Interesting Takes From Home And Abroad:
A Farewell Warning On Iraq By David Ignatius
President Bush teased his ambassador in Baghdad by giving him the nickname “Sunshine,” because of his sometimes-gloomy assessments of the political situation there. But Ryan Crocker persisted down to the last days in describing things precisely as he saw them.
Voting Rights Anachronism By George Will
When, beginning in 1901, the Supreme Court decided some cases about how the Constitution applied to overseas territories, Mr. Dooley, the meditative bartender created by Finley Peter Dunne, mused that “no matter whether th’ constitution follows th’ flag or not, th’ supreme coort follows th’ iliction returns.” Actually, the court rarely “follows” election results in the sense of conforming rulings to them.
Barack Obama the enigma must point the way to the future By John O’Sullivan
Washington on the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration resembles Rio di Janeiro during an unusually riotous carnival held under conditions of martial law. Police patrol every corner, traffic obstacles cut across the capital’s avenues, cars and bicycles are stocked in parks on the edge of the city centre.
43, For a Final Time By George Will
He takes his leave neither angry nor forlorn but rather with the serenity of someone sustained by a providential sense of history.
Time for (Self) Shock Therapy By Thomas Friedman
I was walking by a TV the other day and CNN was on, airing a hearing of what seemed to be a banking committee in Congress debating whether to release more bailout money. CNN didn’t identify the lawmaker who was speaking. He had a bit of a Southern drawl. But I burst out laughing when he said something like: “I remember a time when banks lent money to people. Now it’s the other way around.”
Why the Arabs Splinter Over Gaza By Robert Worth
On Thursday, nearly three weeks into Israel’s war on Hamas, reporters gathered here to ask whether the Lebanese president would be attending a proposed Arab summit meeting to address the issue. The answer, delivered by the Lebanese information minister, Tarek Mitri, was that Lebanon would follow “Arab consensus” in deciding whether to attend.
Engaging North Korea Didn’t Work for Japan By Melanie Kirkpatrick
In her confirmation hearing this week, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration would use the six-party talks with China, South Korea, Japan and Russia to press North Korea to give up its nuclear program. With U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill reportedly staying on at State, it looks like déjà vu for U.S. policy.