Now President Obama tells us that the oil wars have cost us $10 trillion. If we believe the most strident Republican critics, just $1 trillion would pay for a decade of real health reform and care for everyone.
If the health care outcome shows that the U.S. Senate will not allow progressive change even with a 60-vote Democratic caucus, then what argument can the Obama team make to infrequent voters in 2010? If electing Obama and strong Democratic congressional majorities in 2008 did not bring real Change, why even bother voting?
Although Obama may enjoy a brief up-tick in poll numbers after his talk, as soon as larger numbers of American bodies come home in flag-draped coffins, and Walter Reed fills up again with the damaged bodies and minds of soldiers whose lives have been ruined, the country will turn against what it thought, in November, 2009, was a good idea.
The whirlwind of summiteering on climate change, non-proliferation, the economy, and Iran swept the Arab-Israeli conflict off the news – but not before Barack Obama had spoken of a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.” That startling turn of phrase – used just before his trilateral with Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu – is a throwback to a much earlier era of American peacemaking.
You should use the clout and credibility from the prize to convene serious, multiparty negotiations aimed at verifiably eliminating nuclear weapons from all arsenals, backed up with cooperative intelligence-gathering to ensure that non-state actors do not acquire or independently develop such weapons.
In reality, Obama’s troubles are not caused primarily by “the bad guys,” nor by Israel’s supposed power or that of the domestic “Israeli lobby,” nor even, as some critics charge, his own tendency to vacillate. Instead, he’s trapped in the conundrum that’s built into U.S. containment strategy in the Middle East. No matter what other nations do or don’t do, everything that looks like it might be a solution only turns out to create new problems.
After the long-suffering civilian population of Iraq, whose “crime” was having oil — a country that has been rendered virtually unlivable—the big losers are the American taxpayers who are bleeding income, jobs, and quality of life, not just sacrificing family members, on behalf of a runaway war machine.
When massive turmoil occurs in an important country, U.S. policymakers struggle to make heads or tails of it and arrive at an appropriate reaction. Kibitzers and pundits, however, have no trouble reaching immediate and sweeping conclusions and egging on the policymakers to further their own agendas. So far, President Obama has done a reasonably good [...]
One election in Iran will not significantly change U.S.-Iran relations—only a change in U.S. thinking and policy will do so. Historically, the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has painted relatively poor third world regimes that don’t toe the empire’s line as “evil”—Moammar El-Gadhafi’s Libya in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the [...]
Hillary Clinton’s blunt public statement that President Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements—not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions” made for good headlines. The Israelis were shocked and upset that their slavish ally had acted slightly less obsequious and engaged in a public spat with them. This ballyhooed baby step came [...]
The day after the White House talks between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse) sent out an unusual story. It seems to have noticed what some of the rest of us did, that the story was being downplayed. The talks, it said, had “earned only [...]
Israel’s Likudnik Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, was one of the driving forces behind the neo-conservative foreign policy doctrine of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC called for a new “realm” in the Middle East forged through aggressive military action. Its successful prodding of the United States to invade and occupy Iraq [...]
One of the most glaring ironies of the Middle East conflict is the righteous indignation displayed by the region’s leaders towards each other’s policies. In a region where violent and oppressive rule is the norm, leaders have no trouble pointing out each other’s flaws, often menacingly. And so Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government [...]
The recent release of memoranda used by the Bush administration to justify various aggressive interrogation techniques for use on suspected terrorists has led to widespread calls for prosecution, either against those who wrote the memos, those who approved them, or those who carried them out. The grounds for such prosecutions would be that the techniques [...]
Certainly no person aware of Israel’s blockade of goods and services to Gaza, or Israel’s devastating bombing of Gaza, would consider Gaza a vacation haven. Gaza is not a place of joy. It’s an overcrowded war zone populated by more than a million terrified men, women and children. They subsist amidst the rubble caused by [...]