New “Baker-Christopher Commission” to Probe Constitutional Power Allocations on War-Starting, War-Waging, and War-Ending



(Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Washington Moroccan Club President Hassan Samrhouni, and Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III) The University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs — of which Philip Zelikow used to serve as Director before becoming Condi Rice’s Counselor — has announced the creation of a bipartisan commission that “will examine how the Constitution allocates the powers of beginning, conducting, and ending war.” Former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher…

Chess Pieces Move: Bush Admin Officials Plan to Meet with Iranian and Syrian Reps in Neighborhood “Block Party”



I’m getting a lot of “official statements” from U.S. Senators in my in-box all of a sudden commenting on the Bush administration’s change of heart regarding attending official meetings with representatives from the governments of Iran and Syria. This could be a pre-meeting for a true regional conference that draws together all of the key stakeholders in and around Iraq, and that is a key pillar of the Iraq Study Group Report’s “New Diplomatic Offensive” proposal. Time will tell whether…

Hezbollah Plays Nationalism Card



This short International Herald Tribune piece by the Nixon Center’s Alexis Debat and Ghassan Schbley got me thinking about the simultaneously turbulent centrifugal and centripetal forces between transnational Islamist movements and state structures in the Middle East It’s a very short, clever article — but here is the part with which I partly disagree and yet still find intriguing: Nasrallah’s recent turnaround has given away important clues about Hezbollah’s ultimate hierarchy of allegiances. Confronted with a crucial decision between relevance…

Cheney Travels Far, Far Away While Libby Jury Deliberates



Vice President Cheney sure is active on the international travel circuit all of a sudden. First, there was a trip to Japan — allegedly to thank Japan for its support of America’s war on terror — though he did all he could to avoid actually meeting Japan’s Minister of Defense because of Defense Minister Kyuma’s candid comments that the war was wrong-headed. Now, Cheney has made a surprise trip to Pakistan. I’m sure that Cheney’s presence in Islamabad is a…

Dem Views on Iraq: Get out Later vs. Get out Now



Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a good short summary out today on the differences in the main Democratic presidential hopefuls on how to proceed in the Iraq War. This blogger is quoted in the piece, but the interesting thing is that while every major candidate is now “tilting” towards a position that contender Dennis Kucinich and former Presidential possibilities Russ Feingold and Tom Vilsack advocated — getting out of Iraq immediately — none of the others think that…

Comments on the Real “Decider” on 9/11: Rudy Giuliani’s Courtship of Washington’s Fundraising Elite



I met former New York Mayor Rudy Giuiliani on Friday at a pre-fundraising mixer and got to size him up a bit. Rudy Giuliani is coming out on top in numerous polls — and surprising a it may seem, he is shown in some of these surveys as the only Republican able to beat either Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards — if the election was held today. Polls this early are deceptive, but this enthusiasm for Mayor Rudy…

The Terrorism Surge: Measuring the Iraq Effect



My colleagues Peter Bergen, who moonlights at CNN’s terrorism analyst and is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Paul Cruickshank, a Research Fellow at NYU’s Center on Law and Security and frequent collaborator with New America foreign policy projects, have a great Mother Jones cover story piece out measuring the impact that the invasion of Iraq had on globlal terrorism as well as terrrorist incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq. To see what Iraq has helped bring to…

Politics, Foreign Policy, Blogging and Saguaros: <em>TWN</em> Video Clips and a Tucson Update



After a week of some too chilly days and uncooperative ice flows (though things are now warming) in Washington, Tucson is paradise. Tonight I saw the stars — all of them, well, lots of them — and a great sunset on a 70 degree evening from the Skyline Country Club where I enjoyed a very interesting evening with about 110 members of the Tucson Committee on Foreign Relations. These committees which are in many cities of the United States —…

No False Choices: Chuck Hagel’s Foreign Policy Roadmap



Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today is giving an important speech on US-Iran relations at the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs. Hagel suggests that we can’t leave the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to turn even more ulcerous and not be resolved. He posits that diplomacy, UN mandates and engagement, regional deal-making, new regional security frameworks and credible economic incentives are in a tool kit that can be used to offer something between the bleak, binary, “false…