The holiday from history is over, although we may be the last ones to see it. Neither Russia nor Iran – nor China, North Korea, or Syria, for that matter – is very interested in signing anything with the West right now. Good deals based on the old assumptions aren’t as tempting when better ones seem to lie just over the horizon.
For the United States, issuing attack threats in the manner of Hugo Chavez is not a convincing posture. I don’t know if the Israelis will find it reassuring; I suspect the Europeans and Iranians will find it annoying, and decide to ignore it.
If a civic or political group, meeting publicly, is not willing to have its activities and statements recorded truthfully by critics, its purpose is suspect. There can be no good purpose for preventing third parties – i.e., the whole of society, whether friendly or critical – from seeing what is said and done at a public event sponsored by the Palestine Society.
When Romney speaks of the US auto industry recovering, he is speaking in the language of big, dirigiste government, accepting at face value the short-term effect of a bailout process that has served mainly to perpetuate unprofitable but politically entrenched conditions. It guarantees that more subsidies will be needed down the road.
The whole world knows the peril Chen and his family are in. The right approach here is not to seek a “solution” that gets the governments of China and the US off the hook; it’s to stand by Chen and demand that he be treated with the respect for his rights as understood in the Helsinki Accords. While China is not a signatory to the Accords, their standard for freedom, travel and emigration, and reunification of families is the touchstone to be invoked in this instance.
President Barack Obama's recent self-congratulatory comments on the killing of Osama bin Laden must be viewed against the backdrop of past presidents, and how they related to the role of the military.
President Obama recently unveiled the Atrocities Prevention Board, and appointed Samantha Power as its head; the same Samantha Power that has called Israel a "major human rights abuser." This is only one of the many troubling aspects of this new initiative.
A solution in which the Syrian people are empowered to operate more freely in a true multi-party government, under the aegis of multinational protection against both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, would be the most desirable, achievable outcome. It is not possible to broker this outcome while ignoring Russia.
Iran is making full use of strategic ambiguity on the high seas to advance its interests and dictate outcomes. Unless each new measure is directly challenged, strategic ambiguity would be a lot more fun for Iran than for the rest of us.
Did Iran's warships actually visit Syria this past week as was widely reported, or did was that Iranian disinformation?
The only way to secure a positive outcome in Syria is to use US power, under US strategic direction, to do it. This has never necessarily meant military intervention, but it does necessarily mean acting with purpose and determination, rather than throwing random reconnaissance assets into the fray while handing the political problem over lock, stock, and barrel to the Arab League and the UN.
Robert Mackey at New York Times’ The Lede has a Friday post entitled “Crisis in Syria Looks Very Different on Satellite Channels Owned by...
Local officials are offering different explanations for the blast that rocked Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan) a few hours ago. It will be some time before there is enough information to make a good assessment, but a few things can be said now.