Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Election Surprise 

Every election brings its surprise. For the election of November 7, we predict that the big surprise will be that the pre-election polls were wildly inaccurate and that the results of the election will be what no one forecast.

Afterwards, there will be time to reflect on the reasons the polls were so wrong.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ambiguity in US-North Korean Negotiations 

Now we learn that the US and North Korea will negotiate with one another. This goal was what prompted Kim to explode his nuclear bomb, so we have to accept that Kim has won: he has forced the US into direct negotiations, even though the Bush Administration has said it would not negotiate.

But there is a more compelling issue here. . .

There is a deep ambiguity in the position of each government. The US cannot negotiate with the North Korean government at the same time that it seeks a regime change there.

North Korea wants economic benefits and rewards, and it is using its nuclear power to get them. But to get them, it will have to negotiate away its nuclear power.

Therefore, neither government can get what it wants in the upcoming negotiations because each has self-conflicting goals.

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