After Bucharest: Energy Security and Russia

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(Gas pipeline map from The Economist, Jan. 24, 2008) One of the leads for this week’s Economist emphasizes the role of energy security for Europe, and in particular, pipeline diversification over missile defense. It was the subject of much interest last week at NATO’s summit in Bucharest, so much so, that the parallel Young Atlanticist Summit held a six hour NATO simulation exercise focused exclusively on drafting a NATO position paper on energy security. As part of the simulation set…

Obama Triangulates and Won’t Go Where Other Great Americans Will on Hamas

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Ben Smith of Politico points out that Barack Obama has “drawn a line” regarding which of the world’s problematic bad guys should be met by Presidents like himself — and Jimmy Carter. He thinks Carter should not meet any Hamas leaders. I guess isolation works for some and not others — but ah, just when does one know in Obama’s play book? Apparently, he’s OK meeting Israeli leaders because they disavow terrorism — but still they protect and establish illegal…

The Right’s “Soros Envy”

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Laura Rozen has penned a fascinating piece on the bumpy ride that hyper-conservative “Freedom’s Watch” has had thus far in its emergence as a conservative challenger to MoveOn.org. She notes that Israeli settlements supporter Sheldon Adelson is just not the George Soros type and is getting so much in the way of the efficient operation of the organization, that many senior staff have already come and gone in the life of the very young outfit. Speaking of Soros, the conference…

Luntz Responds

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Frank Luntz comments on the thread below regarding his appearance at USUN. And anyone who takes the time to comment on a post concerning him or her deserves some front page attention in my book. This is Frank Luntz here. Just for the record, I was invited to speak because I have conducted instant response dial sessions at every Democratic and Republican debate over the past year — roughly 40 in all. And I only said yes because it is…

Hillary Clinton’s Call to Boycott Olympic Ceremonies is Way Wrong-Headed

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Hillary Clinton is making a wrong-headed play in her call to President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games. After the collision of an American EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter in April 2001, neoconservative high priest Richard Perle advocated preempting China’s bid to host the 2008 Olympics. He felt that keeping China from being able to enjoy the prestige of hosting the Olympic games was the best way to punish China for the…

USUN Gives Luntz a Platform

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The U.S. Mission to the United Nations is hosting a briefing on the 2008 presidential elections later this week. The three speakers are Former Rep. David Bonior from the Edwards campaign, Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey from the Romney campaign, and Frank Luntz. It’s the appearance by Luntz, the architect of the Bush administration’s fear and terror frames, that caught my attention. First, Luntz’s inclusion tips the balance of the panel in favor of conservatives/Republicans over progressives/Democrats — but I’m…

Petraeus for President? and the Fall of Penn, Inc.

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It was announced a short bit ago that Mark Penn is stepping down (well, has been fired) as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign. My colleague and friend Mark Schmitt was the first to really nail the problem that Penn had in serving union-busting clients and foreign governments on trade deals while co-heading a presidential campaign that was sending love notes to unions and promising to rip up trade treaties. On another front, I speculated a while back that General…

A Dufus Moment in Riyadh

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As we were driving in from the airport into the heart of Riyadh, I saw a beautiful building with a hole in it called the “Kingdom Centre,” built by the well-known global investor Prince Alwaleed. I left my hotel to look for it and to get a picture for all of you — but I couldn’t find it. It turns out, much to my embarrassment, that we were staying in the building. I was just walking around it I guess…