Senator Bob Menendez Becoming the Dem’s Jesse Helms

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This morning, I joined Evan McMorris-Santoro, Krystal Ball, Ali Gharib and Steve Kornacki on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki to discuss Senate efforts to botch up President Obama’s & Secretary of State John Kerry’s important diplomacy with Iran.  This is not another crank at the sanctions wheel but potentially a pivotal moment in US diplomatic history and global affairs. With all due respect to many of the good things Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has done in the domestic policy arena, in foreign…

Discussing John Kerry’s Middle East Diplomacy

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Thought I’d share this exchange I had yesterday afternoon with MSNBC anchor Ari Melber on Secretary of State John Kerry’s impressive diplomatic efforts between Israel and Palestine. We haven’t seen a Secretary of State put himself or herself on the line like this in a very long time. His efforts deserve attention, and skeptics should think twice before dismissing the potential outcome here. In my view, Kerry is finally doing something the Obama team should have done in January 2009…

Good Morning Washington, DC!

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  Good Morning Washington, DC.  I know it’s a tough haul for other parts of the Northeast, but a lovely coating over the Capital. Took this pic on the way to the gym.  Michael Werz of the Center for American Progress was also there.  A witness.

Nothing Tastier than Donkey Meat?

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As if a nasty Mexico bribery scandal was not enough, Wal-Mart is now embroiled in a fox meat food scandal in China.  Over the holidays, I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now just can’t help but imagine Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke exclaiming, “Those feisty foxes!” According to a Chinese saying, “there’s nothing tastier than dragon meat in heaven and donkey meat on earth.”  But it has to be pure donkey meat, straight up. Messing with heaven on earth, Wal-Mart’s China operation has…

Happy New Year: Revving up TWN in 2014

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2014 is upon us, and I’m using this semicolon between years to rev up The Washington Note again. As editor in chief of The Atlantic‘s events division as well as Washington Editor at Large of The Atlantic, I just have not had the time I had hoped to offer the regular commentary here I would have liked.  My longer thought pieces went to The Atlantic itself — but it’s clear to me that I have a lot to say about things that just don’t…

Biden Maneuvers Through High Stakes Nuances in Asia Trip

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Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden spent five and a half hours with Chinese President Xi Xinping.  They met in three formats — one a restricted meeting with a small handful of advisers, the second a larger meeting with many more advisers, and the third a small working dinner.  All of this on the heels of spending the day before a good chunk of time meeting and dining with Japan’s Prime Minister Shintaro Abe. Tensions have been growing in…

Romney Code Name for Chris Christie: Pufferfish

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A juicy TIME staff-written teaser from Mark Halperin’s and John Heilemann’s new book, Double Down: Game Change 2012, on the elections fiascos last round: Codenamed “Pufferfish,” in the aquatic-themed parlance of the campaign’s vetting team, Christie was a constant  thorn in the side of the Romney campaign, going back to a 2011 demand that the eventual Republican nominee refrain from fundraising in the Garden State until Christie bestowed his endorsement.  The New Jersey Governor’s tardiness to joint fundraising events peeved…

Remembering When Power Was Unconstrained

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As I witness from the far-off vantage point of India this week the collapse of American authority and gravitas around the world because of the debt ceiling debacle still in play in Washington, I ran across a clip about the one-hundred year rise to global power and ferocity of the Mongol tribes at a great blog called Delancey Place.  DP promises to send you an eclectic clip once a day.  I can attest to its eclecticism and have been a…

Sergeant Hagel Still: Talking with the Secretary of Defense

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Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a 904-page book to Egyptian Army Commander-in-Chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, with whom he has had over twenty conversations since assuming his Pentagon role.  The book, Washington: A Life, won for its author Ron Chernow the Pulitzer Prize.  Rather than suggesting he read it all, Hagel emphasized to General Al-Sisi the chapter on Washington giving up his power at the end of his presidential term thus securing for the young nation one of the key pillars…

US-Iran Initiative: Big Consequences if it Fails

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My quote in today’s Financial Times article by Geoff Dyer on the latest in US-Iran relations: It is not getting carried away to say this is an extraordinary moment because rapprochement with Iran would be the biggest positive shift in global affairs since the end of the Cold War and the normalisation of relations with China,” says Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. “But if the US does not take this opportunity, it would be the…