Originally published at Rubin Reports. What’s been happening in Egypt this week is as important as the revolution that overthrew the old regime almost two...
I’m amused by those who think that Hamas won the recent conflict.
Of course, everyone knows that this ceasefire won't last. The key to anything more durable is if the Egyptian government decides that it wants to avoid another war because of its own interests.
If 2011 was the year of the Arab Spring, 2013 looks to be the year of the Arab Fall.
This strategy has often worked against a Western adversary or Israel.
Originally published at Rubin Reports. A lot of people have asked the purpose of Israel’s defensive war against Hamas. Some, including those supposedly expert on...
There will be no “permanent end” to this rocket war madness or all of the other varieties of madness that are getting worse in the region.
Can Israel sustain this situation? Of course, that is basically the framework in which it has been living and prospering for 64 years. Is it preferable? Of course not. What is the world going to do to make it better? Nothing.
Neither side takes U.S. policy very seriously.
The most important foreign policy effort President Barack Obama will be making over the next year is negotiating with Iran. The terms of the U.S. offer are clear: if Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons, it will be allowed to enrich a certain amount of uranium, supposedly for purposes of generating nuclear energy (which Iran doesn’t need) and other benefits, supposedly under strict safeguards.
With President Barack Obama reelected there is every reason to believe that he will continue the tax, regulatory, and economic policies of his first term. That means the U.S. economy is unlikely to improve quickly, steadily, or even at all during the next four years. The problem is not just Obama’s own strategy on these issues but also the lack of business confidence in his plans.
Originally published at Rubin Reports. General David Petraeus was the hero of the victorious surge strategy in Iraq. But he also has the distinction of...
Over and over again I’ve written about what President Barack Obama should do. Now the voters have given him a whole new chance. He could take it and change his policy. I don't believe he will do that but let me lay out both what he's been wrong and what he should do, just in case Obama is seeking a different approach.
The story was broken by Alex Fishman, defense correspondent of Yediot Aharnot, Israel’s largest newspaper. Fishman is considered to be a reliable reporter with good sources in the Israeli government.
Once upon a time, Arab nationalism ruled the Middle East. Its doctrine saw Arab identity as the key to political success. Some regarded Islam as important; others were secular. Yet there was no doubt that national identity was in charge. All Arabs should unite, said the radical nationalists who ruled in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere, to destroy Israel, expel Western influence, and create a utopian single state in the region. Instead, of course, the period was characterized by battles among the radical Arab states for leadership. The less extreme ones sought survival through a combination of giving lip service to radical slogans, paying off the stronger regimes, and getting Western help.
There is a debate over the causes of terrorism and anti-Americanism in the world. One possible view is that the principal problem is that of genuine conflict. The adversaries hold certain ideological ideas—say, revolutionary Islamism—to which American society and policies are antithetical. The collision (as with Communism, Nazism, and aggressive Japanese militarism in earlier decades) is inevitable. The United States is inconveniencing the totalitarians both because of what it does (policies) and because of what it represents (freedom, democracy, capitalism).
One of my most fun professional memories was when I walked endlessly, circling round and round and round that hall in Algeria in November 1988 with a burly, no-nonsense, and brilliant newspaper correspondent named Youssef Ibrahim, who was then working for the New York Times. Friendly, funny, sarcastic, and with absolutely no illusions or romanticism about the absurdities of Arab politics and the idiocies of Arab political ideology, Ibrahim’s only shortcoming is that there are not one thousand more exactly like him. If he was the kind of person leading Arab countries and people they would be far more prosperous, peaceful, happier and democratic.
A reader asks: “I agree that democracy and economic development are not panaceas for the Middle East, just as they are not for any other location on the planet. But aren't they a start? And since it is possible to chew gum and walk at the same time, does it hurt to at least pay lip service to doing things to bring the rest of the Middle East into the 21st century? And what would those things be in your opinion?” As you noted, both candidates in the presidential election spoke of economic development as a top priority in their Middle East policy. This sounds good to voters but is pretty meaningless.
One of President Barack Obama’s main themes has been to convince Middle Eastern Islamists and Arabs generally that America is not their enemy. But the reason this strategy never works is that the radicals, be they Islamists or nationalists, know better. They see the United States as their enemy and they are right to do so.
A full analysis of the foreign policy aspects of the third debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Remember that the idea that someone “won” the debate in terms of an outside observer’s standpoint or even based on a poll is misleading. The only important thing is whether either candidate swayed additional voters to his side.
Are supposed negotiations with Iran the “October Surprise” intended to win the election for President Barack Obama, an Iranian trick for buying time, or both? The answer is both. It’s an incredibly transparent ploy though with the cooperation of the mass media such a gimmick might well have some effect.
Perhaps you remember an incredibly sensational story from back in October 2011 that after a brief period in the headlines disappeared completely. The U.S. government arrested an Iranian-American citizen in Texas and charged him with being an agent of the Iranian government who planned at Tehran’s behest to hire a Mexican drug gang to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a fiery terrorist attack in Washington D.C. It would have been another September 11, albeit on a far smaller scale. Knowing about such an operation should have been a real game-changer for U.S. Middle East policy.
While foreign policy did not figure large in the second presidential debate, the Middle East again emerged as the overwhelmingly main international issue. In the beginning of the debate, President Barack Obama claimed that he put a high priority on energy independence, an assertion well refuted by Governor Mitt Romney. A president who wanted energy independence, from the unreliability of Middle East supplies, could easily expand oil drilling on federal land; the use of new technology to produce oil and gas; a major pipeline from Canada; and the continued production and use of coal for generating power. To do none of these things and put his effort into restricting traditional energy sources and push hard for untested, long-term, and failed “green energy” schemes subverts energy independence. But the main emphasis in the debate was on the Benghazi assassinations.
One argument we will be increasingly hearing is that President Barack Obama couldn’t have done anything to change events in the Middle East. This is ironic of course because when things were going well he wanted to take credit as the inspiration for the "Arab Spring."
The Obama Administration's Middle East errors are deepened and the lessons of experience once again rejected in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest defense of these wrong-headed policies in a speech given at my first employers, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. Her argument is that the United States should ignore violence and extremism while helping to build democracies. The problem is that most of the violence and extremism comes from forces that the Obama Administration supports or groups basically allied with those forces. The violence and extremism is the inevitable outcome, not a declining byproduct, of this process.