- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
Politico’s Ben Smith raised the question yesterday that’s now on many minds in Washington: Why hasn’t Barack Hussein Obama weigh in on the
Ground Zero Burlington Coat Factory Mosque Community Center controversy?
True, he’s been busy shooting hoops with NBA all-stars, raising money for embattled congressional Democrats, and most likely spending his days staring into the economic abyss. But, as Smith writes, "This is, clearly, classic Obama turf" — it allows him to rise about the petty politics of the moment and make a moving statement on religious freedom.
Of course, Republicans are probably salivating at the prospect. Sadly, polls show that a large majority of Americans think the facility shouldn’t be built, and it’s the perfect wedge issue for the midterm elections. So it would be rational, albeit cowardly, for Obama to remain silent on what is, technically speaking, a local issue (and by the way, there are no legal grounds to prevent the Cordoba Initiative folks from building).
Time‘s Adam Sorensen speculates that Obama might just be "biding his time for the right moment." He’d better speak out soon. Terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann has been noting on his Twitter feed that al Qaeda sympathizers on the Internet are loving this debate, because, according to one supporter, "More pressure on the Ummah simply means more explosions… Adding pressure undoubtedly benefits us… This is what we want." Another reads, "Actually, this benefits us… let them complicate the situation so that we see the arrival.. of a new Faisal Shahzad."
Developing… and not in a good way.