If Germany thought military action in Libya was unwise, why would it think that attacking Syria makes sense? Kosovo was the only post-Cold War exception to Germany’s consistent opposition to wars of choice waged by Western governments, and Merkel has shown no signs that she intends to change that. Unlike many American supporters of the invasion of Iraq, she has not allowed her earlier mistake of supporting the Iraq war force her into supporting other unwise wars later on. Of course, this is what other Western nations wanted postwar Germany to be like. Now that we have a Germany that is reliably opposed to waging unnecessary wars, there is a remarkable amount of complaining in the West that Germans are too antiwar.
Governments that wage war against other countries without popular consent, even if it is only for a “short duration,” are carrying out policies in the teeth of public opposition. In so doing, they are inviting a major backlash sooner or later by exhibiting contempt for the views of the majority. That not only puts the political legitimacy of the government’s action in doubt, but it produces even deeper public distrust of our political leaders and policymakers when public opinion is so brazenly ignored. In the event that a “limited” military action leads to ever-increasing involvement in the conflict, the lack of public support for the original attack will sooner or later catch up to the administration and its supporters, and it practically guarantees that the public will have no confidence in the policy in question. That’s a poor way to govern in a representative political system, and it is a reckless way to conduct foreign policy.
The most important thing the US can do right now is to provide support for the 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and increasingly in Iraq. This may seem like a lower priority at the moment, but ask the government of Lebanon what happens when you have a large, angry, refugee population right next to a conflict zone, for long periods of time. (Or, the Congolese. Or the Pakistanis. Or…well, it’s a long list.) As it stands now, the Syrian refugee crisis risks becoming a serious security crisis for host countries – it already is for Lebanon – and potentially for the region as a whole. Providing things like decent housing, medical care, education, and monitoring their treatment by host countries can preempt radicalization, limit the ability of seriously scary organizations to recruit, lessen the burden on host countries, and also alleviate an enormous amount of suffering.
Don’t listen to exile groups or rebel leaders. They may be brave, patriotic and even great. But they are also, almost by definition, opportunists and liars, eager to drag great powers into conflicts that have little or nothing to do with their own interests. Journalists only amplify this.
Keurig single-cup brewing machines produce ten times more solid waste than a single-cup serving made in a drip machine would.
The coffee is often marketed as “premium,” and the machines as status symbols for discerning consumers — but aficionados question the quality of the brews. In his book The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, Blue Bottle founder James Freeman railed against single-serve coffee. In a passage dubbed “A Special Place in Hell: Pod Coffee,” he blasted producers for hijacking the trappings of excellence while delivering a craft-less cup. “Pod coffee is bad and wrong,” he wrote. “[I]t teases people into an industrially produced product masquerading as handcrafted.” After figuring out the brewing ratios and extraction times of two popular pod brewers, he concluded that it’s simply impossible for them to make a truly tasty beverage.
Whether it’s delicious or not, single-cup coffee is expensive. In fact, pound-for-pound, it costs consumers far more than the finest artisanal coffee available in the Bay Area. A 24-pack of Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup, for example, typically retails for $16.49. The capsules each hold roughly 8 grams of coffee, which means that the 24-pack works out to about $39 a pound. A 24-pack of Starbucks House Blend typically costs $22.49, or about $53 a pound. By contrast, the same Starbucks roast costs just $12 a pound when sold in a single bag. An artisanal bean, like Four Barrel Coffee’s Kenya Gatomboya, a shade-grown coffee from a 700-member cooperative, costs $18 for a 12-ounce bag, or about $24 a pound.
But as expensive as single-cup coffee is for consumers, the costs to the environment are even higher.