Monday, November 10, 2008
“The first to adapt Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ to Dance.”
--President-elect Barack Obama regarding Rahm Emanuel, his chosen White House Chief of Staff, who danced for a year at Sarah Lawrence after turning down a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School; as a freshman, he appeared in a modern-dance piece called ‘Desire’; see also John Brown, “Barack Obama and Fred Astaire: What a Pair!"
“The only thing I’ve ever seen her ask for is a diet soda.”
--Nicolle Wallace, a senior McCain campaign aide, regarding forner Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
Obama's Middle East challenges - Rodger Shanahan, The Interpreter: “[A]ware of the pitfalls of over-promising and under-delivering on long term policy projects, Obama has been far less strident about a US-led Middle East democratization project, which has been a failure for the Bush Administration from the initial ill-fated public diplomacy campaign. Rather, Obama has spoken about the need for political reform, but in more hushed tones and without regional fears of a project aimed at ousting autocrats.”
On Obama and Tempering Skepticism - Karim El Assir – MidEast Youth: “As part of a large scale public diplomacy effort, Obama [plans] … to build new ‘America Houses’ that would serve as cultural centers in regions of the world where anti-Americanism is so fervent it may play a role in driving people toward extremist groups.”
Obama’s victory symbolises end of racial conflict: Gordimer – IANS, Thaindian.com, Thailand: ”US president-elect Barack Obama’s victory would symbolically represent an advancement in recognising the human tribe as one, Nadine Gordimer, Nobel prize-winning South African writer and political activist, said [in Kolkata].” … She was felicitated by the Ministry of External Affairs’ Public Diplomacy Division at the Kolkata Town Hall in the presence of External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee Mukherjee, West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and other dignitaries."
Mark your calendar for January 13, 2009 - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "That is the confirmed date for 'The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948: Past, Present, and Future', a symposium to discuss the sixty-year old law that continues to set the parameters of America’s international engagement. … The organizer and point of contact for this event is Matt Armstrong."
Obama Plans Guantanamo Close, US Trials - Matt Apuzzo and Lara Jakes Jordan, Huffington Post
Paying for Eight Years of Bush’s Delusions - Robert Fisk, Truthdig: Obama has got to close Guantanamo. He will have to re-think -- and deconstruct -- the whole “war on terror”. He will have to get out of Iraq. He will have to call a halt to America’s massive airbases in Iraq, its $600m embassy. He will have to end the blood-caked air strikes we are perpetrating in southern Afghanistan and he will have to tell Israel a few home truths: that America can no longer remain uncritical in the face of Israeli army brutality and the colonisation for Jews and Jews only on Arab land.
An Instant Overhaul for Tainted Brand America: But More Than an Obama Election Win Is Needed for World's Current Captivation With U.S. to Outlast Honeymoon - Laurel Wentz, Ad Age: "Winston Churchill once famously said 'Count on Americans to get it right, after they've tried everything else,'" said Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide and president of Business for Diplomatic Action, an organization working to change global perceptions about the U.S. "This time the world believes we got it right. Now it's up to all of us to prove they are right." Via Cari Guittard.
Some in Africa expect miracles from Obama - Zoe Alsop, USA Today: President-elect Barack Obama's grandmother, of Nyangoma Kogelo, Kenya, is pleased by the news of her grandson's election.
When it comes to Obama, world leaders are champing at the bit - John Vinocur, International Herald Tribune: Barack Obama's presidential victory has created a truly fascinating burst of optimism saying that America and the rest of the world really can work better together. It's a rare and perhaps brief moment.
What The President-Elect Wants From Germany: Obama Win Sparks Hopes and Fears – Spiegel International: Berlin has warmly welcomed the election of Barack Obama. Now diplomats are busy preparing for a more active German foreign policy. But amid all the euphoria there's concern Germany may be asked to send more troops to Afghanistan.
Interview With Syria's Foreign Minister: 'America's Role Is Central' – Spiegel International: Syria has great hopes that President-elect Barack Obama can help push the Middle East peace process forward. "This truly is the time to come to a comprehensive peace," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem tells Spiegel Online in an interview. He also wants to see direct talks with Iran.
The Region: A letter to the president-elect - Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post: Please bear in mind some important points. In the Middle East, it is not so useful to think yourself popular and show yourself to be friendly. You have to inspire fear in your enemies and confidence in your friends. And if you don't inspire fear in your enemies -- if you're too nice to them -- then you will indeed foment fear among your friends.
Emanuel in 2002: Details of US and Israeli Interests Differ – Juan Cole: Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion: “Obama and [named White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel have a choice. They can work toward Israel's survival by making one last push for a two-state solution now. Or they can dither, in which case a permanent Apartheid situation is inevitable, which I think the world community will find completely unacceptable over time and which might well spell the end of Israel (just as in-you-face Apartheid spelled the end of the old South African government).”
The Russian Question: What's Obama's answer? – Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com: Obama is going to have to make a decision on the Russian question fairly early, because Moscow is taking the initiative, in the case of the missile shield. NATO expansion, the Georgian issue, and the whole strategy pursued by the Bush administration, which amounted to the encirclement of Russia: these issues will not wait.
Russia and its discontents – Editorial, Boston Globe: Once in office, Obama will have to reconstruct US-Russian relations. He could start by accepting at face value Medvedev's statement that Russia has "no innate anti-Americanism." Obama should be ready to cancel deployment of the faulty missile defense system in Central Europe, end the US push for imminent NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia, and heed Russian views on issues such as the independence of Kosovo.
Two Hundred Roubles a Head, Pumpkins For Free - Antonina Asanov, Novaya Gazeta, posted at La Russophobe: Twenty thousand people demonstrated in front of the US Embassy in Moscow on Wednesday 2 November. The demo was called "the American show." According to the demo plan, Halloween-style pumpkins were going to be deposited around the embassy, each with a burning candle inside and marked with the name of someone who has suffered from American aggression. Via Mitch Polman.
Iraq: Before & After, and Now - Joshua Hammer, New York Review of Books: The Iraq of November 2008 is a far safer place than it was one year ago. Yet five years of violence and civil war have left a legacy of deep sectarian division.
Black Boomerang – Roger Wilmut, Wilmut's World Wide Weblog: BBC broadcasts during World War Two were regarded as propaganda, because they put forward the British point of view. There is an interesting distinction: these were "white" propaganda because they made clear where they were coming from. There were also, quite separately from the BBC, "black" propaganda broadcasts which concealed their source, and claimed to be from German radio stations.
--"Take a look at the Cobb County, Georgia police department's latest toy. Donated by the military, the Armored Personnel Carrier -- used by the U.S. Army in Panama -- holds up to nine SWAT commandos. Retailing for $500K, Cobb dropped another $45,000 to tailor it for police use. It can hit speeds up to 60 m.p.h. and has thermal sensors, computerized tracking, night vision, tear gas launchers and more."