Post-9-11 events and analyses
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
JointVenture's Index of Silicon Valley: In depth assessment of the economy and quality of life in the valley. Some highlights:
- has lost 15% of the jobs it had at the peak in 2000, down to 1996-97 levels
- average pay has dropped about 20% from 2000 levels, back to 1998 levels after three consecutive years of decline
- still has a much higher concentration of innovation and high-paying jobs than the US average
- per-capita income remains stable and very high compared to the US average ($53k vs $32k)
- value added per employee never dropped, is now $188k vs the US average $88k
- household income dropped more for high income than median, and both are still above 1998 levels (80th pctl is $150k down from $160k, median is $85k, 20th pctl is $45k vs $28k national)
- 26% households can afford the median home, compared to 41% in 1994 and 56% nationally today
- commercial rents have fallen to levels below 1998's, dropping 2x-3x from 2000 peaks
- venture capital funding has dropped 6x, back to 1998 levels (under $6B/yr)
- 15% of people are obese compared to 20% nationally
Most data ends full year 2002, some 2003. [Found from John Furrier's blog. Thanks John!] 10:18:13 PM
of the assault on Tora Bora and the start of planning for the Iraq War. 4:04:38 PM
A World Without Power
: Interesting essay on historical alternatives to today's 'unipolar' world. "Be careful what you wish for. The alternative to unipolarity would not be multipolarity at all. It would be apolarity—a global vacuum of power. And far more dangerous forces than rival great powers would benefit from such a not-so-new world disorder. ..
If free flows of information and of means of production empower multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations (as well as evangelistic religious cults of all denominations), the free flow of destructive technology empowers both criminal organizations and terrorist cells. These groups can operate, it seems, wherever they choose, from Hamburg to Gaza. By contrast, the writ of the international community is not global at all. It is, in fact, increasingly confined to a few strategic cities such as Kabul and Pristina. In short, it is the nonstate actors who truly wield global power—including both the monks and the Vikings of our time. " (Side note: my company does developing country communications. In the last 5 years, we have received increasing numbers of inquiries from religious and evangelical "missionary" development organizations.) 9:17:42 AM
Daniel Benjamin: What the Terrorists Have in Mind: "Mr. Bush is correct: A central part of our strategy must be to pre-empt terrorists, attacking them before they attack us. But not all offensive strategies are equal, and Mr. Bush errs by arguing that the one being employed is doing the job. One need only listen to the terrorists and observe their recent actions to understand that we face grave problems...
There has been a drastic shift in mood in the last two years. Radicals who were downcast and perplexed in 2002 about the rapid defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan now feel exuberant about the global situation and, above all, the events in Iraq. For example, an article in the most recent issue of Al Qaeda's Voice of Jihad - an online magazine that comes out every two weeks - makes the case that the United States has a greater strategic mess on its hands in Afghanistan and Iraq than the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan in the 1980's. .. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist now wreaking havoc in Iraq, sees things in a similar way. "There is no doubt that the Americans' losses are very heavy because they are deployed across a wide area and among the people and because it is easy to procure weapons," he wrote in a recent communiqué to his followers that was posted on several radical Web sites. "All of which makes them easy and mouthwatering targets for the believers." .. "We believe these infidels have lost their minds," was the analysis on a site called Jamaat ud-Daawa, which is run out of Pakistan. "They do not know what they are doing. They keep on repeating the same mistake." ..
Moreover, the radicals see themselves as gaining ground in their effort to convince other Muslims around the world that jihad is a religiously required military obligation. And the American presence in the region is making the case for fulfilling this obligation all the more powerful. Iraq, in fact, has become a theater of inspiration for this drama of faith, in which the jihadists believe they can win .. we have ceded control of much of western Iraq. Taliban-like councils are emerging in places under the control of extremists, some linked with Mr. Zarqawi's organization. From the militants' perspective, America's record has been one of inconsistency and fecklessness. ..
the Pakistani Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Tayba appears to be shifting its sights away from its longtime focus on Kashmir and toward Iraq. Probably the largest militant group in Pakistan, it has used its online Urdu publication to call for sending holy warriors to Iraq to take revenge for the torture at Abu Ghraib prison as well as for what it calls the "rapes of Iraqi Muslim women." .. The organization's postings speak of an "army" of 8,000 fighters from different countries bound for Iraq. While that number is undoubtedly exaggerated, the statement is not pure propaganda: members of the group have already been captured in Iraq. Another worrisome development is the parallel emergence of a Shiite militancy that shares the apocalyptic outlook of Al Qaeda. ..
our pursuit of the war on terrorism through an invasion of Iraq has carried real costs for our security. The occupation is in chaos, which is emboldening a worldwide assortment of radical Islamists and giving them common ground. The worst thing we could do now is believe that the Bush administration's tough talk is in any way realistic. If we really think that the unrest abroad will have no impact on us at home - as too many thought before 9/11 - not even a vastly improved offense can help us." 8:50:46 AM