Showing posts from August, 2008

At the Movies

Suggesting that movie director Woody Allen, who has abandoned the Big Apple and is residing in Europe now, has been transformed from a New York Liberal into a Continental Conservative would certainly sound like a stretch. But after watching his 2005 Match Point, in which the main character is a professional tennis player by the name of Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who cheats and murders his way to the top of British High Society, I did consider the possibility that the aging Allen may have become a Social Darwinist of sorts late in his life (in fact, one of that movie’s producers was someone named Lucy Darwin). (read the rest)

What to watch in the US election

Business Times - 29 Aug 2008 What to watch for in the US election Hillary voters, white, young voters, swing states and Hispanics will be key to who wins By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT SO WHO is going to win this year's US presidential race? By now, the average consumer of political news junkie, has probably absorbed so much 'reliable' information about Barack Obama and John McCain - as well as a lot of pure junk in online 'rumours' - not to mention the never-ending pontificating by the pundits, that he or she can finally figure out who will be elected on the next US President on Nov 8. Yeah. Right. Well, in order to simplify things and save you a lot a time here is a brief guide to assist you in your quest: What to watch for in the next two months, or the factors that will determine, or at least explain the outcome of this race: The Hillary Clinton voters: Depending on the pollster, between 10 and 25 per cent of those voters who had cast their ballots for S

Can Obama Regain Momentum?

Business Times - 26 Aug 2008 More Americans perceive him as an 'elitist' while MrMcCain is seen as an 'average guy' By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT ANOTHER important chapter in the story of the Great American Dream will be written during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week, when Barack Obama will accept the nomination of his party to be the next president. For the first time in America's history - a black person will be elected by one of its leading parties to run for the highest political office in the country. That an African-American who belongs to an ethnic minority whose members arrived in chains and in slave-ships and who have suffered more than two centuries of official and unofficial discrimination, has a real chance to spend four years in the same White House occupied in the past by Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Kennedy, and Reagan, is in itself an indication that notwithstanding many of the problems that American is f

The half-pregnanacy solution

Business Times - 19 Aug 2008 When seceding gets ugly, half pregnancy may be best By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT RUSSIAN Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has complained that while the United States and its Nato allies have demanded that the province of Kosovo be allowed to declare its independence from Serbia and be recognised by the United Nations as an independent state, they have rejected Russian demands that the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia be permitted to secede from Georgia and either become independent or join the Russian Federation. So, in a way, the fate of Kosovo depends very much on the future of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. For the US and its allies, it makes a lot of sense that Kosovo be split from Serbia and that the Albanian-Muslim majority in the province enjoy the 'right' of self-determination. To the Russians, who have traditionally regarded the Serbs as historical and cultural allies, the decision to divide Serbia (and before that Yugoslavia) wa

Georgia stuff

Please read my recent commentary on Georgia-Russia in the new issues of The American Conservative and my recent post on the subject on @TAC.

Can Obama survive realpolitik abroad?

Business Times - 06 Aug 2008 His internationalist vision and strategy to restore respect for the US will face big obstacles in a 'post-American world' By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT WITH the exception of about 10 per cent of voters, Americans know by now that if elected as the next occupant of the White House, Barack Obama - who was born to a Kenyan-Muslim father but is now a practising Christian - will not become the first Muslim US president. But is it possible that a future President Obama could end up selecting the first Muslim US secretary of state? That is a speculation that has been raised by The New York magazine. That respected weekly suggested that columnist and author Fareed Zakaria - who was born to a prominent Muslim family in Mumbai - 'has the perfect intellectual pedigree (Indian-born, educated at Harvard, conservative) for a fast-changing world, and the kinds of friends in high places' that could help him land the job that had once been held by t

US Fed not doing McCain any favours

Business Times - 08 Aug 2008 His only hope of winning the White House is if voters ignore their economic situation By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FORMER Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan recalls in his memoirs, The Age of Turbulence, that one of his four bosses, president George HW Bush blamed him for his re-election loss in 1992 against Democratic challenger Bill Clinton. In fact, as Mr Greenspan noted in a recent interview on US Public television (PBS), the first president Bush blamed him 'fully' for his failure to get re-elected for a second term. Why was Mr Bush so upset about the policies of Mr Greenspan's Fed? 'We started to ease interest rates after the credit crunch in the late-80s and he felt that we were not lowering them sufficiently rapidly to re-galvanise the economy,' Mr Greenspan told PBS, adding that 'the Federal Reserve essentially, in a unanimous voice, disagreed with him'. Mr Greenspan insisted that the Fed's monetary pol