The Retrogressive Perspectives of Barack Obama on Countering Terrorism

Regular readers of my OpEds know that I do not make a habit of quoting myself.  However, I will make an exception this time by reminding my readers of a column that I posted on my website on October 1, 2012 entitled, “Why Do Ex-politicians Make So Much Sense After Leaving Office?”  In that column, I stated: “I challenge anyone to provide a persuasive answer to this question. I have one, but I don’t claim that it is any more persuasive than the one provided by any other person. My take is that, once free from the burden of office, ex-politicians can speak their mind. The burden of being in the government forces all smart politicians (and even the dumb ones) to toe the government line–like a parrot–no matter how much they disagree with various policies. However, once out of office, they seem to relocate their previous lost wisdom and insight.”  One can also make the same observation about politicians who make very thoughtful observations earlier in their career on complex issues of public policy.  However, once they enter into the office of the presidency, they either lose their inner wisdom or put it on a long sabbatical until they return to private life so that they can, once again, speak truth to power.

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Comments on “The Non-Unitary Model and Deterrence Stability in South Asia” by George Perkovich

George Perkovich’s essay, “The Non-Unitary Model and Deterrence Stability in South Asia,” is a brilliant piece of scholarship.  In this essay, the author discusses the most menacing yet the most ignored issue of nuclear deterrence between the two intense rivals of South Asia–India and Pakistan.

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The Hard Fall of A Superhero

The resignation of General David H. Petraeus after the FBI’s stunning disclosure of an illicit affair with his one-time biographer, Paula Broadwell, makes one wonder why this legendary character became so determined to destroy his own ostensibly indestructible myth.  The answer is hidden in the making of a legend, which, more often than not, is based more on fiction than reality.  Petraeus was known as a brilliant general, a strategic thinker, and a resilient warrior. He emerged as the hero of America’s arguable victory in Iraq, when such possibility appeared remote.  He coauthored the counterinsurgency doctrine to win the Iraq war and was expected to apply that doctrine in Afghanistan in order to destroy the fighting spirit of the Taliban.  His detractors underscored his alleged opportunism, and his political savviness about promoting his career. Undoubtedly, both sides described him accurately.  He did not go to the extreme of his predecessor and one of his heroes, Douglas McArthur, about promoting his own mythical legend.  However, it is hard to believe that he was not cognizant of exploiting opportunities toward that purpose. Continue reading “The Hard Fall of A Superhero”

President Obama’s Reelection: Some Personal Observations

President Barack Obama’s reelection on November 6, 2012, proved once again that he is very adept at running a successful campaign (or perhaps the brunt of the credit should go to his campaign team).  However, if he has learned anything from his last term, he should learn how to govern inclusively.  An easy way of reaching another deadly impasse is for him to condemn the Republicans for their myopia and intransigence whenever he faces opposition.  The smart and optimal choice is to adopt the famous LBJ strategy.  I highly recommend that President Obama immediately read Robert Caro’s latest book, The Passage of Power.

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Who is Ready for the Coming Anarchy in the Arab World? … Not the US!

No matter who becomes the next president of the United States, the post-Arab Awakening Middle East is in the process of creating new rules affecting the lone superpower and other great powers. From the US perspective, the changing political order in Egypt has seriously eroded its power and influence in the region. The most important concern affecting Egypt–its continued commitment to the Camp David peace agreement–faces a questionable future. Tunisia–though it did not figure prominently in the past political maneuvers of the United States–has become an important place. Washington is very much hoping that Islamic moderation still prevails in that country. The post-Qaddafi Libya gave a lot of hope to the US policymakers as a country where they could reestablish America’s presence and influence. However, the murder of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans, not only shocked the administration of Barack Obama, but also became a forceful point of contention between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney, in the presidential debates. Indeed, the specifics of that tragedy promise to haunt the next administration long after the election is over.

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