Four articles worth a gander

The New York Times Sunday Magazine had a fascinating article outlining the arguments surrounding national healthcare provision.

The London Review of Books have an illuminating article on the problems with strategic planning in Afghanistan. How’s this for a great bit of prose:

‘All these attitudes are aspects of a single worldview and create an almost irresistible illusion.

It conjures nightmares of ‘failed states’ and ‘global extremism’, offers the remedies of ‘state-building’ and ‘counter-insurgency’, and promises a final dream of ‘legitimate, accountable governance’. The path is broad enough to include Scandinavian humanitarians and American special forces; general enough to be applied to Botswana as easily as to Afghanistan; sinuous and sophisticated enough to draw in policymakers; suggestive enough of crude moral imperatives to attract the Daily Mail; and almost too abstract to be defined or refuted. It papers over the weakness of the international community: our lack of knowledge, power and legitimacy. It conceals the conflicts between our interests: between giving aid to Afghans and killing terrorists. It assumes that Afghanistan is predictable’

The World Today (think tank Chatham House’s mag) has a great piece on ‘the monumental miscalculation’ of the Iranian Regime resulting from an ‘intoxication with power’. Provides background info. from a foreign policy professor and isn’t dry.

Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, as facebook fans will know (I linked to this there days ago), has written a marvellous article about New Labour and how, like the fruit of the medlar tree, Gordon Brown went rotten before he was ripe.

Become a facebook fan, you’ll see these articles sooner …

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2 Responses to “Four articles worth a gander”

  1. davide Says:

    I’m working through the Afghanistan one. It’s an interesting take. I had always been of the assumption that Afghanistan would have been a success were it nor for Iraq. The US diverted its resources there from Afghanistan thus leaving the Taliban an opening. And the success of the Iraqi resistance in handicapping the Americans helped spur on the resistance in Afghanistan.

    I wonder what increasing development aid would due to help Afghanistan, as the word on the street is that much of the aid money is being embezzled by the corrupt government.

    I think that the international community would be better served by using their aid to set up a commission that provides financing for Afghan presidential candidates. That way the challengers to Hamid Karzai would be able to finally compete with his wealth and tribal contacts.


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