James Kirchick

The Insufferable Daniel Levy
December 10, 2007

Daniel Levy is a senior fellow at a liberal think tank called the New America Foundation and also advertises himself as the "lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative," a peace proposal that was put together outside the purview of the Israeli and Palestinian governments, precisely because it had virtually no constituency among the Israeli and Palestinian people. It was a Dead-on-Arrival proposition, and only to the credulous would someone's association with it seem impressive (and Levy's fans are the most gullible of people).

The Irresponsiblity Of Countrywide
December 06, 2007

   The Wall Street Journal is of two minds about how to deal with the ravages of the sub-prime crisis.One of its minds was represented on the op-ed page on Tuesday by Andy Laperriere, managing director of the International Strategy and Investment Group (ISG).  This position is crystallized in a pull-quote: "Taxpayers shouldn't suffer because some people failed to live within their means." Look for a bailout of debt forgiveness that will reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars just when we're avoiding confronting underfunded Social Security and Medicare.obligations  Moreover, people who

Iran, The Intelligence Establishment, And Simple Intelligence
December 06, 2007

I'm a sceptic about American intelligence.  And one of the reasons is that it's not that intelligent.  It's particularly obtuse about nuclear matters.  It didn't know about the Iraqi capacity in 1981.  (Yes, as far back as that.)  It didn't know about India and Pakistan and their atomic bombs even though they were, more or less, our allies.  And really more.  It got the whole story wrong in 2003, again about Iraq, which it had been scrutinizing from up close since 1990.  American intelligence also didn't know about the Indian bomb or the Pakistani one until the two countries announced that the

Romney Fires The Illegals He Had Rehired
December 06, 2007

Just about a year ago I posted news gleaned from the Boston Globe about Mitt Romney having retained a gardening company for his enormous estate in Belmont, Mass.*  The rub was that, like many gardening concerns, the workers were illegal immigrants...or, as the colloquials put it, "undocumented."  Maybe you read the new news about Romney's shenanigans.  But you haven't seen all of the news about this, with all the slippery nuances, unless you've read yesterday's Globe.  Two articles, in fact: one, "More immigrant woes for Romney;" the second, "Candidate provides new fodder for rivals." Then, th

The Religion Of Secularism
December 06, 2007

Boston has always been a city of religion. Or of religions. It began with the Puritans or, to be more precise, with the Puritan ultras, the Plymouth Brethren. But since it was a part of the king's venture into the new world it also had a deep strain of Anglicanism. And then of other Protestantisms, like the Congregationalists. Roman Catholicism followed and, with the immigrations from Ireland and Italy, exploded. Then, of course, the Jews. Unitarianism had its home in Boston. The Unitarians, it was said, believed in their own trinity.

A Tactile Sense Of Dubai
December 06, 2007

No, I'm not going to Dubai.  Nobody has invited me.  And I don't think Iwill travel on my own dime.  Or, to be more realistic, on my own manythousands of dollars.But Max Boot, a wise strategist and journalist, and Leo Wolosky, who was onthe security teams of both Bill Clinton and George Bush, have beenthere.  If you want a tactile sense of what the place is like, read here.

Do You Trust Military Intellectuals? This One Has Hope For Iraq. Quite A Lot Of Hope, Actually.
December 06, 2007

David Killcullen is a military intellectual, an anthropologist, a retired officer in the Australian army and a former adviser on counter-insurgency to General Petraeus.  This information may not commend him to you at all.  But his argument, mostly about the revolt of tribal leadership against the sectarian terrorists in Iraq, is persuasive to me.  His claims actually are moderate and measured.  Let me warn you: the paper -- from Small Wars Journal -- is not short.

Hot News About The Race For The Democratic Nomination
December 05, 2007

In what country do these people think they're living?It is not good for John Edwards to be so popular among the Kucinich crowd.

Is Hillary Really In A Place To Criticize Obama?
December 03, 2007

If I were Hillary I wouldn't be in such a rush to tar Barack Obama with relentless assaults on his honor.  First of all, it is an index of how desperate she and her camp have become.  Especially in Iowa.  But if Iowa goes wrong it may go wrong for them everywhere.  Moreover, the peccadillo on which the Clintonites have riveted is so insignificant and so arcane that she seems like she obsesses.  Does it really matter that Obama gave money from one of his political committees to a range of Democratic congressional candidates?  If Hillary is fixing on this, Obama can be certified as a person of h