Citing unnamed EU diplomats, the International Herald Tribune reports that the United States and Germany are prepared to green-light Kosovo’s independence soon after Serbia’s two-stage elections conclude in the first week of February. Once Kosovo declares independence, according to the paper, U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will move quickly to recognize the predominantly Albanian enclave, with the rest of Europe’s major powers — Britain, France and Italy — following suit. In a world as complex as ours — and in a region as messy as the Balkans — Washington seldom has the luxury of choosing […]

It is, perhaps, surprising how much President George W. Bush has talked about democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Last weekend in Abu Dhabi, he delivered his third speech dedicated largely to that topic, which is three more than any previous U.S. president. Bush’s dedication to the theme of freedom in the Middle East is genuine. In his formulation, appreciation for the rights of the individual in the Middle East would expand liberty, undermine extremism, and enhance the security of Americans, Arabs, and others. As the president has seen things, Middle Eastern governments have been the obstacles to realizing […]

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Fresh off his come-from-behind victory in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, Sen. John McCain co-authored an op-ed published in today’s Wall Street Journal (the online opinion section of which, is now totally free) with Sen. Joe Lieberman. Their message: The surge has worked, but it’s unclear whether its gains can be sustained after the United States completes a planned drawdown to the pre-surge level of 15 brigades. Thus, they write, a hasty further drawdown would be risky: Gen. Petraeus has already announced that five “surge” brigades will be withdrawn by mid-July. The process is now underway. The Pentagon has also announced […]

A poignant human and political drama always begins to unfold in American life at this time in the election cycle, when the country turns its attention to choosing a new president and begins to ignore the man in the Oval Office. Americans become mesmerized, electrified, even obsessed with the campaign. All the while, the sitting president still has a long time in his contract as leader of the most powerful country in the world. And yet, the resident of the White House starts looking strangely unimportant, his image begins to fade from the evening news, and even his most passionate […]

Much is at stake when President Bush visits the Middle East this week. The problems of the region have haunted this president, who started his term in office determined to focus on domestic issues, but was quickly forced to devote much of his time and energy to fighting the “war on terror.” With the campaign for the election of the next president already well under way, George W. Bush has to think about his legacy, and he has just one more year in office to shape it. There is little doubt that the Bush presidency will be remembered in future […]

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice again called for the creation of a Civilian Reserve Corps to assist in post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction. Just days before, the State Department announced it would cut diplomatic positions by 10 percent, due in large part to the demands of Iraq. In calling for both an increase and a decrease in diplomatic capability at the same time, Rice’s department is acting like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While it’s long past time for the establishment of a reserve corps to help the United States manage post-conflict situations, the call for a decrease […]