Archive for May, 2008

Links gone wild!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Talking to our global enemies, as Barack Obama has indicated he will do, is a fine and noble idea. But as this essay points out, it’s an idea doomed to fail, at least in the case of Iran. The problem, the author explains, is that Iran’s leaders, nearly three decades after seizing power, still consider themselves to be revolutionaries — and as such, they bring zeal, not practicality, to the negotiating table (if they come to the table at all). As the essay notes: “The reason [talks would surely fail] is that Iran is gripped by a typical crisis of identity that afflicts most nations that pass through a revolutionary experience. The Islamic Republic does not know how to behave: as a nation-state, or as the embodiment of a revolution with universal messianic pretensions. Is it a country or a cause?” It’s an important difference, because countries regularly make concessions in order to get concessions. A cause, however, gives no quarter.

If you’re a Democrat, or someone with no political identity beyond a generalized loathing of Republicans, you’ll love this piece from the recent New Yorker. It makes the compelling case that conservatism as a movement has exhausted itself, largely because it always worked better as a force of opposition rather than as a ruling party. With Democrats now the ascendant political organization, the GOP is headed for a long period in the wilderness. But don’t exult too quickly: The article finishes by noting that John McCain is the sole Republican who could buck that inexorable tide.

I’ll finish today with a pop quiz. What does this site do that Words Assembled Well used to do, but no longer does? The first person to answer correctly wins a Yankee dime.