Denying Iran's Democrats - Trita Parsi with Emily Blout (antiwar.com, December 20): Last night, Congress dealt a severe blow to the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. By re-appropriating the infamous Iran "Democracy" Fund, Congress showed blatant disregard for the well being and the wishes of Iranian pro-democracy activists.
Declaring Forever War: Giuliani has surrounded himself with advisors who think the Bush Doctrine didn't go nearly far enough - Michael C. Desch (American Conservative, January 14): S. Enders Wimbush, a former Radio Liberty director and currently a Hudson Institute senior fellow, apparently aspires to be President Giuliani's Karen Hughes. One of his major strategic planks is to establish a 'Radio Free Iran' to undermine the mullocracy. He epitomizes the ambivalence about Iran among the Giuliani crowd: on the one hand, they envision a major role for the captive Iranian masses yearning for freedom; on the other, they treat Iran as a monolith.
Geopolitics Strikes Back - Heather Hurlburt (Democracy Arsenal, December 19): So Putin is Time's Man of the Year. What does he symbolize? Among other matters, the colossal failure of US public diplomacy, and disastrous devaluing of the idea of America, if this guy is the foil the world raises up -- and it works for him.
Nation Is Losing Clear Focus On Iraq - Georgie Anne Geyer (Yahoo! News, December 19): During her time selling "public diplomacy" across the world, Karen Hughes seemed full of nothing but praise for the war in Iraq. But recently, she gave an incredible interview to the Financial Times in which she said it would take "decades" to overcome the intense anti-U.S. hostility across the world, and that Washington was at the early stages of a "long struggle" to improve its image. What's more, Muslim views of the U.S. could not be expected to improve so long as conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continued.
Judge Upholds Muslim Scholar's U.S. Entry Ban - Reuters (New York Times, December 21): A U.S. federal judge on Thursday upheld a government decision to refuse a prominent Swiss Muslim entry into the United States, saying the question of denying visas was best left to the authorities. The United States had revoked the visa of Tariq Ramadan, an academic at Britain's Oxford University and a vocal critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its support of Israel.
Paradox for Petraeus - David Ignatius (Washington Post, December 21): The Catch-22 for Petraeus is that the more successful he is on the ground, the more pressure he will encounter for troop cuts that might reverse his hard-won gains. In Iraq continued American success paradoxically will mean less and less American control. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/20/AR2007122001865_pf.html
Let's Seize the Momentum in Iraq - Barry R. McCaffrey (Wall Street Journal, December 20): The key to winning the war is to massively build Iraqi Security Forces with the equipment, training and leadership needed to maintain internal order and security as we withdraw. Without security for the population there will never be reconciliation in Iraq.
A surge of their own: Iraqis take back the streets: Attacks plummet as Shias join Sunnis in neighbourhood patrols to tackle militants and reunite communities - Michael Howard (Guardian, December 20)
Baghdad safer, but it's a life behind walls: Mini fortified 'green zones' are cropping up, improving security but leaving many residents feeling penned in - Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitor, December 10)
The walls around Bush's Iraq strategy: Barriers built to reduce violence have turned sectarian segregation into the status quo - Rosa Brooks (Los Angeles Times, December 20): We should be glad of the lull in violence, but if stability in Iraq depends on miles of concrete walls and an indefinite U.S. occupation, that's not "victory." It's defeat.
Survey: Many Iraqis in Syria fled during U.S. troop buildup - Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers, December 14): One in five Iraqi refugees in Syria has been tortured or suffered from other violence, and more than a third fled their homeland between July and October, at the height of the U.S. troop buildup that was intended to quell sectarian violence in Baghdad, preliminary data from a new United Nations study show.
The Coming Fight for Northern Iraq: With just days left before the deadline for the Article 140 referendum on who will control northern Iraq, both Kurds and Sunnis are pledging violence over the outcome - Spencer Ackerman (American Prospect, December 20)
Iraq: The Hidden Human Costs - Michael Massing (New York Review of Books, December 20): In no other war have so many books by soldiers appeared while the fighting was still going on -- accounts written not just by generals like Tommy Franks but also by lieutenants, sergeants, reservists, and privates. Such works have been largely ignored by the mass media, which is too bad, for they provide a grunt's-eye view of the war that is often far richer, and rawer, than anything available in our newspapers or on TV.
U.S. needs to engage Tehran, not order it around - Haroon Siddiqui (thestar.com, December 20)
No More Slam Dunks: A reality-based assessment of Iran's nuclear capability - Philip Giraldi (American Conservative, January 14): The Iran NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) was instead constructed from the ground up with every assumption being challenged. The critics of the NIE curiously engage in their own groupthink when they claim that the CIA?s record of failures in the past mean that it has likely failed again. This time, however, the CIA has gotten it right.
The fallout for Bush on Iran: Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix assesses the latest U.S. intelligence and whether Bush could still launch a military strike - André Anwar (Salon, December 20)
Stability through uranium Editorial (Boston Globe, December 20): The time has come for Bush to present Iran with America's best offer, not only for internationally guaranteed nuclear fuel but also for security and economic integration into the global economy. Iran's theocrats can have nuclear power, security, and prosperity, or they can have their own source of enriched uranium. Not both.
After NIE, More BMD: Ballistic missile defense is one of few remaining options for pressuring Iran - Charlie Szrom (Weekly Standard, December 21)
Vetting the Iran NIE - James Lyons (Washington Times, December 20): The recently released NIE on Iran's nuclear weapon program not only left many questions unanswered but left our friends and allies caught off-base and confused.
Our Friends in Baghdad - Frederick W. Kagan (Wall Street Journal, December 21): The notion that attacks on America result from the American presence in the Muslim world is nonsensical. America and its allies have been attacked when we had troops in the Middle East and when we did not; when we intervened in regional crises and when we ignored them. But our policies over the past few decades have resulted in the worst of both worlds -- we have generated whatever irritant our presence in the region creates without giving our friends (and enemies) the assurance that we will actively pursue our interests and those of our allies.
A Tsar Is Born - Adi Ignatius (Time, December 4): 'What gets Putin agitated -- and he was frequently agitated during our talk -- is his perception that Americans are out to interfere in Russia's affairs. He says he wants Russia and America to be partners but feels the U.S. treats Russia like the uninvited guest at a party. 'We want to be a friend of America,' he says. 'Sometimes we get the impression that America does not need friends' but only 'auxiliary subjects to command.'"
New Thinking Even in Miami? Cuba Changes, US Policy Stagnates - Wayne Smith and Jennifer Schuett (CounterPunch, December 20): Cuba is on the cusp of change. By contrast, there has been little change in Washington. US policy toward Cuba remains as ill-conceived and counterproductive as ever.
Bush and torture: What kind of legacy? Edward M. Gomez (World Views, SF Gate, December 19)
Bush's 'Axis of Evil,' Six Years Later - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post, December 21): Six years later and with time running out on this administration, the Bush legacy is clear: one for three. Contrary to current public opinion, Bush will have succeeded on Iraq, failed on Iran and fought North Korea to a draw.
Americans' Anti-Global Turn May Stir Race for President - Greg Hitt (Wall Street Journal, December 20): On the eve of the election year, Americans are displaying increasingly severe doubts about the nation's economic engagement with the rest of the world. The latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows a deterioration in public support for globalization and immigration, reinforcing the importance of those issues -- along with broader concerns about the faltering economy -- in the fight for the White House and Congress.
Marginalizing a Useful Agency - Robert J. Maushammer (letter to the editor, Washington Post, December 20): Why does the United States need another reconstruction reserve corps, as advocated by Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in their Dec. 17 op-ed, 'A Civilian Partner for Our Troops?' As Mr. Lugar and Ms. Rice acknowledged, the United States already has one -- the U.S. Agency for International Development.