Posts Tagged ‘Michael Crowley’

USA Inrikespolitiskt kan Barack Obamas skylla sina problem på republikanerna. Inom utrikespolitiken går det inte lika lätt att skylla på oviljan att kompromissa.

Time 9 december 2013

Obama’s Iran Gamble” av Michael Crowley, Time

Obama’s vision didn’t change the world overnight. For much of his first term, his critics claimed vindication, particularly when it came to Iran, which rejected his early olive branch and marched steadily toward nuclear weapons capability. But Obama’s new nuclear deal with Tehran undermines that narrative. His biggest foreign policy gamble has achieved a success — a tentative and fragile one, to be sure — in a presidency desperately in need of forward momentum.

The deal could still go badly wrong, and the critics may yet be proved right. The U.S. and Iran are not friends, and serious people from Israel to Washington warn that Obama may find himself outfoxed by hard-liners in Tehran who still condone chants of ”Death to America.” It’s also possible that the document signed by Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva on Nov. 24 is the first step toward a legacymaking accomplishment, one that leaves the U.S. safer and the world more peaceful and meets that early promise of transformation through communication.

The agreement, which trades temporary relief for Iran from international economic sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program, lets Tehran off easy, Republican and even some Democrats complain. “We have just rewarded very bad and dangerous behavior,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers told CNN.

The Economist 23 november 2013

The man who used to walk on water”, The Economist

When a president speaks, the world listens. That is why Barack Obama’s credibility matters. If people do not believe what he says, his power to shape events withers. And recent events have seriously shaken people’s belief in Mr Obama. At home, the chaos of his health reform has made it harder for him to get anything else done. Abroad, he is seen as weak and disengaged, to the frustration of America’s allies.


Abroad, he has cool relations with foreign heads of government. The leaders of allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia scorn him. Europeans grumble that they are ignored when they want to be heard and spied on when they want to be left alone. Latin Americans feel neglected. Mr Obama’s “pivot” to Asia has made China feel threatened, without reassuring other Asians that America will be there in a crisis. Many doubt Mr Obama’s word—remember his “red line” over the use of chemical weapons in Syria?—and lament his inability to get things done.

At home, he seldom schmoozes with his political opponents—or even with his own side. Past presidents put in far more effort to charm and bully lawmakers, business moguls and anyone who could help them. Lyndon Johnson was famous for blackmailing congressmen to do the right thing, which is a hard art to practise if you barely know them. Mr Obama remains aloof—he has no regular breakfast or lunch even with the main Democrats in Congress. You cannot slap backs and twist arms if you are not in the same room.

Time 21 oktober 2013

Asia’s Obama Problemav Michael Crowley, Time

He was supposed to be on the island paradise of Bali, rubbing elbows with Asian heads of state and showing China that America is serious about being a Pacific power. Instead, on Oct. 8, Barack Obama was in the White House’s cramped briefing room, embarrassed and apologetic. Managing the shutdown of the U.S. government had forced Obama to scratch his long-planned trip to a pair of Asian summits that he’d been touting as critical venues for a display of renewed American leadership in the region. Now he was telling reporters at a White House press conference that his grounding was a setback for the country. ”It creates a sense of concern on the part of other leaders,” Obama said. ”It’s almost like me not showing up for my own party.”

Happy to console the disappointed heads of state in Bali was China’s President, Xi Jinping, who was the unchallenged heavyweight among the gathered Asian leaders. Xi, gloated the Hong Kong-based Communist Party newspaper Ta Kuang Pao, “has became the brightest political star on the Asian diplomatic platform. In contrast, America has lost an important chance to perform … The influence of the U.S. is questioned more and more.”

A potshot, perhaps. But Obama’s no-show fanned smoldering doubts about whether America has the will and the resources to meet the challenge of a rising and potentially aggressive China. Obama officials have even given the policy for doing so a name — the ”rebalance” to Asia, although insiders call it the Asia ”pivot,” conveying a crisp turn of direction for U.S. foreign policy.

The Economist 7-13 september 2013

Fight this war, not the last one”, The Economist

Syria is not Iraq. The evidence that the regime has committed atrocities is clear beyond doubt. Even if Mr Assad defies America after a strike by unleashing yet more sarin, Mr Obama is not about to invade.

The arguments for intervening in Syria are narrower and less Utopian than they were in Iraq. First is the calculation of American interests. The international arena is inherently anarchic. Only laws and treaties that are enforced impose any order. By being the world’s policeman, America can shape the rules according to its own interests and tastes. The more America steps back, the more other powers will step in. If it is unwilling to act as enforcer, its own norms will fray. If it is even thought to be reluctant, then they will be tested. China already prods at America; Vladimir Putin’s Russia has begun to confront it—and not only over Syria. Whether Syria was a vital American interest before this attack was debatable, but not after Mr Assad’s direct challenge to Mr Obama’s authority.

Second is a reaffirmation of Western values. America’s potency comes not just from its capacity to project force, but also from the enduring appeal of the values invoked by its founders. Those are stronger than Mr Obama seems to think. With China’s economy slowing and its political corruption evident, the Beijing consensus will seem ever less enticing to citizens of the emerging world. Mr Bush tainted America’s values with inept invasion, prisoner abuse and imperial overstretch. Meeting Mr Assad’s atrocities with appropriate force will help to rebuild American moral authority in the world. If Congress must be involved, it should send that message just as loud and clear as it can—and so should Mr Obama’s allies.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 9 december 2013 (europeiska utgåvan), The Economist den 23 november 2013, Time den 21 oktober 2013 (europeiska utgåvan) och The Economist den 7-13 september 2013.

Read Full Post »

UTRIKESPOLITIK | President Barack Obamas verkar inte ha ett lika stort intresse för utrikespolitik som för inrikespolitik. Och detta skadar honom inrikespolitiskt.

Time 9 september 2013

Detta är i och för sig inget nytt för en amerikansk president. Vare sig Bill Clinton eller George W. Bush blev primärt valda för sina utrikespolitiska ståndpunkter.

Annat var det under kalla kriget när det förväntades att presidentkandidaterna kunde visa upp en gedigen förståelse för hur världen fungerar.

Till skillnad från väljare i många andra demokratier har amerikanarna varit mycket väl medvetna om att amerikanska presidenten har en unik position i världspolitiken.

Detta inte minst för att presidenten aldrig är långt ifrån avfyrningskoderna till landets kärnvapen.

Men vad som verkar vara unikt för Obama är att kritiken inte bara kommer från republikanerna i USA.

Som Michael Crowley påminner om i Time så hoppades t.o.m. president Assad i en tidningsartikel 2009 att Obama skulle ta aktiv del i utvecklingen i Mellanöstern.

Assad påpekade att det i realiteten inte fanns något substitut för USA i världspolitiken.

Some of Obama’s problems have a familiar ring. Early in his first term, Bill Clinton–who, like Obama, focused on domestic matters–also faced charges of timidity and weakness. ”We simply don’t have the leverage, we don’t have the influence [or] the inclination to use military force,” a senior State Department official complained in 1993. And much as Obama is facing pressure at home and abroad over Syria, Clinton was castigated for not intervening in the Balkan wars. ”The position of leader of the free world is vacant,” French President Jacques Chirac lamented in 1995.

Obama has likewise developed a strangely broad coalition of critics: humanitarians who want to stop the war in Syria; hawks who want a bolder U.S. foreign policy; democracy and human-rights advocates appalled that Obama isn’t tougher on Egypt’s generals. Meanwhile, U.S. allies in Europe complain that America isn’t showing leadership, and a senior Arab government official tells TIME that friendly states in the region don’t feel they can count on the U.S. ”There’s no perception that we’re engaged in issues in the Middle East right now,” says Christopher Hill, a veteran diplomat who served as Obama’s ambassador to Iraq.

Obama’s defenders say he has done the best with a poisoned inheritance–from anti-Americanism abroad to tight budgets and rising isolationism at home. And his White House predecessors have often heard cries from overseas that the U.S.’s will to power was faltering. But it’s also true that the public is tired of paying in blood and treasure to solve faraway problems that often look unsolvable. ”At the end of the day, the U.S. cannot impose its will on every problem in the world,” says Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The blunt instrument of military power may be especially useless when it comes to untangling the Arab Spring’s social upheavals. ”Frankly, the U.S. is not good at resolving another country’s political implosion,” says Mieke Eoyang, a national-security analyst at Third Way, a Washington think tank. ”It may be that the U.S. just doesn’t have the tools.”


But to his critics, Obama does hesitate, and trouble follows as a result. With more than three years left in his presidency, he has the opportunity to reverse that impression. Success in Syria and then Iran could vindicate him, and failure could be crushing. ”The risk is that, if things in the Middle East continue to spiral, that will become his legacy,” says Brian Katulis, a former Obama campaign adviser now with the Center for American Progress.

Some Democratic Presidents have been crippled by foreign policy: Carter by Iran, Lyndon Johnson by Vietnam. But there is another model. Clinton doused the fires in the Balkans and demonstrated the nobility of American intervention. Obama has time to find a path through the current chaos to a successful legacy abroad.

As he charts his course, he might consider a thought from an unlikely source. In a 2009 British newspaper interview that struck a moderate tone, Assad said he hoped Obama would take an active role in the Middle East peace process because only Washington could broker a lasting solution. He said, ”There is no substitute for the United States.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 9 september 2013.

Read Full Post »

VAL 2016 | Jakten på nästa republikanska presidentkandidat är redan i full gång. Förutom Paul Ryan finns idag bara två riktigt starka förhandsfavoriter.

Time, 21 januari 2013

Chris Christie, som är guvernör i New Jersey, porträtterades i Time av Michael Crowley:

For much of his governorship, Christie’s unfiltered persona has been a mixed bag. His willingness to snap back at questioners in public forums has at times seemed fearless but has also carried a nasty whiff of New Jersey Turnpike road rage. Christie recently expressed regret for calling one ­aggressive ­questioner—who turned out to be a former Navy SEAL—an “idiot.” Still, it was part of his charm that Christie could be candid about his shortcomings, ­talking freely about his weight. (“Man up and say I’m fat” was his response to a 2009 campaign ad by his rival that featured a veiled reference to his mass.) With buzz that he might run for President in the air, Christie even told an interviewer in 2010 that he was “not ready” to be President. While endearing, talk like that has led some Republicans to wonder whether he is disciplined enough to complete a White House run.

But what many Americans have seen in Christie is what they don’t see in Obama: someone who is decisive and unfiltered and doesn’t think the world is an impossibly complex place. He may be wrong, he may be right, but he’s never in doubt. It was Sandy that evoked the best part of Christie’s raw persona. If he could be an overbearing bully in political arguments, he was an open hydrant of empathy in the wake of disaster. In the days after the storm, Christie toured nonstop among downed power lines and wrecked boardwalks, doling out countless bear hugs to shattered survivors. It helped a lot that his connection to the devastated areas was authentic. “The pier with the rides where I took my kids this August before the Republican Convention, where I got into that famous yelling match with the guy who was buying an ice cream cone?” Christie reminded reporters. “Those rides are in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Within days, Obama visited the state. Although Christie had delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention and campaigned for Romney, Christie and Obama seemed to bond, flying over storm-ravaged areas in Marine One and exchanging robust compliments. Romney campaign aides fumed that Christie was allowing Obama to play the part of nonpartisan crisis manager just days before the election, and Rupert Murdoch warned on Twitter that Christie would have to “take blame for the next four dire years” if Obama was re-elected. But at home, Christie was celebrated for putting the state’s need for swift aid from Washington ahead of campaign politics.

Ett annat stort namn bland många republikaner idag är senator Marco Rubio från Florida. Han har fördelen att tillhöra en familj med immigrantbakgrund.

Time, 18 februari 2013

Dessutom bor han i ett område med immigranter och är gift med en kvinna med en liknande bakrund.

Bättre kan det inte vara för ett parti som är av desperat behov av att bygga upp förtroendet bland USA:s minoriteter. Inte minst den snabbt växande spansktalande minoriteten.

Michael Grunwald, skriver i Time:

But while Rubio is a child of immigrants, he’s also a child of the conservative movement, an ambitious ideologue and former political operative who speaks partisan Republican with the fluency of a native. (Romney, by contrast, spoke it as a second language.) Like Paul Ryan, a potential 2016 rival, he’s part of a new generation of lean and hungry conservatives who grew up in the antigovernment Reagan era and entered politics after the scorched-earth Gingrich revolution. Bipartisan compromise is not usually his thing.

So he’s navigating a borderland of his own. He has endorsed a path to citizenship that he once derided as “code for amnesty,” risking a backlash from many loyal supporters who see los pobrecitos as freeloaders. But he has also pushed to make that path more arduous, demanding much tougher enforcement first, insisting he won’t get into a who-can-be-nicest bidding war with Obama and pledging to walk away from reform if the final legislation doesn’t reflect conservative principles. In an hour-long Feb. 1 interview with TIME, he emphasized that the undocumented have no right to stay in the U.S., vowed to oppose any bill that rewards them for breaking the law and defended the motives of hard-line “shamnesty” critics who say illegal immigrants are taking taxpayers for a ride. “Someone’s violated the law, and they’re receiving taxpayer benefits? That’s a legitimate reason to be upset,” Rubio says.

It’s a thin, hard line to walk: between the Republican establishment and the base, between compassion and the rule of law, between family and politics. And Rubio is walking it on an issue no politician has cracked in nearly two decades while testing the support of the grassroots Tea Party conservatives he will need if he seeks the White House in 2016. So far, though, he seems to be succeeding. After helping to craft bipartisan reforms in the Senate, he has served as their chief spokesman on right-wing radio and Fox News, getting remarkably sympathetic hearings from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talkers whose antiamnesty crusades helped kill similar efforts in the George W. Bush era. Almost all of them have praised his courage—Limbaugh called his work “admirable,” like a Pope granting absolution—and the backlash has yet to materialize. “I don’t know anyone else who could have broken through the conservative sound barrier on immigration,” says American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas, a Miami lawyer who gave Rubio his first job as an attorney. “Marco can do left brain, so you get the logic, and he can do right brain, so you feel it in your heart and soul.”

Bild: Ovan ser vi tidskriftsomslag från den 21 januari respektive 18 januari 2013.

Read Full Post »

KAMPANJ | Innan republikanernas konvent intervjuades Mitt Romney i ett temanummer om republikanerna i tidskriften Time.

Michael Crowley ställde frågorna:

CROWLEY: A quick question about the campaign. You said President Obama was running, I believe the phrase was, a campaign of hate. Do you think President Obama hates you personally? And how do you feel about him now?

ROMNEY: [Laughs.] I think that the President’s campaign has taken on a course of divisiveness and attack which is very different than the campaign of hope and change which he described in his first run for office. And in some cases, it’s super PACs that are working on his behalf, but he refuses to distance himself from what they’ve said, and I’ve been accused by super PACs or by his campaign of a whole series of things which I think are taking the campaign into a very low and unfortunate place.

When I became the presumptive nominee of the party, the President called me and congratulated me and said that he thought the nation would benefit from an honest and open debate of the issues in the course forward. I agreed with him. But I have yet to see that from his campaign. Instead, it has been one attack after the other — one accusation — all of which or most of which have been distortions or misguided. And I think it’s beneath the office of the presidency to engage in a campaign of the nature that he has pursued.

My campaign is focused on his policies and on the failure of those policies, in my view. And I’ll continue to point out our differences in policy and things I think he’s doing wrong from a policy standpoint. But I will not waste a campaign attacking him as an individual. I’ve not tried to divide Americans between one class or another or one location or another or one occupation or another. I happen to feel that we are united as a nation, and that’s a source of strength. And the divisiveness and the personal character assassination, I think, is an unfortunate course, and I don’t think it will be a successful one.

CROWLEY: And you hold him personally accountable for that character assassination?

ROMNEY: Well, I’m responsible for what happens in my campaign. He’s responsible for what happens in his. And if people in my effort say things that I find repugnant or offensive, I will correct those things, remove those things and make sure that people know I disagree with them.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Time den 3 september 2012.

Read Full Post »

PENGAR: Meg Whitman har spenderat mer på att bli guvernör i Kalifornien än vad Al Gore gjorde för att bli president.

Så här långt har republikanen Whitman pumpat in cirka 120 miljoner dollar av sina egna pengar i sin valkampanj. Till denna summa kan läggas 25 miljoner i donationer.

Men detta har än så länge inte gett någon tydlig effekt i opinionsundersökningarna. Än så länge är det jämt mellan henne och demokraternas Jerry Brown.

Brown har spenderat 4 miljoner dollar (cirka 3 % av Whitmans totala summa) och har fått in ytterligare 30 miljoner.

Vad Whitman dock har lyckats med är att göra sitt namn känt genom att driva en mycket professionell och innovativ valkampanj.

Michael Crowley, Time Magazine, skriver;

Message is important, but a checkbook sure helps — especially in a state as large and expensive as California. […]

A prime example is her effort to reach out to California’s Latino population, estimated at 15% to 20% of the electorate. Faced with long-standing Latino suspicion of California Republicans, Whitman began advertising on Latino television and radio stations months ago. More recently, she has taken the unprecedented step of buying billboards and bus-stop advertisements in Latino communities.

The targeting gets even more specific than ethnicity. The Whitman campaign uses ”microtargeting” software that helps tailor mailings and phone calls to voters on the basis of not just traditional factors like party registration but also polling and purchasable consumer data like magazine subscriptions and car ownership.

Also groundbreaking is a series of interactive television ads Whitman has been airing across the state. During the traditional pitch, a pop-up message appears on viewers’ screens urging them to press a button on their remote control if they want a free Whitman bumper sticker. The cable provider passes along the addresses of viewers who play along — which not only gets them a bumper sticker but also adds valuable new entries into the Whitman campaign’s voter-turnout database.

Läs mer: Time den 11 oktober 2010.

Read Full Post »