November 07, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For
12:00 AM

I posted a Spine a while ago about the fact that Jerusalem Arabs are not so enthusiastic about turning their neighborhoods over to whatever regime is supposed to inherit the Palestinian state.   First of all, there is the threat that this might be Hamas, whose habits everybody now knows from Gaza: a theocratic dictatorship with its fingers on the trigger and its hands on the dagger.  Secondly, the locals fear that they would loose automatic access to the rest of Jerusalem and, of course, to Israel itself.  Thirdly, the sense of Palestinianism is so brittle that it would not compensate for the

Sarko The Patronizing
12:00 AM

From today's NYT article about Nicolas Sarkozy's storming of the White House: Mr. Sarkozy arrived in Washington without a spouse but with some of the women who reflect the diversity of his cabinet: Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, a former chairman of a Chicago-based law firm, Baker & McKenzie; Justice Minister Rachida Dati, who has a Moroccan father and an Algerian mother; and Rama Yade, his 31-year-old Senegalese-born subminister of foreign affairs and human rights, whom Mr.

November 06, 2007

It’s the Politics, Stupid

On October 19, in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, President Bush declared, “I hereby certify that Saudi Arabia is cooperating with efforts to combat international terrorism and that the proposed assistance will help facilitate that effort.” U.S. law requires this step to allow previously appropriated financial assistance to be delivered to Riyadh. But the President’s certification comes amid debate over a much more consequential form of assistance to Saudi Arabia--a deal to sell $20 billion worth of arms to the kingdom and other Gulf states over ten years.

Hillary's Not Reassuring
12:00 AM

Hillary Clinton has laid out her foreign policy in the magazine Foreign Affairs.  It is for sure that she did not write the article that appears under her name.  This is probably true for all the writings attributed to political leaders who appear in this journal (and others), the tribute publishing pays to plagiarism.Still, it is for now the place you can get her take, and the take in which I am especially interested: the case of Israel and the Palestinians.  After all, she is now the hard liner in the Democratic Party -- or, at least, the hard liner among the presidential hopefuls.  Which ma

Blog Roundup: Ron Paul Edition
12:00 AM

The Case for Ron Paul: [Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com]: “Perhaps most importantly, Paul is the only serious candidate aggressively challenging America's addiction to ruling the world through superior military force and acting as an empire -- not by contesting specific policies (such as the Iraq War) but by calling into question the unexamined root premises of these policies, the ideology that is defining our role in the world.”   Concurring Opinion: [Ross Douthat, The Atlantic]: “I suspect that if the Democrats take the White House, certain elements in the GOP will rediscover their 1990s-vintage

12:00 AM

From the Times' summary of Ron Paul's big day: Mr. Paul has stood out from the Republican field for his opposition to the war in Iraq. In the speech he argues that the fight against terrorism is threatening American democracy. “The American Republic is in remnant status,” he says. “The stage is set for our country eventually devolving into military dictatorship, and few seem to care.” Mr. Benton clarified that Mr. Paul did not support blowing up government buildings. “He wants to demolish things like the Department of Education,” Mr.

Naomi Campbell: Whopee, There's A Revolution!
12:00 AM

 Cruel revolutions have a knack for attracting pampered fans.  But mostly these fans come from countries other than those in which the revolutions make their promises and take away whatever freedoms -- usually not many -- the people had.The revolutionary of the decade seems to be Hugo Chavez, now on his way by constitutional usurpation to being dictator for life.  Already he has drawn to his side such enthusiasts as Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Kevin Spacey and two hands full of others.  "Useful idiots," is what Lenin called the social type.  Now Naomi Campbell has joined the traipse to Caracas ad

V For Vendetta: Paul Hauls, Edwards Keeps Hitting
12:00 AM

Paul's Haul [David Kirkpatrick, New York Times]: "On Monday, a group of Paul supporters helped raised more than $4.07 million in one day — approaching what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter — through a Web site called ThisNovember5th.com."  Obama Targets Fence-sitters [John McCormick, Chicago Tribune]: "Obama's embracing of the GOP expanded today with the release by his campaign of a list of 268 Iowa Republicans backing his candidacy."  Giuliani's New Cold War [Joelle Farrell, Concord Monitor]: "Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said yesterday that ...

November 05, 2007

Primary Pain
12:00 AM

It is no secret: National political parties are losing control of the presidential nominating process. The system finds itself in such chaos that Senators Amy Klobuchar, Joe Lieberman and Lamar Alexander--the latter two former presidential candidates themselves--have stepped in with a plan for massive reform. The bill, however, would presumably face a court challenge, and recent Supreme Court decisions indicate it, and any other legislative effort, would likely be struck down.Klobuchar's bill, which she first offered on July 31, proposes to carve the country into four regions.

Turkey’s Day
12:00 AM

If there is one thing that Iraq does not need, it is additional sources of conflict and instability. Right now, the only part of Iraq that is stable and shows prospects of developing economically and politically is the Kurdish areas of the north. Though not without challenges, especially given the uncertainty over the future of Kirkuk, the Kurdish government there is working, and constitutes at least one model of success in Iraq. But Turkish military posturing along the northern Iraqi border may soon not be limited only to a war of words or military maneuvers.