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

OF PINS AND PINHEADS.

Barack Obama decides to forgo flag pins : "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin because it has become a substitute for "true patriotism" since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Asked about it Wednesday in an interview with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Illinois senator said he stopped wearing the pin shortly after the attacks and instead hoped to show his patriotism by explaining his ideas to citizens. "The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said in the interview. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism." Imagine that,...

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...

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