James Kirchick

Obama: Not So Diplomatic
April 08, 2008

At a fundraiser last week in San Francisco, Barack Obama uttered this about diplomacy: I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more Commander-in-Chief-like. Ironically, this is an area--foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain. It's ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know.

Only The Beginning
April 03, 2008

Two days ago, news organizations everywhere were reporting that Robert Mugabe was planning on stepping down from office. In an authoritarian country where there is no free press, rumors like this spread fast, especially when people are worn down after 28 years of one-party, iron-fisted rule. Any small indication of positive change can easily blow up into a major development. Perhaps Mugabe would fly off to Malaysia or Namibia, or even arrange some sort of deal where he could reside for the rest of his life in the mansion he constructed for himself in a tony Harare suburb.

Grasping At Straws
April 03, 2008

Ilan Goldenberg of the National Security Network claims that, in an interview yesterday, Joe Lieberman said: If we did what Sen.

Bob Barr To Run For President As Independent
April 02, 2008

Rumors have been circulating over the past week that former House Manager and Georgia Congressman Bob Barr may run for president on the Libertarian Party ticket. A well-informed source tells me today that he will run...as an Independent. Barr has been extremely critical of the Bush administration from a libertarian perspective, however, stressing issues like coercive interrogation practices, warrantless wiretapping and the Iraq War (he doesn't differ much from Ralph Nader much on this issue). So it's unclear which nominee -- Republican or Democrat -- Barr's bid might hurt come the general.

Anti-american Bias At Al-jazeera? You Don't Say
April 02, 2008

Last week, former Nightline correspondent Dave Marrash quit his anchoring job at Al-Jazeera due to anti-American sentiment at the network. But it wasn't the station's Arab overseers who were the main culprits. Rather, "Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network." Then there's this interesting tidbit: "Marash, who's being replaced by former CNN International host Shihab Rattansi, said he was the last American-accented anchor at the network, which broadcasts from Washington, London, Kuala Lumpur and Doha, Qatar.

Bizarro World
April 01, 2008

The New York Times is reporting that Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean tyrant, may resign at the result of his clear loss in the presidential election over the weekend. Usually, dictators don't hold elections that they can't win, but apparently even this basic element of authoritarian governance was beyond Mugabe's grasp. Needless to say, this is hardly the outcome anyone expected. After all, Mugabe is not one to put up with opposition. While the world hailed him as a liberation hero in the 1970's, he was making clear promises to rule Zimbabwe as a one-party state.

Hard Right
March 26, 2008

This was not what Patrick Cordova had bargained for. The Stanford junior, a member of the school's student government, had wanted to host a lecture on sexual health. And he figured that a provocative and fun way to tackle the issue would be to bring a prominent pornographer to speak on campus. So Cordova sent out some invitations. The first person he heard back from was Michael Lucas—longtime porn actor and director of such films as Hunt & Plunge, The Bigger The Better, and Fire Island Cruising (editions one through eight).

Calm Down
March 25, 2008

I hold no brief for the Clintons, and have criticized them in his space and elsewhere. And while I'm hesitant to ascribe such reductive motives to other people's political passions, I can't help but think that Andrew Sullivan's loathing of Hillary is predicated upon a deeply-felt misogyny. How else to explain this? As the campaign goes on, the more you see who she is. The polling has not damaged Obama as she hoped, so she will now make Rove's and Hannity's strategy hers: "He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said.

Michael Lucas Channeling Ann Coulter?
March 25, 2008

Those who read my profile of the polemicizing porn star Michael Lucas might have mistaken some of his rhetoric (much talk of "Koran-crazed Muslims) for that of Ann Coulter. Queerty, a gay blog that has sparred with Lucas many times in the past, thinks that he's actually plagiarized her. Coulter is a smut-peddler in her own right, of a different sort than Lucas, of course, yet I hope these allegations aren't true. --James Kirchick

Thoughts On A Speech
March 21, 2008

Charles Krauthammer has written, what I believe, the best distillation of Barack Obama's speech on race. Yes, it was a wonderful, even historic, address. But at the end of the day, I'm lost as to what it had to do with the crisis that prompted its delivery: Jeremiah Wright. Obama pulled off a masteful dodge-and-weave.