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Showing posts from June, 2010

The collapse of Israel’s 'Periphery Doctrine' | The Middle East Channel

No quick way out of Afghanistan

Business Times - 26 Jun 2010


No quick way out of Afghanistan

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

OFFICIAL Washington has been riveted in recent days by a bureaucratic infighting inside the Obama administration that ended with the abrupt relief on Wednesday of General Stanley McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan.

Gen McChrystal's boss, General David Petraeus, commander of the US forces across the Middle East and the former leader of the American troops in Iraq, replaced him.

While Gen McChrystal had established a good relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, he antagonised some of the leading US civilian leaders, including the commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama. His dismissal came after the publication of a profile of the 55-year-old general in Rolling Stone magazine in which Gen McChrystal and his top aides criticised President Obama and mocked Vice-President Joe Biden and some members of the White House's national security team.

While Mr Obama had provided…

Doubts mount over impact of Beijing's yuan reform

Business Times - 24 Jun 2010


Doubts mount over impact of Beijing's yuan reform

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

FOR close to a year, Obama administration officials have resisted pressure from the US Congress to punish China for refusing to adjust its tightly controlled currency, the yuan. At the same time, US President Barack Obama and his aides, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have been working behind the scenes to persuade the Chinese government to move in that direction.

And now, it seems that Washington's exercise in quiet diplomacy has proved to be successful after China announced on Saturday that it decided to take the yuan off its peg to the US dollar and let it trade freely. The Chinese made the announcement against the backdrop of growing anti-China sentiment on Capitol Hill and on the eve of the summit of the Group of 20 economies in Canada at the end of this week.

The G-20 members have agreed in their last two summits that any serious response to t…

Republicans seem to be their own worst enemy

Business Times - 22 Jun 2010


Republicans seem to be their own worst enemy

Republican Joe Barton's apology to BP's Mr Hayward only served to help the Democrats

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE conventional wisdom in Washington after US President Barack Obama's televised Oval Office address on the Gulf of Mexico's oil spill was that Mr Obama and the Democrats were going to suffer a lousy political week.

Opinion polls continued to reflect diminishing public support for the Democratic White House occupant. So, considering the zero-sum nature of current American politics, the bad news for the Democrats could only mean that the political week would end up with a huge win for the opposition.

Indeed, the expectation on Capitol Hill and the media last Tuesday was that the Republicans were going to exploit the ineffective performance of the president and the American people's anger over the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf Coast - not to mention the sluggish e…

The Collapse of Israel's 'Periphery Doctrine': Popping Pipe(s) Turkey Dreams

Obama government sinking in two major quagmires

Business Times - 17 Jun 2010


Obama government sinking in two major quagmires

President is in danger of losing balance and falling over the Gulf oil spill and Afghan war

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House Oval Office yesterday - the dramatic backdrop has been used by other presidents to address the American people in times of major crises - to outline his ambitious plans for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

This huge environment catastrophe is threatening to become 'Obama's Katrina', a political disaster and an economic mess that could jeopardise the electoral future of the Democratic president and his party.

Accusing BP plc of 'recklessness', Mr Obama pledged to press the oil company to compensate the victims of the environmental disaster. 'We will make BP pay,' he said. And he announced that he wanted BP to finance a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan that would rely o…

Americans in search of new economics

Business Times - 15 Jun 2010


Americans in search of new economics

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

ASK a Republican politician or a free-market pundit whether the Keynesian oriented approach of Obamanomics - using fiscal policy to boost the economy during a downturn - was working and he or she would probably respond with a resounding 'No'.

The revival of conventional Keynesianism to fight the Great Recession reflects short-term political considerations by providing quick fixes to the crisis and creates the illusion of economic growth and declining unemployment, they argue.

They say that the government's efforts to stimulate aggregate demand and reduce unemployment by manipulating spending has not - and will not - work and that it will end-up producing negative side effects, including rising debt and higher inflation.

The recent jobs numbers, suggesting that most of the job created last month were the temporary jobs of workers conducting the census, seemed to be playing …

Romance ends between Obama and Americans

Business Times - 09 Jun 2010


Romance ends between Obama and Americans

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

IF you want to get a sense of the depressing mood that has been overwhelming President Barack Obama and his aides these days, all you need to do is listen to the old hit sang by the musical duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield a while ago. When it comes to the fading love affair between the young and attractive White House occupant and the American people, the melancholic lyrics of The Righteous Brothers seem to say it all: 'You've lost that lovin' feeling.'

It does get sad for an American president when it gets funny; when he or she becomes the butt of the jokes of television late-night comedy shows, as Mr Obama has been in recent weeks. Comics has been mocking what is seen more and more as his somewhat lethargic response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and his ineffective handling of the never-ending crisis as well as of other domestic and foreign polic…

Oil spill could 'top kill' Obama presidency

Business Times - 02 Jun 2010


Oil spill could 'top kill' Obama presidency

Poll shows over 50 per cent of Americans rate his response to disaster as poor or very poor

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WITH the failed 'top kill' operation of British Petroleum (BP) to plug the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, US President Barack Obama and his aides are now bracing themselves for the worst.

Indeed, it seems that the most devastating environmental catastrophe in American history is gradually becoming Mr Obama's most destructive political crisis.

It could not only damage the efforts by the Democrats to maintain their control in Congress after November's midterm election; the political aftershocks of the oil spill, coupled with public discontent over a high unemployment rate and rising government spending as well as general cynicism over the conduct of politicians, could make it more difficult for Mr Obama to return to the White House for a second term.

Follo…