Political Analysis: Failure of the Galactic Republic

Geeking out on this application of analysis-meets-Star Wars by Seth Masket of the University of Denver Political Science Department :

It is a bad idea for a republic to outsource its police and military power, as well as most of its diplomacy, to an autonomous religious cult. Monopoly on the use of force is a central function of a healthy state. The Galactic Republic relied on the Jedi to enforce its will domestically and internationally. Such a scenario made the republic very vulnerable to a Jedi coup, something senators would have been aware of and vigilant against. The Senate was insufficiently vigilant against a rising Emperor Palpatine because its main fear was an Emperor Yoda.

Source: The problem with the Galactic Republic was the Jedi – Vox

An earlier post on the lack of minority party was also clever.

Five American Foreign Policy Fact-Checks for Thanksgiving | Daniel W. Drezner

Thanks to Professor Drezner for some good zingers to use in those confrontations around the Thanksgiving turkey:

WHAT YOUR RELATIVE WILL SAY:  “I don’t see why we have to spend so much of our taxpayer dollars on other countries.  If we cut foreign aid that would really help balance the budget!!

via Five American Foreign Policy Fact-Checks for Thanksgiving | Daniel W. Drezner.

At Kennedy Airport, a Complex Dance Over a U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com

Transporting world leaders to the GA last week requires some planning at New York’s largest airport, JFK:

Some years can be more complicated than others. When Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the General Assembly, he would have the pilots turn off their plane’s transponder as it approached the airport, causing it to disappear from the screen used in the command center to track aircraft, Lieutenant Lomonaco said. Or his plane would veer north away from the city “trying to be a little evasive” before landing, he added.

via At Kennedy Airport, a Complex Dance Over a U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com.

Have a Nice Day, N.S.A. – NYTimes.com

Brazil’s president pulled a “Dilma Bolada.” Everyone else in the one of the world’s newest rising powers has another strategy to confound the NSA:

It has become something of a joke among my friends in Brazil to, whenever you write a personal e-mail, include a few polite lines addressed to the agents of the N.S.A., wishing them a good day or a Happy Thanksgiving. Sometimes I’ll add a few extra explanations and footnotes about the contents of the message, summarizing it and clarifying some of the Portuguese words that could be difficult to translate.

Other people have gone so far as to send nonsensical e-mails just to confuse N.S.A. agents. For example: first use some key words to attract their surveillance filters, like “chemical brothers,” “chocolate bombs” or “stop holding my heart hostage, my emotions are like a blasting of fundamentalist explosion” (one of my personal favorites, inspired by an online sentence-generator designed to confound the N.S.A.).

via Have a Nice Day, N.S.A. – NYTimes.com.

A Translation Guide to Foreign Policy Gibberish – By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy

This is what diplo-speak looks like:

  • We’re evaluating the situation”: We still haven’t done anything.
  • Events on the ground are fluid”: If I articulate an official position on what’s happening, somebody could get upset with my word choice.
  • All options are on the table“: Bombs.
  • We can’t rule anything out”: We retain the right to do anything and everything.
  • Our position has been very clear“: Let me re-read some nonspecific generalizations from the briefing book that don’t address your question.
  • We welcome this debate“: After harnessing the federal government’s resources to hide the issue, we’re going to dilute it with adjectives, already-public information, and selective leaking.
  • We have serious concerns“: The harshest possible condemnation of an American ally.
  • Intolerable”: Tolerable — obviously, since we’re still only talking about it.
  • Policy X is not aimed at any one country“: Policy X is aimed at China or Iran.
  • We’re in close consultation with X”: We’re going through the pretense of listening to others in an effort to spread the blame and burden.

via A Translation Guide to Foreign Policy Gibberish – By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy.