Need for Presidents to ‘Look Tough’ Isn’t Getting US Anywhere

President Barack Obama is said to feel he is in trouble politically because his enemies in Congress and among the Washington journalists who decide what the "mood" of Washington is on any given day say he is not tough enough. This is the kind of mind reading about what the public thinks that got him … Continue reading “Need for Presidents to ‘Look Tough’ Isn’t Getting US Anywhere”

Yemen: The Backstory

The United States may be on the verge of involvement in yet another counterinsurgency war that, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, may make a bad situation even worse. The attempted Christmas Day bombing, apparently planned in Yemen, of a Northwest Airlines flight by a Nigerian, the alleged ties between the perpetrator of the Ft. Hood … Continue reading “Yemen: The Backstory”

The Quiet American

The quiet American was the hero of Graham Greene’s novel about the first Vietnam War, the one fought by the French. He was a young and naïve American, a professor’s son who had enjoyed a good education at Harvard, an idealist with all the best intentions. When he was sent to Vietnam, he wanted to … Continue reading “The Quiet American”

Russia, China Sustain Military Toehold in Yemen

Russia has stolen a march over the United States in the multi-million-dollar arms market in cash-strapped Yemen, whose weapons purchases are being funded mostly by neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Yemeni armed forces, currently undergoing an ambitious military modernization program worth an estimated four billion dollars, are armed with weapons largely from Russia, China, Ukraine and … Continue reading “Russia, China Sustain Military Toehold in Yemen”

Al-Qaeda Using US to Accomplish Goals – and US Is Playing Along

It is not widely understood that the policy objective of al-Qaeda is not to attack the Western countries, which in itself accomplishes nothing. Bringing down a Western airliner or blowing up a building in the United States or Britain is of no interest in itself, since the Islamic radical does no good by simply killing … Continue reading “Al-Qaeda Using US to Accomplish Goals – and US Is Playing Along”

Yemeni Detainees Caught in Bomb Backlash

In the wake of the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, legal experts and human rights advocates are pushing back against calls from politicians to halt the planned release of prisoners from Guantánamo Bay to their home country, Yemen. The would-be bomber, a 23-year-old Nigerian, was disarmed and taken down … Continue reading “Yemeni Detainees Caught in Bomb Backlash”

What to Watch for in 2010

According to the Chinese calendar, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. We don’t name our years, but if we did, this one might prospectively be called the Year of the Assassin. We, of course, think of ourselves as something like the peaceable kingdom. After all, the shock of Sept. 11, 2001, was that "war" … Continue reading “What to Watch for in 2010”

The Next Quagmire

Non-G.I. Joe Lieberman, Dick Cheney’s fellow Vietnam-era draft dodger turned warmonger, said on the Dec. 27 edition of Fox News Sunday that "Yemen is now one of the centers of that fight." It’s difficult to tell from reading the transcript of the interview between Joe and Chris Wallace what exactly Joe means by "that fight." … Continue reading “The Next Quagmire”