The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Thursday Linkage

August 21, 2014

I saw this image on Twitter tonight and it kind of summarized how I feel about the news this summer which has been awful. I’ve been reading posts from thoughtful commentators like Steve Walt, Micah Zenko, and Jay Ulfelder who remind us that it’s not all bad or at least it’s not as bad as has been in the past (anybody remember World War II? [anyone] or perhaps even the early post-Cold War was as bad as it right now).

Still, from Ukraine to Ferguson to ISIS in Iraq/Syria to Gaza to Ebola, this has been one shitty summer for news and also nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. I think the current security threats are making many IR security folks feel as uneasy as the IPE folks felt during the 2008 recession. Since I kind of straddle different worlds, I worried then and I worry now.

In the midst of all this, we’ve at least had a ray of lightness and kindness which is the viral “IceBucket Challenge.” I know some have scoffed at this act of slacktivism, but awareness and fundraising for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) has gone way up. So, I say go out and dump ice on your head and donate money to a good cause. Relax, hug and kiss your kids, and let’s hope cooler heads around the world prevail. F–k bad news. Some links below that capture some of the rough news.

– Strobe Talbott profiles Putin

– James Foley should be remembered for his stories

– Liberian military struggles to contain Ebola outbreak in quarantined neighborhood in outskirts of Monrovia

– Steve Walt says Obama is more calculating and realist than we might think, not sure if this a good thing

– Groundbreaking study of elephant carcass counts in Kenya and extrapolations continent wide suggests 100,000 were killed in a three year period, threatening the survival of African elephants

– Drought and groundwater decline in American Southwest makes me wonder if parts of the country will even remain habitable

To end on a happier note, I’m going to post the following video of the Icebucket Challenge and the equivalent of America’s funniest home videos, though I wonder if everyone is okay.

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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.