I think it's fair to criticize US support of the Saudis in this war.

I also think it's unreasonable to argue that we should be providing even humanitarian aid in a region where we know both sides will steal it and use it to enhance their exploitation of the local people.
During the US Civil War, the Confederates starved because the Union starved them.

Food aid to the Confederacy would not have gone to slaves, folks. It would have gone to slave-owners.
It's possible to say both "we should not support the inhumane Saudi war effort" and also "if the Houthis want Iranian support, let Iran feed them."
One of the few simmering civil conflicts to actually be *ended* in recent years was the Sri Lankan conflict with the Tamil Tigers. I remember the last assault on the news!

The government won by putting tons of Tamil civilians in concentration camps and indiscriminate shelling.
OBVIOUSLY, the US should not be supporting that conduct!

But equally obviously, sending aid to people being targeted is not some neutral act. It is explicitly choosing a side.
Governments exist to resolve the security dilemma. That is, the exist to organize violence. They are not "insurance companies with armies," they are armies and police forces which provide additional benefits in order to secure compliance with the tax burden of defense spending.
There is a fantasy in the liberal democratic world that there is some neutral account of humanitarian rights, that all can be settled by negotiation.

This is deeply foolish. Somebody is gonna win and somebody is gonna lose and if divisions are deep losses will be high.
The worst thing for the people of Yemen is a long war. Somebody needs to win. Prolonging the conflict by keeping population stresses managable probably does nothing to reduce the death toll, and very likely increases it.
I am aware that there are many who disagree with this, who argue that the fortunes of war do not in fact depend on underlying population stresses; I think that's 1) ridiculous on its face and 2) taking the lessons of WWII to inapplicable contexts
In civil wars where there is a question of legitimacy and both sides can make claims that will persuade non-trivial shares of the population on the other side of the line, population stresses are VERY important. They motivate defection.
If the US has a view of who we want to win the war, then we should take action to make them win the war by ensuring their side is armed and fed while the other side gets no aid or comfort.

But if we do not have a view, we should stay out entirely.
"We have no view of who should win, but we will nonetheless support one side" is ridiculous.
And "we will give aid to everyone equally" is also ridiculous since it, again, *prolongs the war.*

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More from @lymanstoneky

15 Jan
i mean by my count is 550,000 but YMMV
The math on this pretty simple.

First, you take CDC's reported deaths. Then you make an adjustment for underreporting of recent deaths. Various ways to do that I won't get into here, but all methods yield similar results.
Then you compare deaths in each week to deaths in each week in prior years.

Various ways to set a baseline. But one uncontroversial way to set a *maximum* expectation for "normal deaths" is to take:
1) maximum deaths in a given week 2014-2019
2) multiply by pop growth
Read 6 tweets
15 Jan
When people think of "extremely functional microstates that just work for hard-to-explain reasons" they always leave out Mongolia and it's infuriating.

Mongolia has had *negative* excess deaths in 2020 y'all.
When we give examples of successful introduction of participatory demcoracy, rapid economic development, etc, we should really be giving Mongolia as a textbook example.
I am partly pro-Mongolian because they have anomalously high TFR for their income level, because Mongolians love the babies.

Also, lowkey, this is, um, a thing that is happening: Image
Read 26 tweets
14 Jan
I get the desire to punish everybody associated with Trump but "a bunch of people who've been running the country for 4 years and have a bunch of political supporters and cash being angry and bored" is perhaps not actually the ideal outcome.
One of the issues to reckon with is that Reconstruction didn't go far enough, but attempts at strict Denazifiction were widely regarded as mistakes. De-Baathification has been seen as a catastrophe for IRaq.
I'm not sure what defines the differences. But study of authoritarian regimes most definitely does *not* support the idea that you should always purge as much as possible!
Read 7 tweets
14 Jan
listening to Dan Carlin's Supernova in the East and super irritated that he focused on Hiro Onoda instead of the 10-million-times-more-interested Teruo Nakamura.
The last Japanese holdout to ever surrender was not Japanese imperial fanatic from the home islands but...

.... a Taiwanese aborigene who decided not to surrender with his unit but just build himself a hut on a deserted island and lived quietly until accidentally discovered
Also I guess I shouldn't call him Teruo Nakamura since he did not actually speak Japanese (or Chinese!). His name in his own language was Attun Palalin.
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
Saw @mattyglesias tweet about a poll of QAnon support (linked). I think it's a *bit* mistaken tho: the table he shared was QAnon support *among those who had heard of it*. But TONS more liberals have heard of QAnon than conservatives!
Here's the net favorability of QAnon (double-weighting the "very" folks) accounting for differences in who's even heard of QAnon.
Key to understand is Democrats and liberals are EXTREMELY anti QAnon not only because they are very unfavorable to it but because large shares of Rep/Con folks ***have never heard of QAnon***.
Read 22 tweets
13 Jan
reading the self-important and vaguely-cultish textbooks by bayesians makes me want to go out and kill a sufficiently large number of bayesians that i can estimate the mean pitch of their screams
"when we have multiple models, we should choose one using Bayesian statistics"

no

you should do both and publish an appendix showing robustness tests, you cultist
"but my bayesian model takes 4 weeks to process i can't run 1,397 robustness tests"

yes

exactly
Read 33 tweets

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