Jake Horowitz See my comment to Hassan, Jordan. "Leave the region alone" is too simple of an answer, one that doesn't offer something concrete given current realities. I'm glad you raised the issue of energy independence, something which would help free us up from reliance on authoritarian regimes in Saudi and the Gulf. But still, gaining energy independence is so far off in the future that it would be helpful to hear your thoughts on what we could do specifically in the interim.
Jake Horowitz Is this really realistic, Hassan? How could/do you expect the U.S. to just "leave the region?" Easy to say in principle, but when it comes down to it, because of oil, religion, Israel, terrorism, military and strategic interests, etc. we will never just "leave the region." So, concerete, what could the U.S. do other than vote for a Palestinian state to improve our image in the region? Also, which puppet regimes do you refer to here?
Jake Horowitz 4) Stand behind protesters in the Gulf and Syria; 5) Finally close Guantanamo; 6) Make it easier for Arabs to travel, study, work, and participate in cultural exchange programs in the U.S.; 7) Make it easier for Americans to do the same in the Middle East; 8) Accept the construction of mosques just as we would accept the construction of churches and synagogues; 9) End racial profiling and use behavioral profiling; 10) Don't make grandiose speeches which don't lead to actions (i.e. tone-down our rhetoric and get to concrete policy) to improve trust.
Jake Horowitz Many people in America believe that Arabs dislike the U.S. because of our culture and our values, but in my experience that's been far from the truth. Most people in the Middle East admire America's individualism and freedom of social mobility; what they strongly oppose is our policy. Specifically, our inability to match actions with words. We speak the language of democracy, freedom, and fairness, and yet let "strategic" interests get in the way of seeing those things through in the Arab world. So what could the U.S. do to improve its image? The list is long, but all focused on policy: 1) Pursue more balance in Israel-Palestine; 2) Be consistent in support for democracy (from Egypt to Bahrain); 3) Withdraw from Iraq and drawdown Afghan ...
Jake Horowitz Great points. In fact, I was downtown yesterday and bumped into my journalism idol, Amy Goodman. A lot of the people down there yesterday were hard-left progressives, union activists, labor organizers, etc. The people that despise the Tea Party. As for the Tea Party's success, fair enough I concede that you have a point there. They certainly did impact spending cuts with their language and threats of default.
Jake Horowitz Here's my question, has the Tea Party achieved their aims? What is your measure of success here, Mark? Yes, it's clear they won the election and wield influence but in terms of achieving their concrete aims (economic, budget, taxes, etc.) have they done so yet? I'm not sure. Maybe your answer will be they have to wait until they are in office to impact change. But, it's interesting to think about nonetheless. Funny enough had they brought serious change to Washington (less government, more individual rights, etc.) maybe some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters' rage would be quelled.
Jake Horowitz Chris, do you think that the Occupy Wall Street will be able to coalesce around a few core principles to form themselves into a political party. There is a big difference btwn the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, in that the Tea Party channeled their grievances into organized politics to create change. Do you think that the Wall Street protesters will do the same, or do they have a different end-game. Would the Tea Party be party of the Occupy Wall Street party if they do go the party-politics route?
Jake Horowitz It does not seem realistic to me that the developed world will be able to cut emissions enough to offset emissions from the developing world, given the pace of rapid emissions growth in countries like China. Thus, the question becomes how can we achieve the second option. The biggest key here, it seems to me, is psychological - how do you convince a place like the U.S. to subsidize a place like China, given that China is a bad emitter itself and that the U.S. economy is being outpaced by China. What types of marketing/messaging do you think would be necessary to "sell" this outcome and implement it? I am not hopeful that international treaties, subsidies, etc. will produce change fast enough.
Jake Horowitz In your estimation, Nir, has there been a positive or negative change under President Obama about the way that the U.S. "talks" about democracy promotion in the Middle East? Are we now focusing less on elections and more on liberalization, or vice versa? Moreover, what would be the metric you would use to judge whether Middle Eastern countries have reached enough of a "liberal culture" for the U.S. to begin promoting democracy? Is this based on economics? human rights? elections? Etc.
Jake Horowitz "the example of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico indicates that environmental liabilities will be increasingly incorporated towards sustainable development." Can you explain what you mean by this Georgi? I thought Deepwater was the quintessential example of big business NOT caring about environmental impacts. But you are saying that it shows how we are becoming more sustainable? I don't understand this.
Jake Horowitz As someone who is an avid biker and who bikes everywhere in NYC, I've been waiting for the day when the bike share program came to NYC. Still, I have a couple of reservations. Despite the growth of bike lanes across the city, biking is still not entirely safe in the city. That's for a couple reasons. Cars still do not respect bikes as equal on the road, bikers disregard traffic signs and weave in and out of traffic and blow through red lights. My fear is that the growth of bikes in the city, without an accompanying growth in driving education and tighter restrictions on bikers to obey traffic rules, will lead to more accidents in the city. Any thoughts on this, Danielle?
Jake Horowitz Jordan, does the muddled, slow, and bureaucratic system that is American politics allow for leaders to do the most good, instead of do no harm. It seems in today's partisan political climate, doing no harm is about as good as leaders can do, as with the 24 hr news cycle every move is scrutinized and decision dissected and criticized. I'm not sure that I blame Obama for not doing the most good, so much as blaming the system and other politicians for not allowing him to do good. What do you think?
Jake Horowitz This is such a multifaceted issue, one with no easy answer. This question doesn't make a distinction between public and private universities. But, the fact is that private higher education is skewed toward the wealthy. Even with generous financial aid packages, that an elite education in this country costs $40,000 per year is significant and prohibitive (many people don't know about the financial aid that exists and don't even consider applying to these schools for these reasons). It's also not just a question of rich vs. poor, but also middle class students, who are often also struggling but sometimes cannot get the financial aid they need. I've had so many friends that have had to work their way through every year of college (work grueling night jobs in addition to school work). Yes, college is too expensive in this country but there is no easy way to make campus more econ diverse.
Jake Horowitz For me, ethnic theme houses and students groups represent an effective way for people to associate based on commonality and shared interests. Much in the same way as sports clubs, music groups, and religious organizations, these groups afford students the opportunity to group together with like-minded people and share experiences. This, to me, seems natural and not problematic. That said, the bigger problem here is why minorities students often feel alienated (to the point where they need these clubs and houses). My sense is there's very little recognition of the subtle, yet still poignant instances of discrimination and racism on college campus. (i.e. I heard people say in class that X student only got in to school on affirmative action grounds, b/c he's black). Rather than debating whether these houses are self-segregation, maybe it's time to debate why there's a need for them ...
Jake Horowitz For me, the biggest thing that was left out of accounts of the revolution was the voices of Egyptians themselves. Through all the America-centric reports about Facebook and Twitter and how they were driving the revolution, there was an underlying, unstated assumption, that the U.S. is helping to promote democracy in Egypt. This glosses over the real achievements of the Egyptians themselves and the extent to which this was a local-driven revolution. I would have liked to have seen more background in the coverage, more recognition of America's oft-times counter-productive role in the country (propping up Mubarak, giving $ to Sadat to SUPPORT the Islamist parties in the country, etc.). Most Americans know little more than they did b4, I think.
Jake Horowitz Totally agree, John, and thanks for sharing openly. I think the media is looking for a story to report, and the GOP candidates have been somewhat uninspiring so far (or at least, there is no clear consensus on who's the best choice). So, that contributes to the over-focus on him.
Jake Horowitz I think it's important to qualify the argument that without Gaddafi, Libya is devoid of institutions and will have to "start from scratch" to build a democracy. This reminds me of similar arguments that Saddam Hussein was the "glue" that held Iraq together and without him, so without him, the country would spiral into chaos. The Libyan Transnational Council may not have experience, but they do have conviction, so the question becomes how to assist the rebels from the overthrow phase to the governance phase. This is the same question in Egypt. Does the U.S. and Western-backed NGOs have a role to play in this process? Or will the Libyans, Tunisians, and Egyptians be better off on their own? If there is a role, what exactly should it be?
Jake Horowitz Mary, to what extent do you think that the problem you are raising is a product of the revolving door between Wall Street and government. That is, when President Obama put together his financial team, he drew from the very people that spent their entire careers on Wall Street. This makes some sense, as these are the people uniquely equipped with the insider knowledge to address such complicated ideas such as banking and finance. But, these people don't necessarily serve the interests of financial reform, given their ties to the very banks that need to be regulated. This pattern is something that is very difficult to address. Any ideas here?
Jake Horowitz Great piece, David. My big questions to you are: 1) You touch on this in your last paragraph, but what messages should environmentalists utilize, and who should they direct these messages to, in order to change the narrative and block the pipeline from being constructed? 2) There are obvious downsides to pipeline construction, so what has been the biggest stumbling block in getting the anti-pipeline message out into the mainstream? 3) To what extent will special interests and the oil lobby win out in this debate?
Jake Horowitz Fascinating points here, Viviane. My own sense is that people contribute to Wikipedia articles because of the importance of reputation and influence. That is, everyone is an expert, or has some knowledge, about a certain topic, and they want to share that knowledge with others. They contribute for free to things, whether coding, writing a Wikipedia entry, or rating their hotel experience, because they want to share their own opinion and think their opinion matters. In terms of reputation, our generation distrusts traditional credentials (you don't need to be a Pulitzer prize winner to write a comment) and people comment in order to build a reputation online, to have their voice trusted. I agree there is an element of egalitarianism here.
Jake Horowitz Thanks Georgi. I'll definitely try to put together part II to this, great idea. I'm not sold that a parliamentary system would work in the U.S., only because there is something to be said about the simplicity of two parties that makes voting much easier for the electorate (given how most people are uninformed and don't vote, it seems like people would get paralyzed by choice if there were too many options). What do you think about that?