Friday, August 27, 2021

Dumping the Browser Tabs

Hey dear readers!

I honestly haven't been able to blog.

Right now I'm doing heavy prep work. My college starts its fall semester on Monday and I'm teaching six classes. I'm excited, but the prep is exhaustive, as my school is once again mostly online for fall, and the Canvas (online learning) system takes time to revise from semester to semester.

By the end of this term (second week of December), I'll have taught almost two full years since the start of the lockdown in March of last year. More specifically, the spring term starts up in early February next year, so altogether, at that time, it'll be about 23 months since I've taught on campus.

Not only that, of course I've been glued to the TV in my remaining time this last few days, and of course I was completely glued to the set after the bombings yesterday at the airport. Things are so bad: It's astonishing what's happening, and events are moving so fast you shouldn't trust anyone claiming they know what's going to happen --- this weekend or years from now. 

So, I've have read a few articles I've been meaning to share. The old veteran blogger Jimmie Bise used to have a saying, something along the lines like "dumping the browser tab," as in my title to this post. Sometimes you read so many articles before you know it you've got a dozen tabs open, and that's too much to blog! You've gotta dump 'em! (And I see that Jimmie's doing very well, has published a recent book, and is interviewed at this podcast). Good for him!

At any rate, a few of my tabs:

At YouGov, "Americans who think the withdrawal from Afghanistan went poorly blame Biden." 

If his numbers are crashing now, it's going to be like a rockslide down Mt. Whitney before too long. Again, you can't predict the future. The best I can say is it's going to be a rough few years ahead, and I'd be surprised if the Democrats can hold on to their congressional majorities in next year's midterm elections (and if G.O.P. candidates are prepping new attack ads following the news out of Afghanistan --- these dolts need to get new campaign managers. *Sheesh.*

Also, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K)." 

This is a very good piece, and it's interesting because the New York Times is out with this today, "What Is the Islamic State Khorasan, a.k.a. ISIS-K?"

If you're not up on it, "IS-K" is definitely the preferable term. Note that "ISIS" stands for the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," but the group dominated that part of the world way back in 2014 --- almost eight years ago --- and since then they were completed routed by the Trump administration --- and if it weren't for the debacle in Afghanistan they'd still be long forgotten. (Not by me, but almost all of the American public, of whom most are more concerned with domestic affairs --- like the economy --- than U.S. incursions in hotspots around the world. It's been that way a while, and political science research going back decades has established this point as fact. (But note this 2014 piece on the topic at the Washington Post . More, a 2015 Gallup Poll found that just 21 percent indicated that foreign policy was a top concern. See here and here, too, for more examples.)

In any case, top analysts for a while have preferred simply the "Islamic State." The goal of this organization, perhaps the most violent, merciless, and indiscriminate terrorist group in the world, is a global caliphate. That is, the group's interpretation of Islam is totalitarian, in more ways than one, but especially in that its ideology calls for Muslim domination of the entire world. All non-believers would be placed under the yoke of extremist Islamic rule, and no one would be safe --- frankly, I hesitate to say it, but if such a thing were to ever to come about, it's not out of the realm of the possible that Islamic jihad could murder more innocent people than the Nazis during WWII.

Finally, read this great piece from Henry Kissinger, who at 98 years remains one of the most important international relations scholars ever. See, "The future of American powerHenry Kissinger on why America failed in Afghanistan."

That's all for now. Thanks for reading and check back soon for further updates.