Foreign Policy

Spies among us

The Washington Post today reports on the breaking news that the FBI has broken up a Russian spy ring in the U.S.:

“Details that emerged Tuesday about the alleged spies' lives added to the mystery of a network that prosecutors say extended from Manhattan to Seattle and the heart of the Washington area. Though utterly unremarkable to their neighbors, the suspects allegedly buried stashes of money and wrote messages in invisible ink as they sought to collect tidbits about U.S. policy and secrets. On closer inspection, there seemed to be hints that something was going on. The suspect known as Anna Chapman, who operated an online real estate company in New York, revealed on her Facebook page that she was educated in Moscow and belonged to an organization of Russian-speaking professionals. Another suspect, adjunct college professor Juan Lazaro, was recorded on an FBI wiretap describing his childhood to the woman who lived as his wife.”


The spies coming into the cold

The items would have appeared in the employment sections of the Moscow Times or Moscow News — in those papers because they're published in English: "Help Wanted. Men and women to live in the United States. Duties include doing whatever it takes to have children set up a life in comfortable suburbs and make friends with officials. Send résumés and salary requirements (dollars, not rubles) to Vladimir Putin, at the Kremlin."

Talk about truly classified ads.


Spy case won’t hurt ties

As we head toward the dog days of summer here in your nation's capital, a development must of us would characterize as stunning has apparently not fazed the folks in the Obama administration who ostensibly look after our safety.

You see, long ago the Department of Justice uncovered a sleeper cell of Russian agents living under assumed names next door to people like me and you. Not Boris and Natasha from the “Bullwinkle” days. No, according to the New York Post, one of the alleged spies, Anna Chapman was a "femme fatale" worthy of Ian Flemming's Cold War relic, 007. Putting all of the press intrigue and interest aside, I can't help but wonder what in the world is going on in the White House and the State Department, given their reaction to the situation in the press. According to Phillip Gordon, assistant secretary of State for European Affairs: "We're moving toward a trusting relationship. We're beyond the Cold War ... I think our relations absolutely demonstrate that. But as I say, I don't think anyone was hugely shocked to know that some vestiges of old attempts to use intelligence are still there."


Don't forget, Karzai is in town

Our erstwhile and perhaps future partner in rebuilding Afghanistan is in town for several days.

But don't expect to hear much about the substance of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s discussions with high-ranking U.S officials or for him to hear much about his regime's rampant corruption or for much progress to be made.


Engaging the Islamic world

Last June, against a Mike Deaver-ish backdrop, President Barack Obama stood tall and delivered what may well be his most significant speech to the world community. The staging seemed to come out of Hollywood, with hope filling the air.

Six months later, when I attended the inaugural Arab Global Forum held in Washington, the hope no longer burned as brightly. Participation at the forum was smaller than anticipated, with over a quarter of the slated attendees unable to get visas in time to attend.


The Clintons and Israel

Diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1990s should be comprehensively reviewed from top to bottom, as it has become clear since that the president at the time was on the take. Not only from Israelis, but many others in the neighborhood. That his wife is now secretary of State is simply ludicrous. 


Israel and China in a year ‘gone to waste’

Israel understands that when America sends a hall monitor to do the job of a diplomat, there will be advantages. Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton really shocked at the announcement of new building in East Jerusalem, “accidentally” announced during Biden’s visit? Fool her twice. She and President Obama were played the same way in Copenhagen by the Chinese. Anyone who reads the journals (or my blog these past three weeks) is aware of new awakenings in Israel. Did the State Department forget to renew Secretary Clinton’s library card again?


Ready for Rudy?

Vice President Joe Biden went to Jerusalem to scold. He “condemned” the Israelis, saying the East Jerusalem housing plans "undermined the trust required for productive negotiations.” "Sometimes, only a friend can deliver the hardest truth,” he said.

Is Joe a friend of Israel?

Biden’s visit to Israel is part of the Obama Theater of diplomacy. Netanyahu is probably more concerned right now with the upcoming Likud Central Committee elections, to take place on April 28.


Sarah Palin, Iran, al Qaeda and Israel

In the end, coming to terms with Iran and coming to terms with al Qaeda is the same thing. It requires a uniform, unqualified, resolute American political temperament that we do not now have and as yet have never had. Because we Americans — American Jew and gentile alike — haven’t yet fully come to terms with Israel. And success with Iran and al Qaeda will require a resolute and unqualified American — not European, not the U.N., not the world — life-or-death commitment to Israel. Put simply, success in the Middle East requires full commitment by all Americans to the defense of Israel at all costs (lives, fortune, fate). Possibly the only person who can unite Americans in this way is Sarah Palin.


Harkening back; thinking ahead

I’d get out of there in any possible way. I think it’s an absolute disaster. I think it is much worse to be there than any of the shame or difficulty that one would engender internationally by moving out. And so, with whatever kind of apologies and with whatever kind of grace I could conjure up, I’d get out of there in six months with all the troops the United States has.
— RFK, 1968

During the past presidential campaign, I wrote that Sen. Barack Obama reminded me of my former boss, Robert F. Kennedy. He doesn’t anymore; in some cases to his benefit, in others to his — and our — loss.