Can McChrystal survive?

You may have heard by now that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, inexplicably gave Rolling Stone unparalleled access to his inner circle, and the magazine dropped a bomb on him today, feeding reporters a story that finds him dissing Ambassador Karl Eikenberry on the record and quotes his aides mocking Vice President Joe Biden, special representative Richard Holbrooke, and National Security Advisor Jim Jones. We also learn that McChrystal was none too impressed when he met President Barack Obama for the first time last year.

As you might imagine, folks in Washington are not pleased. "Within hours after today's Rolling Stone story broke," reports the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, "McChrystal was called by the White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were not happy."

No kidding.

Here's McChrystal's statement:

I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity.  What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard.  I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome."

Too late? It's hard to imagine how McChrystal survives what is going to be an epic sh*tstorm all week long. And then the article itself goes up Friday.

As James Dobbins noted last fall in a prescient article for FP, the disagreements between McChrystal and Eikenberry have been unusually public, to the long-term detriment of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. But I wonder why Eikenberry was able to stick around so long. After all, he clearly didn't believe in the mission, as his leaked memos made clear. And those memos made it impossible for him to get along with Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai -- which is one of the main jobs of an ambassador. How could he possibly be effective?



Taiwan plays Cupid with its single citizens

Single and ready to mingle in Taiwan? Then meet your new matchmaker: your government.

With a 2009 birth rate falling below half the replacement rate, the island's conspicuous lack of baby-making threatens to devastate the economy -- and officials have recently gotten creative about the problem-solving. They have previously launched an advertising campaign to entice "unattached" peoples to have children and subsidized fertility treatments for couples struggling to conceive. The health ministry, meanwhile, has begun occasionally closing their doors early to urge civil servants to go home and focus on populating that shrinking workforce of theirs.

Now, the Ministry of Interior (IOM) is taking direct action to make their citizenry be fruitful and multiply, subjecting its own dateless employees to mandatory fraternization. For starters, they will attempt to match up the female workers at the ministry with the high number of single male bachelors in the National Police Administration. They will also require each of its agencies to have an annual date night, featuring activities about which I can only speculate -- government-sponsored speed-dating, coed Taipei dance workshops, romantic comedy screenings in Taijiang national park?

What remains to be seen is if any of these devised aphrodisiac-inducing affairs can precipitate the 1.5-million baby boost needed to rejuvenate a populace that seems increasingly inclined to opt for celibacy -- or if the Taiwanese are merely too attached to their current personal preferences, too weary of concieving in the Year of the Tiger, or too terrified of that Hello Kitty-themed hospital to remedy the population decline.