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AvatarComments by Douglas Hayden*

On “Failure Propagates Upward For Democratic Party

"In 2016, the depth of the GOP field represented the party’s strength. In 2020, the depth of the Dem field represents the party’s weakness."

In 2016, a collection of the GOP's young up and comers and stable old hands got bushwhacked - and bushwhacked badly - by a belligerent reality TV star. Within two years, all but Trump were either unemployed, relegated to punchlines, or busily rearranging the furniture in the HUD main office. I'll accept the argument that the 2020 Dem field is weak - which I'll contest if Biden all but runs the table - but you can't convince me the 2016 GOP field wasn't either. Or that this hasn't been a problem for both parties going back to at least 2012, or even 2008 and 2004. Or that our collective notion of what constitutes a 'strong field' is based off of a political history generated before open primaries, 24 hour news media, and social media.

On “Soleimani: Cooler Heads, Measured Takes, and Abject Panic

First time commenting, though I've followed a fair bit of OTers on Twitter and read the site from time to time.

These are the thoughts that have been in my mind the most over the past forty some hours now:

The biggest consequence that I've seen rarely mentioned is that the strike has all but cemented Iran's path towards going nuclear. There's no going back now. You can celebrate the JCPOA being dead and buried, but my counter-question is now how do you stop Iran from getting the bomb? I'm pretty sure I know some answers, but...

Iran is not 2003 Iraq or even 1991 Iraq. They're big. They're relatively prosperous. They're far more well armed than they were at the end of the Iran-Iraq war. And they've been preparing for this for over forty years now. The biggest tell was that for all of Netanyahu's bluster and the IDF's track record, Israel's response to the strike was "Don't look at us, man."

"But we're America!" Yeah, and we're also eighteen years into a forever war on top of several years of military budget constraints. I've read about the Fitzgerald, the McCain, and VMFA-242. There are questions about our current state of military readiness, I'm not sure if we're ready to have those answered by the IRGC or the Iranian military proper. And who even knows what a cyberwar would look like.

Soleimani is dead and the world is better off without him. I'm just not sure if there were smarter options to removing him, or if the world is better off with the path we've now set the Middle East onto.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.