While Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party had a much poorer showing than expected, with Tzipi Livini's Kadima Party apparently winning more seats, all indications are that Israel's next government will be more nationalistic and strident than the current one.
We are delighted to welcome Senator Chuck Hagel as the new chairman of the Atlantic Council.
Hagel, who served two terms representing Nebraska from 1997 to 2009, received the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award in 2004.
With an effort to doing things better than the Bush Administration, the Obama administration seems focused on using “smart power.” During her confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified, “I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power: the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.” After all, smart power is better than the alternative.
Last weekend’s 45th Munich Security Conference afforded the world its first look at the emerging foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. The conference’s mostly European audience heard the constructive new tone for which it had hoped. However, the substantive policy studiously delivered by all Administration representatives in Munich was one of cautious continuity.
The United States has committed to an additional 30,000 troops for the Afghanistan mission and NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has called on Europe to step up with a similar commitment.
France has already said no. General David Petraeus asked again and was again rebuffed.
Today, Spain joined them.
Another one for the Headlines I Thought I'd Never See file: "Dream Chancellor Barbie: Mattel debuts Merkel doll."
Barbie can add another dream job to her list — Germany's first female head-of-state. Toy company Mattel debuted the Chancellor Angela Merkel Barbie last week at an international toy fair in the southern city of Nuremberg.
One question many of us have had since the announcement that President Obama's foreign policy team would include Hillary Clinton as State and Jim Jones at NSC was which of these two strong figures would emerge on top. As I noted last week, "Realistically, one or the other will dominate. My money's on the general." A front page story in today's WaPo by Karen DeYoung makes me want to raise my bet.