Bill Richardson Should Be Special Presidential US-Cuba Envoy



Anyone who knows New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson knows he can be a handful, can be complicated, and can too often want the story about him more than others. Those are characteristics of most who aspire to the presidency. However, this week during his trip to Cuba allegedly for agricultural trade promotion reasons, Governor Richardson demonstrated why he is such a vital national asset in America’s diplomatic game. Richardson has a knack for dealing with the harder challenges in international…

Democracy 2.0 Hits Japan



The Democratic Party of Japan has scored a historic and monumental victory over the many decades ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan. The DPJ has scored 308 seats in Japan’s powerful lower house while the LDP has retained only 119 seats. With various anti-conservative party allies, the DPJ should be able to control about 340 seats in the Lower House — 20 more than are needed to prevent the LDP from causing legislative mischief and roadblocks. Japan now has a…

Former Australia PM Paul Keating: Geopolitical Consequences of a Super Boom That Blows Out



If you can spare ten minutes, this interview with former Australia Prime Minister Paul Keating offers some of the smartest commentary on the consequences of the global financial crisis. It is from February 2009 but it’s still relevant today. George Soros calls what Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and others built economically “a super bubble.” Keating calls it a “Super Boom” and says it has blown out. He said that there will be an entire restructuring of global power…

Clemons, Walt, Drezner & Rothkopf Respond to Paul Wolfowitz



(photo of Paul Wolfowitz and Steve Clemons at Australian Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Sydney — Kirribilli House, 16 August 2009. When taken, Paul Wolfowitz remarked, “I don’t know whose reputation will take more of a hit for this picture — yours or mine. . .” Paul Wolfowitz penned a provocative critique of foreign policy realism in this week’s Foreign Policy magazine. Four responses to Wolfowitz were posted online last night in a series called “Is Paul Wolfowitz for Real?”…

Guest Post by Patrick Doherty: Obama Should Recruit Richardson



Patrick Doherty directs the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative. This post originally appeared at The Havana Note. Governor Bill Richardson is visiting Cuba on a trade mission for his state this week. In an AP story filed yesterday, Richardson announced that he would report on his trip to President Barack Obama, but that he was not on a mission and carried no message from Washington. When Richardson reports, Obama should recruit. President Obama should offer this former U.S….

August 27th Roundup: A Birthday and Sarah Palin Flakes?



(Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner waiting for Steve to get home for the surprise birthday party) Good morning all. Today, we are 47. Well, I am actually. Today is not only my birthday but it also marks the 150th anniversary of the first commercial oil well in the world — in Titusville, Pennsylvania on August 27th, 1859. Global oil and energy guru Daniel Yergin shared that cocktail chatter about today’s date a few weeks ago with me. We also share this…

Mourning for Ted Kennedy



I just received word at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris that Senator Ted Kennedy has died at age 77. While his passing was increasingly expected, it doesn’t make the time and day of his death any less significant and sad. As John McCain said, Ted Kennedy was probably the United States Senate’s last lion — a powerhouse politician and sculptor of vital national policy designed to help those that our increasingly winner takes all system leaves behind. I’ve…

Reading the CIA IG Report



Many writers and thinkers have had late nights and early mornings in the past few days, owing to the release yesterday of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report. In particular, The Washington Independent’s Spencer Ackerman has given the report careful coverage on his blog and in the paper itself, while Andrew Sullivan’s blog has been a great source for aggregated insight from different bloggers and journalists. The Washington Post and the New York Times both also have important articles on…

The View from My Window: Pomerol’s Vineyards and More



My colleague Daniel Levy and I have spent the last couple of days in the Village of Pomerol in the Aquitaine region of France discussing next steps in our Middle East policy work. September and October are going to be big roll out months for all of those engaged in the Israel-Palestine/broader Middle East quagmire. We expect that somewhere about the 3rd week of September through the beginning of October, President Obama will put stakes in the ground on what…