“With Our Eyes Wide Open”

What the Egyptian revolution means for Israel. Leon Wieseltier There are two ways to think about the impact upon Israel of the collapse, fast or slow, but inexorable, of the Mubarak regime in Egypt. The first is to be concerned for Israel. The second is to be concerned about Israel. Until the peace treaty with … Continue reading

Engaging the Islamists

Shadi Hamid  Whether we like it or not, the Muslim Brotherhood – Egypt’s major Islamist group – is going to play a significant, perhaps crucial role in a post-Mubarak Egypt. Too often, American policy makers fall under the illusion that they can somehow have Arab democracy without having the largest opposition groups participate. A “democracy” … Continue reading

Calling the Muslim Brotherhood

Scott Atran  I got through to the guys on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood politburo for a couple of hours before they joined the demonstrations yesterday and then with some of Egypt’s top human-rights activists during. Also with some of the kids. No one really is taking the Muslim Brotherhood all that seriously but they are … Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of Tariq Ramadan?

The Islamist, the journalist, and the defense of liberalism. Paul Berman   Tariq Ramadan is a charismatic and energetic Islamic philosopher in Europe who has become popular and influential among various circles of European Muslims during the past fifteen years—originally in Geneva, where his father founded the Islamic Center in 1961; then in Lyon, the … Continue reading

Egypt Returns to the Internet

By Ryan Singel Egyptian ISPs restarted internet service Wednesday morning Cairo time, a little less than six days after the Egypt’s government ordered the country’s ISPs to cut off the net. The restoration was as abrupt and unnannounced as the shutdown on January 27, which was seen as an attempt to cut off the ability … Continue reading

Whether he likes it or not

by N.P. | AMMAN IN AN attempt to keep North Africa’s winds of change from buffeting his kingdom, King Abdullah of Jordan dismissed his government in his first political concession since non-violent, low-key but persistent protests erupted in the country a month ago. The move appears unlikely to stem mounting dissent. Opposition leaders, from Islamists … Continue reading

Don’t Fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy The Daily Beast The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia has sent a shock wave through the Arab world. Never before has the street toppled a dictator. Now Egypt is shaking, Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime faces its most serious threat ever. The prospect of change … Continue reading

Iran Cracks Down While Egypt Cracks Up

Tehran is claiming that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt reflect the heady days of 1979. Not so fast says the Green Movement — it’s 2009 that’s a better parallel. BY BARBARA SLAVIN While the world’s attention has been riveted by Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt this month, Iran’s government has taken the opportunity … Continue reading

Torturers, Jailers, Spies Lead Egypt’s ‘New’ Government

By Spencer Ackerman Dissidents demanding the end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime had better hope they don’t end up under arrest. The first members of Mubarak’s new cabinet — a face-lift so he can stay in power — are heavily involved in the apparatus of state repression, including a spymaster who worked with the … Continue reading

Five Things to Understand About the Egyptian Riots

Heather Hurlburt   … Here are five points that American observers should keep in mind whatever comes next, while consuming the blog posts, Tweets, and TV coverage of their choice. Revolutions often erupt with little warning. … Watch the military: There are institutions in Egypt, and they will ultimately, though perhaps not today, make the … Continue reading

A Note of Warning and Encouragement for Egyptians

From an Iranian writer who lived through the 1979 Revolution. Abbas Milani   After days of unrest, after declaring martial law in some of the country’s main cities, the authoritarian leader gave a much anticipated television speech. His tone was repentant. He promised change and reform. The people wanted democracy and he promised to bend … Continue reading

Does Obama’s ‘Net Freedom Agenda’ Hurt The U.S.?

By Spencer Ackerman On Thursday, President Obama declared access to social networks to be a “universal” value, right alongside freedom of speech. But when those networks helped weaken Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, one of the U.S.’ strongest allies in the Middle East, the Obama team demanded Mubarak turn the Egyptian Internet back on — but didn’t … Continue reading

Mubarak’s speech

by R.L.G. | NEW YORK HOSNI MUBARAK has given a strangely defiant speech in which he asserted that Egypt’s uprising would not have happened if he hadn’t given the people so much freedom of expression, among other things. On a rhetorical level, I think I’d caution him against blaming too much freedom right about now. … Continue reading

Hosni’s Hot Arab Cuisine

KAL’s cartoon http://www.economist.com/node/18024045

Palin Responds to Obama’s SOTU Speech with the F-Word

Translated By Ron Argentati  Edited by Sam Carter Germany – Financial Times – Original Article (German) Anyone who follows this Republican’s utterances would probably be very surprised. The ex-governor’s latest attack on President Obama was definitely vulgar; it was also unusually barbed. Republican politician Sarah Palin gave a sharp rebuttal to President Obama’s State of … Continue reading

This week on Thucydides Abuse Watch

By Daniel W. Drezner  … David Sanger invoked Thucydides in his New York Times Week in Review essay on a rising China and a fading United States.  Let’s see how he did: For a superpower, dealing with the fast rise of a rich, brash competitor has always been an iffy thing…. [A]sk Thucydides, the Athenian … Continue reading

Avast Network

What is the Pirate Party—and why is it helping Wikileaks? James Downie This past December, when the host of the Wikileaks domain shut down the organization’s online presence, the Pirate Party came to the rescue. No, the saviors were not renegade Somalis or Internet bootleggers, but, rather, a small but growing five-year-old political party focused … Continue reading

Haley Barbour’s ambitions

How might Mississippi’s governor play on the national stage? Not cut out for tea parties Last December, in a canvas tent erected on a building site in rural east Mississippi, Haley Barbour worked the dirt-floored space as deftly as Sonny Rollins on a saxophone. He had come to Kemper County to break ground for a … Continue reading

Suicide for a Cause

What’s behind the Middle East’s new trend of self-immolation? BY ADAM LANKFORD On Dec. 17, 2010, a 26-year-old unemployed college graduate named Mohamed Bouazizi stood in front of a government office in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, poured gasoline over his body, and lit himself on fire. In doing so, he seems to have … Continue reading

Seymour Hersh unleashed

By Blake Hounshell DOHA, Qatar—David Remnick, call your office. In a speech billed as a discussion of the Bush and Obama eras, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh delivered a rambling, conspiracy-laden diatribe here Monday expressing his disappointment with President Barack Obama and his dissatisfaction with the direction of U.S. foreign policy. "Just when we needed … Continue reading

Jailed Pirate Party member becomes Tunisian government minister

By Nate Anderson From imprisoned Pirate Party member to government leader, it’s been an eventful week for Tunisian blogger and software developer Slim Amamou. Arrested by security forces a week ago, Amamou emerged from jail a few days later only to watch as president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country and the new "unity" … Continue reading

Hu’s Really in Control in China?

Are the generals — or Beijing’s new leader-in-waiting — now running the show? BY DREW THOMPSON View a slide show of China’s growing military power. Images of China’s newly unveiled stealth fighter — designated the J-20 — just prior to and during U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s visit to Beijing last week underscored an uncomfortable … Continue reading

Rise of the Hans

Why a dominant China could spark tribal warfare. BY JOEL KOTKIN When Chinese President Hu Jintao comes to Washington this week, there aren’t likely to be many surprises: Hu and Barack Obama will probably keep their conversation to a fairly regulated script, focusing on trade and North Korea and offering the expected viewpoints on both. … Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The Forum for the Future was supposed to be an instrument of George W. Bush’s Middle East freedom agenda. Seven years later, it embodies everything that was wrong with it — and the Arab street is taking matters into its own hands. BY JAMES TRAUB Senior Western and Arab diplomats as well as leaders of … Continue reading

The President and the Hairdresser

Camille Pecastaing  The irony about American diplomacy is that while official statements from the U.S. government are often met with skepticism, the famously leaked secret diplomatic cables from American overseas embassies have been received as scriptures. Local gossips collected by American ambassadors became irrefutable indictments of regimes and rulers. It was already public knowledge that … Continue reading

How to Stay Friends With China

By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI Washington THE visit by President Hu Jintao of China to Washington this month will be the most important top-level United States-Chinese encounter since Deng Xiaoping’s historic trip more than 30 years ago. It should therefore yield more than the usual boilerplate professions of mutual esteem. It should aim for a definition of … Continue reading

Hu Cometh

by Evan A. Feigenbaum  "U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao watch members of the Old Guard march during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House April 20, 2006. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)" Chinese president Hu Jintao arrives in Washington this week.  And after a year of difficult relations, … Continue reading

Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war

By Henry A. Kissinger  The upcoming summit between the American and Chinese presidents is to take place while progress is being made in resolving many of the issues before them, and a positive communique is probable. Yet both leaders also face an opinion among elites in their countries emphasizing conflict rather than cooperation. Most Chinese … Continue reading

Ben Ali’s 1979 playbook

By Cameron Abadi It’s hard to envy the position Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was in these last few weeks: There just aren’t many good answers available to despots who are faced with popular uprisings. Still, he should have known better than to settle on Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s 1978-1979 playbook for quelling incipient revolutions. Indeed, … Continue reading

Getting Real on Japan

Bob Gates now appears to understand that the U.S.-Japan alliance is much bigger than one base in Okinawa. But both sides still have a long way to go. BY DANIEL SNEIDER Two learning curves intersected in Tokyo this week when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates came to town, part of a Northeast Asian swing that … Continue reading

Tweeting tyrants out of Tunisia: the global Internet at its best

By Nate Anderson Even yesterday, it would have been too much to say that blogger, tweeters, Facebook users, Anonymous, and Wikileaks had "brought down" the Tunisian government, but with today’s news that the country’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country, it becomes a more plausible claim to make. Of course there … Continue reading

Freedom Gone South

Why Mexico — and the rest of the world — is getting less democratic. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING View a slide show of the notable countries in this year’s report In a year that saw an overall rollback in democracy and human rights in the world, the most shocking decline may have taken place just … Continue reading

Has Sarah Palin made herself the most prominent victim of the Tucson shooting?

By David Rothkopf In politics, it is often not the underlying event that produces the consequences but rather it is the reaction to it. The legacy of Watergate was not so much as a result of the break-in as it was the cover-up. How we view Bush’s reaction to 9/11 is not colored so much … Continue reading

The Sick Man of the Middle East

Is Tunisia’s strongman president about to fall? BY BLAKE HOUNSHELL At around 11 p.m. Tuesday, U.S. East Coast time, unconfirmed reports of a coup in Tunisia spread across Twitter like wildfire, fueled by a rumor mill that has gone into overdrive since riots broke out this month outside the Tunisian capital. "Phone confirmation that the … Continue reading

Once more into the abyss for Lebanon

By David Kenner For the past two and a half years, Lebanese politics was played much like a game of touch football. That is, it operated within the confines of a strictly defined set of rules: It didn’t always make for the most compelling sport, but at least nobody got hurt. This was the legacy … Continue reading

The oily subtext of South Sudanese independence

By Steve LeVine Resource curse theorists say that oil inherently creates evil within states. What they actually mean is that how oil revenue is shared — or not — often creates the evil. Such is the subtext in this week’s referendum in southern Sudan on whether to secede. In order for the breakaway from Sudan … Continue reading

Is the administration trying to destabilize Honduras?

By José R. Cárdenas That’s what the new Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wants to know. In a letter to the State Department last week, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) expressed her grave concern over reports that the administration was trying to pressure the Honduran government to absolve disgraced former President Manuel Zelaya of … Continue reading

Irony Is Good!

How Mao killed Chinese humor … and how the Internet is slowly bringing it back again. BY ERIC ABRAHAMSEN … In the decades following, China’s educational policy and official pronouncements did not stray far from this pattern of value statements mindlessly repeated and the discouragement of independent thought — hardly fertile ground for humor or … Continue reading

WikiLeaks Reveals International Intrigue Over Science and Environment

By Brandon Keim  While most of the attention around WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cable release involved high-profile geopolitical intrigue, some of the documents involved science and the environment. Above: Sea Shepherd Whale Deal The latest of these, reported Jan. 6 by the Guardian newspaper, involve discussions in late 2009 and early 2010 between the United States and … Continue reading

Kuwait: too much politics, or not enough?

By Kristin Smith Diwan On Dec. 28, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah, Prime Minister and nephew to the ruling Emir, stood before the Kuwaiti National Assembly to face intensive questioning from representatives of Kuwait’s three main opposition groupings. The parliamentary "grilling"– in Kuwait’s colorful parlance — came in response to his government’s use of force to … Continue reading

Algeria’s national ‘protesta’

By Hugh Roberts The massive wave of protests that have engulfed Algeria and the recent unrest in Tunisia are both premised on a fundamental political deficit — the absence of credible political institutions capable of ensuring adequate representation of the society and so keeping the executive branch of the state under the kind of critical … Continue reading

Meet the Persident

In surreal Russia, fake presidential tweets are much more relevant than the real ones. BY JULIA IOFFE In his off-hours, a seemingly dutiful government servant in Czar Nicholas I’s Ministry of Finance would pass the time jotting down little aphorisms. Some were obscure in meaning: "Not every general is stout by nature." Or, "If you … Continue reading

Running the World, After the Crash

Has the era of global cooperation ended before it began? BY RICHARD SAMANS, KLAUS SCHWAB, MARK MALLOCH-BROWN International cooperation has stalled. From climate change and trade to nuclear nonproliferation and U.N. reform, macroeconomic rebalancing and development funding — and the list could go on — nearly every major initiative to solve the new century’s most … Continue reading

The incredible shrinking sound bite

It’s not just a modern problem — and may not be such a bad thing after all By Craig Fehrman  In the summer of 1992, just as George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot were gearing up for their presidential race, CBS announced a new policy for its nightly news. Starting immediately, the … Continue reading

Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock

By Noam Chomsky  While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as “delegitimation” – that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them – and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine. The “delegitimation,” … Continue reading

The Charade of Israeli-Palestinian Talks

By Noam Chomsky Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion—excluding Arab East Jerusalem—should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history. In September the last settlement freeze ended, leading the Palestinians to cease direct talks with Israel. Now the Obama administration, desperate … Continue reading

U.S. Savage Imperialism, Part 2

By Noam Chomsky  It’s pretty common now for supporters of the Palestinians and Palestinian leaders themselves to say, "Well, we have to abandon hope in the two-state solution." As one of the Palestinian leaders said, "We should give Israel the key and let them take over the entire West Bank. It will be one state, … Continue reading

Frenemies Forever

How Washington stopped worrying and learned to love Saudi Arabia, again. BY STEVE LEVINE Over the past decade, the American public has been presented with the case against Saudi Arabia, and it’s a damning indictment: oil (dirty), terrorism (evil), fundamentalist Islam (dangerous), human rights (shockingly bad). President Barack Obama has spoken of the need to … Continue reading

Obama No Longer Apprehensive of Dirty Hands

By Paul Brill Translated By Anne Hukkelhoven  The Netherlands – Volkskrant – Original Article (Dutch)  Presidential success shows that things can change quickly in Washington. What is the most memorable text that the gifted orator Barack Obama has spoken? The thoughts are with large, notable speeches, such as the keynote speech at the Democratic convention … Continue reading

American Interests in Peril

By B.M. Translated By Courtney Webster  Edited by Michelle Harris Algeria – La Nouvelle République – Original Article (French)  The question inevitably arises of knowing why the United States supports Israel unconditionally and to what extent this discriminatory support would be the cause of potential danger to American interests in the Arab world and even … Continue reading