Tag Archive for Middle East

Rushing to War in the Wrong Places

President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013. From left at the table: National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretary of State John Kerry; and Vice President Joe Biden. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Official Washington’s “group think” is that President Obama is “weak” because he doesn’t rush into wars with the abandon that talk-show favorite John McCain would like. But Obama may actually be “weak” because he gets pushed into conflicts that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says only make matters worse.

Obama Distorts ‘Just War’ Principles

In assessing the consequences of the decade-plus “war on terror,” President Obama sought to place his continued — albeit more targeted — use of violence within the context of just-war principles, stressing self-defense and proportionality, a point that religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire disputes.

Romney’s Middle East Militancy

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney put some space between himself and President Obama on Middle East policies by suggesting a return of U.S. troops to Iraq and drawing the “red line” for Iran around the fuzzy concept of nuclear “capability,” notes Adil E. Shamoo for Foreign Policy in Focus.

The Mystery of Neocon Influence

The neocons – despite the disastrous Iraq War and other harm they have caused – remain influential in Official Washington, given time on talk shows and space on op-ed pages to expound on their latest dreams of American intervention in the Middle East. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar asks, why are they still listened…

Did Anti-Muslim Film Cross Legal Line?

The makers of an anti-Islamic propaganda video achieved what they apparently intended, inciting a violent reaction among Muslim and creating new tensions between Islam and the West. But the killing of four U.S. diplomatic personnel raises questions about whether legal lines were crossed, maintains Lawrence Davidson.

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really

Exclusive: The new conventional wisdom, in the wake of angry protests roiling the Middle East, is that Muslims are either way too sensitive or irrational. How else to explain the fury over an offensive anti-Islam video? But the video was just the spark that ignited a long-smoldering fire, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Over-Simplifying Mideast Turmoil

Simplistic journalism, especially about misunderstood parts of the world and complex conflicts, can do grave harm by reinforcing biases or deepening anger. The U.S. news media has demonstrated this point with its coverage of the current Middle East unrest, writes Erin Niemela.

Misreading the Arab Street’s Anger

The neocon response toward the anger against the U.S. on the Arab and Muslim “street” is to lash out at those countries and to chastise President Obama for his early efforts at out-reach. But Middle East specialists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say the real problem was the lack of follow-through.

How Friedman Fixes Mideast Faults

Official Washington treats New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman as an oracle on the Middle East, but his commentary is often pedestrian and wrongheaded, as it was disastrously on the Iraq War. But Friedman has now proclaimed what must be done to reverse U.S. failures in Muslim countries, Lawrence Davidson writes.

Obama Goes AIPAC-ing

Like many American politicians before him, President Barack Obama paid his respects on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), mostly telling the powerful lobby what it wanted to hear about the greatness of Israel and the evils of its adversaries (even with a straight face accusing Hezbollah of engaging in assassination of its enemies,…