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Another trend that has sapped Congress’ influence is the decline of congressional expertise on foreign policy and national security. Simply put, legislators used to know more about foreign policy than they do now. Greater expertise strengthened Congress’ formal and visible role, since committees could engage in greater oversight of the executive branch. Expertise also reinforced Congress’ invisible means of constraining presidential power. Presidents had to think about how a seasoned committee chair or member would assess a policy. During his initial escalation of the Vietnam War, for example, President Lyndon Johnson was careful to maintain the support of powerful committee chairs, such as Senator J. William Fulbright, who led the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1959 to 1974. Fulbright shepherded the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution through the Senate in 1964, but two years later, his probative hearings helped shift public opinion against the war.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2018-08-13/unconstrained-presidency?cid=soc-tw&pgtype=hpg

I haven’t been writing my own pieces much as of late so I’ve decided to make a more concerted effort to write original thoughts and posts in the future.

 

That being said lets discuss the current happenings on the geopolitical stage. The US along with allies France and Great Britain decided on punitive action via surgical strike against the forces of Bashar al-Assad in response to a chemical attack that took place there. Many took to social media to either show their clear enjoyment with the proceedings particular the news media who thrive off this sort of coverage. Others seemed to have this hyperbolic reaction which appears so common place in today’s political discourse where things must be taken to an extreme length. And there were those that condemned the attack either due to principles or more self serving motivations for not supporting such endeavors. I will try to address all the different viewpoints.

Firstly nothing in the past 24 hours has suggested that the conflict will as of yet escalate to world war or even simply war proportions as of yet. No leader has suggested the utilization of ground forces or that the air strikes will be continuous so long as Assad doesn’t further employ the use of chemical weaponry. Therefore I feel that calls for world war three are simple hyperbole. In today’s discourse everything is a call back to some momentous historical event. Everything is the next civil rights movement or everything is the next prelude to a new world war. This is utter nonsense and illogical. Moreover the strikes carry minimal risk due to advanced weaponry and the knowledge that Russia and Iran won’t counter in direct action because 1. they can’t and 2. it would be foolish.

I have much more sympathy for those who question such action because of their principles either they are against armed conflict under most circumstances or they simply want more information on the planned military actions before they occur. I empathize with both since governments are known to practice withholding information from the public. I too believe that governments should be more transparent on these matters. However if the action is limited, the evidence is clear, and the conflict is not escalated then I feel that the actions are perfectly reasonable and can be supported.

Here are some figures from the strike: US Tomahawk launch count: Cruiser Monterey: 30 Destroyer Laboon: 7 Destroyer Higgins: 23 Submarine John Warner: 6 Additionally: JASSMs launched by B1B bombers. Missiles additionally launched from French Frigate Aquitaine, French Jets and UK Jets. Syrian forces fired close to 40 counter missiles but did so in an ineffective and ineffective manner.

This survey is just the latest exhibit in a mounting case that suggests students have been presented with a warped view of the tradeoffs associated with unfettered free expression. Inclusivity is not in conflict with free speech. Whoever taught these students that these two phenomena were contradictory did them and the nation a terrible disservice.

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/culture-civilization/education/kids-arent-alright-adults-problem/

Around the same time, a New York University psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, was formulating a theory about why liberals and conservatives have such a hard time productively conversing.

After mucking around in a lot of survey data, he came up with this basic idea: Liberals and people of the left underpin their politics with moral concerns about harm and fairness; they are driven by the imperative to help the vulnerable and see justice done. Conservatives and people of the right value these things as well but have several additional moral touchstones — loyalty, respect and sanctity. They value in-group solidarity, deference to authority, and the protection of purity in mind and body. To liberals, those sincerely held values can look a lot like, in Dr. Haidt’s words, “xenophobia, authoritarianism and Puritanism.” This asymmetry is the fountainhead of mutual incomprehension and disdain.

What’s failing, exactly? I wonder if, like intel agencies pre-9/11, mass shooting threats are lumped in to a vastly broader pool, responsibility spread across many agencies federal and local, so no single force is in charge, dedicated to spotting them. Dedicated local task forces like the ones described here strike me as having a great deal of potential. We should be thinking and talking about them more.
There is, to my knowledge, no dedicated national law enforcement + criminologist group specifically looking for potential infamy shooters, for institutional holes that might impede finding them, or trying to educate local officials on warning signs. This may also offer a way to think more clearly about security reforms and the like — Not arming teachers or lightly trained, bored rent-a-cops, but increasing both random and occasionally intel-based patrols by trained police who are specifically there to deter shooters.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/964614619523362816.html

Who Was James Madison?

February 21, 2018 — Leave a comment