Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Summit


Today's summit with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan opens against the backdrop of precarious situations in both countries. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda have made significant gains in Pakistan by offering two staples of insurgencies since time immemorial: Land reform and education. The approach to land reform is brutal but effective. In the Swat province,
accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said...

Each time the landlords fled, their tenants were rewarded. They were encouraged to cut down the orchard trees and sell the wood for their own profit, the former residents said. Or they were told to pay the rent to the Taliban instead of their now absentee bosses...
The education offered in Al-Qaeda madrasas amounts to little more than memorizing the Koran and teaching reactionary interpretations of Islam such as the one banning conversation between men and women. The madrasas estatablish a climate in which students can be easily radicalized, and they have no trouble drawing pupils because of Pakistan's traditional disinterest in public education.

President Obama plans to pressure Pakistan to take more aggressive steps in opposing the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. He may make future aid to Pakistan conditional, which Pakistan opposes and Congress may require...

As far as Afghanistan goes, the Administration is distancing itself from President Hamid Karzai in the belief that successful policy there must recognize decentralization of control...

Apropos of yesterday's post, Leslie Savan of The Nation explores the appeal of the Republican Party to its diehards. Savan concludes that a combination of racial fear and a commitment to what the diehards view as a noble Lost Cause keeps the engine running, if mostly in reverse:
At some point the vaunted Republican noise machine stopped being about winning elections and became instead a feckless attempt at mass justification, popping out one lame excuse after another for the party's failures. And it was a short leap from there to simply hitting rewind on the rightwing's longtime romance with a Lost Cause. Like Southerners still waving the stars'n'bars 150 years after Appomattox, or Col. Custer blithely riding up that coulee into an overwhelming force of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, today's Repub diehards will go to their graves muttering about the fascist-socialist-gun-snatching tyranny of Barack Osama, convincing themselves sotto voce that, by fighting for a lower tax-rate for the extremely wealthy, they're the true descendants of the American Revolution...

Time to get a bigger nest (yet another marvelous egret photo at New Orleans Daily Snap)...

Our Lady of Good Counsel...

Jerry Crasnick explains the importance of plate discipline (as in baseball, not dieting)...

The Republican Women of Clifton, VA sure are a bunch of classy dames...

4 comments:

ZenYenta said...

The Republican Women of Clifton reveal themselves to be rather nasty racists. What a shock!

Agi said...

All's well in Whackistan.

Rastamick61 said...

Can Obama put his own puppet in Kabul now that the oil lobbyist and Bush flunkie Karzai has proven himself as inept as W ? Those repub women of Clifton, what a bunch of hooters, I mean what a hoot huh ? Isn't it great to hear their anxiety about having to pay their fair share ? What a bunch of racist hags anyway probably all married to corporate welfare recipients glued to the public teat !

Ima Wizer said...

Where the frick is Clifton? Do they only have vanilla ice cream there, with cherries on top???? Huh?