Susan B Glasser: Trump’s Alpha Male Foreign Policy – POLITICO Magazine

Sherman argues in the interview that without the Iran deal, “you’d probably be at war.” Flournoy agrees, in an answer that is particularly revealing as to how she and the others choose to interpret Trump’s Alpha Male theory of the

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Eli Lake: Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Is the ‘Blob’ He Hates – Bloomberg View

If Rhodes and Obama really want to challenge the foreign policy establishment, I suggest they dig up the second inaugural address from George W. Bush. In 2005, he boldly proclaimed that it would no longer be U.S. policy to support

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…so who are the “noble liars” now?

When I asked whether the prospect of this same kind of far-reaching spin campaign being run by a different administration is something that scares him, he admitted that it does. “I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after

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David Samuels: The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru – NYT

In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy

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Defense and Defense Mechanisms

Diehl assesses the Obama Doctrine, or Jeffrey Goldberg’s Obama’s Obama Doctrine, as, in a word, neurotic – as much a psychological construct or defense mechanism as a policy – enabling the President minimize the importance of any setbacks, the alternative being emotionally intolerable.

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Melhem’s Compulsions (the two-sided failure in Syria contd.)

In an article published today in Al-Arabiya, Hisham Melhem devotes his main attention to the idea that the Middle East is becoming “less Arab” in a way that helps to explain a commensurate adaptation of U.S. policy. [T]he U.S. sees

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The Iran Deal Concretely 2

The absolute sentence on the Islamic Republic, like the indictment of the West from within Iran, is based on and designed to justify and reinforce mutual hostility and exclusion. In effect the enemy image is circular and self-validating, hermetically self-sealing. To accept it and at the same time to favor meaningful negotiations would be paradoxical, a seeking of common ground under the presumption of its absence. We have already examined the alternative perspective, which offers no guarantees, but points to the absurdity, or the pathology, of an approach that always ends and must end where it also always begins, at “the worst very much still before us,” re-producing itself perpetually until signifier becomes indistinguishable from signified. If neither the Islamic Republic nor America nor the West nor the alliance of Maccabees and Pilgrims is susceptible to evolution at all, if they are (if there can be) eternally static and unitary entities, perfectly and imperviously self-sufficient, then there is nothing to analyze or discuss – or negotiate – at all, and what is presented as if analytical will amount to the extended recapitulation of non-negotiable and inalterable premises, from the worst to the worst, over and over again, til Kingdom come.

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The Iran Deal Concretely

By completing a deal, we therefore co-effectuate the realization or authentication of an objectively liberal-democratic tendency or potential in the Islamic Republic. We do not, of course, completely liberalize-democratize the IR. We offer it a partial and reversible, but all the same real and indispensable, for the moment undeniable, validation.

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Israel’s “Wig-Out”

The political costs to Israel of a unilateral conventional attack on Iran in defiance of an international agreement with Iran would be comparable to, might even amount to the the effective equivalent of, the costs of a unilateral nuclear first strike. Israel, or rather the current Israeli government, can be presumed well aware of this fact. Its recent “wigging out” is probably intended to serve particular political ends, and does not likely reflect a high near-term risk of Israeli military action. The real problem for Israel, both the source of its apparent panic and the in one way or another final limitations on its ability to act, remains geopolitical, as symbolized but not exhausted by Iran’s nuclear potential, more generally appearing as the uncertainties of a shift to a new balance of power in the region that, as in the not too distant past, as indeed for thousands of years, very well may not favor the existence of a small but relatively powerful, fully independent Jewish state.

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Operation Syrian Disaster

If there really is a coherent argument for U.S. intervention in Syria, however, it is one in which humanitarian concerns as well as Islamophobic nightmares play an at best secondary role. It may therefore come across as amoral or worse, making it ill-suited for public diplomacy and patriotic myth-making. That the desirable level of intervention squares with the semi-covert policy that the U.S. actually put into effect suggests that the Obama Administration, intentionally or not, is following just such an approach.

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