A Serious Man: the Return of Donald Rumsfeld

[amazon 159523067X full]Donald Rumsfeld is a serious man. The cover of his engrossing, informative, and well-written memoir shows the former two-time defense secretary and fighter pilot wearing a fleece vest, brown shirt open at the neck, and blue jeans. He is casual but confident, at peace with himself, leaning against a wooden fence with mountains faintly in the background, presumably at his Jackson Hole retreat. He could be a wealthy business executive enjoying his retirement about to go horseback riding on his ranch.

Meanwhile, Back at the Hindu Kush

Highly salient happenings such as the turmoil in Egypt have a way of distracting attention from even very important and costly endeavors elsewhere. The distraction occurs in public discourse and also—because the time and attention of our leaders always is in short supply—in policymaking circles in government.

The AOL-Huffington Post Merger

Arianna Huffington is now officially one of the biggest media stars in America. AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post for $315 million ratifies her importance. It's an amazing feat for a woman who began on the right side of the political ledger, ended up on the left, and has created a major media organization almost singlehandedly.

Fear and Exhilaration in America

Chaos in Cairo’s streets has wrecked Hosni Mubarak’s presidency. The collapse of any dictatorship should please Americans. One of the world’s most durable dictators is being tossed into history’s dustbin. However, the process in Egypt has only started. The most difficult question always is how any so-called revolution ends.

The Blame Game on Egypt

The turmoil in the Middle East, and especially in the region's most populous country, is salient enough and troublesome enough that it will provide material for years to come to satisfy the ever-present urge to point fingers and assign blame. If events on the Nile really turn south, expect to hear “Who lost Egypt?” as a recurring theme—in, among other things, the 2012 presidential election campaign.