The Conversation

Foreign Affairs: What's going on around the world.

Obama Goes to Israel

Feb 5, 2013 5:20 PM PT

The White House announced today, that for the first time in his presidency, President Obama will visit Israel. And I for one am glad that the president finally found time in between skeet shooting and golfing, to visit one of America's closest allies. I was beginning to worry. Must be all the newfound flexibility one comes to find in his second term as president of the United States.

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Trial by media

Feb 5, 2013 6:46 AM PT

Today we've got two stories about national security that provide a nice contrast: the drone strike program Obama has been keeping secret, and the cyber-war program that was suspiciously "leaked" last summer, just in time to polish up the President's anti-terrorist credentials for the election.  

What both of these stories have in common is the indispensable role of the media as prosecutor and jury.  Both of these stories would have been huge scandals in a Republican administration, especially that of George Bush.  They would have been tied into a "narrative" of a bloodthirsty President carelessly willing to compromise national security in the pursuit of political success.  Quotes from foreign leaders outraged by drone assassinations would have been solicited; civil libertarian concerns about American citizens terminated without due process would have filled the headlines and spilled over into Hollywood movies.  Remember the Hollywood Left got the vapors when they thought Bush was just arresting terror suspects without due process, or making them temporarily uncomfortable to collect valuable information?

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Drugs Dealers, Prostitutes and A U.S. Senator

Feb 4, 2013 9:16 AM PT

The underage prostitution scandal involving Senator Bob Menendez continues to get stranger by the minute as as a live news conference broadcast on the Dominican Republic CDN television featured Miami Dr. Salomon Melgen, Attorney Beneficio Castillo Seman defending Menendez as being a victim of external “conspiracies.”


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Rand Paul, presidential contender?

Feb 4, 2013 6:58 AM PT

In response to Unlike Ron, Rand Talks Tough On Iran:

Larry, I think Rand Paul is indisputably a more serious candidate than his father - as the conventional wisdom has it, Rand is far better at "retail politics."  The challenge will be selling himself as a retail presidential candidate when his political back catalog includes some unfashionable luggage the media will be buying wholesale.  They'll be enjoying deep discounts and free shipping on Ron Paul memorabilia, which they'll hang around Rand's neck at every opportunity.  He'll get a choice between denouncing his father repeatedly in public, or being morphed into Ron Paul v2.0.  It's not fair, but we all know it's coming, and if Rand's retail political skills are equal to their reputation, he knows it's coming.

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Reminder: Iran sanctions are working, no thanks to Hagel

Feb 4, 2013 5:32 AM PT

The Iranian currency, the rial, has hit a new low, falling 21% in the past two weeks, according to wire reports. 

No thanks to former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), of course, who opposed unilateral sanctions and remained skeptical of multilateral efforts. And limited thanks to the Obama administration, which a) has dragged its feet continuously on sanctions, and b) nominated Hagel for the post of Secretary of Defense, sending Iran a signal.


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