Should Reagan Get Credit for Bill Clinton’s Budget Surplus?

A friend recently wrote to suggest that Bill Clinton has gotten far too much credit for his budget surpluses. All he did, my friend told me, was to cut Reagan’s defense spending. Reagan’s massive expansion of the Department of Defense, he suggested, had succeeded in destroying the Soviet Union. By the time Clinton was elected, […]

Flying to Ankara

By now all of us know about that Mediterranean island called Cyprus, forced to declare bankruptcy by its European brethren. Its Finance Minister, Michalis Sarris and President Nicos Anastasiades flew all over Europe including Russia for the best deal they could find to save their financial sector. That sector was built partially over the years on laundering ill-gotten gains by […]

The Distortions of U.S. Intelligence and U.S. International Strategy

Changes are necessary in U.S. foreign policy during the President’s second term. But getting those changes in the face of what appears to be a fairly impregnable White House seems unlikely. The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board composed of present and past senior foreign policy figures, have cautioned that U.S. Intelligence has become distorted, beyond recognition. […]

Waiting for North Korea

“Our intercontinental ballistic missiles are on standby … If we push the button, they will blast off and their barrage will turn Washington, the stronghold of American imperialists and the nest of evil … into a sea of fire.” The North Korean Deputy Defense Minister just made this threat. Fortunately, North Korea has not succeeded […]

Iran Is Winning The ‘Long War’

Iran and the P5+1—the Permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany—meet in Kazakhstan on February 26 for further talks over Iran’s nuclear program. Don’t expect any progress. Iran’s next presidential election is in June and the powers that be will give no credit to outgoing President Ahmadinejad. But there is a more fundamental reason […]

The New Israeli Government and The Second-Term U.S. President

Except for the votes of some soldiers and prisoners, the Israeli election results are in – a resounding rebuke for Prime Minister Netanyahu and a boost for the Center-Left of the political spectrum. Netanyahu is likely to remain as prime minister with a center leaning coalition rather than his recent right leaning government. But his […]

Three Murders in Paris

What Happened? On January 9 this year, someone murdered three female Kurdish activists in Paris. The most well-known victim was Sakine Cansiz, who co-founded the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with Abdullah Ocalan in 1978. The PKK fought an armed struggle against the Turkish government, beginning in 1984, resulting in at least 40,000 deaths. Ocalan eventually […]

How To Think of The Gaza War

The discussion of ‘who did what to whom, when’ about the current shooting war between Israel and Gaza misses the point. Whether or not Hamas fired its rockets first or whether Israel justifiably killed the senior Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, is beside the point. So is the question of whether Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu […]

Betting on Tuesday’s Winners

Obama will win on Tuesday. But there will be two other “really big winners.” David Axelrod, Senior Strategist to the Obama campaign, has promised to shave his moustache of 33 years if the President loses Minnesota, Michigan or Pennsylvania. I’ll do him better. I’ll shave off my moustache of 54 years if the President does not win the entire […]

Pakistan: Hostile and Disliked

The Pew research organization (see http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/27/pakistani-public-opinion-ever-more-critical-of-u-s/?src=prc-newsletter, from which these data are taken), conducted public opinion polls in 20 countries, including Pakistan, in the spring of 2012. Using a Pakistani polling company, more than a thousand Pakistanis across the country were interviewed by Pakistanis. The results are startling. Pakistani views of the U.S. are overwhelmingly negative. […]