Reporting from Jerusalem this month:
An astonishing statement from Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only does he have a plan to topple Hamas in Gaza through assassinations (as if that was not already tried and aborted by warriors more talented and experienced than he), but he also plans to proceed with diplomacy in his region by making clear to President Assad that the Golan will stay in Jewish hands:
“It should be clear to the Syrians and to the world, the Golan Heights will stay in our hands,” Netanyahu said.
This is a fascinating position. Either Mr. Netanyahu is delusional in terms of his understanding of Syria and the political realities of the moment, or he holds the Israeli right-wing voting public in contempt. My hunch is the latter, and I felt the same way about McCain’s contempt for his right wing in the United States. Everyone knew that ‘time was up’ …
I was phoning somewhere in the American South for Obama the other day. What an education for me! There were simple, poor families that have been energized by the campaign, volunteering, excited. There were some angry independents, a completely nuts Nader person who hung up on me after screaming about women getting 93 cents on the dollar.
And then there was “Jim Crow” himself, who I have always longed to meet. When I say “Jim Crow” I mean those people in the United States who have actively supported racial segregation their whole lives. They actively ensured through legislation in the late nineteenth century, referred to as the “Jim Crow Laws”, that blacks would remain segregated and unequal in the United States, in a steady reversal of the gains made by victory in the Civil War over slavery. The great President Woodrow Wilson was actually the first Southern Democrat to …
Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Menahem Frohman made an impassioned appeal today for American Jews to embrace Senator Obama as a harbinger of peace in the Middle East. Amidst controversial reports coming out of Israel that most Americans there voted for McCain Rabbi Frohman’s religious prayers stand out as exceptional. Most of those polled are Orthdox, and this dovetails American trends in which Orthodox Jews are mostly voting for McCain. Here is the video from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem.
We live in an age in which religion as an ideology has been weaponized by at least some people in every culture and civilization. But sometimes one sees exceptions, passionate expressions of piety that are for peace, not war, for love, not hatred. The constant in history is …
Joseph Nye reports correctly that Bin Laden skewed the last election in favor of Bush against Kerry by six points due to a strategically released tape right before the election. It is in Bin Laden’s interest to keep a war of civilizations going, which means keeping a Neo-Conservative in the White House. This serves the Civil War he is conducting within Islam. My trouble with this is, what does this say about the American electorate? Why can people be so easily persuaded to become paranoid because one extremist releases a tape? It says that too many of us are manipulated by fear rather than reasoned thinking. We need an electorate in the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, that is up to the challenge of wielding all that global power more wisely.
The Obama campaign should consider apportioning some of those millions of dollars in advertising right now …
The news is more and more shocking from the pews of the McCain/Palin rallies, but even more so from Palin herself. The flirtation with promoting racial hatred and violence is getting stronger, and they need to be told to stop before they bring the country to the brink. This is a turning point for the United States. Frank Rich warns:
What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.
By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the
Two McCain advisers told participants in a weekend retreat that his administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
That was the collective message delivered over the weekend by two McCain advisers — Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Richard Williamson, the Bush administration’s special envoy to Sudan — during a retreat hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy at the Lansdowne Resort in rural Virginia.
One of Barack Obama’s representatives — Richard Danzig, a Clinton administration Navy secretary — said the Democratic presidential candidate would take the opposite approach on both issues.
In an interview with the Atlantic magazine over the summer, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted that in his presidency he would serve as the chief negotiator in the
The recent U.S. report on Muslim engagement was crafted carefully by a very bipartisan group in which I played a role, but this article argues that it strongly favors Obama’s foreign policy.
WASHINGTON, Sep 24 (IPS) – In an implicit indictment of President George W. Bush’s “global war on terror” and the hawkish pronouncements by Republican candidate John McCain, a bipartisan group of nearly three dozen U.S. leaders called here Wednesday for Bush’s successor to place much greater emphasis on high-level diplomacy — including direct engagement with Iran and Syria — in dealing with the Middle East and the Muslim world.
In a 152-page report, the group, which included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Bush’s former Deputy Secretary of State and McCain adviser Richard Armitage, also called for any new administration to work “intensively for immediate de-escalation of the
Professor Solon Simmons of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and myself have a live discussion on the last stages of the American election campaigns, why it is so close, what are the options left to the candidates to move the undecided voters in one direction or the other.
We also consider what this election says about the state of American values and where the country is going. Note: Since this was recorded it seems that Obama is following much of our advice as to how to strengthen his base.
Discussion is recorded here:
I have been uneasy for eight years with the trend in American politics of anointing men with tempers. This is not safe in terms of global conflict. I think of the incredible pressures of the White House, and the reality of having the ability to destroy the earth many times over. I think of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how we might have all died when I was six years old if John and Bobby Kennedy had uncontrollable tempers. I opposed John Silber and Howard Dean, two Democrats, for president because of their tempers, which I personally witnessed. In conflict, character is everything, far more important than strategy, though strategy matters. More will emerge in the future about anger and George Bush, and about the conduct of the war, but in many ways that is history now. What matters now is whether Americans make a wise decision about their future.…
David Ignatius has a sympathetic read on American involvement in Georgia’s decision to attack South Ossetia. Is he right? Not sure. He seems to believe that Georgia’s behavior was not based on American prodding, and that, on the contrary, the Administration was telling him to keep the brakes on. David is an astute, centrist observer with an intelligence background. The problem now is one of radical distrust by any of our allies of a Republican Administration. David writes:
The signal Bush is said to be sending Saakashvili is: “We’re with you. We take your survival and interests seriously. But be smart. Don’t give Russia a pretext.” This go-slow message is in part a reflection of the administration’s frustration that Saakashvili ignored repeated advice over the past two years not to provoke Russia over the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Having promised Moscow that the United States would restrain