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

"HOSTILE": IT'S THE NEW PINK.

Over at Contentions , Noah Pollak writes “there has been an awakening in recent days to the presence of a disturbing number of foreign policy advisers to the Obama campaign who harbor hostile views of Israel.” As evidence of this “awakening,” Pollak offers a couple of articles by Ed Lasky , the substance of which hovers somewhere around your basic right-wing chain email, and a column by Jerusalem Post crank Caroline Glick , (imagine Charles Krauthammer without the jokes) that draws heavily from Lasky’s articles. Quite an awakening. Picking one of Barack Obama ’s advisers, Harvard professor Samantha Power , Pollak offers this interview quote as evidence of her "hostile views": Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the “national interest” as a whole is defined and pursued . . . America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security...

SO I GUESS SHE WON'T BE CRADLING BUSH'S FOOT, THEN.

Maybe if Peggy Noonan tried to avoid writing things like : This, truly, is a good man. And that is a rare thing. Agree with Mr. Bush's stands or disagree, there can be no doubting the depth of his seriousness and the degree to which he attempts to do what he is convinced is right, and to lead his country toward that vision of rightness. We have had many unusual men as president and some seemed like a gift and some didn't. Mr. Bush seems uniquely resolved to be as courageous as the times require and as helpful as they allow. There is a profound authenticity to him, and a fearlessness too. A steady hand on the helm in high seas, a knowledge of where we must go and why, a resolve to achieve safe harbor. More and more this presidency is feeling like a gift. She wouldn't look so silly years later when she writes something like : George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on...

TRUST.

Following on A.J. 's post about the gossamer threads upon which the surgeniks continue to hang their claims of victory, Spencer Ackerman has an article on the ironclad ties that bind us to our new Iraqi Sunni "allies": One of the signature achievements of the surge, according to General David Petraeus and the White House, has been the creation of so-called "Concerned Local Citizens" groups—that is, bands of tribal fighters, mostly Sunni and including many former insurgents, who have agreed to take U.S. cash (and in some cases weaponry) if they pledge to fight al-Qaeda. The groups, also known as Awakening Councils, currently stand at 80,000 fighters, 80 percent of which are Sunni. They’re outside the chain of command of the regular Iraqi security forces. And the U.S. military, for months, has relied on the councils for information, including targeting information, about who the U.S. should go after in the name of fighting al-Qaeda. But many of these groups consist of former insurgents...

MORE GASOLINE FOR THE FIRE.

Just what the Middle East needs, more high-tech weapons floating around : The Joint Direct Attack Munition is a kit that, when added to the back end of a 500- or 2,000-pound "dumb" bomb, turns it into a lethal, all-weather "smart" weapon. The bomb can hit within four feet of a target when launched from a fighter aircraft more than 10 miles away. The kits and bombs are a prominent part of the $20 billion U.S. arms package for Persian Gulf states that has been in the works since last summer. President Bush discussed the package with Arab leaders during his recent trip to the Gulf. [...] [The Congressional Research Service] notes that "significant arms sales, prolonged military training programs, material pre-positioning and basing arrangements, joint exercises and direct military interventions have characterized U.S. policy toward the Gulf region." In short, without much public debate, the Bush administration has expanded previous multilateral cooperation with Gulf states on defense,...

AMERICA DESERVES BETTER INFORMED WARMONGERS.

I haven't finished reading Jeffrey Goldberg 's new article on "the next phase of Middle East history," but this anecdote is worth sharing: Just before the “Mission Accomplished” phase of the war, I spoke about Kurd­istan to an audience that included Norman Podhoretz, the vicariously martial neoconservative who is now a Middle East adviser to Rudolph Giuliani. After the event, Podhoretz seemed authentically bewildered. “What’s a Kurd, anyway?” he asked me. Understand, Podhoretz had spent the previous months arguing for invading Iraq, apparently without having bothered to learn enough about the country to know who the Kurds were. Given that it's pretty hard to read a magazine article, let alone an entire book about modern Iraq without coming across at least some mention of the Kurds, this does not speak well of the expertise of our leading neoconservative warmongers. Podhoretz's innocence will come as no surprise to those who have read his World War IV , which is similarly untroubled by...

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