Stephen M. Walt

Ten things that made me smile this week

Ten things that made me smile this week

1. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is suspended. It would be even better if Congress made this official, but it’s a step that any good realist should support.

2. Harvard students showed that they have clearer ethical vision than Harvard’s leaders.

3. The Obama administration’s loss is Just World Books‘ gain. (Translation: Ambassador Chas Freeman has written a book: America’s Misadventures in the Middle East.) Buy it and read it and you’ll be really annoyed that he was witch-hunted out of public service.

4. The Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence was short-listed for the Sakharov Prize and right-wingers go bananas. The award eventually went to a prominent Cuban dissident, but anything that drives the WSJ op-ed page crazy is probably a good thing. See the Magnes Zionist here.

5. Britain’s defense cuts confirm my view of NATO’s future. Like Dorian Gray, the alliance is slowly fading into irrelevance while trying to keep up appearances. No matter how many new "strategic concepts" get written and how many nice meals they serve at the next ministerial meeting, the high-water mark of transatlantic security cooperation is behind us.

6. NYT columnist Tom Friedman had a moment of clarity.

7. NYT reporter Ethan Bronner did too! There are even hints that a few people in the Obama administration may be aware of just how badly they have screwed this one up. I’m not really smiling at this one, of course, but it is gratifying when occasional flashes of insight emerge from the cloud of propaganda and prevarication that normally surrounds this topic.

8. Walter Russell Mead offered a fat target. Dan Luban didn’t miss.

9. I finished my first Barry Eisler novel, and rejoiced in the fact that there is a whole bunch more that I haven’t read it. Combined with the new John Le Carre book, my addiction to espionage fiction will be sated for awhile.

10. Leon Russell lives!