Obama’s Camp Lejeune Speech



Very interesting speech by Obama today on bringing the Iraq War to a close. Obama stated moments ago that troop levels in Iraq will be brought down to 50,000 by August 2010 — and then all forces will be removed by the end of 2011. America’s financial crisis is driving much of this. There is just no way that Obama can keep his fiscal accounts in order with a high-cost, permanent expansion of America’s empire of military basing. I was…

James K. Glassman: Corruption and Bank Nationalization



This is a guest post by James K. Glassman, former Chairman of Public Broadcasting and former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Glassman was also editor of Roll Call and was founding editor of The American, and is now president of the World Growth Institute. This piece first ran in The American earlier today. Glassman’s views are his own, but whether one agrees with him on the results likely with bank nationalization, his thoughts below are worth a read….

America’s Financial Crisis is Not a Clogged Sewer Problem



UT Austin/LBJ School of Public Policy economist James K. Galbraith is testifying this morning at 10 am EST for the House Financial Services Committee. He will be joined by economists John Taylor and Alan Blinder. Galbraith, a fervent Obama supporter, is not much impressed by the early moves of President Obama’s economic team. In the video above, he offers a methodic critique of the financial sector bailout and the stimulus package. And in National Journal yesterday, Galbraith takes on Obama’s…

More on Dennis Ross & Chas Freeman: Israel Hardliners May Be Ticking Off Obama Team and Showing Signs of Weakness



Laura Rozen has done a really great piece of reporting on Dennis Ross‘ new appointment as “Special Advisor on the Gulf and Southwest Asia” to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Very much worth reading in full to get a Kremlinological fix on Ross’ seemingly reduced role. No matter what his current situation and portfolio, Dennis Ross surely fared better than Anthony Zinni — and in my book, Dennis is quite a fair trade for Chas Freeman. Sources tell me that…

Diplo-Blogosphere: Ranking the French, Germans and Brits



About a year and a half ago, I attended a very nice reception in New York in honor of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Lots of Germans there and many top tier German, European, and American media from Washington, New York, and Berlin. A number of Ambassadors stopped by including then US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad. I was introduced to Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN Martin Ney who was quite a nice fellow —…

What’s Next for the Peace Process?



Last night, President Obama said in his remarks to a joint meeting of Congress: To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbours, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort. I dislike the word “sustain” here. I’d rather have seen “reinvent”, “revitalize”, “accomplish results” — something other than a commitment to keeping the “Middle East Peace Business” sustained. But perhaps I’m too cynical and should read less into the President’s words. Secretary of…

Reaction to Barack Obama’s Speech to Joint Session of Congress



I have just some very quick reactions to the Obama speech tonight as I’ve been on Al Jazeera English Network tonight talking for more than three hours on it and don’t want to really repeat the general patter of many other commentators and bloggers. First, I thought that Obama’s comments on the economy foreshadow some tough judgment calls that are going to be embedded in his budgetary request that will come out two days from now. I wasn’t surprised by…

Guest Post by George Lakoff: The Obama Code



This is a guest post for The Washington Note by UC Berkeley cognitive linguistics professor George Lakoff, author of The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain and Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives. To listen to a talk recently given by George Lakoff at the New America Foundation, click here. Berkeley, CA. February 24, 2009 The Obama Code As President Obama prepares to…

Dennis Ross Gets His Appointment: Fair Trade for Chas Freeman Who Will Chair Intel Council



Tonight, State Department Acting Spokesman Robert Wood issued a statement that Dennis Ross was now officially “Special Advisor for The Gulf and Southwest Asia.” This is amazing news given early world and rumor from quite solid sources that Ambassador Ross, a very distinguished diplomat who promotes a hawkish posture on Iran, was going to be not only the President’s special envoy to Iran but also basically a super envoy ranking above others for the entire Middle East region. Without going…