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


REDNECK CHIC. Is there anything more pathetic than the spectacle of the wealthy conservative pundit, that creature of millionaire-funded think tanks, TV studio green rooms, and catered symposia, trying to establish some red-state cred by pretending to be down with redneck culture? Michael Ledeen : "Barbara and I went to Indianapolis for a Toby Keith concert, where we partied with something like 25,000 happy rednecks, most of them young, most of them wearing boots and cowboy hats (and cheering Keith's great song "I Should Have Been a Cowboy"). It's a great show, and he's a wonderful performer, not least because of his deeply moving patriotic songs like "American Soldier," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," and " The Taliban," etc. It's great to get out of the Washington culture of narcissism and spend some time with the rednecks, a.k.a. real Americans. And it's simply great, as the encores end, and a downpour of red, white and blue confetti covers the crowd, to see Toby say "don't...


THE DREAM PALACE OF THE NEOCONS . Fouad Ajami yesterday in Tigris Beat magazine, err, the Wall Street Journal , remembering Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Reisha : “This was the dashing tribal leader who emerged as the face of the new Sunni accommodation with American power, and who was assassinated by al Qaeda last week. I had not been ready for his youth (born in 1971), nor for his flamboyance. Sir David Lean, the legendary director of "Lawrence of Arabia," would have savored encountering this man. There was style, and an awareness of it, in Abu Reisha: his brown abaya bordered with gold thread, a neat white dishdasha, and a matching headdress.” …The air was heavy with cardamom and fatoush, the palms beat gently in the breeze...or was it my heart? The rest of Ajami’s piece shows Abu Reisha as someone who had mastered the art of telling Americans exactly what they wanted to hear, and Ajami as someone completely committed to playing along. Given Ajami’s reputation as a skeptical analyst and...


OBAMA’S TEACHING MOMENT. Alec MacGillis reported Tuesday on the spectacle of Barack Obama's campaign frantically trying to distance the candidate from an ad for Mearsheimer and Walt's new book The Israel Lobby which appeared on the campaign's website . Yesterday we had this number from The Politico , in which Ben Smith functioned as a conduit for vague, unsubstantiated accusations of bigotry against the authors, and also against Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski . "Brzezinski, 79, stepped into the crossfire this summer when he published an essay in the summer issue of the journal Foreign Policy, defending a controversial new book about the power of the “Israel Lobby” in American politics. The book’s authors, Harvard’s Stephen Walt and the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer, thanked him for his “incisive defense.” But the article inserted him into one of the most heated debates in America-Israel politics, a bitter dispute about whether the authors’ claims smacked of bigotry,...


KING OF IRAQ . The L.A. Times reports that the U.S. Army is doing business with Muqtada al-Sadr. "U.S. diplomats and military officers have been in talks with members of the armed movement loyal to Muqtada Sadr, a sharp reversal of policy and a grudging recognition that the radical Shiite cleric holds a dominant position in much of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. The secret dialogue has been going on since at least early 2006, but appeared to yield a tangible result only in the last week -- with relative calm in an area of west Baghdad that has been among the capital's most dangerous sections. The discussions have been complicated by divisions within Sadr's movement as well as the cleric's public vow never to meet with Iraq's occupiers. Underlying the issue's sensitivity, Sadrists publicly deny any contact with the Americans or British -- fully aware the price of acknowledging such meetings would be banishment from the movement or worse. The dialogue represents a drastic turnaround...


BLESS YOU, KEITH. Olbermann nails Brit Hume for Hume's casual, and false, assertion that al-Qaeda was in Iraq "before we got there." Four years on, and Hume still persists in repeating lies that the Bush administration doesn't even bother with any more. It's frustrating watching Juan Williams simply ignore this and move to another point. I know he's a liberal on Fox News, but is there actually a clause in Williams' contract that prohibits his calling down this sort of junk? --Matthew Duss