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Showing posts from January, 2012
Business Times - 31 Jan 2012


Economic nationalism is back

This time round, it's bipartisan, with both the Democrats and Republicans standing up to China

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WE TAKE it for granted that the current political discourse in the US is dominated by the struggle for power between the Democrats and the Republicans, and the ideological clash between the 'liberals' and the 'conservatives' - and their many respective sub-groups and orientations.

But a more traditional way of studying the major battles in American politics is to apply an ideological dichotomy that goes back to the founding of the republic and the great political divide between 'Jeffersonians' and 'Hamiltonians' - which seems to be more relevant than ever these days as the American political and economic systems are going through another historic transformation once again.

The conflict between the Federalists who were led by Alexander Hamilton (who would become the f…

Obama vs. the Hawks on Iran

Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org)
Source URL (retrieved on Jan 30, 2012): http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/obama-vs-the-hawks-iran-6419
Obama vs. the Hawks on Iran

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January 30, 2012
Leon Hadar [2]
The mainstream media is again reporting the conventional wisdom: A nuclear Iran would pose a direct threat to U.S. security interests and an “existential threat” to Israel, and anyone who opposes bombing Iran is an “appeaser” and “anti-Israeli.”

This dominant narrative is also reinforcecd by the cast of a popular reality-television show, The Republican Presidential Debate. Not an episode goes by without Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum bashing President Obama as an enabler of a new Holocaust with Ahmadinejad as Hitler.

But Obama has allowed his own policy opaqueness to enable the let’s-bomb-Iran crowd, who echo the lines written by the Likud government, to fill the void and dominate the discourse.

Obama has asserted that a nuclear Iran is “u…

US is back as a global power, says Obama

Business Times - 26 Jan 2012


US is back as a global power, says Obama

He also calls on wealthy Americans like Romney to pay more in taxes

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

ON THE same day that leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his tax returns which showed that he paid less in taxes than top wage earners, US President Barack Obama launched his populist re-election campaign during his State of the Union Address.

Among other things, President Obama called on wealthy Americans like Mr Romney to pay more in taxes and pledged to come to the aid of many middle-class Americans who, unlike Mr Romney, live from pay cheque to pay cheque.

Mr Romney's tax returns showed he paid a lower effective tax rate than wage-earners on his US$42.5 million (in combined 2010 and 2011) income from investment profits, dividends, and interest.

President Obama's nationally televised address before Congress that marked the start of his campaign highlighted a vision of government t…

Republican race gets wide open and more divisive

Business Times - 25 Jan 2012


Republican race gets wide open and more divisive

It's possible the nominee to challenge Obama won't be decided till Republican convention

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

FORMER Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has lost his earlier designation as his party's presumptive presidential nominee after his electoral defeat in the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina on Saturday.

His margin of defeat of about 14 per cent against Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was quite devastating for him and came at the end of a week during which the former business executive seemed to be losing his political momentum.

First came the news that after a recount of the votes in the first Republican presidential contest this year, the caucuses in Iowa, Republican officials reversed their earlier estimate - that Mr Romney had come in first - and announced that former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum had won that race.

Th…

Romney faces new mood in his party

Business Times - 18 Jan 2012


Romney faces new mood in his party

Republicans seem to be more attracted to his rivals' economic and foreign policy agenda

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE leading presidential candidates of the political party are blasting Wall Street private equity executives as 'vultures' who are destroying the livelihood of economically distressed blue-collar workers. 'They're just vultures,' one of this party's presidential aspirants declared recently, as he was describing what those greedy venture capitalists do for living. 'They're vultures that are sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick, and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that and they save the skeleton,' he concluded. His remarks would have been applauded even by Comrade Lenin.

And in the presidential primary of the above-mentioned political party, a leading anti-war activist who has been calling for the withdra…

Are GOP squabbles helping Obama?

Business Times - 12 Jan 2012


Are GOP squabbles helping Obama?

Republican candidates are fighting on social-cultural issues when the economy is on top of most American voters' agenda

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WHILE the Republican presidential candidates in the United States have been blasting one another, things seem to be looking better than expected for President Barack Obama in recent days.

Last week's jobs report indicated that unemployment had dropped to 8.5 per cent in December, its lowest in three years. Nothing to celebrate about, but then any sign of improvement in the labour market may hint that the economic recovery is gaining momentum, raising the chances Mr Obama could be re-elected in November despite an expected strong challenge from the Republican candidate.

More importantly, the results of Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire suggest that it could take a long time for the party to select the man who will face Mr Obama.

There was …

Another War that nobody wants

Business Times - 10 Jan 2012


Another war that nobody wants

But things can go wrong, and unexpected provocations and miscalculations may lead to West's confrontation with Iran

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

REPORTS that members of the European Union (EU) were planning to impose an embargo on Iranian oil as part of a US-led strategy to force Teheran to end its alleged nuclear military programme should not have come as a major surprise. Iran has been developing surface-to-surface missiles with a maximum range of 2,000km, that equipped with nuclear weapons could put France and its European partners - as well as Israel and US bases in the Middle East - within its range.

Or to put it differently, if Iran with nukes is indeed a strategic threat, it is the Europeans more than the Americans who should be worried about it.

Some Europeans were hoping to pursue once again their all-too-familiar approach of free riding on US military power - counting on the United States and/or Israel to att…

The Republican primaries

Business Times - 05 Jan 2012


Wide open GOP race after the Iowa primary

The Republican caucuses in the state have thrown up, not one, but three front-runners

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE Republican front-runner has changed seven times since leaders and activists started their party's process of nominating the 2012 presidential candidate early last year, according to an analysis of opinion polls issued by the Gallup company last Monday.

And after the year in which the candidates took part in numerous televised debates and the Republican race dominated the chatter on cable news, the radio talk shows and the biosphere, Republican voters were finally provided with their first opportunity to pick up a favourite candidate during the first presidential primary of 2012 in Iowa on Tuesday.

But the results of the Republican caucuses in Iowa have failed to determine who is going to emerge as the party's presidential candidate.

In fact, there now seem to be three front-runners, each…