Foreign Policy: Twenty Questions


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar LauraNo says:

    I don’t think a sitting President can, or should, answer some of these. Especially the first one. Meanwhile the challenger can say any ole thing he feels like, since he hasn’t the responsibility to consider all shades of meaning and the import of what he says.Report

  2. Skimming through the link, it doesn’t seem to me that Mr. Schieffer is making the questions public, just that he has told what general areas he’ll be asking about. None of them strikes me as particularly surprising or as topics the candidates wouldn’t have been prepared for in advance.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    What about asking who will win the Bears v Lions game?Report

  4. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Do you consider environmental problems like global warming to have national security implications? If so, might environmental issues become grave enough to make using the military to address those problems justified?

    You know that DoD has actually been researching this issue as a national security problem, yes?

    Specifically by funding the Climate Change and African Political Stability program. ( )Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      They’ve had that department since the dustbowl.
      And if General Clark says that global warming is the biggest national security issue of this new century, I believe him!Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Do you LIKE the fact that Pakistan and India are in a continuous low-grade war?¹

    ¹ These questions have correct and incorrect answers. Unpleasant ones, to be sure.

    The most unpleasant answer would be “Yes, I do”, which I have a hard time seeing as correct. I see my idea of the correct answer, which is “No, but there’s not a damned thing we can do about it, except be there to encourage them if they ever come to their senses” as realistic rather than unpleasant.Report

  6. Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    “Should we increase the number of H1-B visas granted annually? ”

    Cut them drastically. It’s too easy for American firms to hire folks from India rather than Indiana. (My office has about 80% H1Bs.) For all the whining people do about the folks south of the border “taking out jobs”, it’s the H1Bs taking good-paying jobs.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      See everybody, Liberals and Conservatives can agree on something – the necessity to divide people into groups.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        (though it illustrates that Liberals are smarter than Conservatives; just giving the number and saying we should cut the program quota is more felicitous phrasing than coming out straight saying “There’s too many of ‘those people’ here”Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          There’s a fairly obvious route out of the H1-B mess. Train people. Nobody comes out of college with a clue about how software is written for actual businesses. It has been the bane of my existence that heretofore I’ve had to train these H1-B types. We could just as easily train US citizens and wouldn’t have to pay them much more, if any more.

          The fallacy of H1-B is encapsulated in that scene from The Matrix, where racks full of weapons appear for the heroes to use. Substitute coders for weapons and the metaphor is now operational. These Indian firms say they have racks full of competent coders who can be applied to some business problem. Fact is, they don’t. They hire in grizzled old veterans like me to deal with those platoons of novice coders. I have to insert them into mountains of existing code, get them functional, get results out of them, deal with the language and cultural barriers, the headaches and concerns of any new coder, American or otherwise.

          I’m staffing up my own squad from this talent pool and will be working with this program to put local students here in Louisiana. Just volunteered to work with these guys yesterday. Though I’m not working there now, the little consulting practice I started two years ago keeps chugging along, run by a team I trained in Eau Claire. I got them all out of the local technical college with two year certificates. Got a grip on those kids early, forged up a working relationship with the best professor at that school, picked his best and brightest and most bushy-tailed students and we trained them right before they had a chance to get into bad habits. Taught them to rely on each other, how to continue to grow the practice, in short, everything needful to beat the H1-B mentality afflicting corporate America.

          It just doesn’t have to be this way, outsourcing Thinker Jobs. It’s stupid, to think anyone can do a proper job in the context of a large corporation without training them to do that job. I’ve been doing this for a long time and even I don’t hit the ground running. I have to tell my clients and their personnel, “You know, I just don’t know anything about how you do business and you’re going to have to tell me everything.” I learned that, not through my own saintly humility and prudence, for I have none of either virtue, but by watching people who thought they did know everything get in serious trouble and fail.

          There are too many of “those people”, Kolohe. Greedy, incompetent Indian middlemen, willing to foist these untrained kids off on corporations, ship them off to America with no support structures, no training, knowing there will be people like me who will have to deal with them and do the work of training them. A collection of goddamn parasites is what they are. I don’t fault the kids, I fault their management. But most of all, I blame the idiocy of the American managers who loudly bemoan the lack of qualified US talent, all the while having seasoned professional consultants train novices from offshore.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Funny how libertarians ignore supply and demand when they’d rather accuse people of racism. Just like they say liberals do.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Well, it’s priorities. Since many (most?) Libertarians are open-borders types, they see the H1-B visas as bad things in themselves.

            Supply/demand doesn’t really enter into it except for the whole argument about how protectionism creates market distortions.

            I suppose that there isn’t a 1:1 overlap between “racism” and “anti-immigrant sentiment” but the circles do overlap on the Venn Diagram and there are more places where it overlaps than where it doesn’t to the point where people who support anti-immigrant sentiment would be well-served to not sound like Republicans complaining about the race card being played yet again lest they sound like Republicans complaining about the race card being played yet again.Report

          • Avatar James K says:

            The thing is that immigration affects multiple markets at once. It increase the supply of labour sure, but it also affects the demand for goods which in turn increases the demand for labour. It also increases the agglomeration effects of cities by adding more people to them, which can increase economic growth.

            Immigration is something you can’t really analyse from a partial-equilibrium perspective.Report

    • Avatar Matty says:

      The only way I can see this making sense is either.

      -The Indians are accepting jobs in the US for rates so low that they undercut American workers even taking account of the cost of getting them there.
      -The Indians have some skills or qualifications that no one in the US offers.

      Which is it?

      Also do your colleagues know how warmly you appreciate them?Report

  7. Avatar Kim says:

    These are mostly good questions, dealing with the actual realities of what the world looks like at the moment.Report