Maureen Dowd on Feminist Disillusionment New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd observes that Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal has not sparked "feminist umbrage" as past political sex scandals have--"and not merely because Weiner is a liberal Democrat. Women have been conditioned by now to assume the worst." She explains that over the past years, the "cascade of famous men marrying up and dating down--Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, David Vitter, John Ensign and Arnold Schwarzenegger" alongside Dominique Strauss Kahn, has taken us "from the pre-feminist mantra about the sexual peccadilloes of married men--Boys will be boys--to the post-feminist resignation: Men are dogs." After all of these examples, "maybe feminists have learned that male development stops at power."
The Wall Street Journal Editors on Peru's Next President The Wall Street Journal editors wonder just "how far left" Peru's new national-socialist president-elect Ollante Humala will be. "The question now is which Mr. Humala will decide to govern in Lima." They point out that "until about two months ago he opposed the kind of democratic capitalism that has made Peruvians better off," and argue that Humala can either rule like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and the leaders of Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia who "have politicized their economies and undermined democratic institutions to enhance their power," or ruule like the presidents of Brazil and Peru who "also had hard-left resumes, but they came to understand that free markets and property rights are crucial for growth that reduces poverty." It's unclear yet what his choice will be: "In 2000, Comandante Humala, as he is sometimes known, led an unsuccessful military coup against the democratically elected Mr. Fujimori." The editors warn against considering those "incidents ancient history" since Humala's party platform from last year "was in the same mold. It referred to market economics as 'predatory' and called for the nationalization of strategic 'activities.'"
Henry Kissinger on a Real Afghanistan Exit Strategy Henry Kissinger lays out the current challenge the United States faces: "how how to conclude our effort [in Afghanistan] without laying the groundwork for a wider conflict." The former secretary of state explains, in today's Washington Post, that "four conditions must be met: a cease-fire; withdrawal of all or most American and allied forces; the creation of a coalition government or division of territories among the contending parties (or both); and an enforcement mechanism." Negotiations with the Taliban mean nothing, especially if our troups are withdrawn quickly and all at once, he argues, unless there is a strict enforcement mechanism. "Although the predominant role of the United States sometimes obscures it, the outcome in Afghanistan is, in essence, an international political problem," he points out. "The perception that the strongest global power has been defeated would give an impetus to global and regional jihadism." He would like to see a strict deadline for withdrawal, and "a reliable international enforcement mechanism," if possible: "A regional conference is the only way a bilateral negotiation with the Taliban can be enforced. If the process proves intractable, Afghanistan’s neighbors will eventually have to face the consequences of their abdication alone."
Saifedean Ammous on Why Arab Spring Aid Is a Bad Idea Saifedean Ammous argues in the Financial Times today that the G-8's promised financial aid to Egypt and Tunisia in the wake of the Arab spring "may do more harm than good." Developmental aid has historically been hardly successful and Ammous predicts that "the billions already pledged to help Egypt and Tunisia will again see well-connected officials dictate spending," focusing on transportation, infrastructure, and industry. Yet, he notes, "it is not clear why Egyptians and Tunisians would want to go down this road again given the miserable record of similar initiatives," foreseeing "increased taxes and tariffs, along with fiscal and currency crises, as governments devalue their peoples' wealth to pay off international creditors." Aid is also political. Ammous reminds readers that funds these countries have previously been receiving from the IMF and World Bank "benefited those close to power but did little to help the wider population." He suggests that G-8 countries wait to dedicate aid until the transition to democratic governments has actually been completed, as "generous aid programmes mean leaders do not need to please their citizens, or gain their trust to secure power; they can instead use donor money to build a security state and buy off their opposition." Waiting, instead, would allow Egyptians and Tunisians "the chance to decide for themselves whether they want the same foisted on their ruling classes again."
Adrian Hon on the iCloud and Apple Adrian Hon takes on Apples latest creation, the iCloud, in today's Telegraph. "It's only with iCloud that Apple has reached parity with Google, and not a moment too soon. More and more of the media we buy is being digitised for consumption on phones and Kindles and iPads. Consumers quite reasonably expect that if they buy a song (or a book or film), it should be available on all of their devices immediately," he explains. "They don't want to buy it again for each device they own or synchronise each device in turn with a computer." And while Apple has seemingly solved the record companies' dilemma of piracy by initiating iTunes Match, and made it easy for our magazines, newspapers, and all other documents to be moved to the iCloud, there is a price to pay for this, (almost) free service. "Seventy-five million users' passwords and personal data on Sony's Playstation Network were recently accessed by hackers, handily demonstrating that even the biggest companies don’t have bulletproof security." Hon insists that "if we are going to entrust all our data and work to a single company and a single point of failure, whether it's Apple or Google or Amazon, we need to be confident that we're safe. We also need to be aware that this isn't all for our benefit, either," as Apple is obviously motivated by profits in creating a "post-PC world."