ISLAM KARIMOV: AMERICA’S FRIEND AND THE NEXT SADDAM HUSSEIN

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If one wanted to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt about his sermon-ish and idealistic inaugural address, then one of the first fronts of reform in U.S. foreign policy must be our relations with Uzbekistan and Islam Karimov, one of the true monstrous cretins at the helm of a government today. America gave Uzbekistan $500 million to secure basing rights in this country — and much of that money is allegedly being siponed into the private accounts of…

PREPARING FOR WAR WITH IRAN: AN UPDATE ON SY HERSH’S ARTICLE

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Remember the EP-3 spy plane incident with China? That is the time I got to debate Richard Perle on Crossfire about U.S.-China relations. We were spying on China from the air, testing their radar systems as well — something all major nations do. But while spying, and testing of defense systems, is a normal, humdrum fact of a world with too many military systems aimed at each other — testing a potential foe’s systems very aggressively can trigger war quickly….

WOOLSEY WATCH ITEM & SOME QUESTIONS FOR OIL EXPERTS

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I ran across two very interesting articles today. The first is titled “As Green as a Neocon: Why Iraq Hawks are Driving Priuses.” Read the piece, but in it author Robert Bryce notes that super-neocons James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney are born-again advocates of fuel efficiency in cars (Woolsey now drives a 58 mile-per-gallon Prius) and plant-based bio fuels. My former New America Foundation colleague Ricardo Bayon made the link between America’s SUV culture, ravenous oil consumption and terrorism some…

FAREWELL JOHN ASHCROFT: HOW WE WILL MISS THEE

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I was just invited to John Ashcroft’s “Farewell Heritage Lecture” scheduled for Tuesday, 1 February, 11 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Auditorium. The title of Ashcroft’s talk: True Faith and Allegiance. The meeting host is Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy, and Chairman, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Heritage Foundation (and of course former Attorney General). Here is the pitch paragraph that came with the announcement: This nation’s fundamental commitment to the rule of…

G.W. BUSH: PLEASE TELL YOUR BASE THAT BOOK-BURNING IS BAD

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Photo credit: USHMM Photo Archives Mark Leon Goldberg has just published a provocative and important snippet in the latest American Prospect, which I am reprinting in its entirety with permission. Goldberg (who used to be just ‘Mark Goldberg’ when he was my brilliant research assistant but now has become ‘Mark Leon Goldberg’ as his fame advances) exposes the censorship obsessions of Alabama State Senator Gerald Allen who not only wants to block same-sex marriages (something unfortunately not all that controversial)…

HATE THE WAR, HUG THE SOLDIER: COMMENTS ON THE DEATH OF 31 MARINES IN WESTERN IRAQ

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This news just out of Iraq about the death of 31 Marines when a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter went down. No word yet as to whether this was an accident, or whether it was brought down by hostile fire. Fox News and other stations are already asking whether or not our armed forces have equipment good enough to support their safe presence in Iraq. I don’t buy the line from some on the left that these soldiers made their own…

MICHAEL LIND ON AMERICA AS THE ‘DISPENSABLE NATION’

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My colleague Michael Lind has a compelling commentary piece in today’s Financial Times that clearly articulates the stark and bitter gap between American pretensions as expressed last Thursday by President Bush and the realities of global disdain for and rejection of America’s current foreign policy behavior. The importance of Lind’s piece is that he points to a new global rejectionism of American policy and leadership in the world. Charles Kupchan predicted that this would happen; and G. John Ikenberry saw…

COMMENTS ON THE REAL COST OF THE ‘MICHAEL POWELL EFFECT’

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Michael Powell, in my view, has not only been an unmitigated disaster as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he has presided over the gutting and flattening of broadband and IT innovation in the country, that may only just barely survive his stewardship. The economic cost of lost jobs, diminished rates of investment, and the monopolistic nightmare of empowered regional Baby Bells hostile to new competition will mean that for years forward a “Michael Powell Effect” will mean a big,…

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SOFT MONEY SUPPORT FOR ALLAWI?

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I just received a tongue-in-cheek email from Jim Pinkerton who offers “You’d never get the idea that we are seeking to influence the course of Iraqi democracy — and that’s the good news here: the Iraqis won’t notice such favoritism, either” and then attached the following pic and link. We all know that Iraq is a mess — but seriously — why are we flying Allawi around on military aircraft? This is outrageous. Even if I found it myself to…