Dylan Matthews

Dylan Matthews was a summer 2008 Prospect editorial intern.

Recent Articles

WE SPIES, WE SLOW HANDS.

By Dylan Matthews Though clear in expressing support for Obama's release of the torture memos, David Ignatius' latest column involves a lot of handwringing about the decision's negative effect on morale within the CIA. I don't think it's an unreasonable concern; like Ignatius, I think the disclosure would be worth it anyway, but it's not crazy to think that the release would lead intelligence staffers to be more cautious, and thus potentially less effective. I'm not an intel specialist, so I know if Ignatius' anecdotes are an accurate representation of the situation, but he doesn't paint an unbelievable picture. But in a broader sense, the reason we care about the effectiveness of CIA officers is due to a belief that their actions make the country safer in a real way. And I'm not sure a lower CIA morale runs a real risk of, say, letting a terror plot slip through the cracks. The nightmare scenario Ignatius presents is hardly convincing: For a taste of what's ahead, recall the chilling...

FOR CASTRO IS A COLOR, IS A REDDER THAN RED.

By Dylan Matthews It appears Fidel feels left out : Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the U.S. Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss "everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island. Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba, but he also said Sunday that Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances sent to the island from the U.S. That appeared to enrage Fidel...

A BEAUTIFUL ANIMAL, A DESTROYER OF WORLDS?

By Dylan Matthews Conor Friedersdorf had a good post on torture the other day which included this interesting tangent on the issue of whether al-Qaeda (or Islamic militancy more generally) constitutes an "existential threat" to the United States: Perhaps the term “existential threat” obscures more than it clarifies. I’d have said, immediately after the September 11 attacks, that radical Islam posed an existential threat to America, though I never thought that Islamic terrorists possessed a nuclear weapon, or that an Islamic state commanded an Army capable of invading the United States, or that radical Islam threatened America more than the Cold War era Soviet Union. So what did I mean when I used the term? Technological advancement is enabling ever smaller groups of people to possess weapons that can kill ever larger numbers of their fellow human beings. I worry less about suitcase nukes than I do about a virus that can be cooked up on a terrorist’s budget, and that decimates the...

REINHARDT'S BARGAIN.

By Dylan Matthews This wouldn't be Ezra's blog without health care wonkery, so I figured I'd note this interesting proposal by Uwe Reinhardt, flagged by Jon Cohn. Reinhardt suggests that, instead of running a new public plan like Medicare, or trying to limit its advantages in an attempt create a level playing field with private insurers, a new public plan should strike a deal with health care providers. I'll let Cohn explain: In Reinhardt's vision, the government could promise that the new public plan would pay better than Medicare--say, by 10 or 15 percent on average. That should ease the concerns of insurers, providers, and other groups worried that a public plan wouldn't pay sufficiently high rates. But in exchange for the higher payments, industry groups--particularly doctors and hospitals--would have to stop resisting changes in the way government pays for medical services. In particular, Medicare (along with the new public plan) would get to bundle payments, make contracts...

AMBASSADOR OREN.

By Dylan Matthews For those of us with a weird obsession with knowing who contenders are for various Deputy Assistant Secretary of State posts or senior directorships on the NSC, Laura Rozen's The Cable has been like crack ever since it launched in January. However, as the administration has filled up, the wonk gossip has gotten quite limited. Thankfully, Israel also has a new government, which means there's a whole new set of appointments for Rozen to report on. First up, the ambassadorship to the US : Michael Oren, a senior fellow and scholar of Middle Eastern diplomatic and military history at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's choice to be his ambassador to Washington, sources in Israel and Washington say. […] Hearing the appointment was a done deal, a plugged-in Washington Middle East hand said Netanyahu's choice for the key post of a historian with strong ties to the neoconservatives who never previously served in any diplomatic...

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