Coffee in Vienna

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smallcoffeesm.jpg
I hear that Leon Trotsky used to hang out at the Cafe Central in Vienna.
I will be arriving Wednesday morning in Vienna and departing Friday to participate in a conference on “The Role of Think Tanks in the Political Process of the EU and the US” sponsored by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation.
I don’t have a firm place or time yet, but I would be happy to join political junkies and blog-types on Wednesday afternoon or sometime Thursday.
One friend has recommended either Cafe Central, Cafe Landtmann, or the American Research Center — which has offered to provide the coffee. If you have recommendations and are in Vienna. Let me know.
I will need to meet somewhere convenient to the Hotel am Stephansplatz.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “Coffee in Vienna

  1. Ts Seduction says:

    thewashingtonnote is the best page!

    Reply

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  5. Carroll says:

    Here’s another “think tanker”…I think Newt is now in either the Heritage or the AEI pimp stable.
    America Must Rexamine Freedom of Speech
    “A former Republican speaker of the house mulling a possible presidential run has said that America may need to reexamine freedom of speech in order to prevent future terrorist attacks.
    According to a New England newspaper, Newt Gingrich “spoke to about 400 state and local power brokers last night at the annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, which fetes people and organizations that stand up for freedom of speech.”
    Gingrich said that a “different set of rules” should be considered to reduce the ability of terrorists to use the Internet and abuse free speech to get out their message.
    “We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,” Gingrich said.
    Gingrich also said that he would make a decision whether or not to run for president by September of 2007.
    FULL UNION LEADER ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK

    Reply

  6. neil says:

    Neil Maydom
    The lies about America’s Mock withdrawal from The Iraq Mock war grind inexorably on…
    Anyone watching MSNBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday 26th November would quickly have concluded that the serious lying about Iraq has only just begun. Tim Russert assembled a gaggle of American closet Zionists, namely:
    – Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman and Incoming Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee – Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Ranking Member and Incoming Chairman, Armed Services Committee – Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.), Fmr. Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command, NBC Military Analyst and – Gen. Wayne Downing (Ret.), Fmr. C-i-C, U.S. Special Operations Command. NBC Military Analyst – to set the stage for the penultimate round of lies about Iraq.
    All four were unanimous about the ‘fact’ that the US-engineered sectarian violence in Iraq, a direct result of Rumsfeld’s Pentagon implementing an Iraqi version of the EL Salvador option in January ’05, is entirely the fault of the Iraqis. (For those unfamiliar with the El Salvador, or Salvador Option, it is the hiring of mercenaries as kidnappers and assassins to murder activists in major local factions of an insurgency to trick them into fighting each other instead of the occupier. (The British were masters of this art in the Wild Colonial Days.) Newsweek broke this story circa Jan 08, 2005 and much has been written about it since the article first appeared.
    The big lies now being promoted about Iraq are
    1. A ‘dignified’ US exit from Iraq is possible and desirable.
    2. America must train Iraqi armed forces to put down the anti-occupation insurgency. This latter transparent lie is particularly egregious because it presumes that if America leaves Iraq, the anti-occupation resistance will continue. In fact, what will happen is that if the Americans left, Iraqis would quickly sort out the agents provocateur responsible for sparking the sectarian violence, execute them, disband the resistance, and get on with rebuilding their country, free of interference from an American foreign policy hijacked by the pro-Israel Lobby, AIPAC and the American Defamation League (whose job it is to defame critics of Israel’s insanity).
    Anyone waiting for the criminally insane liars in charge of the Iraq Mock War, and the Mainstream Media, to start looking for, or telling, the truth would be well advised not to hold their breath. Israel wanted Iraq destroyed and America will stay until The Job is Done. In this case The Job will be an early scaling down of US forces to 70,000 (give or take 20%), followed with indecent haste by a ‘palace coup’ and the installation of a pro-American replacement dictator for Saddam, probably Allawi and probably before June, ’07. This will then be sold to a gullible Western public as the ‘unavoidable’ alternative to a ‘dignified exit’ (with 50,000 to 80,000 troops remaining to guard what used to be Iraq’s oil.

    Reply

  7. ramadi says:

    US forces fired tank rounds into a home in the restive Iraqi city of Ramadi overnight during a clash with insurgent gunmen and killed five young girls, a US military statement said.
    Two insurgents opened fire from the roof of a house on a US patrol disarming a roadside bomb, prompting the soldiers to reply with tank fire, the statement said.
    Following the pre-dawn barrage, US troops carried out “an extensive search of the house and found one male and five females, ages ranging from infant to teenaged, dead”, it said

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    another thread way, way off topic.

    Reply

  9. Easy E says:

    Why would it take congress holding hearings to sue Bush for fraud? Goverment fraud should come under federal crimes.
    Posted by: Carroll at November 28, 2006 01:54 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Agreed. Federal charges need to be pursued against the entire neocriminal cabal starting with Bush/Cheney – – – and including the enablers such as Mortimer Zuckerman, etc.
    See following for more.
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=142875

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Speaking of “thinkers”.
    I had my treat for the day watching Mort Zuckerman, uber zionist and uber war hawk..turn blue with rage at the thought of the US talking to Iran or any other ME country. No kidding, he was so mad his lips turned blue.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by Easy E at November 28, 2006 01:42 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Why would it take congress holding hearings to sue Bush for fraud? Goverment fraud should come under federal crimes.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Posted by Alan at November 28, 2006 11:19 AM
    >>>>>>>>>
    If you want to see one of the most insane products of think tanks…go over to Cato and read their flat tax plan. Read all the details.
    They were kind enough though to let people finance the 17% sales tax on their home in a seperate bank mortage.
    And renters can pay their 17% renter tax in their rent check.
    And they can pay their 17% “service” tax on doctor visits and accountants on the same bill.
    And the lenders will let you pay the 17% sales tax on a car purchase in your regular car payment.
    And if you sell your used car they will trust you to add the 17% sales tax to the buyer and then report it and turn it over to them.
    The truely most amazing thing about think tanks is their assumption that the public is totally stupid and will fall for anything.
    And the scariest thing is the politicans who go along with the think tanks also think we are stupid.
    And since the public has never summoned the balls to go to DC and drag them out of their offices and string them up on lampost, they keep doing it.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Some think tanks will be influenced by the fact that their funding comes from very conservative sources, but they will be offset by those whose funding comes from centrist and progressive sources.”
    Posted by JohnStuart at November 28, 2006 11:07 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    What you said above.
    Not all think thanks are bad, as I have said. I think you can tell which ones have an agenda that isn’t necessarily in the interest of the whole American public. The NAF doesn’t seem to have any agenda for any special group so I consider it more of a “true” think tank than others….BUT…do you notice that congress listens 90% of the time to the AEI’s and Heritage? The ones with big agenda money whose friends give big money to politicans?
    If you watched the hearing on lobbying earlier this year you saw one loney guy from Public Citizen and Three Lobbist giving their opinions to the congress.
    And you noticed congress nodded it’s head in agreement with the lobbist that yes indeed, all they needed was better record keeping on their tips, gifts,bribes, whatever.
    I think the idea to center think tanks in Universities is a good one. There are plenty of experts there in foreign countries/affairs, public heath, economics,law, ethics and etc.

    Reply

  14. Alan says:

    Thinks Tanks have been the source of a lot of our problems. Look at who funds them, who inhabits them, and how they have all the time in the world to swan around and engage in mutually self-satisfying and self-reinforcing encounters : you get the picture. This is an elite which never seems to hold itself accountable for the stuff its purvey. One has only to look at the cast of think tank characters who misled us on Iraq and have not yet taken any responsibility to know that their main pre-occupation is to attend conferences, seminars and other gatherings at exotic destinations – Bellagio, Aspen etc at which the their task is to prpetuate themselves and their works. The billionaires who funds them apear to want respectability. I don’t know how many folks really read and absorb their papers, reports, etc.
    I have yet to see one of these tanks produce something worthwhile on how we get out of the mess in Iraq given that some of them made every effort to get us there.

    Reply

  15. JohnStuart says:

    For all of you who abhor Think Tanks, I would urge you to reflect for a moment on the question of where- if not in Think Tanks – complex policy ideas should be considered.
    Consider health insurance policy. The overhaul of US health insurance policy could be assigned to:
    • a team assembled by the First Lady (we tried that)
    • congressional staff (we’ve tried that)
    • the insurance industry
    • the pharmaceutical industry
    • The American Medical Association
    • the common sense of our legislators (it might be a tad complex for that)
    • a Federal Contractor (would you really be comfortable with that?)
    • an unstructured competition amongst (say) a dozen independent analytical organizations of varying political persuasions and varying competencies (economics, public health, etc). (This is the Think Tank option).
    In real life the job will be done by all of these along with independent individuals, universities, but much of the sifting and sorting that permits competing ideas to be tested, analyzed and compared will be done by think thanks.
    You may like the ideas that flow from a progressive think tank more than you like the ideas that flow from the health team at the American Enterprise Institute.
    You may think that the health policy team at Steve Clemons’ think tank (the New America Foundation) is more sensitive to some of your concerns than the 1000 page tome that Brookings produces accompanied by the inevitable 500 pages of quantitative addenda.
    But at the end of the day, the political discussions and public discussions about the real choices which Congress and the Executive Branch are foing to make should be better informed as a result of the open competition amongst Brookings, AEI, NAF, Johns Hopkins University et al.
    You may find reason to argue with any particular think tank, but there are many public policy issues that would go unanalyzed (or under-analyzed) if think tanks did not exist.
    Yes, some think tanks succumb to the preferences of the administration-of-the-day in Washington, but they will always have competitors who do not.
    Some think tanks will be influenced by the fact that their funding comes from very conservative sources, but they will be offset by those whose funding comes from centrist and progressive sources.
    Some think tanks will produce bad ideas. Some will produce a re-distillation of the conventional wisdom. Some will produce truly new insights and recommendations.
    But as citizens, your ability to consider and debate complex public policy subject — like health reform — is enriched by the aggregate output of think tanks.
    Your gut may tell you that you would like to see “the Canadian Model” of health care installed in the US. But you are in a better position to think about that preference if Brookings and AEI have each spent a year looking at what it would cost to install the “Canadian Model” in the US and what the institutional, economic, political and distributional consequences might be.
    Steve Clemons would not have a salary and an office allowing him to work on TWN if it were not for the New America Foundation.
    Tony Cordesman would not have an office and a platform for critically dissecting every aspect of our military policy in Iraq if it were not for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
    Spend your energies arguing with specific ideas that come from specific think tanks, but don’t simply dismiss them.
    JohnStuart

    Reply

  16. JohnStuart says:

    For all of you who abhor Think Tanks, I would urge you to reflect for a moment on the question of where- if not in Think Tanks – complex policy ideas should be considered.
    Consider health insurance policy. The overhaul of US health insurance policy could be assigned to:
    • a team assembled by the First Lady (we tried that)
    • congressional staff (we’ve tried that)
    • the insurance industry
    • the pharmaceutical industry
    • The American Medical Association
    • the common sense of our legislators (it might be a tad complex for that)
    • a Federal Contractor (would you really be comfortable with that?)
    • an unstructured competition amongst (say) a dozen independent analytical organizations of varying political persuasions and varying competencies (economics, public health, etc). (This is the Think Tank option).
    In real life the job will be done by all of these along with independent individuals, universities, but much of the sifting and sorting that permits competing ideas to be tested, analyzed and compared will be done by think thanks.
    You may like the ideas that flow from a progressive think tank more than you like the ideas that flow from the health team at the American Enterprise Institute.
    You may think that the health policy team at Steve Clemons’ think tank (the New America Foundation) is more sensitive to some of your concerns than the 1000 page tome that Brookings produces accompanied by the inevitable 500 pages of quantitative addenda.
    But at the end of the day, the political discussions and public discussions about the real choices which Congress and the Executive Branch are foing to make should be better informed as a result of the open competition amongst Brookings, AEI, NAF, Johns Hopkins University et al.
    You may find reason to argue with any particular think tank, but there are many public policy issues that would go unanalyzed (or under-analyzed) if think tanks did not exist.
    Yes, some think tanks succumb to the preferences of the administration-of-the-day in Washington, but they will always have competitors who do not.
    Some think tanks will be influenced by the fact that their funding comes from very conservative sources, but they will be offset by those whose funding comes from centrist and progressive sources.
    Some think tanks will produce bad ideas. Some will produce a re-distillation of the conventional wisdom. Some will produce truly new insights and recommendations.
    But as citizens, your ability to consider and debate complex public policy subject — like health reform — is enriched by the aggregate output of think tanks.
    Your gut may tell you that you would like to see “the Canadian Model” of health care installed in the US. But you are in a better position to think about that preference if Brookings and AEI have each spent a year looking at what it would cost to install the “Canadian Model” in the US and what the institutional, economic, political and distributional consequences might be.
    Steve Clemons would not have a salary and an office allowing him to work on TWN if it were not for the New America Foundation.
    Tony Cordesman would not have an office and a platform for critically dissecting every aspect of our military policy in Iraq if it were not for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
    Spend your energies arguing with specific ideas that come from specific think tanks, but don’t simply dismiss them.
    JohnStuart

    Reply

  17. Mickey says:

    In the theories about group psychology, groups tend to condense around finding a shared enemy. In fact, the whole role of the group leader in therapy groups is to keep that from happening. Once the group becomes bonded in finding an enemy, it’s no longer a working group, it’s a gang. Examples: AEI, PNAC, OSP, WHIG. Group-think is dangerous stuff [neocons], Klan, etc.]. See Winfred Bion, the British Group Theorist.

    Reply

  18. Easy E says:

    More think tank fodder…………..
    ***U.S. v. BUSH, et al***
    By William Fisher
    The scene is a Federal Grand Jury room. There, impaneled ordinary citizens listen intently as a veteran Federal prosecutor asks them to return an indictment unique in American history.
    The charge is Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. And the defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
    On the first day of Grand Jury proceedings, the Prosecutor addresses the jurors.
    “Please remember that you must decide the case based solely on the evidence that’s presented and applicable law, without regard to prejudice or sympathy. In other words, your politics, and any personal feelings you may have toward the defendants – positive or negative – should have no bearing on your deliberations.”
    The prosecutor then passes out the indictment, reminding jurors, “don’t forget your reading glasses…”
    The indictment charges that the defendants “did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress’ lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations.”
    Over the next seven days, the grand jurors evaluate a 64-point case presented by the Federal Prosecutor. They hear compelling supporting testimony from three FBI agents. They battle their way through thousands of pages of documentation supporting the alleged crime.
    Of course, none of this actually happened – nor is it likely to happen. Rather, it is the scenario of a new book about a hypothetical case, presented to a hypothetical Grand Jury, with hypothetical witnesses.
    Only the prosecutor is real. She is Elizabeth de la Vega, a retired government lawyer with more than 20 years of experience. She served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis, and a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Branch Chief in San Jose, California.
    Her book is titled, simply, U.S. v. George W. Bush et al. It will be published in December by Seven Stories Press. Amazon.com is currently taking orders for the book.
    Why did Ms. de la Vega write this book? She says, “The President will not be held accountable for misrepresenting the prewar intelligence unless and until Congress conducts hearings similar to the Watergate hearings. As yet, however, we seem painfully incapable of reaching that point.”
    She adds, “Although the evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming, the facts are so complicated that it’s impossible to have a productive debate about them in the political sphere. One forum where that’s not true is the courtroom.”
    Does she believe that her book will lead to making her hypothetical case real? She writes, “Consider this my 911 call. I’m calling on Democrats and Republicans to do the right thing…and convince Congress to do the right thing. I am not talking about bringing people to justice in the vengeful sense that President Bush employs. I am talking about effecting justice…holding out highest government officials accountable for…a criminal betrayal of trust that is strikingly similar to, yet far worse, than the fraud committed by Enron’s top officials.”
    She told us, “Many of the victims of the President’s fraud – millions of Iraqis – have no voice in the United States, but the millions of Americans who were deceived by the President’s fraud do have a voice. We should use it, loudly and repeatedly, to pressure Congress into holding the President, the Vice President and their top-level aides accountable for tricking the nation into war.”
    The indictment takes jurors from the prewar period and the “regime change” influence of the neoconservative group, Project for the New American Century, to the attacks of 9/11, to the formation of the shadowy Iraq Group inside the White House, to the preparation of war plans beginning in September 2001, to the distortion of intelligence information regarding Iraq’s WMD capabilities and programs, to President Bush’s strategy sessions with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to actions designed to end the United Nations inspections, to the abandonment of multilateral diplomacy, to Colin Powell’s deeply flawed presentation to the UN Security Council, to Congressional authorization of the use of force.
    It sets out 19 “Overt Acts” allegedly committed by the defendants to “market” the need for preemptive invasion – based largely on their public statements via the media in which, among other things, Administration officials professed absolute certainty about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, use of aluminum tubes to process uranium, to the warnings from then-National Security Advisor Rice and Vice President Cheney that the smoking gun could be “in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
    Some of Ms. de la Vega’s readers may be disappointed that we never learn about the decision of the Grand Jury. But that’s one of the points of the book – it’s the reader who is sitting on the jury.
    This slender book is a fascinating, suspenseful, fact-based read. It is a volume that should be read by all those who seek truth and clarity – especially those who returned to Congress after November 7.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Posted by Easy E at November 27, 2006 10:29 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    Oh, that would be so sweet…to have Baker knife Cheney in the back….

    Reply

  20. p.lukasiak says:

    steve…
    I guess the only real point of your meeting is to figure out if “think tanks” are as loathed (for good reason) in Europe as they are in the USA.
    I agree with the folks who say “kill the think tanks”–at least the “independent” ones. Lets go back to the days when we got our ideas out of Universities and their “policy centers”.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Posted by Easy E at November 27, 2006 11:06 PM
    >>>>>>>
    That’s an interesting map to say the least. But I don’t see how redrawing the ME now will work any better than it did when the British diced it up.

    Reply

  22. Easy E says:

    Apologies for wrong link in preceding post.
    Article can be found at
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NAZ20061116&articleId=3882

    Reply

  23. Easy E says:

    PLANS FOR REDRAWING THE MIDDLE EAST: THE PROJECT FOR A “NEW MIDDLE EAST”
    by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
    Global Research, November 18, 2006
    “Hegemony is as old as Mankind…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor
    The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”
    This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.
    This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.
    The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East……….[to read further, click to http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NAZ20061116&articleId=3882%5D…..Even more ominous, many Middle Eastern governments, such as that of Saudi Arabia, are assisting Washington in fomenting divisions between Middle Eastern populations. The ultimate objective is to weaken the resistance movement against foreign occupation through a “divide and conquer strategy” which serves Anglo-American and Israeli interests in the broader region.
    To see Map of “The New Middle East”, click to http://www.globalresearch.ca/images/harita_b.jpeg

    Reply

  24. Easy E says:

    Rumsfeld just the beginning, Cheney next?
    http://www.cq.com/public/crawford.html
    Hmmm. Lots of horse-trading going on in those think tanks.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    So much for the think tanks….I said before disband most of them, but maybe they need to be drown…by waterboarding for several days.
    “Woodward describes a report commissioned by Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy secretary of defense, intended to produce “the kinds of ideas and strategy needed to deal with a crisis of the magnitude of 9/11.” After the attacks, Wolfowitz talked to his friend Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who gathered together a group of intellectuals and academics for a series of discussions that came to be known as “Bletchley II” (after the World War II think tank of mathematicians and cryptographers set up at Bletchley Park).
    Out of these discussions, Woodward tells us, DeMuth drafted an influential report, entitled “Delta of Terrorism,” which concluded, in the author’s paraphrase, that “the United States was in for a two-generation battle with radical Islam”:
    “‘The general analysis was that Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers came from, were the key, but the problems there are intractable. Iran is more important, where they were confident and successful in setting up a radical government.’ But Iran was similarly difficult to envision dealing with, he said.
    “But Saddam Hussein was different, weaker, more vulnerable. DeMuth said they had concluded that ‘Baathism is an Arab form of fascism transplanted to Iraq’…
    “‘We concluded that a confrontation with Saddam was inevitable. He was a gathering threat – the most menacing, active and unavoidable threat. We agreed that Saddam would have to leave the scene before the problem would be addressed.’ That was the only way to transform the region.
    “Behind the notion that an American intervention will make of Iraq ‘the first Arab democracy,’ as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz put it, lies a project of great ambition. It envisions a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq – secular, middle-class, urbanized, rich with oil – that will replace the autocracy of Saudi Arabia as the key American ally in the Persian Gulf, allowing the withdrawal of United States troops from the kingdom. The presence of a victorious American Army in Iraq would then serve as a powerful boost to moderate elements in neighboring Iran, hastening that critical country’s evolution away from the mullahs and toward a more moderate course. Such an evolution in Tehran would lead to a withdrawal of Iranian support for Hezbollah and other radical groups, thereby isolating Syria and reducing pressure on Israel.
    “This undercutting of radicals on Israel’s northern borders and within the West Bank and Gaza would spell the definitive end of Yasir Arafat and lead eventually to a favorable solution of the Arab-Israeli problem.
    This is a vision of great sweep and imagination: comprehensive, prophetic, evangelical. In its ambitions, it is wholly foreign to the modesty of containment, the ideology of a status-quo power that lay at the heart of American strategy for half a century. It means to remake the world, to offer to a political threat a political answer.
    It represented as well a breathtaking gamble, for if the victory in Iraq was to achieve what was expected – which is to say, “humiliate” the forces of radical Islam and reestablish American prestige and credibility; serve as a “demonstration model” to ward off attacks from any rogue state that might threaten the United States, either directly or by supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists; and transform the Middle East by sending a “democratic tsunami” cascading from Tehran to Gaza – if the Iraq war was to achieve this, victory must be rapid, decisive, overwhelming. Only Donald Rumsfeld’s transformed military – a light, quick, lean force dependent on overwhelming firepower directed precisely by high technology and with very few “boots on the ground” – could make this happen, or so he and his planners thought. Victory would be quick and awe-inspiring; in a few months the Americans, all but a handful of them, would be gone: only the effect of the “demonstration model,” and the cascading consequences in the neighboring states, would remain. The use of devastating military power would begin the process but once begun the transformation would roll forward, carried out by forces of the same thrilling “democratic revolution” that had erupted on the streets of Prague and Budapest and East Berlin more than a decade before, and indeed on the streets of Kabul the previous year. Here was an evangelical vision of geopolitical redemption.”

    Reply

  26. Easy E says:

    ANOTHER GLOBAL EMBARASSMENT
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/475052p-399492c.html
    Time for a beverage and call it an evening.

    Reply

  27. Easy E says:

    Think Tank summaries from SourceWatch
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Think_Tank
    and Wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Tank
    Having read this information, it’s no surprise we’re at war. The Military Industrial Complex and War Profiteers continue to prevail.

    Reply

  28. Jon Stopa says:

    My Answer to the Baker Committee
    The psychology of all of the attempts to hide that we are getting ready to Cut and Run is wrong. We should fill our canteens, hitch up our wagons and announce that all this shit must stop, or we’re going home. If it doesn’t end, (having placed our troops carefully before hand) we proceed to leave!
    If there is any benefit to our troops being there, the Iraqis will beg us to stay.
    Am I a genius, or what!

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    Senior Rice aide, Philip Zelikow resigns from post
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061127/pl_nm/usa_zelikow_dc
    Huummm…wonder what this means.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    I do agree with Liz somewhat…there are entirely too many “think thanks”…and too many politicans who rely on these “unelected” groups who most often have an agenda of their own.
    With the taxes we pay, the goverment should be able to do their own research and “thinking”.
    There is some value in certain “expert” groups but it is obvious that a lot of think tanks fellows are not experts on what they “thinking” about. If you have nothing to do but “think”, if you don’t ever actually have to “produce” any results, if you don’t ever have to suffer any lose for your “thinking” failures, then you think up more and more outlandish, idiotic or controverisal things to justify your “thinking” job, gain attention or to advance the agenda of whoever signs your paycheck.
    Some I think provide a good service but the political 90% of them should be disbanded, they just waste paper, burn money and the ozone layer.

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  31. oofda says:

    As a Weiner for for four great years, I would think the Café Central would be good, Mark Twain used to frequent it was well–he lived in Vienna for about two years. A couple of others closer to Stephansplatz are the Greichenbeisel (Fleischmarkt 11 ) and the Mozart Cafe,(Albertinaplatz 2) near the Opera. This is a great time of year to be in the former Vindabona. The Kristkindlmarkts have opened. Be sure to go to the Rathaus (City Hall) Kristkindlemarkt on the Ring. Enjoy a cup of Glühwein or Jägertee (and keep the cup as a souvenir) while shopping at the stalls. For a slice of old Vienna, try dinner at Zum Kuckuck (Himmelpfortgasse 15), a short walk from your hotel. Enjoy!! Mahlzeit!

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  32. Katie W. says:

    I have been to the Cafe Central and Cafe Landtmann in the last year and would recommend either. Cafe Central may be the better choice for a daytime meeting, as I remember it having a good lunchtime vibe. However, Cafe Landtmann is in a prettier location, right near the Hofsburg Palace. Really, you can’t go wrong with either location.

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  33. Red Planet (blue sky) says:

    Contra the recent posts on this site about Marshall Wittman, here’s this from Atrios…
    “Roll Call (sub. req.) has a story about how Democratic Senate aides are rather unhappy with The Last Honest Man’s hiring of McCain loyalist, “prodigious leaker” to the press, and extraordinarily silly person Marshall Wittmann. Basically, they know Wittmann’s loyalties are elsewhere and he’ll likely leak everything both to the press and to his Republican pals so they won’t be able to actually talk when he’s in the room.”

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  34. RAM says:

    Beware of men with ice picks. And be happy you’re not in Mexico.

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  35. MP says:

    Steve…the pastel of the coffee cup and teaspoon remind me of some photographs I took at an outdoor cafe in Amsterdam a few years back. Brings back good memories.
    Never been to Vienna, so I have no suggestions for a good cafe or meeting place there.
    Hope the conference goes well for you there.
    I guess one question that should be debated is…if the think tanks are filled with so many smart people, with so many credentials, and so much experience…how is it possible that so many of them were wrong on Iraq?
    More and more it seems that being smart and thinking a lot don’t necessarily give one an edge on getting policy right.
    Having said that, I don’t agree with Liz that “Most of our problems as a nation come from think tanks.”

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  36. Marky says:

    I have a tangential connection with Trotsky too!
    A friend of mine in Seattle owned a home that was co-owned decades ago by Trotsky’s secretary.
    The man never resided there however.

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  37. winnipeger says:

    another interesting trotsky tidbit:
    he actually used to work on a printing press in the basement of my brother’s building on st. marks street, NYC. between 1st and 2nd ave.

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  38. liz says:

    I personally do not think that any think tanks have a place in American politics. Most of the most rotten of all ideas have been hoisted from the bowels of these think tanks. Most of our problems as a nation come from think tanks. Even Bill Maher said think tanks do not think straight.
    Steve…. the debate ended a long time ago on think tanks… the population at large wants them to stop thinking.

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