Friday, February 09, 2007

BOOK REPORT: “Dangerous Nation” by Robert Kagan

Robert Kagan’s “Dangerous Nation” is a very interesting and valuable book. It challenges the conventional wisdom that America’s foreign policy since the Revolutionary War has been essentially isolationist in character steeped in realpolitick and self-interest. Instead, he makes a compelling case that the United States has deep idealistic tendencies and more often than not has been driven by those ideological factors rather than cold-blooded realism.

The book is the first of two volumes. It ends right after the declaration of war on Spain in April 1898. The run up to that war is extensively covered while the Mexican War fifty years prior gets short shrift. Go figure.

What I found most fascinating about the book is the complete pollution of practically all of the United States’ institutions by the issue of slavery. This book focuses on foreign policy and the grotesque distortions that slavery imposed on our nation’s early foreign policy but I was struck by the total subsuming of the Democratic Party in the issue prior, during and even after the Civil War.

I look forward to the second part. Let’s hope it comes sooner than the 10 years Kagan says he spent writing this book.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Korkes lands construction industry post

By Mike Sunnucks
The Business Journal
January 26, 2007

A former lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry landed a post at a statewide construction industry group.

Romina Korkes has been hired as the new government affairs director at the Arizona Contractors Association.

Korkes previously was public affairs director for the state chamber, which has undergone wholesale personnel changes in recent months.

The contractors group is one of the more politically moderate business groups in the state and has warm relations with Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.

The ACA also promoted Brett Jones to vice president. Jones previously served as the group's lobbyist.

Korkes is one of a number of staff members to leave the Arizona Chamber recently. Vice President Farrell Quinlan stepped down earlier this month to start his own public relations and lobbying outfit. Lobbyist Scott Peterson quit to take a government relations job in Wisconsin. Former chamber Chief Executive Jim Apperson resigned last year and now is a top budget adviser to Napolitano.

Apperson, a Democrat, was replaced by Glenn Hamer, the former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. Hamer's appointment and state chamber Chairman Steve Twist's strong ties to the Republican Party sparked some consternation with the governor's office and Democrats -- including chief of staff Dennis Burke -- who said the chamber is becoming partisan.
Since taking over at the chamber, Hamer has stressed that he is committed to a nonpartisan, pro-business, pro-growth agenda.

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