The New Republic Staff

Escalation?
January 12, 2007

There's been plenty of speculation lately that the White House is gearing up for some sort of military confrontation with Iran. First there was his speech two nights ago, in which Bush talked about "addressing Iran and Syria" with a rather menacing undertone. Then the U.S. military raided an Iranian liaison office in the Kurdish city of Irbil and took a couple of Iranians captive--a move roundly denounced by the Kurdish regional government.

Romney's Hypocritical Web
January 12, 2007

It'll be fun to watch Mitt Romney try to wriggle free from the web of contradictions he has crafted in such a short political career. He has not even announced his presidential campaign yet, but a press release issued today shows just how difficult Romney's journey will be.

Furrows In The Water
January 11, 2007

by David A. BellThe decision to escalate in Iraq reminds me of a series of letters I read a few years ago in the French military archives, from the French commanding general in Pamplona, Spain, in the years 1810-11. All right, it may not seem like an exactly obvious connection. But the war fought in Spain against Napoleon between 1808 and 1814 was a classic case of insurgency, seen by many historians as the first great modern example of the phenomenon. In fact, the word "guerrilla" was first popularized during the conflict (it comes from the Spanish for "little war").

The Presidential Plan
January 11, 2007

by Richard SternLast night, standing in front of bookcases (History), wearing a dark blue suit (Seriousness) and a light blue tie (Hope), a handkerchief barely visible in a breast pocket (Limited Hope), President Bush spoke soberly, without a single one of his tragic, self-betraying smirks, for twenty minutes about his "new" strategy for "winning" the war in Iraq.

Trouble For The Carter Center
January 11, 2007

The Carter Center sinks. No, I didn't say that the Carter Center stinks--although it does. The whole enterprise is now an embarrassment, not least to Emory University.

More On Presidential Libraries
January 11, 2007

Yesterday, I posted on The Spine a comment on presidential libraries and how they were being insanely planted on both coasts and everyplace in between. This touched a response from Paul Kennedy, the distinguished scholar and J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University. Many of you know his provocative and popular book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Among his other 12 volumes are close studies of Anglo-German hostilities and the naval mastery of the Brits. Anyway and not surprisingly, Kennedy has had his experiences with presidential libraries.

Yet Another Peace Conference
January 11, 2007

Actually, I didn't know there was a Middle East peace conference taking place in Madrid. But at least three has-beens sent greetings: Mikhail Gorbachev, James Baker and Bill Clinton, who looks back at the Oslo festival on the White House lawn in 1993 as something of a triumph. What it was, of course, was a sham that kept the peace process breathing until it blew up in Clinton's face at Camp David in the fall of 2000. No, Arafat would not accept basically everything he had asked for. Who knows what animates Gorbachev? Maybe he hopes just to be remembered. He won't be.

Joe Liberman's Neverending Quest To Hit Rock Bottom
January 11, 2007

"We need to cut through the confusion. Bringing security to Baghdad--the essential precondition for political compromise, national reconciliation and economic development--is possible only with a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so.

Blind Hope As Strategy
January 11, 2007

From today's NYT: [Bush] put it far more bluntly when leaders of Congress visited the White House earlier on Wednesday. "I said to Maliki this has to work or you're out," the president told the Congressional leaders, according to two officials who were in the room. Pressed on why he thought this strategy would succeed where previous efforts had failed, Mr. Bush shot back: "Because it has to." [Emphasis added.] That seems to be the underlying rationale to Bush's plan.

Make Way For Prince Sali
January 11, 2007

It's hilarious that new Idaho Republican Representative Bill Sali appears to be the brightest young thing now emerging from the Republican freshman class, given that, during his campaign, his own Idaho Republican colleagues called him him "incompetent" and an "embarrassment," and complained that he didn't have "one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body." But upon arriving in Washington, Sali was elected president of his freshman class, allowed to attend a prestigious pre-Way Forward meeting with Bush, and selected to give a floor speech during yesterday's House debate on the minimum-wag

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