Thursday, November 27, 2008

Iraqi Developments

Thomas Donnelly has a new piece with the AEI about the future of Iraq now that a security pact between our countries has been agreed upon. He writes:
Five and one-half years is a long time, and the United States has paid a high price in blood and treasure, but make no mistake, this is what we have been fighting for: an Iraq with an increasingly legitimate, effective and representative central government; an Iraq increasingly aligned with the United States instead of constantly at war with us; and a bulwark of strategic stability in a volatile region.”
He also sheds light on how Iran fits into this newfound authority in Iraq.
The agreement represents a serious setback for Iran. The Islamic Republic has lost and apparently still is losing influence in Iraq. The Tehran regime has been vehemently opposed to this agreement, strongly pressuring the Maliki government and portraying the negotiations as evidence of U.S. and Western neo-colonialism.”
Well worth a read. The entire SOFA document can be found here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More on Obama and the Hawks

Max Boot, a foreign policy adviser and writer for Commentary, is also impressed with Obama’s cabinet picks thus far. He writes:
As someone who was skeptical of Obama’s moderate posturing during the campaign, I have to admit that I am gobsmacked by these appointments , most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain. (Jim Jones is an old friend of McCain’s, and McCain almost certainly would have asked Gates to stay on as well.) This all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators, and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign.”
ED Kain disagrees with my assessment over Obama’s potential hawkishness. He writes:
Obama does seem committed in Afghanistan, though finishing a war is hardly the mark of a hawk. At this point, any other course of action would be dangerous.”
I do think that his commitment to not only continue our mission in Afghanistan, but deepen and broaden it, is a hawkish position. Leaving Afghanistan would be hazardous, but so would leaving Iraq back in 2006, something several pundits and analysts supported (including Obama). The fact that the entire Iraq debate had been conducted within such an extreme partisan realm gave many Democrats who held interventionist views, the rationality to come out against the mission, if not its premise. It showed callousness on the part of our elected liberal officials, but it surely didn’t mean they had stepped away from the basic premise behind American military intervention.

Obama initially positioned himself on the left of his party on this issue, but I would have a hard time believing anyone deduces that he continues to hold those foolish positions after looking at his appointments.

Robert Kagan on International Law

Bush Pardons Scooter Turkey


In Thanksgiving Tradition, Bush Pardons Scooter Libby In Giant Turkey Costume

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama the Hawk?


Ross Douthat has an interesting piece at the Atlantic about the hawkish direction Obama’s administration is likely to take based on his recent appointments. He writes:
Here's a fearless prediction: On an awful lot of issues, the Obama foreign policy will end cutting to the right of Bill Clinton's foreign policy, which was already more center-left than left. Even with the GOP brand in the toilet, Republicans are still trusted as much or more than Dems on foreign policy, mostly for somewhat nebulous "toughness" reasons. So why give the Right a chance to play what's just about its only winning card, when you can satisfy your base with a phased withdrawal from Iraq that's scheduled to happen anyway while waxing hawkish on Pakistan, Afghanistan ... and who knows, maybe Iran as well? (I have a sneaking suspicion that a President Obama will be slightly more likely to authorize airstrikes against Iran than a President McCain would have been.) Meanwhile, on detainee policy, wiretapping, etc. you can earn plaudits from liberals for showily abandoning the worst excesses of the Bush era, while actually holding on to most of the post-9/11 powers that the Bushies claimed. Obama already made fans of Niall Ferguson and Eli Lake; by 2012, I wouldn't be surprised if he's converted Max Boot as well.”
The emphasis is mine. Jonah Goldberg writing for NRO, says:
“Barack Obama's signature issue in the primaries was his "good judgment" to oppose the Iraq war. He invoked this more than any other qualification in his early battles with Hillary Clinton. She may have experience, he'd charge, but she lacked the wisdom to oppose the war. Indeed, the whole Democratic establishment was somehow corrupt or out of touch for not opposing the war, according to the Obamaphiles. So now Barack Obama is going to appoint Hillary Clinton to be the chief architect of his foreign policy.

...It will be interesting to see how long Obama's charisma can paper over reality.”
It is still too early to discern the direction Obama will push our nation’s foreign policy once he is behind the wheel and maneuvering through the global political landscape, but his appointments do speak volumes about its fundamental attitude. Throughout the campaign, the differences between Obama and Hillary on social and economic issues were minuscule; their major disagreement was over Iraq and American foreign policy. Obama capitalized on the unpopularity of the Iraq War, and made the case that he was right to oppose it will his opponent could not be trusted for supporting it.

And now, she is going to head his Department of State, in a position where her apparent “lack of judgment” can most affect future policy decisions?

Either Obama has had a recent ideological change of heart, or was never opposed to Clinton’s outlook, and simply skewered her position for political gain.

None the less, I am pleasantly surprised by Obama’s appointments thus far.

Update:
Sultin Kinish sees her appointment as a way for Obama to deflect criticism away form himself. He writes:
"As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will carry most of the weight and blame for what will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan, making her into a highly visible lighting rod for the Anti-War camp, which is already assailing Obama."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elsewhere


Minnesota Public Radio has a hodgepodge of the challenged ballots that are at stake in the Franken/Coleman senate race. 23/6 has a comedic assortment.

Modernity has a rundown of the BNP membership leak.

Johnny Guitar has some great commentary on the British fascists as well.

The Kos kids just can’t stop crying over Lieberman. Whaa Whaa Whaa...

Well, at least it beats Obama as the Messiah...

Obvious Story of the Day

From Politico:
Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine's Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.

"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."
And then there is this little gem:
"Because Obama's campaign was generally so well run, he argued, the press tended to applaud even his negative tactics."