You know what else is a “big f#*$ing deal”?
Just in case your Internet’s been down for the last five hours, the U.S. vice president uncorked a Bidenism for the ages today while introducing President Obama at the signing of the health care reform bill today: The White House doesn’t seem too upset about it, nor should they be. Whatever you think of the ...
Just in case your Internet's been down for the last five hours, the U.S. vice president uncorked a Bidenism for the ages today while introducing President Obama at the signing of the health care reform bill today:
Just in case your Internet’s been down for the last five hours, the U.S. vice president uncorked a Bidenism for the ages today while introducing President Obama at the signing of the health care reform bill today:
The White House doesn’t seem too upset about it, nor should they be. Whatever you think of the bill, it’s hard to dispute the accuracy of Biden’s statement, and in any case, you can’t fault the guy for enthusiasm.
But with health care out of the way for now, there are a number of "big fucking deals" looming for the administration on the foreign-policy front, and we just happen to have posted some great reading material on them:
1. Israel and the settlements: Even as the health care debate raged, the dispute over Israel’s settlement construction in the West Bank continued to grab headlines, also involving Vice President Biden. Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann argued that Israel’s government is being disingenuous when it treats Israeli control of East Jerusalem as a widely-accepted obvious fait accompli, David Rothkopf made the case that "getting tough" with Israel over settlement construction will be counterproductive in the long run, and Stephen Walt cautioned against tying Iran policy too closely to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
2. Afghanistan: Obama still faces a tough road ahead to demonstrate that the increased U.S. troop commitment in Afghanistan can be effective and the next immediate challenge is likely to be the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. A recent FP photo essay surveyed the terrain. Katherine Tiedemann’s AfPak Daily Brief continues to be an invaluable resource for following the latest developments in Obama’s war.
3. Iraq: The factions continue to fight it out as Iraq’s election results continue to trickle in, but with violence still relatively low, the Obama administration has made it clear it has no intention to delay the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq. For a more pessimistic take, see Tom Ricks’s ongoing Iraq: The Unraveling series, which includes periodic input from the likes of Gen. Raymond Odierno. Stephen Glain’s piece on how Iraqi oil is poised to shake up the OPEC power-structure is also a must-read.
4. China/Google: The search giant’s recent decision to shut down it’s censored Google.cn portal is likely to push the issue of Internet freedom, as well as U.S.-China relations, back into the public eye. Blake Hounshell and Christina Larson both weighed in on the impact of Google’s decision here at Passport, while Evgeny Morozov noted the overlooked story behind the headlines — China’s tech companies going global.
5. Pakistan It’s almost a cliche at this point that there’s no way for the U.S. to win in Afghanistan without addressing neighboring Pakistan. With a first ever strategic dialogue session between the two countries approaching, Arif Rafiq explains what Pakistan wants from the United States. Christine Fair also argues why nuclear cooperation with Pakistan might not be such a bad idea.
6. Iran: Between the nuclear issue and the Islamic Republic’s increasingly repressive tactics toward its own people, the Obama administration’s engagement policy has faced a tough first year in Iran, and 2010 isn’t likely to be much easier. Karim Sadjadpour recently recommended a few things Obama should say to Iran in his address for Nowruz, the Persian new year. Based on the speech Obama gave, the White House seems to be thinking along similar lines.
7. Russia: To paraphrase Henry Kissinger’s famous line about Europe, who should we talk to when we want to talk to Russia? Jamie Fly and Gary Schmitt argue that Obama is making the same mistake by cozying up to Dmitry Medvedev that his predecessor did with Vladimir Putin.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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