EW.com reports: Oscar winner and comedian Robin Williams died this morning at 63. While his publicist wouldn’t confirm that his death was a suicide, a rep did issue this statement. “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
“There really are no words to describe the loss of Robin Williams. He was immensely talented, a cherished member of our community, and part of the Fox family. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans. He will be deeply missed.”
He had recently signed on to reprise his beloved role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel to be directed by Chris Columbus, and was last seen opposite Annette Bening in the indie film The Face of Love. His sitcom The Crazy Ones premiered on CBS last fall, but was not picked up for a second season. Read the rest of this entry »
Three cheers for Ramesh’s piece in Bloomberg critiquing Chris Christie’s attack on Republican libertarians. Governor Christie’s attack was terrible politics, but — more important – it traffics more in caricature than substantive debate. To be sure, many of us who write about the war against jihadists — and in particular supported the war in Iraq — are familiar with the sneering name-calling of a small libertarian fringe, but I don’t know any serious foreign-policy-minded libertarian who endorses the pre 9/11 national-security infrastructure, and I’ve certainly never met any in the military (which, as I’ve discussed before, contains a strong libertarian element).
In reality, a more libertarian, less interventionist foreign policy may be in the cards whether Governor Christie likes it or not. Multiple constraints are driving America towards less intervention:
First, our military infrastructure is shrinking, rapidly. With the drawdown from Afghanistan, the end of the Iraq war, the sequester, and continued budgetary pressures, we may well see an Army of less than 400,000 active-duty troops. Large-scale interventions require large-scale forces, and the smaller size of all the major branches of the military will create its own limitations.
Second, there is little military or civilian appetite for nation-building. Nothing short of a direct attack on our country or a close ally (like South Korea) would currently motivate Americans to put substantial numbers of troops on the ground in harm’s way. There’s a reason why millions of Americans grew tired of our engagement in Afghanistan (and, before that, Iraq) that had nothing to do with pacifism or even ideology: quite simply, while they wanted to defeat our enemies, they were weary of attempting to transform near-medieval cultures. By late 2006 the Surge may have presented the best chance to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq, but let’s not forget that the Surge was made necessary by many of our own military and diplomatic mistakes.