22 May 2010
21 May 2010
20 May 2010
19 May 2010
During the question-and-answer period, Sen. Jim DeMint, a first-term Republican from South Carolina, who's up for re-election this year, said he found it "frightening" that the Russians believe there's a relationship between offensive and defensive nuclear forces.
The committee's chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., patiently noted, "There is a relationship." If offensive forces are cut and defensive forces go up, "you can obliterate one party's sense of deterrence." This, he said, is "common sense."
DeMint said, "But you're agreeing with me." Don't we want to expand our defenses so that we can obliterate Russia's offensive capability?
Kerry, a bit nonplussed, replied, "No."
I find this video interesting but slightly disturbing. Some guy created the "perfect" SimCity city through meticulous planning, but it ended up like this:
...no one is leaving or coming into the city. Population growth is stagnant. Sims don’t need to travel long distances, because their workplace is just within walking distance. In fact they do not even need to leave their own block. Wherever they go it’s like going to the same place...
There are a lot of other problems in the city hidden under the illusion of order and greatness: Suffocating air pollution, high unemployment, no fire stations, schools, or hospitals, a regimented lifestyle – this is the price that these sims pay for living in the city with the highest population. It’s a sick and twisted goal to strive towards. The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.
via Chris Blattman
18 May 2010
17 May 2010
While JUSTICE THOMAS would apparently not rule out a death sentence for a $50 theft by a 7-year-old . . ., the Court wisely rejects his static approach to the law. Standards of decency have evolved since 1980. They will never stop doing so.
16 May 2010
The attitudes of Seoul and Beijing would be particularly important in this respect; the health of a post-Kim North Korea would be greatly affected by China’s willingness to underwrite the regime, and by South Korea’s approach to manifesting claims on Korean national identity. In the German case, the Russians had no interest in continuing to prop up the Berlin regime, and West Germany was happy to advance the claim that it was the only legitimate German national regime.
What is interesting to me is the way that North Korea has gone about trying to claim that South Koreans are no longer even really Korean. Will the people of North Korea allow a southern takeover, if they think of South Koreans as non-Korean?
13 May 2010
12 May 2010
“‘If we could work with members drawn from the Rhodesia front that oppressed us, what was there to prevent us from working with him?’ Mr. Mugabe asked, laying his hand on Mr. Tsvangirai’s arm.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who has survived at least two assassination attempts in Zimbabwe, remained inscrutable and for several seconds, the room fell silent. Mr. Mugabe only smiled broadly.
“This young fellow… of mine,’ he added, patting his arm. He coaxed another laugh from Mr. Tsvangirai and the audience.”
10 May 2010
09 May 2010
08 May 2010
05 May 2010
Via Sahel Blog, it looks like the two countries that fought one of the more significant interstate wars of the 90s and early oughts are back at each other's throats.
Ethiopia has elections coming up later this month (which aren't expected to particularly free or fair) and is accusing its rival to the north of attempting to destabilize the country in the run up to those elections. The government claims that "Eritrean agents" were behind a bomb that went off in Adi Haro this past weekend and that Eritrea is supporting anti-Ethiopian activity by both the Oromo Liberation Front, an Ethiopia-based ethnic nationalist group, and the notorious Somali Islamist group, al-Shabab.
Meanwhile, the Eritrean regime is now under fire from insurgent groups itself, including the fairly awesomely named Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization, that are based in and receive support from Ethiopia.
This new round of disputes between the two states seems to closely resemble the long-running (and recently ended, tentatively) Chad-Sudan feud, where each side supported anti-government rebels against the other.
So, a few things that I've noticed or been surprised by in all of the reports coming out on the guy who tried to bomb Times Square:
1) When the Pakistani Taliban initially claimed responsibility for the attack, I scoffed. After all, the TTP is a local group based in the tribal areas with parochial concerns that had focused all of its are against the Pakistani government in the past. I was wrong.
It looks like the TTP has "internationalized" due to the presence of Al Qaeda in its stomping ground and, I would presume, because of the US drone war. Of course, if Shahzad did have connection to the TTP, it's still unclear whether the group's role in the attempted attack was operational or simply motivational. This is speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if Shahzad's radicalization resulted at least in part from anger over US attacks in Pakistan, since he had been such a model US citizen up until recent years.
This is not to "blame the victim," but simply to recognize the phenomenon that Robert Wright has pointed to--that invading or otherwise attacking Muslim countries is going to result in some blowback. Nidal Malik Hassan was motivated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is speculation that Najibullah Zazi may have been motivated by the drone war. The double agent who bombed the CIA base in Khost was angry over US support for Israel in the Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead).
None of this is a direct comment on the propriety of these policies (although they should be vigorously questioned), but simply an acknowledgment that there are "side effects" to foreign policy decisions, and that these should be included in the cost-benefit analysis.
2) As Armchair Generalist has so eloquently pointed out, the fact that Shahzad is being charged with attempted use of WMD is patently ridiculous. If a couple cans of gas and some fireworks can constitute a WMD, then the term has gone far beyond jumping the shark and descended into parody. Here's the federal statute in question.
3) According to the FBI, Shahzad was initially interrogated without being Mirandized under a "public safety exception." I didn't know that such an exception existed. It would seem to render most of the objections to Mirandizing terror suspects in the name of sniffing out impending attacks and other intelligence gathering purposes moot. After the FBI agents determined that there were no impending threats related to Shahzad, he was Mirandized and treated like other suspects (and continued cooperating).
04 May 2010
AnthonyS at Alterdestiny points out that the Phoenix Suns, the NBA team that I am, incidentally, pulling for in the playoffs since the Mavericks' early exit in the first round, have come out as a team against the draconian new immigration law in Arizona:
In general, people in the sports world keep their political leanings to themselves. Sure, there are a few guys who regularly speak out on political issues, but for the most part that's considered bad business. As Michael Jordan put it, "Republicans buy shoes too." That's why what the Phoenix Suns are doing is so amazing.
The team will be wearing its "Los Suns" jerseys for Wednesday night's Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs "to honor [the] Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation." Awesome.
The decision to wear the jerseys came from way up the corporate ladder, as team owner Robert Sarver suggested the team wear their Noche Latina alternates.
Star Canadian point guard and former 2-time league MVP (who also spoke out against the Iraq War) had this to say about the decision:
I think it's fantastic...I think the law is very misguided. I think it's, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it's very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us.
I'm gonna be rooting for Los Suns even harder now! This may also be a good PR move the team, given the strong Democratic lean of NBA fans.
03 May 2010
Quimby: All those in favor say aye!
*everyone but Lisa says aye*
Quimby: All those opposed say I...hate America!
02 May 2010
From the AP:
Greece's defense minister on Thursday promised "colossal" cuts in military operating costs to help the debt-ridden country emerge from its financial crisis and speed up plans to modernize the armed forces.
Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos Greece is aiming to slash operating costs by up to 25 percent in 2010 from 2009, instead of the planned reduction of 12.6 percent listed in this year's budget.
"That is a colossal amount, reaching the margin of our operating needs," Venizelos said, insisting that the cuts were not a direct result of the Greek debt crisis, nor would affect the strategic balance with historic rival Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit Athens next month.
Greece remains at odds with neighbor and NATO ally Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea but has improved ties over the past decade.
Venizelos did not give details of how the cuts would be achieved, saying only that results of a major armed forces review would be outlined in "several weeks".
Um, yeah, I'm not really buying the second bolded part.
Prior to all of this, Greece had the highest military spending in the EU as a percentage of GDP and the second highest in NATO, behind only the US.
It will be interesting to see the effects of these drastic cuts on the military balance between Greece and Turkey and, more broadly, on their conflict over Cyprus. Turkey should feel a little more secure as a result of these cuts and will likely be able to make some of its own. However, as a bigger and more important country, Turkey's security interests are generally broader than those of its rival, so it may not be able to cut as drastically because of other internal and external threats.
via Barefoot and Progressive
01 May 2010
The arrest of Abdul Ghani Baradar and some other leading members of the Afghan Taliban in January was initially seen as a "shift" by Pakistani security forces toward a more anti-(Afghan) Taliban stance that was more in line with what American diplomats and military leaders wanted. Subsequent reports suggested that the arrests may have been motivated by other considerations (for example, the fact that Baradar may have been ready to negotiate with the government; others suggested that it may have been a method by which Pakistan could gain some leverage in any upcoming negotiations).
Now, "Western diplomats and Pakistani security officials" are saying that Pakistan may open up a new anti-insurgent front in North Waziristan. This has been one of the biggest demands of the US for some time now. Pakistan has already mounted offensives in Swat and in South Waziristan, and has suffered considerable military losses and civilian suffering as a result. The government has been hesitant to mount similar operations in North Waziristan, partly for these reasons, and partly because North Waziristan has been more a haven for anti-American/anti-Western forces, such as the Haqqani Network, than for anti-Pakistan forces like the Pakistani Taliban. The US's only way to strike in these areas has been through the use of drones.
Again, though, there is some reason to be skeptical as to whether the US and NATO are really going to get what they want if this offensive does actually happen. The offensive in South Waziristan has caused several anti-Islamabad groups and individuals, including Hakimullah Mehsud (the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban and public enemy number one), to flee to the north. The idea of launching a new offensive is probably more a result of this than Western cajoling. In the event of a Pakistani offensive, it obviously can't be assumed that Pakistani forces will go after the elements that the US and NATO wants it to after.
30 April 2010
Awesome noted on the blog earlier this week that indicted international war criminal/president Omal al-Bashir won reelection and that Salva Kiir had similarly cruised to reelection as vice president and (thus) president of the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan. I've followed this election somewhat closely and wanted to throw in my $.02 on the situation in Sudan.
First, the elections were pretty much a sham. Go over to the Enough Project and read all about the abuses and irregularities perpetrated by the ruling party (or watch videos of the vote being rigged) or go read about all of the problems with the process listed by the Carter Center.
However, no one is making much of a fuss over this because...
a) Most of the opposition candidates did not participate, so there weren't really many choices for voters. This includes the candidate that was going to be put forward by the leading party in the South, the SLPA/M. The calculus by the SLPM seems to be...what's the point? Why worry about national elections when we are just going to secede next year?
b) As far as I can tell, the US and other Western governments seem to have made similar calculations--something like: yes, we could raise a big stink over these elections, but we want to stay on Bashir's good side in order to have at least a shot at a peaceful secession process next year (it seems fairly certain that the South will vote to secede).
There are a couple of problems with this prognosis by Southern Sudan and by the West. First, it presumes that Bashir will follow through with a fair referendum process next year and, if the South votes to secede, he will allow them to do so peacefully. This seems wildly optimistic given his past antics and the fact that huge issues such as border demarcation and oil revenues remain unresolved. For its part, Southern Sudan seems to be hedging its bets in order to force Bashir to think long and hard before trying to re-ignite the North-South Civil War that raged from the 80s all the way up until the CPA in '05.
But even assuming all goes as planned, a newly independent Southern Sudan faces seemingly insurmountable development obstacles including:
-crushing poverty (I've heard estimates that it would be the poorest country in the world)
-sporadic but deadly intercommunal violence
-periodic incursions by the Lord's Resistance Army
-landlocked with (mostly) bad neighbors, including Bashir's state, whose proximity will likely lead to very high military spending by the new state
-resource curse problems (with oil)
-likelihood of a one-party state dominated by the SPLA/M
29 April 2010
What is most disturbing about this development is that Spain was actually an ideal member of the EU, keeping its debts low (in 2007 it had a lower debt to GDP ratio than Germany) and running a budget surplus. Spain's problem was that its economy became too intertwined with the housing bubble. It was receiving huge inflows of capital from the rest of the EU to invest in its housing sector (everyone loves Spanish villas), which pushed up its gdp, but also wages and prices. When the bubble collapsed, output from the housing sector fell with it, but wages remained high (wages are generally not adjustable downward), so output from other sectors was inhibited by these higher labor costs which then resulted in higher unemployement. This then led to decreased consumption (unemployed people don't buy that much) which further reduced output, and obliged the government to enact large social insurance outlays despite the huge hit to its tax revenue.
If the European labor market was more efficient (language barriers tend to prevent workers from moving around very much), then wages would not have risen so much and prices would have remained in check. Right now, if Spain had its own currency then it could devalue it to make its exports more competitive, stimulate its economy, compensate for the lost demand, and bring its internal prices back in line with the rest of Europe. But Spain doesn't have its own currency. It is stuck with the euro, and there is no monetary levers for it to pull. Rather than a quick devaluation, it is going to have to grind through a slow deflationary process as its internal prices gradually adjust.
The larger issue is whether or not other EU member states will see Spain's crisis as a signal of the EU's viability. In good times, European integration has been beneficial to all of its member states, but as the situation in Spain has shown, the integration is neither deep enough to ameliorate the negative effects of powerful macroeconomic shocks nor relaxed enough to let the member states solve their problems by themselves. Europe is stuck in an uncomfortable middle ground between full integration and independence. The only way to prevent future problems is either further integration (which is unlikely; there will not be a United States of Europe in our lifetimes), or the slow process of dissolution. If Spain collapses and the rest of the EU isn't there to lend a hand, then the EU's days are definitely numbered.
28 April 2010
27 April 2010
Quite a few people were upset about Mr. Yanukovich's recent decision to renew Russia's lease on the port at Sevastopol for 25 years, and the situation deteriorated even further today when Ukraine's parliament approved the deal by a slim majority. Opposition leaders like Yulia Tymoshenko claim (and are probably correct) that the deal will drag Ukraine increasingly into Moscow's orbit.
Ukraine didn't get nothing for the deal. Russia is going to give them a 30% discount on natural gas worth about $40 billion over the next decade. Unfortunately, what Ukraine really needs is for gas prices to stay high so it can diversify its energy infrastructure away from its reliance on Russian natural gas. Ukraine's net consumption of natural gas as a share of its total energy consumption has increased by 10% since the early 1990's, and it imports 70% of its natural gas from Russia. Cheap gas is only going to provide a disincentive to invest in alternative sources of power and energy efficiency. Ukraine is shackling itself with some very large chains.
26 April 2010
23 April 2010
WE’RE AT WAR! An insistence on factual accuracy is a luxury we can’t afford when the nation faces an existential threat, such as the top marginal tax rate being raised back up a couple percentage points from its all-time historical low to its previous all-time historical low. It’s just like Pearl Harbor (if the Japanese had only mildly dented 5 percent of the ships in our Pacific fleet while actually performing some needed maintenance on the remaining boats)!
22 April 2010
The IMF has proposed a series of bank taxes to avoid future meltdowns of the international financial system. Its proposal is basically two pronged: tax financial companies to the extent that they represent a systemic threat to the economy as a whole, and tax excessive profits so that these companies avoid risky investments. The idea has some merit, but it will probably not burst any future bubbles. Market distortions helped bring about the financial crisis, and distorting investment markets further will not provide any remedy.
The road to the financial crisis started with loose fiscal policy in the United States that encouraged home ownership. Since the price of debt was kept artificially low with the help of huge currency reserves amassed by foreign lenders this positive demand shock to the housing market created a positive feedback cycle that culminated in the housing asset bubble. Banks for their part had poorly calibrated risk models and brand new investment instruments that diffused risk as well as responsibility and destroyed information about the composition of their investments. When the asset bubble burst, as they always do, lenders had tied up billions of dollars in houses that nobody could afford and none of the investment banks could tell who owned the bad debt. This caused credit to tighten, which then affected the “real” economy through decreased demand.
I can identify several market distortions in this narrative: fiscal policy to subsidize housing, monetary policy that permitted the amassing of foreign debt, the investment vehicles (derivatives) that destroyed information about debt ownership, faulty risk models, the “too big to fail” strategy of the banks that led them to take on excess debt, and a principle-agent problem between the banks as an institution and their representative agents (their executives).
Levying taxing on banks is very tempting for policymakers right now. Not only is there a lot of political support for it (Tax the rich! They got us into this mess!), but the US, UK and others who are stimulating their economies with aid packages need a way of paying off all their new debt. However, I am firmly convinced that the best solution to this problem will not come through tax laws. Taxes can be evaded, and are subject to too much political jockying. The only permanent and real reforms must come from the industry itself. Banks (as an institution) need to make their executives more accountable for the risks they take, and expend the time and resources to gather proper information about the assets they are buying with their money. Tax laws are not needed for this, though legal reforms making executives more liable for taking excessive risks would definitely be an improvement. This will also help remove the moral hazard of the "too big to fail" mentality. Why would executives care if the government steps in to bail out thier company if they are still going to be held criminally accountable for thier actions? Governments also need to learn the lessons of their own mistakes, and stop relying so much on fiscal and monetary policy to achieve political goals (this will also have the duel affect of reducing public debt).
As for preventing any and all future bubbles… that’s not going to happen. Liberalizing investment means giving agents the latitude to make risky decisions, and every once in a while those risky decisions will agglomerate into an asset bubble. Shocks and volatility are the costs of having free markets. If you don’t like bubbles, you shouldn’t be a capitalist.
21 April 2010
South Korea has managed to foil an apparent plot to kill the most prominent North Korean defector within its borders. Two North Korean army majors attempted to "defect" in order to get close to Hwang Jang Yop, the former chief ideologue of North Korea. They have beefed up security around him (from 8 around the clock guards to at least 10).
20 April 2010
19 April 2010
18 April 2010
16 April 2010
With respect to the threat posed by domestic terrorists and lone gunmen, I think the threat to national security comes more from the social reaction and policy response to attacks than from the attacks themselves (as with foreign terrorist attacks).
As far as capabilities go, obviously lone gunmen generally don't pose the same sort of large-scale threat as more organized, networked groups. The difficulty that they present is that there is no conspiracy and thus very limited opportunities for law enforcement to sniff out their plans. They are also pretty much impossible to prevent once in motion without establishing the trappings of a police state.
I don't think the threat capability of domestic terror groups comes as much from their attracting a large following and posing a direct threat to the government as much as their ability to pull off the same kind of attacks that foreign groups pull off. Let's not forget that, prior to '01, Oklahoma City was the gold standard for terror attacks on American soil. Further, there are indications from entities like the DHS and groups like the SPLC that these groups are currently on the uptick.
Slim, I hate to disagree with you, but I would not classify some of the items from the list in your previous post as major security threats. I agree with most of them, but I do not think that lone gunmen or domestic based terrorists are major national security issues. Granted, I think they both could cause a lot of problems but neither of them represents a systemic threat to the United States. A lone gunman could assassinate a politician or kill a lot of people, which would be very unfortunate, but the institutions of government and business would continue to function. As for domestic terrorists, I do not think that any white supremacist, ultra-nationalist, fundamentalist or other similar group could garner enough popular support to pose a serious threat.
I am not saying that these things are not dangerous, just that they are not the most plausible means through which the national interests of the United States could be threatened. It’s also worth noting that I am defining the national interests as primacy, territorial integrity, international stability, domestic tranquility, and a well-behaved economy. Lone gunmen and domestic terrorists could threaten domestic tranquility, but not to the extent that the US could “fail” as a country.
I also want to go back to my original argument for just a minute. The reason that I included socio-economic problems on my list is because they are very subtle and it’s easy to underestimate the threat they pose. Dr. Bernanke even testified in front of Congress that the exploding national debt could undermine foreign confidence in the United States and cause all sorts of problems. I agree with you that hard security threats are important to guard against, but if the US is going to fail then it’s going to be because of a socio-economic issue that policymakers never addressed. It’s like how one out every three Americans owns a gun, but the average American is much more likely to die from the results of poor lifestyle choices (heart disease, diabetes, and cancer) than from homicide.
15 April 2010
14 April 2010
First, he accepts arguendo the common refrain that the South is "still fighting the Civil War" but claims that the North is "insistent on pushing their view" today. First, I would argue that attempting to correct the views of pro-Confederate historical revisionists who attempt to downplay the role that slavery played in motivating secession is less "pushing one's view" than "maintaining the accuracy of the historical record." Second, for most of the post-bellum period, the South has LITERALLY STILL BEEN FIGHTING THE CIVIL WAR. This began with concerted low-level campaigns of terrorist violence for nearly a century after the end of Reconstruction and later morphed into the "massive resistance" to Civil Rights legislation and desegregation.
Second, while he acknowledges that southern military leaders were highly supportive of slavery (and doesn't, as far as I can tell, argue that slavery was not the main motivating factor for secession), he argues that most rank and file southern soldiers were motivated by other factors, since only the elites were slaveowners in the antebellum South.
While this is certainly the case, people don't generally engage in this sort of celebration for other extremely questionable causes on this basis. Many soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army were probably swell guys and just fighting out of a sense of nationalism but Japan isn't having a remebrance month for the Tojo regime. Hell, most of the fighters in Joseph Kony's murderous LRA are just abducted child soldiers but I don't think Uganda, the DRC, South Sudan, or the Central African Republic will be holding Lord's Resistance Army Day anytime soon or that their citizens will go driving around with LRA flags (if they had them) on their pickup trucks. And to be clear, McDonnell wasn't declaring "Confederate Soldier History Month" or "Civil War History Month," it was Confederate History Month.
(As an aside, as far as the motivation of rank and file soldiers throughout history goes, I think Debs pretty much nailed it in the Canton, Ohio speech:
The feudal barons of the Middle Ages...declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell.)
A few other points. As Dr. Farley asks, why does "Southern History" have to be about the four years in which the region waged a treasonous war in defense of slavery rather than the other 230 years of its existence? Further, why does it have to be about the group of people who fought against the United States Government and not say, the huge chunk of people (a majority in some states) that the rebels wished to keep enslaved or the areas or individuals that remained loyal to the country?
John closes with what I think is the weakest segment of his post:
The CIA refers to the fallout of reconstruction as 'blowback.' For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it is the result of concerted military/propaganda efforts to shift the cultural, political, or social leanings of a state. And blowback there has been. The reaction to reconstruction and further oppression was violent resistance that lasts to this very day. So yes Mr. CNN bigshot, much like our interference in Afghanistan during their war with the Soviets.
Blowback is usually used to refer to the unintended consequences of a covert action, not of reconstruction. He misuses the term here. First, there was certainly nothing covert about Lincoln et al.'s crushing of the rebellion. Second, blowback is generally something surprising or unforeseen (e.g. we didn't know that helping Ethiopia overthrow the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia would lead to the rise of the far worse Al-Shabab). The southern reaction to Reconstruction was completely foreseeable, which is why the Radical Republicans in Congress enacted such sweeping measures. The reason that southerners were able to "continue fighting" the war (as noted above) is because that Reconstruction program ended following the Compromise of 1877.
I don't wanna talk to a scientist...
I am in total agreement with Frosty and Awesome that the nuclear terrorism threat is way overblown. For more on this I recommend reading Mueller's Atomic Obsession and following Armchair Generalist, a defense policy analyst blogger who writes extensively on CBRN issues (it's a lot of fun to see him rant about some dumb politician hyping the latest existential threat everyday).
Awesome, in the linked post above, does a particularly good job of identifying long-term, pernicious socio-economic trends that should be particularly troubling to short-sighted US policymakers. That post got me thinking, though, about what are the biggest direct, pressing "hard security" threats facing the United States? Here's the DNI's list, and here's what I could come up with (in no particular order):
1. drug cartel violence in Mexico spilling over the border
2. homegrown terror groups with regular ass bombs and guns (either white nationalist, survivalist, or Islamists who may or may not have foreign connections)
3. foreign Islamist terrorists with regular ass bombs and guns
4. lone-wolf nut jobs with guns and either mental illness or ideological zeal
5. some kind of massive disruption to the flow of Middle Eastern oil (doesn't seem like we're going to transition our economy away from oil anytime soon)
6. getting bogged down in another long, grueling COIN war somewhere, like Yemen or Somalia (or looking ahead, the Niger Delta or Sudan or D-RoC)
7. dumb politicians (on either side) sparking an economic confrontation between the US & China that spirals into an arms race
Nothing nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological on this list. What do you think?
13 April 2010
So, I'm very sad to hear the following: "Last night a 7-alarm fire destroyed several buildings in NYC's Chinatown, leaving hundreds of residents homeless."
I'm hoping that they can find places for them soon, and I hope the area bounces back soon.