America’s Botched 2003 Iran Diplomacy: No Talks with Evil People in the “Axis”

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What follows is an email sent to me by former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson. Col. Wilkerson has given me permission to share publicly: In fact, in a speech I gave on Iran recently, I stated bluntly that we needed to open a strategic dialogue, we needed to send high-level representation to that dialogue, and only if and when that completely failed should we even be considering “other options”. I also outlined for my audience all the times…

America the Pugnacious: Feinstein Provision Raises Hurdle for Foreign Students to Access U.S. Universities

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How did America become great? Some would argue that it was indeed great before restless explorers, settlers seeking economic opportunity, and persecuted religious victims and others migrated here — and I get that point. But in the last couple of centuries, America became great because it was the single biggest “brain drain” problem for the rest of the world. The smartest and most talented people in the world came to the U.S. to pursue a higher education, escape persecution, or…

Light Sentence for Abramoff. . .So Far, but More to Come

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Just announced. . .Jack Abramoff sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison. This is too light for someone who so badly damaged this democracy. Wait….update….this is just for the Florida fraud case. He still needs to be sentenced for federal crimes. Good. — Steve Clemons

Philippe Sands Who Unearthed Bush-Blair War Memo Speaking Tomorrow

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(Philippe Sands, Queen’s Counsel and Professor of Law, University College London) On 31 January 2003, David Manning — who now serves as British Ambassador to the United States — recorded notes on a secret understanding between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush that their two nations were committing to war against Iraq in March 2003 regardless of diplomatic outcomes with Saddam Hussein. The memo is extremely important in understanding the pathway to war that Bush and…

Reactions to the Israel Vote: Israel’s Political Right has Collapsed

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(Meretz Political Ad: Two Sperm Meet and Talk at Airport) Some observers are suggesting that the new parties and new personalities in Israeli politics have clobbered the old. I think that the bigger story is that the political right in Israel has imploded. Ariel Sharon as former head of the Likud Party, the party now headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, broke apart the vertebrae of the right and shattered the paralysis that had frozen Israel into a long-term self-destructive position regarding…

Olmert Calls on Abbas for Negotiations

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Well, this is big news. The man who will be Israel’s next Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert has dropped his bid for unilaterally settling Israel’s borders and has called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to negoatiate the permanent borders of Israel. Last Wednesday, Abbas said he was ready for such negotiations. As Akiva Eldar reported: “You are going into very important elections,” Abu Mazen says. “We are in a historic period, in which we must decide whether we will move toward…

Polls in Israel Show. . .

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Amir Peretz actually looks like one of the big winners — clearly surpassing expectations — if exit polls hold steady with vote count. Avigdor Lieberman of the Russian-immigrant supported Yisrael Beitanu party — a hard-right party — is also a big winner. Netanyahu is the largest loser of the day — and the Likud are apparently in crisis mode. Here is an update on poll results (120 seats total): Kadima 28 (in 2003 — 0) Center-Left Labor 20 (in 2003…

Signs of “Low Anxiety”: Israelis Not Turning Out to Vote

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Despite the anxiety many feel about the elections in Israel today, thus far the polls show the lowest turnout in Israel’s history. This is interesting and may mean that efforts to scare Israelis to the polls, whether the source of fear is Netanyahu or Hamas, are having little effect. More later. — Steve Clemons

Spring Cleaning: ANDY CARD RESIGNS

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Andrew “Andy” Card, one of the least publicly visible White House Chiefs of Staff in history but someone with a steady, careful management hand who must be given credit for much of Bush’s political success, has announced his resignation. Card, of course, was the staff member to first inform President Bush of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York while the President was reading to an elementary school class in Florida. Barbara Bush, as many may recall, was reported by…