Why Egypt has to be the U.S. priority in the Middle East

Posted by elvira, 7th March 2011

Obama & MubarakRobert Kagan and Michele Dunne
3/7/2011

Egypt is a pivotal nation in the Arab world, and while a heavy-handed approach would be inappropriate, the authors point out specific ways the United States could offer support. First and foremost, the US could provide economic assistance uniquely suited for the current situation (the US is presently slated to give the same aid to Egypt that it always has). In addition, the authors cite various other means of US support, including debt forgiveness, free trade, private investment, and the appointment of a “transition czar” to administer these plans. The success of the Arab Spring does not depend on the United States, but it is important that the US show it is committed to helping others enjoy the freedoms that we do.

Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes a monthly column for The Post. Dunne is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. They are co-chairs of the Working Group on Egypt.

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How Boehner is playing the Democrats

Posted by elvira, 7th March 2011

NEWS-US-USA-BUDGET-BOEHNERE.J. Dionne Jr.
3/7/2011

John Boehner has adopted Richard Nixon’s “madman strategy” in his approach to budget negotiations with Democrats in Congress and the executive branch. By proposing such a large and diverse group of budget cuts–ostensibly to placate the more vociferous members of his own party–Boehner places the onus on Democrats to compete among and between themselves for favored programs’ survival. By positing the threat of a government shutdown as a real possibility, Republicans rachet up the pressure on their Democratic counterparts to make real and costly concessions.

Dionne is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post, writing on national policy and politics.

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High Fascism

Posted by elvira, 7th March 2011

GallianoRhonda Garelick
3/7/2011

Garelick looks at the incident in which Christian Dior’s creative director, John Galliano, was fired for drunkenly making anti-Semitic slurs at a woman in a bar. She says the incident “invites consideration of the curious relationship between French fashion and fascism.” She looks at the history of fashion during World War II, in which the Nazis recognized the power and prestige of the French fashion industry and sought to harness it for political gain while keeping it in France. In addition, the Vichy government also sought to use fashion as a political statement to show the world through calm elegance that they were not afraid. Garelick looks at the links between fashion and a racist physical ideal that can still be seen in models today.

Garelick, a professor of English and performing arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is working on a cultural biography of Coco Chanel.

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Watching Protesters Risk It All

Posted by osurce, 24th February 2011

bahrain protestsNicholas D. Kristof
2/21/2011

In Bahrain, witnessing the protests seems like the Arab version of 1776, with people standing up for democracy in the face of a tyrant monarch even in the face of violence and possible death until President Obama pressured the king to stop shooting his people. The United States has for too long embraced corrupt and repressive autocracies in the Middle East out of fear that a democratic movement might be hostile to us. Kristof looks at the schism between the corrupt Sunni minority in Bahrain and the Shia majority and how the Sunnis receive favorable treatment that has led to the protests.

Kristof is a New York Times columnist.

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The ‘Long War’ May Be Getting Shorter

Posted by osurce, 24th February 2011

Afghan warNathaniel Fick and John Nagl
2/21/2011

There is increasing evidence that Afghanistan is moving in a more positive direction than many analysts think and the country can achieve the stability and self-reliance necessary for a draw-down over the next four years. There are an additional 30,000 troops on the ground, more high-tech intelligence resources, and an increase in the Afghan Army troop strength. Two problems that still exist include the corruption of the Afghan government and the complicity of some Pakistanis with the insurgency, but military and civilian leaders are establishing a task force to investigate and expose corruption and are shoring up the parts of the border that the Taliban uses with Pakistan.

Fick, a former Marine captain, is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. Nagl, a former Army lieutenant colonel, is the president of the center.

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Beijing and the Arab Revolt

Posted by osurce, 24th February 2011

Arab RevoltsBret Stephens
2/22/2011

Seen from a distance, the Arab revolts of 2011 all seem connected and broadly similar. Yet Stephens notes that on closer inspection, the convulsing states of the Arab world are each undergoing distinct revolutions. Events in Bahrain in the last two weeks have sent a tiny but telling shot across China’s gigantic bow. Even though it has a per capita GDP of $27,000, women can vote, and the country is an excellent place to invest, Bahrainis lack real political freedom. As such, conditions are ripe for a bourgeois revolt. Beijing has been censoring news about the Arab revolt and putting down small but widespread protests that draw inspiration from it. But Bahrain proves–to Beijing’s horror–that economic growth will not save it. Until they grant their people democracy, their quest for discipline will only hasten their demise.

Stephens writes ‘Global View’ for the Journal.

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Where is Boehner and Obama’s courage to lead?

Posted by osurce, 18th February 2011

USARuth Marcus
2/16/2011

Marcus cites recent examples of House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama failing to lead effectively. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Boehner dodged questions about his role in leading Republicans toward the facts about Obama’s citizenship and religion. Boehner claimed it was not his job to tell Americans what to think, yet Marcus contends that he tells citizens what to think about other issues, such as Obamacare. As for President Obama, his leadership failure comes in the form of a hands-off approach to the budget. The president would not directly confront the tax code or entitlement spending, leaving the issues hanging and sending the message that discussions would not resume until 2013. Apparently, the “cowardly state of politics” in modern America is not exclusive to any political party.

Marcus is an editorial writer for The Post, specializing in American politics, campaign finance, the federal budget and taxes, and other domestic issues.

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The Post-Islamist Future

Posted by elvira, 18th February 2011

egypt_youngmanMaajid Nawaz
2/18/2011

Recent events in Egypt indicate the beginning of the end for the Middle East’s fascination with Islamist opposition politics, says Nawaz. With failed Islamist experiments in Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan, the new millennium is witnessing a transition. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is cause for some concern, but the real story is how secular democratic politics are inspiring the youth of the region. Like Turkey’s, Egypt’s largely secular army is wary of an Islamist takeover. If we can help Egyptians build a democratic society for the first time in their history, we may see the dawn of a new post-Islamist age that transforms political dynamics worldwide.

Nawaz, a former prisoner of conscience in Egypt, is executive director of Quilliam, a counterextremism think tank in England.

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Obama’s Louis XV budget

Posted by osurce, 18th February 2011

ObamaCharles Krauthammer
2/18/2011

Despite Obama’s claims that he is imposing “painful cuts” on spending, Krauthammer runs the numbers to reveal that these cuts actually result in government spending on “stratospheric levels.” The cuts themselves come from an emergency-level, inflated base, and the amount of the cuts ($1.1 trillion over the next decade) is accompanied by $7.2 trillion in new spending (with $2 trillion of that coming from tax increases) over the same amount of time. At the end of the decade, the US will be burdened with a deficit three times the level it was when Obama took office. Yet the president continues to ignore entitlement spending and proposals of tax reform and presents a “cynical” budget that forfeits the future while setting Obama up for re-election.

Krauthammer is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign and domestic policy and politics.

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