Obama: Sound Theology and Smart Politics

Posted on February 18, 2015 in Washington Watch
President Obama's remarks, two weeks ago, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast were theologically sound and politically smart. In spite of this, his comments set off a storm of criticism from conservative critics who took him to task for both his theology and his politics. While I cannot read their hearts, their rhetoric was so predictable and so harsh, that I suspect some were prompted by a mixture of blind ideology and anti-Muslim animus, coupled with a tinge of racism. More to the point, the President's critics are just plain wrong-- theologically and politically.
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Jindal: From Rhodes Scholar to Dangerous Demagogue

Posted on February 09, 2015 in Washington Watch
A few weeks back, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivered a speech to the Henry Jackson Society in London focusing on the dangers "radical Islam" poses to the world's "freedom loving people". Far from a serious discussion, the speech amounted to little more than a dangerous mix of trite sloganeering and reckless jingoism. Jindal is no simple-minded demagogue like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman. Because he is a Rhodes Scholar and a presidential aspirant, one supposes that he thought through his remarks.
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An Early Look at the 2016 Contest

Posted on February 02, 2015 in Washington Watch
The election season has just begun and for those who have a consuming passion for presidential politics, the 2016 cycle promises to be a delight. A few months back, pundits were writing about the likelihood of a Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush contest, but that speculation was clearly premature. While it appears that Mrs. Clinton will have little trouble winning the Democratic nomination, should she decide to run, the GOP contest is shaping up as a free-for-all.
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Boehner/Netanyahu: “So Smart, They’re Stupid”

Posted on January 26, 2015 in Washington Watch
When I was growing up, I remember a saying that was used to describe the behavior of persons who were so cocky that they did really dumb things -- "He's so smart, he's stupid." I thought of this expression when I heard Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, announce that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in order to challenge President Obama's handling of "the grave threats of radical Islam and Iran."
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Were the Murders at Charlie Hebdo Really About Islam?

Posted on January 20, 2015 in Washington Watch
The perpetrators of the horror at Charlie Hebdo were not devout Muslims outraged by insults directed at their faith. They were not motivated by religious piety, nor did they seek to strike a blow at "freedom of expression". Rather they were crude political actors who planned an act of terror--seeking to create the greatest possible impact. They were murderers, plain and simple.
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Syria: The Way Forward, Without Illusions

Posted on January 12, 2015 in Washington Watch
It should be clear after four bloody years in Syria that if we are to make any progress moving forward, it is necessary to shed illusions and fantasies that have shaped too much of the discussion about the conflict. From the beginning, it was inevitable that this conflict, however it began, would morph into a proxy war between Iran and those who were deeply concerned by Iran's hegemonic ambitions.
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A Bad End to a Bad Year

Posted on January 05, 2015 in Washington Watch
The closing weeks of 2014 spelled disaster for US leadership and the rule of law. During the last two weeks of December, the US countered three different efforts designed to affirm Palestinian rights. It was unfortunate since in doing so the US undercut its stated commitments to uphold the rule of law in international relations and to support a non-violent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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The Silent Cry of Bethlehem

Posted on December 29, 2014 in Washington Watch
Bethlehem has always loomed large in our imagination. For generations, the feelings evoked by this town have been captured in multiple art forms, serving to inspire both believers and non-believers with its message of hope and the joyful promise of new life. For those who do not know the place, Bethlehem possesses a timeless quality, derived from these artistic creations. It is a place of mystery and contradictions.
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The Unraveling of the Arab Spring Narrative

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Washington Watch
Four years ago, Tunisia and the Egypt erupted in broad popular revolts. At first, analysts, Arab and Westerners alike, were confounded. When Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria followed, in short order, the upheavals came to be described as the "Arab Spring" -- the assumption being that what was occurring in the Middle East would unfold in a manner reminiscent of the rapid transformations that took place in Eastern and Central Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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UAE has ‘unique’ relationship with Iran, says poll author

Posted by The National on December 18, 2014 in News Clips

ABU DHABI // The author of a poll that surveyed more than 7,500 Arab-speaking adults said the UAE held a “unique” relationship with its neighbour Iran, which could help explain some of the surprising figures.

As hundreds of thousands of Iranians call the UAE home and Dubai is one of Iran’s top trading partners, it puts the UAE in a different basket to other surveyed countries.

“There are strong historic ties, especially in Dubai, with Iran,” said Dr James Zogby, managing director of US-based research centre Zogby Research and a contributor to The National’s opinion pages. “There is a very...

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