The ‘Christian Barometer’ and the Middle East

Even those who have celebrated the recent election in Iraq are concerned that it could give birth to a government dominated by Shi’ite fundamentalist parties that have little respect for the rights of women and minorities. But even those observers worried about the outcome in Iraq take some comfort in the prospect that the liberalization … Continue reading “The ‘Christian Barometer’ and the Middle East”

Spare Russia and China the Sermons

Not a day goes by in Washington without a smug official or a snooty U.S. columnist delivering a long and tedious sermon to officials in Beijing or Moscow. The Chinese and the Russians are told sternly by the Americans how to behave themselves – that is, if they really, really want to become “full members” … Continue reading “Spare Russia and China the Sermons”

US Economic Collapse: The Real Tipping Point?

The American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have ignited hopes among Washington’s neoconservatives that the U.S., taking advantage of the post-Cold War unipolar moment and its dominant military power, will gradually transform into a global empire. So the debate among neocons rages over such topics as: Will Iran and/or Syria and/or North Korea be the … Continue reading “US Economic Collapse: The Real Tipping Point?”

Needed: A Consistent China Policy

If you’ve been following the news in recent days, you might have concluded that China resides in two parallel universes. First, there is the geo-economic universe in which China, the rising economic power with a huge current account surplus, is being urged by members of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrialized nations (whose finance … Continue reading “Needed: A Consistent China Policy”

Kyrgyzstan’s Clan War

As a Washington-based pundit with some foreign policy credentials, I frequently receive phone calls from secretaries under pressure of a deadline who book “experts” like me for radio and television news shows, asking me to “do Iraq” or chat about some other area of crisis around the world. I usually don’t get paid a lot … Continue reading “Kyrgyzstan’s Clan War”

Condi Rice Talks Down to Europe, Asia

During her meetings with foreign leaders in Washington and the many world capitals she has visited recently, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sounded like a kindergarten teacher warning rowdy kids that if they won’t behave, they could end up standing in the “Axis of Evil” corner. Meanwhile, those who had learned by heart the … Continue reading “Condi Rice Talks Down to Europe, Asia”

From Kennan to Wolfowitz

Renowned American historian and diplomat George F. Kennan died last week at the age of 101, a day after U.S. President George W. Bush announced that he was nominating Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. So it was not surprising that I ended up going over the obituaries for the … Continue reading “From Kennan to Wolfowitz”

Oops! I Helped Start a War

Imagine: for a few years you were investing the money you had saved for your daughter’s college education in one of those moderately conservative plans that provided some increase in the value of the investment without exposing it to major risks. But then your financial planner – let’s call him Ken P. – got in … Continue reading “Oops! I Helped Start a War”

‘Pseudo-Events’ Stir Mideast Pot

In The Image, Daniel Boorstin’s ground-breaking and magisterial study of the rise of the modern media and the public relations profession, the renowned historian coined the term "pseudo-event." He was referring to a "happening" that is designed to be covered by the news. It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted … Continue reading “‘Pseudo-Events’ Stir Mideast Pot”

From Lebanon to Iraq and Back

For Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon all the current euphoria about the rising New Lebanon, marking the start of a revolutionary change in the Middle East, must have the feel of déjà vu all over again. After all, when Israeli troops under the order of then Defense Minister Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982 as part … Continue reading “From Lebanon to Iraq and Back”