Zuckerman, Bumiller, Kay, Fallows, Hunter-Gault & Clemons on How the World Sees US Foreign Policy

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for aspen ideas festival twn.jpgThis was an interesting session that got a lot of reaction at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
US News & World Report publisher Mort Zuckerman and I had a polite dust-up over US-Israel policy and about President Obama. Katty Kay, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, James Fallows and Elisabeth Bumiller were on the panel with Andrea Mitchell moderating.
One of the points that Zuckerman referred to was a statement made by UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that the UAE would advocate use of force against Iran if it remained undeterred from a nuclear weapons course. Otaiba’s statement was reported widely.
Another part of Otaiba’s statement was that the US compel Israel to settle a deal with the Arab League and Palestine — and in result find its relations normalized with 57 other nations.
Andrea Mitchell commented that that part of Otaiba’s statement was ‘nothing new.’ But that part of the statement is the crucial piece, and it would be a mistake to think that it is less important today than previously, or less important than the bravado about armed force against Iran. They are linked.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

82 comments on “Zuckerman, Bumiller, Kay, Fallows, Hunter-Gault & Clemons on How the World Sees US Foreign Policy

  1. nadine says:

    “Your endless repetition of the cruel/kind line is less to the point than you think. At this point, the cruelty is collective, the kindness is absent, and no one is really doing well. Not the Israelis who raise their children under this regime, and clearly not the Gazans who are stuck.”
    You do know that the Gazans can get on a plane and leave? I know that many can’t afford it, but the picture of them as prisoners is not accurate.
    The situation is a stalemate for the usual reasons: the stronger party won’t use its power to force a solution; the weaker, feeling protected, won’t compromise.
    Hamas thinks time is on its side and it will get its legitimacy without compromise eventually. Until then, they are happy to see the Gazans suffer; it improves their degree of control. Authoritarians like shortages because they have more patronage to give out that way.
    Israel is less happy but has found a way to stop the rockets. Egypt isn’t thrilled either, fearing a Muslim Brotherhood enclave at a time when Hosni Mubarak doesn’t have long to live (he has cancer of the esophagus) and the Egyptian regime may become vulnerable.
    Neither Israel nor Egypt can afford to open the borders to Hamas, esp. now that it is a client of Iran. So what do you suggest?

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  2. nadine says:

    Usual litany of blaming the victims from Carroll. If the Jews are persecuted, it must have been because they are “relentlessly expansionist” into a sliver of land less than 0.1% of the Arab Mideast, yeah that’s it.
    BTW, all that stuff about how great the Jews were treated by Arabs before they brought all this hatred on themselves by daring to build a homeland in a nearly deserted South Syrian backwater is rubbish too. Ever hear of the blood libel pogroms in Damascus in 1840? One of the first political acts of American Jews was to try to save the lives of their fellow Jews in Damascus.
    The current Islamist mindset is relentlessly ahistorical. Every grievance happened yesterday, but facts are subject to constant invention and reinvention.
    It’s like the old USSR, where the future is always known but it’s the past that is uncertain.
    Lots of young liberals buy this rubbish because literally, they don’t know any history.

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  3. Caroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Jul 14 2010, 4:33AM – Link
    But as for killing off Israel — let’s just say that the Jews have a longer track record of surviving enemies trying to exterminate them than any other people on the face of the earth.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well obviously not. The Christians multiplied and flourished, the Muslims multiplied worldwide,the Armenians are doing quite well,..in fact all of history’s prior victims have outstripped their victimhood ..except the Jews nadine.
    6 million Jews, again, half the world Jews, now sit in a tiny country surrounded,for good reason, by people who hate them…..sitting ducks in a country now delegitimized by most of the world. Your prospects are not good.
    And why you may ask? Look no further than your zionist cult. The only thing I can figure out about individuals like you is you like having enemies,like having the world against you. It gives some kind of purpose to your life. You don’t really ‘care’ about the “Jews”. If you did you wouldn’t do what you do…you only care about your ‘cult’ because obviously you have a mental problem like all zionist do and that is one of few places you can fit in and be accepted.
    Enjoy your handiwork.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/jews-are-fleeing-a-swedish-city-why.html#more-22405
    “This is actually what anti-Zionists said would happen, 65 years ago, when they warned that the creation of a Jewish state would sow discord. Or as the late Robert Lovett, architect of the Cold War, wrote when he was in the State Department under Truman (emphasis mine):

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  4. questions says:

    Actually, the only person zero degrees from Kevin Bacon is Bacon himself. That’s definitional.
    So it has to be 1 degree from Hamas unless you want to argue that every Gazan is cruel.
    I don’t fully agree with the instant blow up reading of the situation. I really do think that there are likely things that can be done to ameliorate some of the misery.
    Your endless repetition of the cruel/kind line is less to the point than you think. At this point, the cruelty is collective, the kindness is absent, and no one is really doing well. Not the Israelis who raise their children under this regime, and clearly not the Gazans who are stuck.
    The real question has to be what are some practical steps that can be taken to make some things easier. It turns out that allowing the importation of cinnamon or whatever food stuffs were banned didn’t cause Gazans to start rocketing Israel.
    My guess is that there are other things that could be done that might really help and might be equally safe to allow.
    I don’t think Israel’s collective imagination has stretched itself far enough in that direction.

    Reply

  5. nadine says:

    “Nadine, you are leaving out all the despair, depression and impossibility that the article also points out. I was going to link it here, but since you have I won’t bother.
    It should put to rest the starvation issue, but there is more to life than calories.” (questions)
    Think about it, questions. What is new in the situation? The amount of aid being trucked through? No. The existence of the tunnels? No. The UNWRA stipends? US and Euro aid to Gaza? No. Ans: nothing is new, it’s been like this for years.
    Logical conclusion: the “starvation” charges were always pure bunk, just like I said they were.
    Second logical conclusion: the Palestinians and the various pro-Palestinian “peace” groups and NGOs lie routinely and shamelessly.
    Third logical conclusion: don’t be so quick to believe anything they say next time.
    This article won’t put the starvation charges to rest, any more than the other 100s of credible reports from Gaza haven’t put it to rest, because POS and the other Israel bashers will have a new crop of a 1000 phony reports from various Pal spokesliars and pro-Pal NGOs claiming starvation, thirst, despair and various other invented charges, all the better to excuse Hamas’ religion of human sacrifice.
    “Yes, Hamas is problematic and yes they are feeding off the misery of their people.
    BUT, Israel does indeed need to find some face-saving ways to allow Gazans to have dignity enough for them to be able to emerge from the morass.”
    How many Israelis do you think should volunteer to be blown up to supply this ‘face-saving’, questions? You do realize this is what you are asking, right? Hamas gets to design this question.
    Hamas is using the misery of the Gazans as a weapon of war. There is no way to give the Gazans jobs or dignity without giving Hamas the legitimacy and freedom to import 40,000 long-range missiles from Iran, as they have tried to several times already.
    Sanctions always punish the ‘wrong’ people; but you use them when the options are sanctions or war.
    “For now, every Gazan is probably 1 degree from Israeli cruelty, and many degrees from kindness”
    Every Gazan is 0 degrees from Hamas cruelty.
    “Those who are kind to the cruel, are cruel to the kind.”

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  6. questions says:

    Nadine, you are leaving out all the despair, depression and impossibility that the article also points out. I was going to link it here, but since you have I won’t bother.
    It should put to rest the starvation issue, but there is more to life than calories.
    The article points out the impossibility of purposive living, the domestic violence, the all too many kids people have, the frustrations, the lack of ambition anyone can have, and even the radicalization.
    Yes, Hamas is problematic and yes they are feeding off the misery of their people.
    BUT, Israel does indeed need to find some face-saving ways to allow Gazans to have dignity enough for them to be able to emerge from the morass. Dignity is unbelievably important as people put their lives back together, and it is precisely what has been stripped away by the sanctions.
    And the indignities of Gaza might actually make many things harder to do, including any kind of rapprochement with the West Bank. Eventually, something will go too far, and people will snap.
    Israel needs ways to back down. Probably the end of the food import restrictions will help at some level, but Netanyahu is going to need a little more space to step a little further.
    Heroic deeds, a new hospital, a miracle cure given over, something.
    For now, every Gazan is probably 1 degree from Israeli cruelty, and many degrees from kindness. The terms need to be reversed. (Can you tell I’m reading network theory stuff, including the origin of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.)

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  7. nadine says:

    “But it is Likud et.al. that is inflicting systematic devastation on Gazans, not the other way around.”
    David, give it up. Even the ever Palestine-loving New York Times has noticed there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and are reduced to bewailing the Gazans’ mental distress:
    “There are plenty of things to buy in Gaza; goods are brought over the border or smuggled through the tunnels with Egypt. That is not the problem. In fact, talk about food and people here get angry because it implies that their struggle is over subsistence rather than quality of life. The issue is not hunger. It is idleness, uncertainty and despair.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/world/middleeast/14gaza.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all
    Stop being such a goddamn dupe for the obvious propaganda ploys of the pro-Pal NGOs: when you are reduced to decrying “food insecurity” because people are living off the ton of aid per person being trucked into the place, the jig should really be up on those bogus starvation charges.
    Now, it’s not pretty in Gaza. People want to work but can’t:
    “And while most here view Israel as the enemy, they want trade ties and to work there. In their lives the main source of income has been from and through Israel. ”
    They have no jobs. That’s because Hamas blew up the crossings until Israel closed them, again and again and again, and shot rockets until Israel attacked. Now Israel hires Thais and Rumanians instead and the Gazans are stuck in the bed that Hamas has made for them. And naturally, Hamas isn’t making an economy inside Gaza! Polls indicate that Hamas’ support is only about 30%, but no worries, there won’t be another election. Hamas done got off the streetcar.
    No David, these are not the results of Likud’s choices, but Hamas’. The only help for the Gazans is to get rid of Hamas rule. Until then, they are nothing but Hamas’ human shields.

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  8. David says:

    No one is trying to exterminate the Jews. The world had its fill of that horror show with the concentration camps. There is, and always has been, threads of anti-semitism, as well as threads of anti-every other ethnicity.
    There are attempts to exterminate groups going on now, of course. Genocide continues to plague humankind. But it is Likud et.al. that is inflicting systematic devastation on Gazans, not the other way around.
    That particular chest-thumping is neither relevant nor particularly intellectually honest in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel wants land and water which Palestine has. Palestinians are in the way. Send the settlers, the same way we sent the settlers to displace the Native Americans. Native Americans did not, because they could not, attempt to eradicate European-Americans. European-Americans sought to, and did, displace and damn near eradicate Native Americans. Simply facts of history.
    It’s what should underlie all legitimate arguments.

    Reply

  9. Pahlavan says:

    “why don’t you strap on some explosives and seek your 72 virgins or whatever women shuhada get in Paradise?”
    As always you are resorting to urban legends to promote your propaganda, but this time it only took 19 words for you to flush your hand. You are losing your Subtlety.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    Carroll, so why don’t you strap on some explosives and seek your 72 virgins or whatever women shuhada get in Paradise? Likewise you would have made a very ardent Nazi in that era — or this one, come to think of it.
    You are a walking testament to the paradise for anti-Semites that Steve has made of this blog. marcus, your bigot list was good.
    But as for killing off Israel — let’s just say that the Jews have a longer track record of surviving enemies trying to exterminate them than any other people on the face of the earth. What the Babylonians, the Romans, the Crusades, and Hitler failed to accomplish, I have little fear will be accomplished by you and your hate-filled ilk.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Jul 13 2010, 10:09PM – Link
    Then he huffs and puffs “how DARE you say that I favor Hamas?”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, I favor Hamas over the Israelis and the IDF.
    If I were in Palestine I would probably be one of them.
    In fact I am surprised there aren’t more woman suicide bombers and freedom fighters considering how many of their children the IDF has killed and Israel has starved.
    There is no difference between a Hamas bomber or fighter blowing up Jews and Israel bombing women and children….except Israel can kill them faster and in greater numbers thanks to the US Jewish Lobby and the US congress taxpayers checkbook.
    This could all end you know, except you stole their land because of your batshit crazy zionist cult ‘delusions’ and won’t give it back.
    In less than 20 years Israel as a Jewish State will no longer exist. But since the zioinst cult is truly batshit crazy and mentally impaired they are too delusional to see the obvious future.
    The zionist and Israel will never be the world power they aspire to be, will never rule the ME, not even thru US power because the US affiliation with Israel ensures that the US will lose both it’s influence in the world and financial power to militarily dominate all other countries.
    In fact, it’s happening now, has already happened.
    You stung the frog and you’re gonna drown.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..extremely powereful Jewish lobby has on Congress and United State’s foriegn policy as it applies to the United States.”
    Meant to say…..
    “…AS IT APPLIES TO THE MIDDLE EAST.”

    Reply

  13. David says:

    If it were insightful thinking…
    William Kristol et al are political carcinogens.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And this is probably the reason why decent and moderate American Jews commenting here, like Sweetness and Questions….”
    Thats laughable. One of these “decent and moderate Jews” took it upon himself to call Carroll a “c*nt”, and the other one has consistently offered the patently ridiculous hasbarist propaganda that seeks to misrepresent and falsely diminish the OBVIOUS stranglehold the extremely powereful Jewish lobby has on Congress and United State’s foriegn policy as it applies to the United States.
    Sorry, Paul, but one cannot take the ridiculous position “Questions” has taken about AIPAC and expect to be taken seriously. Particularly in light of the last two years. Just because Questions’ propaganda is offered with a far more insidiously clandestine technique, it is no less propagandistic in nature.

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Marcus, do you really think anyone here gives a flying fuck what you think?

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    marcus, Paul spends his time proving his moral superiority in his own mind by waxing indignant at anybody who notices that the world contains real fascists, Islamic fanatics, and radical conflicts of interest. Whether he really disbelieves in such things, or just thinks everybody has a duty not to notice in the interests of “peace” can be hard to figure out.
    The upshot of Paul’s pretenses is that he generally favors the extremists over the democrats, since he recognizes no extremisim in the extremists. Then he huffs and puffs “how DARE you say that I favor Hamas?”
    Hey, whether you mean it or not, that’s just what happens when you base your policy decisions on fantasies.
    “Those who are kind to the cruel are cruel to the kind.”
    An old wise saying from the Talmud.

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  17. nadine says:

    “I must confess, I’m indifferent among theocratic fascism, military-business fascism, and standard dictatorship” (JohnH)
    That much is true, you have shown that you are for all of them. Your only condition is that they hate Israel.
    Congrats on being such an upstanding example of a Leftist humanitarian.

    Reply

  18. Marcus says:

    Paul, Apart from being a proud jew and proud of Israel, I have no idea what has gotten you so animated.
    Your simple-minded notion is just that,simple-minded. The fact is that I didn`t have to provoke anybody,when I first stumbled on this blog it was already saturated with base bigots,all kinds;
    carroll- the racial bigot
    POA – the conspiracy bigot
    You – “the banality of evil” bigot
    JohnH- the socialist”humanitarian” bigot
    Sand-neo-nazi/conspiracy bigot
    SamuelBurke-nazi bigot
    etc. etc.
    You all do a good job,with no help from me.
    Perhaps the real provocation is that Israel insists on defending itself and jews around the world insist on defending Israel.
    Paul, your hubris is appalling,who in the hell do you think you are anyway ?

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    I must confess, I’m indifferent among theocratic fascism, military-business fascism, and standard dictatorship. How do you parse among different kinds of repression?
    Apart from the ravings of the Israeli propaganda mill, I see scant evidence of Turkey’s becoming either fascist or Islamist. But I have seen evidence of Turkey’s throwing off the military yoke in favor of more democracy. And to anyone with American values, that has to be a good thing.
    Islamist is different from being a nation that respects Islam, Islamic culture and tradition.
    Not that Nadine can tell the difference…

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    There are many other sources, JohnH. But you can only put a couple of links in a TWN post or the blog won’t take it. You could have found them too, if you didn’t enjoy using your own aggressive ignorance as “proof” of the negation of whatever your opponent says. “I don’t know it, so it’s not true” is not a logical argument.
    Many, many reporters have noted that in years past, supporters and opponents of the government would speak freely; now they whisper, won’t use the phones, won’t use their names, or won’t talk at all. Or if you are a media company critical of the government, the Tax Ministry hits you with a fine that is worth as much as your whole company:
    Turkish Media Group Is Fined $2.5 Billion
    http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/turkish-media-group-is-fined-25-billion/
    That’s new and is anti-democratic except to those who are happy to call authoritarianism “democratic” when it’s anti-American and/or anti-Israel in nature. Ooh, they hate Israel, they MUST be authentic voices of the people!
    What’s changed is not love for Palestinians among the Turks (there isn’t much, Turkey never had a dog in the Israeli/Arab fight) but an Islamist ideology and an alliance with Syria via the alliance with Iran. Turkey used to need Israel as an ally against Syria and an aid with the US. The first reason no longer exists and Obama has made it clear that the US no longer cares how hostile anybody is to Israel. In fact, the US no longer cares how anybody behaves, as the “Obama Doormat Doctrine” is in full force.
    Your talk about how bad the military was, is just ignorant of how Turkish democracy has been maintained until now. The Kemalist system used the military as part of a system of checks and balances on Islamism, which was a continual threat; that check has now been broken down. The result is a triumph for Islamism, which is authoritarian and fascistic in operation, not democratic.
    I do not think a retreat into a fascist theocracy is an improvement for the Turks; nor, I think, do most of the Turks. We will see if the opposition will be able to run next year and do something about it, or if they will all find themselves in jail on trumped up charges.

    Reply

  21. JohnH says:

    Congratulations, Nadine, for finally producing something to back up your assertions.
    You might read this:
    http://www.fas.org/irp/world/turkey/ergenekon.pdf
    As usual, you present the case as black and white. It is not.
    Certainly, the military and their authoritarian secularist allies have much to fear from the new government. Their power is waning. And the mafia links, corruption and abuses perpetrated by their ‘deep government’ are being exposed. Naturally they would be expected to deny any wrongdoing and reach out to their buddies in the Western media to plead their case and accuse the Erdogan government of abusing its powers.
    I don’t deny that that could be the case. But it is nowhere near a foregone conclusion, as your hysterical rants about Turkey declare.
    In any case, you do not care at all about the well being of the Turkish people or whether they live in a democracy or a dictatorship. Their government was long supervised by the military, but that was perfectly acceptable to you, because it maintained close ties with Israel. And you would not really mind if another dictator ruled Turkey…as long as it took its direction from Tel Aviv.
    But what really drives you nuts is for a democracy to have the audacity to express the humanitarian aspirations of its people and condemn Israeli lawlessness. Israel simply cannot abide such a democracy. And that is your only bottom line.
    [Sorry if I got too nuanced for your black and white, Amalek vs. Jews brain.]

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    My impression is that the person behind the “Marcus” moniker
    acts as a nihilistic internet provocateur who basically says:
    “You are disgusting – and so am I! So let’s celebrate our
    fundamental nastiness!”
    “You prefer ad hominem attacks? Brilliant! So do I.”
    “You don’t like Jews? Excellent! I’m a Jew. I am Marcus. I am
    superior to you!”
    “As Marcus, I love to play the role of the despicable creep you
    Israel bashers want me to be. Never mind the fact that I have
    trouble with spelling, punctuation etc. – that just increases the
    annoyance you feel against me. C’mon, Israel bashers, hate me!
    I want to piss you off beyond expression by playing the
    unpleasant role of the superior Jew who despises the Arabs and
    non-Jews as inferior. Then I can just sit back and watch how
    you display your lowest instinct as a predictable reaction to my
    provocations. It’s a win-win for our lowest instincts, and it’s
    great fun!”
    “And if you’ve never been an anti-Semite before, you may
    become one by watching me playing the role of the arrogant,
    despicable Jew. It’s never to late to become an anti-Semite!
    Feel free to enjoy those newborn feelings, and direct your hate
    against me! The catch is that you can’t reach me, because I’m
    just an anonymous voice on the world wide web!”
    And this is probably the reason why decent and moderate
    American Jews commenting here, like Sweetness and
    Questions, keep a distance to this creep; even reacting against
    his provocations would involve them in his game.

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    JohnH, you wanted links on the increasing authoritarianism of the Erdogan government? Here are some. Now why don’t you surprise me and actually read them?
    “The Ergenekon case has become a witch hunt. If you have doubts, call a friend in Turkey and ask for an opinion of the case. Your friend will respond with details of the weather.”
    http://www.newsweek.com/2009/05/15/behind-turkey-s-witch-hunt.html
    “I do think there is something there when it comes to Ergenekon; clearly some people were up to no good. But it does seem that the government has used its wiretapping ability and its investigatory ability to go after political opponents. If you have lunch with a Turkish official or go visit people in their offices, they take the batteries out of their cellphones to reduce the likelihood that they’re being listened to.”
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/22624/turkeys_cooling_ties_with_us_israel.html#

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    “Ironically, according to the poll, the only area where Obama gets high grades is in his role as Commander in Chief. This suggests that his Afghanistan policy, so excoriated by Steve Clemons, is adding to Obama’s popularity not detracting from it. Obama’s Iraq policy seems to be acceptable to the public and issues like keeping GITMO open don’t seem to bother Americans at all.” (Wigwag)
    The Afghanistan policy was the only area where Obama continued the Bush policies, even increasing our presence there (after dithering for months). It’s the only area where he has not gotten Republican opposition because Republicans are the grown-up party in this regard; they do not believe in agitating for an American defeat in the field so they can score political points. Unlike the Democrats.

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  25. JohnH says:

    I’m sure Carroll appreciates marcus’ gratitude. Maybe he could reciprocate by not threatening Arabs, their families and friends. Palestinians in particular are in dire need of reprieve from assassination squads, dogs or neighborhood lynch- mobs that marcus mentions.

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  26. Marcus says:

    Carroll, I appreciate you not threatining me , my extended family , many friends and other jews and non-jews I`ve known and admired, ( with nazi-inspired thugs, poilce/Gov. Collection and assasanation squads, dogs or neighborhood lynch- mobs.)

    Reply

  27. Pahlavan says:

    “who will take the title “King of Kings”?Ahmedinejad or Khamenei?” Neither. And certainly not netenyahoo or any other member of the elder zion.
    The door has to match the door knob, so Ahmadinejad and Khamenei will vanish if we change our confrontational tone against Iran. Then again, if 1947 wasn’t the beginning of human history for some, they

    Reply

  28. Sand says:

    Ben Smith [Politico]: “Zuckerman’s contribution
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0710/Zuckermans_contribution.html?showall
    “Real Estate and media mogul Mort Zuckerman raised eyebrows all over yesterday with the claim on Fox that he “helped write one of [Obama's] speeches,” and his subsequent refusal to go into it right now.
    Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman” and the two have “been closely involved in every speech the President has given since 2005,” said the official…”
    ~~~
    Zuckerman having his fingers in many pies.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    “Yet. You forget the word “yet”. Erdogan has been working
    towards it, steadily and more and more openly.”
    Nadine, 1/3 of my post addressed your relationship with the
    word “yet”. See the “Cassandra” section; the 4 paragraphs at
    the end of my comment.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Nadine always “wins” because she is prescient, infallible seer of all things Islamic, the reader of Islamic minds, the predictor of the future! (Of course, it suits her Amalek vs. Jews mindset perfectly.)
    Once again she claims that Turkey is moving toward dictatorship: “His opponents by now are whispering in corners…”
    In fact, the only people whispering in corners are former generals and their supporters, the folks who plotted to overthrow the democratic government and return the military as overlords.
    I already challenged Nadine to provide evidence of people (other than generals and the supporters) cowering in corners in fear of the democratic government.
    As usual, Nadine failed to provide any evidence. For Nadine, her wild, paranoid imagination is the only evidence needed.

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    I don’t know how the “world sees U.S. foreign policy” but Americans seem to like it; according to the just released Washington Post poll, the public doesn’t seem to mind the U.S. adventures in Afghanistan or Iraq at all. That’s about the only good news there is for Obama and the Democrats.
    Obama’s personal popularity has fallen to a new low and the public now disapproves of both him and the Congressional Democrats; the only silver lining in all of this for Obama is that the public doesn’t seem to approve of the job performance of the Republicans either.
    Still, in the public’s view, Obama is rapidly turning into a failed President. His stewardship of the economy receives failing grades as does his leadership on health care. Obama is squandering his enormous mandate and the Democratic Party is likely to reap the fruits of his failure in November.
    Other polls show the most reliable democratic constituencies jumping ship; Hispanics are disenchanted that immigration reform hasn’t been a bigger theme of the Administration; organized labor is infuriated that Obama’s reneged on all his promises to them; because of his stance towards Israel, Jewish support for the Democratic Party is off a whopping 20 percent (something that could kill Democratic congressional and gubernatorial chances in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida); evangelicals who voted for Obama in surprising numbers in 2008 are returning to the Republican Party in droves and independents have given up on Obama completely.
    Ironically, according to the poll, the only area where Obama gets high grades is in his role as Commander in Chief. This suggests that his Afghanistan policy, so excoriated by Steve Clemons, is adding to Obama’s popularity not detracting from it. Obama’s Iraq policy seems to be acceptable to the public and issues like keeping GITMO open don’t seem to bother Americans at all.
    None of this means that Obama can’t be reelected; Clinton was. This time around the Republicans literally don’t seem to have a candidate with a legitimate chance to beat Obama. The one exception might be Mitt Romney; but of course Romney has major drawbacks himself and it is far from clear that he can be nominated let alone elected.
    In the end, Obama may end up saving himself while he wrecks both the Democratic Party and the nation. He could easily end up being a two-term version of Jimmy Carter; weak, feckless, ineffective, mostly devoid of accomplishment, loathed by most Americans and completely incompetent.
    Those who supported Obama’s effort to win the Democratic nomination for President are reaping precisely what they sowed.
    For those interested in the Washington Post poll, it can be found here,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071205453.html?hpid=topnews

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  32. Dan Kervick says:

    Here is the party program for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party:
    http://eng.akparti.org.tr/english/partyprogramme.html

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    “”What does it mean, to be an Islamist? Modern Islamism
    favors the imposition of an authoritarian form of
    government based on sharia, with little or no
    representative government.”
    That does not reflect the realities in Erdogan’s Turkey,
    does it? So he is not much of an “Islamist”, according to
    your criteria”.” (Paul Norheim)
    Yet. You forget the word “yet”. Erdogan has been working towards it, steadily and more and more openly. His opponents by now are whispering in corners; the opposition press is being shut down, the military has been cowed by trumped up coup charges, the secularist laws are being repealed. Kemalist Turkey is being replaced by Islamist Turkey.
    It’s not as if it is only I who call Erdogan an Islamist; he calls himself an Islamist. Now suppose you tell me what he means by that?
    “FYI, there were HUGE differences between different
    communist countries during the Cold War, just like there
    are huge differences among Muslim countries”
    I never said they were a monolith; I said they were allies.
    By your logic all the various Communists who took part in politics in Europe, esp. Western Europe, couldn’t possibly have been Communists, because life under them in Italy or wherever wasn’t exactly like the USSR under Stalin. So they weren’t Communists and they couldn’t possibly make an alliance with other Communists. This is a ludicrous argument. AKP is an Islamist party, which under Erdogan, has made alliance with Hamas. It’s there, open, it’s done.
    “During the flotilla crisis, Erdogan did what he could to
    avoid that the anger should be directed towards the Jewish
    minority in Turkey.”
    Erdogan created the flotilla crisis. If Turkish Jews were in danger in the first place, it was because of Erdogan. Because of the anti-Israel hysteria he whipped up deliberately for political purposes, because of the anti-Semitism he encouraged with TV programs like the Valley of Wolves, which shows Jews and Americans killing innocents to steal their organs (this seems to be the 21st century update of the blood libel). Turkish Jews are hostages, whose spokesmen parroted the government line for protection.
    There is no hysteria in noticing what Erdogan says he is and what has already accomplished. Even Ben Katcher is no longer writing his “moderate Turkey” happygrams. You have to notice that Erdogans’ alliances with Iran and Hamas are a problem.
    When you won’t notice extremism, when you insist on calling extremists moderate, you will be content to support the extremists, and leave the real moderates out in the cold. Who is not in bed with Hamas? Try the CHP candidate.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Nadine,
    you are no Cassandra. So let’s stick to the present
    realities:
    “What does it mean, to be an Islamist? Modern Islamism
    favors the imposition of an authoritarian form of
    government based on sharia, with little or no
    representative government.”
    That does not reflect the realities in Erdogan’s Turkey,
    does it? So he is not much of an “Islamist”, according to
    your criteria”.
    “…which Erdogan explicitly endorsed when he was mayor
    of Istanbul.”
    Many politicians have said alarming things while being a
    “major of Istanbul”, becoming much more moderate with
    increasing responsibilities. A recent example: Joschka
    Fisher, friend of RAF terrorists in his youth, later the
    Foreign Minister of Germany.
    “Islamists don’t have to be in favor of killing the Jews
    (though they can be). But they CANNOT be in favor of
    equal rights for Jews and Christians with Muslims; Muslims
    must be on top, others must be second-class dhimmis, as
    sharia demands.”
    During the flotilla crisis, Erdogan did what he could to
    avoid that the anger should be directed towards the Jewish
    minority in Turkey. Equal rights? Are Muslims allowed to
    be on top in Israel?
    “Now, can you wrap your leftist mindset around the
    existence of an Islamist ideology?”
    Of course I can. But Erdogan seems unwilling to behave
    according to the rules you have made for him.
    BTW: I’ve never defined myself as a leftist (nor a rightist,
    for that sake), neither here or elsewhere, not even
    privately among friends. But you claim that I am a leftist,
    fine — ergo do I share 999 opinions with other leftists,
    among them ignoring the crimes of “the other” etc.etc.
    because that’s what leftists do.
    For heavens sake: Some months ago I wrote a longwinded
    essay here about the issue of “the other” capable of
    committing crimes – Arab slavery, Rwandan genocide, the
    Palestinian Said creating the concept of Orientalism, and
    the Litauian Jew Levinas the concept of the Other -
    remember??? You commented on that one, approvingly.
    And I have for three years been among the most vocal
    voices against anti-Semitism (and anti-Arab/Muslim
    sentiments) on this blog. Still you go on blaming me for
    being in bed with the terrorists and Jew haters.
    So who the hell is NOT in bed with the Jew haters? Is this
    position reserved to the happy lunatics who agree with
    Dick Cheney’s daughter, Barry Rubin, and Ayn Rand?
    “What the hell is so difficult about understanding this?
    Why is it different from saying a Communist party in one
    country received support from a Communist party in
    another country, even though the two parties wouldn’t
    exactly the same? ”
    FYI, there were HUGE differences between different
    communist countries during the Cold War, just like there
    are huge differences among Muslim countries. I don’t
    accept discussing them as one monolith entity, because
    that does not reflect the realities of the world.
    To sum up, Nadine: Either Erdogan is no Islamist, or your
    criteria are wrong.
    But of course, logics and facts and nuances are of minor
    importance for you compared to your clear-eyed scenario
    of the future, your Cassandra-vision! Ah, the gift of
    prophecy! Every time you paranoid hysterics on the right
    spot someone who somehow makes you fear that he is a
    potential Adolph Hitler, you immediately feel like you are
    The George Orwell Of The 21. Century, and start
    screaming about how this guy soon will BECOME THE NEW
    ADOLF and try to conquer the world. And everyone who
    disagrees is transformed to the Chamberlain of today.
    Yeah.
    The sad fact is that you are a bunch of hysterics and
    fanatics who use the language of politics as a surrogate
    for your lost religion of fear and doomsday. That may
    make people listen to you in areas where people share you
    confusion and an irrational, collective sense of being
    threatened, but it makes you lousy analysts of world
    politics.
    The Islamists threatening World Civilization? The Jews
    preparing World War 3? Perhaps these fantasies qualify as
    worthy topics on a sophisticated American foreign policy
    blog in the 21. century…. So please go on discussing these
    issues. But not with me. I’ve had enough of it.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    Posted by Marcus, Jul 12 2010, 4:21PM – Link
    4) Israel will indeed bomb Iran one day if the current situation persists. Israel was afterall created for this purpose,firstly, to protect the jewish people,so I have no doubt about that.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    There are no “jewish people’. There’s the jewish religion and then there’s the zionist cult….but there is no ‘nation of jewish ‘people’ that have existed through out the centuries.
    I tried to explain this to you before using the examples of Asian, European, Arab, African and etc Jews who don’t share anything but a religion.
    But since you didn’t take my word for it… maybe you should read an Israeli historian’s book on the subject.
    http://www.amazon.com/Invention-Jewish-People-Shlomo-Sand/dp/1844674223

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    Paul,
    Hamas are Islamists
    Hizbullah are Islamists
    Iran are Islamists
    Erdogan and the AKP are Islamists
    They have all allied around the common elements of the Islamist program.
    What does it mean, to be an Islamist? Modern Islamism favors the imposition of an authoritarian form of government based on sharia, with little or no representative goverment.
    Some Islamists favor violent, revolutionary means. Other Islamists, sometimes erroneously called “moderates”, favor achieving the same ends non-violently, through the ballot box: they generally abandon democracy once they achieve power. This is called the “one man, one vote, one time” platform or the “democracy as streetcar” method, which Erdogan explicitly endorsed when he was mayor of Istanbul.
    Islamists don’t have to be in favor of killing the Jews (though they can be). But they CANNOT be in favor of equal rights for Jews and Christians with Muslims; Muslims must be on top, others must be second-class dhimmis, as sharia demands.
    One thing no Islamist can ever endorse is a Jewish state on formerly Muslim land. Borders are irrelevant. Once Muslim land, always Muslim land. All of Palestine is a Muslim waqf: they all agree on this.
    Now, can you wrap your leftist mindset around the existence of an Islamist ideology? I am not being “careless” or saying Erdogan is exactly like Hamas; it is Erdogan who has chosen Hamas for allies because a shared ideology, which he proclaims.
    What the hell is so difficult about understanding this? Why is it different from saying a Communist party in one country received support from a Communist party in another country, even though the two parties wouldn’t exactly the same? Even if one party was peaceful and the other was Stalinist, you could understand that shared ideology gave them common purpose, couldn’t you? So why is it impossible to understand that Islamists also have shared purposes?

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    Norheim–I hope you stick around. We need a bit of sanity around here.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    Agreed. It was a pretty weak panel. Andrea Mitchell was the authoritative voice of the conventional, official wisdom. Katty and Elisbeth had no insights. Zuckerman predictably pushed the Zionist line. Fallows chose to mostly muzzle himself. Charlene had some good insights, but nobody was interested in Africa.
    The audience had a couple good questions and comments:
    1) What are America’s goals. Katty said, “to get other nations to serve America’s national interests.” Elisabeth said, “to have a foreign policy like Bush I.” Zuckerman said, “be stronger.” Katty said, “Obama is being strong like Bush 43.”
    Wow! What a panel of deep thinkers, most of whom have clearly never given a moment’s thought as to what America’s goals in the world should be.
    2) The Iranian said, “Iran has no power to do anything, just being “made big” to scare people in the Gulf States.” That thought was apparently so novel, that none of the panel had even contemplated it, hence they couldn’t respond!
    Yes, Steve’s comments were by far the most thoughtful.
    If this panel was any indication, Aspen exists to have elites fawn over each other, each trying to trying to impress the other with the astuteness of their platitudes.

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    So:
    A: “Hamas wants to exterminate the Jews” – and
    B:”Erdogan and the left support Hamas” – ergo:
    C: Hamas, Erdogan, and the Left want to exterminate the
    Jews and/or look away while they are exterminated.
    Aren’t you ashamed, Nadine, trying to sell this crap here?
    You’re no better than Caroll on a bad day, claiming that die
    Juden want to declare war against all the gojims in the world
    after killing the Palestinians.
    I am fed up of this non stop paranoid hysteria,
    masquerading as “foreign policy” opinions.

    Reply

  40. kotzabasis says:

    Nadine
    Your logic is unshakable build on the facts of the Democrat

    Reply

  41. Carroll says:

    Well, at least Steve’s comments were intelligent andn insightful, most of the others weren’t.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    “I can’t express how sick I am of your habitual distortions
    of the views of powerful politicians, of countries,
    continents, the universe, your president, thinktankers, the
    host here, and ordinary, powerless fellow commenters at
    this site (me among them).
    To portrait Erdogan as an Islamist with similar goals as
    other groups who you claim wish to exterminate the Jews
    is disgusting propaganda and bizarre distortions and
    nothing more than that.” (Paul Norheim)
    Paul, AKP is an Islamist party. Self-proclaimed. Erdogan has gone out of his way to break Turkey’s old alliance with Israel, to ally himself with Hamas, denying that they are terrorists, Iran and Bashir of Sudan, whose innocence Erdogan defends since “Muslims don’t commit genocide.”
    Meantime, Erdogan uses his control of the media to whip up anti-Israel hysteria after the flotilla incident, which was sent with Erdogan’s blessing via the Hamas-supporting IHH, his allies.
    Gee, where could I have gotten the idea that Erdogan has similar goals? He proclaims Hamas are his allies under his protection, what am I to make of that? (But note: never a kind word for Fatah, so this isn’t about the “poor Palestinians”)
    These are his own words and actions. You want documentation for every statement? It’s there.
    You are trying to live in a pretend world, and insulting the messenger who brings you the bad news. Maybe they don’t print these things in Norway, but use your bad connection to search the internet, and you will find Erdogan’s own words, he’s not shy about giving his opinion.
    The only thing delaying recognition of the obvious in leftist haunts such as TWN (even here the facts can no longer be denied, even if the underlying ideology remains invisible) is the absolute refusal of the Left to acknowledge the existence of Islamism — modern political Islam — in its various forms.

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    I know, John. I should have taken a much longer break from
    this blog; a year, perhaps.

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its really a shame that so many of you feed this Nadine abomination. You aren’t sick of reading her propaganda ad nauseum?

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Bill Kristol, right-wingers found pro-Israel attack group
    New York – American right wingers have founded a new organization, the Emergency Committee for Israel, that is attacking lawmakers they see as breaking the pro-Israeli consensus in Washington.
    The new group

    Reply

  46. JohnH says:

    Give it up, Paul. Your arguments (and Steve’s) are way to nuanced and complicated for Nadine’s simplistic, Amalek vs. the Jews world.

    Reply

  47. Paul Norheim says:

    Hi Questions.

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    “It probably would weaken the hard-liners’ standing.
    Which is why the hard-liners have positioned themselves
    to have a foolproof veto on any settlement. That is the
    TRUE linkage, which Steve pretends doesn’t exist.”
    (Nadine)
    Well, that was at least an argument dealing with the line of
    thinking I referred to…
    “What Paul Berman points out is that Steve & his fellow
    intellectuals are actually strengthening the hard-liners by
    accepting their terms for the debate; even holding them to
    be more “authentic” Muslim voices than the moderate
    democratic movements…” (Nadine)
    Yeah, but what Paul Norheim points out is that Nadine and
    her fellow propagandists are actually strengthening the
    hardliners by accepting their terms for the debate; even
    holding them to be more “authentic” Muslim voices than
    the moderate democratic movements.
    “Neither can even put Erdogan’s ideology on the table as a
    motivation. Erdogan is an Islamist; he says he is an
    Islamist…” etc.etc.
    I can’t express how sick I am of your habitual distortions
    of the views of powerful politicians, of countries,
    continents, the universe, your president, thinktankers, the
    host here, and ordinary, powerless fellow commenters at
    this site (me among them).
    To portrait Erdogan as an Islamist with similar goals as
    other groups who you claim wish to exterminate the Jews
    is disgusting propaganda and bizarre distortions and
    nothing more than that.
    “It seems to me highly hypocritical to support a party that
    worked so hard for an American defeat in the field, then
    smoothly observe that America’s near-defeat in Iraq “really
    punctured our superpower mystique” (Nadine).
    Utter crap again. Steve Clemons didn’t “support” the
    democrats during or before the election; he’s always been
    a bigger fan of GOP people like Chuck Hagel and other
    moderate republicans than of the average
    Democrat.
    You’re just talking, accusing carelessly, distorting the
    views of others just to make your own partisan points for
    the millionth time. And you are basically unwilling to
    appreciate efforts that go beyond the partisan back and
    forth.

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    “I referred to what I interpret as Steve’s view that if the I/P
    deal were settled, it may weaken the standing of
    Achmedinejad and militant extremist (Anti-American)
    groups in and beyond the region.” (Paul Norheim)
    It probably would weaken the hard-liners’ standing. Which is why the hard-liners have positioned themselves to have a foolproof veto on any settlement. That is the TRUE linkage, which Steve pretends doesn’t exist. The radicals will do what it is necessary to stop a settlement, escalating to any level of violence needed.
    What Paul Berman points out is that Steve & his fellow intellectuals are actually strengthening the hard-liners by accepting their terms for the debate; even holding them to be more “authentic” Muslim voices than the moderate democratic movements like March 14th in Lebanon or the Green Movement in Iran, whom they won’t lift a finger to aid against repression. They won’t even say a word in support of the moderates, because they censor themselves from noting the Islamo-fascist nature of their oppressors.

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Well, gee, SOMEone could join me way way down below at the other Aspen thread?
    Or maybe not. It’s MINE, I tell you, MINE MINE MINE!
    Hi, Paul.

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    We are all very familiar with your idea that an I/P deal is
    impossible due to the Palestinian wish to exterminate the
    Jews, so I see no point in you interfering with my comment
    to Don just to point that out for the millionth time.
    First: In my comment, I didn’t address Otaiba’s statement
    at all (“that the US compel Israel to settle a deal with the
    Arab League and Palestine — and in result find its
    relations normalized with 57 other nations.”)
    I referred to what I interpret as Steve’s view that if the I/P
    deal were settled, it may weaken the standing of
    Achmedinejad and militant extremist (Anti-American)
    groups in and beyond the region. And this is, I think, one
    of the main reasons why he writes so much about the I/P
    conflict.
    My only point was that I/P sort of plays an analogous role
    in his thinking in the ME context, to the Cuba embargo in
    the South/Central American context.
    Secondly: I don’t think you were around here during the
    election crisis in Iran. If you had read Steve’s frequent
    comments during the crisis, you would realize that any
    suggestion that he supports the hardliners in Tehran is
    ridiculous.
    BTW: What I said above was not based on the Aspen
    debate (my online connection is so bad right now that I
    haven’t seen it yet), but on other comments by Steve in the
    past.

    Reply

  52. JohnH says:

    Nadine cannot accept the possibility that Erdogan might be pursuing Turkey’s own national interests.
    She can only know for certain that Erdogan is not subordinating Turkish policy to Israel’s. Therefore he is without doubt an Islamist.
    However, unlike the United States, most countries do not subordinate their policies to Israel’s. Therefore, most countries must be run by Islamists.
    Nadine, have you had an eye test lately? Anything out there besides black and white?

    Reply

  53. nadine says:

    As Paul Berman (_The_Flight_of_the_Intellectuals_) said two days ago in the WSJ:
    “In our present Age of the Zipped Lip, you are supposed to avoid making any of the following inconvenient observations about the history and doctrines of the Islamist movement:
    You are not supposed to observe that Islamism is a modern, instead of an ancient, political tendency, which arose in a spirit of fraternal harmony with the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and ’40s.
    You are not supposed to point out that Nazi inspirations have visibly taken root among present-day Islamists, notably in regard to the demonic nature of Jewish conspiracies and the virtues of genocide.
    And you are not supposed to mention that, by inducing a variety of journalists and intellectuals to maintain a discreet and respectful silence on these awkward matters, the Islamist preachers and ideologues have succeeded in imposing on the rest of us their own categories of analysis. ”
    I’d say that panel went to some pains to avoid touching any of the forbidden subjects, at considerable harm to the sense of some of their arguments.

    Reply

  54. nadine says:

    “I am no expert on Steve Clemons’ foreign policy views,
    and I do not share all of them, but after reading him for a
    while, I would assume that he would welcome a weakening
    of Achmedinejad and other hardliners (perhaps even a
    popular revolt against the hardliners), as – among other
    things – a scenario that could possibly even prevent a
    US/Israeli military attack on Iran; and eventually also
    create an environment for a US/Iranian Grand Bargain.”
    I haven’t seen Steve declare his views on the “Grand Bargain”, but he has more than once put forward Flynt Leveretts ardent proposals for a Grand Bargain now, with no conditions imposed on Iran; current hardliners welcome.

    Reply

  55. nadine says:

    Paul, who is the audience for this linkage idea? The Sunni Arab regimes, right? who according to Steve, would be ready at the drop of a hat to normalize relations with Israel if only Israel would “get serious”.
    To this I would reply, that this flies in the face of the available evidence. The Arab regimes were always conspicuously AWOL when Israel was most serious about negotiating, putting forth vague and fuzzy peace proposals only when the process was safely broken down. It also ignores the Palestinians’ total lack of readiness to negotiate, since they have an unfinished civil war on their hands. All of Hamas and half of Fatah declare that they will never recognize Israel; and these hardliners have an effective veto on the process.
    On top of that, the major Arab players — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulfies, are practically screaming, “NEVER MIND THE PALESTINIANS! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IRAN?”
    In short, I think the linkage idea is one of those ideas that sounds clever in the abstract, but is disconnected from Mideast reality.
    The Sunni Arabs states are hoist on their own petard. They have a US President so naive he believes what they have been saying in public “on top of the table” when they most need a wise President who understands the real “under the table” game.

    Reply

  56. samuelburke says:

    Steve, you did a marvelous job of trying to expose the fault line i.e
    I/p.
    the full time apologist do not get it and will have to be ripped off
    of their positions re: I/P like a tick off a dogs back.
    these full time zion-apologist will not relinquish their world view
    on their own, this will occur only as full pressure is applied.
    thanks for putting it out there for your country.

    Reply

  57. Paul Norheim says:

    Don Bacon said ( Jul 12 2010, 10:00AM):
    “Come on, linking a war on Iran with forcing an I/P deal?
    What kind of policy is that? An irrational one, I’d say.”
    ———————–
    Don, you may agree or disagree with Steve’s views on this,
    but I think there is a rationale behind his linking of an I/P
    deal with the Iran issue.
    It would probably make more sense if you regarded his
    consistent focus on the Israel/Palestine conflict as
    analogous to his focus on the US Cuba embargo.
    Steve doesn’t like Hugo Chavez much more than he likes
    Achmedinejad; and one of the main reasons why he is so
    obsessed with Cuba is that an end of the embargo would
    weaken the position of people like Chavez (and perhaps
    create a domino effect in Latin America), similar to how he
    believes that settling the Israel/Palestine conflict would
    weaken the standing of Achmedinejad, as well as several
    radical Islamist groups in the Middle East and Central Asia
    who frequently use the Palestinian suffering and injustice
    to mobilize young Muslims for their causes.
    I am no expert on Steve Clemons’ foreign policy views,
    and I do not share all of them, but after reading him for a
    while, I would assume that he would welcome a weakening
    of Achmedinejad and other hardliners (perhaps even a
    popular revolt against the hardliners), as – among other
    things – a scenario that could possibly even prevent a
    US/Israeli military attack on Iran; and eventually also
    create an environment for a US/Iranian Grand Bargain.
    As I said: You may disagree with this perspective, but it’s
    not irrational.

    Reply

  58. nadine says:

    I notice Andrea Mitchell goes on and on about how Turkey was rejected by the West. She thinks Erdogan’s strategic choices are due to hurt feelings, apparently. Steve says Erdogan is positioning himself as the “indispensible player.”
    Neither can even put Erdogan’s ideology on the table as a motivation. Erdogan is an Islamist; he says he is an Islamist; he has worked steadily to dismantle the secular strictures of Kemalist Turkey; to inhibit the press, change the Constitution, intimidate the military; he has called democracy a “streetcar” that you get off when you reach your destination; he aligns with other Islamist regimes, including Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Sudan (but not Arab secular regimes); he has broken relations with Israel and strained them with the US — how this is part of his cunning strategy to make himself indispensable, Steve does not explain.
    It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic, that these “wise men” and women of the FP establishment cannot see the primary and most obvious motive for Erdogan’s strategic choices when it is staring them right in the face.

    Reply

  59. nadine says:

    “American Tax payers have been picking up the tab for keeping Afghanistan and Iraq from integrating back into Iran” (Pahlavan)
    So after you reconstitute the Persian Empire, who will take the title “King of Kings”? Ahmedinejad or Khamenei?

    Reply

  60. nadine says:

    “”Otaiba’s statement was reported widely.” I guess that gives it credence, eh wot? Since when does wide reporting signify a rational idea, one worth repeating yet again?”
    When one Arab diplomat says publicly what a hundred Arab diplomats have been saying privately, according to the panel.
    “We fear this administration does not have the strength to confront its enemies, nor the will to support its friends.”
    That’s a direct quote from a Japanese diplomat, according to Mort Zuckerman, who says it is very widespread impression around the world. The leftists on the panel don’t buy it: oh no, their guy Obama is tough, look some of his words are as tough as Bush’s! Yeah guys, but he & his people cannot utter the words “Radical Islam”. If you can’t name your enemy, how can you confront him?

    Reply

  61. JohnH says:

    Here’s a summary so you won’t have to watch it.
    Andrea Mitchell opens panel by talking about what a great woman Joe Biden’s wife is. (Go Andrea!)
    Kay: America is important. Obama is not a unpopular as thought.
    Zuckerman: speaking on behalf of Arabs and Israelis, it’s Obama’s fault that things are not going well. He should have brought Dennis Ross in sooner (someone who has forever undermined any momentum for peace.)
    Bumiller: Afghan women fear that America might leave (no sign here that she is embedded with the US military.)
    Steve: Doubts about America’s ability to achieve or if American even has a strategy that can succeed.
    Fallows spoke about China.
    The black women, Hunter-Gault got to speak last, asked about HIV! After addressing that, Hunter-Gault went on talk about Africa’s concern–lot’s of nice talk but no action by Obama.
    Zuckerman speaks about Egyptian anger at Hezbollah terrorists.
    Group: Is US willing to confront Iran?
    Steve: There is no silver bullet for Iran. Israel has had opportunities to secure its long term interests but did not respond. As a client state, Israel is impacting US relationships.
    Audience member: What are US goals?
    Kay: get other countries to serve American interests. (Kudos for honesty!)
    Bumiller: be centrist and internationalist, like Bush I. (Now there’s a goal!)
    Fallows: focus on economic strength, soft power.
    Steve: military power has shown its limits. Need to focus on innovation, stop being a bloated, underperformer like GM. US has created a vacuum that others will fill.
    Zuckerman: America not being strong.
    Kay: Despite soft words, America is being strong, following the same policies as Bush.
    Hunter-Gault: Africa critical; nations want to be partners not supplicants.
    Fallows: US has always had problems with how it is viewed. Iran vs. US–who’s side is time on?
    Steve: getting off collision course with Russia is a good thing.
    Mitchell: Pakistan scares Washington decision makers.
    Iranian from audience: US policies short sighted, self interested. No one helped Green Movement in the right way. Iran has no power to do anything, just being “made big” to scare people in the Gulf States. (Zero comment from panel–apparently not worthy of response.)
    Audience member: Arabs behind radicalization of Turkey.
    Steve: Status quo not working, Erdogan positioning Turkey to be the new indispensable nation.
    (Good job, Steve. Nice to see your your thoughtful positions laid out in more depth.)

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    Steve asks “why won’t the Israelis get credible on the two-state solution”?
    Geeze, did the offers of 2000 and 2007 drop down the memory hole? They are close to the maximum Israel could offer. They were refused without a counter. In the first case, the Israelis got a terror war.
    Israel has concluded, on excellent evidence, that the Palestinians don’t want a state. It’s not easy to MAKE them a take a state if they don’t want one. They have the weapon of their incompetence and weakness: We won’t build any institutions, we’ll remain corrupt, so if you withdraw from the West Bank unilaterally, Hamas will take over like they did in Gaza. But do send more billions in aid and keep making small concessions while we wail about your “brutal occupation”: we like the “salami piece plan”.

    Reply

  63. Maw of America says:

    In light of the Ugandan bombings of World Cup viewing parties, I wish more people would take heed of Ms. Hunter-Gault’s comments on Africa being the next stationing ground for terrorism.

    Reply

  64. nadine says:

    The Saudis and the Egyptians have been making it clear that Iran and the subsidiaries of Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas are their worries, not the Israeli/Pal conflict. I think Steve’s continued passion over I/P as “a global fault line” is an idee fixe that the players in the region are trying to disabuse him of.
    How, in any way, shape or form, would the problem of Iran be made less by any kind of Israeli/PA settlement? Iran & its allies object to the existence of Israel, not its borders. They would be more enraged, not less, by the prospect of a settlement.
    I agree with everything Mort Zuckerman said about Obama’s naivite and inexperience and his complete inability to play the ‘under the table game’.

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  65. Pahlavan says:

    “History demonstarates this obvious truth, Iraq ,Afghanistan,Lybia,Syria,Lebanon,hamas and hezbollah,Eygpt,Jordan have all either collapsed ,run away, back-downed,or made a deal, in the face of Israeli or American force all of them , every time.”
    You should let historians comment on history, because if your jaded view was accurate, our 200K+ soldiers would be back on our soil by now, nor would you be blind to the fact that for many years American Tax payers have been picking up the tab for keeping Afghanistan and Iraq from integrating back into Iran, only so the Getty and Rockefellers clubs alike can continue their piracy.
    And if you gave a damn about human life, or America for that matter, you would also remember that when the US accidently took down the Iranian civilian airliner in the Persian Gulf, the marine housing facility in Lebanon later came tumbling down, or when the high ranking officers of Iran’s guard were taken out in Baluchistan, so were the CIA headquarters in Afghanistan.

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  66. nadine says:

    Steve, you said “our superpower mystique” was punctured by our difficulties in Iraq. I agree.
    So tell me, was it pro- or anti-American when the entire Democratic party decided to work for defeat in Iraq in order to harm George W. Bush?
    Look what the Democrats did as a deliberate partisan strategy: The whole “Bush Lied, People Died” meme, was cooked up in coordinated Democratic speeches in June 2004, the flogging of Abu Ghraib by keeping it on the front page of the NYTimes (effectively the DNC press office) for over 30 days in a row, the perpetual doom-saying, body counts and milestones from the Dem leadership and in the media, having the Senate Majority Leader declare “The Surge has failed. The War is Lost” on the floor of the Senate, and haranguing General Petraeus as a liar in Senate hearings (General “Betray-Us”) when he reported unwelcome progress in Iraq.
    Since then, of course, the Democrats took what they wanted — one party power — so now it’s their war and all former positions have become inoperative. No more bodycounts, Iraq is now “Obama’s success” according to your favorite, VP Biden, General Petraeus is the hero of the hour, Gitmo is still open, killing Al Qaeda with drones has been stepped up, etc, etc.
    It seems to me highly hypocritical to support a party that worked so hard for an American defeat in the field, then smoothly observe that America’s near-defeat in Iraq “really punctured our superpower mystique”. Gosh, wouldn’t an actual defeat and withdrawal — the position absolutely favored for years by Barack Obama and Harry Reid — have hurt our superpower mystique far worse?
    What use is an American political party that is only for America when they are in power?

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  67. nadine says:

    America’s Mideast policy is stuck in the 1980s, worrying about Israel/Palestine, while the actual Mideast (apart from Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas) is worrying about today’s problem: the rise of a soon-to-be nuclear Iran.
    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has said publicly that he needs action against Iran, not just talk. He has been seconded by his FM in this, and has recently begun to insult Obama in the guise of a compliment by calling him a “good and honorable man”. Barry Rubin and Aaron David Miller and other think-tank hands say the Saudis are even more blunt in private, quite uncharacteristically for them, fearing that Obama will simply throw them under the bus. debka, fwiw, says that Abdullah is working with the French to obtain a Saudi nuclear bomb ASAP, which is the ultimate vote of no-confidence in US policy.

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  68. Marcus says:

    Here are the points I disagree with;
    1) That US and or UN and or EU sanctions against Iran are a “gift” to Israel. In fact Israel and other countries have made it very clear that they do not believe sanctions will work ,rather that they will allow Iran more time to spin centrifuges and would work to increase support for the regime ( unlike a bombing that would reveal the weakness of same and decrease support(for a regime unable to protect the nations infrastruture). The weak//strong-horse theory seems to be pretty well aknowleged,so there is no reason a successful bombing of Iranian nuke sites should be looked at as anything other than weakening the regime.History demonstarates this obvious truth, Iraq ,Afghanistan,Lybia,Syria,Lebanon,hamas and hezbollah,Eygpt,Jordan have all either collapsed ,run away, back-downed,or made a deal, in the face of Israeli or American force all of them , every time.
    Sanctions against Iran therefore would weaken Israel for the aforementioned reasons and a forced,pre-mature I/P treaty with Israel making un-reciprocated consessions would also weaken her,this whole linkage is a lose-lose situation for Israel.
    2) The bombing of Iran would empower the regimes opponents,NOT the other way around again the weak/strong horse theory that is widely accepted wisdom when dealing with the M/E.
    3) Israel as a client state does not determine US policy,but it does demonstrate the limits of what money can buy and Israels security is one of those limits. Canadas refusal to enter the Iraq war is another example.(Americas two best allies,who will not let money/trade obsure or jeprodize their national strategic priorities.
    4) Israel will indeed bomb Iran one day if the current situation persists. Israel was afterall created for this purpose,firstly, to protect the jewish people,so I have no doubt about that.
    5) A I/P peace accord would not normalize relations with 57 countries, au contraire mon ami,the kind of peace envisioned today by these arab states is one where Israel would no longer exist as a soveriegn Jewish state,not our kind of “normal”
    6) Any detente or rapprochment with the “great satan” would weaken the Iranian regime,a deal with the West is simply contrary to their interests, period and there`s no point in looking for one. Any military confrontation with the West at this time,would also weaken them,they are in a lose-lose situation of their own making.

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  69. downtown says:

    Correction:
    MISGUIDED PEACENIKS !!

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  70. Don Bacon says:

    It’s no surprise that Mort Zuckerman, the editor of U.S. News & World Report, would quote a minor Arab figure, Yousef al-Otaiba, who advocates the Israeli position on Iran. On September 24, 2007 Zuckerman wrote a piece — Debunking the Myth of “The Israel Lobby” — which might have been written in Tel Aviv.
    http://tinyurl.com/2balajp
    “Otaiba’s statement was reported widely.” I guess that gives it credence, eh wot? Since when does wide reporting signify a rational idea, one worth repeating yet again? And to give it any cache at all by calling it “less important” than another statement, but apparently still important?
    A dumb statement reported widely, an Aspen “idea” you can hang your hat on. Not.
    We need less war, not more. Let’s report that widely.

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  71. downtown says:

    Mr. Zuckerman’s Newspaper, The NY Daily News, called the million protesters marching on First Avenue on Feb 15th 2003:
    MISGUIDED PEACENICKS!!!
    The man has ZERO credibility among Non-Neocons. Who keeps inviting these kinds of “gentlemen” to supposedly “intellectual” gatherings?

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  72. Carroll says:

    We don’t have a foreign policy “for the US.”
    DC’s foreign policy is whatever the US zionist, necons and the special interest want.
    Who the hell, pray tell, set up these “Aspen”, “the leaves are turning” laughable, self important “elites” as those who should be listened to?
    One of these days boys and girls, one of these days….

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  73. TS says:

    Agree 100% with JohnH’s first message. It is strange how foreign opinions always need to be channeled that way. In fact, this seems to be the main basis of the “send a guy from Iowa at great cost to a far away place” newspaper bureau model whose decline due to budget cuts we are all supposed to mourn. As if there weren’t local people who could do it.
    But even considering only Americans, their choices are really odd. Fallows has a lot to contribute, but what does Ms. Bumiller know about this topic?

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  74. Don Bacon says:

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    The savage wars of peace–
    Fill full the mouth of Famine
    And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly
    Bring all your hopes to nought.
    –Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden, 1899
    one stanza — read the whole thing
    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/kipling.html

    Reply

  75. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve,
    Which left-wing economists are represented at the Aspen Ideas Festival?

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  76. JohnH says:

    Arab? I didn’t see any Arab on the panel.
    But Zuckerman was there…

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  77. Don Bacon says:

    Here we have a person who knows “what many are saying Arab leaders are saying privately.” Now there’s a worthless presumption.
    And isn’t it odd how Arab leaders suddenly gain stature when they agree with the Israeli pro-war line.

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  78. JanisBerman says:

    At least an Arab country is speaking a loud what many are saying
    Arab leaders are saying privately

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  79. JohnH says:

    “For us to say ‘how does the world view us?’…is elite…is presumptuous.” Yes, indeed, Andrea.
    Amazing how Aspen could not find a single foreigner to give an opinion! How the world views America must be filtered through an American lens before being shared with the audience.
    I guess that having foreigners share their personal opinions about America might be too jarring to American sensitivities. Best keep it safe. Best let Americans speak on behalf of foreigners…

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  80. Don Bacon says:

    Come on, linking a war on Iran with forcing an I/P deal? What kind of policy is that? An irrational one, I’d say.

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  81. Don Bacon says:

    Let’s see now, we should for some inexplicable reason take seriously the position of the United Arab Emirates, a Sunni Muslim country slightly smaller than Maine composed of seven Arab sheikdoms, with five million people not one of whom is allowed to vote, where political parties are not allowed, and which ranks 176 in the world on education expenditures — when it advocates war by the USA against a large, powerful Shi’ite Muslim country in the region?
    I don’t think so. Talk about grasping at straws.

    Reply

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