What Does Palinspeak Mean?
April 06, 2010
Why does Sarah Palin talk the way she does? Just what is this sort of thing below? We realize that more and more Americans are starting to see the light there and understand the contrast.
February 26, 2010
Say what you want about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but “he knows how to work a room.” So claims Flynt Leverett, the contrarian Iran analyst who, with his wife Hillary Mann Leverett, paid a visit to the Iranian president in New York City last fall. During the sit-down at Manhattan’s InterContinental Barclay hotel with a group of invited academics, foreign policy professionals, and other Iranophiles, the Leveretts marveled at Ahmadinejad’s attention to detail as the Iranian took copious notes and strove to pronounce their unfamiliar names correctly. “He addresses every person by name.
The Downside of 'Smart Power'
November 30, 2009
After ten months of waiting, USAID finally has a new chief: Rajiv Shah, currently the agriculture department’s top scientist. Directing the country’s principal agency for administering foreign aid is a heady position for someone who is all of 36. And it’s going to be a difficult one. Shah is stepping into the middle of a struggle that has been quietly simmering for years in Washington. On the surface, it’s a classic bureaucratic turf battle over who gets to control foreign aid--USAID staffers or the State Department, which assumed control of the once-autonomous organization in 2006.
August 12, 2009
On the evening of Saturday, June 13, a day after the Iranian presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing for an appearance the next morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian incumbent, was already claiming a preposterously large margin of victory, and reformist protesters were clashing with basiij thugs in Tehran. The Obama administration faced a delicate and fluid situation, and it was far from clear what Biden should say. In circumstances like these, the vice president--especially this vice president--could not simply wing it.
Moammar Hearts Condi
June 25, 2009
For anyone who thought it was kind of gross when Moammar Qadhafi called Condoleezza Rice "my darling black African woman," it actually got worse. From Josh Gerstein: When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Tripoli last year for the first time in more than 50 years, Qadhafi gave Rice a diamond ring and other items with a total value of $212,225, according to a report the State Department submitted Wednesday. [snip] Qadhafi's gifts to American visitors last September also reflected the personality cult he has encouraged over the years.
March 04, 2009
The seventh floor of the U.S. State Department is a generally dreary place. Its employees roam hallways so long and confusing that they are color-coded for guidance. Fluorescent lights throw down a harsh hospital glare. But, to most State employees, the "real" seventh floor is a secure area, protected by armed guards and doors that require electronic keys, where the department's top staffers, including the secretary herself, spend their days.
December 24, 2008
Michael Chertoff needs an office. When I interviewed the secretary of Homeland Security this summer, we met in a pair of temporary locations between which he shuttles--first in the decaying Nebraska Avenue Complex of the naval station at Ward Circle (a center for signal analysis during World War II) and later in an unmarked and unfurnished office in the nondescript headquarters of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Ronald Reagan building, near the White House.
The Imperial Vice Presidency
November 19, 2008
Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.
Speed Reading 'the War Within': Something For Steve Hadley To Live Down
September 08, 2008
Reading through Bob Woodward's The War Within, one thing that jumps out is the devastating portrait of National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who's often considered something of a dud and enabler in his position, on the model of first-term (2001-2005) Condoleezza Rice. Here he is on pages 8 and 27-28: Hadley believed he had developed as close a relationship with his president as any national security advisor in history. He was ever present. ... Hadley said of their relationship, "If I feel it, he feels it.
Notes On An Invasion
September 01, 2008
The future of Russia's excursion in Georgia remains to be determined. But some conclusions can already be drawn: 1. Russian power is extraordinarily brutal in the post-Soviet era, as we have already seen in Chechnya. This brutality has been confirmed -- although on a smaller scale -- in the spectacle of the Russian army occupying a sovereign country, moving through it as it pleases, advancing and retreating at will, and casually destroying the military and civilian infrastructures of a young democracy as an astonished world watches. Today it is Georgia. Tomorrow will it be Ukraine?