Archive | 9:43 pm

Barnett and Mann by Crooked Timber

23 May

is refereeing the Barnett-Mann fight, and looks on:

Barnett’s thesis isn’t crazy, but it isn’t obviously and necessarily right either. As I read it, if you want to go with Barnett, you are betting that greater wealth and external economic ties are going to lead to democratization in China. If you want to go with Mann, you are betting that economic growth isn’t necessarily relevant to democratization in China and that external economic ties only help cement democratization when they go hand-in-hand with direct or indirect forms of political pressure towards democracy. Neither of these arguments is obviously wrong to me. As Brad has argued previously, hostility to China may result in a self-fulfilling prophecy where China becomes alienated from the West precisely because Chinese leaders feel themselves to be untrusted and unloved. But it may also be that China hasn’t any real interest in becoming part of any established international democratic order either, and that a certain amount of distrust and hedging is warranted. I wouldn’t want to lay hard money on either side of this bet, but Barnett’s overblown attack on Mann doesn’t do much to persuade me that his side of the argument is right.

If there is any hope for China’s political democratization, it comes from Japan and South Korea, not the US, at least not directly.

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South Korean Hacks Set to Ruin Kimchi-Ness

23 May

. I’m not a ROK citizen, and I eat at least 10 to 15 kilos of homemade kimchi a year. The government might want some ridiculous scale to measure "kimchi-ness", but the sweat test suits me fine. But then, no kimchi from a store or restaurant compares to my mother-in-law’s, especially Gyeongsang kimchi which is generally sweeter than kimchis from other regions. And, if my wife makes kimchi, no one in the family can endure the fiery onslaught. But, this scale nonsense comes from the same college grads who concocted this bullshit:

“The power of kimchi is the power of peaceful, prosperous people who smile while working, instead of laughing at work. Because theirs is an ancient wisdom, Koreans have had an immense opportunity to note what is sound and what is likely to be of enduring value,” according to the AsiaInfo website.

I won’t even bother linking to that crap. But, I’ll share my kimchi.

(The rest of the article is informative, so read it for what ROK college grads didn’t write.)

The Shuffle

23 May

I’m just relieved timetables were excised from the Iraq spending bill.

But, I can foresee how Congressional Democrats will survive until 2008–by forcing President Bush’s veto just for election spin, and even as the extremists rally the troops, the moderates will form with the GOP moderates for a photo-op bill and enough rope to hang the Bush administration.

"Both sides are in a position where neither can do something without the other. That’s the reality," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

Even before the ink was dry on the spending deal, antiwar lawmakers expressed strong opposition. "There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). But Democrats vowed to continue their quest on other legislative vehicles. The big showdown will come in several months, when funding from the new bill expires and results from the U.S. troop buildup and the Iraqi benchmarks begin to materialize.

"This is another stage in the sequencing of ending this war," said Pelosi, who added that September will be "the moment of truth."

I can still hope good legislation might come of this dodge.

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