Thursday 20 April 2017

Links 20/4/17


On the double-bind of claiming moral superiority for bombing Syria but also turning away Syrian refugees. And Lawfare on the difficulty of justifying intervention morally when they can't be justified legally: 
Here lies the problem with these types of moral-based use of force decisions: they are inherently subjective and, consequently, easily abused. For example, why is there an obligation to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria but not to stop the daily atrocities committed in North Korean work camps? When does the moral responsibility that justified an intervention end? Why do certain states have a moral imperative to act while others do not? This lack of clarity empowers states to make these determinations unilaterally and results in divergent views on the appropriate use of force. Even more dangerously, this ambiguity allows a state with nationalistic goals to act with aggression under the pretext of a moral obligation. 
Lawfare: The Problem of Morally Justifying the United States Strike in Syria, April 11, 2017

Russia isn't going to break with Assad: "Assad’s survival has become the measure of Putin’s influence.", but Russia is trying to figure out what President Trump's doctrine is (which may be hard to do).

Iran's role in Syria.

This is an odd connection to make - between Sean Spicer's comment that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons against his own people (therey playing right into the heinous part of Nazi ideology where Jewish people, and people with differing political opinions, and gay men, weren't truly German) - but gay men are being imprisoned, tortured and killed in Chechnya, and one of the reactions to deny this on part of the Chechnyan authorities was to say that “if there were any gay people in the region, they would have been dealt with by their own relatives.” In short, this is how the logic works: Chechnyan's aren't gay, so no gay people are being imprisoned, tortured and killed. It also made me think of what Jacob Clifton has written about The Handmaid's Tale - how it is about what happens when someone claims someone else's body as theirs (and this idea doesn't just apply to imprisoning, torturing and killing, it's the same with denying reproductive healthcare to women, and arguing that LGBTQI people shouldn't be allowed to get married).

Human rights after Hitler

In a time where there's a lot of focus placed on North Korea, here's an investigation into the idea that North Korea's provocations are the actions of a rational actor and why that may be. 

After a short conversation with the Chinese President, President Trump changed his view of the complexicty of North Korea situation (and also committed a light diplomatic plunder when he claimed that Korea had been "actually part of China").

The guy who founded The shady Armed Security Firm Formerly Known As Blackwater is helping China to build a modern Silk Road

I really enjoyed reading this long article about how difficult it would be legally to undo all of the environmental protection progress that was made during the Obama presidency.

A profile of Kirsten Gillibrand and what Democratic opposition may look like in the next four years. 

Pop Culture: 

A couple of months ago I reposted an article about Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi's attempt to reinvent fast food (as a reaction to the fact that fast food is often the only choice in economically deprived neighbourhoods). This is a status report of how they're going with Locol (I particularly enjoyed this for a very honest portrayal of a near-failure, and that the article doesn't glance over the fact that Patterson is an outsider with a lot of privilege).

How to trick people into saving money.

In addition to the shows I mentioned last time, Line of Duty is having a pretty good fourth season (shh, I'm rooting for Roz in this one), Pretty Little Liars is back for the second half of its final season, and Better Call Saul is slow-burning in its fantastic way again.

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