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.
“The Palestine Peace Distraction,” "The False Religion of Middle East Peace,” And Other Significant Recantations
April 27, 2010
Barack Obama came into office with one messianic mission. It was to bring statehood to the Palestinians. Of course, even he understood that he couldn’t quite put it that way. But statehood for the Palestinians necessarily also meant Palestinian peace with Israel, an aim worthy enough for any American administration. So that became his primary foreign policy mission. Still, the fact is that he saw the shadings of the conflict only through the eyes of the “disinherited.” And they really had nothing much to give in any transaction.
Who Says That Obesity Affects Only The Poor?
April 27, 2010
Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are very rich. According to a New York Times article this morning by Michael Slackman, the first of these boasts the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. It has a population of 1.6 million, with only 250,000 native Qataris. That means citizens. These Qataris rank “sixth globally for prevalence of obesity and has the highest rate of obesity among boys in the Middle East and North African region.” They will win no soccer cups.
April 21, 2010
The words most often used by the heads of oil companies to describe the boom are “revolution” and “game changer.” Industry historian Daniel Yergin calls it “the shale gale.” Admittedly, serious questions remain as to whether shale gas will pass the ecological test—critics say it can’t be extracted safely in proximity to groundwater, and the EPA is engaged in a two-year study of extraction techniques.
The news was simple. It was leaked two weeks ago.
What Happens When A Muslim U.N. Delegate Actually Agrees That The Holocaust Actually Occurred
December 19, 2009
Well, a very funny thing happens. Or at least a very funny thing happened when the Sudanese delegate to the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen conceded the reality of the Holocaust. And, no, he wasn't even talking about the "holocaust" visited by the Jews on the Palestinians. According to a Reuters dispatch he was talking about the real Holocaust. But he was comparing it to the plan agreed to by President Obama of the United States and the leaders of China, India, South Africa and Brazil to combat global warming.
Speak No Evil
December 17, 2009
The lines most cited in Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech were those about evil: “Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism--it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.” These lines won approbation from both liberals and conservatives.
The End of Big Oil
February 27, 2008
When historians one day dissect the long arc of humankind's use of fossil fuels, they may very well zero in on October 9, 2006, as a turning point for Big Oil. That's when it became clear that the major oil companies--the giants that had survived numerous predicted extinctions and gone on to ever-greater profit and influence--were undergoing a tectonic shift and would either reinvent themselves or die.
The Usual Suspect
October 08, 2007
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 484 pp., $26) In October 2002, Osama bin Laden issued a statement in which he analyzed America's inexhaustible number of sins and prescribed ways of repenting for many of them. The statement was, by the standards of bin Laden's cave encyclicals, unusually coherent.
April 02, 2007
These days, as politicians tend to furiously distance themselves from the Iraq war, it's hard to remember back to 2003, when everyone wanted a piece of it. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz weren't the only ones, after all, itching to give Iraq an ideological makeover. Some celebs seemed disappointed they had missed the chance to lead the invasion themselves, and, after Saddam Hussein's statue fell, more than 50 of them poured over the border with the USO. Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped the troops' adrenaline with a screening of Terminator 3.