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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Neocons
POMED Notes: “19th Annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference”
October 22nd, 2010 by Jason
The National Council on US-Arab Relations held its 19th annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference on Thursday. Opening remarks were made by Dr. John Duke Anthony, President and CEO of the National Council on US-Arab Relations and Rear Admiral Harold J. Bernsen, chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Council on US-Arab Relations. The first talk on the agenda was entitled “Arab-US Relations: Misadventures Past and Present,” and was given by The Honorable Chas W. Freeman Jr., former Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of Defense.
 (To read full notes, continue below the fold or go here for pdf.)
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Posted in DC Event Notes, Diplomacy, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Islam and Democracy, Military, Neocons, Political Parties, Sectarianism​, Terrorism, US foreign policy | Comment »
U.S. Policy on Iran — Who Is Fantasizing?
June 25th, 2010 by Farid
On June 11th, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the brutal crackdown on protesters  by the Iranian government, Senator John McCain wrote a piece in The New Republic saying, “I believe that it will only be a change in the Iranian regime itself—a peaceful change, chosen by and led by the people of Iran—that can finally produce the changes we seek in Iran’s policies.” Sen. McCain went on to say that “if President Obama were to unleash America’s full moral power to support the Iranian people—if he were to make their quest for democracy into the civil rights struggle of our time—it could bolster their will to endure in their struggle, and the result could be genuinely historic.”
Fareed Zakaria criticizes McCain for replacing analysis with rhetoric and foreign policy with fantasy. Zakaria argues that toppling the Islamic Republic of Iran and replacing it with a different regime is unlikely, and criticizes McCain and other neoconservatives for their “ignorance about the Iranian regime.” According to Zakaria, despite the mass opposition to Ahmadinejad, there are millions of supporters for his presidency — especially from the poorer and rural communities. Zakaria goes on to say that while eastern European revolutionary movements had nationalism, religion and democracy on their side, the Green Movement only has democracy. He comments, “The regime has always used the religiosity of the people to its advantage, but it has also become skilled at manipulating nationalism.” Paraphrasing award-winning Iranian human rights activist, Akbar Ganji, Zakaria says that “U.S. foreign policy does have an impact on Iran’s freedom movement but not quite in the sense that neoconservatives mean,” adding that the Iranian government has always manipulated international actions to its favor.
In response to Zakaria’s piece, Leon Wieseltier argues in his new op-ed that “it is the paradoxical failure of Zakaria’s imagination that he conflates moral power with military power, democratization with shock and awe.” Wieseltier also disagrees with Zakaria on his claim that religion is monopolized by the government, arguing that the religious establishment is already fractured and not in agreement over Iran’s future. Finally, he rejects Zakaria’s analysis of the “fantasy” held by neoconservatives, saying that Zakaria perhaps “believes that President Obama’s policy of respect and accommodation will solve the nuclear problem and bring a measure of decency to the rulers of Iran, but there is no empirical basis for such a belief,” suggesting that Zakaria himself is living in a fantasy.
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Elections, Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Neocons, Reform, US foreign policy | 1 Comment »
Is the NSS Light on Human Rights?
June 1st, 2010 by Josh
After reading through the administration’s freshly minted National Security Strategy, Jackson Diehl observes that President Obama makes no effort to associate international engagement with combating tyranny or promoting democracy. “Obama has already demonstrated that he does not accept Bush’s conclusion that the promotion of democracy and human rights is inseparable from the tasks of defeating al-Qaeda and establishing a workable international order,” he writes. “But nowhere in his 52-page doctrine is there a coherent explanation of why.” Jennifer Rubin of Commentary agrees, and argues that this is in part of a function of Obama’s “infatuation with the international community, multilateralism, and consensus.”
But Al Jazeera’s Marwan Bishara​notes that, like Presidents Clinton and Bush before him, Obama emphasizes the need to comprehensively “promote democracy and human rights abroad.” The difference, however, might lie in the implementation of such goals, and the Economist​proclaims that the NSS in fact signals a return to an era of greater realpolitik. “The Obama doctrine is not only less ambitious than his predecessor’s but arguably less idealistic … Under Mr Obama the neocon notion of spreading democracy by force has gone.” Instead, the new strategy indicates that America “will seek ‘principled engagement’ with non-democratic regimes.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Freedom, Human Rights, Multilateralism​, Neocons, US foreign policy | Comment »
Iraq: Concerns and Cheers Surface in Post-Election Iraq
March 15th, 2010 by Chanan
Despite international kudos for last week’s parliamentary elections in Iraq, many Iraqis are reportedly growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace at which the votes are being tallied. Though some officials cite technical difficulties for the purported delay while others point to the electoral commission’s many checks, Western officials have nonetheless privately expressed concern that the absence of clear results in a timely matter can have negative repercussions on the credibility of the elections.
In the meanwhile, Iraq’s Arab neighbors are also anxiously awaiting the outcomes, hoping that any coalition government formed by a likely Shiite front-runners will not be unduly influenced by Iran. Magid Mazloum of the Center for Gulf Studies in Cairo summed up Sunni fears: “These election results show that there is a Shi’ite wave in the region which threatens Arab security in the region. Iran has a hidden role in the Arab region and it supports Shi’ite elements in the area, particularly in Iraq.”
With a quarter of the results in, no party has thus far garnered an overwhelming proportion of the vote though current Prime Minister Nuri-al Maliki appears to be in the lead. This is a positive development​, according to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. “The best thing about Sunday’s election, judging from early results, is that no party won so big that it can form a government on its own.” He continued, “This will be democracy Iraq-style, something closer to a day spent haggling in the souk than a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.” Charles Dunne agrees, explaining that “far from creating chaos, the government formation process, difficult and lengthy though it may be, might very well yield a more broadly representative and vigorous government.”
In similar news, famed neoconservative Joshua Muravchikwrites an intriguing piece in World Affairs, heaping unbridled self-criticism on the movement for its “infatuation with Ahmad Chalabi.” He concludes, arguing that “the games Chalabi is playing are a threat both to Iraq’s prospects for democracy, as well as to America’s interests in the region.”
Posted in Elections, Iran, Iraq, Neocons, Sectarianism​, Uncategorized | Comment »
SOTU: Reaction to the Foreign Policy Sections
January 28th, 2010 by Josh
Despite the relative dearth of foreign policy pronouncements in last night’s State of the Union, some are voicing displeasure with what they see as the speech’s simplistic view of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. IraqPundit is astonished that President Obama implied a forthcoming end to the Iraq war simply by virtue of withdrawing the remaining U.S. troops. “Surely he must know that just because he pulls some U.S. troops out of Iraq not much will change. The terrorists will continue to murder.”
Over at The Cable, Josh Rogin​interprets this brief passage as Obama taking “credit for the one problem that seems to be resolving itself.”
Contrary to IraqPundit, Juan Cole views the Iraq line as Obama’s strongest foreign policy declaration within the speech, noting that it signals Obama’s recognition of Iraq as “irrelevant to the war on terrorism” and makes it “quite clear that the U.S. military is departing Iraq on the timetable worked out with the Iraqi parliament.” However, Cole is less pleased with Obama’s rhetoric on Iran, which he sees as “essentially a capitulation to Neoconservative themes on Iran, rather than retaining Obama’s central plank of keeping negotiating lines open to Tehran.” He also dismisses the efficacy of sanctions to do anything other than “keep a country weak and harm civilians.” They can not, according to Cole, produce regime change.
Commenting on the Obama’s priorities, Laura Rozen isn’t surprised with the “downgrading of foreign policy emphasis in the speech.” She relays a revealing conversation she had last week with a Democratic strategist who predicted that by early mid-summer, it will only be Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan on the president’s agenda. “The president is now a war president and an economy president,” the strategist said.
Posted in Afghanistan, Congress, Diplomacy, Iran, Iraq, Neocons, US foreign policy, sanctions | Comment »
Nobel: Obama’s Speech and Reaction
December 12th, 2009 by Jason
President Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize yesterday in Oslo, Norway. In his acceptance speech (full text), Obama affirmed that the award “speaks to our highest aspirations - that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.” Throughout the speech, Obama balanced the tension between the aspiration for peace and the necessity of war.
President Obama reminded the audience that America’s historical leadership in “constructing an architecture to keep the peace” that has advanced “the ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law.” Through the sacrifice and service of its citizens, the United States has promoted peace, prosperity and democracy “not because we seek to impose our will” but out of “enlightened self-interest, because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.”
Elaborating further, President Obama explained that peace is not simply a lack of conflict, but rather it must “based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual.” Therefore, President Obama promised that “even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice of those aspirations that are universal.” Because that voice sometimes must be delivered directly to authoritarian regimes, Obama rejected “sanctions without outreach, and condemnation without discussion [that] can carry forward a crippling status quo.” As such, the world “must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement; pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.”
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Posted in Afghanistan, Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, EU, Freedom, Human Rights, Military, Multilateralism​, Neocons, Terrorism, US foreign policy, US politics, al-Qaeda, sanctions | Comment »
Iraq: Elections Delayed Again
December 9th, 2009 by Jason
In the wake of a series of large bombs that killed 127 people, wounded 500 more, and damaging government buildings, Iraq’s presidency council announced that parliamentary elections will now be held on March 7th. Officials said the decision was made independent of political considerations. Juan Cole reports the bombs targeted both the ministries of interior and finance and parliament will investigate “this serious lapse in security.”
Ranj Alaaldin argues the violence reflects Iraq’s “political problems and also the geopolitical realities,” especially as its neighbors show “no enthusiasm for a stable and democratic Iraq.” Ultimately, Iraq will not be stable until “Iraqi politics truly starts to cross ethnic and sectarian boundaries.” Andrew Sullivan is concerned that the neoconservatives will push to extend the American presence in Iraq given its recent setbacks.
Posted in Elections, Iraq, Neocons, Sectarianism​, Terrorism, US foreign policy, al-Qaeda | Comment »
Egypt: U.S. Democracy Promotion
December 9th, 2009 by Jason
In the latest issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Shadi Hamid argues the U.S. must reconsider its long-held understanding with Egypt  that “in return for supporting American interests in the region, Washington would turn a blind eye to Egypt’s authoritarian practices.”
In recent years, the U.S. has failed to rhetorically support democracy and the Obama administration has made “drastic cuts in democracy assistance to Egypt.” To pave the way for Gamal Mubarak’s succession to the presidency through “an orchestrated show of constitutionalism,” the government has embarked upon an “unprecedented crackdown on political groups” while forcing through “constitutional amendments that nullify political freedoms.” Yet, while Egypt has debatedly helped serve America’s interests, “instability in Egypt - turning it inward - will imperil any increased role it still has the potential to play.”
While President Obama has correctly emphasized the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict towards generating Arab anger, Hamid observes the anger also stems from the broader narrative, true or false, that the U.S. “is not a force for good, or even a burdened, yet flawed, protector of the international system, but rather an actor that has worked, in remarkably consistent fashion, to suppress and subjugate the people of the region.” Therefore, seeking to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the expense of promoting Egyptian democracy may be self-defeating.
At the same time, Hamid contends a regional peace would “facilitate internal change, and presumably democratization,” because it would limit the government’s justification for maintaining a large military apparatus and ability to scapegoat outsiders for internal problems. Therefore, instead of mulling the “false choice” between supporting democracy or supporting regional peace, the U.S. must instead consider the “complex interplay between peace and democracy [that] can help us make better choices and balance sometimes competing priorities.”
To best support democracy in Egypt, Hamid proposes the U.S. should rhetorically support democracy, provide positive incentives to the Egyptian regime to reform, and engage with Egypt’s Islamists who renounce violence and commit to democratic principles. Unlike other countries in the region, “Egypt is an intuitive candidate for a strategic reorientation in U.S. policy [because it has] an educated urban population, a degree of political institutionalization, a legacy of parliamentary politics, and an active, occasionally assertive, civil society.” Furthermore, as a regional leader, “a thriving and successful Egypt is critical to a thriving, successful Middle East.”
In the end, Hamid worries that progressives have over-learned the lessons of the Bush administration’s aborted attempts to promote democracy in the Middle East. He concludes pragmatism “is not a substitute for well-considered policy. Nor should it obscure deeply held principles and ideals, principles that, sadly, we have so often failed to uphold in the Middle East.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Egypt, Elections, Freedom, Iraq, Islam and Democracy, Legislation, Mideast Peace Plan, Muslim Brotherhood, Neocons, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Syrian Democracy Sleeps with the Fishes?
November 13th, 2009 by Jason
In the November issue of National Geographic​, Don Belt delves into the history of the Assad family’s rule over Syria. Belt likens Bashar Assad to Michael Corleone of the Godfather, who assumed power only after the violent death of an older brother. Bashar inherited from his father Hafez Assad a Syria wracked by the fear of the secret police, paralyzed by bureaucratic red tape and plagued by pervasive corruption and nepotism. After assuming power, Bashar took on these problems by seeking to instill a “new mentality” into Syria, releasing political prisoners during the so-called Damascus Spring and privatizing the Syrian economy.
However, Belt argues September 11th changed the tone of Assad’s rule, especially in the face of American saber rattling, as he “diverted the widespread rage in Syria away from his vulnerable regime toward the Americans across the border in Iraq.” He also began to reverse political reform and freedom of expression and his fight against corruption faltered. Last year, the government censored a multitude of websites, an ironic decision given that it was Assad who had originally convinced his father to connect Syria to the World Wide Web in 1998. Now, analysts debate whether this regression reflects Assad’s own ambitions or whether he cannot control the conservative forces within his regime. Regardless, opposition figures view any differences between father and son as “cosmetic.”
As a result of this history, Syria is rife with odd juxtapositions of freedom and repression. As Belt explains, Syria is a “place where you can dine out with friends at a trendy cafe, and then, while waiting for the night bus, hear blood-chilling screams coming from a second-floor window of the Bab Touma police station. In the street, Syrians cast each other knowing glances, but no one says a word. Someone might be listening.”  In the words of one freedom activist quoted by Belt, “Living here is something like a phobia. You always feel like someone’s watching.”
In response, the Syrian Ambassador to the U.S., Imad Mustafa, wrote a lengthy letter (posted at Syria Comment) in an attempt to discredit Belt’s article. According to Mustafa, “this piece, laden with inaccuracies and disinformation, was a misrepresentation” of Syria. He accuses Belt of drawing an “unfairly bleak and intentionally inaccurate picture of Syria, reminiscent of the neoconservative literature that was prevalent during President Bush’s era.” He therefore dismisses the Belt article as “Borat-style” reporting.
Lee Smith in the Weekly Standard has in return responded to Mustafa, calling the Godfather comparison right on the mark: “But of course it is a mob-like ruling family.” Coincidentally, the director of the Godfather series, Francis Ford Coppola, recently visited Syria and said of Assad: “he has a vision for the country which is positive.” Whether the statement represents Coppola’s honest opinion or a tongue-in-cheek remark, Smith reminds Coppola to not forget the “dozens of dissidents, human rights activists and intellectuals warehoused and tortured in Syrian prisons.”
Posted in Freedom, Human Rights, Iraq, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, Neocons, Reform, Syria, US foreign policy | Comment »
Middle East International Refounded
November 9th, 2009 by Jason
The Middle East International has restarted its printing press after a six-year hiatus, releasing a free PDF issue online in commemoration. According to the Arabist, MEI offers “long articles and analysis from writers based in-country who [know] what they [are] talking about.”
There are several articles in the first issue related to democracy in the Middle East.  David Gardner explores why “the Arab world is mired in despotism” and blames America’s “morbid fear of political Islam” for its failure to promote democracy in the region. While the Bush “freedom agenda” is no more, the realization that “tyranny, connived in by the West, breeds terrorism, instability, and societal stagnation” still holds true. Therefore, “President Obama needs to rescue that insight before it is swept away in a backlash of shallow realism.” Gardner continues, “support for autocracy and indulgence of corruption in this region, far from securing stability, breeds extremism and, in extremis, failed states.” Yet while the U.S. must do more to promote democracy, Gardner reminds us that ultimately Arab citizens must lead the effort to democratize their respective countries.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Arab League, Bahrain, Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Egypt, Elections, Freedom, Gulf, Human Rights, Iran, Iraq, Islamist movements, Israel, Lebanon, Legislation, Libya, Muslim Brotherhood, NGOs, Neocons, Oil, Political Islam, Political Parties, Publications, Reform, Sectarianism​, Secularism, Turkey, US foreign policy, Uncategorized​, United Nations, sanctions | Comment »
Show Trials and Schisms in Iran
October 23rd, 2009 by Jason
With a draft deal hammered out that stipulates for external enrichment of Iran’s uranium stockpile, Western leaders are waiting for the Iranian government to give final approval. IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei admitted his “fingers are crossed” in hopes Iran will agree to the deal by the Friday deadline.  Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton demanded action from both Iran and North Korea on non-proliferation while also suggesting the U.S. will undertake substantive changes in its own nuclear policy. Finally, news of a secret nuclear meeting in Cairo that included both Israeli and Iranian representatives has been leaked to the press, but official details are still scarce.
UPDATE: Reuters is now reporting that Iran has failed to accept the U.N.-drafted plan for it to cut its stockpile of nuclear fuel.  Iran has offered is own plan, details of which were not made public, and in doing so it “appeared to be following a well-tested strategy of buying time to avert a threatened tightening of international sanctions.”
In an interview, Michael Ledeen argued “We should support the Iranian revolution […] It’s relatively rare that a policy is at once strategically sound and morally right, but this is one of those cases.” Towards that end, the House of Representatives is considering H.Res. 175 today that condemns the Iranian government for state-sponsored religious persecution and continued violations of human rights.
Ledeen added that the U.S. should do more to promote communication technology in Iran, such as Facebook and Twitter, that have propelled the opposition movement. But the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced the creation of 40 new blogs intended to battle for the war of ideas in cyberspace (h/t Tehran Bureau). Last year, the IRGC stated its intention to create 10,000 blogs for the Basij militia “to control the Internet and other digital devices including SMS.” Responding to an article by Evgeny Morozov that explored the downsides of the “Twitter Revolution,” Michael Allen suggests the U.S. needs to reconsider the role of traditional media platforms like Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.
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Posted in Afghanistan, Congress, Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Journalism, Judiciary, Neocons, Pakistan, Sectarianism​, Terrorism, US foreign policy, US politics, United Nations | 1 Comment »
Struggle for Human Rights in Iran
October 16th, 2009 by Jason
Laura Rozen reports the October 19th meeting of IAEA, the October 25th IAEA inspection of Qum, and a follow up meeting with the P5+1 and Iran all loom large in the coming weeks. Moving forward, Patrick Clawson identifies three key issues for negotiations: “Iran’s nuclear clock, creating transparency through verification, and resolving the fundamental issues between Iran and the international community.” He warns that negotiations should not last indefinitely and the Iranian regime may view negotiations as an opportunity to crack down on the opposition movement.
Meanwhile, the House passed the Iran Divestment bill 414-6 yesterday. If passed into law, the bill will allow state and local governments to divest funds from companies who conduct more than $20 million of business a year with Iran’s energy sector. Despite broad congressional support, many people, including Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, worry the sanctions will only harm the Iranian people.
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Posted in Elections, Freedom, Hamas, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Iran, Legislation, Middle Eastern Media, Military, Neocons, US foreign policy, US politics, Women, sanctions | 1 Comment »
Optimism after Geneva Talks?
October 2nd, 2009 by Jason
All eyes and ears focused on Geneva as the international community met with Iran to discuss the country’s nuclear program. Robert Costa at the National Review reports the talks ended with an agreement for a second round later this month and lead U.S. negotiator William Burns met with his Iranian counterpart Saeed Jalili for a one-on-one breakout session.  While Greg Bruno of the Council on Foreign Relations cautions that ”it’s not entirely clear what might constitute genuine progress,” he also notes the “post-Geneva consensus is decidedly upbeat” after Iran promised to cooperate “fully” with U.N. inspectors. 
Trita Parsi, quoted by Laura Rozen, agrees with Bruno and suggests “there is actually some promise here” with negotiations. She cites the Iranians giving permission to the Swiss to visit the captive American hikers, the agreement to let the IAEA inspect the Qum nuclear facility, Secretary Clinton’s confirmation of Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy and yesterday’s visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Washington, D.C, the first of its kind since 1979. These developments bode well with President Ahmadinejad​’s proposal for third party uranium enrichment​, a suggestion previously offered by the international community, and Foreign Minister Mottaki’s description of the “constructive” atmosphere of the Geneva talks.
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Posted in Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Neocons, US foreign policy, United Nations, sanctions | Comment »
Critiquing the Middle East Hawks
September 24th, 2009 by Jason
Nicholas Noe recently wrote a scathing rejection of neoconservative Middle East policy in The Guardian newspaper. He argues the “hawks” base their analysis on two faulty rules. One: Ideology matters more than evidence. Two: It is always preferable to hurt your enemies than to risk appeasement. In the end, Noe is grateful their influence is now limited to writing op-eds outside the halls of government.
Posted in Lebanon, Neocons, Syria, US foreign policy | Comment »
Neoconservatism and the Future of Democracy Promotion
December 11th, 2008 by Jason
In the Daily News Egypt, Ian Buruma describes the ascendance of neoconservatism during the Bush years, and how the movement came to provide the intellectual underpinnings for the War on Terror and the Iraq war.
Buruma worries that the very idea of spreading democracy, and even the word ‘democracy’ itself, may have become a “casualty of neo-conservative hubris” and “tainted by neo-imperialist connotations.” Though Buruma notes that despite their conspicuous mugging by reality, there is a core truth in the neocon assertion “that aggressive promotion of democracy abroad [is] not only moral, and in the American tradition, but in the national interest as well.”
“Democracy must be encouraged, wherever possible, by the most powerful democracy on earth. But revolutionary wars are not the most effective way to do this. What is needed is to find a less belligerent, more liberal way to promote democracy, stressing international cooperation instead of blunt military force. Obama is unlikely to repeat the mistakes of the neo-cons. But, in order to succeed, he will have to save some of their ideals from the ruins of their disastrous policies.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Neocons, US foreign policy | Comment »
‘Traditional Realists’ Unite
September 2nd, 2008 by Jason
In the September/October issue of the National Interest, Les Gelb calls for traditional realists–in the mold of Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and Brent Scowcroft​–to give up seeking common cause with both the “latent isolationists” of the right as well as those neoconservaties who only “[wait] for the world to bend to Washington’s wishes.” He advocates a political alignment with “Truman-Acheson Democrats”, in whom he finds realism’s true natural allies.
Posted in Diplomacy, Neocons, US foreign policy | Comment »
2008: Obama Should Visit A Mosque, Hit McCain As “Neocon”
June 27th, 2008 by Matt
In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Roger Cohen penned a piece decrying fear-mongering against Islam and its unfortunate status as a “global industry”.  Cohen thinks Barack Obama has a unique ability to break this “monolithic” view, and calls on Obama to visit a mosque as a way of seizing this opportunity (especially following the incident involving the women in head scarves at a campaign event, and the continuing absence of a mosque visit on the candidate’s schedule).
On Wednesday, Reuters writer David Morgan’s analysis suggested John McCain might be vulnerable to a political attack by the Obama camp on his neoconservative flank.
Posted in Election 08, Neocons, US politics | Comment »
2008: Not So Different After All
April 10th, 2008 by Matt
In a piece published in the most recent issue of the journal World Affairs, Robert Kagan reminds us of the long history of interventionism in the American foreign policy tradition, and discusses the curiousness of the term “neoconservative”.  Kagan argues that in today’s American foreign policy, almost every major political figure is part of the same “family” of foreign policy philosophy.  Kagan looks extensively at the foreign policy actions and statements of Hillary Clinton (and to a lesser extent, Barack Obama), to illustrate that many strong critics of “neoconservatism” actually hold largely similar views on the projection of American power and principles to those more closely associated with the movement (including, presumably, John McCain).
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Election 08, Neocons, US foreign policy | Comment »
2008: John McCain: Neoconservative? Realist? Neither? Both?
March 17th, 2008 by Matt
Writing in the LA Times, Paul Richter tries to sort out John McCain’s diverse foreign policy positions, finding it difficult to lump McCain in with other neoconservatives, but similarly finding it near-impossible to label him a realist.  His analysis shows McCain swinging back and forth, concluding that McCain’s “conflicting visions” will likely follow him into the White House. Matt Yglesias thinks that although Richter’s take was interesting, it failed to set the right context​–which would have been a comparison to Bush instead of a comparison to the nebulous “neoconservative” term.
Meanwhile, Gerard Baker argues in the Times of London that the rise and fall of the neoconservatives has been overdramatized every which way, as the neocons “were not really far out of line with the historic objectives of US foreign policy.” Baker calls McCain a “fervent” supporter of neoconservative ideas, also saying that despite their withdrawal-oriented rhetoric, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are unlikely to “effect an early departure of US troops and the relapse of Iraqi politics into tyrannical stability.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Election 08, Neocons, US politics | 4 Comments »
Commentary Symposium
November 1st, 2007 by Sean
In its November issue, Commentary Magazine has published an interesting symposium of fifteen articles considering the aptness of the term ‘World War IV’, progress six years after 9/11, and the continuing relevance of democracy promotion.
Fouad Ajami argues the need to “cast [the Mubarak] regime adrift,” John Bolton claims that “liberty is not the same as democracy,” Max Boot predicts that the Bush doctrine will outlive the administration, and Reuel Marc Gerecht argues that “Muslim democracy offers a chance to imbue popular will with a divine sanction, and a chance for Muslims to deracinate the holy warriors from their communities,” in lieu of the “continuing stagnation emerging from the Mubaraks, the ben Alis, the Assads, the Sauds, and even the Hashemites.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Islamist movements, Neocons | Comment »
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Egypt: Transition to Democracy May Face Constitutional Obstacles
Egypt: View of Protesters From Above
Leahy Ready to Freeze Aid to Egypt, Graham and Granger Call for Caution
Egypt: Opposition to Announce a Negotiating Body
Egypt: Banner Hung From Apartment Building in Support of Protests
Egypt: Video of Protests in Alexandria
Egypt Update: Security Forces Raid Muslim Brotherhood Site Headquarters
U.S. in Talks With Egypt’s Government on Mubarak’s Departure
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