McCain Philosophy: “Realistic Idealism.”

or Deconstructing John McCain  by Matthew B. Morris  John McCain gave what was billed as a major foreign policy speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on March 26. In the speech he described himself as a “realistic idealist:” I am an idealist, and I believe it is possible in our time to make the world we live in another, better, more peaceful place, where our interests and those of our allies are more secure, […] Read more »

U.S. ISP Blocks Anti-Islam Film Site

by Steven R. Corman An anti-Islam Member of Parliament from the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, has produced a short film that portrays the Quran as an inspiration for terrorist attacks and violence. A recent story in the New York Times on Wilders and his effort reported that He routinely equates the Koran with Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” saying it should be banned in the Netherlands, and he declared in an interview that the Prophet Muhammad could be […] Read more »

New Osama tapes: Reports of his death may be exaggeration

by Matthew B. Morris Al Jazeera broadcast another message from Osama bin Laden today. If confirmed as authentic, this is the second message from bin Laden in the last two days. Although the translation is not yet available, the message is another call on Muslims to support Palestinians by fighting in Iraq, and apparently makes references to more recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The previous message, which can be accessed here, has been confirmed […] Read more »

Jawa Report: bin Laden Must Be Dead

by Steven R. Corman Here is an interesting (if somewhat frenetic) post in which Dr. Shackleford makes an interesting argument about the potential demise of bin Laden. He points out that all of OBL’s comments in the recent video could be from 2005 when the Danish cartoons were originally published. Why, he asks, didn’t he mention the republication of the cartoons? Gee, that’s a pretty good point. If the original publishers went overboard in your […] Read more »

Russian Public Diplomacy Offensive

by Steven R. Corman John Brown sent me a link from that he labeled “important.” The article describes a Russian public diplomacy effort that comes with an eyebrow-raising budget. Quoth the article: As Peter Finn describes it, “The Kremlin is pumping tens of millions of dollars into various forms of public diplomacy. They include new media ventures to target international audiences; foundations to promote Russian language and culture around the world; conferences to charm […] Read more »

Should We Try Talking to al Qaeda?

by Steven R. Corman According to a weekend story in The Guardian, Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to Tony Blair, called for dialog with al Qaeda: There’s nothing to say to al-Qaida and they’ve got nothing to say to us at the moment, but at some stage you’re going to have to come to a political solution as well as a security solution. And that means you need the ability to talk. The article […] Read more »

Iran, Syria, North Korea…and Venezuela?

By Z. S. Justus State-funded terrorism, international intrigue, drug production, saber rattling, cold-war leftovers, and false promises: These are headlines and/or accusations that have characterized the situation in Afghanistan and more surprisingly, a crisis in South America. The recent showdown in South America has highlighted the Venezuela/Ecuador/Columbia region as an area of increasing importance. Many of the details of what happened in South America remain shrouded in secrecy or misinformation. But a quick recap of […] Read more »

Spraying Our Way to Another Strategic Communication Problem

by David Berg The US State Department has been quietly advocating the use of a controversial strategy transplanted from the War on Drugs in South America to the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. According to freelance journalist Joseph Kirschke, the US State Department strongly advocates aerial poppy eradication to combat the illicit drug trade and growing insurgency there. The United Nations estimates that Afghanistan currently produces 92 percent of the world’s opium and 80 percent […] Read more »

Candidates’ PD Positions Miss the Point

by Steven R. Corman Earlier this week Marc Lynch did a nice post (that had been on my impossibly long to-do list for some time) critiquing the presidential candidates’ positions on post-Bush public diplomacy. As Lynch points out, Clinton avoids the subject except for a vague assertion that we have to restore our moral authority, a position that comes with no attached plan of action. His assessment is that McCain has got a well-developed set […] Read more »

AQ Fundraising Videos

by Steven R. Corman An article published by Reuters earlier this week contained an interesting passage that implies that al Qaeda is using a new communication tactic: Fundraising videos. Reporting on a Saudi roundup of 28 suspected al Qaeda operatives, the article said the suspects were using a recorded message from Ayman al Zawahiri to help raise money from Saudis. Quoting the tape, which the Saudis aired on state television, al Zawahiri said The bearer […] Read more »