In the few hours between landing after a swing through Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa and taking off again for Berlin, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found time on Friday to stop over in much friendlier territory: a subterranean banquet hall at Washington’s Reagan International Trade Center.
It is just about 30 years since the wall around Iran went up. And it is a few days away from fully 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The Berliner Mauer had been up for more than a quarter century, and its surface facing east, grim gray, was a metaphor for life in the German Democratic Republic. On its western face graffiti evoked the freer spirit of the half-city whose heart had nonetheless been broken by the Soviet goose step that divided it. And the Cold War was won on the very day the authorities of the D.D.R.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books.To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports. When John Wilkes Booth opened fire on President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre in April 1865, the media was puzzled.
Let's understand this, just for starters. And I know that Nidal Malik Hasan was also crazy. But which suicide bomber, even one inspired by what the president continues to call the "Holy Koran," as if that nomenclature would moderate the hatred of America in the world of Islam, is not crazy? Stark raving crazy, in fact? (Just like the assassination of Robert Kennedy, to begin at the beginning, was an act of jihad, as well.
For all of the crazy arguments against health care reform, a few of them are entirely sensible--and worth taking seriously. As I write in my latest Kaiser Health News column, which appeared on TNR’s home page yesterday, one of those is the worry that Congress won’t follow through with promises to raise the revenue--or find the savings--necessary to finance expansions of health insurance. In other words, Congress may pass a law calling for reductions in Medicare expenditures or raising an assortment of new taxes.
Paul Krugman's column today is about how the stimulus was too small. I agree entirely. What I find puzzling is his apparent belief that the Obama administration is the primary culprit for this shortcoming. Here's Krugman: But while health care won’t be Mr. Obama’s Waterloo, economic policy is starting to look like his Anzio. ... President Obama came into office with a strong mandate and proclaimed the need to take bold action on the economy. His actual actions, however, were cautious rather than bold.
Matthew Continetti's editorial in last week's issue of the Weekly Standard--"The Inevitability Myth: Health care reform is not a fait accompli"--makes the case that, despite all evidence, health care reform may not be enacted after all. (Continetti does concede that "the chances of some sort of health bill passing, at some point, are by no means negligible." So he's telling us there's a chance.) This sort of argument is actually the signature style of the Standard. A magazine like National Review specializes in making the case for conservative ideas.
The day before President Obama spoke in Madison, Wisconsin, about the pressing need to improve America's teachers, a report was released on the same topic at a conference in Washington's swanky Capitol Hilton. The task force that wrote the report was chaired by Minnesota Governor (and rumored 2012 presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty and included such education policy heavyweights as New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, author of The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream, and an occasional contributor to The Treatment. Diane Archer is the director of the Health Care Project at the Institute for America's Future and the founder and past president of the Medicare Rights Center. How short memories are in Washington.
Earlier today, two key groups--the American Cancer Society and the American Association of Retired Persons--endorsed the House health care reform bill. On a conference call that's just wrapping up now, the American Medical Association (AMA) pledged its support, as well. But it did so with some crucial qualifications. The AMA made clear that it was endorsing not one but two bills: H.R. 3962, the bill that would expand insurance coverage, reorient the delivery system, etc.; and H.R.