U.S. Faces Stiff Opposition From Rising Powers

-

pittsburgh.summit.jpg
(Photo Credit: International Monetary Fund Photograph/Stephen Jaffe)
This post is cross-posted at The Race for Iran.
Over at the National Interest, Nikolas K. Gvosdev has a piece on the “BRIC Wall” that is developing in opposition to many U.S. policies, particularly the U.S. drive for further sanctions on Iran.
As Secretary Clinton’s unsuccessful visit to Brasilia last week along with recent statements by Turkish officials indicate, the world’s rising powers – even those that are democracies – are lining up to oppose U.S. policies that they view as overly confrontational, destabilizing, and threatening to their economic interests.
According to Gvosdev’s analysis, the proper analytic distinction is not between democracies and non-democracies, but between established status-quo powers supportive of (American) intervention and emerging nations more keen to support a stricter definition of state sovereignty.
From Gvosdev’s piece:

Two years ago, Washington was abuzz once again with the prospects for a “League of Democracies” that would support U.S. global leadership. But in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated Burma/Myanmar, a very clear rift opened up between the democracies of the advanced north and west, which advocated an intervention on humanitarian grounds, and the democracies of the south and east, which proved to be far more receptive to China’s call for defending state sovereignty. In the Doha round of trade talks and in the ongoing climate change negotiations, the leading democracies of the south and east–Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, India and Indonesia among them–have tended to line up with Beijing instead of joining Washington’s banner.

The lonely U.S. drive for sanctions on Iran is highlighting these divisions, starkly delineating the limits of American power and laying bare the inefficacy of Washington’s anachronistic approach to foreign policy.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

48 comments on “U.S. Faces Stiff Opposition From Rising Powers

  1. Coach Handbags says:

    This blog is cool.
    No Doubt! your blog contain very useful information.
    Great blog article about this topic, I have been lately in your blog once or t

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    The person whose agenda is suspected is Mark Perry, not General Petraeus. It is a strawman argument to defend General Petraus when he was not attacked in the first place. Therefore, a second version of the account by Mark Perry only confirms Mark Perry’s version of events, not their accuracy. What is needed is an independent witness.
    Have you got a second source for this story?

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    Paul Woodward at warincontext spoke to Perry to verify the Petraeus Briefing.
    “For this reason, I asked Mark — who I have had the privilege of working with in recent years — to provide some background to his report. This is what he said:
    My piece on the briefing of Admiral Mullen by CENTCOM senior officers has occasioned a great deal of comment, as well as some skepticism: how accurate is the account? Was it told to me by direct participants in the briefing? Is there any basis for imagining that Petraeus has any kind of hidden agenda, whether that is a desire to expand CENTCOM – or even hostility towards Israel.
    I won’t name my sources, even though it’s clear to people in the Pentagon – and certainly to General Petraeus – who they are. Was I told of the briefing by the briefers themselves? I will only say that there were four people in the briefing – the two briefers, Admiral Mullen, and Admiral Mullen’s primary adviser on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I know two of the people involved in the briefing. Whether or not they are my sources is something for the reader to determine. The account is not only accurate, it’s a precis of what actually happened. There is a lot more to it. The White House, State Department and Pentagon have not denied the account, and for good reason: it’s true.
    Is there any basis for imagining that Petraeus has any kind of hidden agenda in ordering the briefing?
    I have been reporting on the American military for thirty years. My work on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Four Stars, is the authoritative account on the subject. I have deeply rooted contacts in the military that go back thirty years. I have never met a senior military officer whom I do not admire. There is no greater insult than to believe that General Petraeus or any other senior American military officer would use the lives of American soldiers as a lever to enhance their own political future. My sense is that General Petraeus neither likes nor dislikes Israel: but he loves his country and he wants to protect our soldiers. The current crisis in American relations with Israel is not a litmus test of General Petraeus’s loyalty to Israel, but of his, and our, concern for those Americans in uniform in the Middle East.
    It is, perhaps, a sign of the depth of “the Biden crisis” that every controversy of this type seems to get translated into whether or not America and its leaders are committed to Israel’s security. This isn’t about Israel’s security, it’s about our security.”

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh here we go, this bigoted hasbarist jackass Nadine, who has had nothing but praise for Pertreaus, will now tell us Petraeus’s conclusions are all wrong.
    Truth is, if this story about the “Petraeus Briefing” is credible, and such a briefing did occur, it can be saiud that these sacks of shit like Hoyer, Reid, Cantor, Huckabee, ecetera are PURPOSELY and KNOWINGLY causing the deaths of American servicemen with their shameless act of prostituting themselves to Israel. Of course, some of us already knbew this. But it sure makes it hard for these lying scumbags of Nadine’s ilk to sell their snake oil for much longer.

    Reply

  5. Pahlavan says:

    Arun, I use to buy into the nonsense you often read from Nadine’s alike about democracy, freedom of speech, Muslim terrorists, blah blah blah…, until I visited Iran and spent a few months there back in 2003.
    The first thing I couldn’t miss was the construction boom in Tehran where hundreds (you read correctly) “hundreds” of construction cranes were built over project sits and they all had a large sign mounted on top of each crane with the word OTIS printed in blue font over a white background on every sign. I was active enough in the business world to know that at the time OTIS was a division of United Technologies, a fully owned subsidiary of Halliburton, whose CEO Dick Cheney had departed almost 2 years earlier to become our vice president.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    “The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story”
    So says Mark Perry, author of _Talking_To_Terrorists, which he recommends.
    The Saudis, meanwhile, have been signaling more and more openly that they are really scared about Iran’s nuclear plans, yet according to Mr. Perry, the Arabs don’t even mention Iran, they are entirely focused on I/P.
    That’s not what other observers of the region says; they say just the contrary, that as Iran takes more Arab attention, I/P matters less to them. Which makes sense. After all, Israel is not going to close the straights of Hormuz, but Iran could do that. Israel is not going to use its nuclear threat to take over Saudi oil fields, but Iran could do that. Israel’s nukes never made the Arab states scramble to get bombs of their own; but Iran’s will.
    However, the idea that the Arabs actually want I/P fixed, and that fixing it would fix Mideast problems, is an idea that the Obama administration seems to be really in love with. Probably because they listen to people like Mark Perry, who thinks you can negotiate with Hamas and Hizbullah.
    Of course, Obama did go over there and make big promises that he was going to fix the problem (he might as well have promised to make the Sun rise in the West), and then he couldn’t do anything at all. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” When you make big promises you can’t keep, no wonder. When you are perceived as weak and likely to cave under pressure, you get pressured.
    But if America is really being called weak because it didn’t get enough Israeli concessions, somebody explain to me how come America is perceived as being weaker NOW than when GW Bush was president, who was much closer to Israel? How come HE wasn’t weaker, if that is the real requirement for strength in the Mideast?
    Of course, with Bush you knew where you stood. With Obama, who knows?
    This story does not add up. I strongly suspect that Perry is trying to shift the entire blame for Obama’s terrible foreign policy performance vis-a-vis Iran and the whole Mideast entirely onto I/P, which for this administration means, entirely onto Israel.
    Yes, I think I sense a new phase in Obama’s foreign policy career: the petulant blame game. This would explain why Gibbs, Clinton, Biden, and Axelrod are all seizing on the “insult” of Israel announcing building inside Jerusalem, instead of letting the matter drop. If there is one constant from this administration, it is that nothing can ever be their fault, and no change of direction is ever called for.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    MARCH 14, 2010
    ” The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story
    On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief JCS Chairman Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow…and too late.”
    The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command – or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.
    The Mullen briefing and Petraeus’s request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus’s request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied (“it was dead on arrival,” a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama Administration decided it would redouble its efforts – pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with Chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen’s trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had to see its conflict with the Palestinians “in a larger, regional, context” – as having a direct impact on America’s status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.
    Israel didn’t. When Vice President Joe Biden was embarrassed by an Israeli announcement that the Netanyahu government was building 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem, the administration reacted. But no one was more outraged than Biden who, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, engaged in a private, and angry, exchange with the Israeli Prime Minister. Not surprisingly, what Biden told Netanyahu reflected the importance the administration attached to Petraeus’s Mullen briefing: “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Yedioth Ahronoth went on to report: “The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.” The message couldn’t be plainer: Israel’s intransigence could cost American lives.
    There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers – and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden’s trip to Israel has forever shifted America’s relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers.
    Maybe Israel gets the message now.”
    http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_story
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I doubt Israel has gotten the message. Let’s see how many congresspeople show up at the AIPAC conference to pledge allegiance to Israel…they are the ones that need “to get the message”.

    Reply

  8. Arun says:

    Don Bacon wrote: “The bogus US claim that the world has isolated Iran is thoroughly belied by ….”
    the US government’s own actions?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/world/middleeast/07sanctions.html
    “The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.”
    Before pointing fingers elsewhere….

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Hellooooo?….is there any person of even average intelligence watching I-P for the past 40 years that thinks Israel hasn’t deliberately acted in ways guaranteed to derailed every single effort at a peace settlement so they can keep confiscating Palestine land?
    Hopefully the EU is getting ready to cancel Israel’s get out of jail free holocaust card.
    ‘EU may push Israel into peace talks’
    By JPOST.COM STAFF
    13/03/2010 17:40
    EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton: We may use trade ties as leverage.
    The European Union might use its trade ties with Israel as leverage to pressure it into renewing peace talks with the Palestinians, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the EU said on Saturday.
    Ashton was speaking at an EU foreign minister conference held in Spain. Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, said that Israel’s announcement on building in east Jerusalem during United States Vice President Joe Biden’s visit last week was intentional and not coincidental.
    Bildt said there were “no guarantees” that Israel was committed to peace.
    Ashton is on the verge of a Middle East tour where she will visit Egypt, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
    Earlier Saturday, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has promised the Palestinians that Israel will not construct new homes in east Jerusalem during peace negotiations.
    According to the paper, Mitchell told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the phone that Washington would provide the PA with guarantees that Israel would halt construction in the east of the city.'”

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    “Norheim, you fool, are you incapable of noticing that the Israelis
    are willing to negotiate but the Palestinians are not? ” (Nadine)
    Yes I am.
    POA, I tend to see this more as a coordinated signal from Obama
    himself, speaking through his VP, Sec of State, and Senior
    Advisor.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Paul, note that the strongest criticism thus far has come from Axelrod, who hints towards the obvious conclusion, that Israel’s actions are designed to derail talks. Point of fact, this kind of strong language should be coming from State, not from Obama’s political advisors. Here we see yet one more indication that Hillary Clinton is not fully on board with Obama’s foreign policy advocations, and his staff is forced to take on the role that Hillary should be assuming. Throughout Hillary’s tenure thus far we have seen this tepid and half-hearted pursuit of Obama’s policy advocations.
    The weak message she sends with this tepid criticism of Israel’s latest snub, combined with her appearance as a keynote speaker at the upcoming AIPAC convention, is dismally counter-productive “diplomacy”. In fact, breaches of this fictitious “settlement freeze” have been occuring since the day the “settlement freeze” was announced, with nary a peep from Hillary Clinton. So, if in fact the actual “substance” of Israel’s actions were an issue of importance to Hillary, she would have spoken up long ago, instead of waiting until Netanyahu pulled this latest stunt. Its no secret that the “settlement freeze” is, and always has been, bullshit. Hillary only criticized Israel because of the highly publicized snub Netanyahu handed to Biden, that was impossible to ignore. As long as these lying scumbags continue to steal land out of the media spotlight, Hillary doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    More typical yada, yada, yada.
    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156070.html
    Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
    Meanwhile:……….
    ADL ‘stunned’ by U.S. condemnation of Israel
    The U.S. based Anti-Defamation League said late Friday that it was “stunned” by Clinton’s “dressing down” of Israel.
    “We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States,” said Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a statement.
    The ADL called Clinton’s remarks a “gross overreaction” to a “policy difference among friends.”
    “One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table,” Foxman said.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    “But all of this boils down to the fact that Netanyahu and Israel
    will continue to build settlements and have no sincere intention
    to take the necessary steps towards a solution.”
    Norheim, you fool, are you incapable of noticing that the Israelis are willing to negotiate but the Palestinians are not? They run from the table, they seize on any excuse to stay away, they have never made an offer of their own, not once!, they have refused all Israeli offers, and yet it has to be all Israel’s fault, because Israel is building an damn apartment block in their capital cities, where the Oslo Accords say they can build.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Carroll you quoted Laura Rozen
    “People who heard what Biden said [to Netanyahu behind closed doors] were stunned. “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
    The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.”
    and then showed your total lack of understanding. Netanyahu et. al. weren’t stunned that Biden had taken an anti-Israel position. They were stunned at his stupidity. They were stunned that Biden, who is supposed to have some understanding of foreign policy, actually believes that Islamists are on the rise throughout the entire Muslim world, that the Taliban is suicide-bombing Kandahar, because Israel is going to build a new apartment building in East Jerusalem, a preposterous idea.
    This self-inflicted idiocy empowers Islamic radicals to seize on any trifle: some bureaucrat’s press release, a cartoon or editorial anywhere, a mere rumor, and turn it into a cause celebre. And instead of defending Western sovereignty and freedom of speech, Slow Joe Biden wants Israel to join the US in a pre-emptive cringe, not understanding that successful intimidation just emboldens the radicals.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks POA. Here is a central quote from the interview:
    “QUESTION:(…) But here you are with the Middle East just
    beginning to approach negotiations and Israel announces an
    expansion of settlements. It was really a slap in the face to the
    visiting Vice President.
    SECRETARY CLINTON: It was, Andrea. And– I’ve expressed that
    directly to the prime minister. It was– not just an unfortunate
    incident of timing but the substance was– something that– is
    not needed as we are attempting to move toward– the
    resumption of negotiation.”
    Now, we don’t now exactly how she expressed this
    timing/substance thing in her direct phone talk with Netanyahu,
    but I think it’s clear that the word substance was chosen as a
    response to what reporters referred to when they said:
    “Netanyahu has apologized for the timing, though not the
    substance” – i.e. approving 1,600 new homes for Jews in east
    Jerusalem.
    But all of this boils down to the fact that Netanyahu and Israel
    will continue to build settlements and have no sincere intention
    to take the necessary steps towards a solution. And I doubt that
    USA will respond adequately to this stubbornness.
    But this is certainly bad PR for Israel’s position – in addition to
    EU’s endorsement of the Goldstone report.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Paul, here is the transcripts to Hillary’s comments with Andrea Mitchell. It was actually Mitchell that introduced the word “insulting” into the interview, and at no point in the interview does Hillary decry settlement expansion…..
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/03/138324.htm
    Point of fact, there is more complimentary commentary from Hillary than there is criticism towards Israel. The media is overblowing Hillary’s reaction. In fact, it was typically tepid. I mean its not like we are threatening to cut off aid to the murderous arrogant bastards.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    when you are invited over to someones house for dinner, it’s considered rude to address them in confronting context… (on message boards its different)…
    clinton and the rest of the bootlickers will do nothing at the aipac meeting.. they never have and they never will… wrong place to do it… not going would say more, but then politicians are mostly just bootlickers and not many of them have any backbone when it comes to acting out of the norm… it will be biz as usual with all these bozos…

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah, we’ll see if it’s back to normal at the AIPAC event. I’m not
    optimistic, but this was certainly new tones from Washington.
    And the whole world will be watching if Hillary has those
    kneepads on again so soon after the treatment of Biden.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..but also in its substance; to make clear that the United States considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship…..”
    “……considers the ANNOUNCEMENT……” So the “announcement” is the “substance”?
    Paul, just wait until Hillary’s address to AIPAC, which will contain NO criticisms, as if Israel’s behaviour of the last two years has never happened. Yeah, she’s sputtered some inane criticisms right on the heels of this latest snit of arrogance from Israel, but, my bet is that we’ve seen all of it we are going to see from her. No doubt she’s got her kneepads back on by now, and behind closed doors has whispered to Netanyahu that all is forgiven, just don’t be so openly rude while handing a royal fuckin’ to the Palestinians and flipping the United States the bird.
    And asking them to show, through actions, “that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process” is as asinine as her telling Syria to “sever its relationship with Iran”. Israel is no more “committed” to a peace process than Syria is prone to sever its relationship with Iran. This most recent diplomatic “fuck you” from Israel should be ample demonstration to any optimist, that has been on Mars these last two years and missed Israel’s arrogance and intransigence, that “committment to peace” just flat out ain’t on their agenda.
    The narrative is getting nonsensical. What is all this talk of Palestinian “preconditions” when these racist arrogant sacks of shit in Israel won’t give an inch on Jerusalem, demand any Palestinian state must be unarmed and lacking any ability to defend themselves? Israel “has a right to self defense”, but any Palestinian state will not be granted the same “right”?
    And meanwhile, Hillary has a problem with these people “insulting” Biden, but no problem with the crimes that prompted the Goldstone Report?
    Its a fuckin’ joke. Hillary is criticizing Israel while being on all fours and handing out winks and nods.

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    According to Crowley, quoted in Politico, Clinton also referred
    to the “substance”.
    “In today’s briefing, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley
    said Secretary Clinton had chided the Israeli prime minister:
    Secretary Clinton also spoke this morning with Prime Minister
    Bibi Netanyahu to reiterate the United States’ strong objections
    to Tuesday’s announcement, not just in terms of timing, but
    also in its substance; to make clear that the United States
    considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about
    Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship — and counter to
    the spirit of the Vice President’s trip; and to reinforce that this
    action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace
    process, and in America’s interests. The Secretary said she
    could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of
    the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security. And
    she made clear that the Israeli Government needed to
    demonstrate not just through words but through specific
    actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the
    peace process.”
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0310/Clinton_rebuke
    s_Bibi.html

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If you listen carefully to Clinton’s “rebuke”, it has nothing to do with settlement expansion. Just like the “apology” of this arrogant prick Netanyahu, Clinton’s comments only decry the timing of the settlement announcement. Apparently, its ok with this derelict and comlicit Secretary of State if a country incinerates non-combatant women and children, and uses kids as human shields, but, by golly, don’t “insult” our favorite “I am a zionist” Vice President by poor timing and political gaffs.
    Don’t these people know better than to announce illegal settlement expansion when it might be embarrassing to these ass kissing cowardly sacks of shit in the Obama Administration??? How can Hillary ignore Israel’s criminal activities when they flaunt them so carelessly?? Don’t they have the brains to be discrete criminals?
    Pahlavan, Steve’s absence in regards to anything Hillary Clinton is inexplicable in light of his self proffessed foreign policy interests.

    Reply

  22. Pahlavan says:

    “But I can’t help but wonder as to his motive. Why won’t he touch Hillary Clinton?”
    Jimmy Carter was quickly taken off just about every invite list after his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid went to print. He has since backed off his tone and thus he is getting less peer pressure, and now thing be close to kosher again.
    I would think isolation is a certain fact that one must be prepared to deal with when he or she speaks his mind and heart.

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    Thanks John, I’ll check it out.

    Reply

  24. John Waring says:

    Dan Kervick,
    I would like to recommend to you Gareth Porter’s book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”. Your thesis and his are largely the same. Little has changed since 1964/65 in that regard.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    OT
    I thought this was a spoof but it’s not.
    WSJ says the way to make the SC ruling on corp donations come out o.k. is for the gov to give every citizen a $50 tax rebate.
    hhtp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703906204575027021768240904.html
    The Supreme Court’s decision last week in Citizens United v. FEC
    fundamentally changed the nature of political campaigns. In a 5-4 ruling,
    the court held that corporations have a constitutional right to spend
    millions of dollars in independent campaigns that attack or support
    particular candidates.
    Critics of the decision worry, with good reason, that corporate interests might now exhibit outsize influence on campaigns.
    We need to embrace a market solution to this problem.
    The answer to the disproportionate influence of big money is to give ordinary citizens the
    financial capacity to compete effectively in the political marketplace.
    The place to begin is with a tax cut. Each American should get a refundable federal tax credit of $50 that they can use to make
    contributions to federal candidates during presidential years, and a suitably smaller sum during off-year federal elections.
    There is already legislation pending in Congress-H.R. 726, the Citizen Involvement in Campaigns Act-proposing a refundable tax credit. But it
    must be improved to allow the federal government to work with banks and credit card companies to create the electronic infrastructure needed for a
    user-friendly and fraud-proof system.”
    the bill:
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR00726:@@@P

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    How about the political and diplomatic import of Hillary Clinton’s actions????
    Israel shits in Biden’s outstretched hand, and Hillary uses the opportunity to announce she has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the 2010 AIPAC Conference.
    Meanwhile, we see nary a peep from Steve Clemons about Hillary’s performance as Secretary of State. Aside from the Presidency, what posting has more importance in projecting and maintaining America’s image as a “super power”??
    Rahm emanuel might indeed be a problem, but as far as damage goes, Hillary Clinton is a disaster. Using inflammatory and counter-productive rhetoric under the guise of “diplomacy”, she has completely screwed up our chances of constructive dialogue or engagement with Syria or Iran, and, thus far, she seems to be FAR more on board with Israel’s foreign policy advocations than with that of her President. Her most noted public pronouncements in regards to Isr/Pal have been lauditory towards Israel, no matter how arrogant and dishonest Netanyahu has become. Complimenting fictional “concessions” from Israel, and insulting of Goldstone’s work, she might just as well be working for Israel, and, in fact, probably is. And any criticism’s of Israel have beenm tasked to unknown minions at State, Hillary always seeming to be far removed from these rare public criticisms.
    I believe, in my history of staying abreast of Steve Clemons’ comments, essays, and opinions, that this is the most derelict I have yet seen Steve, who seems loath to comment on the performance of our Secretary of State. Its his blog, and if he wants to paint an incomplete picture, thats his business. But I can’t help but wonder as to his motive. Why won’t he touch Hillary Clinton?

    Reply

  27. Mr.Murder says:

    Look closer at the Turkish lobby controversey.
    Greenberg traurig was the famous Tom DeLay/champagne bathtub trips to Southeast Europe to make deals for interests opposing the US military presence directly in the early part of this decade.
    Currently the firm has stake in Turkish casino(dirty) money.
    This is the same thing they did in North America using the Christian Coalition to game states and native interests on gambling votes for casinos and lotteries.
    Now they are doing this in foreign spheres, upping the ante on their own clientele by pressuring them directly with contested rivals.
    Thus both sides end up paying out to keep the issue lobbied in their favor. Destabilizing potential opposition to their own advances in the process, in regions with emerging powers and recent or nearly failed states.

    Reply

  28. Mr.Murder says:

    Who cares what countries were there? Which multinationals had the strongest presence?

    Reply

  29. Don Bacon says:

    Ben Katcher: “The lonely U.S. drive for sanctions on Iran is highlighting these divisions, starkly delineating the limits of American power and laying bare the inefficacy of Washington’s anachronistic approach to foreign policy.”
    At long last I agree with Ben on something. The bogus US claim that the world has isolated Iran is thoroughly belied by (1) Iran’s support by its major trading partners in Asia — Japan, China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia, (2) the full support of Iran’s nuclear program by the 125-nation Non-Aligned Movement, (3) Iran’s regional supporters including Russia and Turkey and (4) Iran’s support by western hemisphere countries including Venezuela and Brazil.
    McCain’s League of Democracies is dead, as is Ann-Marie Slaughter’s [policy chief at State] Concert of Democracies. The US can still depend on UK and Germany, however, but not so much on France, what with Sarkozy playing footsie with Putin.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    From Laura Rozen..
    “People who heard what Biden said [to Netanyahu behind closed doors] were stunned. “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
    The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.”
    I don’t expect congress to change over this.
    but every time a US politican pledges loyalty to Israel in some campaign from here on the public will remember this and be replused.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hey, I found Hillary!!!
    She’s at Home Depot buying knee pads. Next stop, Sav-on, where she will stock up on Vaseline.
    http://www.aipac.org/1680.asp#33942
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Speak at Policy Conference 2010
    Clinton will address more than 6,000 conference delegates.
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed that she will address a plenary session at AIPAC Policy Conference 2010, which will be held March 21-23 in Washington, D.C. This will be her first policy address on the U.S.-Israel relationship since joining the Obama administration.
    Secretary Clinton joins a list of other dignitaries who have confirmed their attendance, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Amb. Michael Oren, Col. Richard Kemp and Prof. Alan Dershowitz.

    Reply

  32. Dan Kervick says:

    Thank God we live in a world that contains other powerful countries. The wisest political theory our founders ever promoted was the doctrine of checks and balances. And perhaps they would feel vindicated if they were around to see that the checking and balancing of US power itself by the interests of other ponderable countries is the last, best hope of saving the 21st century United States from its own extremism and obsessions, and from its plague of mediocre statesmen and political hacks.
    In the Middle East at least, Obama has chosen to pursue a continuation of the Bush policies of dead-ender hegemonism, holy war and brinkmanship under a new smiling multicultural face, putting inordinate faith in the power of the “public diplomacy” promoted by our foreign policy sales weasels. But it turns out that other countries just don’t like those policies or find them suitable to the interests of their own people – and it doesn’t matter who is selling them. The policies are not compelling.
    Obama’s failure is our gain, and with any luck, resolute global opposition to stupidity will eventually compel a grumbling, stumbling and backward-looking US government into the necessary attitude-adjustment.

    Reply

  33. JohnH says:

    Agreed that, “Obama is turning out to be a more inept President when it comes to foreign policy than George W. Bush was.” But only because the two are following the same policies.
    What makes Obama an abject failure is not the policies he espoused, it is the fact that he failed to pursue them. Sure, Obama gave a few noble, eloquent speeches. But he never followed up, and never demonstrated the leadership needed to put the policies into effect.
    After a few short months, it became apparent that militants rule, laying the ground for yet more foreign policy fiascoes. Obama’s failure is such that he is now playing the role of an empty suit, being led around by those whose policies are proven failures.
    Or perhaps all those fine speeches were only for show, and Obama never meant any of it…

    Reply

  34. ... says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1090009.html
    ‘Shas won’t let government dry out West Bank settlements’
    who listens to neo conservatives anymore anyway? no one who has spent a moment studying recent history….

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    “Wasn’t the world supposed to like us once again once George Bush was gone?” (Nadine)
    Actually that’s a very good question. The election of Obama was supposed to help reconcile the United States with the rest of the world. But that’s not what happened.
    Why?
    It’s not the Obama entered the Presidency not inclined to follow the advice of progressive foreign policy thinkers. It’s that the advice of those progressive foreign policy experts turned out to be so profoundly wrong.
    They told Obama to appease the Muslim World; it turned out that the Muslim world is so dysfunctional and pre-modern that it couldn’t be appeased; Obama failed not because he didn’t try but because the advice was bad. It just proved impossible to reason with a world-view so out of touch with reality, so full of hatred, so obsessed with its own demons and so full of internal contradictions.
    They told Obama to pressure Israel on settlements; the net result was that Obama’s popularity in Israel plummeted; his influence in the Arab world disintegrated and whatever slight hopes for peace might have existed have now disappeared. Bibi’s popularity in Israel has surged; Obama’s popularity in the United States has collapsed; and Israel is more popular with Americans than at any point in the last 30 years while the popularity of the Palestinians barely reaches the double digits.
    They told Obama to try and appease Iran. After a year of trying that, Obama’s Iran policy is still incoherent; in fact it may be more accurate to say that it is practically non-existent. Realist critics of Obama are right when they say that sanctions won’t work but they are wrong when they suggest a grand bargain is achievable. Even those realists know in their heart of hearts that Obama will be approving bombing runs against Iran before his first term is up.
    And let’s not forget the idiotic way that Obama snubbed the most pro-American Europeans on missile defense or his failed attempts to reconcile with Russia.
    Now that the policies recommended to him by “progressive” elements within his Administration have all been miserable failures; Obama is stumbling around like a punch-drunk boxer trying to recapitulate in a half-hearted way some of the policy predilections of the neo-conservatives. But Obama is as incompetent a neo-conservative as he was a liberal internationalist. As for the few “realists” in his Administration; they’ve turned out to be both dumb and useless.
    What’s becoming apparent is that Obama is turning out to be a more inept President when it comes to foreign policy than George W. Bush was. And the public is beginning to notice. On security affairs, an area where he once had the public’s confidence, Obama’s poll numbers are now collapsing.
    Commentators on the left may not want to hear it, but Obama’s failure really represents the failure of their foreign policy recommendations.
    These “progressives” love to criticize the neoconservatives but at least the neoconservatives have a cogent world view and a strategy that is logical though imperfect. The realists have been unable to develop a strategy that’s as cogent and the liberal internationalists haven’t been able to either.
    The Obama presidency has exposed the “leftist” world view for what it is; wrong-headed and wrong-hearted
    George W. Bush was the worst thing to ever happen to the neoconservatives; Barack Obama is proving to be the best thing that ever happened to them. Obama and his leftist allies are making them look like geniuses.
    Kind of ironic; don’t you think?
    ps: What do the neoconservatives think about the Israeli announcement of construction in Jerusalem that so embarassed Joe Biden? They think Shas is right; that Israel should build as much as it wants to in Jerusalem. They think Obama’s approach to Israel and his desire to limit construction in Jerusalem is the right approach. They agree with the Israelis about all of this and they disagree with the American President and Vice President

    Reply

  36. Nikolas Gvosdev says:

    BibB wrote: Most of the BRIC are or will be dependent on the US to consume what does or will drive their economic engines.
    That is a reality that is changing over time. China displaced the United States as Brazil’s leading trade partner in 2009, and Brazil does more business with the EU than with the United States.
    Steven Weber and his colleagues at UC Berkeley’s Institute for International Studies have noted that over the last decade, the ties between the rising powers are accelerating faster than their trade and connections with the United States.
    Does this mean that the rising powers are all coming together in some sort of anti-American alliance? Hardly. But it means that they have options and they don’t have to see things Washington’s way.
    And the India nuclear deal is not as finalized as one would expect–we aren’t yet providing the fuel, so India is turning to France and Russia instead of the U.S.
    Charlie, the point is not that there is some sort of powerful Brazil-Turkey axis forming … but that the assumption that the United States and Europe acting in concert can set global policy that is being challenged, not just by Russia and China, but by a group of states that we had identified as being “in our camp” because they are democracies.

    Reply

  37. charlie says:

    the pro-turkish lobbying continued.
    I’d agree that Nick’s article is generally correct, but no, I am not
    afraid of the Brazil-Turkey axis. I don’t see the connection, sorry.
    I’d be more worried about a Turkey that has no real place in
    american strategic though, is going islamic, and doesn’t like Kurds.

    Reply

  38. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Mar 11 2010, 2:34PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    So spot on!

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    Stephen Walt “is wondering what prominent neoconservatives think of [Netanyahu’s affront to Biden.] They are almost always in favor of the bold and decisive use of American power, and they are quick to criticize when Democratic presidents get humiliated by some foreign leader. I therefore assume they are deeply upset by this display, and that the Weekly Standard and National Review will quickly demand that Obama stand up to this latest challenge to America prestige and global leadership.” (Yeah, right!) http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/11/welcome_to_israel_mr_vice_president
    After the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascoes showed that America’s massive military might can cause widespread destruction, murder, and mayhem, but still cannot force a desired outcome, why should other nations quake in their boots about knuckling under to Uncle Sam? Does the US really have the stomach for another counterproductive fiasco in Iran? And what are the practical consequences if Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Turkey, Japan, and Russia choose to affront US leaders?
    It’s time for the US to recognize the futility of actually using its military might and shift the funding to government programs that do contribute to people’s wellbeing.

    Reply

  40. JohnH says:

    One thing for sure, you won’t see Wigwag or Nadine complaining about Rachel Corrie’s murder by the IDF. They only complain about Neda’s death in Iran by unknown assailants.
    This kind of hypocrisy is what makes American public diplomacy so ineffective and why the US cannot win the war of ideas, unless it starts to apply a uniform set of values.

    Reply

  41. Carroll says:

    Posted by sanitychecker, Mar 11 2010, 10:35AM – Link >>>>>>>>>>
    Ditto.
    http://antiwar.com/
    Has a revealing picture of the Rachel Corrie killing by the Israeli bulldozer.
    It shows clearly that there was no way the bulldozer could have not seen that it was running straight over her.
    The cab of the dozer is so high that the operator had not only a clear view of Rachel, but a 180 view of the entire area. He would have seen her stepping out of the way if she had moved.
    Just add this to the history of the US putting Israel, and other countries and agendas I am sure, ahead of it’s own people. Just like it did with the USS Liberty.
    Think that might have something to do with other countries lack of respect of the US. I do. They know we are corrupt to the core and our demands too suspect and hypocritical to be listened to any longer on anything.

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    US influence has been waning for some time.
    We need to pay attention to our own “sovereignty”.
    As in correcting that international shopping bazzare called congress.
    They act like they are the UN they despise, making decisions by vote of all the congressional member lobbies for foreign countries.

    Reply

  43. Pahlavan says:

    Only in your world, nadine. Even when you ignore the life long politicians blanketing Washington’s new faces, the telling fact remains that our former head of CIA has been and continues to control the Department of Defense. It was clear that Obama was not in charge from the get go.

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    Obama scares nobody but US allies, whom he treats disdainfully and who don’t trust him for any support. So why the big surprise when the camp of US allies grows smaller and the camp of US rivals and adversaries grows bigger?
    Wasn’t the world supposed to like us once again once George Bush was gone?

    Reply

  45. BigB says:

    I do not think that US foreign policy is anachronistic. Most of the BRIC are or will be dependent on the US to consume what does or will drive their economic engines. I believe the US to be testing the waters amongst the BRIC union to see if they are moving in the direction of wanting to be a revisionist alliance or, just making decisions that are in their best economic interests. I’m not sure why US foreign policy has to be anachronistic simply for the fact that it is not fully embracing the BRIC (if im not mistaken we are supplying India – the I in BRIC – with nuclear material). As for Iran, I think Ahmedinejad’s behavior in Afghanistan the other day is telling. He seems to be making a very ardent push in the region against US policies. Why? I would assume that it’s because sanctions and/or lobbying for more sanctions might be having an effect.

    Reply

  46. JohnH says:

    If the US can allow Israel, which depends on US welfare, to stick its finger in the US’ eye, why would any other medium sized power, like Brazil and Turkey, be afraid to ignore US diktats?

    Reply

  47. sanitychecker says:

    Biden in Israel: “It’s good to be home.”
    For once, I have to praise the Israeli government for humiliating the Obama administration so overtly. If you behave like a lapdog, don’t be surprised if you’re treated like one.
    Some superpower.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yet in a year or two the RW/zionist/neocon scumbags will be telling us… “Well, ALL the intelligence agencies, globally, supported our….blablahblah….”
    I see the EU has endorsed the Goldstone Report.
    Makes ya damned proud to be the citizen of a country that stands out for its committment to turning a blind eye when murderous thugs and fanatics fry women and children in white phosphorous, doesn’t it?
    BTW, Hillary who? You mean that AIPAC queen thats gallivanting around the world marketing Israel’s foreign policies? That Hillary? I’m a bit curious, when did she renounce her United States’ citizenship? I musta missed it.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *