Archive for October 6th, 2009

Let Muslim nations, not Western coalition, lead the mission to bring peace there. — Arif Rafiq

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Herndon, Va. – After eight years of US involvement in Afghanistan, a strategic crossroads within Asia, the country remains a deadly conflict zone. In fact, this weekend insurgents attacked two US military bases along the Pakistani border.

New Republic — How Soon Liberals Forget: Is McChrystal the New Shinseki?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Liberal pundits, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and National Security Advisor James Jones are in agreement: General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was wrong to give public voice to his views about the best way forward in that beleaguered country. Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman accused McChrystal of “a plain violation of the principle of civilian control.” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson put it most bluntly: “The men with the stars on their shoulders … need to shut up and salute.” Some are even drawing parallels between McChrystal and Douglas MacArthur. All these critics are wrong.

UK Telegraph — Conservative party conference: Tell us David Cameron – what sort of Britain do you want to lead?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

This is a tale of two parties. It starts at a drinks reception in Manchester, where a senior Conservative is talking about prisons. In his view, far too many people are locked up. Like the Tory grandee Douglas Hurd, he thinks jail is an expensive way of making bad people worse.

The National — Netanyahu smiles, but he may not have the last laugh

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

With the dust having settled after Barack Obama’s meetings in New York with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, a sober assessment of what actually happened – and what may happen next – is in order.

UK Guardian — In their struggle, Iranian women share the same quest for truth that has driven recipients of the Anna Politkovskaya award

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Link.

Foreign Policy — A bear in a China shop

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, is an unusual Wall Street banker. In his previous incarnation as the investment bank’s chief economist, Roach was one of the few who actually warned against both the tech bubble at the end of the 1990s and the credit bubble a few years ago. He characterized the former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan as a “serial bubble blower.” And he sounded alarm about America’s overconsumption and debt binge. His bearish views, of course, earned him few friends during the bubble years.

Jonathon Narvey: Prepare for the Iranian bomb

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Iran appears to be doing everything it can under the radar to try to obtain a nuclear weapons capability (Global Security). Eventually, it’s going to succeed.

One lesson I’ve learned from years of conquest and top-tier diplomacy is that if you play the game long enough, everyone gets nukes. You just have to live with it.

Obama Failing to Lead on Afghanistan — Richard Cohen

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Barack Obama’s trip to Copenhagen to pitch Chicago for the Olympics would have been a dumb move whatever the outcome. But as it turned out (an airy dismissal would not be an unfair description), it poses some questions about his presidency that are way more important than the proper venue for synchronized swimming. The first, and to my mind most important, is whether Obama knows who he is.

Mullahs on the Verge: Iran’s People, Iran’s Pulpits — Abbas Milani

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

T he Iranian people are in a state of suspense as they watch an increasingly oppressive militarist junta and a more democratic regime both struggling to be born. History shows that such moments of turbulent stasis don’t last long. A tipping point is on the way, and prudent policies on the part of the West, particularly the United States, can help determine which way it will fall.

Leaks and Deepening Iran Crisis — George Friedman

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Two major leaks occurred this weekend over the Iran matter.

In the first, The New York Times published an article reporting that staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, had produced an unreleased report saying that Iran was much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously

Foreign Policy — Does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Have Jewish Roots?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Link.

Obama and Israel: Betrayal in the Broken Places — Benjamin Kerstein

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

For a politician, there is no more dangerous combination of traits than hubris and ineptitude. In a friendly environment, the detrimental effects of these flaws can be staved off, for a time, by talented spin doctors, a sympathetic press, or the enthusiasm of one’s followers. In the maelstrom of Middle East politics, however, they tend to be almost immediately apparent, and the resulting fall from grace is often precipitous. President Barack Obama, who appears to possess both traits in unique abundance, has had to find this out the hard way; and whether he has learned his lesson or not remains to be seen.

UK Times Online — Nasty or nice? David Cameron needs a clear blue message

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Manchester is plastered with the slogan “Ready for change“. But what the voters want to know from the Conservatives this week is: are they ready? And have they changed?

Weekly Standard — A victory for Angela Merkel and the Free Democrats.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Berlin
The final campaign rally of the Social Democratic party (SPD) was impressive. More than a thousand people gathered at Pariser Platz, waving red banners and posters that said things like “We Are for Frank” (referring to the party’s candidate for chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier) and “Bankers Would Vote for Merkel” (as in Christian Democratic chancellor Angela Merkel). A stage had been erected directly beneath the Brandenburg Gate and the sun was setting behind it. The weather could not have been any better–mild and sunny. (Such weather has a name: Kaiserwetter.)

WSJ — Gen. McChrystal needs more troops now precisely so Afghans can take over the war effort later.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

‘We’re at a point in Afghanistan right now in our overall campaign,” the U.S. general says, “where increasingly security can best be delivered by the extension of good governance, justice, economic reconstruction.” Afghan security forces “fight side by side with us” more and more frequently, he adds, and American troops are working hard to develop the Afghan security forces. Coalition forces are focusing on securing the population, because “the key terrain is the human terrain.”

UK Guardian — Greek voters bucked a trend by not favouring the political right but, like other Europeans, they were driven by financial fears

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

In voting George Papandreou’s Socialists back into power, Greeks bucked a Europe-wide trend currently favouring the political right that is likely to be capped by a Conservative victory in Britain next year. But in terms of issues that most influenced voter choices, Greece’s general election seems to have largely followed the pattern of other European polls.

Moscow Times — Biden, Return Your Georgian Medal

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The mandate of the European Union’s independent commission created to investigate the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 stipulated that its findings should have been announced in July. But the report was unexpectedly postponed. Instead, July was marked by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Tbilisi, where Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili presented him with his country’s second-highest honor, the St. George’s Victory Order, in recognition of Washington’s unwavering support for Georgia.

CBS — Favre continues winning ways, proves critics wrong

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS – The hype was good for this game, but Brett Favre was better. Don’t ask me how that’s possible, because I have no idea. The guy turns 40 in a few days, and a year ago he fell apart because that’s what 39-year-old quarterbacks do — they fall apart. Favre was no exception in New York, and then he had surgery on his arm, and then he skipped training camp and reappeared with his former arch-nemesis Minnesota to face ungodly pressure and expectations.

NY Times — N.B.A. Players Make Their Way Back to College

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Russell Westbrook held the attention of an audience and an instructor, a familiar role for an N.B.A. player. Only, fellow students made up the crowd. And he was addressed by a teacher, not a coach.

Dallas News — Romo, Phillips share blame for Dallas Cowboys’ struggles

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Link.