Tony Blair Resigns: Clintonesque Leader Evolves into Moralistic, Bush-Like Crusader



Tony Blair has informed his Queen and his Cabinet that he is stepping down as Prime Minister. Americans tend to look at other country’s heads-of-state through the prism of their own president — but Blair even more so. Blair used to seem a lot like Clinton. Now sadly, he looks a lot like Bush. Here is a piece I have written for The Guardian and the opener: Americans used to love Tony Blair. When Bill Clinton’s presidency ended, a vast…

Tom Allen is Right, And Other Related Thoughts



Rep. Tom Allen kicked off his campaign to oust Maine Republican Susan Collins from the Senate by declaring the invasion of Iraq “the worst foreign policy mistake in our nation’s history.” Allen is generally on the right track. The invasion of Iraq certainly ranks among the worst foreign policy blunders in our history (whether it’s numero uno or somewhere else near the top would make for an interesting debate). And the residual anger over that mistake is creating political shockwaves…

What a Difference an Ambassador Makes



Ambassador Khalilzad’s first speech before the U.N. General Assembly is pasted below the fold. Bush administration policy hasn’t substantially changed over the past five months, but, with the switch from John Bolton, the tone has. And at the United Nations, tone matters. I was especially pleased to see repeated references to “working together,” and discussing common challenges we face with the rest of the world. It will help. Compare this to Bolton’s first public statement in the Security Council, during…

IMF Legend Michael Mussa: Wolfowitz Should Resign



In international finance circles, Michael Mussa is a legendary figure who used to work at the thin air levels at the International Monetary Fund. For those interested, Mussa’s story is in one of the few real page-turners on international finance I have read, The Chastening: Inside the Crisis that Rocked the Global Financial System and Humbled the IMF by Paul Blustein. Mussa is judicious, non-partisan, and seriously respected. He articulated yesterday what most think about World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz’s…

Obama’s Interesting Proposal for the Automobile Sector



Barack Obama‘s policy shop is kicking out some good stuff. I find this proposal reported by Bloomberg of his to help American automobile manufacturers offset retiree health care costs for gains in cutting carbon emissions intriguing. Of course, there are flaws like in most great ideas, but it’s an interesting and commendable gesture that gets away from the nasty, destructive battles in the past between automakers and progressive environmentalists. Obama is linking progress on two major social problems so that…

<em>NY Times</em>: Europe Offers U.S. a Deal on Wolfowitz Exit



One of the unwritten but hard as concrete rules in the governance of the world’s two most important transnational financial institutions is that a European heads the International Monetary Fund and an American heads the World Bank. . .always. But the Wolfowitz scandal is testing that norm and threatening to pull the supporting thread far enough on Wolfowitz and America’s implicit right to name his successor that serious repercussions could ensue in many other backroom arrangements between nation-state stakeholders over…

Wolfowitz Aide Kevin Kellems Out at World Bank



Kevin Kellems, who previously worked as spokesman for Vice President Cheney and then became a senior adviser to Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank, has announced he is resigning his position. He is the first to fall in Wolfowitz’s camp after the turmoil triggered by allegations of nepotism and mismanagement by Wolfowitz at the Bank. These allegations are not new on the whole and have been revitalized after revelations that Wolfowitz arranged abnormally large, automatic pay raises for his girlfriend….

Climate Security: Who’s At Risk?



Worldwatch researcher Michael Renner’s chapter in the 2005 edition of State of the World is probably the best summary of the intersection between environment and security out there. He also co-authored a great chapter on disaster management as a peacebuilding opportunity with my good friend Zoe Chafe in last year’s State of the World. I don’t know him, but Zoe gave a great window into their thinking process and I’ve gained a great deal of respect for his opinion on…

Getting John Bolton Off of Bush’s Payroll Correlates with Improved US Foreign Policy Gains



I agree with Scott Paul that John Bolton’s co-mingling during his Bradley Prize acceptance speech of Senator Chris Dodd and and former Senator Lincoln Chafee with prominent citizens of Pyongyang, Havana, Damascus and Tehran was at first glance disconcerting. But now that I’ve had the day to think about it, there are sensible “prominent citizens” in Havana who I recently met — and with whom we should be charting new possibilities for US-Cuba relations. Bolton seems to relish the derision…