Showing posts from December, 2010

A New Alliance for Israel (in Haaretz) Longer version and A New Alliance for Israel By Leon Hadar “We cannot exist alone.” Israel’s national security axiom was acknowledged by President Shimon Peres during an address in November. “For our existence we need the friendship of the United States of America,” he stressed, adding: “It doesn't sound easy, but this is the truth.” It’s not easy for a client-state to admit that its own survival depends on a global patron. It’s even more challenging for leaders of a dependent state to recognize that the great power they are relying on is entering into an imperial twilight time. Inertia and wishful thinking explains why elites the empire’s capital and the provinces continue to share in the misconception about the hegemon’s ability to exert global influence But after a prolonged “recognitio

Can Obama prove to be the Comeback Kid?

Business Times - 28 Dec 2010 Can Obama prove to be the Comeback Kid? It all depends on the pace of economic recovery and how fast unemployment rate drops By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AFTER US President Barack Obama and the Democrats had taken a 'shellacking' in the midterm congressional and gubernatorial elections in November, and the White House occupant's approval rating dipped to under-50 per cent, the media were starting to portray Mr Obama as a 'has been', a one-term failed president a la Jimmy Carter. It was nice knowing you, Barack. Well, that was three or four weeks ago. Bye, bye the Old Narrative. And hello the new one: Obama, the Comeback Kid. Indeed, Mr Obama seemed to have had a very successful December: Congress approved a spending and tax cut bill that amounted to a new economic stimulus package, and notwithstanding some Republican opposition, US lawmakers voted to repeal a controversial 'don't ask, don't tell' policy regardin
Business Times - 24 Dec 2010 Asian immigrants in US making a difference By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT NEW demographic data recently released by the US Census Bureau, based on a sample taken between 2005 and 2009 (aka the American Community Survey), points out that America's younger population is becoming more 'diverse', which is the politically correct way to say that it's becoming less white. Hence about 48 per cent of the newborns in the US last year were members of minority groups, compared with only 20 per cent of those over 65. That means that, unlike many European societies where low birth-rates and political opposition to immigration make it more likely that their population will not only shrink but will also become older, the new waves of legal and illegal immigration into the US will ensure that the country's population will continue growing and getting younger. That is certainly good news as far as America's demographic trends is concerned. Bu

China Wants Power and Respect Leon T. Hadar Journalist and foreign affairs analyst Posted: December 15, 2010 04:15 PM China Wants Power and Respect Now that it is in the process of emerging as a leading economic power, some politicians and pundits are warning that not unlike the Soviet Union in its heyday, China is becoming a champion of a universal ideology that aims at supplanting the western political and economic model represented by the US. Intertwining with legitimate concerns as well as with plain scare mongering about China's growing economic and military power, the tendency among these observers is to assume that China is exporting its political-economic model worldwide as part of a strategy to win international legitimacy for its stands. That several governments have joined China in boycotting the ceremony in Oslo in which Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was supposedl

US monetary, fiscal pumps get going by default

Business Times - 15 Dec 2010 US monetary, fiscal pumps get going by default By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT REPUBLICAN and conservative critics of the economic policies pursued by the White House (government spending) and the Federal Reserve (printing money) had hoped that the electoral blow suffered by the Democrats in the recent mid-term congressional elections would force President Barack Obama and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to change course. It is time to put the brakes on spending by the government and on pumping money by the central bank - and to start cutting the deficit, they insisted. Now instead, Congress is expected to approve in the coming weeks legislation that, among other things, will extend the Bush-era tax cuts, continue to provide unemployment benefits to jobless Americans, enact a payroll tax holiday, and set up a new estate tax rate. What some angry conservative pundits are describing as the biggest economic stimulus package in American history - certainly mor

Fearing a Muslim Planet

My article the new issue of American Conservative: Fearing a Muslim Planet What’s behind all the Sharia hysteria? By Leon Hadar Would you like a spot of Islamophobia in your tea? It seems that a few of the Tea Party’s representatives in the midterm elections concluded that voters would like their favorite drink brewed with very hot anti-Muslim spices. “He is the only Muslim member of congress,” Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips, a Tennessee attorney, wrote in an e-mail to supporters in which he urged them to help defeat Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) because of his Muslim faith. “The Quran in no uncertain terms says some wonderful things like, ‘Kill the infidels’,” wrote Phillips. “I have a real problem with people who want to kill me just because I’m the infidel,” he continued, expressing support for Ellison’s opponent, Lynne Torgerson, an independent candidate. “What do I know of Islam?” Torgerson wrote on her website. “Well, I know of

Obama again confounds supporters and critics

Business Times - 10 Dec 2010 Obama again confounds supporters and critics Deal with Republicans and avoiding confrontation show his pragmatic approach By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT MEMBERS of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party were hoping that President Barack Obama would emerge from the 'shellacking' his party had endured in the midterm Congressional elections promoting a new political brand. Gone would be the old bipartisan Obama who for two years had been trying to work with the Republican opposition in drafting legislation aimed at accelerating the economic recovery and getting a Big 'NO!' from them in return. Instead, they hoped, a New Obama would be drawing out the ideological distinction between the pro-business and Wall Street oriented Republicans and pro-working class and the Main-Street leaning Democrats. He would be insisting that the Bush-era tax cuts not be extended to America's millionaires and billionaires, supporting 'fair trad

How culture affects Sino-US ties

Business Times - 08 Dec 2010 How culture affects Sino-US ties Gap between their cultures is bridgeable, and when the two interact, resulting synergy can be very attractive and exciting By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THEORISTS of international relations who belong to the 'realist' school of thought have focused a lot of attention recently on the relationship between a dominant power whose interests lie in the maintenance of the global status quo and a rising power that is inclined to challenge the existing balance of power. The 'realists' are those who tend to place an emphasis on the role that national interest and security considerations - as opposed to ideology and culture factors - play in the formation of foreign policy. One of the interesting questions that fascinates these scholars is why the collision between one rising power - Germany - and a status quo one - Britain - ended up igniting two long and costly wars in the 20th century, while a similar clash

FTAs to the rescue in boosting American jobs?

Business Times - 07 Dec 2010 FTAs to the rescue in boosting American jobs? By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THE bad economic news hit Washington at the end of a very depressing week dominated by bipartisan bickering over whether to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits and how to cut the swelling federal deficit - not to mention the never-ending flow of WikiLeaks. The report released last Friday indicating that the unemployment rate jumped last month from 9.6 per cent to 9.8 per cent - the highest unemployment number this year - and that the economy created only 39,000 jobs in November, compared to 172,000 in October, did come as a shocker to officials and lawmakers in Washington. The jobs report made it clear that most of the sectors of the economy (with the exception of temporary help and healthcare) were not hiring. And some sectors were even cutting jobs. Even more shocking to economists, many of whom had predicted better results earlier in the week, were the disappointin

Comments in Middle East Policy conference/journal

The United States in Middle Eastern Eyes: A Reliable Security Partner or a "Problem to be Managed"?

Remember the diplomatic bag?

Business Times - 04 Dec 2010 Remember the diplomatic bag? Governments could respond to online whistle blowing through more advanced forms of electronic encryption and other measures or they may even feel that old-fashioned methods of diplomatic communication could be useful once again By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT A FRIEND emailed me recently a YouTube spoof of those television commercials that market the latest big thing in consumer high-tech devices - the iPad, for example. 'Hi, we are going to introduce you to a new device,' a young geeky-looking announcer tells the viewers. 'A bio-optically knowledge centre commercially called book.' Book, he explains, is a 'revolutionary technological breakthrough: no wires. No electric circuits. No battery. No connection. Compact and portable, the book can be used anywhere. Having no electric batteries, it doesn't need to be recharged and can be used as long as necessary. Without electricity outlets, the book neve