As an editorial on this page recently asked: "Anyone out there have a better idea" than the Bush administration's policy of high-profile democracy promotion in the Arab and Muslim worlds as a means to fight terrorism? Well, yes, there is one. That better idea consists of separating the struggle against radical Islamism from promoting democracy in the Middle East, focusing on the first struggle, and dramatically changing our tone and tactics on the democracy promotion front, at least for now.
The essential problem with the administration's approach is that it conflates two issues that are separate. The first has to do with violent, antimodern radical Islamism (on display both in the reaction to the Danish cartoons and in the mosque bombing in Samarra); the second concerns the dysfunctionality of political and social institutions in much of the Arab world.
The Spectacle Blog
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What's happened to the Sport Illustrated jinx? It was put to the test this past week when the magazine when with six "regional covers" in time for the NCAA Sweet 16 showdown. The cover boys represented Gonzaga, Wichita State, Bradley, Florida, George Mason and Boston College, respectively. Only two of those schools survived. A 67 percent attrition rate suggests the jinx remains pretty much in tact.
As the spouse of a George Mason Law School alum, I can claim a genuine affinity to this local school that of a sudden has become the darling of the entire Washington area -- not bad for a basketball program whose home games attracted an average of 4,500 viewers to the 10,000 seat Patriot Arena. Has there ever been a bandwagon more overloaded?
If you can't beat your (hopeful) opponent, ask him to resign. That's what Democrat Harris Miller will do today in a conference call. Via press release:
U.S. Senate candidate Harris Miller will hold a conference call for reporters today at 1:15pm to address comments by Senator George Allen in yesterday's New York Times.
Based on those comments, Miller will be calling on Senator Allen to step down.
WHAT: Harris Miller will address comments made by Senator George Allen and call on Allen to resign.
WHERE: Via conference call...
WHEN: Monday, March 27th
So the Wall Street Journal this morning and other papers are focusing on the potential Allcatel-Lucent merger that has been in the news for the past week. And once again, there is talk about foreign ownership of an American company. Never mind that most Americans don't know what Lucent does, builds or sells: Democrats and some short-sighted Republicans are again sounding the alarm à la Dick Gephardt in his heyday.
Tom Friedman's "Flat Earth" book gets things mostly right when it comes to globalized trade. It doesn't matter where a company is based nowadays. When it comes to national security and national defense, yes, special steps must be taken and national interest must be given higher priority.
All of this, though, including the Lucent deal, reminds us that the Dubai World Ports deal is still an ongoing operation. There are still people in Washington working furiously to make sure something comes of it. Shouldn't the media being looking into this? Perhaps asking who's still involved, and what they are doing?More later.
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(India): Sohela Ansari told friends that her husband Aftab had uttered the word "talaq," or divorce, three times in his sleep, according to the report published in newspapers on Monday.
When local Islamic leaders got to hear, they said Aftab's words constituted a divorce under an Islamic procedure known as "triple talaq." The couple, married for 11 years with three children, were told they had to split.
The religious leaders ruled that if the couple wanted to remarry they would have to wait at least 100 days. Sohela would also have to spend a night with another man and be divorced by him in turn.
And we thought America's $300 no-fault divorces were easy? Also: Is the best new beginning for a couple that actually didn't want to get divorced to send the woman to "spend a night with another man and be divorced by him in turn"?
John: Welcome aboard. We need to do something about Iran, and waiting makes it tougher to accomplish. Please remember me as defining my position by these additional points: (1) we don't have the means to, and shouldn't want to regardless, mount a ground invasion of Iran; (2) we cannot and should not mount airstrikes against their nuclear facilities without simultaneously striking the same way at the regime itself. Were we to do the former without the latter, it would ensure the Middle East in flames for decades, affecting Iraq, Israel and more. If we do both, what would otherwise be the mullahs' political advantage will be a disadvantage to them, and many others in the region will learn from it; and (3) the end state in this war is not defined by democracies rising. I don't care who rules these nations, so long as they don't threaten America.
On the new 007, Daniel Craig. First we had him being scared by the Royal Navy fast boat delivering him to a press gaggle. Next he announced he hated handguns. Then he foreswore booze. Now, according to the Beeb, he's promised us a "fallible" James Bond. What's left? Will he condemn fast cars for all time? Will 007 trade the Aston Martin for a Toyota Prius?
Look, Craig. Bond is a hip-shooting, hard-drinking, fast-car-driving tough guy. Deal with it, or clear out. If the world wanted to see Woody Allen as 007 (which we did in the unmercifully awful first "Casino Royale") he'd have kept the part. Ever wonder why he didn't?
Jed ruled the other day that "it's no longer possible to sit on the fence," so I've given it some thought, and here's where I am: As I've mentioned, I'm somewhat sympathetic to Robert Kagan's view, that bombing Iranian nuclear facilities (as Jed advocates) might be counterproductive, because in the aftermath of such a campaign we won't know what we've accomplished, we could be handing the Mullahs a political victory, and we might not be prepared to deal with Iranian retaliation. Kagan advocates various ideas, all of which I support, oriented toward regime change. He adds: