On Afghanistan, Obama Should Take Page Out of Eisenhower Book



Politico‘s Mike Allen has the attendance roster for President Obama’s big Afghan pow-wow today: At 3 p.m., the President will participate in a THREE-HOUR meeting with his national security team on Afghanistan in the Situation Room. . .Expected manifest for today, with those overseas participating through the secure video teleconference system (SVTS): Vice President Biden; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of…

Rapprochement, Not “Engagement + Threats” Must Be Tried With Iran



(Photo Credit: White House Photostream) While at home in Boston this past weekend, I found myself google-news-ing (is that a word yet?) Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett to get their take on the Obama administration’s recent moves with regard to Iran and last week’s revelations concerning the uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qum. I expected the Leveretts to offer an alternative to the familiar “carrots and sticks” policy – and I was not disappointed. In today’s…

Reflections on the German Elections



Sam Sherraden just returned from Berlin where he was on a study tour with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a think tank associated with Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP). The Free Democrats (FDP) and the Christian Democrats (CDU) put together enough votes in Sunday’s national election to form Germany’s next coalition government. Since 2005, Germany was awkwardly governed by a “grand coalition” of the somewhat directionless Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the CDU led by Angela Merkel. On Sunday, German voters…

Guest Post by Oliver Lough: Climate Change — Europe Needs Its Leading Lady Back



Oliver Lough is a research intern at the New America Foundation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, months of faintly superior-sounding European criticism of American intransigence on climate change has started to ruffle a few feathers. “It may be,” retorts an exasperated U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, “that some people on the other side of the pond don’t understand the system that well.” This is unfair. European politicians are well aware of the intricacies of the “system”, and it scares the…

Conversing with Jamie Galbraith on America’s “Private Debt” Problem



I just had a fascinating discussion with economist David Hale who thinks that the US economy may get a “dead cat bounce” in jobs created in 2010. Hale thinks this relatively optimistic scenario depends on the American consumer coming back to life. Recently, the New America Foundation hosted a national policy forum focused on America’s “private debt overhang.” On this link from the New American Contract blog, there are some good powerpoints from the various speakers that may be useful…

Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Another Side of Richard Bruce Cheney



Lawrence B. Wilkerson was chief of staff of the Department of State from 2001-2005 and served for 16 years as an aide to General Colin Powell. Many people today are focused on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s complicity in torture. That’s all well and good since, in effect, he has admitted to it on Fox TV and now we’ll see how the system works or doesn’t work to hold him accountable. It’s not torture that I want to discuss here,…

Black Yellow Win in Germany



German exit poll results are in. Looks like Germany may have its first out gay German Foreign Minister in Guido Westerwelle, who I think will do an excellent job in the role. Can’t wait until he meets Iran’s President Ahmadinejad in his official duties. The CDU and FDP will have 320 seats together in a Black Yellow coalition, and they may actually have 324 seats given the peculiarities of the German election system of adding seats to the Parliament because…

Today is the Day: Battle for the Bundestag



(photo courtesy of the Battle for the Bundestag 2009 Blog of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies) Voting started this morning in Germany, and polls will close at noon EST and 6:00 pm in Berlin. Georgetown’s Eric Langenbacher has been doing some of the most fun, often riveting blogging at the German Elections Blog of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. There may be other good blogs out there covering — but I’ll leave those to commenters to…