Thoughts on Law & an Anarchic Century

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Reading Vaclav Havel’s “To The Castle and Back” yesterday, I got wildly distracted, and found myself YouTubing my DC power/intellect crush: the luminous Samantha Power. Havel’s book is a tremendous read — scattered and tangential, but fascinating nonetheless. It feels as if one sat down at the playwright’s cluttered desk in 2003, and was privileged to rifle through memos and diary entries and jotted ‘notes to self,’ scattered recklessly about. The line from the memoir that brought me to Power,…

The Other Track

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I’ve been pouring through the archives at King’s College, London, preparing for several interviews that I have coming down the pike. Israeli journalist and professor Ahron Bregman houses his papers in the Liddell Hart library, and included in the records are transcripts of interviews filmed for the BBC’s Elusive Peace — It’s the proverbial cutting room floor. And, as one would imagine, there’s some fascinating material that didn’t make the screen. A pair of anecdotes from Shepherdstown, 2000: Martin Indyk…

EU Emergency Summit

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BRUSSELS: While stomping around through Europe on various endeavors, I coincidentally found myself in Belgium today amid an economic summit. I’ve squirreled my way into the working press center — the top floor, too (this thing goes down an additional two stories) — to find roughly as much press attention as the US presidential campaign drew. Nothing substantial is projected to come out of today’s lunch/ press junket. The story appears to be the human narrative beneath the bleak economic…

Ways of War

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Mousa Abu Marzook, a senior member of Hamas exiled in Damascus, has another opinion piece out, this one, naturally, regarding the Israeli incursion into Gaza. The most poignant line reads: “But now, amid Israel’s latest attack on our people, as the death toll rises in the hundreds, with thousands wounded — all victims of American taxpayers’ largesse — Palestinians wonder how Obama will react to the escalating crisis. They demand of the next White House a new paradigm of respect…

Elections 2.0 — Votes for Senate Seats? Wild.

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Just after the election, the realization of Governor Palin’s privilege to fulfill Senate vacancies drew gasps from liberal circles. The scenario that played out in the left’s collective fear involved Sarah Palin, who had been banished back to Juneau after losing, appointing herself to Ted Stevens’ seat, should the convicted felon win reelection. The thought was that the Senate Ethics Committee would likely refuse Stevens, thus opening the seat to Palin’s discretion. Mr. Smith — err Mrs. Palin — sends…

The Oil Floor

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With oil now below $45 a barrel, and Merrill Lynch projecting that it’ll drop to $25 in the next year, I think it’s worth glancing around at those economies that’ll be ravaged if these trend lines continue. Early in the recent oil spike, the World Bank lauded producer states for taking wiser steps with profits than they had amidst past booms. Namely, using profits to bolster basic macro-economic tenets, like reducing debt and growing other spheres of the economy. But…

Six Year Presidential Term Sails Through Kremlin Lower House

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Some might recall that Hillary Clinton, who good money suggests will officialy secure the position atop the State Department soon, once remarked that Putin ‘doesn’t have a soul.’ This bridge will will require some maintenance work in early 2009. Though the lack of an offical title has not constrained Putin’s control, as early as next year Putin could formally have the reigns of ‘mother Russia’ once again. It would only require that his successor, Dimitry Medvedev, step aside, thus moving…

Bizarre Media Cycles for Bashar

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Bashar al-Assad’s regime finds itself dealing with an interesting mix of press in the lame duck days. Today’s papers report re-established intelligence ties between British and Syrian agencies; they come as British FM David Miliband makes a landmark visit to Damascus, in which he met with President Assad. The meeting of the pair — as opposed to Miliband only meeting with his counterpart Walid Muallim — speaks volumes to Syria’s interest in re-establishing ties on a grand scale. And in…

Jack Sparrow’s Revenge

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I’ve been tossing around an idea here at the New America Foundation for a couple weeks, much to the entertainment of my coworkers. I think it’s worthy of consideration, though: the resurgence of pirates. This is not, for the record, simply a Halloween post in disguise, though I am considering Sparrow like attire for the weekend. The LA Times has a piece this morning with an excellent lead: “Straddling a wooden crate filled with $1 million in cash ransom, a…

Late Night & Early Morning Thoughts From St. Louis

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Spin room chatter last night was rather predictable. Susan Rice assailed Sarah Palin for citing the wrong commander in Afghanistan; Rudy Giuliani, pressed on whether he could feel safe at night in a Palin-led America, suggested it was the best debate performance he’d ever seen; and Lindsay Graham, when asked whether Sarah Palin was smart enough to be President, launched into a tirade about the intelligence required to bring prosperity to Alaska. What received little attention, however, was Joe Biden’s…