Recommended Reading (2009-12-20) – SUNDAY Edition

A snowy, white day here in New England. Finally some real weather, the kind that makes you feel alive.

– Hugo Chavez’s bellicosity may finally come to a head, the BBC reports. Apparently it’s not just an anti-Bush thing with him; he’s accused Columbia and the United States of preparing to invade. The Venezuelan Army is already blowing up bridges, in all senses of the phrase.

– Everybody still hates everybody else in Iraq. They’re just not killing each other anymore, but turning to politics instead. Kurds will no longer accept “second-citizen status.”

More after the jump…

Newsweek has a series of articles on the counterfactual Gore presidency. David Rakoff has a little summary of the theoretical last decade, Michael Isikoff writes about Gore’s impeachment, and Christopher Hitchens argues that the ‘aughts would not have been so different with Gore as president instead of Bush. Rakoff ignores a few constitutional realities (such as the 22nd Amendment conflicting with Bill Clinton’s running for Vice President), but they’re all worth considering. Joe Lieberman hilarity absolutely ensues in most of the pieces. And Hitchens is dead-on, as usual.

– Via Security Crank: the insurgent ‘hacking’ of Predator drone feeds was not some “stupendous feat of black hattery.” The unencrypted feeds have been known to the Pentagon since 2000, and they’re not in real-time. Gives them an idea of how good the zoom lenses are, though.

– The IEEE, of all organizations, has gotten into this whole open-source warfare thing.

– It’s Ottomania! More Turkish imperial nostalgia. Either this works well for the sake of national coherence, or it deepens the secular/not divide. Jury’s still out on…Turkey.

8 hilarious secessionist movements. It may seem like a remote possibility now, but give it time. Presumably when the end comes, it will be an amicable breakup and not a bloody rebellion, but that’s of course entirely in the realm of speculation. And hopefully doesn’t come to pass in my lifetime.

– The beginning of Niall Ferguson’s The War of the World is titled “9/11/01.” The world, of course, is at the peak of globalization. Things are more interconnected than ever before; an Englishman’s breakfast originates in 12 different countries. As we soon discover, he is in fact referring to the year 1901. That prosperity and interdependence was soon shattered by the Great War, and did not recover fully until 100 years later. Now, says Daniel Gross, we’re facing a similar decline. Globalization becomes localization and decentralization; the center cannot hold.