L’Enfant’s Genius in Planning DC Greater Than You Thought

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(A digital rendering of the U.S. Capitol as it would have looked in 1814; credit: Scott Berg) Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s genius in planning Washington, DC becomes even more dramatic when reading and looking through this material presented in an interactive presentation in the Washington Post Magazine by George Mason University’s Scott Berg. Be sure to watch the animated treatment of the building of Washington, DC midway down the article. — Steve Clemons

IOWA May be Pearl in Eye of China’s Next Emperor

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China’s Vice President Xi Jinping is widely seen in Beijing power circles as Hu Jintao’s likely successor as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President of the People’s Republic of China. There is an increasing amount of reporting about him as his ascendancy becomes more clear, but one of the interesting tidbits I have learned in the last few days is that Xi really loves Iowa. Of those politicians I have met here who know Vice President…

Newt Gingrich’s Big Speech & the GOP’s Foreign Policy Civil War

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Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Brian Katulis has given Politico an essay on the foreign policy divide in the GOP that I would have loved to run here at The Washington Note. His oped captures well the brewing tension inside Republican circles between those who on one hand want to put forward a constructive, national-interest driven strategy that has at its core a patriotic commitment to reinventing American power and those on the other who engage in blustery, pugnacious…

LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Public Opinion in Pakistan

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As it becomes increasingly clear that Pakistan will likely play an important role in any negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, it is important to understand Pakistan’s motivations and strategy in South Asia. But in order to understand Pakistan’s government, we must also understand how average Pakistani’s view their country, it’s policies, its neighbors, and more. Please join the New America Foundation and the Pew Research Center for the release of Pew’s new polling on Pakistani public opinions on issues of militancy,…

More on Asia and Dogs: Ikenberry Enters the Fray

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(photo of Jackson Ikenberry next to Hachiko at Shibuya Station, Japan; photo credit: G. John Ikenberry) Sorry folks. This may be a bit inside for some of you — but I have this sort of weird, psycho connection with G. John Ikenberry, a professor of international relations at Princeton University. Ikenberry is a policy intellectual I always have time for — even though he ‘wrongly’ thinks that the problem the world is facing is an America that is so vastly…

Brian Lehrer Show: WikiLeaks and the War Logs

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I was pleased with how this discussion came out on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show in which we discussed the secret military field reports recently made public by Wikileaks. Also on the program was New York Times chief Pakistan correspondent, Jane Perlez. A side note about the line I used. I did the entire interview on Skype. Yep, I did. It’s sort of sad when it’s tough to get a Skype line that clear in DC or New York —…

Dogs in China: More on Leashes, Less on the Menu

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(Two boys and a pup in a tub being pulled to safey in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, China; photo credit: Li Jinxiong, China Daily) The real story behind the picture above is that there have been devastating floods in several of China’s provinces — including Zhejiang Province and Henan Province. An aside though to this more troubling story of environmental pressures in China is the growing prevalence of dogs as pets — as opposed to dogs for food. Unlike the…

Former ISI Director General Shares Handicaps on Winners & Losers from WikiLeaks War Diary

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This is a guest note by General Asad Durrani, who previously served as the head of Pakistan’s ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence. Durrani later served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a side note, current Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Kayani was a student of Durrani‘s. The WikiLeaks “Coup” There is general consensus that these “tens of thousands of classified documents” procured by the Wikileaks are mostly raw battlefield…

Turkey and the Iranian Nuclear Issue

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(Photo Credit: State Department) This post also appears at The Race for Iran. Iranian Petroleum Minister Masoud Mirkazemi’s visit to Turkey last week highlighted Turkey’s multifarious equities vis-a-vis Iran. A new article by Kadir Ustun, “Turkey’s Iran Policy: Between Diplomacy and Sanctions” in the current issue of Insight Turkey offers a Turkish perspective on Ankara’s relations with Tehran in the context of the nuclear issue and relations with the United States. Several conclusions can be drawn from the piece. First,…