John Judis

John B. Judis is an editor at large at Talking Points Memo and the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.

Recent Articles

The Real Foreign-Policy Debate

T he Bush administration is on the verge of making momentous decisions in foreign policy that will shape the country's role in the world for the next quarter-century. Nonetheless, there is an astonishing lack of public discussion of these decisions, particularly among Democrats. Most Democratic senators and House members, intimidated by Bush's popularity, are afraid to discuss, let alone criticize, administration foreign policy. Even Democratic organizations are silent on many issues. Try to find out whether the United States should invade Iraq from the Web sites sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) , the Campaign for America's Future , or the Progressive Caucus . The Democratic presidential candidates are no help either. Former Vice President Al Gore's address in February to the Council on Foreign Relations was a model of equivocation. And Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is desperately trying to position himself to Bush's right without committing himself to any...

Between Iraq and a hard place.

T here are three good reasons why the United States should worry about Iraq: oil, weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein. Iraq has the second-largest oil reserves in the Mideast, and what its government does with them vitally affects the world economy. As for weapons, Iraq already possesses chemical and biological weapons and could soon acquire nuclear ones. And Saddam, besides brutalizing his own people, has been willing to pursue reckless foreign-policy adventures -- in Iran (1980) and Kuwait (1990) -- that put the region at risk. Armed with nuclear weapons, he could wreak havoc. What should the United States do about Saddam and his regime? This question has been debated for a decade, but within the Bush administration one answer is increasingly gaining ascendancy. Defense Department officials Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz have argued that the only way to prevent Iraq from acquiring, using, or getting others to use weapons of mass destruction is to overthrow Saddam...

Snatching Defeat

T he United States scored a great military and diplomatic victory in Afghanistan. It drove out a hostile regime. It dealt a serious, though not fatal, blow to the al-Qaeda terrorist network and assembled a coalition against radical Islam that stretched from North Africa to East Asia. But the Bush administration now appears poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Once the guns stopped firing in Kandahar, it reverted to the self-centered foreign policy that it had practiced before September 11. This is nowhere more apparent than in U.S. relations with the Israelis and the Palestinians. The undeclared Israeli-Palestinian war is the great unresolved conflict coming out of World War II -- pitting Israel's Jewish immigrants, who were in need of a homeland after centuries of anti-Semitism that culminated in the Holocaust, against the Palestinians, who lost their homeland to the Israeli state. For half a century, the conflict has been a source of moral anguish and instability in the...

Bush-League Economics

T he Bush administration is getting an A for its prosecution of the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but it is flunking international economics. While energetically lobbying Congress for "fast track" authority (which is not a trade agreement, but merely a means of winning approval of one), it has botched every actual economic-policy challenge that it has faced. That was woefully apparent in its policies toward Argentina, but it has also been true of its policy toward Japan, the world's second-largest economy. The Bush team, led by White House adviser Lawrence Lindsey and Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, have followed the same script each time a new crisis has beckoned. First, they deny that it is all that serious; then they deny that the United States--or international lending institutions--can do anything about it; then they put forth solutions that make things worse. Last summer, O'Neill insisted that Argentina's dire predicament was entirely its own doing and could be...

First Step or Last Gasp?

T here is widespread agreement that the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States ushered in a new stage of world history, one distinct from the last 50 or 100 years. Secretary of State Colin Powell has referred to the period since 9-11 as the "post-post-Cold War." New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has described it as "World War III." Many others, citing Samuel Huntington's theory, have portrayed the war as a "clash of civilizations" that has superseded the Cold War clash of ideologies. The war, writes political scientist Louis Rene Beres, is "a civilizational struggle in which a resurgent medievalism now seeks to bring fear, paralysis and death to 'unbelievers.'" Indeed, Osama bin Laden has promoted this view of his actions. But it's possible to support the vigorous prosecution of the war against al-Qaeda and to reject the view that the war itself is the beginning of a new era in world history. In fact, this war is not the first phase of a new stage but the last...

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