Sherwood Ross: If Afghans are dying by the thousands and Pakistanis have become refugees by the millions to ensure Obama’s political survival, the U.S. has lost any vestige of moral authority.
Charley James: The saddest thing about Kuperman is that the Times gave him serious space in a supposedly serious newspaper to spout the same discredited nonsense that got us into a mess in the Middle East at the same time President Obama is trying to extricate the world from the chaos unleashed the last time the neo-con war mongers had their way.
In the 20th century, the few successful counterinsurgency campaigns run by an outside power—the Americans in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, the British in Malaya in the 1950s, and the Americans in Iraq—have one thing in common: the insurgency became divided.
There were more people protesting in the streets this week than we have seen in a long time: at least 80 communities rose up. I asked Jayne to thank the President for waking the sleeping giant and assured her that we will do all we can to make sure he does not get the money from Congress to escalate this senseless war.
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 [...]