House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers slammed the Obama administration’s outreach to Syria’s Islamist rebels to encourage them to support a peace conference early next year, just one day after senior officials indicated religious fighters may play a key role in reaching a diplomatic solution to end the bloody conflict.
“You should draw lines around organizations that would cut the heads off of children to prove their political point,” the Michigan Republican told National Journal Daily. “When you don’t have a course of action that helps change the battlefield, for a diplomatic solution, you end up going to the parties who are “¦ radical Islamists. That’s not a very good way to conduct diplomacy.”
Islamic militants, Rogers said, “want a safe haven in eastern Syria and — we know this with a high degree of confidence — to conduct operations external to Syria. You don’t negotiate with terrorist groups that have that kind of mind-set.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the U.S. and its allies are holding direct talks with Islamist militant factions in Syria, as secular groups Washington backed in the war against strongman Bashar al-Assad continue to lose ground to religious fighters and the regime. The primary target of this Western and Saudi outreach is the Islamic Front, a new rebel coalition of religious militias excluding the main al-Qaida-linked groups in the country.
Rogers’ comments come one day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “all parties” must be represented to reach a diplomatic solution in the war-torn country. “This can’t be achieved by just [limiting ourselves to] narrow strips of interest,” he said Wednesday.
Separately, just days before nuclear negotiations are set to resume in Vienna, Rogers slammed the Obama administration’s recent deal with Iran, saying talks are doomed to fall short of ultimately dismantling that country’s nuclear program. Considered a major diplomatic breakthrough to resolve the decade-long dispute, the deal, reached late last month, was hailed by U.S. officials as a first step toward a lasting, comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program — though Israel and Iran hawks in Congress have unleashed a barrage of scathing criticism because the deal could enable Iran to keep enriching some uranium. “No, I don’t believe that there will be any dismantling for their program,” Rogers said, “and I do not believe it’s in the world’s interest to allow Iran to have the capability to enrich and process uranium.”
“It’s a terrible deal,” he continued. “That’s why bipartisan members of the House and Senate oppose it, why our Arab League partners oppose it, why Israel opposes it, why some in European parliaments have said, ‘This is not a good deal.’ When you have lost your friends, you’ve lost your Congress, and you’ve lost Israel, maybe you should rethink your strategy,” he said of the Obama administration.
Key points within the Nov. 24 deal include keeping Iran’s uranium enrichment below 5 percent (far below weapons-grade levels) and neutralizing its stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium in exchange for some $7 billion in sanctions relief. “They’re going to oxidize that 20 [percent-enriched] uranium — which can be un-oxidized and reconverted to fuel in 30 days,” Rogers worried.
The best idea for a nuclear deal, Rogers said, is the United Arab Emirates’ program. “It allows a peaceful program and all the enrichment and processing to take place outside the country; “¦ the fuel is brought into their facility, the waste product is taken out of the facility,” Rogers said. “That’s the gold standard for a peaceful nuclear program.”
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”