The Russian invasion of Georgia and the inability of the United States, NATO, the United Nations — not to mention Georgia itself — to do anything about it has cast into sharp relief one of the most disturbing consequences of recent American policy in the world. Having focused obsessively on the threat of terrorism — and not simply on terrorism, but terrorism conducted by radical Islamic fundamentalist groups such as al-Qaeda, the United States and the administration of George Bush have de facto ignored a series of other pressing global issues. It’s been said that governments and countries fight the last war; in the case of the Bush administration, we’ve fought the last war several times over, with strategic incompetence. As a result, our future security has been seriously jeopardized.Read More
A cursory glance at the coverage this week of the Beijing Olympics shows an increasing crescendo of negative commentary. That is evident everywhere from the Huffington Post to the mainstream media, and even sports journalists have been jumping on the anti-China bandwagon. The recent decision of the Chinese government to deny former medalist Joey Cheek entry into the country because of his stated plan to rally athletes to pressure Sudan on its Darfur policy is just the latest issue to inflame opinion.Read More
In the continued interest of counter-programming, let’s turn our attention away, for a moment, from the fascinating saga unfolding in Washington. And it is fascinating — and disturbing — no doubt. But a world away, another saga is unfolding, one which, like the rise of China as an economic behemoth, is shaping everyday life in more prosaic, but probably more significant, ways than anything that George Bush does or does not do with the latest golly-gee technologies of the NSA.Read More
Washington’s in an uproar; Woodward inadvertently passes the torch from the Watergate generation to the Plamegate posse; and bereft at the loss of their exterminator, Delay, the Republicans in Congress are heading every which way but loose. Exciting stuff, but across the Pacific Ocean, there’s some boring stuff which matters a whole lot more in the long run. This weekend, the leaders of the U.S. government and the Chinese government will cross chopsticks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and our “esteemed leader” will sit down with their esteemed leader.Read More
Libby indicted! Miers withdraws! Polls register vertiginous drop in support for Bush, the war, the Republicans in Congress. Rove not off the hook, a prosecutor who, gasp, does not leak - everything seems to be breaking in the Democrats’ direction. But remember the last time the left side of the aisle was this giddy? The fall of 2004, when Bush seemed to be sinking himself and Kerry appeared on the verge of victory. Certain that the Republicans would implode, the Democrats forgot that they had to actually do and say something that someone would find meaningful.Read More
In the past weeks, the commentariate has been focused on the weather. Two major stories have dominated the agenda – hurricanes in the Gulf and the political winds in Washington, buffered by two Supreme Court vacancies and by the political storm that followed the first actual storm – Katrina.
Both of these storms deserve attention; so do larger issues of the United States in the world, the on-going war in Iraq, and the shifting sands of the questionably named “war on terror.” But I suspect that years from now, the story we will tell will be less about the stories we are telling and more about the ones we aren’t.Read More