THE GATES CRITIQUE ? EDITORIAL (BOSTON GLOBE, NOVEMBER 29): Secretary of Defense Robert Gates displayed solid news judgment in presenting a valid critique of recent US efforts to meet contemporary challenges almost entirely by military means. His prescription for righting the imbalance between hard power and soft power should be debated by the presidential candidates of both parties. What Gates left unsaid, but should have said, is that America will not be able to retrieve its squandered soft power without showing a decent respect for the international treaties and organizations of a world order that was laboriously constructed by previous US administrations.
TRANSCRIPT OF GATES SPEECH AT
US PLANS TO 'FIGHT THE NET' REVEALED - ADAM BROOKES, BBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (INFOSHOP NEWS, NOVEMBER 29; first appeared January 27, 2006): From The newly declassified "Information Operations Roadmap" (2003): "nformation intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience."
BIDEN: DIPLOMACY CAN AID U.S. - MIKE MCCORD (SEACOSTONLINE, NOVEMBER 30): Presidential candidate Joe Biden looked to recent history and the uses of American power in places such as Bosnia and Kosovo that have proved very successful and stabilizing. Biden, chairman of the foreign relations committee, said the world is waiting to pitch in and that he hopes to leave a legacy of restoring the country's moral legitimacy and the ability to use widespread public diplomacy.
THE REPUBLICAN WAY OF WAR - KEVIN MATTSON (GUARDIAN, NOVEMBER 29): Why bother explaining what you stand for when what you stand for is so incredibly self-evident and obvious? This explains why Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes's attempts at public diplomacy have fallen flat on their face and why she recently resigned from the state department. Assuredness about virtue is no recipe for public diplomacy.
INDIA CAN OFFER QUIET DIPLOMACY - JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA (ECONOMIC TIMES, INDIA, NOVEMBER 30): The real issue is not what India can, or rather could have contributed at the US-hosted Mid-East peace conference in Annapolis. It is what India might contribute now that the conference is over. First, we can offer quiet diplomacy to help in those tracks where change is possible, and that itself will be something of a balm for those suffering from too much public diplomacy, which is the case with all of West Asia.
ANNAPOLIS, A CHANCE TO JOIN THE MIDEAST PEACE TRAIN - ENDY M. BAYUNI (JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA, NOVEMBER 30): If Indonesia is changing its Middle East policy in the wake of the country's participation in Annapolis, and is seeking a more active role in the peace process, then the government had better work on its public diplomacy on the home front as well.
UKRAINE'S PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SAYS: WE ARE NOT RUSSIA ? (KIM ANDREW ELLIOT DISCUSSING INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, NOVEMBER 29): "'Russia wants to re-establish itself as a world leader' whereas 'all Ukrainians want to be European.'"
US, OTHERS PLEDGE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS - ASSOCIATED PRESS (NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 30): The United States, Britain and France publicly pledged Thursday to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of journalists in war zones. The three countries became the first signatories of the Geneva Convention to accept a new nonbinding accord on protecting correspondents in conflict, said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which oversees compliance with the 1949 treaty on the rules of war.
AMERICAN BRAIN DRAIN REVIEW & OUTLOOK (WALL STREET JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 30): Foreign students comprised 44% of science and engineering doctorates last year. Closing the door to foreign professionals puts US companies at a competitive disadvantage and pushes jobs out of the country.
THE ALGEBRA OF OCCUPATION - CONN HALLINAN (FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS, NOVEMBER 27): ?Winning over the population,? continues to be the illusion of every occupier. Testifying before Congress, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, 'Army soldiers can expect to be tasked with reviving public services, rebuilding infrastructure, and promoting good government.' And then there is the real world.
AL QAEDA'S EMERGING DEFEAT - AUSTIN BAY (WASHINGTON TIMES, NOVEMBER 30): http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071130/COMMENTARY/111300020/1012&template=printart
REOPENING OF LOOTED MUSEUM SIGNALS A CALMER BAGHDAD - JON SWAIN (SUNDAY TIMES, NOVEMBER 25): Nearly five years after it was ransacked by hordes of looters in the wake of Saddam Hussein?s overthrow, the Iraq museum in Baghdad is about to open its doors again.
IRAQI TV, THEN AND NOW: 'FRIENDS', 'DR. PHIL' AND SATELLITE DISHES TAKE PLACE OF ACTION FLICKS AND SADDAM (WALL STREET JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 28)
IRAQ LACKS PLAN ON THE RETURN OF REFUGEES, MILITARY SAYS - MICHAEL R. GORDON AND STEPHEN FARRELL (NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 30)
PROCESSING OF IRAQI REFUGEES IMPROVES, OFFICIALS SAY: STATE DEPARTMENT EXPECTS AS MANY AS 12,000 TO ARRIVE IN THE UNITED STATES NEXT YEAR - WALTER PINCUS (WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 30)
IRAQIS' QUALITY OF LIFE MARKED BY SLOW GAINS, MANY SETBACKS: WORRIES ABOUND THAT GOVERNMENT ISN'T UP TO TASK OF PROVIDING SERVICES - AMIT R. PALEY AND KAREN DEYOUNG (WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 30)
QUIET BEFORE A NEW IRAQ STORM? IN THE FOX'S LAIR - WILLIAM S. LIND (COUNTERPUNCH, NOVEMBER 28): In past wars, quiet periods at the front have often preceded a "big push" by one side or both. Such may prove to be the case in Iraq as well, at least as far as Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army are concerned.
STILL NO WAY OUT - EDITORIAL (NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 30): Iraq's leaders are no closer to making the political deals that are the only hope for building a self-sustaining peace. Americans need to ask themselves the questions Mr. Bush is refusing to answer: Is this country signing on to keep the peace in Iraq indefinitely? If so, how many American and Iraqi deaths a month are an acceptable price? If not, what?s the plan for getting out?
BUSH'S NEXT PREEMPTIVE STRIKE - HAROLD MEYERSON (WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 29): On Monday, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a declaration pledging that their governments would put in place a long-term political and security pact sometime next year. What Bush will almost surely be pushing for is permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, enshrined in a pact he can sign a few months before he leaves office.
BUSH ISN'T THE ONLY DECIDER: HE SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO LOCK IN AN IRAQ TREATY WITHOUT CONGRESS' APPROVAL - BRUCE ACKERMAN (LOS ANGELES TIMES, NOVEMBER 29): President Bush is again in legacy mode. His White House "czar" on Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, explained that the administration intends to reach a final agreement between the two countries by July 31, 2008. In describing the negotiations, he made a remarkable suggestion: Only the Iraqi parliament, not the US Congress, needs to formally approve the agreement.
THERE'S REASON FOR HOPE IN IRAQ, BUT MANY HURDLES REMAIN TRUDY RUBIN (BALTIMORESUN.COM, NOVEMBER 27): Remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq wait in the wings. Radical Shiite militias retain their arms. The al-Maliki government is weak and inept. But the current security lull at least provides a base on which to build something sustainable before U.S. troops start to withdraw. This Iraqi opening deserves a chance.
WHERE TO FIND PROGRESS IN IRAQ: BAGHDAD SHOULDN'T BE THE COUNTRY'S ONLY BELLWETHER - JON P. DORSCHNER (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NOVEMBER 29): After years of violence, insurgency, and uprisings, the current window of relative peace may present an unprecedented opportunity to move ahead economically and politically. Provincial people and their governments appear determined to grab this opportunity and run with it, with or without the government in Baghdad. And that is a legitimate sign of progress for the country. (Jon P. Dorschner is a career foreign-service officer and the Iraq provincial affairs officer in the Italian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Dhi Qar Province. This piece was subject to State Department review.)
POSSIBLE DEMOCRAT CHOICE AS NEXT SECRETARY OF STATE SAYS PENTAGON IS FIERCELY OPPOSED TO STRIKE: HOLBROOKE SAYS BUSH WON'T ATTACK IRAN - JEFF BERG (COUNTERPUNCH, NOVEMBER 28)
U.S. WANTS TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS ON IRANIAN NONINTERVENTION PACT - REESE ERLICH (BATIMORESUN.COM, NOVEMBER 28): President Bush and leading Democratic presidential candidates have said a military attack on Iran is a viable option. Yet the 1981 Algiers Accords, backed by Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, prohibit such an attack. SEE BELOW ITEM 50.
AFTER ANNAPOLIS: NEGOTIATIONS TO COME AND A FUTURE STILL UNKNOWN EDWARD M. GOMEZ (WORLD VIEWS, SF GATE, NOVEMBER 28)
IN MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS, HOW BIG A ROLE WILL BUSH PLAY? BUSH APPEARS TO BE PLAYING DOWN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE US IN THE PROCESS, BUT SOME EXPERTS SEE A NEED FOR AN ACTIVE OUTSIDE ARBITER - HOWARD LAFRANCHI (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NOVEMBER 29)
BUSH'S NEXT STEP? WHO KNOWS? - DAN FROOMKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, NOVEMBER 29): When it comes to achieving peace in the Middle East, President Bush seems to have no idea what to do next.
THE WHITE HOUSE 'AFTER PARTY' - DAN FROOMKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, NOVEMBER 28): Bush's flirtation with Middle East summitry looks more like an attempt to humor his beloved secretary of state than it does a departure from his hands-off and ardently pro-Israeli posture of the past seven years. SEE ALSO BELOW ITEMS 54-57.
AFGHAN COUNTERINSURGENCY BY THE BOOK - FAWZIA SHEIKH (ASIA TIMES, NOVEMBER 28): The Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy, a work in progress, aims to teach counterinsurgency practices to newly arrived Western trainers sent to embed with the Afghan security forces, as well as to coalition forces and to senior members of the Afghan military, police and intelligence services. The academy received US$1 million this year but is lobbying for an annual budget of $7-9 million to spend on paying instructors and for building infrastructure.
A 'SURGE' FOR AFGHANISTAN? A MARINE PROPOSAL UNDER DISCUSSION THIS WEEK WOULD REDEPLOY TROOPS FROM IRAQ - GORDON LUBOLD (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NOVEMBER 29)
THE GENERAL STANDS ALONE EDITORIAL (WASHINGTON TIMES, NOVEMBER 30): Pakistan's democratic opposition is embittered at the continued U.S. support for Mr. Musharraf, and will probably boycott the January elections.
THE GENERAL RETIRES: BUT STILL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF CLINGS TO POWER, PROLONGING PAKISTAN'S CRISIS ? EDITORIAL (WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 29): If Pakistan's moderate center is to have a chance of defeating al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Mr. Musharraf will have to retire from public life. The sooner he and Pakistan's army get that message from Washington, the quicker the current crisis can be ended.
IF YOU THOUGHT MUSARRAF WAS BAD . . .: FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTERS SHARIF AND BHUTTO ARE HARDLY THE RIGHT LEADERS TO NUTURE DEMOCRACY AND FIGHT TERRORISM - MANSOOR IJAZ (LOS ANGELES TIMES, NOVEMBER 30): Given the players and the circumstances, the elections in January will resolve little. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ijaz30nov30,0,7041077.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail
POLITICAL ISLAM AND EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY EFFWIT (SWEDISH MEATBALLS CONFIDENTIAL, NOVEMBER 29): The Centre for European Policy Studies released an important report yesterday dealing with the necessity for the E.U. (and by extension, the U.S.) to do a better job of engaging Islamic political parties in the Arab world. One conclusion is that the heavy lifting will likely have to be conducted through the Europeans, due to the toxicity of the U.S. brand in the opinion of the target audience.
A PARTNER FOR DEALING WITH IRAN? THE LESSONS OF U.S.-CHINA COOPERATION ON PYONGYANG - ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI (WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 30): A comprehensive, strategic dialogue between the United States and China regarding the relevance of their shared experience dealing with North Korea to the potential crisis with Iran could be timely and historically expedient.
SHUTTING UP VENEZUELA'S CHÁVEZ - ROGER COHEN (NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 29): Chávez's grab for socialist-emperor status is grotesque and dangerous.
AMERICA'S GULAG GOES BEFORE THE COURT - MARIE COCCO (TRUTHDIG, NOVEMBER 28): It has been more than three years since the Supreme Court ruled that the Guantanamo detainees indeed have a right to contest their confinement before a U.S. court, and that the circumstances under which they are held?without charge, without having seen the government?s evidence against them and without the ability to gather evidence of their own?violate the Constitution and various treaties the United States has signed. But that ruling in Rasul v. Bush didn?t prompt compliance. It touched off a round of cynical circumvention.
GET SERIOUS [REVIEW OF CONTAINMENT: REBUILDING A STRATEGY AGAINST GLOBAL TERROR BY IAN SHAPIRO] - JAMES P. RUBIN (NEW REPUBLIC, NOVEMBER 29): If the know-one-thing opponents of the Iraq war such as Ian Shapiro get the upper hand in the campaign debate, and in history's first judgments, there is a real risk that the pendulum of American politics will overshoot the responsible mark, and post-Iraq wisdom will turn into post-Iraq folly.
REPORT: RICE COMPARES LIFE IN U.S. SOUTH TO PALESTINIANS' PLIGHT ?HAARETZ, NOVEMBER 28)
RICE'S WAY: RESTRAINT IN QUEST FOR PEACE - HELENE COOPER (NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 29): One thing is clear: the Rice approach to Middle East diplomacy is far more restrained than that of her predecessors, and it consists of pushing Israel -- as well as her boss, President Bush -- only so far, while putting off the big, hard fights until the end.