5 Responses

  1. So grateful to Dr. Juan Cole ~ wish Bush/Cheney had used his insights before their dreadful misadventure in Iraq… “much better to elect more informed people to begin with”!

  2. Glenn Greenwald points out that Thomas Friedman’s criticism of the Israel Lobby and the US threatned veto at the Security Council on Palestine statehood is detremental to US intersts – that this pro Israel commentators comments mean that this issue is now main stream.

    Glenn’s point is that is what was said in the book The Isreal Lobby by Walt and Mearsheimer several years ago leading to intense attacks on them.

    link to salon.com

    Will the US veto the request and further harm its international position????

  3. Comment off the topic but important since it shows how a history professor can change minds.

    Something like this is needed on a national level here in the USA.

    His three stages of citizenship is a useful way to lay out the issues for a dialog.

    link to dailykos.com

    At the time that is posted here, this blog is at the top of the recommendations on dailykos.com

  4. Excellent interview, Professor Cole. I have two comments.

    A. As you state, Al-Qaeda has been vastly degraded. This is a result of the Predator and Reaper drone attacks against key individuals in Pakistan’s FATA, as well as other actions taken by the United States in concert with its allies. It is often said that killing the leadership and key individuals is fruitless because there is always someone else to take their place. This is false and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the structure of terrorist (and other) organizations. There is a limited pool of individuals with leadership skills and strategic vision. As you kill more and more of them, there are fewer and fewer with the capacity to continue at the same strategic level of engagement.

    B. Having spent a lifetime dealing with foreign affairs and U.S. national security (U.S. Air Force and U.S. Foreign Service), I can vouch for your observation that professional policy-makers must depend on the reserve of historical knowledge and functiional expertise they bring to the job. The pace of work and the unpredictable nature of events that require immediate attention do not allow for “on the job” learning and training. Whether or not the political leadership acts on the observations and recommendations of the professional Foreign Service and National Security Council, I can assure you that these professionals do bring a wealth of historical knowledge and functional expertise to the table.

    • Then we must assume that this “wealth of knowledge & expertise” that makes its way into security deliberations is treated in the same manner as the monetary Wealth of Our Sad Nation: ignored & wasted, in the interests of wickedly (and always?) defining our National Interest in preserving (at home & abroad) an international economic blueprint.

      Some call it neo-liberalism, emulated say, by Mubarak’s Egypt(whose military are currently enjoying the portfolio!) or the ever-morphing Chinese Model: International Authoritarian Capitalism. History, like the environment, is a trash-bin for this devouring beast.

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