Person Communication

How Obama Can Save Darfur--in Egypt
June 03, 2009

Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East is one from which few concrete results are expected. If news reports are to be believed, his speech in Cairo will largely be symbolic. In practical terms, Obama is unlikely to make much progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's nuclear program, or even human rights in Egypt. Yet there is one major issue on which Obama could make serious, substantive strides if he devotes attention to it while he is in Cairo: Darfur.

Obama’s Challenge In Cairo
May 28, 2009

As President Obama prepares for his historic speech in Cairo next week, he faces a dual challenge--not only to redefine the troubled relations between the United States and the Muslim world, but also to clarify the place of democracy and human rights in his administration's foreign policy. The former would have been the centerpiece of his first speech in an Islamic nation no matter where he had chosen to deliver it.

Photo Of The Day
May 18, 2009

If I didn't know better I would think this was the opening of a Saturday Night Live skit. In fact, it's an official photo--of a May 7 meeting with Valerie Jarrett, Newt Gingrich, and Al Sharpton, to discuss education reform--from the White House's enthralling Flickr feed. --Michael Crowley

Not A Road Map But A Calendar
May 12, 2009

The White House puts out a schedule for Obama's coming talks with various Middle East leaders: Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel will visit on May 18, President Mubarak of Egypt will visit on May 26, and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority will visit on May 28. It seems noteworthy that Mubarak is included in that grouping, especially in light of Obama's decision to make his big speech to the Arab world next month in Cairo. The White House, it seems, is eager to once again make Egypt a key player in its Middle East strategy.

Jake Siewert Reports To Treasury
May 07, 2009

I missed this nice scoop from Mike Allen Tuesday: Former White House press secretary Jake Siewert is preparing for a return to government as a top counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Democratic sources said. According to the sources, Siewert has been in talks with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel about joining the Treasury staff, and an agreement is nearly complete.

Hillary, Lying Low?
May 07, 2009

A blind source makes a good observation about Hillary Clinton to Laura Rozen--that she has made virtually no domestic TV appearances. "Who is talking about foreign policy on those shows? [David] Axelrod. Who is showing up at the meeting with Obama-Peres? Axelrod. They are controlling the message.... You have not really seen the secretary of state in the U.S. media; you've seen her in the international media.

The Afpak Meetings And Democracy In Pakistan
May 06, 2009

  Barack Obama's election was supposed to make America decidely more humble about idealist talk of promoting democracy abroad. But while it's hard to know just what was really accomplished during today's dramatic meetings with Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari, one thing stood out: a very clear emphasis from the Obama team on... democracy. In their public remarks, Hillary Clinton, press secretary Robert Gibbs, and Obama himself all made references to the "democratically elected presidents" of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If Peter Orszag Was Your Intern...
April 27, 2009

...You should probably have been careful with the "we'll all be working for him someday"-type jokes. From Ryan Lizza's excellent Orszag profile in this week's New Yorker: During the 2008 primaries, Obama had tried to draw a contrast between himself and Hillary Clinton on the issue of health care by emphasizing reduction of costs rather than just expansion of coverage. Days after Obama nominated him as director of O.M.B., Orszag met with Daschle at Daschle’s law offices to discuss health-care savings. Orszag believed that the ideas put forward by the Obama campaign were unproved.

The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009

The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.

Israel Warns Ross: We May Attack Iran
March 16, 2009

Ha'aretz: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday said that while Israel was interested in exhausting diplomatic options against Iran's nuclear program, the army must nevertheless prepare itself for a military attack.... During a visit to Washington, D.C., Ashkenazi met with Dennis Ross, the designated U.S.