The Magazine

Selling Out Taiwan, Again

From the Scrapbook.

Sep 26, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 02
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While The Scrapbook admits that it is not fully certain what that means, this passage and other highlights of Cole’s résumé nixed her appointment as “this country’s” education secretary during the Clinton administration—and despite the fact that Democrats controlled the Senate in 1992-93. Fast-forward two decades, and we learn that Cole is now at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, where she has been director since 2009, and where, if you consult the website, the first thing you learn is that “Johnnetta Betsch Cole makes history in receiving prestigious 2011 Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award.” 

On the one hand, The Scrapbook assumes that Dr. Cole can’t do too much damage at the Museum of African Art, a small, underfunded backwater in the great Smithsonian sea. Her Post interview consists of the sort of motivational platitudes—“At the core of my leadership style is a collaborative spirit. .  .  . I don’t care how brilliant my vision is. If it is mine, it ain’t going nowhere. We have a strategic plan that is the vision of all of us”—that have earned her honorary degrees from Williams and Mount Holyoke, as well as the Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award. On the other hand, it’s annoying to be reminded that a certain kind of far left academic careerist always lands on his/her feet, and that one’s taxes pay the salary of a veteran Fidel groupie.

‘Losing Iraq,’ cont.

Max Boot warned in these pages last week that the Obama administration “appears to be determined to bug out from Iraq.” The administration reportedly wants to remove all but 3,000 to 4,000 troops by the end of the year. As Boot noted, this is “far below the figure recommended by U.S. Forces-Iraq under the command of General Lloyd Austin. It has been reported that Gen. Austin asked for 14,000 to 18,000 personnel—enough to allow his command to train and support Iraqi security forces, conduct intelligence gathering, carry out counterterrorism strikes, support U.S. diplomatic initiatives, prevent open bloodshed between Arabs and Kurds, and deter Iranian aggression” (“Losing Iraq,” The Weekly Standard, Sept. 19, 2011).

Last week, a group of 42 foreign policy experts and former government officials (including Scrapbook boss Bill Kristol) sent an open letter to the president urging him to maintain “a robust American presence” to “help ensure Iraq remains oriented away from Iran and a long-term ally of the United States.”

They wrote, in part:

The United States has invested significant resources in Iraq over the last eight years. Under your leadership and that of your predecessor, America has helped Iraq’s fledgling democracy emerge as a symbol to other peoples of the region, becoming, in the words of former Secretary of Defense Gates, “a multi-sectarian, multi-ethnic society in the Arab world that shows that democracy can work.”

We are thus gravely concerned about recent news reports suggesting that the White House is considering leaving only a residual force of 4,000 or fewer U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of this year. This number is significantly smaller than what U.S. military commanders on the ground have reportedly recommended and would limit our ability to ensure that Iraq remains stable and free from significant foreign influence in the years to come.

While the Iraqi Security Forces have become increasingly capable of defending Iraq against internal threats, they are not yet able to defend Iraq from external forces. As a result, Iraq’s troops will require after the end of this year continued U.S. assistance in combined-arms training, border protection, air and naval capabilities, logistics, and intelligence. .  .  . 

We were encouraged by your pragmatism in 2009 as you showed flexibility in the pace of America’s drawdown. We believe that the same pragmatism would counsel a significantly larger force than 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of this year.

You can read the full letter at the website of the Foreign Policy Initiative, www.foreignpolicyi.org.

Sentences We Didn’t Finish

"There has already been a lot of theorizing about why a little-known Republican businessman, Bob Turner, won Tuesday’s special Congressional election in a traditionally Democratic New York City district .  .  . ” (New York Times editorial, September 14, 2011).

Correction

A photo caption in the September 12 issue incorrectly identified the soldier below as a U.S. Marine in Eastern Afghanistan. In fact it depicts a U.S. Army soldier from the 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, as should have been clear from the club insignia on the side of the helmet. Thanks to eagle-eyed correspondent Colin Knight for the correction.

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