Obama's One Conceivable Foreign Policy Victory: It's Honduras. But He Won't Acknowledge It. Too Bad.
November 30, 2009
When Manuel Zelaya was deposed as president of Honduras with the support of the Supreme Court, the National Congress, the attorney general and most of his own party, much of Latin America went into conniptions about safeguarding the constitution. Of course, that was precisely the issue. Zelaya was about to traduce the constitution, which forbade extension of the chief executive's term, precisely his intention. This is common in the lower part of the Western Hemisphere, and it is the opus operandi of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Zelaya's chosen instrument was a referendum, the tool of tyrants.
Can the U.S. and India Play Nice on Climate Change?
November 22, 2009
A number of unresolved issues—China, Kashmir, etc.—will be swirling around Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first state visit this Monday, but on none are the two hesitant allies more at odds than the conditions for a global climate treaty. Much of the news in the lead up to Copenhagen has centered on the possibility of some sort of deal between the two largest emitters, the U.S. and China. India, however, could very well be a more important (and elusive) partner in those talks.
The 'Going Rogue' Index
November 17, 2009
Sarah Palin’s autobiography Going Rogue doesn’t have an index. Why? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But it sure makes finding gems in the text--such as the defense of that $150,000 clothing bill, the petty attacks on Katie Couric, and Palin-isms like “maverick” and “dang!”—a pretty tough slog. So, here’s an index. A really, really long and thorough one. Want to know where Palin celebrated one of her baby showers with her gal pals? It’s in here. Want to know how she feels about the ACLU, or Ashley Judd, or Steve Schmidt? In here, too.
Hillary and Dikembe
November 16, 2009
Another nice bit from that Vogue piece--this one about Hillary's ill-tempered moment in the Congo a few weeks ago: One aspect of the incident that went unreported is that [retired NBA star Dikembe] Mutombo, a national hero in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who has invested millions in his country, swooped in and rescued Clinton from the long, awkward, stunned silence that followed her outburst. He defended her and put the students oh so gracefully in their place. "Madam Secretary say hope is something is in the sky," he said in his broken English.
"Boys Against Girls" in Hillaryland
November 16, 2009
Speaking of Hillary, Vogue's Jonathan van Meter traveled with the secretary of state and produced an interesting profile--he has good backstory on her decision to take the job: All of these hand-wringing calculations took place in the span of a few days, and for various reasons—those mentioned above, others known only to herself—Clinton wavered daily. This seesaw effect created what was described to me as a "boys against the girls" dynamic among her advisers.
Update: Hillary Backpedals in Pakistan
October 30, 2009
So much for getting tough. No sooner had I finished praising her tough talk in Pakistan than she began walking it back. Clinton carefully scaled back her comments from a day earlier suggesting that some Pakistani officials knew where al-Qaida's upper echelon has been hiding and have done little to target them. When the U.S.
TNR Debate: Too Much Transparency? (Part VI)
October 19, 2009
I had hoped my essay, "Against Transparency," might have inspired something of a marriage between the transparency movement and campaign finance reform. To that end, I had offered something old and something new, something borrowed, and, as is my style, something blue. But like high school all over again, I have obviously fumbled on the first date Let's work this backwards. Something blue: Yes of course my piece is "worr[ied]" (Weinberger) and "gloomy" (Miller/Klein), even "dour" (Abrams), as the commentators say. Of course it is.
The Susan in question is Susan Rice. And, according to a New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar, it's Stewart Patrick who gives her the good grades. Rice is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. So who is Patrick? He is one of those hundreds of I.R. wonks in Washington who moves from fellowship to fellowship, eating up foundation money, and ends up being an expert in what actually amounts to nothing or maybe, just maybe, the same thing: "multilateral cooperation in the management of global issues; U.S.
"Russia Disses Iran Sanctions"
October 13, 2009
Well, that’s the way I read the headline in The Washington Post. “Russia Dismisses Iran Sanctions” was how it was actually written, followed by “Russian Foreign Minister: Threats of Iran Sanctions Won’t Work.” The dispatch is from Mary Beth Sheridan, a savvy reporter to whom I’m becoming attached. There are slight differences between the Post piece and the report in the Times, “Russia Resists U.S. Position on Sanctions for Iran,” by Mark Landler and Clifford J. Levy. Then there was “US, Russia: Iran No sanctions yet” in The Jerusalem Post.
Hillary: Don't Sweat Pakistan's Nukes
October 12, 2009
AFP quotes the traveling Secretary of State on what might be the most important national security question of all, and one we should re-examine in the wake of this weekend's Taliban attack on Pakistani Army HQ: "Yesterday was another reminder that extremists ...