Foreign Policy News and Commentary August 16, 2007
TOWARD A REALISTIC PEACE - RUDOLPH GIULIANI (FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007): It is clear that we need to do a better job of
explaining America's message and mission to the rest of the world, not by
imposing our ideas on others but by appealing to their enlightened
self-interest. To this end, the Voice of America program must be significantly
strengthened and broadened. Its surrogate stations, such as Radio Free Europe
and Radio Liberty, which were so effective at inspiring grass-roots dissidents
during the Cold War, must be expanded as well. Our entire approach to public
diplomacy and strategic communications must be upgraded and extended, with a
greater focus on new media such as the Internet.
ROVE ENDS LONG CAREER AS TOP BUSH ADVISER JIM MALONE (VOA, AUGUST 13):
Current and former White House colleagues paid tribute to Rove as the key
strategist in helping Mr. Bush win the presidency twice. Former Bush adviser
Karen Hughes worked closely with Rove on the election campaigns and now is the
top public diplomacy official at the State Department. "Polls rise and polls
fall. I think Karl has been an instrumental part of what I believe has been a
very successful, effective presidency," she said.
WHITE HOUSE: BUSH AGENDA SURVIVES ROVE POLITICAL BULLETIN (U.S. NEWS &
BWORLD REPORT, AUGUST 15): Insiders tell the Bulletin that Karen Hughes, one of
Bush's closest confidantes, could be reassigned from the State Department back
to the White House, where she served as communications czar during Bush's first
CONGRESS BALKS AT DOD'S 'STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION' PLANS - SEBASTIAN SPRENGER
(FCW.COM, VA , AUGUST 14): A Senate committee said the components of strategic
communication -- public diplomacy, public affairs and information operations --
should be practiced separately. 'Any attempt to integrate them could compromise
the integrity of each of these functions,' senators wrote in their June 5 report
accompanying their version of the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill.
ANALYSIS: IRAN'S SOFT POWER PAYS OFF - DEREK SANDS (UPI , AUGUST 14): The
U.S. government has long been accused of botching public diplomacy in the Muslim
world, where the United States is largely seen as an aggressive superpower more
interested in dropping bombs than promoting democracy. Iran, on the other hand,
has been bolstering its image not only by capitalizing on longstanding religious
and economic ties, but also by contributing millions of dollars for the
reconstruction of Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as informal aid to Iraq.
WHAT KARL ROVE DIDN'T BUILD: THE LONG-TERM COST OF WORKING THE ANGER POINTS
EDITORIAL (WASHINGTON POST, AUGUST 14): When polling data showed Mr. Rove that
there was more to be gained, politically, by intensifying support among the
conservative Republican base, Mr. Bush abandoned persuading the middle and
focused on motivating the right. Thus were born a host of policies -- on Social
Security, Guantanamo, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and so on -- that
deepened the country's polarization and helped alienate even old friends around
CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPT IRAQ CONTRACTS YIELDS RECORD CASELOAD - MATT KELLEY
(USA TODAY, AUGUST 15): A federal crackdown on corruption involving U.S.
contracts in Iraq produced a record number of criminal and administrative cases
last month -- including the largest bribery case.
'SURGE' HAS LED TO MORE DETAINEES: AS NUMBER IN IRAQ SOARS, DEBATE ON
SYSTEM'S FAIRNESS CONTINUES - WALTER PINCUS (WASHINGTON POST, AUGUST 15): US
military operations associated with the troop increase in Baghdad have boosted
the number of detainees held in American facilities in Iraq to about 23,000, up
5,000 from four months ago, according to Army Col. Mark Martins, the top
military lawyer in Iraq. That number represents an all-time high since the U.S.
occupation began in 2003.
WHITE HOUSE TO WRITE PETRAEUS' REPORT ON SUCCESS/FAILURE OF SURGE - JONATHAN
STEIN (MOTHER JONES, AUGUST 15): So these past several months when President
Bush has deflected questions about progress in Iraq with statements like, "I'm
going to wait for... David Petraeus to come back and give us the report on what
he sees," he's been bluffing us. David Petraeus isn't writing any reports -- the
much-ballyhooed September report that will give America an update on the
situation on the ground in Iraq will be written by propaganda artists sitting in
offices in Washington DC, likely in the White House itself.
WHAT 'PROGRESS' IN IRAQ REALLY MEANS - TOM ENGELHARDT (NATION, AUGUST 13):
Admittedly, a "surge" does sound more comforting, less aggressive, less
long-lasting, and somehow less harmful than an "escalation," but the fact is
that we are six months into the newest escalation of American power in Iraq.
THE CHALLENGE OF FEDERALISM: IRAQ SET TO DISINTEGRATE, NEW STUDY WARNS ?
SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL, AUGUST 15): It's no secret that Iraq is a politically,
ethnically and religiously fractured country. But a new study released in Berlin
on Wednesday argues that federalism remains the country's last, best hope.
Otherwise, it may fall apart completely.
IGNORING PKK TERRORISM - TULIN DALOGLU (WASHINGTON TIMES, AUGUST 14): If
Iraqi Kurdish leaders and the United States continue not to act against PKK
terrorism, they will hamper the Kurdish nationalist Democratic Society Party's
(DTP) opportunity to create a positive atmosphere to open public debate and seek
real solutions on some very difficult topics.
"A HEART TO HEART TALK": BUSH WARNS PUPPETS NOT TO PRAISE IRAN - GARY LEUPP
(COUNTERPUNCH, AUGUST 14): Amid Karzai, hand-picked by Washington to pose as
president of the broken country of Afghanistan, says his government has "very,
very good, very, very close relations [and] will continue to have good relations
with Iran." Nuri al-Maliki, favored by Washington as the most viable prime
minister to pretend to lead the bleeding country of Iraq, says Iran is doing
"positive and constructive" work in "providing security and fighting terrorism"
in his country. Both of these puppet regimes in nations bordering Iran seek to
maintain close relations with the Islamic Republic. But puppets aren't supposed
to compose their own lines, and the puppeteer George Bush seems somewhat irked
at these words.
A NEW COLD WAR WITH IRAN? - JOHN TIRMAN (BOSTON GLOBE, AUGUST 14): What is
truly worrisome about the Iran-US rivalry is how the lack of stability and
communication might lead to war.
GADDAFI'S LIBYA: AN ALLY FOR AMERICA? - BENJAMIN R. BARBER (WASHINGTON POST,
AUGUST 15): Libya under Gaddafi has embarked on a journey that could make it the
first Arab state to transition peacefully and without overt Western intervention
to a stable, non-autocratic government and, in time, to an indigenous mixed
constitution favoring direct democracy locally and efficient government
centrally. Completely off the radar, without spending a dollar or posting a
single soldier, the United States has a potential partner in what could become
an emerging Arab democracy smack in the middle of Africa's north coast.
THE PECULIAR RELATIONSHIP: "NO AMERICAN PRESIDENT CAN STAND UP TO ISRAEL" -
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS (COUNTERPUNCH, AUGUST 15)
US UNIVERSITIES REJECT BRITISH BOYCOTT PROPOSAL - DAVID HARRIS (JERUSALEM
POST, AUGUST 15): A full-page ad the American Jewish Committee (AJC) placed, as
a public service, in the New York Times last week, included the names of nearly
300 American college and university presidents who endorsed the statement of Lee
Bollinger, president of Columbia University, denouncing a proposed boycott of
Israeli universities by the British University and College Union (UCU).
BUSH'S TANGLED ARMS DEAL: BY SELLING WEAPONS TO "MODERATE" STATES, BUSH
WOULD AGAIN BE PLAYING PUPPET MASTER AND JERKING AROUND THE MIDDLE EAST WITH
DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES - GARY KAMIYA (SALON, AUGUST 14)
THE PEACE CONFERENCE IN KABUL EDITORIAL (BOSTON GLOBE, AUGUST 14):
Pakistan must be assured that a post-Taliban Afghanistan will not become a
repository of Indian influence, will not deprive the Pashtun of their fair share
of power, and will recognize the current border between the two countries. And
it would help if America and its allies generously funded reconstruction
projects through the Karzai government and ceased air attacks that kill Afghan
THE PAKISTAN PROBLEM - H.D.S. GREENWAY (BOSTON GLOBE, AUGUST 14): The latest
National Intelligence Estimate has forced President Bush to face up to the fact
that a reconstituted Al Qaeda in Pakistan is a major threat -- perhaps the major
threat -- to the United States.
GETTING ANSWERS ON PAKISTAN - MARK SCHNEIDER (BOSTON GLOBE, AUGUST 15): The
choice before the United States in Pakistan's election year, with time fast
running out, is stark. It can support a return to genuine democracy and civilian
rule, which offers the added bonus of containing extremism, or it can sit on the
sidelines as Pakistan slides into political chaos, creating an environment in
which militancy and radicalism will continue to thrive.
THE MULLAHS WON'T LIKE IT - ANDREW LEONARD (SALON, AUGUST 15): The Pakistan
pop sensation singers of "Yeh Hum Naheen" ('This Is Not Us") are making a
statement about themselves: Muslim does not equal terrorist.
PSYCHOLOGISTS TO CIA: WE CONDEMN TORTURE: IN A REBUKE OF PRESIDENT BUSH, THE
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION HAS RESOLVED TO CONDEMN BRUTAL CIA AND
MILITARY INTERROGATIONS - MARK BENJAMIN (SALON, AUGUST 15)
RELIGIOUS GROUPS MOBILIZE TO DEFEAT BUSH PRISONER POLICIES - WILLIAM FISHER
(TRUTHOUT, AUGUST 14)
THE FALSE CHOICE BETWEEN TREATING TERRORISTS AS CRIMINALS OR SOLDIERS -
DAHLIA LITHWICK (SLATE, AUGUST 14): Criminal vs. soldier is not a dichotomy the
Bush administration accepts. It never has. This president likes to have it both
ways: tending to treat terror suspects as soldiers or criminals as suits his
purposes. The innovation of his lawyers has been to tack back and forth between
the military and criminal law systems, thus avoiding either's constraints.
THERE'S A GLOBAL JIHAD OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRIMINALS AND TERRORISTS -
JONAH GOLDBERG (BATIMORE SUN.COM, AUGUST 14): We obviously need rules for
dealing with people we capture, which is precisely what the Bush administration
has been trying to establish. But saying that we should treat terrorists like
criminals is to argue for doing less than nothing.
LEARN FROM THE FALL OF ROME, US WARNED - JEREMY GRANT (FINANCIAL TIMES,
AUGUST 14): The US government is on a ?burning platform? of unsustainable
policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding,
immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is
not taken soon, the country's top government inspector has warned. Drawing
parallels with the end of the Roman empire, David Walker, comptroller general of
the U.S., warned there were 'striking similarities' between America?s current
situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including ?declining moral
values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended
military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central
SOME US ALLIES SEEK MORE VISA WAIVERS - DESMOND BUTLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
(WASHINGTON POST, AUGUST 15)
U.S. STUDIES STRESS FOR DIPLOMATS AT DANGEROUS POSTS REUTERS (NEW YORK
TIMES, AUGUST 14): One in six U.S. diplomats who have served in dangerous
countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan may suffer from post-traumatic stress
disorder, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.