Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita's blocked appointment
to teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has ignited a debate over academic freedom
. [more inside]
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney said. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” Zinni, sitting right next to Cheney’s lectern, says he “literally bolted” when he heard the vice president’s comments. “In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD [weapons of mass destruction], through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program.”
Rachel Maddow hosts Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War
, a documentary special, based on the eponymous book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn
, that will air Monday, February 18 on MSNBC at 9 p.m.
Erin Gloria Ryan asks: Is America ready for a white, male Secretary of State?
She's not the only one satirically contemplating this question - John Norris over at Foreign Policy magazine has also wondered: Is America ready for a male Secretary of State? [more inside]
Murder of an Idealist.
"For six hours on September 11, the American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, stood siege. When the attack was over, J. Christopher Stevens's
body was pulled from the wreckage—the first U.S. ambassador killed by militants in over thirty years. Since then, his death has been politicized and the details of the attack distorted. Sean Flynn straightens out the story of Stevens's last days in Libya—and reveals the true believer we lost that day."
The Permanent War
(video). "This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing." Part 1: Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists.
Part 2: A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy.
Part 3: Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations. [more inside]
In May of 2010, Michael D. Higgins
(now President of Ireland) had an exchange
on an Irish radio station with Tea Party supporter Michael Graham
, about the state of politics in the United States. [more inside]
It is a strange, dubious and totally unaccepted moral purpose which holds the whole of the world to ransom.
On 1 March 1985, New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon David Lange
) addressed the Oxford Union
in support of the proposition that "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible
". That speech is online at publicaddress.net
) and still resonates today. [more inside]
Hillary Clinton has asked the Organization of America States to re-admit post coup Honduras
, but many people with long memories
are against it and wondering why
, in particular
, is doing it.
Back when he was younger, Jay-Z was a merciless, ruthless killer in the "beefs" which define hip hop politics. [...] As Jay-Z got older and more powerful, the marginal benefits of such battles declined and the costs increased even as the number of would-be rivals escalated. Just as the U.S. attracts resentment and rhetorical anti-Americanism simply by virtue of being on top, so did Jay-Z attract a disproportionate number of attackers.
Marc Lynch compares international relations to rap feuds
, with Jay-Z as the hegemon and up-and-comer The Game as the "insurgent." [more inside]
The Axis of Upheaval:
A special report on the coming age of instability.
Leadership for the 21st Century
Harvard Business School hosts moderator Charlie Rose in a roundtable discussion concerning the credit crisis, housing, American leadership and foreign affairs. Participants are the 2008 HBS Alumni Achievement Award recipients, including eBay (and McCain advisor) CEO Meg Whitman, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Venture Capitalist extrordinaire John Doerr
, Indian business juggernaut Anand G. Mahindra
, and former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn.
This aired on PBS last night and it was some of the most honest, intelligent, and inspiring discussion I have heard in some time. While the only transcript I could find is a paid one here,
this 100 minute video should be required viewing for anyone working in a fortune 500 company, or those interested in politics, environmentalism, technology, foreign policy or the election. [more inside]
The Stakes, 2008.
Eight of the Washington Monthly's
contributing editors "consider the looming challenges that America is likely to face—in the economy, education, the courts, and other areas—during an Obama or McCain presidency, and how, based on what we know about the two men, they are likely to handle them." [more inside]
The Man Between War and Peace.
"As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William 'Fox' Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?" [Via Think Progress.]
Learning From Ike: What a Republican realist could teach George Bush.
"If we hope to succeed, we manage evil. We minimize, mitigate, and manipulate evil. But efforts to pre-emptively eliminate evil are prone to end in overreaction and destabilization, with consequences that are often worse than the original problem."
is the name of a recently-launched blog written by the editors of Foreign Policy magazine, covering the same wide range of topics as the magazine itself does. Updated frequently and around the clock, informal and personal — I don't know if it's just because it's new, but they're doing a great job, and if you're a world politics and news junkie like me, it's fantastic.
"If Hamas fails to agree to a permanent ceasefire, we will have to create another leadership, just as we did before with Sheikh Yassin."
Former head of the double ISO (Mossad
), Efraim Halevy Spoke at the Middle East Forum
in Boston last week (yes, he's selling a book
) and had some interesting things to say.
Earlier post here
The Utopian Nightmare
: "What is utopianism? It is promising more than you can deliver. It is seeing an easy and sudden answer to long-standing, complex problems. It is trying to solve everything at once through an administrative apparatus headed by “world leaders.” It places too much faith in altruistic cooperation and underestimates self-seeking behavior and conflict. It is expecting great things from schemes designed at the top, but doing nothing to solve the bigger problems at the bottom."
Also, be sure to check out the the 16 ideas, values and institutions that may not be with us 35 years from now written by a variety of interesting people and compiled as part of Foreign Policy's 35th anniversary (although not all are free or available without registration).
A Spreading Treason
The vagaries of U.S. involvement in the Middle East were surely brought home to First Lady Laura Bush on her recent trip to Israel, on a tour of Jerusalem's holiest sites. At the Wailing Wall, where she placed a note in the Western Wall – as is the custom – she faced surly throngs of protesters shouting "Free Pollard Now!" The Pollardites also showed up earlier that morning, as Mrs. Bush paid a visit to the home of Israeli President Moshe Katsav: "Pollard, the people are with you!" they chanted.
Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.
Halevy fields questions from readers around the world. See also his article "The coming Pax Americana
If we were having this conversation in 1985, and I had said to you, “Four years from now the Soviet Union will collapse and in six years it will disappear,” you would have thought, “This is not a reliable observer.” But the U.S.S.R. is gone -- disappeared -- and we didn’t predict it. Russia today is a much smaller country than the former Soviet Union. The CIA had all the wrong data. We also made a mistake when we concluded that we had won the Cold War. We had almost nothing to do with what happened in the Soviet Union: there were internal issues and it certainly wasn’t Star Wars. We now know in detail how Gorbachev brought Sakharov out of exile in Gorky to address the Politburo on, “What would you do about a ballistic missile defense?” Sakharov said, “It’s easy to overwhelm it with missiles. I wouldn’t spend a ruble on it.” And they didn’t. But in mistakenly thinking that we won the Cold War, we strongly imply that we did something to cause that. Instead, the Soviet Union collapsed because of overstretch, a case of imperial overstretch. An Empire of More Than 725 Military Bases
An interview with Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback
and The Sorrows Of Empire
The Power of Nightmares
sets out to claim that the Islamists and the neocons are, in reality, soul mates. Fact or fiction? Check out this series from the BBC
using this handy Bit Torrent
The World's Most Dangerous Ideas
: U.S. and European goals on most issues are quite similar. Both want a peaceful world free from terror, with open trade, growing freedom, and civilized codes of conduct. A Europe that charts its own course just to mark its differences from the United States threatens to fracture global efforts—whether on trade, proliferation, or the Middle East. Europe is too disunited to achieve its goals without the United States; it can only ensure that America’s plans don’t succeed. The result will be a world that muddles along, with the constant danger that unattended problems will flare up disastrously. Instead of win-win, it will be lose-lose—for Europe, for the United States, and for the world.
This month, in The Atlantic Monthly, Talking Points Memo's
Joshua Micah Marshall writes an interesting article discussing the potential aspects of Kerry's foreign policy. The article itself is thought-provoking and erudite, and of equal if not more interest is the 3-part interview
with Senator Joseph Biden
(D) of Delaware, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Part One is here
, with Parts Two and Three to be released later this week. Biden speaks about foreign policy in an overbearing, yet refreshingly intelligent, articulate, analytical manner.
is a pretty cool new site that guides you through a series of questions aimed at telling you where you stand in terms of foreign policy philosophy. It reminds me a lot of the Selectsmart presidental voting thing
that matches you up with a candidate.
Breaking the silence
Last night ITV1 in the UK ran a documentary that is unlikely to be shown in the USA. It is by a respected journalist called John Pilger and amongst other tidbits it shows Colin Powell saying in 1991 that Iraq poses no threat and also Condoleeza Rice confirming the same thing. It also quotes some US officials that the current bunch who seem to be running US foreign policy were known during the administration of Bush senior as "the crazies". Plus much more.
- Does Frontier Psychology drive America in a direction that the rest of the world cannot comprehend? Roughly defined as "the effort on the part of Americans to come to grips with untamed elements of nature and, by taming them, to reorganize their society
" We see it everywhere, even in Buffy
. Europe appears to value stability over mobility and change, in opposition to America. Prof. Richard Slotkin
has written extensively about these concepts. An interiew with audio clips is here
Are America's recent domestic and international policy decisions attempts to tame "untamed elements" around it?
French Muslims Influence Government Policy on Iraq
This piece from an on-line Arab source helps us to understand the French reluctance to want a war with Iraq. And you thought it was only about French oil interests, but non.
It seems that there is some disconnection between the foreign policies of the American administration and the beliefs of a significant part of the population. In many countries, direct action is seen as a normal response. Will that happen here
? Or here
US Foreign Policy Goals
- Condoleeza Rice. Only $29.95 from C-SPAN, well worth it. Will clear up many misconceptions. Unfortunately, thanks to macho chest thumping and grunting by prominent talking heads on camera, the Rice message isn't getting across
. (Free transcripts instead of $29.95 tapes might help.) Intelligent criticism of the sea change in foreign policy, from elder statesman George Kennan.
What good does it do us to have information available on the web if we can't afford to buy it?
U.S. Foreign Policy: Attention! Right Face! Forward, March.
"...with no foreign policy experience, Dubya was essentially a blank slate, and U.S. foreign policy has been up for grabs since he took the oath of office. As everyone now knows, the main contestants consisted of two factions: one headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who represents continuity of policy with both Bush's father and Clinton; the other, led by Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, whose vision is far more sweeping, not to say Manichean. Since September 11, the latter faction has emerged as dominant and is using the 'war against terrorism' to impose its own, quite radical ideas on U.S. foreign policy and the global order. At their core, those ideas call for a world order based on U.S. supremacy and enforced by U.S. military power--a unipolar world in which the U.S. imposes the rules but, because of its own self-evident goodness, is not necessarily bound by them."
Ah, not quite lebensraum
(yet), but "benevolent" Bushists
Bush plays peacemaker.
Having refused to honor several international treaties since taking office, the Bush administration sees itself as a legitimate peace broker. Opinions solicited, is this likely to improve the situation or cause it to deteriorate further?
US-Israel Foreign Policy
I dont agree completely with the writer but foreign policy is important. Interesting article nevertheless.
This piece counters the arguements of the self-laceration folks who blame the attack upon America as the result of our foreign policy, as though there can be no other explanation for Jihad. An apt title, since we are now seeing the split between far Right, Middle and far Left.
Readers will, no doubt believe or argue with this relative to their perspective.
The positive impact of America
can be overlooked in the chatter of how bin Laden is the bastard offspring of our malicious foreign policy, so the flip side should be highlighted. How about a Nobel peace prize winner who has saved literally millions of lives worldwide, but even 99% of Americans would fail to recognize? What will we reap from his sowing?
Powell wants to scrap most US sanctions
(IHT via Robot Wisdom
) Is this a good idea? We've talked before on here about the damage sanctions can do. But is it a good idea to dismantle them in such a wholesale way? The primary motivation seems to be economic.