« money love | Main | Should possession be nine points of the law? UPDATED »

October 12, 2010

Comments

It occurred to me when you mentioned Bolton that altho this is considered the height of masculine behavior, his worldview is also basically premised on peeing yourself every time you see eg someone with a Koran board an airplane. Sort of a "Im tough enough to be scared sh1tless of a dangerous world" attitude, and I've never quite managed to work out that contradiction in my head.

I don't disagree with the point you are making, but it is worth considering that having Condi as Sec State in some ways weakened the position and made it even more a 'woman's' position. I've just had a snootful of cold medicine, so this is probably even more disjointed than usual, but it seems to me that there is a marked difference between Clinton nominating Albright or Obama nominating Clinton and Bush nominating Rice.

A number of risible comments here: we don't negotiate? Boys run the pentagon, it's the patriarchy? Please. Much less egregious generalizations (I used the word Jihadist here once) get generic conservatives skewered from all sides, yet this will likely pass with nary a glance here. FWIW, force has been deployed against Saddam twice and against Al Qaeda and its affiliates since Berlin Wall fell. No one else.

Few here, even, argue that Gulf War I was a bad idea. The Iraq Invasion has been beat to death here and need not be revisited, but you can't say there weren't furious negotiations in the run up, including an offer to Saddam to step aside. Afghanistan was a consensus war that has lasted too long. The fault here is bipartisan.

If there is a female gender specific antidote to terror, please share it.

"If there is a female gender specific antidote to terror, please share it."

Well, I'm a guy, so it's not female gender specific, but maybe a good antidote to terror is to not flip the @$!# out and turn your entire country and large parts of the world upside down because of threats from a few haters living in caves. The damage we have done to ourselves, economically, militarily, psychologically, morally, and to our ideals far, far outweighs even the greatest damage Al Queda has done or could ever do.

McT, do you have any female candidates you'd like to suggest for Sec of Def?

I'd say the woman right now with the most qualifications & experience is Olympia Snowe.

Not playing at being McT, but there it is.

Her Wikipedia entry suggests that she's one generation away from being a Spartan.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

maybe McT doesn't have a female candidate he'd suggest for Sec of Def, because he doesn't care what gonads his secretaries possess, but rather what actual relevant qualifications they have.

turn your entire country and large parts of the world upside down because of threats from a few haters living in caves.

Nate, how would you have handled Al Qaeda post 9-11, understanding that you wouldn't have invaded Iraq? Seriously, what would you have done and can you demonstrate that your approach would have dealt more effectively with the threats posed?

McT, do you have any female candidates you'd like to suggest for Sec of Def?

Not off the top of my head, nor do I have a particular male candidate in mind, although why gender trumps competence is beyond me.

I am so sorry I hadn't been following you when you wrote your article on "subtractive masculinity" because to some extent, I have believed that for well over a decade: the definition of masculinity varies from community to community, but one requirement is that it involve something that women do not do in large numbers. This is not because women are not "human" but because they are not MEN.

And this is important because men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others. I have no doubt that most women would shake their heads and not get it, but it underlies most male interaction. In some communities, the behavior tends to be very negative: getting women pregnant as a sign of masculinity. In others it tends to be more positive - defending those weaker than yourself, or mastering complex subjects. But in pretty much all cases, it seems to me, if women begin doing something in large numbers, how can it possibly be masculine?

The idea of the State Department as feminine is kind of interesting, although I never thought of Colin Powell as particularly effeminate. The problem is that negotiation is hard - especially when the department and administration frequently construct largely erroneous models of how those with whom we choose to negotiate think. If you assume that Western culture and Western priorities are necessarily universal, and try to measure every other culture according to those standards, interacting with non-Western cultures, who have their own unique histories, beliefs, and priorities will often be fruitless.

First off, let me repeat, once more: Iraq had NOTHING to do with Al Queda, or with 9/11, so asking "how would I have handled Al Queda post 9/11, understanding that I wouldn't have invaded Iraq?" is flat out silly. Al Queda was in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Second, there's no guarantee that 9/11 would have happened the same way with a different Administration in charge, given the Bush administration pulled lots of FBI resources off Al Queda when they took office.

Third, after 9/11, instead of useless security theater that's done nothing except hurt our economy, scare our people, and make flying a pain in the ass, give real resources to law enforcement to continue methods that worked to catch people, rather than illegal wiretapping and detention.

Fourth, if there was no other option besides invading Afghanistan, which there may not have been, by not drawing down attention, resources, and troops to go after Iraq, that would likely have been more successful. And if we were going to invade, then things would have differed greatly with a different crew in charge, and Bin Laden might not have escaped, at which point he could be tried.

Fifth, even if everything else had been done exactly the same ways, avoiding the greatest crimes of the Bush administration would have helped make us safer too. No torture, no invasion of Iraq, no indefinite holding in Gitmo, no spending the rest of the time making the economy worse.

Can I demonstrate it? Sure, look at the threats we faced from terrorists before, and now, and do you think our current level of paranoia is justified? If you do think it's justified to claim we're strong enough to wet our pants every time somebody says "Boo!" can you demonstrate how that's more successful than behaving like a confident, mature, civilization?

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others.

I await the onslaught of comments calling out this sexist over-generalization. I feel horribly marginalized. SF SF SF.

if women begin doing something in large numbers, how can it possibly be masculine

Seriously? What upper-body strength neutral activity are you referring to? And even then, we see more and more women doing, e.g. , front line construction work.

“This is not because women are not "human" but because they are not MEN” Yet you go straight to describing normal human behavior as male behavior. Don’t you think women “respect” those who can “master complex subjects” or will “defend those weaker than themselves”?
Then it follows that as women get to do more in society, "subtractive masculinity" means that only those things that women are not yet allowed to do are sufficiently masculine for a man. And it is indeed a case of not being allowed. Do you really think that there has not been a single non-male (or non-white) qualified for Sec of Def. Gender trumps competence indeed.

Iraq had NOTHING to do with Al Queda, or with 9/11, so asking "how would I have handled Al Queda post 9/11, understanding that I wouldn't have invaded Iraq?" is flat out silly. Al Queda was in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Understood, which is why it is unnecessary for you to tell me you wouldn't have invaded Iraq. I got that part.

Second, there's no guarantee that 9/11 would have happened the same way with a different Administration in charge, given the Bush administration pulled lots of FBI resources off Al Queda when they took office.

Sure. Everybody knows this.

give real resources to law enforcement to continue methods that worked to catch people, rather than illegal wiretapping and detention.

Please specify the "real resources" you are referring to here.

if there was no other option besides invading Afghanistan, which there may not have been, by not drawing down attention, resources, and troops to go after Iraq, that would likely have been more successful.

Agreed.

avoiding the greatest crimes of the Bush administration would have helped make us safer too.

Can you give one example of a Bush crime that made us less safe? Seriously, how many terrorist attacks did the US sustain post 9-11?

Sure, look at the threats we faced from terrorists before, and now, and do you think our current level of paranoia is justified? If you do think it's justified to claim we're strong enough to wet our pants every time somebody says "Boo!" can you demonstrate how that's more successful than behaving like a confident, mature, civilization?

Uh, Nate, there were like 8-10 direct attacks against US citizens and institutions prior to 9-11. None of what we were doing then worked. Can you give me an example of a confident, mature civilization that sustained the equivalent of 9-11 and all that preceded it and acted substantially different than we did?

MckTex - I think you forgot the Bosnia adventure (post-Berlin Wall use of force). Was Panama post-wall? Also, Somalia.

Having said that... I'm not sure I blame the patriarchy for the (alleged, though it fits with my view) decline of State.

I think it's possible the problem is somewhat different:

Maybe it's less about being tough guys (though I certainly think there is plenty of that going on) and more about impatience. Results, damnit! MAKE IT SO! Negotiation can take time and often fails at producing the desired result. Meanwhile, the fantasy of military action (as opposed to the reality) is that it will be quick and produce exactly what we want.

The alternative theory*, of course, is the feminine pool of candidates for the White Dudes positions is smaller because fewer women see themselves "wanting" those roles, from a career planning perspective.

With a pool that is predominantly men then the "first" woman to get the job takes longer.

*Please note that this comment is as detailed in its factual basis as the post in terms of pool size, desire of women for a job that ends up qualifying them to be SecDef, the size of the pool of Goldman ex-employees that are women and want to be SecTreasury, etc.

I am always uncomfortable with "this is the way it is so this must be why" arguments.

I see one major problem with the concept that "real men don't negotiate." Perhaps the most truly macho President we have had said "Speak softly and carry a big stick." [emphasis added] T

Today's would-be he-men are really big on the second part. But far too insecure (IMHO) to accept the first part. Teddy wasn't insecure, so he could speak softly and negotiate. But God help anyone foolish enough to call him a whimp.

In reply to Marty
How many people "want" a job they know they are not going to get or, if they do get it, know are not welcome and will be told they only got the job because they are of group X.

I think you forgot the Bosnia adventure (post-Berlin Wall use of force). Was Panama post-wall? Also, Somalia.

Correct on Bosnia and Somalia. Panama was under Reagan.

the fantasy of military action (as opposed to the reality) is that it will be quick and produce exactly what we want.

Another fantasy is that the US resorts to military force as a default position rather than as the end product of negotiations, sanctions, public debate and, with the exception of Bosnia and Somalia, congressional resolution.

And, occasionally, military force is quicker and more productive than negotiations: Bosnia, Panama, Gulf War I and the early phase of Afghanistan.

I share McK's discomfort with male/female used as a metaphor in this post.

I do think that there is a divide between those who have the intestinal fortitude to engage in real negotiations and to make reasonable risk assessments and those who indulge in war-like posturings and actual warlike behavior (usually toward those they assume they can defeat easily). It's the difference between real strength and mere bullying. It is the difference between actual stregnth and the desire to appear strong.

I don't think the correlation between these modes of operation are to gender any more. Fifty years ago the correlation to gender might have been more valid, I think.

But I think that gender role assignments have evolved enough now that there are plenty of female bullies around and lots of men who are strong enough to think and reason.

I do believe that at this point in history the thinking and reasoning mode of operation is more closely correlated to Democrats and the bullying and postering to Republicans, though.

I don't really think it's a case of male/female being a metaphor in this post.
It's more a case of perceived/stereotypical male/female characteristics being implemented in policy in reality.

Apart from that, what wonkie said.

The idea of the State Department as feminine is kind of interesting, although I never thought of Colin Powell as particularly effeminate.

For some reason this springs to mind.

On a more serious note, it's interesting to see how this thread is developing. The notion that there's an extremely strong gendered aspect to the distinction between military force (masculine) and negotiation and diplomacy (feminine) seems blindingly obvious to me. Fascinating to see how such a banal observation can make people so uncomfortable.

"Fascinating to see how such a banal observation can make people so uncomfortable."

Fascinating too how refusal to slice things along gender lines seems like discomfort to others.

Fascinating to see how such a banal observation can make people so uncomfortable.

UK, until the last 50 years or so, diplomacy and the military were both exclusively male undertakings. The subtext of Dr. Sciene's post, seconded by FuzzyFace, is that men, more in the past than today, default to force because they have control issues whereas women, lacking those issues, employ reason and suasion. If there is even a general rule that applies to either sex, it is so riddled with exceptions as to be hardly worth noting in the first place.

And still, no one has hammered FuzzyFace for this patently sexist comment: men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others.

OK, Slarti, I get it. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from a gendered analysis of foreign or defense policy, or the way it's treated in the media. Doctor Science's reference to "anxious masculinity" is just so much silly feminist posturing over nothing.

Bowing out now. Have fun.

"The notion that there's an extremely strong gendered aspect to the distinction between military force (masculine) and negotiation and diplomacy (feminine) seems blindingly obvious to me."

Even if this is blindingly obvious, see Slart above, then that it would follow that women would strive to be SecState and not SecDef would seem equally blindingly obvious. Not to mention how successful they might be, based on those tendencies, at each job.

Neither of which is blindingly obvious to me.

McKinneyTexas,

Fuzzyface's entire comment is made up of sexist and silly statements so I think people are just ignoring it. I'm very puzzled on why you think any of the liberal posters or commentators would agree with Fuzzyface.

But sure.

Men are no more naturally hierarchical then human being are naturally hierarchical.

I'm with McKinney - this is a pretty tired, and essentially substanceless trope about women being better at "people skills" and men needing to whip out their penises when dealing with others.
Is there some data to back this up? Data about how various administrations, or Cabinet-level people actually view Defense and State? Or if State's (or any department's) influence noticeably wanes when there is a woman in charge, and resurges when there is a man in charge?

"There is absolutely nothing to be gained from a gendered analysis of foreign or defense policy"

I didn't say that. I failed to make my point, so please, let me try again:

Some people don't tend to divide issues along gender lines. Your equation of that failure to divide issues along gender lines to fear is unwarranted, I think.

I'm feminist, and I certainly like to play with archetypes, but I don't think the gender issue - intriguing as the idea is - is really much at work here.

One could flip the gender stereotype, after all, and say that the female maternal instinct is so fierce and protective that it would a natural fit for a Secretary of Defense.

But trying to ascribe feminine principles of power to female Secretaries of State fails, I think, because a whopping 33% of the available study sample was almost a charicature of the non-negotiating, non-intuitive, non-female principle model: Condi Rice.

She was primarily concerned with hierarchy, and where she fit into it; and with the mechanics of corporate-type power maneuvering, which is why she disregarded the warnings during the Summer of Threat: Clarke wasn't properly respectful of her place in the hierarchy or of the process she had developed for getting items onto the group agenda.

She had little understanding of, and less interest in developing understanding of, cultural or social structures other than the one which had nurtured her. This made her a lousy negotiator - which was fine with her, because she thought negotiating was a sign of weakness. Thus her dismissive "They know what they need to do" when speaking of Arab/Muslim leaders.

Condi was neither masculine nor feminine in her use of power archetypes. Not sure what she was, actually, though I've always thought of her as a Heather type of person: cultivating popularity, meanness, and just enough knowledge to impress others.

Eric's recent post talked a little bit about the imbalance in US policy between negotiation (and the Department of State) and force (and the Department of Defense). I'm pretty sure I read something about it on another blog, too, one with comments (i.e. not Sullivan).

I think the post you are referring to is this from Jim Henley:

http://bit.ly/btaSnq

Discussed on this site here:

http://bit.ly/bnbnKN

That gender plays a role in how the departments are perceived or their power or prominence has nothing to do with whether any actual real person adheres to stereotypes.

It never has.

People have no trouble at all basing their actions on gender analysis that is disproved by the very people they know. It's one of those infuriating things about sexism.

That Ann Coulter lives her life in direct opposition to the way the Republican party states is "moral" does not hurt her popularity or platform.

That neither Rice nor Clinton are stereotypes doesn't mean that stereotypes aren't an important factor in how the department and perceptions work.

I'm very puzzled on why you think any of the liberal posters or commentators would agree with Fuzzyface.

I am about half kidding and half serious. An occasional complaint of mine is that liberal/progressives at this site are quick to take others, particularly conservatives, to task for imputing to any group a common characteristic, yet are blind to analogous behaviors when the behavior fits the liberal/progressive narrative. Mainly, I am mildly chiding the frequent, left-of-center commenters here about having failed to instantly and vigorously take FF to task. As they would if it were me, GOB, Marty or BB under similar circumstances.

McKinney: The whole point of Bin Laden's plan was to get us to overreact and waste lots of money in an expensive invasion of Afghanistan. Which we almost beat his plan, until we invaded Iraq. Violent lashing out isn't a surprising reaction on the part of anybody, or any country, but that doesn't make it the right or productive thing to do in every case.

Aside from Iraq, and the many dead from there who can tell you about how we're less safe, the crimes like torture and abduction are the worst thing when you're trying to deal with something like an insurgency, because it blows up the narrative of "we're the good guys", and makes you just another set of foreign occupiers. It's also a giant propaganda coup for our enemies, because it takes the things they say about hating us, and provides proof, and reasons.

As for safer, do you think we're any safer because of taking off our shoes, or scanners that can look through clothes, or standing in lines for an hour or more at an airport? Especially given how many times and how easily these have been foiled by journalists and amateurs?

Another fantasy is that the US resorts to military force as a default position rather than as the end product of negotiations, sanctions, public debate and, with the exception of Bosnia and Somalia, congressional resolution.

And, occasionally, military force is quicker and more productive than negotiations: Bosnia, Panama, Gulf War I and the early phase of Afghanistan.

I don't really think it's much of a fantasy. Exaggeration, perhaps, but not fantasy. The US military sure gets used a lot if it's really true that it's only used after "the end product of negotiations, sanctions, public debate and [in some cases] congressional resolution."

Iraq - Congress yes (fools, jerks, etc). Public debate? Ignored, shouted down. There was no real debate in the halls of power. They were going in, facts be damned. The freaking inspectors told them there were no WMDs and it didn't matter. Default = war.

Afganistan - public debate in the wake of 9/11? Yeah right. Negotiations... to this day I'm unclear on exactly what was and was not done on that score. I recall hearing that we tried to negotiate with the Taliban but were rebuffed.

Not that I think going in was unjustified, mind you. We had a valid casus belli, IMO, and the issue now is really mission creep.

Bosnia - as you noted, no Congressional resolution. "Debate" was stifled by the whole "NEVAR AGAIN" line about genocide. The part where we ended up backing/protecting a bunch of real jerks who then proceeded to beat up on the Bosnian Serbs? Oh, details. Just send in the USAF!

Somalia - as you noted, no Congressional resolution. Billed as a humanitarian intervention, no? Was there much debate? I honestly don't recall.

I don't think it's "fantasy" to imagine that the US government does a piss poor job of looking at non-military solutions to problems in the international arena.

I do think it's fantastical to assert w/o evidence that it's because of "the patriarchy." I honestly don't buy that a world run by women wouldn't be just as militaristic.

"men are primarily hierarchical"

Is this from someone who hasn't met women?

Fuzzyface's entire comment is made up of sexist and silly statements

wrong. Just plain wrong. Are people so angered by the generalization about hierarchy that they ignored the rest?

fuzzyface says

the definition of masculinity varies from community to community, but one requirement is that it involve something that women do not do in large numbers.

I don't find this very novel, I admit, but it's true, and it's relevant to the notion of the feminization of occupations. On that I'll say, fairly uncontentiously, that feminized occupations/professions/posts tend to be, to become, downgraded. But also, it may be -- to pick up on doctor science's post -- that their incumbents both are allowed to display more "female/feminine" characteristics, and are expected to. (In nursing, primary school teaching, medicine in Soviet Russia. Maybe.)

What I doubt is the applicability of all this to State after one female incumbent! If Cameron/Clegg/Miliband are less macho than male PMs before Thatcher, it is not because she held the post,it's because of a cultural generational shift of which feminism is but a part. Actually, they aren't really more macho than all the previous PMs. But their range of permitted behaviour is wider. Because gender expectations have changed, as they can change because -- and I'm sure fuzzyface agrees -- gender is a social construct that varies within and between societies and over time.

now to fuzzyface's generalization. I disagree with it, but am convinced it isn't a statement that men are "naturally" hierarchical. It's a statement about gender, about culture, about ascribed gendered characteristics. And it could be true.

I am not a frequent commenter here, I am Left. I am a feminist. I don't endorse doctor scientist's post in full, by any means, as I think it may conflate sex and gender. But I certainly will defend most of what fuzzyface says. Fuzzyface's basic model is really pretty clear ("definition of masculinity varies...") and not contentious in any way.


Arcininan -- "That neither Rice nor Clinton are stereotypes doesn't mean that stereotypes aren't an important factor in how the department and perceptions work."

This. What is at issue here is not the gender of the people involved, but rather the way that the duties and attitudes involved in the departments are coded in our culture. It's not about whether or not Clinton or Rice have the balls to be SecDef, but rather the way that our language and culture default to masculine modes when talking and thinking about the organized use of force.

PTL, you find this to be a valid, non-sexist observation:

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others.

Seriously, how many terrorist attacks did the US sustain post 9-11?

Well, there was the anthrax attacks, and Nidal, and several failed attempts in between.

Can you give me an example of a confident, mature civilization that sustained the equivalent of 9-11 and all that preceded it and acted substantially different than we did?

I'm not sure what the criteria are on all fronts, but Spain has withstood big attacks, and hasn't seemed to adopt the massive security state/theater we have. Nor have they lashed out recklessly foreign policy wise (or internally against ETA).

Can you give one example of a Bush crime that made us less safe?

If you believe General Petraeus, torture, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib all contributed to radicalization of potential terrorists, and led to direct attacks against coalition forces/swelling of insurgent ranks that undoubtedly led to the deaths of soldiers.

Dunno if Iraq is technically a crime, but I think invading Iraq has made us less safe.

I agree with Rob in CT's point that the use of the military is more about impatience than gender roles. My guess is that such impatience is a natural reaction to (a) the 4-year election cycle, which rewards short-term actions over long-term results, and (b) the increased power given over time to the executive branch (where one person is "the Decider") at the expense of Congress.

(I ran into problems posting this, had to cut it.)
McKinneyTexas,I'd have thought my comment answered your question. Let me repeat, though, that the generalization is in my view a cultural one, about ascribed/taught/learned behaviour and beliefs, that I don't believe it, that it might though be true. It might, that is, be true that by means of socialization and milieu, men are more likely than women to be "hierarchical". If so, it would not be sexist to point it out. It is not I believe sexist to posit the possibility.


Anyway. I'd like to address a comment of yours. You say

The subtext of Dr. Sciene's post, seconded by FuzzyFace, is that men, more in the past than today, default to force because they have control issues whereas women, lacking those issues, employ reason and suasion. If there is even a general rule that applies to either sex, it is so riddled with exceptions as to be hardly worth noting in the first place.

Now if this is the subtext, I reject it. (It doesn't seem to me to be what doctor science means.) I think there may well be a case for saying that women are more likely than men to opt for suasion, simply because fewer women than men are powerful in the conventional sense of the term, though also because of upbringing. But I do not think that makes women "better". My take on Hillary Clinton, in this context, is that she is allowed, that gender stereotyping allows her, a broader range of behaviour than a man of the same generation doing the same job. And for that reason she could be better suited to State than a man who is shackled by expectations of proper male behaviour and masculine norms.

And that is what doctor science is saying, I contend. It's about social expectations, about stereotypes. It's about men differing radically from one another but possibly being forced into stereotypical "male" behaviour because of (many) people's expectations of men. Because of course, stereotypes have power.

PTL says:

My take on Hillary Clinton, in this context, is that she is allowed, that gender stereotyping allows her, a broader range of behaviour than a man of the same generation doing the same job.

I agree with this.

PTL then says:

And that is what doctor science is saying, I contend.

I disagree with this.

Here is a snippet from the original post:

Negotiation, or even talking to people, is for wimps." But even more, it's for women, and the stink of anxious masculinity is all over this.

Anxious masculinity? Seriously, this is the difference between State and Defense? Is anxious masculinity the analogue of hormonal femininity? I don't see a cultural component here. This is straight up "men have masculinity issues that direct them away from jobs that women do well."

I am sitting here, with a woman as a law partner and with three out of four associate attorneys working for us being women, a daughter getting an MBA, a sister outearning me brokering insurance for offshore drilling companies (flying by helicopter out to rigs, inspecting, hanging with the roughnecks,etc.), a wife with a degree in microbiology, fluent in three languages, functional in two more and very accomplished professionally and I am wondering what work would be left for men if we only chose jobs that weren't "for women", as Dr. Science put it.

The conclusion is wrong: men routinely do work that women also do and the premise, that they won't do certain jobs that are traditionally and stereotypically viewed as female positions is wrong in every instance I can think of except possibly one. Two of the few jobs that come to mind in which women predominate, pre-school thru elementary education and nursing, are a function of inclination, i.e. few men are drawn to working with small children day in and day out, a larger but still relatively small number of men are interested in nursing. The only job I can think of that is stereotype-driven is secretarial/office assistant, but even that is becoming a thing of the past.

"It may be an important, prestigious job -- theoretically -- but it's not *manly*, so it just doesn't have the cachet of a Real Man Job."

How does this account for Bill Richardson?

The idea of the State Department as feminine is kind of interesting, although I never thought of Colin Powell as particularly effeminate.

I dunno, Powell is apparently into Volvo

Two of the few jobs that come to mind in which women predominate, pre-school thru elementary education and nursing, are a function of inclination, i.e. few men are drawn to working with small children day in and day out, a larger but still relatively small number of men are interested in nursing.

Actually, I believe that is not inclination but because of specific societal constraints related to women. Teaching is one of the few jobs, back in the day, that you could work while your child was not at home and you had time to get back and fix supper. But even if you claim that it is inclination, aren't you presenting a gendered view?

Nursing is an occupation that arose as an assistant to (male) doctors, and was considered a useful contribution to the war effort in that women couldn't fight (cf Florence Nightingale)

Service occupations have generally been considered women's work (note the previous prevalence of stewardess and the next time you fly, count the number of men in the flight crew and what they do)

You've really gotten a head of steam over what you feel are un-useful generalizations in the post, which is fine, but fury and anecdata are not really going to convince. I may be particularly unreceptive to your argument living where I do, but how different is you citing 3 or 4 women you know to pointing to 3 or 4 successful African Americans and claiming that there is no racial component in the US?

How does this account for Bill Richardson?

what about the beard?

But even if you claim that it is inclination, aren't you presenting a gendered view?

I am. My experience is that far more women than men are interested in working with little kids. There are plenty of gender differences. I can't think of any, other than strength, that are qualitatively superior.

I may be particularly unreceptive to your argument living where I do, but how different is you citing 3 or 4 women you know to pointing to 3 or 4 successful African Americans and claiming that there is no racial component in the US?

What I find most interesting and amusing about this is the ease with which sexist statements go unchallenged here if they fit the dominant narrative. Most here, including you, get quite worked up over even the possibility of sexism or racism or homophobia on the right. Yet when it goes the other way, ho hum.

So, noticing that certain behaviors, disciplines, jobs, and attributes are coded as belonging to certain genders in American culture (in any culture!) is now "sexism?" I . . . think that is not the case.

That's a big leap there. Sexism and racism have a long history that you seem to blithely dismiss and when it is pointed out that these may influence perceptions, you lose it. There are several others here who are not completely convinced by the thesis and are discussing it, but you want the whole discussion ruled out of bounds. You claim that 'even I' get worked up over the 'possibility of racism or sexism or homophobia on the right', but that is a statement without content. I've said on several occasions that I don't think anyone is perfectly free of biases and prejudices, so if I am pummeling people because they hold them, you can point them out to me and I can say that I was wrong. I do think that I get worked up when people on the right claim that there is no prejudice when they propose specific policies that impact a minority group disproportionately. But absent any actual words I have written, I really can't address that. And I am certainly not going to defend the words of others when they haven't even been stated for me to read.

This isn't to yank your chain in any way, and I've previously stated my appreciation for your participation. And I apologize if I wasn't able to follow up on my previous query about a female SecDef, though I would have suggested that the inability to come up with female candidates suggests an asymmetry worth exploring.

As I said, I live in a country that probably has more blatant sexism, so I am a bit sensitized to it, but I don't get the dismissal of the notion that there are feminine characteristics and masculine characteristics and masculine characteristics tend to be valued over feminine ones, such that women who want to be successful need to adopt a certain level of masculinity that can, if taken too far, backfire. It also means that men who adopt some feminine characteristics are also going to get burned. If you disagree with that, that's cool, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you. But if you disagree and want to convince me, you are going to need to do better than what you have been doing.

So, noticing that certain behaviors, disciplines, jobs, and attributes are coded as belonging to certain genders in American culture (in any culture!) is now "sexism?" I . . . think that is not the case.

Phil, did you read the thread? Carefully?

This is sexist:

Negotiation, or even talking to people, is for wimps." But even more, it's for women, and the stink of anxious masculinity is all over this.

This is sexist:

the more things women do -- and even the more virtues women display -- restricts what men can do for those critical masculinity points. Which means that, now that women have been Secretary of State, it can no longer be a sought-after post for manly manly men.

This is sexist.

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others. I have no doubt that most women would shake their heads and not get it, but it underlies most male interaction.

I mean, even though we've had women in the military for decades now, the military is still so heavily coded as "masculine" that we a large proportion of the population can't stand the idea of letting openly gay men serve. And their arguments against it rely HEAVILY on masculine/feminine gender dichotomies.

Professional sports are tremendously coded as masculine, so much so that it's pretty much taken as an article of faith that any woman in any of the major sports (LPGA, WNBA, etc.) is a lesbian.

Fashion and hairstyling are coded as feminine, such that any man working in those fields is assumed to be gay.

etc., etc., etc.

Examples of particular individuals working in particular fields does not remove the cultural bias of those fields as being gendered one way nor the other.

Around the house, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of the kids is culturally considered "women's work." Repairing appliances, fixing the car, etc. is considered "man's work." That's how our culture views them, regardless of who actually does them. That's why cleaning product commercials are targeted towards women, and that's why the movie is called [i]Mr. Mom[/i] and not [i]Mrs. Dad[/i], despite [i]both[/i] characters undergoing "role-reversals" in the film.

This is gender studies 101 stuff, and it's hardly sexism to notice it.

I read an article that discussed this in terms of approaches to dealing with sexism. In the US, generally, great efforts were made to guarantee equality of opportunity. Jack can be a CEO? OK, Jane can be one too! Eliminating barriers to women entering traditionally male dominated fields was what was important.

In Europe, what was emphasized was making sure that women could participate in the workplace while still retaining their traditional roles. Hence, the opportunity for women to take maternity leave, have day care options, etc, are greatly expanded, especially in Scandinavian countries.

To my mind, the European model has been much more successful than the American. My family has had a few foreign exchange students back in the day who are now in their mid 40s, and they have been able to achieve a balance between work and home that American women the same age would only be able to do with a much larger level of income.

That should be I read an article long ago that I have no idea how to find...

This is sexist:

Negotiation, or even talking to people, is for wimps." But even more, it's for women, and the stink of anxious masculinity is all over this.

The first sentence most certainly is not, and anyone American who has lived through the GWB administrations and the Obama/McCain campaign couldn't really believe so.

The second sentence, you can possibly make an argument that it is, but you have failed to do so. You've merely asserted it and expected us all to be cowed. Epic fail.

This is sexist:

the more things women do -- and even the more virtues women display -- restricts what men can do for those critical masculinity points. Which means that, now that women have been Secretary of State, it can no longer be a sought-after post for manly manly men.

I disagree completely. I think, in fact, that it's absolutely correct.

This is sexist.

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others. I have no doubt that most women would shake their heads and not get it, but it underlies most male interaction.

It might be sexist. It's certainly wrong, as anyone who has witnessed or read studies on how women tend to treat other women in the workplace can attest.

This same issue came up a week or two ago with regard to the "servant" thread.

liberal japonicus: My family has had a few foreign exchange students back in the day who are now in their mid 40s, and they have been able to achieve a balance between work and home that American women the same age would only be able to do with a much larger level of income.

Would that be because European women are still tasked with those duties, whereas in America, the larger level of income could have afforded "servants"?

Phil: "Around the house, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of the kids is culturally considered 'women's work.' Repairing appliances, fixing the car, etc. is considered 'man's work.'"

Again, revisiting the previous thread, if Phil's list of "women's work" is outsourced, it is to "servants" and is considered exploitative. Outsourcing "men's work" is to laborers, and is morally neutral.

I think that Doctor Science's point is that when women, in large numbers, assume a task, the task itself gradually becomes something that society somehow considers to be beneath "real men". It's certainly true that in today's economy, women have the opportunity to achieve positions traditionally held by men, but the question Doctor Science raises is whether the value of the task is somehow diminished when it is associated with women. The fact that McKinney lists women he knows who have various jobs, traditionally associated with men doing them, proves that these women are considered exceptional, and that they're doing work that, in his mind, is traditionally male.

Oh, puh-lease, McKinney Texas and the others who are getting all bunched up about this. Spend some time in the military and in the State department--as I have--and you will INEVITABLY hear aggressive action referred to as manly and negotiators as "pussies." This is a common trope. The frantic denials here not only fly in the face of the evidence, but also miss the point. No one said there was a gender-specific way of handling terrorism. No one said a world run by women would be more peaceful. Doctor Science did say that in our current male-dominated society, war is stereotypically seen as male and negotiation as female. That is all.

The fact that McKinney lists women he knows who have various jobs, traditionally associated with men doing them, proves that these women are considered exceptional, and that they're doing work that, in his mind, is traditionally male.

I listed the 7 women with whom I work and live most closely, not as examples of how exceptional women can overcome horrific barriers, but as examples of jobs women now do routinely yet men still continue to do them as well. I also intended to demonstrate how commonplace it is for women to do all kinds of work that was, until recently, predominantly male. I did this not to make some point about how far women have come, but to show, contra Dr. S' thesis, that women doing traditionally male jobs doesn't "feminize" the work and make it unattractive to men. The idea that it does is just wrong, whether its law, business, SecState or what have you.

Mckinney, those jobs are still predominantly male. I don't think there will be an immediate diminishment of the value of those jobs as more women do them, but how many people who post on this list are bragging about their nurse sons, elementary school teacher husbands, child caring nephews, etc.? These women's jobs, just like domestic "servant" jobs, are not considered prestigious. Maybe noble. Maybe wonderful. Maybe generous. Not prestigious.

Hi guys. Sorry for the delay getting back to this -- I spent part of today with my eyes closed and mouth open, mediating upon the future of dentistry to distract myself. Soon I shall have a new, expensive crown! Isn't that *exciting*?

Yeah. Anyway, when PT said:

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others. I have no doubt that most women would shake their heads and not get it
I had to LOL. You must remember high school (and junior high or middle school, even more so) very differently than I do. If there's a difference between males and females (in our culture) in this regard, it's that girls are trained more thoroughly in social skills, so the girls' hierarchies are more solid and harder to escape.

"I mean, even though we've had women in the military for decades now, the military is still so heavily coded as "masculine" that we a large proportion of the population can't stand the idea of letting openly gay men serve."

I'm not sure if it impacts the argument, but actually 70% of the population thinks that gay men should be allowed to serve openly. So few things get that much consensus in US politics, that it is deeply vexing that the legislature hasn't made it so.

"actually 70% of the population thinks that gay men"

Just gay men? Just sayin'

Would that be because European women are still tasked with those duties, whereas in America, the larger level of income could have afforded "servants"?

That's a good question, and I'm not sure what the answer is. But 'still tasked with those duties' is a loaded way of putting it. One could say that European nations made more allowances to women to help extend themselves rather than forcing them to choose between one situation or the other. And one of the backlash effects of the American style seems to be a weaker integration of women into various spheres of public life. Where the social democratic system is strongest, in the Nordic countries, the number of parliamentary seats held by women is 42%. here in the US, it is about half of that (22.5%) If I get time later, I'll try and get some links to other stats.

That's why cleaning product commercials are targeted towards women

99% of *all* tv commercials are targeted at women, since they make 80% of the buying decisions.

I just went to check Sebastian's figures, and was surprised to see that this is not a terribly recent development, either.

But what you do see is that there's a big gender gap -- men are much more opposed to repealing DADT than women are, and since the media, Congress, and the military are mostly-male, what men -- especially Southern men (who are way over-represented in both the military and the Senate) -- want is what we all get.

David:

Spend some time in the military and in the State department--as I have--and you will INEVITABLY hear aggressive action referred to as manly and negotiators as "pussies."
Exactly! Yes, that's precisely what I'm talking about.

David, do you think this kind of talk has been constant for decades, or has it gotten more so recently? (for whatever value of "recently" you like)

@McKTx:
Correct on Bosnia and Somalia. Panama was under Reagan.

Actually, no. It was under Bush I. However, if you want to discuss whether it was "post-Wall", I'm not sure I'd count it as such since it came, what, 40 days after the fall?

liberal japonicus, it's my understanding that the European means of allowing women to "extend themselves" has been to offer them support through socialist programs for the "second shift" that most American women have to figure out for themselves. I am, as a matter of policy, in favor of the European model.

I'm not really arguing for or against that right now - I just think it's ironic that we just had a discussion (the one started by Jacob Davies about servants) which touched on how certain positions in society become, because of gender identification, more "untouchable" than others. This is probably far afield of what Doctor Science was getting at, but it does seem that, all of a sudden, a macho would-be future president might want to build his career as Secretary of Defense rather than Secretary of State - because Secretary of State is for weenies or women.

Once women become strongly identified with certain job categories, those jobs become less prestigious. I argued in that other thread that employment as a household helper (cleaning, child care, etc.) shouldn't be morally different than employment as a "mr. fix-it" or a landscaping person. For some reason, the whole thrust of that thread was that domestic work (women's work) shouldn't be outsourced because people shouldn't have "servants" - servants, of course, being surrogate wives.

Sorry sapient, I glossed over your point about servant and linking it back to the other thread. I wasn't in that thread so much, so I can't really speak to it, but I don't remember the notion of surrogate wives coming across so strongly. I'll try to go back to it if I have a chance. I see a difference with hired-help that has job specific equipment versus using things around the house, in that your sunk costs in buying various equipment can be a problem. But that plugs into the power-tool culture as well.

Anyway, when PT said:

men are primarily hierarchical - what ultimately matters is who has to respect whom, and who can decide for others. I have no doubt that most women would shake their heads and not get it

I had to LOL. You must remember high school (and junior high or middle school, even more so) very differently than I do.

fuzzyface said that. My memories of primary school and grammar school tell me men are a lot more hierarchical (primary school male head, female teachers), women are a lot more hierarchical, men phenomenally egalitarian and relaxed (grammar school female head, only three male teachers). But that's a male sample of three in a feminized profession, in a mixed primary school but a girls' grammar school, so I wouldn't generalise. Perhaps your memories are more valid?

(OK I am being sarcastic. I'm afraid I think that's justified.)

Though I didn't say it, I thought it could be true. My experiences, not my school experiences alone, my experiences over many years, in various institutional and non-institutional settings, do lead me to think there may be something in the generalisation. Let me add that I have always believed, for example,that women are every bit as competitive as men, we simply have competed, characteristically, in different ways and in different milieus. But it is, I think, a difference that makes a difference.

It could be "hierarchical" is similar. If we look at formal and informal hierarchies and define hierarchy loosely, it probably is. I do though still think there may be a difference, not a sex difference, a gender difference, a cultural difference, in who can decide for others. Why was the early second wave feminist movement so resolutely non-Leninist? (E.g.)

> Can you give one example of a Bush crime
> that made us less safe? Seriously, how many
> terrorist attacks did the US sustain post
> 9-11?

Ah, once again the anthrax attacks flushed down the memory hole...

Cranky

Seriously, how many terrorist attacks did the US sustain post 9-11?

well, using Bush's definition (any attack on US interests, anywhere in the world, for any reason = terrorism), we've experienced hundreds and hundreds.

Sorry, late to the party.

Nate, how would you have handled Al Qaeda post 9-11, understanding that you wouldn't have invaded Iraq?

Take Afghanistan seriously. Take our own heritage of civil rights seriously.

Thanks for the softball.

Can you give me an example of a confident, mature civilization that sustained the equivalent of 9-11 and all that preceded it and acted substantially different than we did?

The UK and Spain, in the face of direct Al Qaeda attacks in major cities, which killed a lot of people.

There are a lot of countries in the world that regularly experience acts of political terror without totally losing their sh*t.

I would say that we are the exceptions.

Regarding the original post, I think it's fair to say that State focuses on negotiation and the DoD is more about blowing stuff up.

You can also sell me on the idea that human nature and consciousness runs a gamut from gentle and yielding to assertive, forceful, and dominating.

IMO it's pretty problematic to connect all of that to the physical gender of whoever is running the shop.

And since we're in these deep waters already, I'll add my thought about "the patriarchy". They will be worth approximately one nickel.

Institutions arise and exist because they serve a function. They go away when the function is no longer needed.

Purely off the top of my head, my intuition is that "the patriarchy" existed because it served a function. That function is likely now obsolete, so the institution is fading out.

I'm not sorry to see it go..

I put "the patriarchy" in square quotes not because I don't think it's a real thing, but because it covers so many different things.

The original post opined that State, having now been headed by a woman, would no longer be seen as appropriately male work. That is silly. There are countless jobs that both men and women do and men haven't left any particular line of employment because women have begun participating in it. Finally, apparently it's fine to generalize about men, or women, if the generalizations fit the narrative.

Often, the restatement tells us a lot

The original post opined that State, having now been headed by a woman, would no longer be seen as appropriately male work.

Dr Science wrote
Which means that, now that women have been Secretary of State, it can no longer be a sought-after post for manly manly men. (emphasis added)

So, "appropriately male work" is only "manly manly men" stuff. Must suck to think that.

"Spend some time in the military and in the State department--as I have--and you will INEVITABLY hear aggressive action referred to as manly and negotiators as "pussies.""

I bet you could inevitably hear that the iPhone is better than a Blackberry and the camo fatigues are much better thann the old ones, what generalizations should I draw form those?

I would be willing to bet(mind reading alert)that everyone here has heard those characterizations, and Dr. Science's brass balls description of a woman. I just don't belive that having a woman be the CEO of HP made it a job "manly" men would not want. The generalization is just to broad.

We may need some remedial gender studies info unleashed in here, since "masculine" and "feminine" do not necessarily have to do with "men" and "women" as such.

Seriously, how many terrorist attacks did the US sustain post 9-11?

Others covered the anthrax attacks, but let's not forget the suicide attack via airplane on the IRS building and the assassination of Dr. Tiller. Or the fact it wasn't invasions or security theater that stopped the underwear bomber or the shoe bomber, it was alert civilians on the flights they were on,

Hmmm. Invading Iraq made approximately 4500 servicemen way less safe, in that they're dead (their number exceeding by a third the terrorist attack that brought on the war hysteria). Total wounded Americans number approximately 32000. As to the horrific number of Iraqi dead, wounded, etc., not sure how to correlate that with "our" safety, but I wouldn't bet that it's positive. And the money we spent? I'd much rather be in debt, as a country, because we were taking care of infrastructure, old and sick people, housing, the environment, etc. than because we waged war against a country that didn't pose a threat to us. In other words, the financial fallout of Iraq certainly makes us "less safe."

Once women become strongly identified with certain job categories, those jobs become less prestigious.

Really?

At the risk of arguing for a single specific instance, consider this: In California, both Senators are women. And it's about even money that the next Governor will be a woman. (We may or may not change one Senator, but since both major candidates are women, that doesn't impact the discussion.) And yet lots of men routinely struggle thru expensive primary campaigns, trying to get those jobs.

This is a loss of prestige? Funny way to show it?

This is a loss of prestige? Funny way to show it?

I have a feeling that it will be awhile before women find themselves in the majority in the Senate, or that the position of Senator is strongly identified with women. The percentage currently stands at 17% (the same as in the House, interestingly.)

Certainly as gender barriers are broken, the idea of one gender being "strongly identified" with a particular job category will diminish, and probably the associated stereotypes (and possibility of loss of prestige) will diminish with them. But if you're arguing that there's no correlation between the relative prestige of traditionally women's jobs versus traditionally men's jobs, you'll lose that argument. And it's pretty obvious that, historically, the job categories have lost prestige as women became dominant in those jobs. Think secretary, for example.

Right, secretary lost prestige when women came to dominate it . . . half a century ago. How about some examples from the last couple of decades?

Cultures, after all, change over time. Part of the discussion here is whether our (American, in this case) culture has changed in this regard or not. That means we need to look at jobs which have become dominated by women in the past few years (say 20 years, to be generous) and see if they have lost prestige. Or, if there have been any, jobs which have changed from being dominated by women to being dominated by men, and see if they have risen in prestige.

wj, that's setting the proof bar kind of high, don't you think?

wj, I can't think of any profession in the last 20 years that has become dominated by women, can you? Sure, there are a whole lot more women in the workplace, and the workforce generally comprises a larger percentage of women, but I don't know of a job category where women dominate. For example, as of the year 2000 (according to the ABA), 27% of lawyers were women. That's a lot more than in 1980, when 8% were women, but women hardly can be said to dominate the legal profession. And even if the current percentages are roughly equal, and even if the percentage of women is slightly higher, women certainly don't dominate, and certainly aren't represented equally in the most powerful echelons. So your turn: where do women "dominate"?

Besides, I think it's unrealistic to be able to identify a shift in prestige over a recent period of time. There's no way to "prove" that the shift has occurred - you and I would have to agree that it has. Just as you apparently don't agree that there's been a change in the perception of Secretary of State as not quite as "manly" a job as it used to be, I doubt you'd agree that there's been any other shift.

But sure, cultures change, and as I said in my last comment, there are a lot of gender biases that are mellowing, thanks to the numbers of women in the workforce, the lgtb rights movement, etc. Probably more women are employed than men at this moment. But that doesn't mean that the attitudes about gender have disappeared or don't exist. You can argue about how damaging they are, or how significant, but you'd be hard pressed to say they're not there.

Perhaps my difficulty with the Secretary of State argument is that I am hard pressed to remember a Secretary of State (other than perhaps Kissinger) who served for any length of time and who was not regarded as insufficiently hard and aggressive (or whatever "manly" characteristic you want to suggest). At least by a significant portion of the population. (Admittedly, my personal memory only runs back to the late 1950s or early 1960s, and may well be flawed since.)

And that applies even when the Secretary of State was a decorated retired general (e.g. Powell). So I think it goes with the job description, not with the gender of the holder.

That's fair, wj.

wj:

I am hard pressed to remember a Secretary of State (other than perhaps Kissinger) who served for any length of time and who was not regarded as insufficiently hard and aggressive (or whatever "manly" characteristic you want to suggest).
This is probably true, now that I think about it. What that means is that, essentially, Sec. of State already was somehow "feminine", and that's why it's been so easy for Presidents to put women in that spot. Powell is an interesting case, because as a black man he, like the women, is not competing for exactly the same stakes a white man might be.

wj (and others):

When I think of jobs losing prestige when women do them, I think of stuff like The Atlantic's very dumb "End of Men" article, where "men no longer dominate across the board" somehow gets translated to "there's no purpose to men at all!! OHNOEZ!!!"

More realistically, among many young people it can seem that as girls do better (in high school and now in college), a lot of boys seem to lose interest in the very idea of academic success. Marion Burton Nelson describes the phenomenon as The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football -- and for most men in the US, war is like football: a violent spectator activity.

> So your turn: where do women "dominate"?
>
> Besides, I think it's unrealistic to be
> able to identify a shift in prestige over a
> recent period of time.

Primary care physician.

Cranky

So your turn: where do women "dominate"?

Perhaps not dominating yet, but the trend is clear in pediatrics and maybe in the long run in medicine generally. In pediatrics the 50% line was reached around 2005.

Thanks, Cranky and ral. These physician are among the very lowest paid - pediatrics being the lowest paid specialty; internal medicine and family practice being even lower. Hmmmmm.

http://www.merritthawkins.com/pdf/2010revenuesurvey.pdf

Yes, but primary care physician (family practice) was much lower paid than specialists long before there were significant numbers of women doctors. Unless you are trying to argue that women go into those types of medicine because they are lower paying/lower status. Which seems like a real stretch.

There's a current in US (at least) hypermasculinity that classifies diplomacy and negotiation as girly/faggy stuff.* That current runs more strongly at some times than at others, and post-9/11 it's been running very strongly. (Probably the post-WWII Red Scare was another such time.) That black men and white and black women are now regarded as eligible for the Sec of State position probably has more to do with how recently they gained access to career tracks that made that position something they could reasonably aspire to. I just wonder how long it will be before we see another female Attorney General.

* Reminds me a bit of Principal Snyder: "My predecessor, Mr. Flutie, may have gone in for all that touchy-feely relating nonsense, but he was eaten. You're in my world now. And Sunnydale has touched and felt for the last time."

Historically there has been a shift back and forth on some professions. It was at the time seen as a scandal that Florence Nightingale went to the Crimea. Nursing the wounded was no job for delicate females. On the other hand you can go back at least as far as Euripides finding female complaints about the ridiculousness of the female=weak&men=strong or to the Biblical Book of Judges to find females accepted in 'manly ' positions (unquestioned).
Cultural perceptions are imo more often than not originally based on actual differences between males and females but culture works as a disproportionate and often distorting multiplier.
Still waiting for the small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri weighing in on the subject.

This blog really needs more genderless elementals posting on the front page.

and for most men in the US, war is like football: a violent spectator activity.

I now know that in Progressive Land, this is not a sexist statement, merely an accurate description of a condition as it actually exists.

Now, if we were to rework this statement to describe "most" Muslim men, would we be crossing any forbidden lines?

There's a current in US (at least) hypermasculinity that classifies diplomacy and negotiation as girly/faggy stuff.

Since there are 300mm of us, there is probably someone somewhere who holds this view. But if this is directed at people who question whether diplomacy alone is likely to be effective with, e.g., Iran, then really it's more of an ad hominem slam on people who disagree with 'diplomacy only' approach.

and for most men in the US, war is like football: a violent spectator activity.

I now know that in Progressive Land, this is not a sexist statement, merely an accurate description of a condition as it actually exists.

What's your counterstatement? That for most men in the US, war is an activity in which they actively participate? Because we all know that's manifestly untrue.

Since there are 300mm of us, there is probably someone somewhere who holds this view.

300mm hypermasculine people? That seems on the high side.

But if this is directed at people who question whether diplomacy alone is likely to be effective with, e.g., Iran, then really it's more of an ad hominem slam on people who disagree with 'diplomacy only' approach.

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it seems to me that there isn't much of a "diplomacy only" push. I thought it was "let's do diplomacy" in opposition to the previous administration's "no diplomacy at all" stance. Even if you oppose sanctions, I don't think it makes you a "diplomacy only" advocate.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad