DAS Michael Corbin at New America for TPM Roundtable


Steve Clemons hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Corbin on Wednesday as part of a regular Talking Points Memo Policy Roundtable series at the New America Foundation for a fascinating off-the-record roundtable on Iraq and the future of the Middle East. As revolution and uncertainty continue to reshape the Middle East and north Africa, the static map of the region has transformed into an new dynamic reality. Many questions remain about America’s future role in the region, and especially…

Tsunami at Israel’s Edge



Behind the scenes, Fatah and Hamas have been working and talking for years about terms of reconciliation. But their efforts were stymied by both their own suspicions and demands of each other — but also by Omar Suleiman who was the anointed Egyptian peacemaker but who worked behind the scenes with the US to make sure that both sides never got to “yes” at the same time. Now, Egypt is out of the game of working on one hand to…

Leon Panetta to Pentagon; Petraeus to CIA



David Rothkopf wins the house pool. Leon Panetta will be the next SecDef. Months ago Rothkopf and I met to discuss who might succeed Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. We made an extensive list on which some of the names were former Senator Chuck Hagel, current Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy, CSIS President and Defense Policy Review Board Chairman John Hamre, and General Electric Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Leon Panetta was top of Rothkopf’s list…

Looking for Ichabod: The View from My Room



Last night and this morning, Pocantico Hills was covered in very thick fog — much like that which dominated the scenes in Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Didn’t see Ichabod Crane — but wouldn’t have been surprised. The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is just down the road — and there buried are Washington Irving, Samuel Gompers and even Andrew Carnegie. This photo was taken from my room in Kykuit, John D. Rockefeller’s home, now run as part of the Pocantico…

Responding to China’s Year of the Tiger



Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard met with her Japanese counterpart, Naoto Kan, in Tokyo last Thursday. In addition to expressing her heartfelt support for the Japanese people after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, Ms. Gillard pledged to move “forward a vision for bilateral security and defense co-operation” with Japan. Mr. Kan agreed. Today, Ms. Gillard is in Seoul meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Myung-bak. According to Tokyo sources, she will likely be seeking to establish regular defense…

The View from My Window



(Northern California coastline; photo: Steve Clemons; click image for a much larger version) I like this picture a lot; taken from my car driving South along Northern California coast a couple of weeks go. It was a nice day actually — but this pic offers the possibility of a constantly, simmering storm — which is very much how I think I’m organized. Perhaps you too. — Steve Clemons

Assad’s Syria Shaking



In a long, fascinating interview that Syria President Bashar al-Assad did with the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon in January, Assad spoke extensively about reform. He argued that he was a reformer — and also said that by the time that situations go to where Tunisia and Egypt were (when he wrote the piece), there was no pace of reform that could work to satisfy the situation. One wonders whether Assad would agree with that statement today — that it…

iTracking You & Me



Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy I was off at the movies last night seeing the quite good Water for Elephants when my iPhone text messages began buzzing, buzzing more, and then buzzing again. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Tons of friends, whom I didn’t know really watched the news, saw NBC Nightly News’ Pete Williams bit on iPhone tracking and concerns about privacy. Turns out that I was one of the folks standing on a…

An Oped Co-written by Obama & UAE Crown Prince Mohammed?



President Obama’s recently co-written oped, done with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, asserted Transatlantic concerns about affairs in Libya — and intentionally or not, proclaimed ownership of the conflict. Whether the Libya intervention succeeds or fails, the achievement will be because of the efficacy or impotence of the West more than a narrative of a well-organized, inspiring Opposition throwing off an unjust regime. This is not good. The US now has adopted a third nation…