Monday, November 29, 2021

My brainstorm was blindsided, and grandfathered

"No way around it, all regime change policies bound to crash and burn" (Larison): 

"Downes identifies two mechanisms that cause these policies to go awry in many of the cases: military disintegration and what he calls the competing principals problem. Military disintegration happens when the intervening state succeeds in defeating the targeted state and causing its military to break apart. As a result, the targeted state’s military personnel disperse into the countryside where they often go on to form the core of an armed insurgency against the new government. This is the most direct way that regime change creates the conditions for later civil war, and cannot be avoided. Americans are all too familiar with the consequences of military disintegration following regime change, since this is what happened in both major post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Downes emphasizes that the disintegration had already occurred in Iraq even before Paul Bremer made his colossally stupid decision to disband the Iraqi army and interior ministry. Bremer’s decision further exacerbated a problem that the invasion and overthrow of the government had already created.

The competing principals problem presents itself when a new leader must act as the agent of two principals, the intervening government that props him up on one side and the population that he rules over on the other. Once regime change has happened and a new leader is installed to replace the old one, the new leader is forced to walk a tightrope between the two. The more that the new leader caters to the preferences of his people, the more he risks angering his patron, and the more that he serves the interests of the foreign patron, the more he puts himself in danger of being overthrown and possibly killed by his countrymen. Because it is very difficult to pull off this balancing act, Downes finds that new leaders following regime change are more likely to be removed by “irregular” means.

He observes that the weak states where regime change is easiest to achieve are the same states where such a policy is practically guaranteed to fail. Since these states are so weak, they don’t pose enough of a threat to make overthrowing the government useful in the first place. As Downes puts it, “The ‘benefits’ of regime change in most of these cases, I argue, are very low because the threats they seek to counter are so minor. Because the benefits are so meager, the potential costs of regime change loom large.” Furthermore, the costs are largely unavoidable: “the downsides of regime change are built into the enterprise itself and cannot be fully avoided by doing it better or smarter or with more resources.”

Given that its benefits are so few and its costs tend to be quite high, how is it that any governments keep choosing this option?"

Shekels (and fear of blackmail).  It is why all rational arguments fall on deaf ears.

"Joe Biden was involved in a deal with a Chinese giant — and was expecting a 10 percent cut" (Devine) (Jim is Brandon's brother):
"Bobulinski then headed across Santa Monica Boulevard to the Peninsula Hotel to meet Jim, who was sitting alone in a blue and white cabana by the rooftop pool on a glorious sunny day. 

For two hours he was regaled with Biden family folklore, going back to Joe’s first Senate election in Delaware in 1972, when Jim, then 23, dabbling in the nightclub business after dropping out of the University of Delaware, became his brother’s chief fundraiser. Jim filled him in on the efforts he and Hunter had made for CEFC the past two years, leveraging Joe’s name to advance the China Communist Party’s Belt and Road agenda around the world. 

As Jim talked, Bobulinski marveled at the political risk to Joe’s career if his family’s flagrant influence peddling during his vice presidency came to light. 

“How are you guys getting away with this?” he finally asked. “Aren’t you concerned that you’re going to put your brother’s [2020] presidential campaign at risk? You know, the Chinese, the stuff that you guys have been doing already in 2015 and 2016, around the world?” 

Jim chuckled and looked knowingly at Bobulinski. 

“Plausible deniability,” he said, using a term of art coined by the CIA during the Kennedy administration to describe the practice of keeping the president uninformed about illegal or unsavory activity so he can plausibly deny he knows anything if it becomes public knowledge. 
Bobulinski understood Jim meant that Joe knew what his family was doing in his name but was insulated from the dirty details. It was why Jim and Hunter had instructed Bobulinski the previous night to keep the business talk with Joe at a vague “high level.” 

Occasionally, they would let their guard down, but the family was “paranoid” about keeping Joe’s involvement quiet, Bobulinski would be told. He soon learned to decode the euphemisms related to Joe, which made him a dangerous foe three years later when he became so disgusted that he blew the whistle on the shady enterprise."
In case you think Canadians don't have enough to do:  "Words and phrases you may want to think twice about using" (Hwang):
"The prefix blind is often used in metaphorical terms like blindsided, blind spot and blind leading the blind, to describe the limitation of sight.

"I can see that being offensive to people who can't see," said Julie Cashman, a member of the disability community and co-chair of Consumer Action Committee, which advocates for individuals with disabilities. 

Using the term brainstorm could also be insensitive to those who have brain injuries or are neurodiverse, added Cashman."
A thread on the Jizz-laine procedings:
The Viva Frei stream, where the discussion with Robert Barnes on the Maxwell case starts around 1:25.  Barnes discusses the management of the case in order to keep the evidence from embarrassing powerful people.

From Anglin's weekly collection of memes: "This is just silly at this point".  'KF is Kiwi Farms, which is largely a site to make fun of early internet personalities, who tend to be mentally ill.  The posters are all very mean, but usually amusing.

Excellent yearly haul from Project Censored.
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