OpenCalais Metadata: Latitude: 
OpenCalais Metadata: Longitude: 
Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

In a lecture titled “The New Middle East Cold War,” Gregory Gause, political science professor at the University of Vermont and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said many people have a flawed understanding of conflict in the Middle East.

“The regional upheavals that the Middle East has seen since 2011, and particularly the international relations aspects of it, have been misunderstood,” Gause said.

Gause thinks the conflict should be labeled as a “cold war” because the nature of the conflict is not focused around any country’s military but, rather, revolves around each country’s influence on the region.

“It’s a cold war in that your military power is not the centrally important factor in determining who’s going to win and who’s going to lose,” Gause said.

Gause believes it is not a religious conflict, as many see it, but a result of many Arab countries struggling to take care of themselves and requiring help from their neighbors. According to Gause, two of the largest powers who are fighting for control of the region are Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“This is a conflict, I would argue, that is based on the breakdown of state authority that invites regional intervention,” Gause said.

Humanities junior Lucas Asher said he attended the lecture because he wants to take as many opportunities to learn about the topic as he can, despite this goal not fitting his career path.

“There’s a lot of disagreement among scholars and analysts,” Asher said. “The Middle East is such a complex region [that] you need to hear as many views as possible.”

Katie Aslan, undergraduate coordinator of Middle Eastern studies, said there are approximately 140 Middle Eastern studies majors on campus, in addition to hundreds more enrolled in Arabic and Persian language classes. Aslan said lectures such as this one are important because they offer a different kind of setting for students to learn in.

“It’s more interactive, and you can ask questions and feel more comfortable asking questions,” Aslan said. “It’s a nice change from a classroom environment.”

Gause said the United States is inconsistent in its foreign policy and should focus on building states that can function independently.

“We are much better at state-destroying than state-building,” Gause said. “I don’t think the United States has much to offer as far as the long term issue that underlies the new Middle East cold war.”

Ethel O’Connor picks up supplies at an elementary school in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, Wednesday, in Killington, Vt. Running low on food and money, Vermont residents stranded by flooded roads relied upon provisions dropped by National Guard troops to get by.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

KILLINGTON, Vt. — Swollen rivers began falling Wednesday in much of the Northeast, allowing relief crews to reach the last of the tiny Vermont towns that had been entirely cut off from help by Hurricane Irene’s fast-moving floodwaters.

The receding water eased the flooding that had paralyzed parts of the region and revealed more damage to homes, farms and businesses across the flood-scarred landscape. Repair estimates indicated that the storm would almost certainly rank among the nation’s costliest natural disasters, despite packing a lighter punch than initially feared.

Of the 11 towns that had been severed from the outside world, the final one to be reached by rescuers was tiny Wardsboro, a village of 850 in the Green Mountains. The community is little more than a post office and some houses standing along Route 100, a highway popular in the fall with tourists searching out autumn colors.

The National Guard continued to ferry supplies to mountain towns that had no electricity, no telephone service and limited transportation in or out. Eight helicopters were expected to arrive Wednesday with food, blankets, tarps and drinking water.

In the ski resort town of Killington, residents came to the elementary school for free hot dogs and corn-on-the-cob. Jason and Angela Heaslip picked up a bag filled with peanut butter, cereal and toilet paper for their three children and three others visiting from Long Island.

“Right now, they’re getting little portions because we’re trying to make the food last,” said Jason Heaslip, who only has a dollar in his bank account because the storm has kept him from getting paid by the resort where he works.

Don Fielder, a house painter in Gaysville, said the White River roared through his house, tearing the first floor off the foundation and filling a bathroom tub with mud. He was upbeat as he showed a visitor the damage, but said he’s reluctant to go into town for fear he will cry when people ask about the home he built himself 16 years ago.

Other losses include a 1957 Baldwin piano and a collection of 300 Beanie Babies amassed by his daughter, who does not live with him but has a bedroom at his house.

“I bet that’s in the river,” he said.

Irene has been blamed for at least 45 deaths in the continental U.S., plus one in Puerto Rico and seven more in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

If that death toll stands, it would be comparable to 1999’s Hurricane Floyd, which caused 57 deaths in the U.S. and the Bahamas when moved through the Caribbean and charged up the East Coast into New England. At the time, it was the deadliest U.S. hurricane in nearly 40 years but was later dwarfed by the 1,800 deaths caused by Katrina in 2005.

An estimate released immediately after Irene by the Kinetic Analysis Corp., a consulting firm that uses computer models to project storm losses, put the damage at $7.2 billion in eight states and Washington, D.C.

That would eclipse damage from Hurricane Bob, which caused $1 billion in damage in New England in 1991 or the equivalent of about $1.7 billion today, and Hurricane Gloria, which swept through the region in 1985 and left $900 million, or the equivalent of $1.9 billion today, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Even as rivers finally stopped rising in Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut, many communities and farm areas remained flooded, and officials said complete damage figures were nowhere in sight.

Some New Jersey towns resembled large, soggy yard sales as residents dragged flood-damaged belongings out onto lawns and into streets still muddied with floodwaters.

Large sections of Wallington, N.J. remained underwater after a cruel one-two punch: The Passaic River flooded the heart-shaped hamlet Sunday and then receded, only to rise again late Tuesday, forcing a new round of evacuations.

“Sunday morning, the water was only up to here,” said Kevin O’Reilly, gesturing to where his front lawn used to meet the sidewalk. “My daughter and I took a walk around the block. We figured everything would be fine.”

Only hours later, waves were bouncing off the house, and the basement windows were shattered.

“It sounded like Niagara Falls,” O’Reilly said. “It just filled up immediately, and this is what we’ve been dealing with since then.”

The town is accustomed to moderate flooding because it sits atop a network of underground streams that form a water table already saturated by record August rainfall.

Neighbors had started mucking out flooded basements and piling water-logged furniture and ruined possessions on the sidewalks when the river rose again. The town rushed to place garbage bins on higher ground so debris wouldn’t be floating in the high water.

President Barack Obama planned to travel to the northern New Jersey town of Paterson on Sunday to survey damage.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated the damage to his state alone at $1 billion during a visit to Prattsville, a Catskills community where 600 homes were damaged by heavy rains and floods that also shredded roads and washed out bridges.

“Upstate New York paid a terrible, terrible price for this storm,” Cuomo said.

Downstream from Vermont’s devastating floods, the Connecticut River hit levels not seen in 24 years, but Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said the situation was not much worse than annual spring floods caused by snowmelt.

In Simsbury, Conn., several farm fields were flooded along the Farmington River. Pumpkins and other produce could be seen floating away.

“Farmers lost a good amount of crops,” said First Selectwoman Mary Glassman.

After floods in 1955, New England states installed flood-control dams and basins that helped prevent a catastrophe along the lower Connecticut River, said Denise Ruzicka, director of inland water resources for Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Power outages persisted across the region, with some of the largest in Connecticut, where more than 360,000 homes and businesses were still in the dark, and Virginia, where 242,000 customers had no lights.

In Killington, residents were volunteering to use their lawn tractors to help remove mud and debris. People with electricity were letting neighbors without water use their showers. One question was whether the camaraderie would wear thin before things returned to normal.

Karen Dalury, who did not have power at her home, said she had been eating vegetables from her garden and storing some in a neighbor’s freezer.

“For now it’s fine,” she said. “But who knows how long this is going to continue.”

In North Carolina, where Irene blew ashore along the Outer Banks on Saturday before heading for New York and New England, Gov. Beverly Perdue said the hurricane destroyed more than 1,100 homes and caused at least $70 million in damage.

With Irene gone, scientists turned their attention to the open Atlantic Ocean, where Tropical Storm Katia was gaining strength and forecast to become a hurricane by early next week. Meteorologists said it was too soon to determine where it might go.

Vermont-based cartoonist Joseph Lambert’s “I Will Bite You!” collects eight stories, six of them previously published in minicomics or anthologies sometime between 2006 and 2010.

Most of the pieces in the book are two-color, with “Cavemen” as a beautiful, full-color exception. Drawn with generous brushwork, “Cavemen” shows a prehistoric caveman mourning the tragic death of his best friend. It’s a moving, spiritual story about grief and memory — only, you know, with dinosaurs.

Lambert is probably best known for his 2007 36-page mini, “Turtle Keep It Steady,” which was featured in Linda Barry’s 2008 edition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “The Best American Comics” series. The wordless story, in which an aviator-shades-wearing turtle drum-solo battles with a hare dressed like a pirate, is every bit as silly and fun and goofy as you would expect. The two animals vie for the attention of a fickle crowd, the tortoise mean-mugging his steady beat as he goes up against the hare’s downward-sloping, rock-and-roll freakout.

Many of Lambert’s comics deal with young kids and their day-to-day melodramas. The two best pieces in the collection, “Mom Said” and “Too Far,” both feature children doing what they do best: getting into trouble. “Mom Said” tells the all-too-familiar story of an older sibling with sudden responsibilities babysitting his younger brothers, watching and realizing that his childhood is slowly falling away from him. “Too Far” is just too good to spoil, but also deals with broken promises and familial obligation.

“I Will Bite You!” serves as an excellent survey of Lambert’s growth and trajectory as an artist. The newer pieces are much richer with emotional and dramatic texture. This doesn’t feel like a best-of compilation. This feels like the beginning of an excellent carrier. The best is yet to come.