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Archive for oktober, 2013

VALRÖRELSE | Det är svårt att se att någon skulle kunna hindra Hillary Clinton om hon bestämde sig för att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

New York 30 september 2013

Clinton är en av de mest erfarna och respekterade politikerna inom sitt eget parti. Hon är en av de mest igenkända personerna i USA idag. Till och med respekterad bland republikaner.

Vad som bl.a. talar för henne är att hon redan har en erfaren kampanjstab som följt henne lojalt under många år. Hennes nätverk är imponerande.

Lägg sedan till att hennes man – Bill Clinton – är en av de skickligaste strategerna en presidentkandidat kan önska sig.

Det är också svårt att se att demokraterna ännu en gång skulle säja nej till möjligheten att placera en kvinna i Vita huset. Partiet har möjlighet att ännu en gå bli historiska.

Barack Obama var unik på mer än ett sätt. Men idag är det Clinton som står för det unika.

Det skulle säkert krävas minst en svart kvinnlig demokrat eller spansktalande för att demokrater skulle börja fundera på att lägga sin röst på någon annan än Clinton.

Och även om en sådan kvinna skulle dyka upp kommer hon aldrig att ha samma erfarenhet eller goodwill bland partiets gräsrötter eller väljarna för att kunna hota Clintons kandidatur.

Och då återstår bara frågan vad Clinton själv vill? Det är upp till henne själv om hon vill bli historisk eller inte. Om hon vill och orkar.

Joe Hagan skriver i tidskriften New York:

Political campaigns are built of personal narratives—and it works much better if the stories are true. The current arc of Hillary’s story is one of transformation. Being secretary of State was more than a job. Her closest aides describe the experience as a kind of cleansing event, drawing a sharp line between the present and her multiple pasts—as First Lady, later as the Democratic front-runner in 2008, derailed by the transformative campaign of Barack Obama but also by a dysfunctional staff, the campaign-trail intrusions of her husband, and the inherent weaknesses of the fractious, bickering American institution that has become known as Clintonworld.

At State, she was the head of a smoothly running 70,000-person institution, and fully her own woman, whose marriage to a former president was, when it was mentioned, purely an asset. And now that she’s left State, Clintonworld is being refashioned along new lines, rationalized and harmonized. [M]ost of those close to the Clintons acknowledge that to succeed in the coming years, Hillary will have to absorb the lessons of 2008. Currently, it’s a topline talking point among her closest aides.

“She doesn’t repeat her mistakes,” says Melanne Verveer, an aide to the First Lady who then served in the State Department as Hillary’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. “She really learns from her mistakes. It’s like, you want to grow a best practice and then always operate on that. She analyzes, ‘What went wrong here?’ ”

Of course, if Hillary’s future were to be an author, or a pundit, or a retiree, learning from mistakes wouldn’t be an issue. But other outcomes, where executive talents are prized, seem more likely. I ask Clinton the question that trails her like a thought bubble: Does she wrestle with running for president?

“I do,” she says, “but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”

Clintonworld, however, speaks with many voices­—albeit many of them not for attribution. Some of her close confidants, including many people with whom her own staff put me in touch, are far less circumspect than she is. “She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,” one such person put it to me. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.”

And a longtime friend concurs. “She’s doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she’s running for it, and she’s also convinced herself she hasn’t made up her mind. She’s going to run for president. It’s a foregone conclusion.”

Tidskriftsomslag: New York, 30 september 2013

Annonser

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TERRORISM | Barack Obama har kommit lindrigt undan när det gäller protester riktade mot hans politik på det utrikespolitiska området.

The Atlantic september 2013

Speciellt tydligt är det när det gäller hans användande av drönarattacker i kampen mot terrorister i andra länder. I EU-länderna har protesterna varit näst intill obefintliga.

Ronald Reagan kallades ofta för teflonpresidenten eftersom hans image aldrig verkade ta skada av kritiken på hemmaplan. Obama verkar ha samma förmåga på det utrikespolitiska området.

Man behöver inte vara konspiratorisk för att anta att protesterna skulle varit betydligt mer omfattande om en republikansk president använt drönarplan i samma omfattning som Obama.

Var finns alla demonstrationer med krav på att Obama skall ställas inför rätta för krigsförbrytelser och kränkningar av de mänskliga rättigheterna?

Detta var vardagsmat för både premiärminister Tony Blair och presidenterna Reagan och George W. Bush. Inte ens partier på vänsterkanten som t.ex. Vänsterpartiet verkar vara intresserade av att protestera.

Mark Bowden skriver i The Atlantic om drönarattackerna:

The list is the product of a rigorous vetting process that the administration has kept secret. Campaigning for the White House in 2008, Obama made it clear (although few of his supporters were listening closely) that he would embrace drones to go after what he considered the appropriate post-9/11 military target—“core al-Qaeda.” When he took office, he inherited a drone war that was already expanding. There were 53 known strikes inside Pakistan in 2009 (according to numbers assembled from press reports by The Long War Journal), up from 35 in 2008, and just five the year before that. In 2010, the annual total more than doubled, to 117. The onslaught was effective, at least by some measures: letters seized in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden show his consternation over the rain of death by drone.

[…]

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a left-wing organization based in London, has made a strenuous effort, using news sources, to count bodies after CIA drone strikes. It estimates that from 2004 through the first half of 2013, 371 drone strikes in Pakistan killed between 2,564 and 3,567 people (the range covers the minimum to the maximum credible reported deaths). Of those killed, the group says, somewhere between 411 and 890—somewhere between 12 percent and 35 percent of the total—were civilians. The disparity in these figures is telling. But if we assume the worst case, and take the largest estimates of soldier and civilian fatalities, then one-quarter of those killed in drone strikes in Pakistan have been civilians.

Everyone agrees that the amount of collateral damage has dropped steeply over the past two years. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that civilian deaths from drone strikes in Pakistan fell to 12 percent of total deaths in 2011 and to less than 3 percent in 2012.

No civilian death is acceptable, of course. Each one is tragic. But any assessment of civilian deaths from drone strikes needs to be compared with the potential damage from alternative tactics. Unless we are to forgo the pursuit of al-Qaeda terrorists entirely, U.S. forces must confront them either from the air or on the ground, in some of the remotest places on Earth. As aerial attacks go, drones are far more precise than manned bombers or missiles. That narrows the choice to drone strikes or ground assaults.

Sometimes ground assaults go smoothly. […] In fact, ground combat almost always kills more civilians than drone strikes do. Avery Plaw, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, estimates that in Pakistani ground offensives against extremists in that country’s tribal areas, 46 percent of those killed are civilians. Plaw says that ratios of civilian deaths from conventional military conflicts over the past 20 years range from 33 percent to more than 80 percent. “A fair-minded evaluation of the best data we have available suggests that the drone program compares favorably with similar operations and contemporary armed conflict more generally,” he told The New York Times.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, september 2013

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IMAGE | Borgerligheten i Storbritannien är idag lika splittrad som vänstern var på 1980-talet. Gör man inte något nu riskerar man en valförlust vid nästa val.

The Spectator 28 sep 2013

Om premiärminister David Cameron förlorar nästa val kommer det till stor del bero på att väljarna har övergett de konservativa för UK Independence Party och deras partiledare Nigel Farage.

Detta är anledningen till att allt fler förespråkar någon form av samarbete mellan Conservative Party och UKIP.

Problemet är bara att ingen vet hur ett sådant samarbete skall se ut. Än mindre kan någon garantera att det inte får negativa konsekvenser för Torypartiet.

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator tror inte att Torypartiet kan locka in UKIP i någon form av öppet samarbete.

Istället borde man satsa på att bli bättre på att locka över traditionella arbetarväljare till partiet – en målgrupp som UKIP aktivt uppvaktar.

At present, the main Tory strategy for dealing with Ukip is to hope and pray. They hope that the Ukip vote will collapse as polling day nears. They pray that ultimately Ukip voters will balk at putting the pro-Europe, pro-Human Rights Act, pro-green-energy Ed Miliband into No. 10. Tory strategists point to how Ukip polled close to 20 per cent in the European election in 2009 and then got only 3 per cent of the vote at the general election less than a year later — they see it as a soufflé party that will crumble at the first firm tap. They are confident that voters can distinguish ‘between elections that really matter and elections that don’t’.

[…]

A better solution to the Ukip problem is for Cameron to seek a pact not with the Ukip leadership but with its voters — including those who are ex-Labour. If Cameron plays this right, voting Ukip could become the gateway drug to voting Tory for disillusioned Labour voters. Having already slipped the bond of tribal allegiance, they are more likely to be open to persuasion that the Tories are capable of representing them.

To do this, Cameron doesn’t need a new European policy—the pledge of an in-out referendum has not made Ukip go away. But he does need to understand that Ukip is successfully pitching itself as a party of the working class. It now has the support of a fifth of C2DE, the groups that make up blue-collar Britain.

These voters worry that the benefits system has been corrupted. So the Tory emphasis on welfare reform does appeal to them. George Osborne’s benefits cap has addressed some of the most egregious abuses of the system, and I understand that the Tories will have more to say about tough-love welfare next week. But the same voters also think that big companies are making profits at their expense. So Ed Miliband’s new populist socialism — with its promise to cap energy bills — also strikes a chord.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 28 september 2013.

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MEDIA | Det bådar illa för Labour att deras partiledare karikeras på nästan identiskt sätt av två konkurrerande nyhetsmagasin.

The Spectator 21 sep 2013

New Statesman 20-26 sep 2013

Både den konservativa tidskriften The Spectator och den till Labour närstående New Statesman har använt figurerna Wallace & Gromit för att ifrågasätta Ed Milibands ledarskap.

Detta är lite märkligt med tanke på att Labour, precis som Socialdemokraterna i Sverige, alltid har en hyfsad ledning i opinionsundersökningarna.

Men till skillnad från Stefan Löfven är Ed Miliband inte lika respekterad, vare sig bland opinionsbildare eller bland politiska motståndare.

Och även inom det egna partiet är det mer än en som tvekar om han är rätt person att leverera en valseger över David Camerons regeringskoalitionen.

Men James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, påpekar att även om Miliband är mer hånad än fruktad gör motståndare ett misstag om man undervärderar Miliband.

A Tory MP bobbed up at Prime Minister’s Questions recently to ask David Cameron whether he was ‘aware that 4 per cent of people believe that Elvis is still alive? That is double the number, we hear today, who think that Edward Miliband is a natural leader?’ The Tory benches tittered, Labour MPs slumped into their seats as if this was a depressingly fair point,  and the Labour leader himself tried not to look too hurt.

[…]

For decades now the Westminster voting system has been unfair to the Tories. Boundary changes lag population movements, corralling Tories into larger constituencies. As a result, Labour can win on a far smaller share of the vote than the Tories. Tony Blair secured a comfortable majority in 2005 with 35 per cent of the vote, while David Cameron fell short of one with 36 per cent in 2010. Cameron tried to address this imbalance by reducing the number of MPs and equalising constituency sizes, but the Liberal Democrats — aware of the electoral harm this would do to them — killed the idea off.

Compounding this Tory problem is the rise of Ukip. In effect British elections are decided not by a mass popular vote, but by a handful of swing voters in swing seats. Lord Ashcroft last weekend released a poll of these marginal constituencies which said that Labour’s lead has widened to an almighty 17 points. This was not because Labour has become more popular, but because so many Tory supporters have defected to Ukip. Miliband is also buoyed by the fact that the British left, which split in the 1980s with the creation of the SDP, has reunited. When Clegg jumped into bed with Cameron, just under half of his erstwhile supporters leapt into Labour’s arms.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator (där skuggfinansministern Ed Balls i rollen som Gromit på omslaget), 21 september 2013. New Statesman den 20-26 september 2013. Lägg märke till ordet ”predistribution” – det nya modeordet inom Labour – på sidovagnen.

rå sidovagnen –

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USA | Republikanska partiet är en sorglig samling gnällspikar. Numera är man inte längre för något, bara emot.

Photo by Steve Mellon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Den positiva framtoning som partiet fick under åren med Ronald Reagan känns idag avlägsen.

Men man behöver inte gå längre tillbaka än till president George W. Bush för att hitta en republikan som omfamnade en mer positiv ideologisk syn på USA:s möjligheter både hemma och utomlands.

Peter Beinart, Newsweekskriver:

Bush was, at his core, an optimist. For starters, he was an optimist about the budget. He had taken over in the wake of a late-1990s economic boom that erased the deficits built up during the Reagan years. For Bush, the message was that you can cut taxes, maintain popular domestic programs, and dramatically boost military spending without worry, because economic growth will eventually balance the budget, as it did in the 1990s.

[…]

Bush was a cultural optimist, too. He had taken power on the heels of what Samuel Huntington called the “third wave” of democratization, a mighty tide that began when Spain and Portugal shrugged off their autocratic governments in the mid-1970s, and extended in the 1980s and 1990s from South Korea and the Philippines to Argentina and Chile to Hungary and Poland to South Africa.

[…]

As his former speechwriter Michael Gerson has noted, Bush’s brand of Christianity was strikingly untroubled by original sin. His own life was a tale of purposeless, self-destructive wandering followed by radical transformation via the power of faith. And while other conservatives focused on an entrenched “culture of poverty” that made it difficult to change the lives of America’s urban poor, Bush championed the idea that with religious counseling, inmates in Texas jails could experience the same radical, redemptive change he’d seen in his own life.

Bush, in other words, was an optimist even when it came to cultures—like the ones prevailing in America’s inner cities or in the Arab world—for which other conservatives held out little hope. Despite the incredulity of many on the right, he responded to 9/11 by insisting that Muslims were just as desirous of democracy, liberty, and peace as Christians and Jews. And he set about proving that in Iraq. “The human heart,” he told the American Enterprise Institute two months before the invasion, “desires the same good things, everywhere on earth.” That universalism also shaped his views on immigration. If Iraqis shared the same basic values as Americans, so did undocumented Mexican immigrants.

[…]

But since Bush left office, the GOP pessimists have taken full control of the party. When Bush was jacking up the deficit via tax cuts and defense spending, the conservatives who worried about America’s fiscal health mostly held their tongues. When Barack Obama replaced him, however, and began spending money on a domestic stimulus package and a universal-health-care law, the deficit became a GOP obsession. Gone was Bush’s happy talk about how economic growth, which had overcome the Reagan deficits, would do so again. In its place came a dystopian vision of America as Greece: its currency worthless and its coffers empty. The GOP, the party that under Bush said America could have it all, under Obama has become the party that says America can’t even afford food stamps.

Foto: Governör George W. Bush den 4 november 2000. Steve Mellon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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VITA HUSET | Hur många år kan man vara president i USA. Åtta år? Fel. Rätt svar är 10 år.

Bild av Steve Brodner

Om en vicepresident tillträder presidentämbetet två år före mandatperiodens slut och sedan väljs två gånger kan det totalt bli tio år.

Bild: Steve Brodner.

Steve Brodners teckningar hittar man bl.a. i Mother Jones, The New Yorker och Harper’s. Se fler teckningar på SteveBrodner.com.

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STRATEGI | Egypten sätter myror i huvudet på politiker i väst. Det hör inte till vanligheten att femtio procent av en befolkning välkomnar en militärkupp.

Source Doug Ross @ Journal

Bilden ovan visar att president Barack Obamas ointresse att sätta press på president Mohamed Morsi inte var speciellt populärt hos många på Tahrir torget. Denna anti-Obama opinion i Egypten har nästan helt ignorerats av media i väst.

Men tydligen föredrar man nu en general vid makten snarare än fortsatt islamisering, trakasserier av minoriteter, ett handlingsförlamat parlament och en ekonomi i ruiner.

Det är inte så demokrati är tänkt att utvecklas. Åtminstone inte om ledande politiker och opinionsbildare inom kultur och media i USA och EU får bestämma.

Och det var inte de traditionella aktivisterna och revolutionärerna som initierade den utveckling som lede fram till att president Mohamed Morsi avsattes.

Mike Giglio skriver i Newsweek:

They were young, many of them struggling journalists. And though they’d been protesting since the days of Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, they’d missed the wave that swept many of their colleagues to prominence in the Arab Spring.

[…]

Called Tamarod, or “rebel,” the campaign started as a signature drive demanding fresh presidential elections. But it quickly transformed into a country-wide effort to force Morsi from power. As Tamarod’s volunteers canvassed the country, veteran activists joined the effort. Egypt’s opposition parties—where many of these activists were central players—did the same.

Dissent against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood had been spiraling since late last year, amid charges that Morsi was driving the country toward religious rule and becoming authoritarian. Campaigns and protests against him were commonplace. But Tamarod, according to veteran activists who joined its push, had two important advantages that helped it succeed where others had failed.

First was the relative anonymity of Tamarod’s leaders. They were fresh faces without the baggage of two years of animosity and infighting among the opposition. This made it easier for other activists—as well as regular Egyptians—to unite behind them.

And second, Tamarod organizers accepted the idea that if they could apply enough pressure against Morsi on the street, the army might step in to remove him from office.

Before Tamarod, the mainstream opposition had been hesitant even to make clear calls for Morsi’s removal, focusing instead on things like forming a consensus government. “People felt that the opposition didn’t have a way to give them an answer,” says Hossam Moenes, a youth leader with the Egyptian Popular Current, a powerful political group, who worked closely with Tamarod.

Anti-Morsi sentiment was already widespread enough to help Tamarod go viral—as the group’s volunteers hit the streets, many Egyptians just downloaded the signature form from its Web site and passed it around themselves. The opposition was pushing reform, Moenes says, “while the rest of the people were saying that the real problem was that Mohamed Morsi was the head of the government.”

[…]

“Many of the liberals in the anti-Morsi wings do not trust and do not like the military,” says Paul Sullivan, a Middle East expert at Georgetown. But they are in the minority, Sullivan adds. “Most Egyptians right now seem to think of the military as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Egyptians in the main respect the army more than the Muslim Brotherhood.”

As the popular liberal blogger and activist who goes by the handle Big Pharaoh puts it: “I started to realize that it was only us, revolutionaries and activists, who were at odds with the army. The majority of Egyptians had no problem with the army, even during SCAF’s rule. June 30 was an eye-opener to me. We were living in our own bubble.”

Mer: Läs även Giglios ”A Cairo Conspiracy”.  Se även: ”15 Anti-Obama Photos From Tahrir Square Protests That You Probably Haven’t Seen”.

Foto: Doug Ross @ Journal.

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