All of Europe gets cut off from crude oil supplies, apparently. Somewhat ironically, for the past few years the hot foreign policy concern has been that Russia would use its energy reserves to try and coerce Western European countries into doing something or other. Instead, Western Europe is being cut off as Belarus attempts to coerce Russia. At least maybe that’s happening. Alternatively, it might just be an accident.
“President Bush is expected to announce his new Iraq strategy in an address to the nation” Wednesday at 9 pm EST. And according to the BBC, “The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq.”
Over the past few weeks, the media has asked members of Congress whether they support or oppose escalation.
Many are strongly opposed:
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): “It’s Alice in Wonderland. … I’m absolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly.” [Robert Novak column, 1/2/07]
Some are not saying where they fall either way:
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV): “Other lawmakers contacted Thursday, including Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., did not express immediate objection to a troop increase, but emphasized they did not want to prejudge the president’s strategy.” [CongressDaily, 1/5/07]
Others have given their full support to the move:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT): “After speaking with our military commanders on the ground, I strongly believe that additional U.S. troops must be deployed to Baghdad.” [Hartford Courant, 12/21/06]
According to a tally by Think Progress, only seven lawmakers have given their public support to Bush’s escalation plan, twenty-three have come out in opposition, and fifteen have said they will withhold judgement for now.
Think Progress will be keeping tabs on who is willing to go along with Bush’s misguided plan and who is speaking out against it here. Help us keep it updated by leaving more examples in the comments. (Or send us an email).
Via Robert Farley, an article noting that “The Bush administration is expected to announce next week a major step forward in the building of the country’s first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades.” One of the worst-covered aspects of the Bush foreign policy has been this element of proliferation policy — namely, that one major source of our difficulty in getting the multilateral non-proliferation process to prevent Iran and North Korea from going nuclear is that we keep breaking the rules. The NPT requires the legitimate nuclear powers to be taking steps to disarm, toward an eventually goal of global nuclear abolition.
We’re going in the other direction, hoping, in essence, for Iran to be subject to restrictions tighter than what the NPT requires of Iran, while the United States (and Israel, and now India as well) can violate its terms or refuse to join its framework without consequence. Brute force is the only way you could possibly enforce that sort of ruleset. If the actual goal were non-proliferation — as opposed to asymetrical proliferation — it would be easy to find alternatives to war.
NYTimes today: “President Bush’s new Iraq policy will establish a series of goals that the Iraqi government will be expected to meet to try to ease sectarian tensions and stabilize the country politically and economically, senior administration officials said Sunday. Among these ‘benchmarks’ are steps that would draw more Sunnis into the political process, finalize a long-delayed measure on the distribution of oil revenue and ease the government’s policy toward former Baath Party members, the officials said.” Benchmarks, whoah! I remember back in December 2005 when benchmarks were surrender and only cheese-eating surrender monkeys thought we needed them.
But of course Bush changed his mind on October 25, 2006, telling Byron York, ““The idea is to develop with the Iraqi government a series of benchmarks — oil, federalism, constitutional reform, there’s like 20 different things — and have that developed in a way that they’re comfortable with and we’re comfortable with.” That prompted Thomas Ricks’ October 26, 2006 takedown “Bush’s Proposal for Benchmarks Sounds Familiar” noting that Bush’s remarks “left unclear how the benchmarks would be different from previous times when the United States has set out intentions, only to back down.”
Never fear, though. There’s a new strategy now: Benchmarks!