America’s Global Oil Problem



I’m happy to see Tom Lantos is holding a hearing this morning called “Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Oil Dependence.” Not only is this the right problem for the Foreign Affairs Committee to focus on – it’s the right angle to take, too (insofar as one can judge from the title of the hearing). Too often, the problem is cast as a “foreign dependence” problem, as if cutting ourselves off from the global energy market were possible or…

John Bolton on The Daily Show Tonight



One of Steve’s and my partners in crime on the Bolton campaign has informed us that former Ambassador Bolton will be on The Daily Show tonight at 11. Should be entertaining. Interesting to note: Bolton and Jon Stewart have an interesting point of agreement: they both think France doesn’t matter. Bolton has repeatedly faulted the Bush administration for channeling its entire foreign policy through the Security Council, which is code for overvaluing input from the Permanent 5 and the legitimacy…

Russian Media Freedom Going, Going, Gone



What exactly did President Bush see when he looked into President Putin’s eyes? I recall he got “a sense of his soul.” After my post last week about Kommersant’s reaction to the death of Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, a couple of my Russian friends e-mailed me to tell me they were concerned for my safety. I think I’m plenty safe writing critically about Putin from my Washington, D.C. office. But now I’m beginning to worry about my friends who wrote…

Looking In From the Outside…Again



Mark Lagon is one of the people in the International Organizations bureau at State who can play ball with high-level Bush appointees and still make the case for a strong U.S.-U.N. relationship. When John Bolton fought to vote against the Human Rights Council after his negotiating blunders, Lagon played a huge role keeping us engaged and supportive. So I have mixed feelings about seeing him promoted to direct the Department’s trafficking work. Lagon deserves it, no doubt about that, but…

Cap & Trade: No Time to Lose



There are a thousand reasons Nancy Pelosi might have decided not to push for a greenhouse gas cap & trade scheme by July 4, her timeline for global warming legislation. None of those reasons are compelling. I’ll be doing some fairly in-depth writing on climate change and energy policy on this site. Usually, I’ll be writing in greater depth about the links between our climate, energy, and foreign policy. Today I’m just venting. Yesterday, on the same day that Great…

Questions for Zal



I’ll be watching closely on Thursday morning as Zalmay Khalilzad runs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gauntlet. Acting Perm. Rep. Alex Wolff has been doing, by all accounts, a fantastic job at the U.S. Mission in New York on multiple fronts: winning support of other countries, working with the Secretariat, and controlling the John Bolton appointees within his ranks. It’s not easy work. But with all due respect to Alex Wolff, we need a confirmed Ambassador that all countries know…

Scott Paul on Hagel: What Could Have Been



I’m a big Chuck Hagel fan. His roll call votes rarely turn out the way I’d like since he’s been a party loyalist for most of his career, but he’s been an important voice for comity in the political process and multilateralism in foreign policy for a long time. The Republican Party and the country need him very badly. I want him to run for president or for re-election to his senate seat. Either in the senate or in presidential…

Kommersant vs. the Kremlin



Russian prosecutors believe journalist Ivan Safronov threw himself from a fifth story window to his death. Apparently we’re to believe that Safronov, who was about to publish a story detailing his investigation into Russian arms deals with Iran and Syria, suddenly decided to give up on life. Raise your hand if you buy that? News is now breaking that Russian justice officials told Safronov before his death that he would be prosecuted for disclosing classified information if he were to…

Introducing Myself



I’m honored that Steve has asked me to begin making regular contributions here at The Washington Note. Having worked with Steve on and off for about two years, I have developed a great deal of respect for him as a thinker, writer, convener, and all-purpose operative. And as a TWN reader, I’ve also gained a healthy respect for his boosters, critics, and fellow readers who take the time to comment on his posts. If my thoughts and reports can generate…