July 07, 2010
As a candidate for president, George W. Bush famously promised to pursue a “humble” foreign policy. The events of 9/11—for Bush akin to a conversion experience—swept humility by the board. The 43rd president found his true calling: Providence was summoning him to purge the world of evil. When it came to fulfilling this mission, Bush’s subsequent efforts yielded precious little. Recklessness compounded by profound incompetence became the hallmark of his administration.
To Life! To Life! Jihadi Life! Kill Yourself!
July 01, 2010
From the MEMRI blog: In the days leading up to June 30, 2010, the major jihadist web forums featured promotional banners for a new English-language Al-Qaeda magazine, calledInspire. The magazine was produced under the auspices of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's media wing, Al-Malahim, and was to include an exclusive interview with the Emir of AQAP, Abu Basir Al-Wuhayshi, as well as a "guest article" by the radical Yemeni-American sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki.
A Guide to Avoiding Disaster in Afghanistan
June 28, 2010
For those of us who can remember how lonely it was to be in favor of the Iraq war and the hoped-for surge in 2006, reflecting on America’s current travails in Afghanistan—a “fool’s errand” (George F. Will) administered by “well-meaning infidels” (Andrew J. Bacevich)—isn’t nearly so depressing.
Imagine (With Apologies to John Lennon)
June 23, 2010
For the sake of argument, imagine, if you can, an American foreign policy based on interest alone. To begin with, to use the current Wall Street phrase, it would need to overweight Latin America and underweight the Middle East. For whether the Obama administration believes it or not (in fairness, they are no worse than their predecessors, though they are no better either), crises are brewing in Latin America that pose potentially greater threats to the United States than those posed by Al Qaeda.
Rolling Stone's Insight
June 23, 2010
We do not know whether the president will accept General McChrystal’s proffered resignation as Commanding General. But that uncertainty does not at all detract from the real insights to be gained from this most recent contretemps between the Republic’s Commander-in-Chief and his subordinates in the field. There is a pattern here: Consider, first, the president’s leadership for the past two months, during an environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
All Silent on the Lefty Front
June 11, 2010
Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a 151-page report outlining the increasingly grim situation in Afghanistan. The paper highlighted the Afghan government (and its security services) lack of capability; the enduring challenge of endemic corruption and poor governance; and the Taliban insurgency’s ability to maintain influence—often via intimidation—across broad swaths of the country. These challenges have already undermined U.S. military operations in Marjah, and could threaten the upcoming summer offensive planned for Kandahar, the heart of the Taliban insurgency. The entire U.S.
The New Vulnerability
June 07, 2010
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.
Look, I wish the Israeli raid on the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” had ended differently. Why, I ask, didn’t Israel’s navy disable the engine of the Mavi Marmara and drag the ship into port? Who knows? The engines of the other boats were apparently disabled—or so reliable sources say. But, frankly, when some 800 men and women, distributed over six boats after weeks and weeks of preparation, are headed towards Gaza on the wings of slogan and hysteria, you don’t take that many chances.
May 21, 2010
Most of us have in our minds a general sense of what a jihadist is. And Faisal Shahzad, who, earlier this month, was charged with attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, probably fits the bill. Since September 11, Americans have come to think of terrorism as a fundamentally foreign phenomenon that has somehow ensnared us. We have frequently been assured that the United States—unlike Europe—does not have a homegrown terrorism problem. Other than the fact that Shahzad is an American citizen, his profile conforms to this general pattern: He originally hailed from Pakistan.
Who Killed Benazir Bhutto? No One Really Knows.
May 15, 2010
Benazir Bhutto was murdered (along with 24 of her nameless countrymen) two-and-a-half years ago. Edward Jay Epstein has discovered that there was actually no proper—and barely an improper—investigation of the slaying. Her crooked and shiftless husband succeeded Musharraf as president, not that she wasn’t crooked herself. But shiftless she was not. Anybody is likely to be assassinated in Pakistan.