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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Media-Whore D'Ouevres



"The generation that came of age during World War II famously — and, in time, tragically — came to apply the formative lessons to every foreign-policy event that followed it. The generation that came of age during the Vietnam War, and then, more recently, the Iraq War, was imprinted with the opposite lessons. I’m not immune: My formative experience in college was the Gulf War and, soon after that, the eventual, successful interventions in the Balkans. (I have a cousin who is married to a Kosovar, whose husband was murdered by Serbian militants, and who was saved by the United States military.) The merits of intervening in Syria strike me as both a closer call and a lower-stakes matter than what we think of as 'major wars.' The apparently forthcoming operation has much more modest ends than the intervention in Libya, which I supported and that succeeded in its aim. We will not be toppling a brutal regime or preventing an imminent massacre. The purpose of air strikes is to impose a cost on regimes that deploy chemical weapons against civilians. Attacking the Syrian regime won’t stop all future massacres of civilians, or even all chemical attacks on civilians, but it does strike, on balance, as better than doing nothing at all. I’m continually struck by the ideological cleavage between myself and the Iraq War–vintage smart center-left writers, who generally agree with me on domestic policy but sharply diverge with me on foreign policy. Matthew Yglesias, for instance, regularly makes arguments against any kind of military intervention that impress other Iraq War–era neoliberals but strike me as insanely reductive. The arguments Yglesias poses today against a military strike against Syria eerily echo the arguments conservatives and libertarians make against any kind of domestic government intervention." (Jonathan Chait)


"John Kerry’s job is to make peace, but on Monday the nation’s top diplomat was the man tapped to issue the clarion call for an American strike on Syria. 'What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality,' Kerry said. 'The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.' In the first test of Obama’s second-term national security team’s stomach for war, gut-wrenching images of a chemical-weapons attack have turned even the least likely proponents for military action into a war council — or at least a limited-strike advisory group.  The hawk wing of Obama’s team — Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus — is long gone. They all lost the fight to get Obama to intercede on behalf of the Syrian rebels last year. But now their replacements are facing the harsh reality that sometimes America has little choice but to use its military. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, both shaped in part by their service in Vietnam and their later regrets about voting for the Iraq War, set a high bar for the use of force. 'I think we need to be cautious with our power,' Hagel said at his confirmation hearing in which he spoke of having seen the 'horror of war.' The shift in personnel mirrored the president’s own reluctance to engage in more wars. And it seemed to be working — until Assad forced his hand." (Politico)


"The (38th) Annual Hampton Classic always signifies the end to the summer in the Hamptons. Held in high regard by the horse community, famous for its celebrity sightings, and second to none in high end shopping boutiques, it earns its nickname The Classic. It is one of the most prestigious horse shows in the nation, and features competitors at every level from young children in 'Leadline' to Olympic veterans in the feature Event of the Classic, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix. This year, the Classic features six show rings, a 'Boutique Garden' with more than 70 high-end vendors, and an array of dining options. Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped in to show his support for the 'Taste NY' vendor stand and tasted some home-grown New York peaches. The world's best horses and riders, including Olympic medalists and other Grand Prix stars, head the list of entries in the 38th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show which opened on Sunday afternoon. Many of the world's best riders participate in the Hampton Classic.'" (NYSocialDiary)


"Miley Cyrus brought giant stuffed teddy bears and a foam finger to the VMAs this year. She stuck out her tongue indiscriminately, she slapped the asses of some anonymous black women, she stripped to her underwear and bent over in front of Robin Thicke, and we all pondered again this ancient transition from 'good girl' to pop vixen and wondered how we’re supposed to feel. What of this ephemeral existence—and why all the goddamn teddy bears? Initially, watching the video for 'We Can’t Stop,' I couldn’t decide if Miley was at all ironically self-aware; if she was conscious of the messages her reinvention was sending, of the way her studied makeover would make national news. This is our house, this is our rules, 20-year-old Miley sings, the grunge glam appeal of attractive teenagers destroying expensive things filling the screen behind her. And we can’t stop, and we won’t stop. She hasn’t: there was the haircut, then the twerking, and then this video, which was the fastest ever to be Vimeo certified, and now the VMAs. She adopts Jamaican patois briefly as she proclaims her right to this new image. We run things, things don’t run we, we don’t take nothin’ from nobody." (TheAwl) 

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