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Showing posts from May, 2007

The "debate" on Iraq among consevatives

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Peter Berkowitz had a piece on The Conservative Mind in the Wall Street Journal editorial page in which he argued that "The American right is a cauldron of debate; the left isn't."

According to the Hoover Institute's scholar, unlike those on the left, "those to the right of center are engaged in an intense intra-party struggle to balance competing principles and goods." There is all the standard blah..blah..blah.. about the differences between libertarians and social conservatives, Hayek vs. Kirk, etc.
But then there is this: But on non-standard issues--involving dramatic changes in national security and foreign affairs, the power of medicine and technology to intervene at the early stages of life, and the social meaning of marriage and family, the partisans show a clear difference: the left is more and more of one mind while divisions on the right deepen.
Consider Iraq.The split among conservatives has widened since Saddam was toppled in the spring of 2003. T…

On China-U.S. relationship

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Business Times - 25 May 2007


Sino-US relations finely poised

Congress wants China to revalue their currency while Beijing says it is not to blame for the US' rising trade deficit

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE minor agreements that were reached during the two days of negotiations between American and Chinese officials in Washington are not likely to change the China bashing mood on Capitol Hill. Democratic and Republican lawmakers continue to consider legislation aimed at 'punishing' Beijing for rejecting US demands that it allow its currency to rise against the greenback.

The second of the twice-annual 'Strategic Economic Dialogue' between high-ranking officials led by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi concluded on Wednesday with both sides trying to offer a positive spin on the outcome of the talks.

Vice-Premier Wu described the negotiations as a 'complete success' and stressed that 'through the dialogue we …

Iran again

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Steven Clemons reports on his blog The Washington Note that:Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney's national security team has been meeting with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute, one other think tank, and more than one national security consulting house and explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush's tack towards Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.

This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an "end run strategy" around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.

The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran's nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise miss…

Bill Maher take on the republican debates and Ron Paul (extended)

The reason Ron Paul should be elected as the Republican presidential candidate.

More on the Mediterranean Union

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Please read my A Mediterranean Membership Club on National InterestOnline.

And in case you missed my The Wolfowitz Touch – or How to Lose US Credibility.

Sarkozy's plan for a Mediterranean bloc

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The new French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to form a Mediterranean Union, which will include also the Arabs states in the region and Israel, has received no attention in the media here. As someone who has called for an increasing role for the European Union in the Middle East and Israeli accession into the EU, I'm very interested in Sarkozy's idea. According to the IHT:The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also on Sarkozy's mind. In his speech Sunday, he described the Mediterranean as the region "where everything is being played out." He added: "We must surmount all the hatreds to make space for a great dream of peace and civilization."
And:In Israel, where Sarkozy's Toulon speech was circulated in diplomatic circles, the reaction was also positive. When Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres called Sarkozy on Monday to congratulate him on his election victory, he said that the idea of a Mediterranean Union was "very important" and t…

The "brilliant" Wolfowitz

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You'll be reading many stories in the coming days explaining that notwithstanding the mess in Iraq and the World Bank, "everyone" or "the common view in Washington is" that Wolfowitz is "brilliant" and "smart." Right.

In fact, I had chosen Wolfowitz as my Man of the Year for 2005 just after he was selected by Bush as the President of the World Bank.here. It's worth rereading today as is my comparison between Wolfowitz and Kennan:

Anyone reading this blog is probably familiar with Wolfowitz, the leading neocon foreign policy thinker and his role in the Iraq War. If you are not, please read George Packer's excellent The Assassin's Gate which provides a somewhat sympathetic profile of the man. The reason I've chosen him is not because of Iraq but because of his selection as the new chief of the World Bank where he is going to spend the coming years traveling around the globe and wining and dining with the rich and the mighty (pa…

On Kevin Phillips's new book

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Business Times - 10 May 2007


Is the Republican/Bush coalition falling apart?

The Iraq War and soaring oil prices, among other things, are producing an electoral backlash

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

IN 1968 a young Republican Party strategist, Kevin Phillips, helped engineer the presidential election victory of his party's nominee, Richard Nixon. Indeed, that year's electoral Republican success was attributed in large measure to the 'Southern strategy' which Mr Phillips had outlined.

He had called on the leaders of the Grand Old Party (GOP) to try to recruit to their ranks an important electorate group: voters in the Southern states, the majority of whom who were continuing to vote for the Democratic Party since their part of the country was defeated in the Civil War by Republican president Abraham Lincoln.

Mr Phillips explained that as more Americans were moving to the South and the West and more resources were shifting to these parts of the country, its elec…

On Exurbia

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Business Times - 08 May 2007


US exurbia: paradise lost to economic uncertainty

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

MY car had to go through its yearly emissions inspection last week, and while waiting for my vehicle to be tested, I chatted with another resident of the state of Maryland, who lives with her family in one of the area's emerging 'exurbs' - the far-off small towns that have been built in recent years, usually next to interstate highways.

These exurbs tend to attract young, lower-middle class, mostly conservative Republican families, whose economic survival has been sustained by three major factors - cheap oil, cheap mortgages, and cheap credit.

And as I discovered during my chat with the Marylander, against the backdrop of uncertainties in the energy, housing and financial markets, the exurbanites are quite nervous, fuelling the growing economic and political insecurity in this country. She and her husband, both in their late 20s, moved to the exurb - also r…
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Demography Is Destiny

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My news article, "Demography is Destiny: Birth Rates in the Holy Land may force a two-state solution," has been published in the May 21 issue of The American Conservative. It's not available online yet. But if you click on the images and print you can (I hope) read it:




Iraq War and the Great War: the isolationist aftermath

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Guess Who has a sense of entitlement?

Business Times - 27 Apr 2007


A misguided sense of entitlement

When it comes to criticising the 'entitled', American conservatives seemed to have gone out of their way in bashing the 'elites' and 'bureaucrats' who manage supranational institutions

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

A FAVOURITE target for criticism by American conservative intellectuals, both of the neo and paleo persuasion, has been the notion that certain social groups feel that they are 'entitled'.

Among the examples they cite, are African Americans and women who are entitled to special preferences in admission to colleges and government jobs as stipulated by the affirmative-action legislations; members of the non-elected intellectual elites, in particular journalists (the 'media elite') and academics, who are (supposedly) entitled to pass judgment on and influence public policy; or 'do-gooders' on the political left, like environmentalists, feminists and civil rights…