State of decay - Helle Dale (Washington times, December 19): It is clear from the experience of the past seven years, that unless the bureaucratic and political culture of the State Department undergoes fundamental change and actually becomes responsive to the sitting administration, it is a poor candidate to take on even more responsibilities. In fact, as matters stand today, it might be a better idea to shrink the State Department and limit it to the running of U.S. embassies. This would mean that foreign policy would be set in the Oval Office and the National Security Council, and that other functions would stand alone again, as they did under USAID and the U.S. Information Agency. The structure of the State Department and the fundamental assumptions of U.S. foreign policy, foreign aid and international and public diplomacy have to go hand-in-hand.
Bombs drop as Kurdish war is metamorphosing - Burak Bekdil (Turkish Daily News, December 19): http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=91723
Newsweek and its Special Guest Commentary (MountainRunner, December 17): Iran's public diplomacy is kicking it up a notch. Newsweek just published a "Special Guest Commentary" written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Bill Clinton: George H.W. Bush will help President Hillary ? Peter Hamby (CNN, December 18): .
Turkey strikes rebels - Tulin Daloglu (Washington Times, December 18): http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071218/EDITORIAL/529039322/1013&template=printart
Turkey Bombs, the U.S. Applauds - William M. Arkin (washingtonpost.com, December 18): http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2007/12/turkey_bombs_iraq_and_the_us_a.html
Turkey's Terror Problem Is Ours - Michael Rubin (Wall Street Journal, December 18): ."
Turkey's harmful empty gesture Editorial (Boston Globe, December 18)
Hope for Iraqi refugees: A new law will allow 5,000 Iraqis who've helped the U.S. into the country each year -- but it needs to be properly funded and enforced Editorial (Los Angeles Times, December 19)
All Iraqi Groups Blame U.S. Invasion for Discord, Study Shows - Karen DeYoung (Washington Post, December 19): Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.
Skirting the Abyss in Iraq - David Ignatius (Washington Post, December 19): With its volatile mix of Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs, this city is often described as a sectarian time bomb. But for now, the bomb is ticking a little more slowly thanks to that rare Iraqi event -- a compromise.
Beating the retreat from a broken Iraq ? Editorial comment (Financial Times, December 17): http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/71912b04-acd4-11dc-b51b-0000779fd2ac.html
Strategy that is making Iraq safer was snubbed for years - Peter Eisler, Blake Morrison and Tom Vanden Brook (USA TODAY, December 20): http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2007-12-18-iraqstrategy_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip
NIE in the sky? - James G. Zumwalt (Washington Times, December 18): Previously, the U.S. was able to bounce back following flawed intelligence assessments. But that will not be the case if we are wrong about Iran.
Stupid Intelligence on Iran - James Schlesinger (Wall Street Journal, December 19): The media quite clearly ignored the obvious: that a surprising decision by Tehran in 2003 to halt the covert weaponization effort likely was a tribute to the successes of American policy and arms during that period. Thus, administration policies and actions that likely induced caution in Tehran could be characterized, ironically enough, as an administration defeat.
Iran's Actions in Iraq Scrutinized: Pentagon Report Accuses Tehran of Supplying Arms Even as Violence Declines - Yochi J. Dreazen (Wall Street Journal, December 18)
Is Bush Stopped in His Tracks on Iran? ? Chris Hedges (Philadelphia Enquirer, December 17/Common Dreams): The allegations that Iran is involved in supporting and arming insurgents in Iraq, along with the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, could be twisted by White House lawyers to legitimize air strikes against Iran.
Down Payment on Mideast Peace - Editorial (New York Times, December 19): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/opinion/19wed2.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=opinion&pagewanted=print
Remembering the Forgotten War - Dan Froomkin (washingtonpost.com, December 17): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/12/17/BL2007121700912_pf.html
Kim Jong Il Attempting Propaganda Game against Bush? - Shin Joo Hyun (Daily NK, December 18)
Chinese, US Attitudes Reflect 'Hope and Fear' - Jim Lobe (antiwar.com, December 17): http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=12037
The Choices in Darfur - Michael Gerson (Washington Post, December 19): On Jan. 1, the United Nations, in cooperation with the African Union, will take control of peacekeeping operations in the Darfur region of Sudan, where more than 200,000 are dead in a genocide and about 2 million have been forced into refugee camps. This international intervention must succeed, or all the post-Rwanda promises of "never again" will be revealed as pious lies.
Stalling in Bali: The Bush administration continues to say one thing and do another on climate change editorial (Washington Post, December 18)
My Choice: None of the Above - Bashir Goth (washingtonpost.com, December 18): The global warming campaign is a desperate effort by advanced nations, regardless of the position of the U.S., to deny the shift of world trade dominance to China, India, Russia and elsewhere.
We've Been Suckered Again by the US. So Far the Bali Deal Is Worse than Kyoto: America will keep on wrecking climate talks as long as those with vested interests in oil and gas fund its political system - George Monbiot (Guardian/UK, December 17/Common Dreams)
The Condensed Condoleezza Rice: Slate reads the new Condi biography so you don't have to - Juliet Lapidos (Slate, December 17)
The Mystery of Condi Rice: Where Did She Learn How To Play The Game? - Anne Applebaum (Slate, December 17): No, Condi is not a token, and yes, Condi played the game better than anyone else -- so much so that Condi has now dispensed with pretty much everyone who underestimated her to begin with, most notably Donald Rumsfeld, but for all practical purposes Dick Cheney, too.
"Federal spending on paper shredding has increased more than 600 percent since George W. Bush took office."
--John Cook, "Bush Secret Shredding Soars" (Radar, December 14)