other countries who wish to worsen their country's position?
1 year, 7 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/30/what_if_realists_ran_us_foreign_policy_a_top_ten_list
"Realists would never have adopted the Clinton administration's foolish strategy of "dual containment" in the Persian Gulf"
Amen. In a way, the Gulf War never ended. For almost 15 years after the end of the fighting, we continued to oppress Iraq with sanctions, no fly zones, and various other methods. We waged a kind of low-intensity war on them, when there was not really any reason, and doing so actually hurt us by removing the counterbalance to Iran that Iraq had formerly represented. What we should have done, instead, would have been, after a decent interval had passed, to have rehabilitated Iraq, helped them.
But the idea apparently is, that if we go to war with a county, it's because they're Evil, and no Evil country can become Good until the Evil Bad Man who rules it is killed.
"U.S. and Afghan officials are emphasizing that the bad guys were rounded up or killed by government forces operating mostly on their own, but the Times also reports that the Afghans were aided by "a small number of embedded training teams" and by "helicopter air support." So we still don't quite know whether the Afghans could have handled this by themselves."
Here's the rub: if the Afghan govt (not "the Afghans," because the Taliban are also Afghans) could have handled this by themselves, then there's no reason for the US to still be there, yet if they conclusively couldn't have handled it by themselves, there's also no reason for us to be there, cuz if we haven't accomplished the mission (whatever it was) after ten years we're probably never going to. It's when it's right in the middle that the people who want us to stay forever are able to make their case. When the Afghan govt's strength (or the appearance of it) is carefully balanced halfway between hopeless and competent. I think these reports (including the Times's, which don't we all know are simply copied down from the Pentagon's dictation) are really an effort to keep public opinion on the reliability of the Afghan govt right in that sweet spot--the same line they've been peddling for five or eight years: "We're making progress, but the gains are fragile."
1 year, 7 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/16/rashomon_in_kabul
@NickJOCW @Don Bacon "if US opinion makers believe control of Afghanistan to be essential to the U.S, then for all practical purposes it is."
I wish everybody would read this. This is what passes as argument for the "stay the course" side. This is a non-argument. Unable to give a reason why we should stay, he appeals to the fact that some other people believe we should stay too.
"US opinion makers"* are not gods. If "US opinion makers" believed it essential, in today's geopolitical environment, to invade Tierra del Fuego or Wrangel Island, would you agree? If "US opinion makers" wanted to occupy Timbuktoo, first for one reason and then, once that was rendered obsolete, for another reason they suddenly cooked up, would you go along? I guess you think the invasion of Iraq was a fantastic success, because "US opinion makers" said so? Is it only a disaster if you call it a disaster?
Do you think that about every country? If Russian opinion makers in December 1904 believed going to war with Japan was essential, did that make it so? "Opinion makers" in St. Petersburg believed, on the eve of war, they they would not only win but win easily. Unfortunately for them, the course of events proved just how little "truth flowed from belief." Or is it only Americans who are immune to miscalculation?
* Parenthetically, what makes an "Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Dushanbe, Tajikistan" a "US opinion maker"? He's from the US and he has an opinion? And anyway, in that quote he never even said the US needs to keep occupying Afghanistan. All he said was a prosperous Afghanistan will "require strong buy-in and coordination by governments in the region, its international partners, and investment from the private sector." That is not the same thing as occupying it with US military forces. You just assumed it.
1 year, 8 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/04/out_now
@Don Bacon "US control of Afghanistan is essential to the U.S. Central Asia - New Silk Road Strategy... every country in the region has an interest in an increasingly prosperous Afghanistan"
What nonsense. First of all, the US is not "in the region," so what interest does the US have in a prosperous Afghanistan? You've quoted a series of unsubstantiated assertions, yet failed to include even that much about the actual country (the US) whose policies we are debating. Second, why will it be true in the future that the other countries in the regions need a prosperous Afghanistan when it's never been true in the past? Did S. Korea need a prosperous N. Korea in order to become prosperous itself? Third, we've been in Afghanistan for over ten years now and are no closer to making Afghanistan prosperous, so how will staying help us achieve that goal, even allowing that the goal is necessary, which I doubt? Fourth, isn't this statement by Blake really just diplomatic boilerplate, issued to soothe feelings? These are unexceptional statements that everyone will accede to, yet they contain nothing that make the case that maintaining US military units in Afghanistan is necessary. Fifth, the reason we went into Afghanistan in the first place was because that was the location of the perpetrators of the Sept. 11th attacks. Now that that reason's gone, they've invented new reasons, but does anyone believe those new reasons would have been sufficient to compel a US invasion of Afghanistan in the absence of the original Sept. 11th casus belli, and if not, why are they considered sufficient today? If Sept. 11th never happened, would we have invaded and occupied Afghanistan for over ten years in order to "achieve greater economic cooperation"?
The state of thinking about foreign relations in this country is so debased I don't think we'll ever be anything more than an uncomprehending Frankenstein bumbling from situation to situation, sometimes making them worse and sometimes better out of pure chance. This became especially plain to me in the reactions to Romney's statement. He called Russia an enemy, and many who opposed him contradicted him, saying that Russia was in fact an ally. I would call that country neither an ally nor an enemy, but simply another state that in some circumstances could be an ally, in others an enemy, and in still others neutral. It depends on the circumstances. But this line of thinking proved way beyond my interlocutors' grasp, who kept demanding to know whether I thought Russia was essentially good or bad. Many Americans, it seems, view the world through some kind of Manichean lens, wherein every single country is either an angel of pure good whose every action we must support wholeheartedly regardless what effect it has on our own nation, or a vile malefactor whose every action must be opposed with all the strength we can muster.
1 year, 8 months ago on Conversation @ http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/29/whatever_happened_to_arms_control