Sunday, June 26, 2005

Pundita Sidebar Disclaimer

Publication of a link on Pundita's sidebar or mention/linking of a source in a Pundita essay does not mean I agree with the source's political/foreign policy views.

I do not have a familial, business or personal relationship with any of the people/websites listed on the sidebar.

The blogs/websites I feature on the sidebar are chosen because they closely track a particular world region/situation and I find them helpful (at least during the period I list them on sidebar) to understanding an aspect of US policy.

This means agendists are unavoidable; e.g., a blog named "Regime Change Iran" clearly has the agenda to replace the current government in Iran. Yet I find that agendists can be a good source for news that is otherwise hard for Americans to come by. The caveat is that I doubly apply the Grain of Salt rule when taking in news and views from people who clearly announce themselves as agendists.

Pundita's goal can been seen as twofold: to understand the major trends of this decade and determine what makes for good US foreign policy in this era. Of course both goals are entwined and reflect my empiricist view of data related to policy (versus a theoretical view). The sources I list on the sidebar should be seen within the context of the goals, which explains why I exclude from the sidebar many websites/blogspots I enjoy reading.

John Batchelor Program

Broadcasting since September 12, 2001.

Based in New York City (WABC radio), airs on many ABC radio stations throughout USA. Also available on Sirius and XM satellite radio stations. Show is three hours Monday-Friday nights.

The show airs four hours in WMAL region -- Greater Washington, DC region. Some or most of the fourth hour is aired during the regular three hour format, time permitting.

The show (or portions of it) is sometimes bumped by sportscasts; check WABC and WMAL sports schedules on local or WMAL/WABC websites. Also check website

The audience for John Batchelor's show is global. The show can also be heard via the internet via the WABC and WMAL websites; check the sites around the time of broadcast. See Batchelor's website for more information.

Revolutionary news format. First American news program to treat the United States as a superpower nation. First American news program to look at international news from a uniquely American perspective. First news program to integrate daily news coverage with 21st century issues--energy, space exploration, etc.

Witty, dramatic, and always fascinating presentation of the news. Brings back radio's Golden Age. Post-partisan* intelligence-based** news analysis and reporting. Unpacks background to major news events over days, months, and even years so that audience develops in-depth, coherent view of a particular world region/issue.

Analysis of US politics and European/other world region politics--Middle East, China, India, Former Soviet Union, African countries, etc. Reports regularly on State Department, White House, Congress, US intelligence agencies. Nightly in-depth reporting on war on terror. US history discussions, strong on US war history. Cultural trends. Discussions about new books on literary/historical figures.

The head of C-SPAN changed his schedule to make time to listen to John Batchelor and so have many Washington insiders and high-level government figures. During this fast-moving dangerous era, so should you.

* Post-partisan means Republicans and Democrats more-or-less equally get their blood pressure raised listening to the program over a period of a couple weeks.

** Intelligence-based means (a) the guest lineup can reflect guests with good sources in intellience agencies here and abroad, and (b) the show takes an empirical rather than agenda-based view of news.

The latter doesn't mean the show has no point of view (Batchelor is on the Hawkish side and strongly supports Israel); it means that Batchelor is more interested in getting the story straight than pushing his point of view. He is completely up front about his personal views on US foreign policy, which is more than can be said for any other broadcast (or major press) news media outlet in the USA.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Koreas Desk

(2005 - In order of publication)

May 28
All our tomorrows...

May 29
How to avoid a US military strike on North Korea

May 31
Pundita attempts to teach Global Village Math to mules in Washington

June 4
Heeeerrre lizard lizard lizard

June 7
China's lead in Six Party Talks: Putting fox in charge of chicken coop

June 12
Bush-Roh summit and Six Party Talks: the frank version

June 12
Tehran-Pyongyang Three Ring Circus

June 19
Honorable Rat Bastard

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

US-Russia Relations

I've written several essays concerning Russia since the last entry shown; I'll update the file as soon as possible. To find essays on Russia written since February, type "Russia" into the Google search engine at the top of Pundita's blog to bring up a list.

I'm often asked why I've written so much about Russia. Because the poor state of US-Russia relations is a textbook illustration of the US Department of State over-applying the Cold War NATOist mindset to foreign relations. Because Russia is a textbook illustration of problems faced by governments trying to transit to democracy. Because the distorted US press coverage of Russia and Putin's government during the past year are a textbook illustration of how a few elites and lobbying organizations can manipulate the major news media.

To understand something of present-day Russia and the mistakes of US policy regarding Russia is ward off many future policy mistakes with regard to a host of countries.

(In order of publication)

Dec 22, 2004
To the ramparts, fellow billionaires! Save Russian democracy!


Jan 27
Pundita stumbles across Meddlers, Inc., aka New Atlantic Initiative

Jan 28
The Plot Thickens: Putin takes on OPEC

Jan 29
Strike Up the Band! Yukos hired BKSH & Associates

Feb 01
Lost in Translation: President Putin's history lecture to President Bush

Feb 02
The Untouchables

Friday, June 03, 2005

Mission Statement, of sorts, for Pundita's Blog

In search of where we are now

Thursday, January 13
"I tried to figure out your political affiliation by reading your old posts. I gave up. Can you tell me which party you favor?
Caesar in San Francisco"

Dear Caesar:

From the long view, 9/11 was the post-Cold War era crashing in on the fantasy world that American political parties and the American news media had been living in since the end of the Soviet Empire. After 9/11 President Bush undertook the necessary task of re-coupling US foreign policy with US defense. But elements of US foreign policy are still wandering around in the mid- to late decades of the 20th Century. And when the bubble burst Americans didn't recognize the world outside our shores.

So this is not a partisan or even political situation. The situation is to find the 21st Century. That's what we do here in Pundita-land. Instead of slogging through bogs to watch rare birds or prowling forests to find wild mushrooms, we go in search of where we are now.

Building Liberty's Century Policy

Two very different views of the world The key debate between the Brussels school of foreign policy and President Bush's approach, which is not yet a school of policy.

"Is it do-able?" Pundita explains a characteristic of American-style thinking.

Welfare to Work Program for Despots Bush's American-style approach to promoting democracy is still not grasped by the State Department and most congressionals but where there's life there's hope.

Bush Democracy Doctrine, plain English version The Bush approach is a chip off the No Child Left Behind Act.

Barney and the Theoretical Bubble Machine There has been backtracking at the White House since I wrote this essay but there are many signs that in Washington an empirical approach to defense/foreign policy issues is gaining on the agendist approach.

Making Bush Democracy Doctrine Work and a visit to Russia House

America, by what right do you lecture us on democracy?


On the need to develop American policy as distinct from NATO policy

The American Century, at last! Pundita spoke too soon; since writing this essay I've seen backtracking by the Bush administration and the State Department is still wedded to the Cold War Natoist view. But where there's life there's hope.

Go ask Alice

America is not the maid

Even Wendy had to grow up

The OK Corral is thataway

Pundita cuts EU and NATO some slack

Senator Kennedy's Eurocrat Party


What US policymakers should take into account about Old World nations

To the ramparts, fellow billionaire's! Save Russian democracy! Verticalization of corruption in Russia maps a key problem for most developing countries.

Paw, a Revenuer's at the door. Quick, Abdullah, put on your tribal headdress!" Without an adequate tax base, widescale poverty and systemic government corruption are entrenched in the Old World nations

The Enclave Mentality and the Oriental Stranger Syndrome Why it's so hard for outsiders to see the real problems in the Old World.

Going Native... US policymakers, expats, aid workers and foreign service workers beware: Don't over-identify with the situations you find in other countries.

System Failure Without an efficient judicial system and mechanisms of modern government, modern democracy can't get a strong hold in developing countries.

Candle Power Pundita summarizes her views on the right direction for US foreign aid and development policy.

Women Keep out of Politics, or why US Soccer Moms should be in charge of US foreign aid

The Man Who Saw Through People Lessons and a warning for policymakers from the life and times of Genghis Khan.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Stuck at the Intersection of Government and the Mass Age

Pundita essays exploring problems of governing mega populations and the implications for US foreign policy.

Stuck at the Intersection of Government and the Mass Age
(Essays listed in order of publication)

Is there a traffic engineer in the house? Laying out the concept of applying principles of large scale systems design to governing megapopulations.

Your village called, they're missing an idiot Making government more responsive to new challenges.

Foreign policy and large scale systems

Seeking a field of large scale systems design "This mystical blend of analytic and qualitative thinking about the problems of government" A decision analyst weighs in.

Getting unstuck from the intersection of government and the Mass Age

Pundita's struggles with defining scope of the topic Discussion with Michael Wright.

Dial 311 One idea for getting unstuck

Related essays

How do you run a government when the voters are smarter than you? What happens when a large segment of society is more knowledgeable than civil servants and elected officials?

The Elephant in the World's Living Room How did so many governments in so many diverse cultures, and with such diverse histories, end up plain crooks during this era?

"There is no box" Bringing real democracy to world's rural peoples.

Fire up the cell phone, gather round the radio Not by any one way does democracy come to the rural developing world.

US and Ukraine Presidential Election


Nov 28
Not Clockwork Orange Century

Dec 20
Stop, Look, Listen

Dec 28
With Apologies to Ayn Rand...

Dec 30
A timely reminder about IMF-Ukraine Central Bank scandal


Jan 04
Watch out for spattering plot goo

Jan 08
How Many Broken Eggs Does it Take?

Jan 09
Banana Split and Trifle

Jan 11
"Something Rotten in the State of Ukraine"

Jan 20
The Second Rule of Foreign Policy

Jan 25
The Seven O'clock Intelligence Briefing


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