In this TNR debate, Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation and New Republic deputy editor Richard Just discuss the appropriate response to the Beijing Olympics. In light of China's manifold human rights problems, what is the right response from fans, Olympic athletes, presidential candidates, and the U.S. government itself? For the first part of the exchange, click here, and for the second part, click here. Click here to read the previous entry in the conversation. From: Steven Clemons To: Richard Just Richard reads me pretty well. I don’t believe that the U.S.
‘I’ve never been to Ramallah before,” one of the White House correspondents says, gazing out at the cold gray mountains outside Jerusalem. The walls and ceilings of the buses provided for the press are lined with strips of old shag carpet, and it takes two skinny Third-World-person-sized seats to fit a single network cameraman accompanying President Bush on the first leg of his pilgrimage to the Middle East. The printed sign in Hebrew at the front of the bus reads hebron.
The memory of the crimes of the Nazi era and the determination to oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms have been constitutive and distinctive features of German democracy since 1949, when it was articulated by the founding generation of political leaders of West Germany's Federal Republic. Judging by the memorials, commemorative days, books, and films about Nazism and the Holocaust, this tradition of remembering the murdered Jews of Europe remains firmly embedded in the political culture of contemporary German public life.
Just listen to what he told an Iranian news channel on September 29 or read the excerpt from MEMRI, the indispensable source for all kinds of nonsense (malicious nonsense included) and some wisdom emanating from the Middle East.
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.
An article in Monday's Ha'aretz reports that there will be 36 countries in attendance at the Annapolis Israeli/Palestinian peace conference planned for next month. If anything close to that number participates it will be more a circus than a conclave. The fact is that the only nation outside the Middle East that has real cards to play is the United States. And real cards means influence with Israel. OK, by extension, you might also have France, Britain, Turkey and a few others just for historical reasons.
Within fourteen days of each other, two rush-hour calamities: a bridge collapse and a steam-pipe explosion. In Minneapolis, a forty-year-old bridge along highway I-35W suddenly dropped sixty feet into the Mississippi River, killing at least five people and injuring approximately one hundred more. The federal government had deemed the bridge structurally deficient in 1990, which the Minnesota Department of Transportation acknowledged in separate reports issued in 2005, 2006, and 2007, after inspecting the bridge.
Occasionally, the presidential primary debates serve as a forum for substantive exchanges on important issues. Most of the time, however, they feature rants and raves from the talented and crazy alike. Take this clip, for example, from the first Democratic debate, in which former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel harangues the top-tier candidates (and Joe Biden) about pre-emptive nuclear strikes: The key to winning the "debates" is not to present nuanced or reasonable arguments about policy. It's about getting in the best soundbite.
What distinguishes the politician from the political agitator is a lively concern for his own job security. Politicians sometimes say what they believe, but they don't usually say things that might jeopardize their political future. Until recently, Chuck Hagel was a consummate politician, and a successful one at that. He defeated a popular sitting governor in his first Senate race in 1996 and won reelection, in 2002, with 83 percent of the vote.