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April 27, 2009
Measuring South Africa’s progress since apartheid

African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma.

Last week, South Africa went to the polls in the country’s fourth national elections since the end of apartheid. According to final results announced Saturday, the ruling African National Congress won, though it fell short of a two-thirds majority

The ANC has faced increased criticism in recent months, often centering on party president Jacob Zuma, who had faced charges of fraud and corruption, though they were dropped. 

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner measures South Africa’s progess, however imperfect the country and its leaders may still be. 

South Africa’s president-elect, Jacob Zuma, capped off his remarkable political resurgence last week in another solid victory for the African National Congress. His election victory can be viewed in more than one way.

In one sense, it was an endorsement of his charismatic style and a confirmation of the ANC’s prominence in the 15 years since the ascension of Nelson Mandela and the collapse of apartheid. Zuma will take office in May as a result of nationwide balloting that took place peacefully and without incident.

The unfortunate way of viewing the South African election would be to overemphasize unfair complaints that South Africa has not progressed much since the end of apartheid.

South Africa is a vastly different country from what it was under white minority racist rule. Despite persistent poverty and unemployment, South Africa today is a truly democratic state, and the African National Congress has accomplished much. If it is not enough to say that the country’s 80+ percent black population lives now freely and with dignity, the ANC’s other successes are significant. Even the poorest of South Africans have benefits their families could not dreamed of a generation ago.

There is much work to be done, especially in the areas of health care and education, but the ANC has established social programs, provided housing and some basic needs such as electricity to millions of South Africa’s 49 million people.

The ANC came just short of winning a two-thirds absolute majority in the South African parliament, meaning Zuma will have to negotiate and work hard to win over skeptics. Meanwhile, he comes to office at a tough time for any world leader –- South Africa is deeply affected by the world recession and financial issues will be key. He’ll he hard-pressed to follow through on his basic promise: “an equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth path.”

Among the skeptics are some members of his own party, where former leader Thabo Mbeki once stripped him of the role of deputy president because of corruption charges. The corruption charges have since been withdrawn and Zuma has also faced and been acquitted of rape charges.

Phillip Van Niekirk, a prominent South African journalist, notes that even South Africa’s white Afrikaner minority, responsible for the apartheid system, largely prefers Zuma to Mbeki.

“When talking to the business community, foreign dignitaries or journalists, Zuma can be equally impressive. He has great personal warmth and is lucid on the challenges ahead. He wants a crackdown on crime and corruption, greater accountability from politicians and office bearers and a concerted effort to deal with the country’s neglected education and health systems.”

– Peter Eisner

April 27, 2009
Whispered or shouted, Pakistan is cause for concern

“I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner examines the blunt U.S. reaction after the Taliban briefly gained control of Pakistan’s Buner district last week — just 60 miles from Islamabad.

It would be hard to conceive of two styles of governance that offer a bigger contrast –- the Obama administration versus the Bush administration.

The matter at hand is the case of Pakistan, where a weak civilian government and a confounding military establishment are facing an intensified threat from the Taliban.

This is the question raised by a Washington Post editorial on Sunday, April 26: “What does the Obama administration hope to accomplish by publicly warning of a Pakistani collapse?

The editorial goes on to review the discomfiting report last week that the Taliban had seized Pakistani territory uneasily close to Islamabad. Along with that report, U.S. officials had dire warnings.

The Post notes this comment last week from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists.”

Interestingly, the Post editorial criticizes Clinton and other administration officials for stating the obvious:

“In its own way, the Obama administration offered as much reason for panic about the deteriorating situation in that nuclear-armed Muslim country,” the editorial declares.

And therein lies the contrast between two presidents. Do public declarations of concern serve us better than private warnings? By comparison, the editorial notes, “in the last months of the Bush administration, private cajoling of President Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani to fight the Taliban has done little good. It’s not yet clear whether the public campaign will have more effect.”

Which is better? Either way the assessment remains the same. One of my long-time U.S. intelligence sources offered this read-out:

“The situation is so bad regarding expanding Taliban and militant power, with their control in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border] and NWFP [Northwest Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, Punjab and the Islamabad capital district] mounting and areas of control spreading southward that many Pakistani insiders are talking about the gradual ‘Talibanization’ of the country.”

The intelligence source said that relations between Zardari and the Pakistani military are at a “low-ebb.”Among other points, the source reports that the Pakistani military would favor a coup against Zardari only as a last resort, “were the situation internally to worsen dramatically.”

There are no silver linings on this story. The Obama administration has inherited a diplomatic morass in Pakistan -– and the resolution is unclear, shouted out loud or whispered low.

– Peter Eisner 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user SEIU International under a Creative Commons license.

April 22, 2009
Israel angles for control in chess-like peace negotiations

During its first three months in office, the Obama administration has repeatedly stressed how committed it is to a new peace agreement in the Middle East.

Its special envoy to the region, George Mitchell, recently visited Israel and the West Bank. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has traveled to the region as well.

But Israel’s new conservative government is taking an altogether different approach to any peace deal with the Palestinians — an approach that diverges significantly from the Obama administration’s.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to place Iran ahead of the Palestinian issue, and the new government has said that Israel will not move ahead with peace talks until the U.S. makes progress in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner takes a look at the meaning behind Israel’s posturing.

A few days short of 100 days into the Obama administration, it’s still early to track the direction of Middle East negotiations. It’s also too soon to mistake posturing for substance. The attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to shift attention from the Palestinian question to Iran may not go very far.

He appears to be only one player in a simultaneous chess exhibition, in which a chess master –- President Obama in this case — moves from table to table, playing a dozen games with less weighty competitors at the same time.

Netanyahu has already heard from President Obama on the airwaves, and more directly from special envoy George Mitchell, that the United States clearly wants a two-state solution –- that is, a separate Palestinian state. He opposes that solution and apparently wants to change the subject.

“What’s going on here?” asked Haaretz correspondent Aluf Benn, in an analysis earlier this month that still rings true.  “Clearly the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration have not yet developed discrete communication channels to let them coordinate their policy and avoid statements that would embarrass the other party.”

Not that Netanyahu’s mention of Iran should be taken lightly. There are hawks in Israel and the United States who advocate military action — and soon — against Iran if its nuclear aspirations are not contained. But Obama has been moving toward diplomacy with Iran, not only on the nuclear issue but also in an all-inclusive attempt to work on the problems of Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time.

It is unlikely that Netanyahu will be able to change the subject for long, even if he says today he won’t be working on the Palestinian issue until he sees positive developments on Iran. The White House has invited him, along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Washington in May to work on the outlines of peace talks.

It sounds more like Netanyahu is looking to play from a position of strength. He’s probably read a report in Israel’s largest circulation daily, Yedioth Achronoth. Correspondent Shimon Shiffer played back some tough words by Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, to an unamed Jewish leader: “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.”

Shiffer’s April 16 report sounds like the reverse of Netanyahu’s attempt to place Iran ahead of the Palestinian issue. He quoted Emanuel, who is highly regarded in Israel for his Israeli ties, saying that “Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory.”

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user NguyenDai under a Creative Commons license.

April 20, 2009
Will action follow words after Americas summit?

Barack Obama meets with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

At the 34-nation Summit of the Americas over the weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama promised a new approach to Latin American relations, meeting with such harsh critics of the U.S. as Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. 

Cuba was a hot topic, as Obama recently loosened travel and remittances restrictions for Cuban Americans. “The policy that we’ve had in place for 50 years hasn’t worked the way we want it to. The Cuban people are not free,” Obama said at the close of the summit on Sunday. 

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, puts Obama’s position on Cuba in context. 

No question about it: President Barack Obama brought his A-game to the Trinidad summit of Western Hemisphere leaders over the weekend and upstaged potential efforts to embarrass and castigate the United States over its 50-year embargo against Cuba.

The president was warm to overtures by Cuban President Raul Castro and held out the possibility for real changes; he also disarmed Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, by sprinting across the dance floor to break the ice. As in Europe, as in Mexico, President Obama also talked about a new beginning and said that the United States has made its share of mistakes.

The question is: How soon will action follow all the words?

Antonio Caño of the Madrid newspaper, El País, saw little more than “handshaking and good intentions.” Even that was an accomplishment, he said, compared to disastrous, confrontational meetings during the Bush era. However, he said, the good intentions “will be erased from memory quickly if no there are no quick, recognizable results.”

President Obama’s position on Cuba has to be viewed in context. So far, he’s done little more than roll back restrictions imposed by George W. Bush that limited the ability of Cuban-Americans to visit Cuba or send money to family members. Obama has opened the possibility of licensing telecommunications contacts with Cuba.

In fact, the president hasn’t completely rewound U.S.-Cuban relations to where they had been before the Bush years. It doesn’t take an act of Congress, for example, to quietly resume bilateral talks with Cuba. The president has not reinstated periodic meetings with Cuba as part of a 1995 migration agreement. The meetings, halted by Bush, grew out of decades of periodic chaos caused by Cuban refugees fleeing the island –- sometimes meeting death in the treacherous Florida Straits.

Phillip Brenner, a professor at American University who specializes on Cuban-U.S. relations, told me U.S. overtures so far “will move the two countries towards a normal relationship only a little.”

“Cuban officials rightly view President Obama’s decision as signifying nothing more than fulfillment of a campaign promise to Cuban-Americans.”

He said the U.S. plan on telecommunications with Cuba “was couched in the same language the United States has used for fifty years. They are intended to bring ‘freedom’ to Cubans, which Cuban officials see as code for ‘regime change.’ ”

President Obama has enough problems as he deals with the ongoing economic crisis, and the dire problems of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Certain to face conservative ire, including a vocal minority in Congress, how much Cuban political capital is the president willing to spend?

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user El_Enigma under a Creative Commons license.

April 15, 2009
No room for optimism in Mexico’s war on drugs

Police corruption is one problem facing Mexico. Photo: Megan Thompson

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to venture to Mexico on Thursday for talks with President Felipe Calderon. Officials from the Obama administration say the president will work to curb the flow of U.S.-made firearms to Mexican drug traffickers.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner writes to argue that unless political leaders are willing to commit to real change and take the resulting flak, it will be impossible to alleviate Mexico’s drug problem. See more on our coverage of Mexico’s Drug War.

When President Obama meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico on Thursday, how many people will be thinking about the history of efforts by the two countries to deal with drug trafficking? Anyone who does will have to be listed as a skeptic about possibilities for real change.

Mexico has been stuck in the middle of modern drug trade ever since the rise of the Colombian cocaine and marijuana cartels more than three decades ago. But the United States preferred to look elsewhere. The Reagan administration declared a war on drugs and spent billions of dollars on eradicating crops in Colombia and Peru; the first President Bush invaded Panama, and imprisoned Manuel Antonio Noriega claiming he was a drug dealer. The United States also helped hunt down and kill Pablo Escobar, and even blamed Fidel Castro and Raul Castro for the drug trade. Cynicism abounded and little, if anything, was accomplished.

All the while, the Mexican narco industry was thriving and growing, and no one came up with the key to change the reality –- drug dealing and the associated violence in Mexico operates with impunity. The Mexican drug business is successful because of corruption, weak justice and police structures in Mexico, and because of the driving market right across the border.

Consider this report from the Washington Office on Latin America, prepared in the leadup to Obama’s one-day trip:

The ability to identify, prosecute, and punish drug traffickers is a key element in containing the drug trade. There were over 10,000 drug-related killings in Mexico in the past three years. As staggering as these numbers are, it is noteworthy that the majority of these murders may never be solved. The Mexican Citizen Institute for Research on Insecurity (INCESI) found that initial investigations are begun for only 13 percent of the reported crimes and in only 5 percent of these crimes are the alleged perpetrator brought before a judge. (1) The same institute estimates that of every 100 investigations, only 4 cases result in sentencing the person responsible.

What are the real prospects for change? Well, the American president is stymied by mistrust from the Mexican side –- where officials and the public always feel the United States is trying to bigfoot Mexican government policy. And at home, there’s no possibility on the horizon of ever decriminalizing drugs to puncture the market.

Meanwhile, what American politician would ever get away with curbing the sale of guns, which Mexican traffickers can easily haul in and use in their murderous business? Without meaningful change brought on by officials who see the reality and are willing to take the political flak, there isn’t much room for optimism.

– Peter Eisner

April 9, 2009
Wait…the surge in Iraq didn’t work?

General David Petraeus.

In Iraq on Wednesday, another bombing threatened security and raised new fears of violence between Sunnis and Shiites once American troops withdraw. Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, discusses how the 2007 surge of American troops has fared.

Anyone bereft of a basic filing system, or who perhaps doesn’t take time to face reality in the form of Google searches, might just want to focus on the words of General David Petraeus exactly one year ago before the Senate Armed Service Committee.

Back then, Democrats found difficulty in criticizing the surge. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain was proud to declare that he was at the forefront of the idea to send 20,000 U.S. troops to Iraq.

Despite the resident wisdom during the presidential campaign that promoted the success of then-President George W. Bush’s vaunted surge, Petraeus was closer to the ground, saying “We haven’t turned any corners. We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel” and warning that “Countless sectarian fault lines still exist in Baghdad and elsewhere.”

A year later, there seems to be surprise in the air every time a particularly bloody bomb attack is staged in Baghdad or other Iraqi environs. Petraeus wasn’t running for office and he was quick to mention that any U.S. successes in Iraq might be “fragile and reversible.”

The surge was a quick fix to be sure, and there are all sorts of statistics to show a decrease in violence. But in the long term, the battle lines are still drawn. Rival Sunni and Shiite factions keep their powder dry, but are still geared up for the coming battle whenever U.S. troops pull back. That’s mixed in with the baggage encased in a dilemma, one of many inherited by President Obama.

My friend and former colleague at the Washington Post, Thomas E. Ricks, describes the dilemma in his book, The Gamble, focusing on Petraeus and the surge. Commenting separately on the book, he has written that one basic problem is to understand what is meant by saying the surge “worked.”

“Yes, it did, in that it improved security. But it was meant to do more than that. It was supposed to create a breathing space in which Iraqi political leaders could move forward. In fact, as General Odierno [General Raymond T. Odierno, Petraeus’ successor as U.S. commander in Iraq] says in the book, some used the elbow room to move backward. The bottom line is that none of the basic problems facing Iraq have been addressed–the relationship between Shia, Sunni and Kurds, or who leads the Shias, or the status of the disputed city of Kirkuk, or the sharing of oil revenue.”

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jon-Phillip Sheridan under a Creative Commons license.

April 6, 2009
Diplomacy should trump name-calling in dealing with Korea

The Musudan Ri missle launch facility. Photo: DigitalGlobe

North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday, but failed to put a satellite into orbit as hoped.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, discusses the implications of the launch and the changing face of the U.S. approach to North Korea.

It’s pretty early for the U.S. government to be raising the missile shields after the latest rocket launch by the saber rattlers in North Korea.

Viewed from one perspective, the North Korean government achieved nothing more than reminding President Obama that attention must be paid. That’s especially true since the weekend launch apparently failed — pity the poor engineers who weren’t able to launch the rocket’s payload into orbit.

The North Koreans are often transparent in their petulant style of demanding that they be placed front and center among all the other potboilers to be dealt with.

Predictably, calls from the right demanded new sanctions against North Korea for firing the missile over the Pacific. But even the Bush administration, unaccustomed as it was to choosing diplomacy over threats and war, learned that engaging the Pyongyang government in talks was the most fruitful means of reaching peaceful objectives.

The Bush administration scored one of its only successes in international relations when Ambassador John Bolton was shoved aside in 2005 in favor of Christopher R. Hill as chief representative to the six-party international talks aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear problem.

Bolton dealt with North Korea by stringing together insults against Kim Jong Il (he called the dear leader “a tyrannical rogue” and said life in North Korea was “a hellish nightmare.” North Korea was happy to respond by calling him “human scum” and a “bloodsucker.”) It may be fun to engage in name-calling, but Hill met with more success on decreasing tensions when he visited Pyongyang and spoke respectfully with North Korean officials.

Hill has now taken the post of U.S. ambassador to Iraq. North Korea is serious business and it is in everyone’s interest for the new representative to the talks, Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, to dig in and follow through on the six-party talks. North Korea’s salvo is a strident reminder to the new president that it wants priority on his list of action items.

– Peter Eisner

April 3, 2009
What’s a trillion here or there, among friends?

Press coverage of the G-20 Summit in London.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, discusses what really came out of the G-20 meeting (besides the $1.1 trillion pledged), including Fidel Castro’s positive outlook on U.S.-China relations.

You’d be hard-pressed to figure out — in terms of old-fashioned greenbacks — what exactly came out of the G-20 meeting in London this week. But perhaps warm, fuzzy feelings are all we need.

The stock markets were sharply up at the end of the week, so maybe appearances — and promises — are reality.

Does anybody really know how much money is needed to attack the world recession, and how much of the money pledged by G-20 nations was already en route?

The consensus is that the G-20 leaders pledged $1.1 trillion in total funds. But President Obama said, “Nearly all G-20 nations have acted to stimulate demand, which will total well over $2 trillion in global fiscal expansion.”

And meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also indicated that there’s an escalation clause somewhere, and that the stimulus based on the G-20 agreement will add up to $5 trillion by the end of next year.

No matter the fine print, it sounded good to many.

Jeremy Warner, writing Friday in The Independent, said that “it’s easy to be cynical, but the summit has also achieved something genuinely impressive…For the first time in a long time, there’s reason for optimism.”

Nobel Prize winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman, who has criticized the Obama administration for not pumping enough into the stimulus, is still pessimistic, but wrote that he saw “glimmers of good news — the G-20 summit accomplished more than I thought it would.”

He was writing about that in the context of concern about the Chinese government, which he says “hasn’t yet faced up to the wrenching changes that will be needed to deal with this global crisis.”

And speaking about China, that late entry in the news analysis game, Fidel Castro, also had an optimistic take on the G-20 Summit.

“The experts on economic issues have made a tremendous effort,” Castro wrote on Friday in his occasional column, “Reflections of Fidel,” in Granma, the official Cuban government newspaper.

Castro singled out special praise for Obama and for Chinese President Hu Jintao, who plan to meet soon to discuss a broad range of issues. That he said, may be “one of the most important news items in relation to the G-20 Summit.”

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user under a Creative Commons license.

March 25, 2009
Border fence can’t hide growing challenges in Mexico

A fence at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Over the last year, Mexico has been swept up in a tidal wave of drug violence. Things have gotten so bad that, according to a recent Pentagon report, the country risks a “sudden collapse.” For more, listen to our online radio show on Mexico’s war on drugs.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Mexico for a series of high level talks. Not only does the Pentagon assessment have Mexican officials bristling, there are lingering resentments over other issues too — there’s a growing trade dispute and ill will over the construction of that giant border fence.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, writes about engaging with Mexico and its troubles rather than building fences.

“Show me a 50-foot fence, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.”

That quote from Janet Napolitano when she was governor of Arizona makes more sense every day. Napolitano, now the Secretary of Homeland Security, was referring to the multibillion dollar, 700-mile long fence being built along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The idea of the controversial fence was to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking across the border. Many people — including most people in the Mexican government — agree with Napolitano that the fence was a bad idea.

For many, the fence has come to symbolize arrogance and disinterest in dealing with real issues, such as poverty that fuels immigration, and consumer demand that supports the multibillion dollar cocaine, marijuana and heroin trade out of Mexico.

And if anybody in the United States still thinks the fence can hide the uncomfortable reality across the Rio Grande, they’re deceived.

The wave of drug violence in Mexico is bleeding over into the United States, and U.S. military officials fear a worse scenario: One Pentagon study says that Mexico, like Pakistan, faces the prospect of being unable to deal with the violence and could become a failed state.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is diving right into talks about drug cooperation, trade and other issues today and tomorrow in Mexico City and Monterrey. And President Obama is scheduled to go to Mexico in less than a month.

The administration has an opportunity to come up with answers that would include engagement with the Mexican government rather than building barriers. The answers will probably be costly, but there is rising sentiment in Washington that Mexico can’t be left, as one analyst recently said, to “muddle through somehow” on its own.

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jcarter under a Creative Commons license.

March 23, 2009
Reading between the lines of Iran’s response to Obama

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran.

After President Barack Obama sent a video message to Iran appealing for better relations between the two countries, Iran’s leaders wasted no time in replying. On Saturday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said,”They chant the slogan of change but no change is seen in practice.” See more from Worldfocus on the response: Iran dismisses Obama’s video message.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, dissects Khamenei’s statement and both countries’ political positioning.

Don’t expect that 30 years of hostility between the United States and Iran will turn around on a dime, or a rial or a shekel for that matter. But it would be wrong to think that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected President Obama’s call last week for a change in relations.

Something subtler is going on here. First of all, look at the source: Ayatollah Khamenei is the top leader in Iran. We’re used to hearing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranting about the United States; this time, Ahmadinejad was conspicuously silent. Khamenei’s answer, meanwhile, was mostly a recitation of Iran’s grievances with the United States, along with the comment that nothing has changed. In concrete terms, he was right, even though change is in the air.

From the U.S. side, Obama not only issued his televised greeting last week for the Iranian new year; he also has invited Iran to be part of a solution to the war in Afghanistan. There are also reports that Obama sent former defense secretary William Perry to Iran as a secret emissary to emphasize his interest in improved relations.

Iran, meanwhile, is gearing up for presidential elections on June 12. Any response to Obama’s overtures will play heavily in the campaign, in which Ahmadinejad is expected to be a candidate, though not yet a declared one. There are also reformist candidates, and many Iranian voters are interested in improved relations with the United States.

Obama and Khamenei appear to have one thing in common. While they make public statements, each is making sure not to go too far, too quickly in the direction of rapprochement, minimizing criticism from the right.

In Obama’s case, we can count Israel’s incoming prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in the hawkish camp. To maintain balance in dealing with Israel, Obama has to go slowly to maintain U.S. leverage with Israel toward larger goals for Middle East peace; some Israelis advocate unilateral bombing of nuclear reactors in Iran.

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ManilaRyce under a Creative Commons license.

Peter Eisner is an editorial consultant with Worldfocus and a 30-year veteran of international news. He has been an editor and foreign correspondent at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. He co-authored “The Italian Letter,” which details fraudulent intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. He was founder and president of Newscom, an international online news service, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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