What good does it do to needlessly publicize the failures of American military operations? 12:54 PM, Aug 21, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Yesterday, in response to the news that jihadi savages had killed an American journalist on YouTube, the Obama administration revealed that there had been a special forces operation that attempted and failed to rescue James Foley. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this was necessary information to reveal, beyond the fact that it was a cheap way of convincing the American people that Obama had been concerned about Foley's plight. Providing political cover for the president so he can get back to hitting the links even as the personification of evil is about to seize control of a country the size of California, does not strike me as a good reason to reveal what would have otherwise been secret special forces operational details.
I am no foreign policy or military expert, and given that the world is on fire at the moment, my admission of humility here makes me perhaps more qualified to discuss these matters than anyone in the White House. I also understand that as a matter of statemanship what you don't say is as important as what you do say. And what you do is more important still.
The United States military is the greatest fighting force the world has ever known and has truly awesome capabilities. They are not infallible, of course, but it is to our benefit that we cultivate the image of our military as filled with omnipotent ranks of ghost soldiers who can instantly rain death from above or put boots on the ground that effortlessly slink into the spider holes and encampments of our enemies, killing them en masse before they know what's happening.
Certainly, there is a place for heroic tales of American soldiers and the public must be informed about some basic things. But Zero Dark Thirty was up for a slew of Oscars while Osama Bin Laden's body was still cooling, and the film was made with extensive cooperation by the Obama administration presumably because it was deemed politically helpful. Publicizing the details of Special Operations Forces to score political points has become an irksome and hazardous habit with this administration. Indeed, anonymous Defense department officials expressed anger at to the New York Times that the mission had been revealed and the National Security Council spokesman admitted, “We never intended to disclose this operation. An overriding concern for the safety of the hostages and for operational security made it imperative that we preserve as much secrecy as possible.”
The proper response to Foley's death is not to announce we tried and failed to rescue him, accompanied by a sad trombone sound from the Washington press corps. The President should have condemned Foley's death in terse but emphatic terms and then waited until he could announce at some point in the near future his barbaric captors had been held responsible or that we'd struck a definitive blow against ISIS in response. That response is both good politics and good foreign policy. Instead, the Obama administration telegraphed the weakness of the American military so the president could get back to his August vacation ASAP. The American people, and especially the American military, deserve better.
9:01 AM, Aug 12, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Besides centrifuges, uranium enrichment, and sanctions, this month the State Department turned to sets, digs, and spikes in diplomatic efforts with Iran. Samuel Werberg, a press and public diplomacy officer in the U.S.
10:08 AM, May 9, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Last night Martin Indyk, now the chief assistant to Secretary of State Kerry in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, spoke at length to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. One account of his speech appears here at the Times of Israel's web site.
Talking to Michael Rubin about his new book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging with Rogue Regimes.9:31 AM, Feb 22, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, has just published a very timely book— especially for anyone interested in the likely success of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran.
1:34 PM, Jan 6, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The ascension of Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani supposedly represented a “period of hope.” That may be true for Western negotiators hoping to spend more time in Geneva, but not for the Sufis and other religious minorities of Iran, whom the regime in Tehran continues to repress.
9:01 AM, Dec 20, 2013 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
Now that the hoopla has begun to die down over Kim Jong-un’s execution of his uncle—reportedly Mafia-style with machine guns—the Young General is anticipating his athletes shooting a few hoops under the expert tutoring of Dennis Rodman.
3:36 PM, Nov 11, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Over a century ago George Santayana wrote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
He might have had John Kerry and Wendy Sherman in mind.
8:20 AM, Aug 3, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Friday, the State Department announced that 21 diplomatic facilities (now updated to 22), from North Africa through the Middle East and into South Asia, are to be closed this weekend in response to an al Qaeda threat.
10:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry will host "an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni," according to a copy of his schedule released by the State Department. The dinner will also be attended by "Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat."
The event will be closed to the press.
Kerry's schedule for today reads:
'Environmentally-sustainable.'3:25 PM, May 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The State Department today announced the dedication of a new "environmentally-sustainable" embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. The cost of the building project is $133 million.
Joseph Bottum, diplomatic playerApr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
In 1859, John Stuart Mill published On Liberty, a book that included, among its other peculiarities, a complaint that Victorian society was destroying eccentricity, and thereby individuality, and thereby freedom.
How does it get told outside America? Apr 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 28 • By ALONZO L. HAMBY
In academia, scholars trying to get ahead look for the Next Big Thing. In the field of American foreign relations, that just may be something called “public diplomacy,” a term that conjures a vision of diplomatic efforts aimed not simply at other diplomats but at large populations. Justin Hart, associate professor of history at Texas Tech, does not give us a sharp definition of the term, but believes he knows it when he sees it.
8:03 AM, Nov 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama called Burma 'Myanmar' after a bilateral meeting with Thein Sein, the president of that country. From the pool report:
Obama used the word "Myanmar," the preferred terminology of the former military government and currently nominally civilian government, in a spray following the bilat, rather than use "Burma," the former name of the country, and the one preferred by Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the name the U.S. uses.
10:08 AM, Jul 13, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with A.B. Stoddard and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News: