Iraq Debate Moving to Higher Ground?

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I’m assuming most TWN readers have seen this before: Iraq is and will continue to be about 90 percent of the foreign policy conversation in this campaign (still not happy about that). And right now, much of the Iraq debate has revolved around redeployment details: who, how many, how fast, etc. It’s a debate over tactics, albeit one with huge consequences, but it is not the kind of debate over the U.S. role in the world that the country needs….

My View on the Street: Stalking Tom Edsall

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I’ve been bumping into Huffington Post political editor Thomas Edsall in a number of places lately – including in long AMTRAK Acela train lines when traveling from New York to DC and then today at Harvard Square. He’s always unassuming, enjoying the scene, and usually passes off some delectable political tidbit — and did so today (but it’s a secret). Edsall was standing in front of “Charlie’s Kitchen” reminiscing about the days when he would hang out there a few…

Syrian Nukes Pixel Drama?

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As if the mysteries surrounding Israel’s raid on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility and subsequent revelations about North Korean complicity in a reported cash-for-reactor deal were not cloak-and-dagger enough, Chris Nelson – the uber insider political newsletter scribe behind The Nelson Report and whose contacts in the national security establishment are stellar – reports the rumor that the video showed by the CIA to Capitol Hill lawmakers may have been “doctored.” Some are arguing that there is a “pixel mismatch.”…

Note to Bostonians

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I’m visiting your great city and have just walked out in the chilly rain tonight along the Charles River. For those of you in town and interested, I’m speaking tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon on the topic, “Blogging and Moving the Needle on US Foreign Policy Debates,” at the Harvard University Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. The meeting will take place at the Institute of Politics Conference Room, Littauer 166 at Harvard, and you are welcome…

The Next Fault Line in Foreign Policy Combat: “The U.S. Matters” vs. “No, It Really Doesn’t”

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Kishore Mahbubani and G. John Ikenberry may not know it — but they are squaring off to be the new top tier rival powerhouse intellectual combatants. They each basically stand at the forefront of rival intellectual movements about the relative relevance of American power in the world — Mahbubani heading the school that the West is in self-denial about its plummeting significance and Ikenberry heading those who think American power remains palpably larger than any other player and is still…

Note to People Meeting with the Candidates. . .

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All around the country, there are people meeting with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain in cafes, meeting halls, churches, community colleges, and private homes. Occasionally, the media really press them to answer hard questions — and other times not. But some of you can ask them questions and report back to bloggers or other writers ‘exactly’ what the response was. Some of you can catch these exchanges with a flip video recorder and send the files our way….

View From Your Window: The Willow is Gone

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A very smart senior policy advisor to one of the three extant presidential campaigns just sent in this picture of Larry’s Lounge, a dive on the corner of 17th and R Streets in Dupont Circle. I used to hang out there until they spruced up the place and got plastic menus. I sat there once when during a bad storm the branch of a huge weeping willow tree broke off and came through the bar’s window. They trimmed the tree…

Japan’s Political Scene: By-Election Today

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This is a guest post on Japan’s political scene by Mindy Kotler, Director of Asia Policy Point in Washington, D.C. Originally, TWN posted a pre-version of this piece that has since been adjusted. Kotler’s prediction about Sunday’s election outcome was dead on target. On Sunday, April 27th, one of Japan’s most conservative districts will hold a by-election for a seat in the House of Representatives (Lower House). This will be the first parliamentary election since Yasuo Fukuda became prime minister…

Matt Yglesias in Book Length

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Having attended the launch for Matt Yglesias’s new book on foreign policy on Friday, I might have to break a rule of mine. I might have to read a book whose thesis I fundamentally agree with. I made that rule after reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse a few years ago. Like his groundbreaking Guns, Germs and Steel, Collapse is thoroughly researched and convincing. But its conclusion — environmental mismanagement threatens the survival of civilizations — was a pretty easy sell for…