Oscar Wilde described marriage as the triumph of hope over experience. In finance and geopolitics, by contrast, experience must always prevail over hope, and realism over wishful thinking.
A grim case in point is the confrontation between Russia and the West in Ukraine. What makes this conflict so dangerous is that U.S. and EU policy seems to be motivated entirely by hope and wishful thinking. Hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “see sense” — or at least be deterred by the threat of sanctions to Russia’s economic interests and the personal wealth of his oligarch friends. Wishful thinking about “democracy and freedom” inevitably overcoming dictatorship and military bullying.
Note that this opinion piece is on whether the secession of Crimea can be morally justified and does not address the question about what to actually do if the voters do vote to secede (or if fraudulent election results say that they do).
By Amy Davidson, Close Read @ newyorker.com, March 6, 2014
[...] “You have said that the Francis-mania will not last long,” the Corriere della Sera interviewer said. “Is there something in your public image that you don’t like?” The Pope replied, “I don’t like the ideological interpretations, a certain ‘mythology of Pope Francis’ ”:
"If I’m not wrong, Sigmund Freud said that in every idealization there is an aggression. Depicting the Pope to be a sort of superman, a type of star, seems offensive to me. The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone. A normal person"
Not everyone sleeps calmly; there is a difference...
A couple months ago, a Gallup poll recorded a small uptick in the percentage of Americans who identify as “liberal” — to 23 percent, or what Gallup, eliding the margin of error in the poll, called a “new high.” My Post colleague Chris Cillizza wondered if liberal was “no longer a dirty word.”
We will see. After all, there were far more conservatives in that Gallup poll, which, for some, means we’re still a “...