Mike wrote earlier today of the federal government's decision to drop its scurrilous espionage case against two former AIPAC employees, an abuse of prosecutorial power that ruined the careers of these men and damaged the reputation of America's premier pro-Israel organization. That's all well and good. The question I have is whether the legion of bloggers who recently attacked one of those men, Steve Rosen, over his role in l'affaire Chas Freeman, will acknowledge this news and apologize for their trumping of charges that have now been dropped.
Moments ago at the Log Cabin Republicans convention, former McCain campaign senior advisor Steve Schmidt, who recently endorsed gay marriage, warned that the GOP is "at risk of becoming a religious party. In a free country a political party cannot remain viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party." Strong words. Wonder what his future will be in Republican politics... --James Kirchick
This morning, I attended a panel at the CATO Institute entitled, "Left Turn? South Africa after the Election." The referendum in question is the country's fourth general election since the end of apartheid, and will take place next Wednesday. As with every election in South Africa since 1994, there is little question about which party will win, and win big: The African National Congress of Nelson Mandela, now led by the far less reassuring figure of Jacob Zuma. I've written about Zuma before, most recently here and here.
On January 9, Ambassador Mark Dybul circulated a memo to his staff informing them that President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team had asked him to stay on, at least temporarily, as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, a position to which he had been appointed by President Bush in 2006. The backlash from AIDS activists was swift.
Newsweek has an important story today providing new details on why the Tiananmen Square Massacre enthusiast Chas Freeman was dropped as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The reason seems to be not, ultimately, his views on Israel, but his even more controversial statements on China. Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball report that: Chas Freeman, the Obama administration's choice to serve in a key U.S.
In an attempt to defend the selection of Tiananmen Square Massacre enthusiast Chas Freeman as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Andrew Sullivan links to this essay as an example of the man's supposedly sharp thinking, and pulls out the following "money quote:" Tragically, despite all the advantages and opportunities Israel has had over the fifty-nine years of its existence, it has failed to achieve concord and reconciliation with anyone in its region, still less to gain their admiration or affection.
TNR Contributing Editor Eli Lake breaks some important news in the Washington Times today: an independent inspector general will be investigating the selection of Chas Freeman--former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, president of the Saudi-funded Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), and enthusiastic proponent of the Tiananmen Square massacre--as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The investigation follows bipartisan congressional calls for an explanation as to how and why Freeman would be chosen for such a sensitive, high-level position.
There's much to appreciate in John Derbyshire's essay that Eve links to about the rise of right-wing talk radio and the concomitant decline of intellecutal conservatism. As an analytical exercise, it's pretty much spot-on. Just witness the reaction Tucker Carlson received at CPAC yesterday merely for saying a few positive words about the New York Times, all in a rather innocent attempt to beseech his fellow conservatives to "mimic" the Gray Lady's premier status as the country's paper of record.
RAMZAN KADYROV, one would assume, is hardly the sort of man the Russian government would want to show off to a group of foreign dignitaries. The Moscow-appointed president of Chechnya has been accused of deploying his several-thousand-man-strong personal militia—since absorbed into the Chechen government—to torture and murder his opponents, and many suspect that he played a role in the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist who exposed Russia’s brutal repression of separatists.
One of the major components of Russia's attempt to burnish its reputation in the United States, the subject of my article in the current issue, is Russia Today, an international, English-language news channel modeled on CNN and the BBC. Earnest as the Russian government has been in its endeavor to paint a positive picture of itself overseas, the station is indicative of the broader problems confronting the Russians in their PR strategy; namely, it's hard to advertise yourself as appealing when you do nasty and brutal things both at home and abroad.