Syria Around the Blogosphere

New Yorker in DC and I are having a cross-blog conversation. See Barnett v. Cole on Iranian Involvement in Anti-Iraqi Terrorism here at tdaxp and A defeat for the Iraqi Constitution is a victory for Iraq over at Nykrindc. For a taste:

tdaxp @ tdaxp

Appeasement of the “Arab street” was chucked pretty early in the GWOT. And happily, the “Arab Street” doesn’t exist anyway, the cries of State/CIA Orientalists notwithstanding…

nykrindc @ nykrindc

I would question the morality of a government that went into a country to replace a brutal dictator only to cut and run when things got too hot. Leaving us not only less secure, but also leaving the Iraqi people worse off than they were before (the DRC, Somalia being some of the most important examples).

Elsewhere, Syria Comment looks at regime change (or not) while Dawn’s Early Light sees Syria cornered.

What is regime change, anyway? Or encirclement?

No Roadblocks in Palestine Under Israeli Administration

A History of Violence: How did the Palestinians descend into barbarism?,” by Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 22 October 2005, (from Larwyn).

Only since Arafat’s occupation:

Many explanations have been given to account for the almost matchless barbarism into which Palestinian society has descended in recent years. One is the effect of Israeli occupation and all that has, in recent years, gone with it: the checkpoints, the closures, the petty harassments, the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders. I witnessed much of this personally when I lived in Israel, and there can be no discounting the embittering effect that a weeks-long, 18-hour daily military curfew has on the ordinary Palestinians living under it.

Yet the checkpoints and curfews are not gratuitous acts of unkindness by Israel, nor are they artifacts of occupation. On the contrary, in the years when Israel was in full control of the territories there were no checkpoints or curfews, and Palestinians could move freely (and find employment) throughout the country. It was only with the start of the peace process in 1993 and the creation of autonomous Palestinian areas under the control of the late Yasser Arafat that terrorism became a commonplace fact of Israeli life. And it was only then that the checkpoints went up and the clampdowns began in earnest.


The Oslo Peace Accords. The Oslo Pro-War Accords. Bad ideas then. Bad ideas now.

Marxism-Barnettism (TPBM’s Marxist Roots)

The Pentagon’s New Map,” by Thomas Barnett, Esquire, March 2003,

Immanuel Wallerstein,” Wikipedia, last updated 20 October 2005,

When I first heard Dr. Barnett I immediately remembered the very Leftist A Short History of the Future, which described states struggling to enter the Core. Fortunately, Prof’s seminar on Marxism clarified some things for me (as well as giving me some interesting ideas!)

Barnett and Wallerstein: Seperated At Birth?

Compare, the Karl Marxism-Wallersteinism

The capitalist world-system is, however, far from homogeneous in cultural, political, and economical terms–instead characterised by fundamental differences in civilizational development, accumulation of political power and capital. Contrary to affirmative theories of modernization and capitalism, Wallerstein does not conceive of these differences as mere residues or irregularities that can and will be overcome as the system as a whole evolves. Much more, a lasting division of the world in core, semi-periphery and periphery is an inherent feature of the world-system. Areas which have so far remained outside the reach of the world-system, enter it at the stage of periphery. There is a fundamental and institutionally stabilized division of labour between core and periphery: While the core has a high level of technological development and manufactures complex products, the role of the periphery is to supply raw materials, agricultural products and cheap labour for the expanding agents of the core. Economic exchange between core and periphery takes places on unequal terms: The periphery is forced to sell its products at low prices, but has to buy the core’s products at comparatively high prices, an unequal state which, once established, tends to stabilize itself due to inherent, quasi-deterministic constraints. The statuses of core and periphery are not, however, mutually exclusive and fixed to certain geographic areas; instead, they are relative to each other and shifting: There is a zone called semi-periphery, which acts as a periphery to the core, and a core to the periphery. At the end of the 20th century, this zone would comprise, e.g., Eastern Europe, China, Brazil. As Naomi Klein has recently demonstrated with the example of “sweat shops” in developed countries, peripheral, semi-peripheral and core zones can also co-exist very closely in the same geographic area.

with the Adam Smithism-Barnettism

But just as important as “getting them where they live” is stopping the ability of these terrorist networks to access the Core via the “seam states” that lie along the Gap’s bloody boundaries. It is along this seam that the Core will seek to suppress bad things coming out of the Gap. Which are some of these classic seam states? Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia come readily to mind. But the U.S. will not be the only Core state working this issue. For example, Russia has its own war on terrorism in the Caucasus, China is working its western border with more vigor, and Australia was recently energized (or was it cowed?) by the Bali bombing.

And the similarities don’t end there… Dr. Thomas Barnett and Dr. Immanuel Wallerstein publish electronically!


Two World-System Thinkers

Courts and International Justice

Courts and International Justice
– big expansion of international courts since ’93 (ICTY in 93, ICTR for 94, ICC more recently, plus mixed courts, plus Iraqi courts)
– international criminal courts tries individuals, not states
– “adjudication linked to international norms”

Expectations of International Criminal Courts
– deter atrocities in the future
– catharsis (look at dramatic history — how was catharsis created in Greece? trials? doesn’t the tragedy create its own catharsis?) (student piont: for victims or the West?)
– punish (exact justice)
– information gathering
– further develop Law (but why should Law be developed? as an end in itself?!?)
– Peace (no justice, no peace as descriptive… but justice not part of liberal tripod, so if this isn’t Realist or Liberal, is this just a constructivist argument?)

but — in South Africa, Guatemala, and El Salvador, Truth commissions operated instead of Courts
– Sierra Leon has both a Truth commission and a UN/local hybrid court system

Big Cheese: “There have been clarifications of international law come out of the ICTY and ICTY”

BC: Some “have said genocide is driven by such irrational beliefs, international courts may be ineffective deterence”
my thought: or is it that international law just is so weak?

BC: It is clear that some leaders, during peacetime, do worry about international law. But that doesn’t mean that a Rumsfeld won’t authorize torture.

In Rwanda, “big fish” tried in ICTR with no death penalty, but lower-level guys are tried in Rwandan courts and can get the death penalty

These courts are Chapter VII — enforcement actions — so even when states ask for international courts, they can substantially reduce sovereignty.

BC: I would say I’m not sure it’s a bad idea to have these courts imposed on societies… It’s probably a good thing to impose an international regime on the Balkans, for shock value.

[Imperialism — the first controversial thing he’s said that I agree with 🙂 for you, Curzon, Younghusband, and Chirol ]

student Q: Is there a need for an International Bar Association, to help states that have destroyed legal systems?
— part of Barnett’s A-Z Ruleset for Processing Politically Bankrupt States

BC: ICTY “created for wrong reasons; created for political reasons”

international law as a battlespace /helping/ the West? just PR or entable Seam states?

Downsides of Courts
– overriding state sovereignty and national culture
– may impeed negotiations (so UNSC can vote to delay ICC proceedings for 1 year, renewable)

BC: In the Balkans, in the ’90s, Milosevic was both the arsonist and the fire-fighter
– similar to TPMB saying Iran has a veto in Iraq?

for ICC, there is no rule that requires any prosecution — all ICC prosecutions are political (same for Attornies General generally)

student comment: the fear of giving the alleged a platform leads down the dangerous road of state-sponsored disappearances

– typically defined by bilaterial treaties
– tax haven countries typically don’t have them
– a list of “common crimes” is defined, where both countries agree to extradite
– so-called “political crimes” typically aren’t included
– (this caused US/UK trouble when Northern Irish fled to Boston)
– typically, US wants confidence in that country’s justice system first
– however, some crimes (hijacking of airplanes) require extradition or trial by treaty
– in some cases there is a duty to cooperate with ICTY, ICTR, …

Alverez Marchein
– Mexican doctor helped keep DEA agent alive to torture him longer
– US paid bounty hunters to kidnap Marchein
– OOPS! wrong guy (hmmm…)

Regional International Law & Organization

US rationally calculates how much any given international or regional organization helps or harms it, especially economic

BC: You can’t have a Gramscian analysis without a discusison of economic ideals
– does this imply that we are trying to evolve international organizations?
– Why do analysts use Rationalism instead of Baynesianism?

Hagland: “Americans never make good realists”
– excludes European immigrants such as Kissinger
– big exception: Nixon
– “America is unable to resist the siren song of Crusading on behalf of ideals that besmirch rather than enoble the country’s geopolitical soul”
multilateralism as the “extension of American politics to the farther shores of two American oceans”
– while US attempts to act rationally, American belief in American divinely-given exceptionalism gets in the way… but more rationalism would make things fine
– Hagland: Nato “not a community of values,” but a security alliance (takes it to a “higher, but not more relevent, plane”) — (so does this imply not real international law?) — that is, NATO not pro-democracy but pro-US/Canada/UK/Germany/etc

random gripe: why do some American students refer to Americans as “them,” not “us”?

BC: “I would argue that it was not until 1981 that uniteralism would refurse with a vengence… and it was doctrinal unilateralism, not constrained by rationalism or whether we needed allies or not… During the Cold Wars we tied outselves to NATO”

Another good phrase: “Much of Europe represents a post-Westphalian governance”.. (or is it just Federal?)