The last words of Richard C. Holbrooke, a lion of U.S. diplomacy, were “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan” — a sentence worth pondering as the United States heads into a fresh round of debate over a conflict that has ground on for more than 9 years, steadily escalating from a sideshow to a nightmare that threatens to consume Barack Obama’s presidency.
This baby ain’t going away.
Everyone seems to agree that the hole at the heart of America’s budget is a crushing problem for the country. Few can agree on what to do about it. A couple of men think they have the answer. But few like it.
Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the release of the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report. Secretary Clinton said:
“…Every year, the State Department prepares a comprehensive review of the status of religious freedom in countries and territories around the world. We do this because we believe that religious freedom is both a fundamental human right and an essential element to any stable, peaceful, thriving society.
Is this a great country or what? “American exceptionalism” is a phrase that, until recently, was rarely heard outside the confines of think tanks, opinion journals and university history departments. But with Republicans and tea party activists accusing President Obama and the Democrats of turnin…
I know where Thomas Friedman is coming from. His column today, in which he calls on the United States to wash its hands of the Middle East “peace process” and let the Israelis and Palestinians stew in their own juices for a while, must have been enormously satisfying to write. And for U.S. diplomats, tempted as they are to say “to hell with these people, we’ve got other things to do,” it must have been a bracing read. Dealing with the stubborn shortsightedness of Israeli and Palestinian leaders has preoccupied four American presidents over the last 20 years, taking time away from more productive endeavors.