Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Mattered This Week?

Hmmm...let me think...did NPR cutting loose a replacement-level pundit matter?  Uh, I suspect that regular readers know what I think about that.  So, what do we have?  I'm going to just go with an obvious one: elections are important, and an awful lot of people voted this week.  Face it: that's the thing about this item, that often what really mattered is going to be the obvious.  But I'm sure there were plenty of other things.  So, what do you think?


  1. It happened late in the week and falls largely outside the bounds of the 2010 cycle, but the Wikileaks Iraq war logs doc dump is a huge, huge deal--or at least it will be in the end. Americans have pretty much stopped thinking about Iraq, unfortunately, so it isn't going to have much of an effect on American politics (arguably even less so than the Afghanistan documents), or at least that would be my guess.

    But analysts are going to be poring over these documents for many, many years, and they will probably contribute to us ending up with a better understanding of the Iraq War than any other war in history (along with future document releases, some of which will take decades).

    The doc dump is also going to prove a headache for the Obama administration--in terms of its Mideast policy--and for the current government in Iraq (might get annoying for the U.K. governing coalition as well, and maybe even for Iran). Americans might not care that much about what these documents tell us, but a lot of other people in the world will, and we can count on many Muslims in the Middle East being extremely outraged by the revelation that Americans stood by and let Iraqi security forces commit grave human rights violations. It brings Abu Ghraib to mind again, which was probably one of the worst diplomatic disasters in American history.

    So I agree that early voting is what mattered in terms of U.S. electoral politics, but in the long run the Iraq war logs will prove far more important than a few million people going to the polls early.

  2. Hey, Fox spending a couple mill picking up Williams matters. It means less money available for the next right-wing criminal who wants to become a pundit a la North and Liddy, so you should expect a marginal decrease in law-breaking on the right.

  3. Lord no, Juan Williams doesn't matter in the slightest. The big news this week was Wednesday's formal announcement of the new British government's "Comprehensive Spending Review," the clearest-cut, most dramatic experiment in using austerity to boost a struggling economy undertaken by a major Western government since the 1930s. When it fails miserably, causing turmoil in the UK, bringing down the ruling Coalition and probably destroying the Liberal Democratic party, it's going to become a cautionary tale on a par with Japan's lost decade and FDR's 1937 reversal on balanced budgets -- i.e. it will still be looked back on decades hence, in America and elsewhere, as a vivid demonstration of how not to make economic policy.

  4. Ah, the comment above from Geoff (no relation!) reminds me of something else about the UK spending review: It includes defence [sic] cuts that come close to withdrawing Britain completely from future military engagements abroad. Besides marking the final end of the British Empire, this is going to make it much harder for American presidents to gin up claims that some future U.S. military action is the legitimate work of an "international coalition."

  5. French protests and the French Senate vote?

    Not sure it's huge. But, along with Jeff's comments, it's a move towards a different kind of Europe.

  6. The only thing that mattered is that the Giants won the pennant


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