Showing posts from 2005

Great stuff on U.S. Empire by John Gray

Have a Nice Empire in 2006! British Philosopher John Gray has a great piece on the future in the American Empire in the new issue of the New York of Books which is becoming once again one of my favorite magazines. He reviews the news books by Robert Kaplan and Michael Mandelbaum and demolishes both the arguments in favor of Empire (Kaplan) and "Empire-lite" (Mandelbaum). Gray contends that unlike the British, the Americans are not ready and don't have the resources and patience to build an empire. And he calls on the U.S. to work with other great powers to establish global stability. The piece is long but worth reading. And BTW, I raise similar points in my new book, "Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East" (see links). Also I post here one of my old commentaries which deals with the problems facing the American Empire. US Ambitions Need Reality Check by Leon Hadar by Leon Hadar The American invasion of Afghanistan and Iran has ignited hopes among Washin

My Man of the Year: Paul Wolfowitz

Getting Ready for a Television Interview 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 (paid for by the American taxpayer)as a reward for getting us into the mess in Iraq. Indeed, those of you who fantasize that the guys responsible for the one of the worst strategic decisions in U.S. history are going to be punished, humiliated, marginalized, or just feel a little stupid and fall on their swords, well, forget about it. Just like Wolfowitz, they will be occupying leading positions in Washington in the coming years. Whether it

'Munich': It's Not 'Exodus'

Avner Kauffman (Eric Bana) in 'Munich': A Jew Returns to Exile Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman) in 'Exodus': An Aryan Zionist Hero There is quite of an interesting selection of movies for American audiences to watch in this family-friendly Christmas Season: A love affair between two gay cowboys ( Brokeback Mountain ). The memoirs of a Japanese prostitute ( Memoirs of a Geisha ). A story about an Irish tranvestite cabaret singer ( Breakfast at Pluto ). Two Jewish producers making a musical about Hitler ( The Producers ). A comedy about a sex addict ( Casanova ). And, yes, a tale of Jewish vengeance ( Munich ). I saw 'Brokeback' and my guess is that it will sweep the Oscars (great directing, acting and photography; a so-so storyline). I loved the old Mel Brooks' 'Producers' with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder; so why see a remake? I'll probably see 'Casanova" and 'Geisha' (although it's kind of funny when reviewers suggest that '

Go to Yemen, Young (and Old) Democracy Crusader

When We Were Missionaries: NED workers in the Good Old Days Reading is believing... Highly recommended a three-part series in the Washington Post , "Yemen: Exporting Democracy" continued in Monday and Tuesday. It's certainly should be read by homeless/unemployed social scientists ISO Welfare Hotel. There is one in Washington, DC and it's called the Democracy Promotion Industry. in fact, there are many of those in the Capital of the Empire these days: NDI, AID, NED, Shmed... who'll provide you with hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to waste on such projects as conflict-resolution workshops in Yemen. I kid you not... Yes, read about one of these lucky winners, Robin Madrid, who sounds like one of the cool, mature ladies who publish personal ads in the NYROB: "She is 65, a grandmother and the country director in Yemen for a Washington-based nonprofit called the

Democracy is spreading in the Middle East

In Palestine, Hamas activists have won major local elections in the West Bank (here in a scene from a Palestinian version of The Birth of a Nation) And in Iraq, the Shiites are poised to take power (here seen celebrating Mardi Gras). Edward Wong reports in the NYT today that early results of voting in Iraq (two-thirds of the vote) indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition have taken a commanding lead. The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawid had won only meager support, and our pal Chalabi won less than 1 percent of the votes in the Baghdad. The following piece was written before that news. But it makes the same point, that the Iraqis are voting against ethnic and religious lines, and that those parties that are committed to asserting these identities are winning in Iraq -- and will probably win in the rest of the Arab world if and when Iraqi style democracy arrives there. Leon Hadar Business Times - 20 Dec 2005 Turning the corner in Iraq - yet again Thi

Our Founding Father vs. Their Founding Father: Spot the Differences

From the December 13, 2005 edition of the Christian Science Monitor: To Bush, Iraq's path to democracy akin to America's. In a speech Monday, he reminded a skeptical public of Founding Fathers' infighting. In speaking of the Iraqi democratic process from a Philadelphia stage, Bush aimed to invoke the image of America's own Founding Fathers in support of Iraq's new political leaders. As Bush said, the United States did not produce a constitution that could win ratification until years after the American Revolution. ("The eight years from the end of the Revolutionary War to the election of a constitutional government were a time of disorder and upheaval.There were uprisings, with mobs attacking courthouses and government buildings. There was a planned military coup that was defused only by the personal intervention of George Washington. In 1783, Congress was chased from this city by angry veterans demanding back pay, and they stayed on the run for six months. The

My new piece in the American Conservative

Karen Hughes (and State Department's democratic crusader Paula Dobriansky) My article on Karen Hughe's Mission Impossible which was published in the December 19, 2005, issue of The American Conservative is now available on the internet: December 19, 2005 IssueCopyright © 2005 The American Conservative Innocent Abroad Karen Hughes’s mission impossible By Leon Hadar A few years ago, I participated in a workshop taught by a well-known marketing guru who guaranteed in a brochure that after a few sessions with him “you’ll be even able to sell ice to Eskimos, sand to Bedouins, and condoms to eunuchs.” I suppose that if an updated brochure were issued in late 2005, in the fifth year of the presidency of George W. Bush and at a time when according to the Pew Research Center “anti-Americanism is deeper and broader now than at any time in modern history,” the celebrated PR whiz-kid would add to his marketing mission-impossible list the selling of a very unappealing product—the Bush admin

The "Bunker" Rocks...

Topping the list of movies that I consider to be "great" are "Citizen Kane," The Third Man," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Vertigo" (on a second thought, well, all of Hitchcock films). Now if you ask me to explain to you why those movies are "great," I couldn't really give you a simple answer. Which would be my response if you would ask me why I consider the "leo Strauss Stiftung" wesbite and its brother blog, "The Spirit of Zossen" ak.a. The Bunker to be "great." You'll just have to trust me on that. The site which is "dedicated" to Jewish German-American philosopher Leo Strauss (above from the site), who allegdly ispired Paul Wolfowitz and other neocons is too good to be real. I've been spending several hours surfing the site which provides you with such "goodies" as a podcast featuring "Cha

Neocon Wet Dreams: Turning the Corner Once Again

The Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name: Empire The New Empire Times December 20, 2010 64 B.E. (Bush Era) Editor: Judith Miller President McCain Lauds Free Election in Occuppied Iran VP Liberman Warns Turkey Not to Interfere By Jeff Gannon (With exceprts from Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack II ) WASHINGTON — Responding to growing unease over the war in Iran, President John McCain laid out a multipart, stay-the-course "strategy for victory" Wednesday and urged Americans to muster the "time and patience" to carry it out. McCain refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, but expressed confidence that Iranian security forces will increasingly take over for them. He also acknowledged past mistakes and warned that "there will be tough days ahead" before the troops come home. So far, some 20,100 U.S. troops have died since the Iran invasion in March 2010. The United States invaded Iran following the 09/9/9 attack on the headquartes of the Ameri

Tom Friedman: subtracting from the sum of human knowledge

Tom Friedman Reporting: Too Sexy for his Socks From time to time I'll try to entertain you with profiles of (living) People I Cannot Stand (PICS), not including my ex-wife. I thought I'll innaugurate this section by introducing you to one of those PICS, Tom Friedman from the NYT. I first inter-faced with the Oracle from Davos in a dinner at the Singaporean Embassy. The organizers weren't probably aware of the guy's Big Ego and they seated him next to a group of losers that included your humble servant and "working journalists" from news agenices, etc. the kind that you don't see playing Talking Heads on television. In the next table the Embassy had seated all the VIPs like, you know, Dr. K. and Al ("I'm in Charge Here") Haig, and Tom just couldn't stand it. You could feel the vibes, "Hey, what am I doing here with these human garbage when I could have been sitting there with Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton." He was suffering. And

Syriana=Iraq: Policy Failure in the Middle East

America(n) in the Middle East: Nowhere to Go I saw Stephan Gaghan's Syriana today, starring George Clooney plus an extra thirty pounds (above in what is supposed to be Tehran) as Bob Barnes, a CIA Middle East operative who is betrayed by his bosses in Langley, who in turn are the puppets of their Masters, the members of what I describe in my new book Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (see link) as the "petro-military complex: The political-business nexus of U.S. government officials, oil executives and the oligarchs ruling the Arab oil states (add to these the autocrats in charge of the newely independent oil producing states in Central Asia). The very talented Gaghan who had also written the script for Traffic , the cynical and depressing film about America's "war on drugs," did a marvelous job in the equally cynical and depressing Syriana . "Syriana" is a fictious oil emirate in the Persian Gulf and the character of Clooney/Barnes and the

Condi, Please, Call Home

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Secretary of State In a recent column in the posted on, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being 'Condi,'" I suggested that our secretary of state Condoleeza Rice is kind of a, well, lightweight, especially when you compare her to predecessors like, say, George Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson, and of course, Henry Kissinger. Yes, I expected some criticism. But you should have read some of the hate email I've been receiving. I've been accused of, among other things, being a racist and a misogynist, who isn't capable of dealing with the reality of strong women, and a powerful African-American female at that. "You probably hated your mommy," suggested one reader. You get the idea. But no apology from moi, guys. I'm an equal opportunity basher, and proud of being one. As Princeton Professor L. Carl Brown, noted in a review of my earlier book Quagmire: Am

What Bush expects from our European allies

Now.. that's a Good European Ally Condi the Lightweight is once again in one of those image-making trips around the world, this time in Europe where she is trying to make sure that our allies understand that Uncle Bush knows what's good for them. So what's really the Big Deal if we established a few secret detention centers a.k.a. "tortue chambers" in some of the former communist states in eastern Europe (didn't we win the Cold War to get rid of their torture chambers?) that have joined the European Union? We did kidnap a German citizen who we had suspected of terrorism, doing one of those "renditions" (after we tortured him we discovered that he wasn't a terrorist. Never mind...) but the Germans and the other Europeans should understand that we did it for their own good. And, yes, the CIA abducted a radical Islamic cleric in Italy and flew him to Egypt where he was tortured and also made a phone call to his radical Moslem pals in Italy and warn

Bush's Empire vs. the Democrats' Empire-Lite

Occuppying Fallujah: Empire Bombing Belgrade: Empire-Lite Veteran diplomatic correspondent Robin Wright provides in today's Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12-04/AR2005120400965.html an interesting and fair assessment of the failure of the members of the Democrats to challenge the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq. In a front-page story she concludes that "among the Democratic foreign policy elite, dominated by people who previously served in the top ranks of government, there are stark differences -- and significant vagueness -- about a viable alternative." Reading the piece I didn't discover any "stark differences" between the Democratic usual suspects in the foregn policy/national security arenas that reside in the think tanks and consulting outfits in the Washington-Boston corridor, like Richard Holbrooke and Madeleine Albright and some genius named Derek Chollet ("foreign policy adviser to 2004 Democrat

Washington in Lucid Dreamland

Dreams “are chief nourishers in life's feast,” according to Shakespeare's age-old claim by Macbeath. Indeed, while dreams offer a private means to explore inner reality and to gain unique, undeniable, personal experiences, psychologists also recognize that there is overwhelming evidence that dreams can be used to improve waking life, often immeasurably as storehouses of creativity. Many people often remember no dreams at all, and even when they do, it is almost exclusively upon awakening. But scientists are now exploring now what they term as “lucid dreams.” In that condition, one realizes that he or she is dreaming while the dream is still happening. The dreamer becomes aware that the world being experienced, although appearing very believable is actually a dream and that his or her physical body is elsewhere safe asleep in bed. With this new understanding, the lucid dreamer is free to explore remarkable worlds limited only by imagination. The increased clarity lucid state oft

Bad for you Too? The Iraq War and Israel

November 7, 2005 Issue Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative Bad For You Too? How the Iraq War disappointed Israel By Leon Hadar There is an old joke about an Englishman, a Frenchman, a German, and a Jew who are asked to write an essay about an elephant. The Englishman writes about “The Elephant and the British Empire.” The Frenchman writes about “The Love Life of the Elephant.” The pedantic German writes a large treatise on “The Toenail of the Elephant.” And the Jew writes on “The Elephant and the Jewish Problem.” It’s a Jewish joke dating back to the time when the fate of the insecure Jewish community in Europe depended very much on political and social changes in the surrounding non-Jewish environment. It pokes fun at the tendency of anxious Jews at that time to assess the latest news from this or that world capital—the Russian czar has the flu, the price of grain is going up, red shoes are becoming more fashionable—by whether or not it was “good for the Jews.” When Jewish surv