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Posts Tagged ‘Bush

Leaving Iraq. More Powerful Arguments Against.

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there are some gambles that you just don't take. nation-building in iraq is definitely one of them

there are some gambles that you just don't take. nation-building in iraq is definitely one of them

Tom Ricks’ new book “The Gamble” is going to make some waves, and the author’s interview on NPR this morning is just the latest. This blog is an advocate of Obama leaving US troops in Iraq for the long term. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place in his Iraq policy. If he leaves he runs the risk of renewed violence after we’re gone. If he stays, he’ll be charged with breaking his promise to withdraw.

But facing the political heat at home in the short term would be far wiser than risking a bloodbath in Iraq after we close the door behind our last guys out, which will be bad news for US foreign policy and would cause an about turn from a fickle US public who’d suddenly tell him he should have stuck it out. Ricks makes the point in his NPR interview that he has ‘sympathy’ for Obama. Clearly, Bush left him with an intolerable mess and it will take superior leadership from our new Commander-in-chief to escape the jam with minimum damage. But in order to do so, hard choices have to be made. Obama has yet to prove he’s a tough choice kind of guy, despite his rhetoric to the contrary. Iraq is an arena that he has to get right.

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Written by coolrebel

March 4, 2009 at 10:49 am

Continuing The Neo-Liberalism Discussion

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Badd Bob of Planned Obsolescence has built on my discussion about Neo-Liberalism with a thought-provoking post that asks some fascinating long term questions about where US hegemony could lead. Badd Bob puts China at the top of his list of adversarial states, but he questions how forceful the US can be in establishing and directing its power without generating blow-back.  There’s still plenty of work to be done in shaping the concept. Discussion open.

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Written by coolrebel

February 27, 2009 at 12:32 am

Whither Gitmo – What Are the Risks of Closing Guantanamo?

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060509_juris_gitmoprisonere

gitmo - where america creates the terrorist role models of the future

Among the many black marks on the Bush Administration will be the following; they sure were talented at getting us into jams we couldn’t get out of. Iraq, and Afghanistan are top of the list, but just below them is Gitmo. Opened at a time when Bush and the neo-cons really did think that the War on Terror was going to be a real live war with stacks of POWs, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was to put it mildly a total and utter disaster. Bush is clearing Cedar brush back in Crawford, but like a bad dream, Gitmo is still there, yet another piece of heavy luggage that the new President’s got to haul around with him.

Obama is rightly dedicated to totally overhauling America’s image abroad, especially in the Muslim world. And a big blot on relations with Arab countries is Guantanamo. So it would seem to be a no brainer to shut the damn place as quickly as possible. The President wants the doors closed on that particular PR nightmare within a year. Nice idea. Very nice idea.

There’s only one slight problem. It’s not going to work. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

February 26, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Stimulus Package. The Politics Of Panic.

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panic first. solve problems later.

here's a plan. panic first. solve problems never.

Who came up with the cockamamie idea of the ‘economic stimulus’? The Bushies. During the post Bear-Stearns policy meltdown, when Paulson and his merry band of idiots put together policy on the fly, all we heard was how we needed to stimulate the economy. Well, we did an awful lot of stimulating but we’re in deeper trouble now than we were then.

And yet, Obama, continuing his annoying tendency to shape policy through a Republican prism, is continuing with this absurd “got to rush through the package now before its too late” rubbish. Many of the changes in the package are going to take months or years to be seen but that doesn’t stop him from giving the poor, downtrodden American people hope (remember that word) that this is a quick fix. It isn’t, and by branding it as one, Obama is only setting up problems for himself. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

February 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Gordon Brown Is Back!

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gordonbrown_narrowweb__300x4250

scotland the brave

It was British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson who coined the term “A week is a long time in politics”, and while Gordon Brown’s astonishing turnaround as British Prime Minister has taken a little longer than that, it has been truly remarkable.

When the British public turn on their leaders, they do it with a viciousness that’s positively medieval. A year ago, Gordon Brown was political poison. In the great tradition of British politics, his Labour Party was openly plotting his demise in the tea rooms and bars of Westminster. His demise was expected in a matter of weeks, and his stoic Scottish demanour combined with an almost uncanny lack of political savvy conspired to hasten it.

But then something happened. Gordon found his mojo. Starting with an unexpectedly stirring keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in September, Brown began to take on his critics in the best way a leader can, by being exactly that – a leader. The speech was a dignified mea culpa of his mistakes and failings, combined with a cogent vision for the future, and it stopped the bleeding.

The speech was followed by another masterstroke. Amid the flailing response by Hank Paulson, the Bush Administration and Congress to the galloping credit crisis and precipitous market collapse, it was Gordon Brown’s plan to buy stakes in the UK banks that, overnight, calmed the waters. First, the Euro-zone and then, unwillingly, the US, followed the Brown plan, and the immediate panic dissipated, virtually overnight. Brown’s status as British political whipping boy was replaced by a standard grudging acceptance by the grudging Brits that he did, well, okay. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Talk About “The System”

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hi, i'm the system

hi, i'm the system

Back in the eighties there was an awful lot of talk about the nefarious “system”, a deep and dark conspiracy of the powerful to keep down the powerless. Before resentment became a tool of the right, it was a clarion call of the unreconstructed left, a youthful, incoherent, but somehow meaningful rallying cry that drove many a drunken, sophomoric conversation. You don’t hear too much about “The System” these days. Nobody seemed to care anymore, when “The System” was delivering them flat screen TVs and great opportunities to flip condos.

But it seems to me that it’s time to revive talk about “The System” because it’s become very clear what it is.

Undiluted socialism for the rich and influential, and the legal and enforcement system to protect it. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq – Status Of Forces. Dangerous.

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time to go home

time to go home

So the United States will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

With the December 31 deadline on the UN Resolution allowing US forces to operate in Iraq only a few weeks away, Maliki simply ran out the clock forcing the US hand on a number of key issues, which in years past would have been unacceptable to US Forces operating overseas.

There is sure to be a phased reduction in combat operations. But the Bush plan for permanent bases in Iraq seems doomed. There was a lot of rending of hair about bases a couple of years back, but from a national security standpoint, they have a net benefit. While starting the Iraq war was clearly a strategic mistake in many ways, keeping bases on Iraqi soil would minimize the possibility of blow-back.

Now it’s a distinct possibility. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 21, 2008 at 10:22 am