Two links from Ario: one is from his blog, his experience with Lichterfest 2009: Twenty years to the day the Monday Demonstrations started in Leipzig which cracked the hereto monolith political system and shortly thereafter would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 1989.
The other link is to this amazing poem by Rick Barot, “Reading Plato” – you probably won’t get a commentary from me on this poem anytime soon, it’s going to take a while to sink in fully.
Robert Kaplan, “Time for Decisiveness on Afghanistan” – It’s perfectly legitimate for Obama to review Afghanistan strategy and troop numbers. But by calling into question the very strategy that he put into place earlier in the year, when he called Afghanistan the “necessary war,” and promised to properly resource it, Obama is courting charges from the right that he is another ineffectual Jimmy Carter—that other Nobel Peace Prize winner. But what Obama’s second-guessing of his own strategy in fact suggests is poor policy coordination at the White House. There’s more than a passing similarity between the White House’s hiccups on health care and its confusion on Afghanistan. In each case, the executive branch went forward on an issue without being fully staffed out, or in agreement on the specifics.
Konstantin Akinsha, “Art in Russia: Under Attack” (h/t aldaily.com) – The right-wingers have also adopted provocative performances. But while the young radicals define their actions as art, the pro- government youth organizations—collectively nicknamed Putin Jugend— have frankly political ends. Thousands of members of the pro-Putin group Nashi, or Ours, all dressed as Santa Claus, delivered presents to World War II veterans at Christmas and marched past the American embassy on Halloween carrying candlelit pumpkins representing the victims of American aggression. In April Nashi installed three basketball poles in the center of Moscow with attached portraits of the presidents of Ukraine, Georgia, and the United States—all the subjects of Russian nationalist rage. Passersby were invited to throw their shoes in the presidents’ faces, imitating the “heroic” deed of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.