How Obama Will Deal With Our Wayward Ally, Turkey
July 01, 2010
It’s a shock to see one of the pillars of American foreign policy start to disintegrate before our very eyes. That’s what seems to be happening to the relationship between the United States and Turkey, which policymakers in both countries have taken for granted for decades. I know it’s often said that formal alliances are losing their central place in international politics. If so, maybe the bad blood between Ankara and Washington is just part of a trend, something we wearily adjust to.
June 30, 2010
For my sins, I have been reading Alain Badiou. (The intellectual’s work is never done.) He is, in his own words, “the most widely read and translated French philosopher in the world.” More banally, he is the very latest professor of liberation; and more banally still, the very latest professor of liberation from liberalism.
June 25, 2010
The Obama administration has signaled in word and deed that a policy change is in the offing, a change that would accommodate the Syrian regime and normalize relations with it. The notion of autocracy as a guarantor of stability is back in vogue after the Bush years, and so the policy is being bolstered by a chorus of analysts and academics. The Syrian regime, the thinking goes, is as good as it gets for helping to keep simmering regional tensions under a tight lid. But this change would be a bit of a gamble.
The report came from the FARS news agency in Iran. On Thursday, Ha'aretz repeated the story: "Iranian news: IAF choppers land at Saudi Arabia airport." If FARS is correct, the landing apparently occurred on June 18 and 19.
Imagine (With Apologies to John Lennon)
June 23, 2010
For the sake of argument, imagine, if you can, an American foreign policy based on interest alone. To begin with, to use the current Wall Street phrase, it would need to overweight Latin America and underweight the Middle East. For whether the Obama administration believes it or not (in fairness, they are no worse than their predecessors, though they are no better either), crises are brewing in Latin America that pose potentially greater threats to the United States than those posed by Al Qaeda.
May 21, 2010
Most of us have in our minds a general sense of what a jihadist is. And Faisal Shahzad, who, earlier this month, was charged with attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, probably fits the bill. Since September 11, Americans have come to think of terrorism as a fundamentally foreign phenomenon that has somehow ensnared us. We have frequently been assured that the United States—unlike Europe—does not have a homegrown terrorism problem. Other than the fact that Shahzad is an American citizen, his profile conforms to this general pattern: He originally hailed from Pakistan.
John Brennan, Obama’s (Alas) Nitwit Counterterrorism Adviser, And His Plans To Make Hezbollah Moderate. He’s Also The Inventor And The Watchdog Of The Watchlist. My, My.
May 20, 2010
The dispatch is from Reuters. And the dateline is Wonderland. Flush with success in turning Iran away from nukes and Syria away from Tehran, the administration seems to be setting its sights on turning Hezbollah away from Hezbollah. If this is truly the goal of the administration, look for an another spectacular humiliation. No, worse: It will be a spectacular self-abasement. After all, there’s no evidence that the Lebanese terror fraternity is looking to become mild and modest.
Who Says That Obesity Affects Only The Poor?
April 27, 2010
Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are very rich. According to a New York Times article this morning by Michael Slackman, the first of these boasts the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. It has a population of 1.6 million, with only 250,000 native Qataris. That means citizens. These Qataris rank “sixth globally for prevalence of obesity and has the highest rate of obesity among boys in the Middle East and North African region.” They will win no soccer cups.
April 27, 2010
On October 19 of last year, the op-ed page of The New York Times contained a bombshell: a piece by Robert Bernstein, the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch (HRW), attacking his own organization. HRW, Bernstein wrote, was “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” The allegation was certainly not new: HRW had been under assault for years by American Jews and other supporters of Israel, who argued that it was biased against the Jewish state. And these attacks had intensified in recent months, with a number of unflattering revelations about the organization.
April 21, 2010
The words most often used by the heads of oil companies to describe the boom are “revolution” and “game changer.” Industry historian Daniel Yergin calls it “the shale gale.” Admittedly, serious questions remain as to whether shale gas will pass the ecological test—critics say it can’t be extracted safely in proximity to groundwater, and the EPA is engaged in a two-year study of extraction techniques.