March 05, 2009

The Sound of Silence
12:00 AM

This week, Los Angeles reelected a mayor in a race so unheralded that, on voting day, it failed to make the front of The Los Angeles Times. (Turn to page A3, goo-goo geeks.) So somehow the city has wound up again with Antonio Villaraigosa, a handsome fellow who keeps asking city residents to “dream with me,” perhaps out of worry that they might awaken. Well, no danger of that just yet: Turnout barely reached 15 percent.Nevertheless, some Angelenos did notice the occasion, and some were even riled up about it.

The TNR Roundtable: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?

  Part 1: An Arrest Warrant. Now What?  by Richard Just Part 2: Focus on Elections  by Alex de Waal Part 3: Change the Calculations of Sudan's Rulers by Eric Reeves Part 4: The Case for Caution by Alan Wolfe Part 5: Obama Should Back the ICC by Elizabeth Rubin Part 6: No Option But to Negotiate by Alex de Waal Part 7: Diplomacy, Not Regime Change by Andrew Natsios Part 8: The ICC's Botched Decision--And Why Obama Should Support It by Eric Reeves Part 9: Is Darfur Really Genocide?

The TNR Roundtable Part 2: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?

Click here to read Part 1: An arrest warrant. Now what?Click here for links to each part of the conversation.From: Alex de WaalTo: Richard Just, Eric Reeves, Elizabeth Rubin, Alan WolfeIn the last four years, a lot went right in Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was generally respected. Its key provisions have been implemented imperfectly and behind schedule, with numerous relapses, but nonetheless the majority of Sudanese have experienced real peace for the first time in a generation.

The TNR Roundtable Part 1: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?
12:00 AM

Click here for links to each part of the conversation. From: Richard Just To: Alex de Waal, Eric Reeves, Elizabeth Rubin, Alan Wolfe Yesterday brought the news we have all been expecting for weeks: that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. My own reaction to this development is mixed. On the one hand, the decision was clearly the right one from a legal perspective. Bashir is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people, and he obviously deserves to sit in the Hague.

The TNR Roundtable Part 3: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?

Click here to read Part 2: Focus on elections.Click here for links to each part of the conversation.From: Eric ReevesTo: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Elizabeth Rubin, Alan WolfeAlex de Waal's nuanced account of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement seems an important place to start this discussion, but his characterization of the past four years seems excessively flattering of what has actually been achieved.

The TNR Roundtable Part 4: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?
12:00 AM

Click here to read Part 3: Change the calculations of Sudan's rulers.Click here for links to each part of the conversation.From: Alan WolfeTo: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Eric Reeves, Elizabeth RubinUnlike the other participants in this exchange, I am no expert on Darfur. Indeed, to the extent that I know anything at all about the tragedy that has been unfolding there, it is due to the people with whom I find myself now interacting.

From Obama With Love
12:00 AM

It’s not often that a journalist manages to provoke immediate responses from the presidents of both the United States and Russia, but Peter Baker pulled it off Tuesday. Writing in The New York Times, Baker revealed the existence of a “secret letter” in which Barack Obama suggested that if Russia helped prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States might abandon its planned missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both presidents denied that the letter offered an explicit quid pro quo, but interestingly both noted that such a trade could be a good one.

Preemption Games
12:00 AM

  Peter H. Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law at Yale Law School. The Supreme Court's decision yesterday in Wyeth v. Levine gives unprecedented power to juries in deciding issues far outside their expertise. Though the details of the case are technical, its implications are far-reaching. Diana Levine, a musician, sued Wyeth for tort damages after her arm was amputated due to gangrene caused by a physician assistant's gross misuse of a permissible method of intravenous administration ("IV-push") of Wyeth's anti-nausea drug, Phenergan.

Obama's Conversation-starter On Health
12:00 AM

Standing before a packed audience in the East Room, President Obama just finished his opening remarks at the White House health care forum. For the next two hours, invited attendees--members of Congress and their top staff members, plus representatives for various interest groups with a stake in health care--will participate in breakout sessions on different dimensions of the health care crisis. Afterwards, the entire group will reconvene for a larger discussion. This event, to be clear, is primarily for show.

Thirteen Different Ways Of Looking At Iran
12:00 AM

Not to intrude on Crowley's turf, but having just read his very smart piece on Dennis Ross--which makes the point that, even though Ross's primary duty is focusing on Iran, he'll have to compete with Hillary Clinton's other star diplomatic fixers, Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, on setting the administration's policy toward the country--the difficulty of Ross's job was driven home for me by the news that Hillary is pushing to include her Iranian counterpart in a high-level meeting on Afghanistan.