Barack H. Obama

"I Don't See the President As An Intellectual at All"

A Q&A with Michael Ignatieff

The Harvard scholar turned failed Canadian politican on whether intellectuals could ever win at politics

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This year will mark the withdrawal of the vast majority—and perhaps all—of the American troops in Afghanistan. The current president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has enraged American officials and diplomats by refusing to sign an agreement that would keep an American presence in the country. Karzai and his government have also been increasingly vocal in blaming American forces for civilian casualties. 

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The idea that the president should not shake hands with Raul Castro, or Arafat, or any current or former antagonist of the United States, is silly beyond belief. 

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Is the Constitution an imperfect document that has led to some combination of inefficiency (as the left argues) and a lack of democratic accountability (as the right argues)?  Is it the Constitution that has been largely responsible for the problems of Barack Obama's presidency?

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Jonathan Chait, in a blog post for New York magazine, tries to swat down allegations that Democrats are currently demanding their own debt-ceiling ransom.

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It is very hard to keep up with developments on the Hill, but it appears that talks between the House of Representatives and the Obama administration have broken down. Focus is now shifting to the Senate, where perhaps Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell can come to some sort of deal. Since any agreement is almost certain to feature a compromise or fig leaf to ensure Republican support, attention will turn to the details of that compromise. Will there be a repeal of the medical device tax?

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The setting was not the Oval Office that Kennedy chose, nor was it the floor of a packed House of Representatives where Johnson spoke.

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Well, there was no divorce between the U.S. and Israel. And there was even some respect, if not affection. Affections, we know, is kept for the Arabs. But this was not quite the venue for showering kisses on the Palestinians. After they are still maintaining the distance of "proximity" talks which means Abbas in Ramallah with Netanyahu and his team in Jerusalem. That's six miles apart, very remote miles. And it's the Palestinians who are keeping the distance. Barry Rubin, a real expert and a true scholar, is not fooled by anyone. This is still the beginning of a long road.

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