Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) or The Making Of A Myth

December 6, 2013

Politicians and people around the globe pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, 2013. Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from apartheid to multiracial democracy after spending almost three decades in prison.

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

“Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy,” argues foreign policy analyst Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast.

“In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of terrorist groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail. In 2004, after Mandela criticized the Iraq War, an article in National Review said his ‘vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.’ As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list, thus requiring the 89-year-old Mandela to receive a special waiver from the secretary of State to visit the U.S.”

Read full story.

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Osama Bin Laden – A New Book by Michael Scheuer

February 14, 2011

In Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit and author of the bestseller Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, provides an objective and authoritative portrait of bin Laden that shows him to be devout, talented, patient, and ruthless. Scheuer delivers a hard-headed, closely reasoned portrait of America’s most implacable enemy.

"No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer." (Craig Whitlock, National Security Correspondent, The Washington Post)
“No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer.” (Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post)

To purchase this book, please click here.


Zum Ausklang eines Jahrzehnts der Angst und Hoffnung

December 31, 2010

Eine Glosse von Narcisse Caméléon, Ressortleiter Deppologie

“Es gibt keine Hoffnung ohne Angst und keine Angst ohne Hoffnung” verkündete einst der Philosoph Baruch de Spinoza. 

11. September 2001, globaler Terror und Kriege, Epidemien, Finanzkrisen, aber auch Fortführung der digitalen Revolution, Einführung des Euro, listiger Sieg der historischen Vernunft i.e. Gleichstellung in den USA mit dem ersten schwarzen Präsidenten, und in Deutschland mit der ersten Frau als Bundeskanzlerin: Das erste Jahrzehnt des XXI. Jahrhunderts  wird sicherlich als das Jahrzehnt der Angst und Hoffnung in die Geschichte eingehen.

Angesichts dieser schwebenden Dialektik zwischen Furcht und Aussicht, zwischen Demagogie und Pädagogie, zwischen Obskurantimus und Aufklärung, zwischen Manipulation und Emanzipation, stellt sich die Frage des kommenden Jahrzehnts: Was ist ein Menschenleben wert in einem vom Informationsüberfluss behafteten Zeitalter? Was ist der Menschen Leben im Zeitalter des “letzten Menschen”, in dem Freizeit Freiheit definitiv begraben hat?

Was ist der Menschen Leben?

von Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)

Was ist der Menschen Leben? ein Bild der Gottheit.

Wie unter dem Himmel wandeln die Irdischen alle, sehen

Sie diesen. Lesend aber gleichsam, wie

In einer Schrift, die Unendlichkeit nachahmen und den /Reichtum

Menschen. Ist der einfältige Himmel

Denn reich? Wie Blüten sind ja

Silberne Wolken. Es regnet aber von daher

Der Tau und das Feuchte. Wenn aber

Das Blau ist ausgelöschet, das Einfältige, scheint

Das Matte, das dem Marmelstein gleichet, wie Erz,

Anzeige des Reichtums.


In Memoriam: Richard Holbrooke (1941-2010)

December 15, 2010

“The controlled chaos is one way to get creativity. The intensity of it, the physical rush, the intimacy created the kind of dialogue that leads to synergy.” Richard Holbrooke

Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (April 24, 1941 – December 13, 2010)

Richard Holbrooke (April 24, 1941 – December 13, 2010)

Richard Holbrooke was the most ubiquitous and brilliant diplomat of his generation, distinguished for his legendary toughness as a negotiator in Asia, Europe, and beyond. As a diplomat, writer, and investment banker, he has stood near the pinnacle of power, renewing the credibility of U.S. diplomacy.

To commemorate the passing of the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, and Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, we reproduce some articles and stories related to this giant of U.S. foreign policy.

United States presidential election, 2008: The Next President

Former U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke discusses Russia, Georgia and Kosovo

Bosnian Crisis

U.S. President Obama appoints envoys to Middle East and South Asia

Afpak: Richard Holbrooke’ U.S. Strategy for South Asia


The Arab Lobby and US Foreign Policy

September 17, 2010

The Arab lobby is one of the strongest in America—even stronger than Israel’s, argues a new book written by Mitchell Bard – The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.

A book review by Alan M. Dershowitz

While the media and politicians engage in frenzied debate about the virtues and vices of building—or preventing the building of—a Muslim community center (cum mosque) near the “sacred ground” of 9/11, Iran continues to build a nuclear weapon, as the Israelis and Palestinians take a tentative step toward building a peaceful resolution to their age-old conflict.

Inevitably, whenever Middle East issues take center stage, the question of the role of lobbies, particularly those that advocate for foreign countries, becomes a hot topic. This book by longtime Middle East authority, Mitchell Bard, is a must read for anyone who cares—and who doesn’t?—about the role of lobbies in influencing American policy in the Middle East. Its thesis, which is sure to be controversial, is easily summarized:

Yes Virginia, there is a big bad lobby that distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East way out of proportion to its actual support by the American public. Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, author of the screed, The Israel Lobby, are right about that. But the offending lobby is not AIPAC, which supports Israel, but rather the Arab lobby, which opposes the Jewish state.

Both the pro-Israel and pro-Arab lobby (really lobbies because there are several for each) are indeed powerful but there is a big difference—a difference that goes to the heart of the role of lobbying in a democracy. Bard puts it this way:

“One of the most important distinguishing characteristics of the Arab lobby is that it has no popular support. While the Israeli lobby has hundreds of thousands of grass root members and public opinion polls consistently reveal a huge gap between support for Israel and the Arab nations/Palestinians, the Arab lobby has almost no foot soldiers or public sympathy. It’s most powerful elements tend to be bureaucrats who represent only their personal views or what they believe are their institutional interests, and foreign governments that care only about their national interests, not those of the United States. What they lack in human capital in terms of American advocates, they make up for with almost unlimited resources to try to buy what they usually cannot win on the merits of their arguments.”

This is a critical distinction for a democracy. The case for Israel (though not for all of its policies) is an easy sell for pro-Israel lobbyists, especially elected representatives. Voting in favor of Israel is popular not only in areas with a large concentration of Jewish voters, but throughout the country, because Israel is popular with Evangelical Christians in particular and with much, though certainly not all, of the public in general. Lobbies that reflect the will of the people are an important part of the democratic process. Thus, the American Association of Retired People (AARP), the principal lobbying group for the elderly, is extremely powerful because there are so many elderly people in this country who want to protect social security, Medicaid, and other benefits. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a powerful lobby precisely because so many Americans, for better or worse, love their guns. And The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a powerful lobby because Americans, in general, support the Middle East’s only democracy and reliable American ally.

But why is the Arab lobby, and most particularly the Saudi lobby, also powerful? Saudi Arabia has virtually no support among Americans. Indeed, it is widely reviled for its export of terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, its manipulation of oil prices, its anti-Christian and anti-Semitic policies, its total deprivation of any semblance of freedom of speech or dissent, and its primitive forms of punishment that include stoning and amputation. Yet, as Bard demonstrates, the Saudi lobby has beaten the pro-Israel lobby over and over again in head-to-head conflicts, such as the sale of sophisticated weapons to a regime that doesn’t even have the technical skills to use them, and the conflict over whether to move the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem. Even now, Saudi Arabia is lobbying to obtain a multibillion-dollar arms deal, and it is likely to succeed over the objections of Israel.

How then does a lobby with no popular support manage to exert influence in a democratic country? The secret is very simple. The Arab lobby in general and the Saudis in particular make little effort to influence popularly elected public officials, particularly legislators. Again, listen to Bard:

“The Saudis have taken a different tact from the Israeli lobby, focusing a top-down rather than bottom-up approach to lobbying. As hired gun, J. Crawford Cook, wrote in laying out his proposed strategy for the kingdom, ‘Saudi Arabia has a need to influence the few that influence the many, rather than the need to influence the many to whom the few must respond.'”

The primary means by which the Saudis exercise this influence is money. They spend enormous amounts of lucre to buy (or rent) former state department officials, diplomats, White House aides, and legislative leaders who become their elite lobbying corps. Far more insidiously, the Saudis let it be known that if current government officials want to be hired following their retirement from government service, they had better hew to the Saudi line while they are serving in our government. The former Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, who was so close to the President George H.W. Bush that he referred to himself as “Bandar Bush,” acknowledged the relationship between how a government official behaves while in office and how well he will be rewarded when he leaves office. “If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you’d be surprised how much better friends you have when they are just coming into office.”

Bard concludes from this well known quid pro quo that: “given the potential of these post-retirement opportunities, it would not be surprising if officials adopted positions while in government to make themselves marketable to the Arab lobby.”

The methodology employed by the Arab lobby is thus totally inconsistent with democratic governance, because it does not reflect the will of the people but rather the corruption of the elite, while the Israeli lobby seems to operate within the parameters of democratic processes. Yet so much has been written about the allegedly corrosive nature of the Israeli lobby, while the powerful Arab lobby has widely escaped scrutiny and criticism. This important book thus contributes to the open marketplace of ideas by illuminating the dark side of the massive and largely undemocratic Arab lobbying efforts to influence American policy with regard to the Middle East.

© Alan M. Dershowitz

***

About the author: Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” He is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Professor Dershowitz’s new novel, The Trials of Zion, will be published by Hachette Book Group on October 1, 2010


America at Risk: Albert Camus, National Security, and Afghanistan

July 22, 2010

One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves. (Albert Camus)

Almost nine years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States has yet to confront the threat posed by the extremist and irreconcilable wing of Islam.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) senior fellow Newt Gingrich will warn that now is the time to awaken from self-deception about the nature of our enemies and rebuild a bipartisan commitment, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, to defend America.

Drawing on the lessons of Albert Camus and George Orwell, Gingrich will describe the dangers of a wartime government that uses language and misleading labels to obscure reality.

He will explain why we need a debate about this larger war against the irreconcilable wing of Islam—which mortally threatens America’s way of life, freedom, and rule of law—and how it relates to the nuclear threat from Iran and the various other risks posed to America’s very existence.

Most importantly, Gingrich will argue that America will remain at risk until it confronts this willful blindness about the nature of its enemies and the nature of the war in which it is engaged.

Date: Thursday, July 29, 2010
Time: 2:00 PM — 3:00 PM
Location: Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

Media Contact: Hampton Foushee

American Enterprise Institute
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-862-5806


The Debate over Keeping America Safe

May 29, 2009

Cheney

Last week, President Barack Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney presented competing views of how America was kept secure after September 11, 2001 – and how to proceed in the future.

Mr. Cheney, who has rejoined the Board of Trustees of the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since leaving government in January 2009, gave a widely covered speech at AEI on May 21, 2009, just minutes after President Barack Obama spoke. The president defended his ban on enhanced interrogation techniques and his plans to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Mr. Cheney first documented the threats America faced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and how the Bush administration shaped the nation’s response. The post-9/11 “comprehensive strategy” has “required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden,” he said. “Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive–and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.”

Key to the successful post-9/11 strategy, Mr. Cheney said, was “accurate intelligence” – including that received through enhanced interrogation.

Danielle Pletka, foreign policy insider and former staff member for Near East and South Asia at the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate, commented on the Cheney speech in the pages of USA Today

Read full story.