Islamic Republic of Iran

Chalk This One up to Obama's Brilliant Foreign Policy As Well
January 06, 2011

The Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review is Turkey's major English language newspaper. Its web site this morning reported that, according to a survey of 1503 Turks done by MetroPoll, the United States is considered by 43% of the population as the major threat to Turkey. This means that the U.S. heads the list of enemies of the Turkish state. Israel follows but by only slightly more than half of the respondents. As for Turkey's traditional enemies -Iran, Greece, Iraq, Russia, Armenia- very few respondents see them as antagonists at all.

Should the CIA Turn Against Pakistan's Spies?
December 26, 2010

The recent chief-of-station (COS) cover-shredding brouhaha between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate marks an ironic and possibly important shift in the historic affection that Langley has had for Pakistan’s premiere intelligence service.

Three Cheers for Obama and the Dems
December 23, 2010

After last November’s election, one might have expected the Obama White House and Democratic Congress to take six weeks off to mull their defeat. Instead, they used the lame duck session in December to win cloture-proof majorities for some very significant bills. Just today, the Senate ratified the new START arms control treaty by a whopping 71 to 26 vote. On December 18, the Senate voted by 65 to 31 to strike down the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against gays serving openly in the armed forces. Today’s ratification of the New Start treaty reduces U.S.

POTUS-phobia
December 23, 2010

The Decline and Fall of the American Republic By Bruce Ackerman (Belknap Press, 270 pp., $25.95) Bruce Ackerman, a professor at Yale University Law School, does not mean that the United States has collapsed like the Roman Empire, or that it will. His title refers to the American constitutional traditions of limited government—what the Founders and some modern legal scholars call the “republican” form of government. Ackerman thinks that the presidency has burst these limits: it has become too powerful, and eventually it will be seized by an ideological zealot who will abuse executive powers.

Belarus Betrayal
December 17, 2010

On December 19, citizens in the former Soviet republic of Belarus will head to polls to vote in the country’s presidential election, the fourth since 1994. But Belarusians don’t have any real hope of unseating incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since winning the presidency 16 years ago. Widely known as “Europe’s Last Dictator,” Lukashenko has cracked down on independent media, routinely broken up public protests, and “disappeared” prominent opposition leaders.

Truths in Tehran
December 16, 2010

Most of the talk about Iran and the Wikileaks documents has centered around the revelation—hardly a surprise—that Arab states are wary of Iran’s nuclear program. This is indeed an important story: The depth of the fear from Egypt, Oman, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia is striking (in one document we learn that, in 2009, Saudi Arabia promised Morocco discounted oil if it joined in the effort to contain Iran).

Political Education
December 16, 2010

The October launch of Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies (CPS), the first institution at an American university specifically dedicated to the study of Palestinian Arabs, received surprisingly little notice. Middle East–related brawls on Columbia’s campus have often captured national attention, featuring accusations of anti-Semitism lobbed at professors (recall the alleged bullying of Jewish and pro-Israel students in 2004 by Professor Joseph Massad) and controversial speaking engagements (for example, Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejadin September of 2007).

How We Can Honor Richard Holbrooke’s Memory
December 15, 2010

As Richard Holbrooke's friends and colleagues gathered in the entrance to George Washington Hospital last night to console each other and begin the vigil for his soul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came down from saying goodbye to her friend and adviser. Richard's staff gathered around her. As she exhorted them to keep up his vital work and then read out to them the condolence statement she had just issued, my heart broke at the sight.

American Allies Drop Out Drip by Drip
December 07, 2010

I couldn't believe my eyes as I read Alan Cowell's New York Times report this morning that (as of now) 19 countries would not attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo for the imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Wiki-Espionage And A Salient Comparison, Except That The 1979 Documents From Iran Had Almost Zero Circulation
December 04, 2010

The more Hillary Clinton assures us that the deluge of WikiLeaks dossiers and minutes of conversations are no problem, the more we know she is lying. She does that well, of course, and also with a certain confidence. It's home territory to her. Robert Gibbs has, more or less, confirmed this, although with a hokey statement that confirms the job of the president's spokesperson to be the work for someone confident in dishing out deceit. See Devonia Smith's comments at Examiner.com. But here's what Gibbs himself said: I don't think it will dominate the issues.

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