• Keith Payne on the Danger of Disarmament  Reflecting on the past several decades of nuclear strategy, the Missouri State professor and National Review contributor determines that the Obama administration's shift toward a "nuclear-zero" America is a fool's errand. Why? "Because nuclear zero cannot be achieved unilaterally, or even bilaterally," writes Payne, asserting that the game of atomic chicken played by nuclear states is unlikely to fade away under a "starry-eyed" move towards disarmament by the U.S. or a collective-security agreement by sovereign states. "Despite the warm rhetoric inspired by the nuclear-zero vision, much of the rest of the world — including U.S. allies, friends, and foes — sees great continuing value in nuclear weapons."
  • Bing West on a New Afghanistan Strategy  West, a longtime reporter on Afghan affairs, writes a guest op-ed in The New York Times outlining a plan for creating "a diminished Hamid Karzai" and pushing "the Afghan military [to play] a primary role in the governance of the districts and provinces." Forcefully suggesting the U.S. should pursue its own best interests in the region, West argues our current "nation-building" maneuvers are counterproductive.
The truth is that we don’t have a duty to impose democracy on Afghanistan. The advancement of liberty doesn’t necessitate a “one person, one vote” system, as the 1.5 million fraudulent votes cast for Mr. Karzai in last summer’s sham election showed. We cannot provide democracy if we desire it more than the Afghans.
  • Harold Meyerson on Hollywood Product Placement  The Washington Post columnist gets his dander up about one Jordan Yospe, a "brand integration" consultant who helps "product placement become more integral to the narrative and thematic flow" of movies. Meyerson has some fun imagining how Yospe might have punched up scripts in an earlier era; Hamlet's soliloquy could have been a plug for Ginsu knives. But in all seriousness, Meyerson can't fathom the place of marketing types like Yospe in an industry based on artistic expression: "What the hell are these guys doing there?"
  • Robert Wright on the Social Import of Tiger Woods  Accused of frivolity by readers of his New York Times blog, Wright lays out a measured, lengthy case for why Tiger Woods's infidelity is worth talking and thinking about. Woods, who looks to be on track for a comeback, is a role model for kids and adults alike, argues Wright; not only that, but his adultery gets us talking about the institution of marriage, one of the principal foundations of modern society. Woods's philandering "was none of my business," Wright admits, "until it moved from the private to the public realm and began to influence marriages other than his own."
  • And Speaking of Comeback Stories...  Enthralled by the Catholic Church's recent tribulations and tired of comebacks, The Guardian's Hadley Freeman combines both topics in a hilarious "how to" guide for "Christianity: the comeback plan." Filled with pop culture shots (step 1: Ally with Apple), Freeman parallels Woods's road to redemption, suggesting sex rehab for the Church. "Classic shamed celebrity strategy and, in the specific case of the Catholic church, a not entirely ridiculous one," she chuckles. Her parting advice for the embattled religion? "Marry Jennifer Aniston or Cheryl Cole."