Build, Build Despite the Occupation

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This is a guest note by Fadi Elsalameen, Executive Director of The Palestine Note, the website where this post originally appeared. Ramallah – For three years, Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister in the West Bank Palestinian Authority (PA), has been a focal point for Mideast debate. As an unelected official, he is reviled by Hamas and democracy activists alike for taking over the PA after the disillusion of the 2007 Palestinian unity government. He is also said to have alienated…

Ted Olson’s Remarkable Defense of Same Sex Marriage

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Although I have had the clip above for days in a queue, I am embarrassed that I am just seeing this powerful exchange now. It is simply remarkable to watch and hear former Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson make the clearest, strongest case for the full civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans — indeed, all Americans — that I have ever heard. Fox’s Chris Wallace tried hard to trip up Olson, and that’s his job — but he…

Jeffrey Goldberg Probes Israel’s Iran Strike Option: Is Netanyahu a “Bomber Boy”?

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In an important article titled “The Point of No Return” to be published in The Atlantic tomorrow, national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg recounts something many people didn’t realize at the time and still have a hard time believing. President George W. Bush knocked back Dick Cheney’s wing of the foreign policy establishment – both inside and out of his administration – that wanted to launch a bombing campaign against Iran. In a snippet I had not seen before, Bush mockingly referred…

Keeping Up on Renewable Energy

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Today’s New York Times features a dispatch from Portugal today, discussing the amazing growth as well as the pitfalls of Portugal’s rapid transition in building its renewable energy capacity. Nearly 45% of Portugal’s energy will come from renewable sources this year, outpacing many other countries, including the United States: Although a 2009 report by the agency called Portugal’s renewable energy transition a “remarkable success,” it added, “It is not fully clear that their costs, both financial and economic, as well…

Senator Obama vs. President Obama on Afghanistan

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The Huffington Post‘s Dan Froomkin has highlighted a powerful video montage by his colleague HuffPost video editor Ben Craw on comments made by then-Senator Obama on Iraq in 2007 & President Obama on US policy towards Afghanistan. There are many notable moments in this constellation of past commentary — but the heaviest zinger is when then Senator Obama, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about benchmarks for America’s increasing troop deployments…

Diplomatic Straight Talk on Pakistan, the Taliban, and Afghanistan?

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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. Double or Quits A soldier can do better than dying on the battlefield in pursuit of paradise — he can send his adversary to hell. That at least was once the unofficial American doctrine. Diplomats too occasionally dispatch each other…

What About Other Recipients of the ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize?

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Fareed Zakaria‘s dramatic rebuke of the Anti-Defamation League for opposing a mosque at the Ground Zero construction site replacing the 9-11 destroyed World Trade Center in New York raises obvious questions about who else has been honored by the ADL and how these recipients feel about the high profile controversy. As he explains in his commentary above, Zakaria is not just hitting ADL on the head but rather returning the Humphrey Medal and $10,000 prize as an effort to encourage…

Israel/Palestine and Iran: Linkage Should be Hard Wired by Obama Team

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Barack Obama is occasionally photographed carrying a weighty and important book around with him. One of those books — which he seemed to carry around for nearly a year (it is a very long book at 738 pages) — was Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by my New America Foundation colleague Steve Coll. Another book that Obama took very seriously and had his pic snapped…

New Resource Link on Palestinian State Building Efforts

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I just received an email from a leading public intellectual on US foreign policy who just returned from Israel and Palestine and reported that there were “construction cranes all over Ramallah.” The source commented that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is getting something right. According to the source, he’s building up the state even before there is a State. I worry that what goes up can be blown up either by those left out of the political equation inside the…