Dream of the Dragon

Tag: tricks of the trade

Obama should study Reagan

by Justin

Change and hope. Those words, the ones Americans so desperately wanted to hear in the oblivion of Bush’s second term, dominated Obama’s nearly immaculate campaign and became symbols of a new era. The timing of Obama’s ascendancy couldn’t have been better, really. The old guard had failed miserably at leading, American’s were disenchanted with the GOP and wanted a radical shift. By and large, you know. Democrats and liberals were, of course, going to dodge any Republican candidate. But Obama tapped into the independents and the more moderate republicans. Running a black candidate was a serious gamble, but that was the moment. And Obama seized the hell out of it. Then what happened?

Okay, so we go into his presidency with impossible expectations. Absolutely unrealistic. I wrote about this before, about the inevitable meeting of his idealism and the labyrinth of politics – how liberals should have seen it coming and should take his stumbles and compromises with a grain of salt. Read the rest of this entry »

Scratched Coin

by Justin

Even the sudden evidence that journalists can wield great power and exert great influence can’t change that I associate the word coin exclusively with Two Face. And that association lands somewhere between Arkham Asylum and Tommy Lee Jones.

I’m a little late in addressing the remarkable piece Michael Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone that achieved no less than the resignation/sacking of the chief director of the war in Afghanistan. President Obama appointed McChrystal barely a year ago to lead a calculated escape from the Afghanistan imbroglio – the revelation of insubordination and the firing of a four-star general should have placed Obama squarely in GOP cross-hairs.

But the man who literally wrote the book on counter-insurgency tactics (this is the COIN we hear so much about) stepped into more than fill McChrystal’s shoes. Upgrade time, really. And it may be that the firm move by Obama to remind the general of the relationship between civilian government and its military arm ends up showing some needed steel. Who knows, this debacle may change things for the better. That’s just politically, mind you, and just for Obama’s reputation in the immediate future. The Rolling Stone profile of General McChrystal resulted in not only a changing of the guard but a sudden, piercing spotlight on the entire counter-insurgency strategy.

That’s the exciting bit, really. Read the rest of this entry »

Poison Gets Palatable

by Justin

The focus of the Gulf spill damage has understandably been upon the crude drifting on the surface – it takes no expertise to recognize the dying marine life and the swells of copper and black floating along or lashing the shores. The effects are immediately visible and visceral to communities of both people and local wildlife.  Statistics are always useful in gauging the scale of disaster, but the photographs of Deepwater Horizon’s wake have been especially stirring. There’s no lack of material, but the Boston Globe’s website killed it yesterday with its Big Picture account of recent events. The copper tendrils are really quite beautiful, if ultimately terrible, in photos like the one below – more painting than ecological catastrophe. Please follow the link. It’s incredible work.

Unreal. The amazing revelation today in the NY Times, however, is that the poison ballooning onto the surface may have the opposite effect in the abyss below. Read the rest of this entry »