February 14, 2007

Unified Theories

In the Washington Post today, Glenn Kessler provides yet more evidence that Iran's leaders proposed talks with the United States back in May of 2003. (See here as well.) In recent weeks, Condoleezza Rice has denied that she ever even saw the Iran memo, which arrived at the State Department via Swiss channels. Is that true? A few days ago, Kessler reported that, indeed, Powell "did not forward the memo to the White House" after receiving it. But why would he have done that? It's all a bit mysterious.

February 13, 2007

The Politics Of Spite

A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote the following about global warming: One doubts that any of these various rightwingers were actually humming along and then got bribed by energy companies to come up with the outlandish conservative arguments you here on this score. Rather, the money's just sort of out there ready to flow to individuals who make outlandish arguments and to publications and institutions that associate themselves with such people and such arguments. Under the circumstances, the human mind proves remarkably supple and creative.

Nuclear Diplomacy

The Washington Post has a decent summary of the deal struck between the United States and North Korea: In a landmark international accord, North Korea promised Tuesday to close down and seal its lone nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs.North Korea also reaffirmed a commitment to disable the reactor in an undefined next phase of denuclearization and to discuss with the United States and other nations its plutonium fuel reserves and other nuclear programs that "would be abandoned" as part of

Libby On "why War?"

Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense released his interview with Bob Woodward in June 2003 for Woodward's book, Plan of Attack.

February 12, 2007

The Temple Mount

The work that Israel has been doing on a pathway to the Temple Mount, which is also the pathway to the Nobel Sanctuary, is really just custodial work. Of course, this custodial work on the entrance to the Mugrabi Gate needs archaeological and architectural care. Not, by the way, because it abuts Muslim sacred space (which it doesn't) but because it sits right on top of Jewish sacred space and a Jewish city that was there until it was ravaged by the Romans in 70 CE. In any case, the Muslim world is aflame with rage.

Worse Than We Thought

Boldly taking a break from"girls gone wild" cover stories (sigh), Newsweek has a surprisingly good piece on America and Iran. Anyway, am I missing something or is the following paragraph very disturbing? In a pattern that would become familiar, however, a chill quickly followed the warming in relations. Barely a week after the Tokyo meeting, Iran was included with Iraq and North Korea in the "Axis of Evil." Michael Gerson, now a Newsweek contributor, headed the White House speechwriting shop at the time.

Slam Dunk?

So the United States is unveiling evidence that Iranian weapons are killing Americans in Iraq. Naturally, this evidence is so airtight that none of the officials presenting it were willing to speak on the record, and no cameras and recording devices were allowed into the Baghdad briefing. How curious. Also, the notion that Shia militias, armed by Iran, have killed a quarter of all U.S. troops in late 2006 does smell a bit fishy. (Speaking of which, whatever came of those reports that private citizens in Saudi Arabia were funding the Sunni insurgents who are likely killing most U.S.

Who Wants A War?

On Saturday, the Guardian's Ewan MacAskill reported that "US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage," and predicted that the United States could be ready to attack before the cherry blossoms come out. But today, on the Guardian's comment site, MacAskill clarifies: The US will have sufficient forces deployed in the Gulf by spring to attack Iran. But 'able' is not the same as 'will'.My gut instinct is that George Bush will not give the order.

February 11, 2007

Pat Buchanan: Still Hacking

by Stanley I. Kutler Somewhat diminished, John McLaughlin endures on a hidden corner of PBS's Saturday evening programming. He hosts a resident repertory company consisting of Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, Clarence Page from the Chicago Tribune, and Tony Blankley of The Washington Times. But it is unmistakably McLaughlin's turf. He insures home field advantage for himself with the patented fair and balanced approach--thus Pat Buchanan.

Giuliani Time

by David Greenberg With Rudolph Giuliani all but officially in the presidential race, I'd like to issue a preemptive plea to journalists: Can we please not describe him as a "moderate"? To show this reputed moderation, journalists point to their two pet issues: abortion and gay rights. This weekend, the Times ran another article on Giuliani's stand on abortion. Like most such stories, it focused on his rhetoric. But rhetoric is a poorer predictor of future behavior do than is previous public behavior.