Dylan Matthews

Dylan Matthews was a summer 2008 Prospect editorial intern.

Recent Articles

Okay, Well, Filibuster.

With Ben Nelson and Kent Conrad telling reporters that the Obama administration and Harry Reid are leaning toward including a public option in the combined Senate health-care reform bill, today should be a banner one for progressive advocacy. When that news is combined with this reporting from Brian Beutler , however, it feels more like a disaster: In a huddle with reporters moments ago, I asked Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for her thoughts on a public option compromise that would allow states to opt out of a national government insurance program, and her answer could slow down the proposal's considerable momentum. "I don't support that," Snowe said. Asked further whether she would participate in a filibuster on a bill with a public option, she went almost all the way. "I've said, I'm against a public option...yes...it would be difficult" to support allowing the bill to proceed to a vote. This may not play out well. There now seem to be three proposals that could get Snowe's support: her...

Regional Zero.

Ha'aretz 's report that the governments of Israel and Iran have been conducting discussions on nuclear issues is encouraging enough, but this specific tidbit is astonishing (via Blake Hounshell ): During the meetings, [Israeli diplomat Meirav] Zafary-Odiz explained the Israeli policy of being willing, in principle, to discuss the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone. She also detailed Israel's unique strategic situation, saying regional security must be strengthened, security arrangements must be agreed upon and a peace agreement must be sealed before Israel would feel at liberty to discuss this topic. Zafary-Odiz said Israel lived in a complex geopolitical reality, noting that in three decades, four countries in the region broke their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria. She said Israel takes a responsible approach to the nuclear issue as a whole and that the far horizon of its vision did include the possibility of a nuclear-free zone in...

Libertarianism without Liberty.

Reason just published an incredibly revealing discussion on the question of whether libertarians should oppose interference from cultural actors -- such as religion or the patriarchy -- as well as from government. Kerry Howley persuasively argues those who oppose coercion from the state have an obligation to oppose coercion from oppressive non-state actors like, say, fundamentalist religious sects . Todd Seavey disagrees: Most libertarians would say that once the side constraint of property rights adherence is established, people have a right to engage in whatever social patterns they wish to follow so long as the property side constraints are not themselves undermined. Howley mentions “fundamentalist compounds” dismissively, but isn’t the whole point of liberty that people are free to construct fundamentalist compounds, sexist strip clubs, respectable female-run corporations, gender-indifferent science labs, or all-male hunting lodges as they choose, so long as they do so voluntarily...

Dealing with the Iranian Nuclear Problem.

Big news out of Vienna this morning, as International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed ElBaradei announced that the US, Russia, and France had reached a limited deal with Iran to curb its nuclear programs. Here are what details we know at the moment: If approved, the deal would commit Iran to temporarily exporting 75 percent of its known stockpile of low-grade nuclear fuel to Russia, or about 2,600 pounds of low-enriched uranium, for additional enrichment. Negotiators say that would prevent the possibility that Iran could turn the fuel into weapons-grade material anytime soon. … But the key to the agreement reached in the talks, if it works, would be in the timing of the shipments — a detail officials were not discussing in Vienna in the hours after the announcement. If Iran actually sends the low-enriched uranium to Russia in a single shipment, as the draft document states, it would have too little fuel on hand to build a nuclear weapon for roughly a year, according to the...

My Rights Versus Yours.

Robert Bernstein , founder of Human Rights Watch, is highly disappointed that his organization would apply the same standards to Israel that it does to every other nation. Scott Lemieux has ably picked apart his curious claim that any nation acting in self-defense gets to play by some looser set of moral standards. His relativism about democratic regimes, however, I find particularly galling: [Human Rights Watch] sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov , Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps. When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency,...

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