Showing posts from 2011

My take on Ron Paul and Israel in Haaretz Home Jewish World News Published 04:33 29.12.11 Latest update 04:33 29.12.11 The truth about Ron Paul There is no anti-Israel aspect to the Republican presidential candidate's opposition to giving Israel aid, he is opposed in principle to foreign aid, which he sees as a waste of money. By Leon Hadar Tags: Israel US Get Haaretz on iPhone Get Haaretz on Android WASHINGTON - He probably won't be the Republican candidate for president in 2012, but Congressman Ron Paul of Texas has a good chance to win the Republican primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire in January, become a driving force in next year's campaign and continue to influence his party's agenda. This isn't good news for Jewish Republican activists and neoconservative intellectuals who backed the Iraq War; they accuse the most influential libertarian legislator on Capitol Hill of being anti-Israel. The Republican Jewish coalition d

2012 the year of Counter-Revolution?

Business Times - 30 Dec 2011 2012 the year of Counter-Revolution? Members of the old order may fight back to protect the status quo just like Europe's counter-revolutionaries did in 1849 By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THE outgoing 2011 is the Year of the Protester, according to Time magazine. The insurgency targeting the ruling political elites, first in Tunisia, and then in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, has not been confined to the Middle East. Protests have taken place in Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Britain and Israel. And in the United States, the Occupy Wall Street protesters began demonstrating first in New York, and then in Washington, Chicago, and in other cities across the country. The 2011 global uprisings against the status quo have been compared to the revolutions that swept through Europe in 1848, when working-class socialists and middle-class liberals in Paris, Milan, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Berlin tried to bring down the old regimes. And indee

On the recent mess in Washington

Business Times - 27 Dec 2011 Tax cut battle in House exposes divisions within Republican Party The spectre of the party being taken over by radicals is bound to alienate moderates and help Obama win election By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT REPUBLICANS were licking their self-inflicted political wounds after what would probably be recalled as the Great Christmas-Eve Tax Cuts Battle (GCETCB) concluded with a legislative ceasefire but with clear political victory for President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Indeed, after a week of unyielding opposition by Republicans in the US House of Representatives to a modest temporary or 'stopgap' legislative measure that enjoyed wide bipartisan support, both the House and Senate finally approved - just two days before Christmas - a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits. It was a nice holiday present for President Obama who signed the legislation before leaving to join his family on vacation in

The German Spring in TNI

Published on The National Interest ( Source URL (retrieved on Dec 19, 2011): Springtime for Merkel and Germany | More [1] | December 19, 2011 Leon Hadar [2] For the first time since its founding in 1871, Germany seems to be in a position to achieve its long-standing objective of bringing much of Europe under its control, through peaceful means this time around. True, some people—for example, Greeks and the Italians—are resisting the new form of German geoeconomic hegemony in Europe, achieved through a new form of French collaboration. But the pundits are disparaging these Mediterranean people as a lazy bunch of beach dwellers and party goers on the periphery of Europe who have yet to acquaint themselves with the basics of twenty-first-century financial literacy. Indeed, much of the prevailing media discourse views the euro-zone debate as being over economic policies—or, as New York Times c

Will Gingrich be the Obama of 2012?

Business Times - 16 Dec 2011 Will Gingrich be the Obama of 2012? By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOUR years ago, after a large number of candidates had entered the Democratic Party's presidential primaries, the conventional wisdom among the political professionals was that New York Senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton would win the race. She had the political experience and skills, the name recognition and well-organised election campaign and fund-raising operations. Members of the party's establishment as well as many activists loved her. She was ready for Prime Time. She was unbeatable. The nomination was hers to lose; which she did. After the field of Democratic presidential candidates narrowed to a duel between Senator Clinton and a young and relatively unknown Senator from Illinois, most political experts continued to underestimate the African-American with the exotic name of Barack Obama. They insisted that he didn't have the experience or the skills t

my new piece in Haaretz לכודים במזרח התיכון לי-און הדר 13.12.2011 12:00 וושינגטון בתחילת נובמבר, כאשר הנשיא ברק אובמה אירח פסגה של מנהיגי מדינות מזרח אסיה ואזור האוקיינוס השקט בהוואי, יצא לאקרנים בארצות הברית סרט חדש, "היורשים" שמו. ג'ורג' קלוני הוא מאט קינג, עורך דין המתגורר בהונולולו, נצר לנסיכה הוואית שנישאה במאה ה-19 לבנקאי אנגלו-אמריקאי, שמתלבט האם למכור לחברה משיקגו שטח אדמה בהוואי שהיה בבעלות משפחתו במשך כמה דורות, או לשמר אותו כאתר מורשת משפחתית. כמו מאט בסרט, גם אובמה נולד וגדל בהוואי והוא תוצר של נישואים מעורבים ושל קשרים היסטוריים ותרבותיים בין אזור האוקיינוס השקט (אסיה) והאוקיינוס האטלנטי (ארה"ב). אובמה, שכינה את עצמו "הנשיא הפסיפי הראשון של ארה"ב", עומד בפני דילמה דומה, אך מסובכת מזו של מאט. וושינגטון רוצה להסיט את תשומת הלב המדינית והכלכלית שלה מאזור האוקיינוס האטלנטי והמזרח התיכון לאזור האוקיינוס השקט ומזרח אסיה, אך היא חייבת לאזן את האוריינטצייה הפסיפית הזאת עם ההתחייבויות הדיפלומטיות והצבאיות שלה במערב אסיה. &

Will Obama's populist message win him votes next year?

Business Times - 13 Dec 2011 Will Obama's populist message win him votes next year? The US president seems to be picking up the political mantle of the legendary Theodore Roosevelt in recent days By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT PRESIDENT Theodore Roosevelt is one of the three most revered Republican presidents in US history (the other two being Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan) which raises an interesting question: why is Democratic President Barack Obama trying to sound like that Republican president as he prepares to confront his Republican challenger next year? But then it is doubtful that TR would be celebrated by present-day conservative Republicans. He was, in fact, a self-proclaimed 'progressive' who had rallied against the big corporations and financial institutions of his day and admonished Americans to promote more social and economic equality. The populist message advanced by 'Teddy' would be decried today by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Pali

The American Conservative

The American Conservative

US unfazed by Chavez's latest act of bravado

Business Times - 08 Dec 2011 US unfazed by Chavez's latest act of bravado By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT NOW that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi cannot play any more the roles as Washington's favourite bogeymen, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has been trying to fill the void. The recent formation of a new regional bloc, called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) - that includes 33 member states but excludes the United States and Canada - seems a strategy on the part of Mr Chavez to demonstrate that Latin American nations are gradually detaching themselves from Washington's influence. The Venezuelan leader, taking up the mantle of the South American liberator Simon Bolivar, hosted leaders from all across Latin America and the Caribbean in Caracas last Friday to inaugurate the new continental group which he described as the 'the most important political event in our

Marathon man up against the short-distance runner

Business Times - 07 Dec 2011 Marathon man up against the short-distance runner The US Republican contest for presidential nominee seems to be boiling down to a race between Romney and Gingrich By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IT does seem that we may be arriving at the end of the Amateur Hour(s) of the Republican Party's presidential primaries. At some point in the coming weeks, the grown-ups will be taking charge of the process that will culminate in the selection of the Republican presidential candidate. According to many political pundits, the party's presidential nominee would have a better than an even chance to beat President Barack Obama in next year's race for the White House. It is not surprising that many veteran Republican political hands have been feeling a certain sense of nostalgia for the good old days before the age of the open and democratic presidential primaries in the 1960s, for a time when the 'bosses in the smoke-filled rooms' - the party

Romney and China

Business Times - 03 Dec 2011 Romney's dangerous anti-China rhetoric Accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency and stealing US jobs is not based on any sound economic policy and everything to do with electoral politics By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AS the US presidential and congressional election campaigns are getting started, no one should be surprised that both Democrats and Republicans have been doing a lot of China-bashing. After all, the economically distressed American voter is in a very angry mood, blaming the Wall Street elites and the Washington bureaucrats for the nation's economic mess, and ready to listen to a populist message that fuses nationalism, xenophobia and protectionism. And according to recent opinion polls, a majority of Americans believe that China is intent on - and will succeed in - supplanting the US as the world's leading economic and geopolitical power. In this political environment, scapegoating China for destroying US manufacturin

Can you see Brussels and Teheran from Honolulu?

Business Times - 01 Dec 2011 Can you see Brussels and Teheran from Honolulu? By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IN THE same week in November that US President Barack Obama was hosting a summit of East Asian leaders in Honolulu, Hawaii, a new film starring George Clooney as a Honolulu attorney and trustee of his family's ancestral land in Hawaii opened in American movie theatres. In The Descendants, that is expected to win an Oscar or two, Clooney's character is a descendant of the great-great-grandmother of a Hawaiian princess who married a white banker and passed on a rich chunk of real estate. Matt King is under pressure from his family to sell it to developers while native Hawaiians urge him to keep the land unspoiled. President Obama, who (like King) was born and raised in Hawaii and is a product of a mixed marriage, has described himself as 'the first Pacific president' and is facing a similar but more difficult dilemma. Washington wants to reorient US geostrat

America's Long-Delayed Pacific Century

Published on The National Interest ( Source URL (retrieved on Nov 21, 2011): America's Long-Delayed Pacific Century |More[1] | November 21, 2011 Leon Hadar [2] When President Bill Clinton was hosting the Leaders Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Seattle in 1993, the Middle East started to feel like old news. Resisting pressure to oust Saddam Hussein and to launch new military campaigns in the Middle East, Clinton promoted a trade-liberalization agenda in East Asia and tried to transform APEC from a "talking shop" into a pillar of an Asia-centric foreign policy. But when President Barack Obama hosted the leaders of the APEC forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, close to two decades after the Seattle Summit, it felt like a diplomatic Groundhog Day, with U.S. officials insisting once again that the time has come to shift American global priorities

When leaders fail to lead

Business Times - 23 Nov 2011 When leaders fail to lead America's politicians have not been able to muster the will to make unpopular and painful decisions By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT TO no one's surprise, the US congressional Super Committee ended its effort to put America's fiscal house in order ended with a whimper. The Democratic and Republican members of the special deficit-reduction committee admitted that after three months of work, they had failed to meet the deadline for an agreement on cutting about US$1.2 trillion from the US national debt - which topped US$15 trillion last week. The mountain could not even give birth to a mouse. In a way, not unlike their counterparts in the eurozone, the members of the America's political class have not been able to muster the will to make the unpopular and painful decisions that require slashing government spending (by eliminating public services) and raising new revenues (by increasing the tax burden), displayin

Republicans fighting in the wrong arena

Business Times - 18 Nov 2011 Republicans fighting in the wrong arena Silly for their candidates to portray Obama as weak in foreign policy and national security By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IT is difficult to decide whether to laugh or cry when listening to the debate on foreign policy among Republican presidential candidates. It's either militarist and pro-war or a display of ignorance of global affairs. During televised National Journal/CBS debate devoted entirely to foreign policy issues last week, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney - most observers expect him to eventually win his party's presidential nomination - and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, sounded as though as they were planning to follow in the footsteps of George W Bush - the last Republican to occupy the White House - and lead America into a new war in the Middle East. While President Barack Obama is engaged in a delicate balancing act on Iran - using diplomacy to

Don't write off re-election of Obama just yet

Business Times - 16 Nov 2011 Don't write off re-election of Obama just yet By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AT around this time next year, we are going to find out whether or not US President Barack Obama is going to occupy the White House for another four years. Many political experts and historians have almost written him off, pointing out that no incumbent US president won re-elected since 1945 with an unemployment rate of over 7 per cent. If the unemployment rate continues to hover around 9 per cent in 2012, Mr Obama's chances of winning a second term are under 50 per cent. In fact, in the case of the seven successful re-election bids, the national unemployment rate averaged 5.17 per cent. Only once since 1948 had an incumbent president - Ronald Reagan - been re-elected when the national unemployment rate was over 5.5 per cent. Interestingly enough, not unlike Mr Obama, Reagan's first two years in office were dominated by a stream of bad economic news, with the na

America's Asia shift not so soon

Business Times - 12 Nov 2011 America's Asia shift not so soon As the Iran crisis may keep the US heavily engaged, both militarily and diplomatically, in the Middle East, its 'Pacific Century' will take a long time to come By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT BEFORE US President Barack Obama left Washington for Honolulu, Hawaii, where he is hosting leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum for their annual summit this weekend, American officials reiterated once again renewed US commitment to diplomatic and economic engagement in Asia. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - the first top American envoy to leave for Honolulu to attend the meeting of the regional grouping and who will travel to the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia later this month - has been underscoring what she described the Obama administration's vision of 'America's Pacific Century' in several public addresses and published commentaries. In fact, trying to convey to