WHY SO ANGRY, AMERICA? THE UNITED STATES IS STRONGEST WHEN IT IS MOST ENGAGED WITH THE WORLD - RICHARD L. ARMITAGE AND JOSEPH S. NYE JR. (WASHINGTON POST, DECEMBER 9):
AFTER THREE YEARS, THE HOODED TORTURE VICTIM OF ABU GHRAIB STILL HAUNTS BUSH FOREIGN POLICY AND AMERICA - BILL KESHLEAR (UTAH STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, DECEMBER 6): The image of the hooded torture victim has become part of al Qaeda's worldwide branding campaign to recruit young suicide bombers and has stymied multi-million dollar U.S. public diplomacy aimed at winning Islamic hearts and minds.
MORE FOREIGN STUDENTS AT U.S. SCHOOLS - ASSOCIATED PRESS (NEW YORK TIMES, DECEMBER 5): Karen Hughes, undersecretary for public affairs at the State Department, described the students as "the single most important public diplomacy tool of the last 50 years." She forgets that
colleges get to charge them double tuition, and colleges are now taking in about 20-30% of their entering
classes with foreign nationals - to the detriment of US citizens who are competing for the same spots.
OBAMA WANTS CRAIGSLIST-LIKE VOLUNTEERING DATABASE ? KLAUS MARRE (HILL, DECEMBER 5): Democratic presidential candidate Obama wants to double the size of the Peace Corps, put in place a program that boosts public diplomacy and get students to volunteer their time to community service.
US CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT DEBATE TORTURE, PUBLIC DIPLOMACY JIM FRY (VOA, DECEMBER 6): In a Florida debate among Republican presidential candidates, questions turned to public diplomacy, a question that former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani answered. Question: "What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?" Giuliani: "Well, the most important thing to do is to make certain we remain on offense against Islamic terrorism." The Republican candidates focused on military strength and the Iraq war, rather than diplomacy. McCain: "Well, I'd do a lot of things but the first and most important and vital element is to continue this surge which is succeeding and we are winning the war in Iraq."
THE BALKAN SPLIT: THE WAY TO FREE KOSOVO IS TO OFFER SERBIA A BETTER FUTURE IN EXCHANGE FOR ITS LOST PAST - TIMOTHY GARTON ASH (LOS ANGELES TIMES, DECEMBER 6): The EU has just signed what in Euro-jargon is known as a "stabilization and association agreement" with Bosnia -- an important step toward eventual membership. The EU should make it crystal clear, in public diplomacy directed at the Serbian people, that it very much wants to do the same for Serbia -- the day after the first of the two war criminals, Karadzic or Mladic, is handed over.
M-I-C, K-E-WHY DO THEY HATE US? - PAUL D. KRETKOWSKI (BEACON, DECEMBER 4): Disney actively helps the U.S. welcome foreign visitors. On the other hand, it considers those foreign visitors (and the domestic ones) a potential threat.
IRAN: TEHRAN SEIZES ON U.S. NUCLEAR TURNAROUND - RFE/RL, DECEMBER 4): Rare is a US intelligence report that seems to strike joy in the hearts of Iranian leaders. But a new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concludes that Iran is not currently at work on a nuclear weapons program, appears to have done just that.
NIE REPORT IS PROP[A]OGANDA VICTORY FOR IRAN - ROBERT TRACINSKI (REAL CLEAR POLITICS, DECEMBER 6): The full picture of Iran's activity over the past four years is that of a dangerous power seeking to assert regional dominance and to spread its ideology of radical Islam by encouraging the aggression of an "Islamist Axis" of terrorist militias across the greater Middle East. Yet all of this is completely evaded in the NIE's benevolent assessment of Iran's intentions. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/12/nie_report_is_propoganda_victo.html
DARK SUSPICIONS ABOUT THE NIE - NORMAN PODHORETZ (CONTENTIONS, COMMENTARY, DECEMBER 3): The intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations.
THE FLAWS IN THE IRAN REPORT - JOHN R. BOLTON (WASHINGTON POST, DECEMBER 6): While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this "intelligence" torpedo (the National Intelligence Estimate) has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were. Ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions in an essentially unmolested fashion, to the detriment of us all.
IRAN, THE INTELLIGENCE ESTABLISHMENT, AND SIMPLE INTELLIGENCE MARTY PERETZ (NEW REPUBLIC, DECEMBER 6): The meaning of the NIE report is: "don't worry, folks. The Persians ain't gonna have a bomb soon." So it all depends on what is is. Or what soon means.
PRO-ISRAEL GROUPS: NIE RATTLES OUR ANTI-IRAN EFFORTS - HILARY LEILA KRIEGER (JERUSALEM POST, DECEMBER 6): Many pro-Israel groups are acknowledging privately, and in some cases publicly, that the new US intelligence assessment on Iran is a significant blow to their efforts to isolate Iran and ease its threat to Israel.
A POLITICAL REVERSAL EDITORIAL (JERUSALEM POST, DECEMBER 6): The NIE may obscure but does not change the fact that the Iranian menace will grow, and the world will become a more dangerous place, until the regime falls or is forced to back down.
AN INSULT TO INTELLIGENCE: THE ISRAELI DEFENSE COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO THE NIE - YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI (NEW REPUBLIC, DECEMBER 6): If sanctions fail to stop Iran from achieving the potential to produce nuclear weapons, the dirty work will be left to Israel, just as it was left to Israel to stop Saddam Hussein from going nuclear. America, even under George Bush, is hardly likely to go to war to stop a program many Americans now believe doesn't exist.
CONFIDENCE GAME: IF THERE'S A LESSON TO BE LEARNED FROM THE NIE, IT'S KEEP THE PRESSURE ON IRAN - CLIFFORD D. MAY (NATIONAL REVIEW, DECEMBER 6): The good news is, if the new NIE is correct -- a big if -- the mullahs may respond rationally to pressure -- not least the threat of serious sanctions and credible military force.
IRAN'S INTENTIONS ARE STILL THE GREAT UNKNOWN WILLIAM M. ARKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, DECEMBER 5): "I'm afraid I agree with President Bush and others who are cautioning that the Iranian threat remains alive. I say so not because I agree with those who want to make Iran the next Iraq, and not because I even believe that Iran will ever be able (or allowed) to obtain nuclear weapons. I say so because I think the reassurances that can be inferred from the new national intelligence estimate are being vastly overstated."
CONFLICTED INTELLIGENCE? - CLAUDE SALHANI (WASHINGTON TIMES, DECEMBER 6): Something is fundamentally wrong in the latest NIE report. The fundamental question is why this sudden reversal of policy?
THE CIA 'WAR' ON BUSH: THE NEW NEOCON PLOY - MARC COOPER (HUFFINGTON POST, DECEMBER 6/COMMON DREAMS): The neocon pushback on the NIE Iran report continues to be relentless. Now it has gelled into a visible, pointed strategy. It's all about the 'CIA's war on Bush.?
IRAN HAWKS DOWN?: THE NEW NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE ON IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM PUTS HARDLINERS ON THE DEFENSIVE - LAURA ROZEN (MOTHER JONES, DECEMBER 4)
TIME FOR SMART POWER - ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE (WASHINGTON TIMES, DECEMBER 6): The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) bombshell on Iran that says the Shi'ite theocracy put its nuclear weapons program on hold four years ago comes as a bitter disappointment to those advocating the bombing of Iran before the end of the Bush administration.
OVES FIND FAULT WITH IRAN REPORT TOO: SOME EXPERTS FEAR THE INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE WILL SAP INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE TO PREVENT TEHRAN FROM GETTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS - PAUL RICHTER (LOS ANGELES TIMES, DECEMBER 7)
A MEASURE OF INTELLIGENCE (EDITORIAL BALTIMORESUN.COM, DECEMBER 5): In going public with this assessment, the country's intelligence agencies have drastically undermined the credibility of the hawks within the administration, among whom Vice President Dick Cheney has been the fiercest.
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ON IRAN: CREDIBILITY OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION SINKS TO NEW LOW AFTER REPORT DEMOLISHES BOMB CLAIMS - HAROON SIDDIQUI (TORONTO STAR, DECEMBER 6/COMMON DREAMS)
IRAN'S NUKES FADE AWAY EDITORIAL (NATION, DECEMBER 6): The just-released National Intelligence Estimate, which concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, should lead to a change in the Bush Administration's dangerous and deluded policy of coercive diplomacy. But rather than using the NIE to announce a policy shift, an Administration stripped of credibility is still arguing the case for ratcheting up pressure on Tehran and for refusing to withdraw the threat of military force.
IRAN: NO NUKE THREAT TO U.S., BUT BIG BLOW TO BUSH'S CREDIBILITY ? EDWARD M. GOMEZ (WORLD VIEWS, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, DECEMBER 6)
A PATTERN OF DECEPTION - DAN FROOMKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, DECEMBER 5): The evidence seems to indicate that even after Bush likely became aware that the intelligence did not support his claim that Iran was an imminent threat -- or even that it was even pursuing nuclear weapons at all -- he embarked on a strategy of carefully calibrated misinformation.
THREE DAYS, THREE CHANGING STORIES ON NIE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE - JON SOLTZ (HUFFINGTON POST, DECEMBER 6): Bush's rhetoric on Iran could have worsened the danger they're in, if not for the release of this report. We need to know what he knew and when he knew it, and why he thought it was wise to use language that only served to aggravate Shia forces loyal to Iran.
TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT IRAN JOE CONASON (TRUTHDIG, DECEMBER 6/COMMON DREAMS): There is no way to justify bombing Iran. Although the president declares that the new NIE justifies everything he has said and done and proves that Iran is a danger to humanity, his old policies are discredited and defunct.
AN IRAN BOMBSHELL FOR BUSH: THE WHITE HOUSE KNEW MONTHS AGO ABOUT IRAN'S STALLED NUCLEAR PROGRAM. BUT BUSH AND CHENEY HAVE KEPT UP THE WAR RHETORIC - MARK FOLLMAN (SALON, DECEMBER 5)
NIE ON IRAN SIGNALS A PRESIDENCY IN DECLINE TOM ENGELHARDT (NATION, DECEMBER 6): Whatever else the release of the 16-agency National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian bomb may be, it is certainly a reasonable measure of inside-the-Beltway Bush administration decline.
THE ZERO-SUM FIASCO: BUSH IN A HUMILIATING ZERO-SUM IRANIAN GAME OF HIS OWN MAKING - DILIP HIRO (TOMDISPATCH, DECEMBER 6)
BUSH'S REAL LIE ABOUT IRAN: DESPITE RECENT CLAIMS OTHERWISE, THE WHITE HOUSE HAS REBUFFED NEGOTIATIONS WITH IRAN AT EVERY TURN -- A MAJOR STRATEGIC BLUNDER - FLYNT LEVERETT AND HILLARY MANN LEVERETT (SALON, DECEMBER 7)
NEW INTEL ON IRAN OFFERS A CHANCE TO RETHINK POLICY - JAY BOOKMAN (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, DECEMBER 6/COMMON DREAMS): Offering Iran a more normal economic and diplomatic relationship in return for verifiable guarantees against going nuclear would not give Bush what he really wants. He doesn't want to change Iran's policies; he wants to change Iran?s leadership, replacing it with a pro-American government, as he tried to do in Iraq. And in pursuit of that vain hope, he is willing to sacrifice goals that are more attainable, realistic and important.
FOR ONCE, LET'S USE OUR INTELLIGENCE: IRAN DOESN'T HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM, SO WHY NOT EXTEND AN OLIVE BRANCH? - ROSA BROOKS (LOS ANGELES TIMES, DECEMBER 6)
HOW CAN WE HAVE 'HIGH CONFIDENCE' ABOUT ANYTHING IN IRAN? - LIONEL BEEHNER (HUFFINGTON POST, DECEMBER 6): As Rumsfeld might have put it, we have to approach states like Iran with the intelligence we have, not the intelligence we want. Hence, that requires a smart and cautious foreign policy based on patchy intelligence. A good start would be dispatching Condi to the region to meet with her Iranian counterpart. A good finish would be the re-normalization of relations.
THE RIGHT WAY TO KEEP TABS ON IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: A PLAN THAT TEHRAN FIRST FLOATED IN 2005 COULD SATISFY ALL SIDES - BENNETT RAMBERG (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, DECEMBER 6): The bad news? The current course of ratcheted-up sanctions won't work. The good news? There is a practical plan available that all sides could find acceptable. The surprising source for this plan is Iran. In 2005 and 2006, Tehran called for "international partnerships" and "joint ownership" of fuel-cycle facilities that would allow complete transparency through co-management of enrichment plants.
REALIST REVENGE ? JIM LOVE (LOBELOG.COM, DECEMBER 5): The NIE asserts that the Iranian leadership is a fundamentally rational actor -- a traditional nation-state, if you will -- that calculates what it does in recognizable terms and that, in any event, is not a an ideologically-crazed, fanatical regime of the kind that neo-conservatives and their aggressive nationalist allies have tried so hard to depict. This depiction, if accepted by the mainstream media, completely undermines the hawks? efforts to compare the Islamic Republic with the Nazis.
TRITA PARSI: THE NIE'S GOT NOTHING ON HIM - JUSTIN ELLIOTT (MOTHER JONES, DECEMBER 5): INTERVIEW: This Iran expert was saying it before it was cool: Iran is a rational actor. And he's not so sure the new National Intelligence Estimate will change things in the Middle East, either.
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY LEARNED FROM IRAQ DEBACLE - MELVIN A. GOODMAN (BALTIMORESUN.COM, DECEMBER 6): The latest intelligence estimate indicates the intelligence community has learned some lessons from the Iraq debacle in 2002 and 2003, when it politicized the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in order to support the administration's campaign for military action.
STATE DEPT. CONTRACTORS IN IRAQ ARE REINED IN: MILITARY TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF OPERATIONS - KAREN DEYOUNG (WASHINGTON POST, DECEMBER 6)
U.S. PLANS TO FORM JOB CORPS FOR IRAQI SECURITY VOLUNTEERS SHIITE-LED GOVERNMENT'S SLOW HIRING OF SUNNIS PROMPTED CHANGE - KAREN DEYOUNG AND AMIT R. PALEY (WASHINGTON POST, DECEMBER 7)
FOLLOW THE LEADERS - HENDRIK HERTZBERG (NEW YORK, DECEMBER 10): Last week
s gathering of Israeli and (Sunni) Arab leaders at Annapolis was a sign that it has finally dawned on the Bush Administration that its six-year policy of ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian morass has aggravated America?s troubles in the Middle East. But in suddenly capping six years of obtuse neglect with a one-year timeline, President Bush has probably dithered too long to have any hope of solving the world?s most complicated and persistent rebus.
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER THE PAKISTANI COUP: GOADING ISLAMABAD INTO BUILDING MORE NUCLEAR BOMBS IS NOT AN IDEAL COURSE OF ACTION - HENRY SOKOLSKI (NATIONAL REVIEW, DECEMBER 6): The U.S. is doing all it can to convince the world's nuclear supplier states to agree to provide nuclear cooperation with India while insisting that no such cooperation be provided to Pakistan. This hardly sits well with the elite in Islamabad.
ANDREW COCKBURN ON THE ISLAMIC BOMB - ANDREW COCKBURN (TRUTHDIG, DECEMBER 6): A quartet of new books provides an inside look at Pakistan?s nuclear smuggling network and how it flourished. A sordid tale of how the United States simultaneously acted as an enabler for the construction of the ?Islamic Bomb? and coddled the Islamists who might one day control it.
FORGIVE RUSSIA, CONFRONT IRAN - ROBERT D. BLACKWILL (WALL STREET JOURNAL, DECEMBER 6): If the West is to launch a new and more cooperative relationship with Moscow regarding policy vis-à-vis Iran, we should substantially reduce the frequency and the volume of our pronouncements on Russian domestic politics while continuing to find them privately repugnant.
WHY THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS HATES PUTIN: WHY MURDOCH'S JOURNAL LOVES KASPAROV - MIKE WHITNEY (COUNTERPUNCH, DECEMBER 6): Russia is, once again, a major world power and a vital source of hydrocarbons. It's star is steadily rising just as America's has begun to wane. This may explain why Putin is loathed by the West.
IT IS IN POLAND'S INTEREST TO BE AN ALLY OF AMERICA - MAX BOOT (FINANCIAL TIMES, DECEMBER 6): Cannot the Poles see that by helping the US-led coalition in Iraq and Afghanistan they help to stabilise a vital region that is closer to Europe than to the US?
DANGEROUS, UNFINISHED BUSINESS - EDITORIAL (NEW YORK TIMES, DECEMBER 6): Getting Kosovo wrong could plunge the Balkans back into turmoil. To avoid that, Serbia and Russia will have to quickly decide that they have more to gain from stability ? and good relations with Europe and the United States -- than from whipping up old hatreds.
STOPPING ANOTHER BALKAN CRISIS: DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY HUSTLE CAN PREVENT A CONFLICT OVER KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE (LOS ANGELES TIMES, DECEMBER 6): Embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, can the West afford not to stop another spasm of hatred in the heart of Europe?
DEMOCRACY IN THE AMERICAS - ROGER COHEN (NEW YORK TIMES, DECEMBER 6): Chávez said before the referendum that a ?no? vote equaled a vote for Bush. Unperturbed, Venezuelans went ahead. And they gave a civic example from which Bush?s battered and blathering democracy can learn.
U.S. AGENCY?S SLOW PACE ENDANGERS FOREIGN AID - CELIA W. DUGGER (NEW YORK TIMES, DECEMBER 7): The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a federal agency set up almost four years ago to reinvent foreign aid, has taken far longer to help poor, well-governed countries than its supporters expected or its critics say is reasonable. The agency, a rare Bush administration proposal to be enacted with bipartisan support, has spent only $155 million of the $4.8 billion it has approved for ambitious projects in 15 countries in Africa, Central America and other regions.
BUSH ENGAGES FOREIGN FOES AS POLICY SHIFT ACCELERATES: LETTER TO NORTH KOREA IS THE LATEST EXAMPLE; DIRECT TALKS WITH IRAN? - JAY SOLOMON (WALL STREET JOURNAL, DECEMBER 7)
LOSING AND RESTORING THE REPUBLIC - JACOB G. HORNBERGER (FREEDOM DAILY, DECEMBER 3): Who can deny that today, having abandoned the limited-government foreign policy of our ancestors, the United States has indeed become the dictatress of the world?