Preparing for Direct Talks

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As the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in two years approach, it seems that enthusiasm and hope for a deal decrease again and again. Years of violence, failed talks, and now uneasy calm punctuated by continued settlement growth in the West Bank and confrontations spurred by this growth have led to an environment of grim, limited determination; it seems increasingly that both sides come to the table knowing what they must do, but unwilling, or unable, to actually do it. In…

US Strategic Opportunity in Pakistan Flooding Relief

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George Soros is working hard behind the scenes to help the Obama administration realize that a billion dollars spent now, carefully, and in a structure that could create a systemic improvement in Indus River water management helping India and Pakistan would be greatly welcomed by the currently besieged victims in Pakistan of historic-level flooding and help preempt a greater tilt towards instability in South Asia than already exists. I won’t go into the detail of the Soros plan as it…

Happy Birthday Ben!

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Today is Ben Katcher’s birthday, and Ben, well known to TWN readers as a contributing editor here, is preparing for a new life in Istanbul. Today is also the day that Mother Teresa said was her birthday as she was baptized on August 27th, though born on August 26th (100 years ago). Lyndon Baines Johnson was born today. So too one of my best friends in junior high school — both of us then sopranos in a funeral home boys…

Freeing Alan Gross: First Do No Harm

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Templo Beth-Shalom in Havana, Cuba (Photo credit: Anya Landau French) This post originally appeared at The Havana Note. An earlier version, “In Cuba, a Hostage of International Brinksmanship,” appeared in today’s Jewish Daily Forward, the online home of the weekly Forward. Arturo Lopez-Levy is a lecturer and doctoral candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies of the University of Denver. Mr. Lopez-Levy worked as analyst for the Cuban government between 1993 and 1994 when he resigned from his…

LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Beyond Arab Poll Results

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Dr. Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland has conducted a really fascinating poll of Arab public opinion, showing persistent support for a two-state solution while at the same time rising acceptance of an Iranian nuclear weapon, among other things. From 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm TODAY, the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force will host Dr. Telhami along with Task Force co-directors Daniel Levy and Amjad Atallah for a discussion of the poll’s findings, as well as possible implications…

Peace Talks May Generate New Obama-Netanyahu Showdown

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Despite the flurry of initial applause from groups ranging from AIPAC to J Street to the Israel Project to the American Task Force for Palestine that direct negotiations were resuming between Israel and Palestine, pessimism has been the order of the day since. As one senior White House official recently told me, this just gets us back to the previously messy status quo. One has to give credit to President Obama for not ducking this problem — which he probably…

Rightwing Dominance of our National Debate

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(The Overton Window) This is a guest post by Peter Daou who previously served as Internet Director for Hillary Clinton for President. Daou publishes the Daou Report. The Glaringly Simple Formula for Rightwing Dominance of our National Debate There is a simple formula for rightwing dominance of our national debate, even when Democrats are in charge: move the conversation as extreme right as possible, then compromise toward the far right. It’s negotiation 101. And it’s completely lost on Democrats. It’s…

Heads Up: Next Generation National Security Leaders

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This is a friendly public service announcement for young (between 25 and 32 years), policy-minded folks interested in national security affairs. The Center for a New American Security is holding its second annual competition for fellows in its Next General National Security Leaders Program. John Nagl, one of General David Petraeus’ star proteges, and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee (under Jesse Helms) and National Security Council (under G.W. Bush) senior staff member Steve Biegun head up the program — which…