Monthly Archives: January 2008

Olmert: His Own Shlemiel, or Bush’s?

While Israel’s Winograd Commission has certainly pulled no punches in excoriating the Israeli military and political leadership for their botched war in Lebanon last summer, there appears to be a massive lacuna in its conclusions. (I’m not even going to get into the question of cluster bombs and other military actions by Israel in that conflict that contravene international law.) Israel clearly went to war in haste without a considered plan, without weighing alternatives, without establishing clear objectives and without an exit strategy. That much Winograd was prepared to say bluntly. But what he doesn’t explain is why things played out in this way. Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report | 31 Comments

The Incredible Shrinking Davos Man

Last week’s annual Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum was conspicuous by how little it seemed to matter to anyone — the event passed with hardly a nod from the mainstream media, which had more important things to worry about. But as I wrote on, it wasn’t simply that Davos was eclipsed in the news cycle by global stock market wobbles and by Hamas in Gaza wiping the floor with its dunderheaded adversaries (dutifully gathered at Davos, in the persons of Condi Rice, Tony Blair, the Israeli government and the leaders of Fatah). On fronts as different as financial markets and the geopolitics of the Middle East, it has become plain that the political and economic elites of the West have seen a sharp decline in their ability to dictate events. Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report | 22 Comments

Buy This Book!

Former New York Times staffer Sarah Boxer has done a wonderful service in her new book Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web, showcasing some truly fine writing from the much-hyped blogosphere. Continue reading

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Hamas Blows a Hole in Bush’s Plans

With some carefully placed semtex (or whatever the Palestinian sappers use), Hamas managed to take advantage of the impossible situation the U.S.-Israeli policy had created for Mubarak and for President Mahmoud Abbas, to once again emerge on top. Then again, it ought to be noted that Hamas is blessed by the brutal ineptitude of its enemies. Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report | 64 Comments