GOP Doing Some Smart Stuff



I just got this email from Republican House Whip Eric Cantor: Do You Have Time for a 30 Minute Strategy Call? Dear Steven, Will you join me for a 30 minute strategy call on Thursday, September 30th at 4:30 PM? My colleague in the GOP Young Guns program, Representative Kevin McCarthy, and I would like to discuss with you how we can work together over the next 35 days to take America back. We will be taking questions and suggestions…




The New York Times yesterday filed a report on India’s efforts to force communications companies that rely on encrypted or hard-to-track communications systems, like Blackberry and Skype, to make their technology accessible or risk being banned from the country. This new step is unsurprising given talk in the UAE last month of forcing compliance with surveillance efforts and the disclosure yesterday of plans in this country to require companies to be able to provide clear text of encrypted communications if…

State Department Must Stand Up for Itself More in Policy Debates



Many are lauding President Obama’s UN General Assembly speech highlighting America’s rededicated, slightly shifting course on which countries to focus development aid on — and which not. The US Global Leadership Coalition, which is having a mega conference this week on the focus of America’s international aid agenda, is loudly applauding President Obama and Hillary Clinton for their efforts. On top of this, the long awaited Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review should be released by the administration any day now…

Video: Salam Fayyad on Building Palestine



Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was compelling and showed real vision in this talk at the New America Foundation sponsored by the American Strategy Program and the Palestine Note. It’s worth the watch. Special thanks to James Fallows for standing in for me as chair of the event on short notice – and thanks to Amjad Atallah of the New America Foundation Middle East Task Force for managing questions and to Fadi Elsalameen of the Palestine Note for co-hosting…

LIVE STREAM at 2:00 pm TODAY: Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad at New America



The violent clashes currently underway in East Jerusalem, sparked by the shooting of a Palestinian man by a private guard protecting Israeli settlers, have once again demonstrated the volatility and hair-trigger tensions in Jerusalem and in the region that can explode at the slightest provocation. Yet even as riot police are dispersing Palestinians in the Old City, direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis continue, President Obama yesterday at the United Nations called for greater international efforts to create a true…

Thoughts Before China’s Moon Festival Tonight



A giant panda eats a special-made mooncake in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province on Sept. 21, 2010, one day ahead of China’s Mid-autumn festival this year. (courtesy of Xinhua; photo credit: Liu Dawei) While the Mandarins of Washington and Beijing square off over the yuan-dollar exchange rate, China’s trade in mooncake vouchers is at its peak today. Walking around Beijing this week, I have seen evidence that there are indeed mooncakes for sale and gifting everywhere. I’ve received…

Afghanistan Study Group Report Stirs Support and Debate in UK



Before I was able to speak to the themes of the Afghanistan Study Group report of which I was a part at a major foreign policy conference titled the 2010 Global Leadership Forum sponsored by the Royal United Services Institute and the Princeton Project on National Security in London this past week, former UK Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer gave a quick outline of the findings and key proposals — and said “this report tells us exactly…

Economics Quiz of the Day



My colleague Sherle Schwenninger occasionally prods our team with a provocative “quiz of the day”. I thought I’d share this interesting one. Gang: Which brilliant economist in early 2008 wrote the following? “Fiscal stimulus, to be maximally effective, must be clearly and credibly temporary–with no significant adverse impact on the deficit for more than a year or so after implementation. Otherwise it risks being counterproductive by raising the spectre of enlarged future deficits pushing up longer term interest rates and…