In a setback for progressive peace forces, J Street – the liberal Jewish alternative to AIPAC – has decided to oppose United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state this month. The J Street organization is urging President Obama to veto the statehood bid if it comes to the UN Security Council. J Street further opposes recognition by the UN General Assembly of observer-state status for the Palestinians.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
The US-sponsored drug war apparently is driving a majority of Guatemalans to vote for widening repression in the name of law-and-order. A former general implicated in murders and repression, Gen. Otto Perez Molina, is expected to be elected president this week as the country spirals into the violence of the drug war. The US-backed drug war on the Mexican border, which has led to 40,000 deaths since 2007, is causing a steady spillover into Guatemala with its 575-mile border with Mexico. The murder rate in Guatemala is twice that of Mexico.
Like Guantanamo, Pelican Bay is both an isolated place of spectacular beauty and the site of barbarous prison cruelty. One is the dumping ground of the US global war on terrorism, the other a detainee dungeon for the war on gangs in California.
Rumors are rife that the United States will leave 3,000–4,000 troops behind in Iraq after the current December 31 deadline for total withdrawal, mainly as trainers for the Iraqi army. That would mean a withdrawal of some 45,000 American troops that are still currently there, and an annual taxpayer savings of $47 billion. In 2007, when Barack Obama was announcing his run for the presidency, 170,000 troops were deployed in Iraq, at a cost of $142.1 billion.
Thousands marched to the Capitol steps and through the massive rotunda on August 25, “black Thursday,” the day when Republican Governor Scott Walker’s rollback of state worker jobs and paychecks was cutting deep—Wisconsin state employees’ pay was cut by 13 percent. Walker is the point person in a Republican strategy to destroy public sector unions, the steady source of thousands of middle-class jobs and a key institutional base of the Democratic Party. The Republican counter-revolution in Wisconsin has already terminated the dues check-off system that funds unions, such as those for teachers and state workers, wiped out same-day voter registration and made a driver’s license a requirement to vote, and redistricted the state legislature to favor the Republican right. And changing the date of primary elections from September to August disenfranchises a statewide student body that leans blue and green.
A longtime hawk at the Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen Biddle, advises careful “political management” of American anti-war opinion in the 2012 election cycle to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the Karzai government or a premature withdrawal of American forces.
The Obama Administration is currently negotiating with the government of Iraq on keeping potentially thousands of U.S. troops in country beyond the planned December 31, 2011 deadline. It is long past time to push back on the Pentagon’s outrageous insistence on delaying their return from Iraq. Please act now. Join me in calling for an end to the war in Iraq. Ask your congressional representatives to co-sponsor and support Rep. Barbara Lee’s legislation, H.R. 2757, the Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011.
Foreign policy elites have been shaken by the unexpected rise of powerful social movements in the Arab world, coupled with the Tea Party "insurgency" in the United States. Assumptions of stable foreign and domestic equilibria seem to be in shambles. It is possible there may be a re-run of the 1950s, when domestic McCarthyism drove an aggressive military policy into quagmires first in Korea and ultimately in Vietnam. On the other hand, a progressive populism may awaken and develop into a powerful force, the beginning of which has already been observed in the popular Wisconsin reaction to Tea Party Republicans and the less-publicized immigrant rights revolt shaping the electoral politics of the southwestern United States.These rival energies are unpredictable, but one thing is clear: the center cannot hold. It is a time of realignment.