Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

PROPAGANDA GIFTS.

Eric Martin suggests that Democrats call Bush's veto bluff, and proceed with legislation making private contractors in Iraq subject to prosecution in U.S. courts. I agree. Martin writes: "Bush's eventual veto won't leave Maliki very much room in terms of satisfying the mounting domestic calls to take action. Under normal conditions, such a crisis faced by a putative ally in an already precarious position might prompt a US president to take note of the delicacy of the situation and acquiesce by signing the legislation (of course, a sensible US president would probably recognize the wisdom of the proposed legislation in the first place). Under the present circumstances, though, I fully expect Bush to leave Maliki out to dry. Which will play right into the hands of Moqtada al-Sadr and those factions that are most intent on forcing the expulsion of American troops from Iraq. A propaganda gift of considerable potency. It really is amazing that this hapless foreign policy team cannot manage...

DIE, PARADIGM, DIE!

Noah Pollak is concerned that the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis might subvert the dominant paradigm: "The risk is that if and when the peace conference fails — these events do not exactly have a promising track record — Israel will have set itself up to be blamed for the debacle, and we will then witness a reversal of the paradigm that has been dominant during the past seven years, since the failure of the Clinton-Arafat-Barak negotiations at Camp David in 2000. That summit was certainly a failure in delivering a peace agreement, but in historic and diplomatic terms it was actually something of a victory -- it demonstrated to every fair-minded observer that Yasser Arafat and his minions were not actually serious about peace. For American policymakers, the conflict was thus cast in a stark light, and Israel thereafter enjoyed a great deal of latitude in defeating the terror war that the Palestinians launched in 2000, and more generally in achieving for...

FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS DISAPPEAR AS PART OF THEIR ESCHATOLOGY

I heard this NPR story this morning as I made pancakes: "Seven thousand evangelical Christians from nearly 100 countries are in Israel this week to show support for the Jewish state. [...] The evangelical Christians in colorful costumes wave flags, sing and dance — marching as part of the city's traditional parade for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot... Wearing large styrofoam cowboy hats and beaming with joy, Sandy and Greg Cassee from Amarillo, Texas, said this was their first visit to Israel.” You know, to me, nothing quite says " zman simchateinu !" like a large styrofoam cowboy hat. On the other hand, I should point out that the wearing of large styrofoam cowboy hats in observance of Sukkot has about as much to do with Jewish tradition as premillenial dispensationalist Christian Zionism does with anything Jesus ever taught, so I guess there's a certain symmetry there. The article is worth reading (or listening to). TAP contributor Gershom Gorenberg is quoted in regard Christian...

THE PASDARAN'S FAVORITE PUNDIT

Michael Ledeen tries punching above his weight : "[Seymour] Hersh has been announcing the imminent bombing of Iranian nuclear sites for many months, and has now changed the lyrics to that chant. He now says that there’s been a change in program: we’re going to bomb military targets, Revolutionary Guards bases, and so forth. As usual, his sources range from the unnamed to the unreliable. He relies on Vincent Cannistraro, who has lied about me among his other inventions, and on Vali Nasr, who rarely sees anything to criticize in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The quality of Nasr’s analysis emerges in an amazing statement that Hersh quotes with favor: "It’s clear that the United States cannot bring security to Iraq, because it is not doing everything necessary to bring stability. If they did, they would talk to anybody to achieve it—even Iran and Syria,” Nasr said. (Such engagement was a major recommendation of the Iraq Study Group.) “America cannot bring stability in Iraq by fighting...

ARABS AND HOLLYWOOD.

There's an Interesting LA Times story today on actors of Middle Eastern descent struggling with the roles available to them: "Arabs and Arab Americans in Hollywood live in an interesting time. The appetite for Middle Eastern stories and themes boomed after 9/11 and grew again with the ongoing grind of the war in Iraq. But the roles suddenly being created for Arab-heritage actors often are limited to those of terrorists or are otherwise so poorly drawn that actors must swallow their pride to take them. And that's if they even get offered the parts. Some in the community still see the changes as a sign of progress. "There is more work out there for the Arab actor than 10 years ago," said Ismail Kanater, a Moroccan actor who has been in Showtime's "Sleeper Cell" and the now-canceled Steven Bochco series "Over There." "Even though we get actors complaining about terrorist roles, there is a natural interest in the region. That will open doors." At least one actor made that interest pay off...

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