Arab Spring, My Foot
October 06, 2011
Or, better yet, “my ass.” The Arab Spring has been with us for nearly three quarters of a year. This is not a long time as history goes. But the annual flowers of the spare land have long ago vanished into the crude, mostly gritty sand that is the Middle East. It’s not, though, as if it is at all back to “normal” in the Arab world. And, frankly, we haven’t the slightest about what normal in the Arab world is or will be. The Muslims and the Jews and the increasingly scarce but differentiated Christians who constituted the region lived (and live) recreant lives.
Netanyahu at the U.N.: A Speech Worth Reading
September 24, 2011
I take the liberty of suggesting that you read a speech given yesterday by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly. Netanyahu has been unlucky in the treatment of his remarks for a quarter century. He has been even more unlucky in the treatment of his offers to the Palestinian people to start the peace process which they, alas, have refused to do. An article by Neil MacFarquhar and Steven Lee Myers in the Times projects Dame Catherine Ashton, the “foreign minister” of the European Union, as the leading light in the diplomacy of Europe towards Israel/Palestine.
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.
Dissecting Hu Jintao's Big U.N. Speech
September 22, 2009
There's been a lot of climate-related gabbing at the U.N. today, and Neil MacFarquhar has a handy rundown in the Times. One of the few dribbles of quasi-news, it seems, was that Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to curb the growth of China's carbon-dioxide emissions by a "notable margin" by 2020. (His speech is here.) What, pray tell, would that entail? Sadly, Hu didn't fire up a PowerPoint presentation—no exploded pie charts, no hard numbers—and he didn't even say if those "notable" targets would be legally binding.