Israel Kicks Down its own Democratic Hill?

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Part of the annual foreign policy ritual in Washington is that the US President, Vice President, and leading Members of Congress make major campaign and fundraising speeches, sign on to resolutions, and pledge unconditional support to Israel, often referring to it as “the only genuine democracy in the Middle East.”  But will it remain so?  The Israel Knesset just passed 47-38 a bill outlawing its citizens from supporting any anti-Israel boycotts. I have been to Israel and am always impressed…

Pakistan-US Relations: The Worst Co-Dependency

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Christopher Hitchens just pulled all the sticky veneer off of a cancerous Pakistan-US relationship — that has been going into the muck not just since we learned that Osama bin Laden was living somewhat pleasantly just down the street from Pakistan’s West Point but much before, particularly when A.Q. Khan — also living luxuriously and as a national hero in a well-buffed world called ‘house arrest’ — was out pushing highly sensitive nuclear bomb-making technology to leaders of the world’s…

Ahmed Wali Karzai Assassinated

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Watching on a long flight the other day the classic 1966 Sergio Leone spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly I couldn’t help but think that Afghanistan would make a great backdrop for a remake of the Clint Eastwood classic. I’m not sure whether Kandahar region ‘super governor’ Ahmed Wali Karzai would have been cast as “The Bad” or “The Ugly”, but the half brother of Afghanistan’s President — shot dead today by a family bodyguard — was…

Aix/Le Cercle des Economistes

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For the next couple of days, some of the world’s leading thinkers will be spending time in Aix-en-Provence wrestling through “The State of the World” organized by Le Cercle des Economistes.  I arrived late yesterday and have missed some of the headliners including Francis Fukuyama, now of Stanford and author of the recently published The Origins of Political Order: From Pre-Human Times to the French Revolution; former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine; and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov. But…

Two Surprising Gay Pick-ups

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West Point now has its first “openly gay” member on its Board of Visitors thanks to the appointment of former Army captain Sue Fulton, a founding Board Member of OutServe, by President Obama.  That checks off a federal military academy box in the New York — which as a state just made same sex marriage legal. But a second recent appointment at a major American university in a much less gay-tolerant climate just occurred in Virginia. Announced on July 1st,…

NATO is Doing the Bombing, But Qaddafi May Be Winning the War

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This is a guest note by Daniel R. DePetris, an MA Candidate at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where he studies security issues and Middle Eastern affairs. He is an associate editor of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis and blogs at the Atlantic Sentinel. Muammar al-Qaddafi may be down, but he is certainly not out. This is the perception that is currently floating in the minds of NATO leaders as the humanitarian intervention in Libya reaches its…

Too Much Democracy Inside the GOP Could Spell Danger?

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I recently had breakfast with FrumForum proprietor and smart issues strategist David Frum who said that if the GOP was really an oligarchy, then Mitt Romney would come out on top. If the party was a democracy, the someone else — anyone else — would get the Republican presidential nod because the rank-and-file viscerally disliked Romney. I think that Frum is correct — as I keep running into top tier, propertied Republicans who think Romney is the only choice and…

Annie, Oakley & Buddy

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(click image for larger version) A semi-occasional feature of The Washington Note, which is in process of moving to this new spot at The Atlantic is a snapshot now and then of three awesome pups. Meet Annie (on left) and her two brothers, Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner, and Buddy. More soon. — Steve Clemons can be followed on Twitter at @SCClemons

Duty, Honor, Country, a Big Tent & July 4th

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(photo credit: Gary Burke) “Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be,” General Douglas MacArthur said in August 1962. I’ve often thought about these words and whom we owe for our nationhood. Do we owe those who put their lives on the line by signing the Declaration of Independence? The many who joined military service in the various wars America has engaged in or had to…