Archive

Archive for May, 2009

Re: Ron Paul on Pakistan

May 25th, 2009
Screw it? (AFP)

Screw it? (AFP)

In a recent column, Ron Paul argues for the complete and immediate withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and the cessation of all foreign aid to Pakistan:

The factions and politics of the Middle East are irrational and dangerous. We play with fire when we meddle in their affairs, and we isolate ourselves diplomatically by making more enemies than friends. We need to bring our troops home, end all foreign aid, and maintain a neutral stance on the world stage. It, in fact, is the only foreign policy we can afford right now, and it would gain us more friends and trading partners than our bombs ever could.
We tried his system through the 1990s until 2001. The result was the bombings of US embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, and New York and the Pentagon. Why would it be any different this time?

Staff Articles

Uh oh, conspiracy theory…

May 25th, 2009

timeFormer South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun died on Saturday after plunging off a cliff in an apparent suicide.  As everyone knows, last Saturday was also the 391st anniversary of the Second Defenestration of Prague, in which Protestant officials tossed two Catholic officials out from a window and helped start the Thirty Years’ War. Consider also the alleged suicide of the Czech politician Jan Masaryk in 1948.

From Wikipedia:

On March 10, 1948 Masaryk was found dead, dressed in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial ‘investigation’ stated that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although for a long time it has been believed by some that he may have been murdered by the nascent Communist government.

Staff Articles

Memorial Day

May 25th, 2009

Special Guest: James Fallows of “The Atlantic”

May 21st, 2009
James Fallows, National Correspondent at The Atlantic (Photo: The Atlantic)

James Fallows, National Correspondent for "The Atlantic" (Photo: The Atlantic)

Today Bellum is pleased to bring you exclusive commentary from James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic.  Mr. Fallows has written for the publication for more than 25 years and his work has appeared widely in such outlets as Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and The American Prospect.  Before his career in journalism, Fallows, a Rhodes scholar, served as President Carter’s chief speechwriter as the youngest person ever to hold that position.  It was a privilege to gauge Mr. Fallows’ outlook for the near-term future of geopolitics across an array of topics:

Staff Q&A

New Commander in Afghanistan: A Risk-Taker?

May 15th, 2009
The aftermath of Eagle Claw (Airman, April 2001)

The aftermath of Eagle Claw (Airman, April 2001)

The mainstream media is abuzz with chatter over Secretary Gates’ decision to place Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal in command of US forces in Afghanistan. See McChrystal’s work history here and the biosketch of the incumbent commander, Gen. David McKiernan, here. SWJ has posted an interesting essay entitled “The Pope,” by Dalton Fury, about his experiences with McChrystal.

This excerpt below caught our eye. Essentially, McChrystal wouldn’t have aborted Operation Eagle Claw, the failed 1980 attempt to rescue the Americans held in our embassy in Tehran. (Click here for Mark Bowden’s piece on the subject.):

Staff Articles

Tick Tock on the Tamils…

May 13th, 2009

tamils1The slow grinding away of Tamil Tiger territory continues in Sri Lanka. This update to past analysis here and here comes amid Anglo-American pleas to “end hostilities immediately,” claims that the government artillery bombardment killed 50 civilians in a hospital and Colombo’s denial, Human Rights Watch’s declaration that both sides use civilians as “cannon fodder,” Time Magazine’s headline that President Obama is “failing” this South Asian test, and worldwide demonstrations by Tamil supporters.

Staff Articles

Guests: Steven Pressfield, Steven Saylor

May 13th, 2009
The Two Stevens

The Two Stevens

The following article was published originally in the flagship paper, Volume 40, Issue 9. We reprint it here for wider distribution.

Steven Pressfield is the bestselling author of Gates of Fire, hailed by critics as an “epic of man and war.” He is a prolific author, having published eight books including the just-released Killing Rommel, set not in ancient times but in the deserts of North Africa, and is also a veteran of the Marine Corps.

Tristan Abbey Q&A

Chinese Trade and Systemic Risk

May 12th, 2009
Chinese exports continue falling (Telegraph)

Chinese exports continue falling (Telegraph)

Some have, no doubt, wondered why Bellum, a blog ostensibly focusing on war, has at times ventured into economic territory. The easy answer is because Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has described the global financial crisis as the “primary near-term security concern” facing the country. The other answer is that, at many levels, economics and security are about as intertwined as are science and technology.

Scott Palter Articles

Mafia on the Rise or on the Run?

May 10th, 2009
mafia

Mobster arrested last year by Italian police. (Marcello Paternostro/AFP/Getty)

Two themes have emerged from recent media coverage of organized crime. On the one hand, protests like those held in Naples two months ago and sweeping arrests are said to signal the decline of the Mob. On the other, the international financial crisis is said to present new opportunities for mafiosi to take advantage of credit-constrained conditions to seize control of businesses and gain ground against the law.

Scott Palter Articles

FLASHBACK: Special Guest: Richard Armitage

May 9th, 2009
Former No. 2 at the State Department Richard Armitage (AP/Lee Jin-man)

Former No. 2 at the State Department Richard Armitage (AP/Lee Jin-man)

We’ll be digging up some oldies but goodies from the archive in order to give the content wider distribution. The following Q&A excerpts ran on the Stanford Review’s flagship website in February 2008. Former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, who has returned to the media’s attention after saying waterboarding is torture, sat for an exclusive interview after a speech delivered on campus. Note in particular his insistence that US dependence on foreign oil can never be cured, his defense of the Bush administration’s efforts in Africa, and his comments on the need for national sacrifice in a global war.

Tristan Abbey Q&A