James Galbraith: Missing the Point about 2004

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When Steve Clemons first asked me to contribute to The Washington Note this week, my reaction was to decline, on the ground of fatigue following an intense few weeks — as many of you know, the memorial service for my father was held on May 31st. However I find the temptation to say a few words irresistible. Robert F. Kennedy jr. has created a stir with this story in Rolling Stone. Kennedy presents a useful survey of the many abusive…

Jeremy Kahn: Time to Accept Defeat in Somalia

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I am glad to see that the Bush administration, having backed the losing side in fighting between Somalia’s Islamic militias and secular warlords, has — according to a story by Karen DeYoung in today’s Washington Post — chosen to offer an olive branch to the Islamic factions that seized control of Mogadishu yesterday. The U.S. is understandably concerned about an Al Qaeda cell that they believe may be operating out of Somalia. But U.S. interests in checking Al Qaeda may…

Ron Stoltz: Building Higher Walls

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My thanks to Steve for the chance to guest blog. Reaching back to early March, I was struck by a NY Times piece by David Brooks entitled “It’s Not Isolationism, but It’s Not Attractive” on March 5, 2006. His thesis was that the US is not isolationist, but the Arab/Muslim world has set itself aside as the exception in today’s world. Exceptionalism aside, Brooks used the phrase “crescent menace” (at least he didn’t capitalize it) to sweep all of the…

Chuck Pena: Iran Watch

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I’m a newbie to the blogosphere, but thanks to Steve for asking me to pinch hit on The Washington Note. I hope I can live up to his and his readers’ expectations. Both Washington and Tehran have used the term “positive” to describe a package of incentives — including an offer of some U.S. nuclear technology on top of European help in building light-water nuclear reactors — aimed at persuading the Iranians to halt their uranium enrichment program. While this…

Scott Paul: It’s Not (Just) About Iraq

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I’m grateful to Steve for inviting me back to The Note, and to repay his trust and friendship, I’m going to raise a disagreement with one of his other guests. Arianna Huffington suggested yesterday that calling for a troop removal from Iraq would nationalize the elections this fall for the Democrats. I don’t agree. A couple of disclaimers: first, I strongly believe that bipartisan solutions are, in the long-term, the only solutions to what is now a broken foreign policy….

Kevin Nealer: Iran: Process and Timing

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It’s too early to know for certain how deep the Bush Administration’s commitment to Iran diplomacy runs. But two ground truths have been made abundantly clear in conversations with US allies: (1) the military options are not attractive; and (2) there isn’t yet the sense of urgency that characterized the run up to the war in Iraq. What does the Iran timeline look like now? The Bush Administration has deliberately signaled a fairly relaxed expectation about how long it may…

Merrill Goozner: Changing the Topic

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Listening to the gay marriage debate on NPR amid the ongoing revelations about the mass murder at Haditha, I feel as if I’m listening to the late Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live ranting about something she misheard. When corrected, she would blithely reply, “never mind.” Since changing the subject seems to be the Republican strategy here in the nation’s capital, I will give it a try myself for readers of The Washington Note (though not my own blog, www.gooznews.com,…

Dave Meyer: What You May Have Missed

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Now that we’ve got the technical issues taken care of (sort of), I wanted to centraize in one place all the posts lost in the ether: Mohammad Mohamedou: The 1970s Redux — In Politics and at the Movies Bruce Schneier: Data Mining and Terrorism Arianna Huffington: What Haditha Means to Our Safety — and the 2006 Election Johanna Mendelson Forman: Al Gore Adam S. Posen: Putting Money on More of the Same from Economic Policy Robert Wright: Just Bolton Being…

Dave Meyer: Back in Business!

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After cleaning thousands of spam comments out of the system and upgrading Steve’s blogging software, things are back to near-normal here at TWN. We’ve made two changes to the comment system, hopefully temporary — we’ll find a more permanent solution when Steve’s back in town. First, no html in the comments. It’ll just be stripped out. You can still leave a link, but it won’t be clickable. Second, we’ve activated a captcha/security code. Captcha’s are absolutely terrible for accessibility purposes,…

Ted Widmer: A Forgotten Failure

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(June 5) On its final descent into Istanbul yesterday, my plane swooped low over the length of the Bosphorus, that narrow sluiceway between continents, before landing at Ataturk International Airport. It was a thrilling and weirdly modern way to enter this ancient city, retracing the invasion route which the Persians used to defeat the Scythians two millennia ago, and which the Turks used to dislodge the Byzantines in 1453, and which millions of tourists follow today. Invasion routes are not…