Showing posts from August, 2006

George W. Churchill?

I'm sick and tired of all these silly WWII analogies that have been applied by the Rumsfeld and Company to spin the war in Iraq (and the war on terrorism). I'm writing a long article on the topic which will be published next month. But I do want to share with you this Letter to the Editor that appeared in The Economist in May: SIR– Please do not ever mention George Bush. And Winston Churchill in the same sentence again, even if you must break all the rules of grammar to do so. Steve Pettit California And another short Letter to the Editor on the same subject in Time magazine : Churchill and Bush can both be considered wartime leaders, just as Secretariat and Mr. Ed were both horses. JAMES RHODES Norman, Okla. Exactly my sentiments.

Roundtable on the "crippled superpower" at the National Interest

I attended and spoke today in a roundtable on U.S. Foreign Policy sponsored by The National Interest magazine in Washington, DC. Graham Fuller moderated a discussion, "America: A Crippled Superpower?"which was broadcast live on C-SPAN (check-out their schedule. ) Thanks to the editor of the National Interest Nikolas K. Gvosdev for organizing the event that brought together several of the leading "realists" in Washington.

The Islamic way of war? no way

Jim Henley has a very interesting discussion of Andrew Bacevich's piece in the American Conservative , The Islamic Way of War. I usually agree with Bacevich but I have a feeling that this time he did exactly what I accuse the "other side" of doing, that is, inventing a b-s driven grand theory as part of an effort to advance a certain policy agenda. I've been opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to the Israeli bombimg of Lebanon and support U.S. engagement with Iran but not because something called "the Islamic way of war" is winning, or as Bacevich puts it: the East has solved the riddle of the Western Way of War. In Baghdad and in Anbar Province as at various points on Israel’s troubled perimeter, the message is clear: methods that once could be counted on to deliver swift decision no longer work. Yes, some Moslem militaries are actually quite good -- the Turkish, the Pakistani, the Jordanian -- mostly thanks to training by Western (British) advisors an

"Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" to the rescue

No more "Freedom Fries?" We all recall how in the aftermath of the "liberation" of Iraq Condi Rice stated that US policy towards Europe should be: “Encourage the Russians, ignore the Germans and punish the French.” It was "go fly a kite" you Old Europe (France, Germany and the rest). Poland, Estonia and Bulgaria, the New Europe would now be placed at the center of the "transatlanic alliance." And I can go on and on about the "Freedom Fries" and the "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" , those Euro appeasers, Arabists, anti-Semites, etc. etc. It all sounded like the Vichi regime was back in power. Well... what do you know... It sounds like Estonia won't be able to deploy its troops to Lebanon to help disarm the Hizbollah....Did you notice how Jacques Chirac and the French have suddenly become the Good Guys in neocon "narrative. Oh, please, please, we really want to see your presence in Lebanon after all the mess the Isra

Shameless self promotion

I'm back from a short vacation and wanted to provide you with some stuff to read, listen to and watch: First, The globalist has published my recent commentary on the war in Lebanon on its Executive Channel: Focus > Global Security The Mideast Crisis: And the Loser Is … Everyone By Leon T. Hadar What Hezbollah expected to gain by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and igniting the latest round of Middle East violence may never be fully know. Nor may we understand what Israel expected to gain from its full-throttle response. But one thing is clear: Measuring who won and who lost will be a process of determining who lost most and who lost least. Since the start of the current Middle East crisis, analysts have been trying to figure out who is responsible for this mess. Who had made the crucial decisions that triggered the fighting between the Israeli military and the Hezbollah guerrillas, which has resulted in death of many Israeli and Lebanese civilians and the destruction of villa


I'll be in Rehoboth Beach, Deleware, undetil August 21st and won't be blogging. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

All is well, that ends... well, not so well: We need the Henry Jackson Brigade!

The Boston Globe has a good report/analysis of the UN Security Council vote which gives yours truly the last word... Let me just add one point/prediction: The Israeli failure to crush Hizbollah will probably make it more likely that the Bush Administration will end up in a military confrontation with Iran and/or Syria. Expect growing pressure from the neocons on the Bushies to "do something" in order to demonstrate that Iran and Syria didn't win this round. And since the Hard-Line Neocons Assail Israel for Timidity in Lebanon here is my proposal, recalling the Spanish Civil War in which some of the neocons's predecessor actually did some fighting: The guys mentioned in the piece (and their many other colleagues) should form the Henry Jackson Brigade to fight in this and the other Mideast War which they love so much. I mean "war" like real war as opposed to the "war of ideas" and real tanks as opposed to "think tanks." Bill? David? Char

Olmert and his war under attack: Get me a Bush-like spin...

The mood is shifting in Israel: both the general public and political and media elites are getting the war has been a dissaster to all concerned. According to Reuters: Rising Israeli casualties and constant Hizbollah rocket attacks have sharply eroded public support in Israel for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defence minister, an opinion poll showed on Friday. The survey in the Haaretz newspaper found only 48 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Olmert's performance compared with popularity ratings of more than 75 percent in polls taken in the early stages of fighting against the Lebanese group. read the rest. The new trend in public opinion are shaped by and reflected in the Israeli media, according to the following report in Editor and Publisher: Doubts About War Growing at Hawkish Israeli Daily By E&P Staff Published: August 11, 2006 12:10 AM ET updated Friday NEW YORK From the beginning of the Israel-Hezbollah war last month, the popular daily, Ha'aretz, like

The Mideast Crisis: And the Loser is... everyone

Since the start of the current Middle East crisis, analysts have been trying to figure out who is responsible for this mess. Who had made the crucial decisions that triggered the fighting between the Israeli military and the Hizbollah guerrillas and that has resulted in death of many Israeli and Lebanese civilians, including children, and the destruction of villages and urban centers in both countries. And why were these decisions made in the first place? Or to put it in more stark terms: Qui Bono? Who benefits from what seems to be to anyone watching the horrifying images on television, an un-winnable war as well as a major humanitarian crisis? Some observers have speculated the Iranian and Syrians who have been the main source of financial and military assistance to the Hizbollah, have encouraged the Lebanese-Shiite militia to kidnap two Israeli soldiers, a move that led to Israeli military retaliation and ignited the round of violence that we are witnessing now. Underlying

On global trade and the middle east

In case you've missed: August 7, 2006 Baghdad, Beirut, Doha Trade-talks failure a blow to US strategy in Mideast by Leon Hadar In addition to being the capitals of three Middle Eastern countries, Baghdad (Iraq), Beirut (Lebanon), and Doha (Qatar) have something else in common, and it's President George W. Bush's global policy. While the violence taking place in Baghdad and Beirut is a direct consequence of the collapse of Bush's Middle East policy and much of its geo-strategic approach, the breakdown of the Doha round of trade talks is a reflection of the failure of the Bush administration to project U.S. leadership in the global economic arena. If Washington does not take immediate steps to reevaluate and re-energize its role in global affairs, then not only the United States but the entire international system could be threatened. (read the rest) And: American Proscenium After Zarqawi: The New Thirty Years’ War by Leon T. Hadar When the U.S. government toppled Sad­d

The war of the narratives (direct links to videos)

yalla ya Nasrallah - song from Israel yalla ya Nasrallah - The real thing! The war of the narratives. No 2

The war between the "narratives"

It's yalla ya Nasrallah - song from Israel Vs. yalla ya Nasrallah - The real thing! Thanks to YouTube

Europe vs. U.S. in the Middle East

Tom Segev in in an commentary in Haaretz that challenges the conventional wisdom that Israel's interests are served by "serving" the U.S. interests in the Middle East and suggests that Israel would have been better off by following the European lead in the region: If Europe had some say in the region, Israel may have started negotiations with Hezbollah on the release of the soldiers it abducted - and hopefully, it still will do so - instead of getting mixed up in war. For some years now, more Middle East-related wisdom emanates from Europe than from the United States. It wasn't Europe but the United States that invented the diplomatic fable called the road map; it wasn't Europe but the United States that encouraged unilateral disengagement and is allowing Israel to continue oppressing the population in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The United States is not engaged with Syria; Europe is. Syria is relevant not only for settling the situation in Lebanon, but also

There is God! A moment (a second) of humility for War Hawks

Please don't! Iraq is flat. No peace in the Promised Land. But not all is lost. Your books are selling like Katyushas and IEDs. K. in a Unipolar Moment:Ich bin ein Israeli. But I'm fighting in the War of Ideas in Washington, DC. It's more fun and lucrative. These are depressing times. Israelis, Lebanese and Palestinians in the Levant and American and Iraqis in the Persian Gulf have become the casualties in the great Let's-Remake-the-Middle-East movie that the Bushies and their cheer-leaders have produced. But in every tragedy one can discover the silver lining. In this case, it's the idea that some of the war hawks are admitting that they were wrong. Read Tom ("countries with McDonalds don't go to war with other countries with McDonalds") Friedman who bascially admits today in Time for Plan B in the New York Times that: It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war. When our top commander in Iraq, Gen.

Post-war predictions

Yeah, that would be nice... But it's too early for predictions. It's quite possible that Israeli troops will end up stuck in southern Lebanon for a long time. Uri Avnery tries to draw the outlines of a few possible scenarios(thanks for the correspondent who provided me with the link): THE DAY after the war will be the Day of the Long Knives. Everybody will blame everybody else. The politicians will blame each other. The generals will blame each other. The politicians will blame the generals. And, most of all, the generals will blame the politicians. Always, in every country and after every war, when the generals fail, the "knife in the back" legend raises its head. If only the politicians had not stopped the army just when it was on the point of achieving a glorious, crushing, historic victory... That's what happened in Germany after World War I, when the legend gave birth to the Nazi movement. That's what happened in America after Vietnam. That's what is

Postmodernist geostrategy

I've never been a great fan of post-modernist philosophy associated with Jacques Derrida , Michel Foucault , Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard and others with its emphasis on moral relativism and the "deconstruction" of "texts" and "narratives" about reality that are supposedly the invention of the powerful who dominate the "discourse," although I find myself using these and other terms that are popular with post-modernists in order to make a point. But I usually use quotation marks or do the "so-called" with my fingers during a presentation. So it was really fascinating to read this Perceptions: Israel’s Long-Term Battle in the New York Times today which basically proposes that Israel and the Hizbollah are engaging in a battle over the consturction of a "narrative" about their recent war: Gidi Grinstein, a former Israeli negotiator and director of the Reut Institute, a research group, calls it the “90-10 paradox.” Israel can elim

America losing diplomatic leverage: Shape of things to come?

Read my new The US Can't Run the Show in the Middle East It's time for the Europeans to get more active in diplomatic efforts and the read this latest piece of news from The Times(London) August 03, 2006 France moves in to fill the US vacuum Foreign Editor's Briefing by Bronwen Maddox THE US took a long step towards the position of France yesterday in drawing up a United Nations resolution on the Lebanon crisis. The text, which could be presented to the UN Security Council as early as today, represents concessions by France, the US and Britain, but its centre of gravity is closest to French views. In a week when Tony Blair delivered his sharpest ever criticism of the US's conduct of the War on Terror, this reflects a realignment of loyalties and some weakening of US influence, which may extend beyond this crisis. Talks between the US, Britain and France, all Security Council members, yesterday morning thrashed out agreement on the sequence of next moves, but left big

Hysteria among neocons: Israel isn't tough enough

National Review Online and the Wall Street Journal editorial page are mad as hell at Israel for not playing the role they assigned to it in their script, which is exactly they way they reacted to the fiasco in Iraq. According to their script, America's proxy -- Israel was supposed to defeat Iran's proxy -- Hizbollah. Hence according to BRET STEPHENS in the WSJ: It is amazing how much can be squandered in the space of three weeks. On July 12, Israel sat behind an internationally recognized frontier, where it enjoyed a preponderance of military force. It had deterrence and legitimacy. Hezbollah's cross-border raid that day was widely condemned within Lebanon and among Arab leaders as heedless and provocative. Mr. Olmert's decision to respond with massive force enjoyed left-to-right political support. He also had a green light from the Bush administration, which has reasons of its own to want Hezbollah defanged and which assumed the Israelis were up to the job. But it se