‘Just how broken a bureaucracy is,’ someone told me once, ‘can be gauged from how quickly can they take a trivial problem and turn it into an intractable one.’ Walk up to an agency with a cure for cancer and they will throw every obstacle in your path because they don’t have enough bureaucrats trained to regulate the new technology. So when the Australian Labor government was criticized for letting in too many undesirable migrants from the Middle East the predictable result was the denial of asylum to two Egyptians seeking to avoid a fatwa for converting to Christianity. It all makes sense in a twisted kind of way.
Caroline Glick’s article on the foreign policy implications of Angelo Codevilla’s essay on America’s Ruling Class comes as Niall Ferguson is touring Australia warning that the end of American dominance may be imminent and sudden. Somehow the ideas in Codevilla’s essay are popping up everywhere, whether people have read it or not. Ferguson describes how rapidly empires can fall.
CBS News reports that Times of London reporters “scanning the [Wikileaks] reports for just a couple hours found hundreds of Afghan names mentioned as aiding the U.S.-led war effort.”
One specific example cited by the paper is a report on an interview conducted by military officers of a potential Taliban defector. The militant is named, along with his father and the village in which they live.
The news came as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange expressed fears he could be arrested. The Telegraph says he “has been warned by ‘inside sources in the White House’ not to return to the US as he could be arrested.”
The New Republic has a special section on Afghanistan in which “Nine Eminent Intellectuals, Analysts, and War Reporters—From Steve Coll to Leon Wieseltier—Debate the Way Forward”. The good news is the nine POVs are well written; the bad news is that there are nine of them, all in disagreement to some respect. The articles are behind a firewall, but the main points can be summarized clearly.
The Christian Science Monitor explores the issue of whether something produced entirely by aggregation should become secret and whether the Washington Post, by bringing together disparate pieces in a story detailing the top secret world of America, may have produced in its survey a review that is more than the sum of the parts. The Monitor writes:
Ross Douthat argues that Angelo de Codevilla‘s argument about the existence of an American ruling class trying to impose its will on the people is overdrawn. The ‘overclass’, he argues, is on closer inspection not there. And if even it were, it is by no means monolithic in its views. So how can a group itself divided be a conspiracy? Douthat takes the issues of free trade and small government as an example of how ‘left’ can somehow think ‘right’.
What Reuters called a “division and tension between black and white Americans” is shown by Steve Sailer’s analysis of the President’s approval ratings to primarily be a falling away of white and hispanic support. Sailer notes:
Black support for the black President remains almost rock solid, standing at 89 percent through the week ending July 11, 2010—slightly higher than in his first week in office.
But Obama’s approval rating among whites is now only 38 percent—51 points below the black level. The white approval rating has fallen 25 points since January 2009.
The public policy arena can be compared to a grand opera house, whose foundations were laid in turmoil, and which despite the magnificence of the Grand Staircase and Grand Foyer is reputed to contain numerous secret passages and dank cellars. Two of the chambers marked “do not enter” are the Hall of Race and the Chamber of Journalistic Collusion respectively. This week the patrons of the opera, unsettled by the changing times, have taken a turning into these dark chambers. Now they’re there what is going to happen next?
You can read it as tragedy or as farce but read the New York Times blogger John Harwood’s post on “Mystery for White House: Where Did the Jobs Go?” Harwood writes, “the whodunit has flummoxed economists in both parties for a year.” And the captains of the ship of state are no nearer to a solution to this mystery. The article says:
Seeing Michael Totten on the PJ Media Express blog line-up makes me feel like I’m in good company. Yet it also carries with it a realization of how much the weblog scene has changed since it sprang on the scene in the first days of the 21st century. Back then everything was amorphous; and everybody was a dog: that is just a name and not even a face. Everyone was an unknown writer — even to themselves. Very few of those who’ve gone forward since then could have anticipated his place in a landscape whose topography was still being created. In 2003, when the Belmont Club began on Blogspot, it was one of several ten of thousands of similar weblogs. Neither PJ Media nor the Huffington Post existed. A time-traveler going back as little as seven years would find that a lot has changed since then.