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Showing posts from June, 2006

For Rush(ing) to Climax: An oldie...

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"Democraticialis, it's for my man whenever he wants it"






We tried almost everything. Reading together the Weekly Standard and holding hands while watching Bill O'Reilly. We even signed up for one of those Restoration Weekends in Florida that David Horowitz organizes and were hoping that Jim Woolsey's address would arouse my husband to take up this white woman's burden. Rush even recommended Viagra. That Weapon of Mass Destruction would show up, he promised. But his imperial drive remained dormant until a friend, "Scooter" told us about Democraticialis ("Judy loves it," he said). And it was shock and Awe from then on... A Regime Change for My Man whenever and wherever he wants it... Democraticialis, experience the neocon difference. ***

*** Side effects could include anti-Americanism, terrorism, bloodshed, chaos, violations of civil rights, and rising budget deficits. If you experience an insurgency that lasts for more than four years, please …

Two who are challenging the Don't-Mention-the-War Democrats

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I'm Shocked! Shocked! Shocked! According to this Washington Post report today, a recent opinion polloffered some hopeful signs for Bush and the Republicans as they prepare for the midterm elections. The big advantage that Democrats held on virtually every major issue has narrowed or reversed. On the question of which party is best able to handle the situation in Iraq, the Democrats' 14-point advantage in last month's Post-ABC poll has been cut in half; they now have a 47 percent lead over Republicans' 41 percent.
A month ago, Democrats held a five-point lead over Republicans on dealing with international terrorism. Republicans now hold a seven-point advantage. On the economy, the Democratic advantage has narrowed from 18 points to 13 points since May.

And the poll also found that the thepublic gives both Bush and the Democrats low marks on having a plan for success in Iraq. Almost two in three (64 percent) said Bush does not have a clear plan, while almost three in four …

Amir Taheri: A Big, Big Fraud!

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An old journalist buddy of mine, Larry Cohler-Esses who is now an editor with the New York Jewish Week and who unlike this lazy "political analyst," does some leg work (well, he makes phone calls) has a GREAT piece in the new issue of Nation Magazine about disinformation agent Amir Taheri, the "journalist" who as you may recall reported on Iran's plans to force its Jews to wear yellow insignia. Titled Bunkum From Benador. It's a MUST read! Among other things it reveals:It was in 1989 that Taheri was first exposed as a journalistic felon. The book he published the year before, Nest of Spies, examined the rule and fall of the Shah of Iran. Taheri received many respectful reviews, but in The New Republic Shaul Bakhash, a reigning doyen of Persian studies, checked Taheri's footnotes. Suddenly a book review became an investigative exposé. Bakhash, a history professor at George Mason University and a former fellow at Princeton's Institute for Advanced St…

My new analysis of Iran-U.S. relationship in The American Conservative

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The articel, "Defining Democracy Down" has been published in the new July 27, 2006, issue of The American Conservative. It's not available yet online but if you'll click on the images below, you'll be able to read it.


Original ideas on global trade

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A recent commentary I authored on global trade based on a forum held at the Cato Institute:
Business Times - 23 Jun 2006


Time for unilateral trade liberalisation

Some US economists now say expanding global trade does not require new agreements

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

MORE than four years after the launch of the Doha Round under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with its goal of continuing to remove trade barriers to products and services, the prospects for a successful outcome look more distant than ever.

Some US economists are now arguing that expanding global trade does not require new trade agreements. They, instead, suggest that the US objectives of the Doha Round - including better opportunities for American businesses, greater affordability and choice for consumers, improved prospects for farmers and producers in developing countries and greater international receptivity to US policies - could be achieved through unilateral trade liberalisation.

Pro…

"Santorumism"

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Scott P. Richert has some interesting comments on his blog The Rockford Files on "Rick Santorum’s WMDs" and the issue of Just War.

And here is my addition to American political vocabulary
Santorumism: "Making fool of yourself while operating under the assumption that you can fool all of the people all of the time." But, hey, who knows? Maybe this is going to work. Your Average American "reads" a headline "Senator: WMD Discovered in Iraq" and that piece of "info" gets absorbed into his "mind." He mentions is to his buddy, Average American II and before you know there is the following headline: "According to new polls: More Americans now believe that Saddam had WMDs." Average Americans III, IV, etc. read that headline and the "Faith Based Community" wins another victory.

And apropos Average Americans and democracy, I just finished reading Democracy and Populism : Fear and Hatred by one of my favorite authors, …

A very intelligent critique of Robert Kaplan...

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...has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review (via Antiwar.com).
Euphorias of Perrier: The Case Against Robert D. Kaplan by Tom Bissell. He certainly makes a good point here:
How to deal with this fractious world is Kaplan’s great question. Some years ago, he has written, after a conference where “intellectuals held forth about the moral responsibility of the United States in the Balkans,” he took a cab back to the airport and was asked by the cabbie, “If there’s no oil there, what’s in it for us?” This was, Kaplan says, “a question none of the intellectuals had answered.” And shame on them, because “thousands of words and a shelf of books in recent years about our moral interest in the region do not add up to one sentence of national interest. . . . It is only from bottom-line summaries that clear-cut policy emerges, not from academic deconstruction.” Kaplan once believed that something called “amoral self-interest” should be the defining aspect of American foreign policy. Hi…

WMD have been found in Iraq!

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Iraq, Iran and the Shiite revival

When the Shiites Rise
By Vali Nasr
The war in Iraq has profoundly changed the Middle East, although not in the ways that Washington had anticipated. When the U.S. government toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, it thought regime change would help bring democracy to Iraq and then to the rest of the region. The Bush administration thought of politics as the relationship between individuals and the state, and so it failed to recognize that people in the Middle East see politics also as the balance of power among communities. Rather than viewing the fall of Saddam as an occasion to create a liberal democracy, therefore, many Iraqis viewed it as an opportunity to redress injustices in the distribution of power among the country's major communities. By liberating and empowering Iraq's Shiite majority, the Bush administration helped launch a broad Shiite revival that will upset the sectarian balance in Iraq and the Middle East for years to come.

There is no such thing as pan-Shiism, or even…

Bush's approval: Mid-course correction...

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On May I made on the following prediction on this blog: On July 1 Bush's approval in the polls would reach 23, that is, the number that includes all the 23 members of his family (see above). We was wrong. I'm betting now that the number will be 24 to include also Spot the Dog, a member of the extended family (seen below).













Ooops... my research assistant is telling me now that Spot is deceased. Sorry. Well... never mind. May he RIP.

On a more serious note, checkout Billmon on polls.

When Borat reaches late middle age...

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..he could also become the prime minister of a sleazy Levantine nation

Brother, can you spare a tipping point?

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In case you haven't, please read my recent The Ever Elusive 'Tipping Point' in Iraq in which I make among other things the following point(s):The problem that Mr. Bush is facing in Iraq – the point that never seems to tip – has to do with the entire faulty strategy that led to the invasion of Iraq. When it comes to civil and international wars, their "tipping point," the one that marks the victory of one side over the other, is actually the outcome of a process consisting of three stages.
First, one side is being crushed on the battlefield and is unable to fight anymore. Then the defeated party raises the white flag. And finally, the losing side "embraces defeat" and agrees to accept the political terms imposed by the winner.
In Iraq, the United States was able to crush one element, Saddam and his military, representing the interests of the Arab-Sunni minority. But the Arab-Sunnis have never raised the white flag and have certainly not embraced defeat. A…

More challenges to "Brooksism"

Daniel Larison in Eunomia discusses some of the problems and inconsistencies in David Brooks' new political-ideological split of "pop-nats" vs. "prog-globs." Among other things he suggests that:
Note how Brooks has defined determining trade policies in the light of national interest or maintaining a domestic industrial base (the sorts of policies that he, as a prog-glob, despises) as "liberal" economics (as Brooks is relying on the phrase "liberal on economics" to scare the well-to-do to side with the prog-globs), whereas policies dedicated to shoring up the interests of the extensive bureaucratic machinery of multinational corporations and international governing institutions are allegedly "market-oriented." You don't need to think on that much to see that the prog-glob embrace of "market-oriented" policies is a corrupt and distorted one that aims to use certain mechanisms of "the market" to expand their con…

More on Brooks' new political typology

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I've received a few responses and emails re my earlier post on David Brooks' argument in favor of a new political-ideological realignemnt of "populist-nationlists" vs. "progressive globalists," including by my online pal Jim Henley. Let me just emphasize that I wasn't trying to dismiss the notion that such political-ideological sentiments exist and that a few public figures share these views. I suppose that Pat Buchanan IS a populist-nationalist and that one could make an argument that "Clintonism" represents a form of progressive globalism. My point was that Brooks is trying to suggest that all the politicians and pundits who have been opposed to the Democracy Project in Iraq and elsewhere are "populist nationalists," that they are basically anti-cosmopolitan/xenophpbic/racists AND "realists" on foreign policy. That's a lot of B-S. Just take the leading figure in the Republican party who is a strong opponent of the wa…

Bobos Meises

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If we had an American version of the Soviet-era Pravda, David Brooks, would be working for it. Ooops...we actually have an American-style Pravda, it's the Wall Street Journal editorial page,and come to think about it, Brooks once worked for them, issuing -- just like he is doing now -- the most recent neocon Line of the Day. The author of that cliche ridden pop-sociology Bobos in Paradise, he was selected by the New York Times to replace the retiring "conservative" columnist and "Dick" Nixon's Monica Lewinsky (sorry for this image),Bill Safire (he now occassionally brings him from the dead through op-ed seance), at a time when the neocons were the rising stars in the NYC/DC's Zeitgeist. Brooks was supposed to be the counterpoint on the political right to the "liberal" Tom Friedman. Until now, the only "debate" between the two seemed to focus on who could prove more effective in promoting the Global Democracy project. Brooks hasn…

How old are you?

Test yourself by putting a "X" next to each of the following recollections by paleoconservativeDr. Clyde N. Wilson.

Jim Webb's victory in Virginia

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Interesting commentary by David Boaz. We have a two-party system, so the choice is between Webb and Allen. Bottom Line: Webb's victory in the general election will be a major blow to Bush's Iraq policy and would strengthen the hands of the anti-war wing in the Democratic party.

On Japan-U.S. Relationship

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I attended an interesting policy forum at the Cato Institute today on Two Normal Nations:Exploring the U.S.-Japan Strategic Relationship. The event marked the publication of a new policy analysis by my colleague, Chris Preble. In Two Normal Countries: Rethinking the U.S.-Japan Strategic Relationship Chris, who is director of foreign policy at Cato, explains that a more equitable U.S.-Japan alliance will provide a durable foundation for addressing the most pressing security challenges in East Asia and beyond. As he argued in his paper and in the event today, Japan’s emergence as a normal nation, one that is no longer dependent upon the United States for its defense, could play an important role in safeguarding East Asian security. While it would be unwise to dismiss lingering concerns in East Asia about Japan’s intentions, he stressed that many of these concerns flow from a period of time that has long since past. See also Chris op-ed on the same topic in the Financial Times Japan'…

Iran, Iraq

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Rewards that men with power win...
























Rewards that women with power win...
(Vive la Difference)

In case you've missed, my new "US Stumbles Onto Road to Diplomacy With Iran" which compares the opening to China under Dr. K. (seen above with friends) to the recent "opening" to Iran under Condi (seen above with a friend): For several years I have argued that Washington should adopt a Realpolitik-type approach to dealing with Iran, including by opening a direct diplomatic dialogue with Tehran aimed at resolving some of the differences between the two governments.

In particular, I've been critical of the Bush administration's neocon-driven policy of promoting "regime change" in Iran and of its rejection of diplomatic overtures from Iran. And I've called on President George W Bush to follow the example of another hawkish Republican President, Richard Nixon, who reshaped global politics by going to communist China, and adopt a similar strategy by going …

More on East Timor and Nation Building

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Highly recommended Doug Bandow's For America, a Nation-Building Disaster Avoided in which he notes:One disaster avoided by both the Clinton and Bush administrations is East Timor (or, as it now styles itself, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste). Once a model of foreign nation-building, this fledgling nation has again become an international ward. But, miraculously, no American troops are involved.
Bandow recalls that after the Indonesians decided to get out of East Timor, following a pro-independence vote by its people, there was a lot of pressure on Washington to "do something," that is, to send U.S. troops and engage in some Nation Building:After the usual international huffing and puffing, Jakarta agreed to dump the problem into the hands of the United Nations. The Java Empire could ill afford to ignore an overwhelming secessionist vote that it had called. Attempting to stuff the independence genie back into the bottle would have been even more costly than before. …

Alan Furst's new spy novel

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Politics & Prose, my favorite bookstore in the Washington area,hosted a special book event with Alan Furstto mark the publication of his new The Foreign Correspondent.Here is what Janet Maslin had written about it in the New York Times:At the beginning of Alan Furst's new novel, the editor of a clandestine Italian anti-Fascist newspaper is assassinated. This is a terrible crime. But it could have been worse. The editor dies in Paris, in the midst of one of his Tuesday assignations with the wife of a politician, at the "rather subtle" Hôtel Colbert, a discreet place well-suited to "amours conducted between 5 and 7, those flexible hours of the early evening," though the editor and his mistress prefer a later hour. Never let it be said that Furst's urbane European spy stories do not know how to mix love and war.

The killing that sets "The Foreign Correspondent" in motion is quietly overseen by a silver-haired Italian count who wears a white wool o…

Craig Unger on Michael Ledeen

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In the new Vanity Fair. The most comprehensive treatment of this pompous pseudo-intellectual/pseudo-Fascist/pseudo-spy and all his lies and scheming.

On Bush's Rubin

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My analysisin the Business Times of Bush's decision to nominate Wall Street Big Shot Hank Paulson as his new Treasury Secretary (online access to the BT website is restricted. So I'm pasting the entire piece here):
Business Times - 06 Jun 2006
Would Paulson be Bush's Rubin, or another Powell?
The credibility of the new Treasury Secretary in financial markets is his major political asset
By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT
IF ONE had to point to the most powerful member of former US president Bill Clinton's Cabinet, the consensus among most Washington observers and historians would be that the dominant figure was not anyone responsible for managing US national security or foreign policy but its leading economic player, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
Indeed, during the boom years of the 1990s, it was Mr Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, who helped Mr Clinton manage the dangerous global financial crisis that threatened to unravel the global economy. Mr Rubin organise…

Interesting profile of Jim Webb

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The former Navy Secretary is trying to win the Democratic nomination for the Senate race againt Republican Senator George Allen. Too bad that I reside in Maryland and won't be able to vote for him. But here is an interesting profile of Webb by W. James Antle III in the American Conservative.

Iran: All's Well that Ends Well (Not Yet!)

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On this blog and elsewhere I've been urging that Washington adopt a Realpolitik-type approach to dealing with Iran, including a direct diplomatic dialogue aimed at resolving some of the major differences between the two governments. So it's not surprising that the recent news about the U.S. decision to join the talks with Iran and offer it a a mix of "sticks" and "carrots" has produced quite a few emails from colleagues who wanted to know whether the recent development reflected a change in U.S. position towards a more "realistic" approach towards Iran. Jim Lobe provides here a good summary of the good news/so, so good news/we'll-have-to-wait-and-see news involved in this latest development. I'm planning to write a longer commentary on the topic, but let me accentuate here the "good news" from my Realpolitik perspective:

1. Establishing a consortium of Great Powers to deal with Iran: The Bush Administration has recognized the dipl…

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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The driving forces behind the push in United States and other western nations in support for "Humanitarian Intervention" --- human rights/foreign aid/NGO's, the media, Hollywood, Christian activists -- have played a crucial role in the events that led to the independence of East Timorand are having a major impact on shaping public and governmental attitudes over the crisis in Darfur. In both cases, the rationale for diplomatic and militatry intervention was framed in humanitarian terms as opposed to strategic considerations (which seemed to have applied in the case of the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia notwithstanding the humanitarian issues involved in the conflicts there). It was interesting to read an op-ed in the New York Times this weekStrategic Victimhood in Sudan in which the author Alan J. Kuperman deconstructs Darfour-as-a-Morality-Play and explains what we libertarians have known for quite a long time, that when it comes to most of these civil war in Thir…