Showing posts from May, 2011

Ngo Dinh Netanyahu, Benjamin MacArthur

Ngo Dinh Netanyahu, Benjamin MacArthur by Leon T. Hadar This article appeared in Haaretz on May 31, 2011. On a sunny day in May, the leader of an important U.S. ally from an unstable region of the world where critical American interests were at stake, was addressing a joint meeting of Congress presided over by the Speaker of the House and the Vice President. The foreign leader who reiterated in his address the common interests and values shared by the U.S. and his country in containing the threat posed by global anti-western aggression received a standing ovation and his speech was persistently interrupted by loud applause by legislators, with lawmakers from the two major political parties lavishing him with praise. Seven years after speaking before the U.S. Congress Ngo Dinh Diem, the President of South Vietnam was assassinated on November 2, 1963, in a military coup sanctioned by the administration of President John Kennedy. And in May 9, 1975, the same body that Diem addressed twelv

The Republican candidate Obama should fear the most

Business Times - 27 May 2011 The Republican candidate Obama should fear the most By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT PRESIDENT Barack Obama and his aides have been going out of their way to praise former US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman for the great job he did representing the current Democratic administration in Beijing for two years, before deciding to resign while considering a presidential bid against his former boss in the White House. Addressing members of the prestigious Gridiron Club during their annual dinner recently, Mr Obama joked that he was planning to campaign for Mr Huntsman during the Republican primaries and to tell the very conservative (and anti-Obama) Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire that 'Obama's Man in Beijing' was, indeed, a great team player . . . Fifty-one-year-old Mr Huntsman has yet to announce that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination next year. But the leading Republican politician, who served as governor o

Obama plays the fox in the Middle East

Business Times - 24 May 2011 Obama plays the fox in Middle-East He recognises that what is happening in the region is complex and requires an accommodating response from Washington By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT DELIVERING his much anticipated address on the Middle East in Washington, US President Barack Obama proved once again that he wasn't an ideologue but a thinker inspired by the very American philosophical tradition of pragmatism with its emphasis on empiricism, incrementalism, and scepticism towards grand theories. Indeed, friends and adversaries were confused by what they saw was his disjointed response to the recent upheaval in the Arab World - grudgingly supporting the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt; unenthusiastically backing limited military action in Libya; projecting a nuanced attitude to the unrest in Bahrain. His supporters had hoped that Mr Obama would lay out a new US grand strategy for the Middle East - the so-called Obama Doctrine - during his speech. Th

Waiting for a Republican Leader

Business Times - 18 May 2011 Waiting for a Republican Leader Current slate of contenders, except perhaps Tim Pawlenty, will find the going tough given their real or perceived failings By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT A FEW nights ago, five candidates for the 2012 presidential election gathered for an early debate that touched upon domestic and foreign policy issues. Two of the five taking part in the televised debates - a member of the House of Representatives from a southern state and a former governor of a large state - argued that the time has come to bring an end to Washington's War on Drugs. In fact, one of the two presidential candidates hoping to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama next year expressed support for legalising drugs, agreeing with the suggestion that heroin and prostitution were an 'exercise of liberty', and insisting that he would leave it to the states to make that decision on whether to de-criminalise them. Based on these sound bites, y

'First Pacific' president stuck in the Middle East

Business Times - 11 May 2011 'First Pacific' president stuck in the Middle East While Obama wants to focus more on China, US will remain 'underweighted' in East Asia By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AT THE centre of US President Barack Obama's geostrategic thinking has been the recognition that in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the devastating financial meltdown, 'America needed to rebuild its reputation, extricate itself from the Middle East and Afghanistan, and turn its attention towards Asia and China's unchecked influence in the (Asia-Pacific) region', according to a much-discussed article about Mr Obama's foreign policy that was published in The New Yorker magazine recently. According to Ryan Lizza, the author of the article, Mr Obama and his advisers concluded upon entering office that America was 'overweighted' in the Middle East and 'underweighted' in East Asia. 'We've been on a little bit

Pakistan Is Not a Strategic Ally But an Irresponsible Client State Pakistan Is Not a Strategic Ally But an Irresponsible Client State Posted: 05/ 3/11 06:52 PM ET Adolph Hitler and other top leaders of Nazi Germany escape into neutral Spain after the defeat of the Third Reich and find a sanctuary in the Pyrenees Mountains along the border with France from which they launch deadly attacks against the U.S. and its allies and attempt to overthrow the pro-western government in Paris. Would the U.S. allow Generalissimo Francisco Franco to provide a safe haven for Hitler and his associates in Spain and describe his government as an "ally in the fight against Nazism?" And would the Americans wait for another 10 years before sending U.S. Special Forces to capture and kill the Nazi leader hiding in a mansion a few miles from Madrid and just 800 yards away from a military academy that is the equivalent of Spain's West Point? Quite unlikely, you say. But then many elemen

Economic realities may obscure Obama victory

Business Times - 05 May 2011 Economic realities may obscure Obama victory For him, winning 2012 election could prove to be even more difficult than getting Osama By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IN THE aftermath of the impressive US military victory in the First Persian Gulf War aka Operation Desert Storm in 1991, then-president George W H Bush seemed to be politically invincible. With his popularity in the public opinion polls surging to the stratosphere - one poll indicated that 90 per cent of Americans approved of his performance in office - pundits on the political right and left seemed to agree that the Republican US president would be unbeatable in the 1992 race to the White House. Moreover, when the names of some of the Democrats who could emerge as potential presidential candidates were mentioned - including that of the young and relatively unknown former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton - the conventional wisdom in Washington was that none of them had a chance of defeating

The long and winding trail to killing of Osama

Business Times - 04 May 2011 The long and winding trail to killing of Osama By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IMAGINE that Adolf Hitler and some of the other top leaders of Nazi Germany would have escaped into neutral Spain after the defeat of the Third Reich by the allies in 1945. And conceive of the following (and unlikely) scenario: In the Pyrenees mountains along Spain's border with France - a country that had been liberated from German occupation a few months earlier - the German Fuhrer and his band of Storm troopers and other Nazi brothers would have established a military and political base from which they would be launching deadly attacks against the US and its allies in France. It is safe to say that under these circumstances, it would have been inconceivable that the allies would have declared a military victory in the war in Europe or that they would have re-directed their troops and resources to finish the job in the Pacific or, for that matter, to 'liberate&#