Crooked Spooks and Timber

Blogging is ramping up again as September and the Middle East peace talks approach. Überpredictor George Friedman says the negotiations are “flawed” because they are the “American solution,” not something the Palestinians or Israelis particularly want. Rick Richman at Contentions, who’s apparently been watching his fair share of cable-rerun comedies lately, calls the process “Groundhog Day,” and says Mahmoud Abbas is like the main character from Weekend at Bernie’s. Shibley Telhami writes that the Arab public has never believed in President Obama’s lofty rhetoric, and Israeli citizens feel threatened by his policies. But, he says, they’ll come around if their governments can cobble something together. And Alan Derschowitz seems to imply that the problem with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is that troublesome Arab Lobby.

Max Boot says today’s New York Times scoop on CIA connections to corruption in Afghanistan is all the more reason to get “all U.S. government agencies on board” in order to reduce the “huge, crippling, corrosive problem.” Joe Klein, on the other hand, sees the news as more evidence that the administration should “start thinking about creatively reducing the U.S. mission now.”

Jimmy Carter’s visit to North Korea (apparently he won’t be meeting with the DPRK’s head honcho?) is also making some waves. Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway wonders if Kim Jong-il’s conveniently timed trip is an indication of impending collapse. He’s just “playing hard to get,” thinks Village Voice blogger Jen Doll. And let’s not forget TNI’s Jacob Heilbrunn, who sees the absence as a sign of “invitation remorse,” and maybe the idea of meeting with the ex-president “petrified Kim.”

[amazon 0691145822 full] And it would be a shame if we didn’t alert readers to the ongoing debate at Crooked Timber over magazine author Dan Drezner’s take on John Quiggin’s new book, Zombie Economics.