David Kirkpatrick

October 9, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 pm

The right is jumping all over this. Seems a lot like putting the cart before the horse to me, but this take by Ronald Krebs in Foreign Policy puts a bit more clarity in the selection.

From the link:

The Nobel Peace Prize’s aims are expressly political. The Nobel committee seeks to change the world through the prize’s very conferral, and, unlike its fellow prizes, the peace prize goes well beyond recognizing past accomplishments. As Francis Sejersted, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the 1990s, once proudly admitted, “The prize … is not only for past achievement. … The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account [because] … Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act.”

Update — A quote from the committee’s chairman:

While in recent decades the selection process has produced many winners better known for their suffering or their environmental zeal than for peacemaking, Mr. Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister, said he intended to incorporate a more practical approach.

“It’s important for the committee to recognize people who are struggling and idealistic,” Mr. Jagland said in an interview, “but we cannot do that every year. We must from time to time go into the realm of realpolitik. It is always a mix of idealism and realpolitik that can change the world.”

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

June 20, 2009

Revolution and politics

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:20 pm

I can’t shake the feeling that if the events in Iran were occurring under a United States led by the current GOP brand there would be immediate political spin how Republican foreign policy and pressure created the green wave revolution.

It’s a fair guess that the U.S. has almost nothing to do with what’s happening in Iran right now. There’s also a certain amount of evidence Obama’s new year’s address to the Iranian people and his Cairo speech did resonate among the people of Iran, and I’m pleased this administration is taking a very cautious and humble approach to what is playing out right now in the bloody streets of Tehran and other cities.

I also fully expect the Democrats to eventually make political hay out of the green wave if it were to overturn the current despotic Irani regime and look for, and probably get, some foreign policy and security bona fides.

The Irani people have suffered long enough suffering under what I’ve seen characterized (probably correctly) as a “Fascist Islamic Mafia” and deserve our support. They don’t need, and thankfully so far are not getting, our politics.

November 13, 2008

Iran already worried about Obama’s presidency

Looks like the Iranians fear talks without preconditions. The Bush 43 years of foriegn policy seems more and more like it totally played into the hands of despots.

It’s almost as though the Cheney-influenced DoD wanted to foment conflict instead of making the world safer for the US and other nations. (A bit of snark there, because that’s clearly been the MO, at least in the Middle East.)

From the link:

Since 2006, Iran’s leaders have called for direct, unconditional talks with the United States to resolve international concerns over their nuclear program. But as an American administration open to such negotiations prepares to take power, Iran’s political and military leaders are sounding suddenly wary of President-elect Barack Obama.

“People who put on a mask of friendship, but with the objective of betrayal, and who enter from the angle of negotiations without preconditions, are more dangerous,” Hossein Taeb, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Wednesday, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

Found this link via the Daily Dish.

August 13, 2008

Does McCain top aid have conflict of interest?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:53 pm

This may be a lull week in the election, but the Georgia-Russia conflict — and McCain’s reaction to it — may bring a bit more attention to this issue. McCain’s top foreign policy adviser from January 2007 to mid-May of this year is a highly compensated lobbyist for Georgia.

This story might deserve more attention:

Randy Scheunemann earned about $70,000 serving as Sen. John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser between the January 2007 and May 15, 2008.

During the same period, the government of Georgia paid his firm $290,000 in lobbying fees.

Today’s Washington Post reports a stark illustrationof the conflict of interest that Scheunemann faced while advising McCain on foreign policy matters related to the former Soviet Republic and also working for the Georgia embassy.

On April 17, McCain got on the phone with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili about Russian efforts to gain leverage over two of Georgia’s troubled provinces. That same day, McCain issued a public statement condemning Russia and expressing strong support for the Georgian position.

And also on that same day, Georgia signed a new, $200,000 lobbying contract with Scheunemann’s firm, Orion Strategies, according to the Post.

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