Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Live Blog: The Greater Middle East

Bookmark and Share

8:20 a.m. "The Greater Middle East" kicks off Day 3 at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. The discussion is moderated by Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations. The panelists are:

* Michael Barnett (Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota)
* Steven A. Cook (Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations)
* Valie R. Nasr (Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations)
* Meghan O'Sullivan (Senior Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

8:34 a.m. O'Sullivan, a former National Security Advisor on Iraq for the Bush administration, attributes the rise in U.S. troops and the standdown of the Shia militias in Iraq as two of the key reasons for the improvement on the security front during the past 1.5 years.

8:37 a.m. O'Sullivan says the U.S. underestimates the national identity held by Iraqis -- if asked to describe themselves, she believes most would describe themselves as Iraqis in the top 2 or 3 descriptors. And though Iraqis may not consider themselves Iraqis first, that is not crucial to national stability.

8:42 a.m. In discussing Iran, Nasr says the end goal of their government is to get a committment from the United States to diplomatic recognition. This recognition - ideally for the Iranians - would lead to a normalization of relations, as well withdrawing U.S. troops in the regions, and a guarantee of the current regime's survival. Iranians have the North Korea model in mind of baby-step negotiations that eventually leads, two or three years down the road, that each side has come far enough that the United States is committed to the process.

8:45 a.m. Barnett says a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would have only a limited impact on the region. Barnett believes what we are facing in Iran and Iraq pales to what we are facing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- that he has never been more 'depressed' about that situation in his lifetime.

8:55 a.m. Cook says the regimes in the Middle East are much stronger and flexible than is currently viewed by the U.S., though this stability is not necessarily in the interest in the U.S. (as it produces individuals and groups that wish to harm not only the regime, but also America).

9:04 a.m. Nasr says Pakistan's government could very well collapse and be the first major crisis of the next presidential administration. Nasr believes there could be a total ethnic breakdown and civil war in Pakistan and the Pakistan military may not be up to the task to manage the situation.

9:09 a.m. Haass observes there has been a pushback in Afghanistan against coalition forces due to a resurgence of national identity / pride, just as the U.S. is starting to ramp up its presence there. O'Sullivan says more troops in Afghanistan is not the answer -- the 'Iraq solution' will not translate there. O'Sullivan believes there is no number of U.S. troops that could stabilize that country.

9:15 a.m. Cook says the soar in oil prices has created countries in the Middle East which are "plastic guilded in gold." (e.g. the Gulf Arab states). In these countries there is not a strong call for democracy, which is frequently brought about by a battle for reources, because there are resources a plenty.

9:29 a.m. Nasr and Cook agree that while many governments in the region privately would support the U.S. to put Iran 'under seige,' they would not publicly support this measure, or allow an attack from its borders, because they realize public opinion in the region is very supportive of Iran. Furthermore, when Israel enters into the equation, sectarian differences in the Middle East disappear.

9:34 a.m. When asked why the United States does not take a non-interventionist approach to the Middle East, O'Sullivan claims, vaguely, things would then even get worse in the region. (although she does not explain how things would get worse for the United States per se).

Previous post: Live Blog: How Would They Govern?
Next post: Live Blog: Convention Politics and the Fall Elections

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting