Stories written by Daniel Luban
Daniel Luban is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago and a former IPS correspondent in the Washington, D.C. bureau. He continues to write for

POLITICS: Iranian Elections Could Shape U.S. Engagement

Washington is waiting anxiously on the outcome of Friday’s Iranian presidential elections, as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attempts to fend off challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi in a contest with significant implications for the diplomatic atmosphere between Iran and the U.S.

POLITICS-US: Hawks Push "Jordanian Option" for Palestine

As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver a major foreign policy speech in Cairo and his administration pushes aggressively for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, neoconservatives and other foreign policy hawks back home are calling on him to scrap the two-state solution altogether and consider alternatives to Palestinian statehood.

POLITICS: Abbas Visit Comes as U.S.-Israeli Tensions Mount

U.S. President Barack Obama’s first meeting on Thursday with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was less remarkable for the actual talks between the two leaders than it was for the changed Washington political climate in which it took place.

POLITICS-US: Iran Hawks Push Obama on Deadline for Diplomacy

After an uneventful first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that seemed to produce no real breakthroughs, hawks in the U.S. and Israel are seizing upon what they claim is a significant concession by Obama: his setting a "timetable" for negotiations with Iran.

U.S.: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Greatest Threat of All?

A potentially major clash appears to be developing between powerful factions inside and outside the U.S. government, pitting those who see the Afghanistan/Pakistan ("AfPak") theatre as the greatest potential threat to U.S. national security against those who believe that the danger posed by a nuclear Iran must be given priority.

POLITICS-US: AIPAC Conference Pushes Hard Line on Iran

The annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, wrapped up on Tuesday with a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, capping three days that were primarily devoted to the threat of a nuclear Iran.

POLITICS-US: AIPAC Conference Comes Amid Turmoil

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, kicked off its annual policy conference this weekend during a period of unusual turbulence both for the organisation and for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

US-ISRAEL: Film Examines Paranoia Over Anti-Semitism

"I have never experienced anti-Semitism myself, but it’s a phrase that always seems to be in the air," begins Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir’s lively new documentary "Defamation". "Three words seem to appear over and over again: Holocaust, Nazi, anti-Semitism."

POLITICS-US: Prominent Lawmaker Caught Up In AIPAC Scandal

A U.S. government investigation of Israeli spying caught a prominent Democratic congresswoman discussing what is alleged to be a "quid pro quo" deal involving the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful hawkish pro-Israel lobby.

POLITICS-US: As J Street Turns One, Signs of a Shift

It seems safe to say that the first year of existence for J Street, the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobbying organisation, was more eventful than anticipated.

US: Counterinsurgency Back In Vogue?

As the U.S. prepares to reduce its military presence in Iraq while intensifying its war effort in Afghanistan, hawks within both the Republican and Democratic parties have come increasingly to believe that counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine offers a solution to the central security challenges Washington will face in the 21st century.

POLITICS-US: New Budget, Not Quite a Fundamental Shift

Secretary of Defence Robert Gates unveiled the U.S.’s much-anticipated new military budget Monday, which aims to reorient the armed forces toward irregular and counterinsurgency warfare while proposing cuts in several major weapons programs.

POLITICS-US: Neo-Con Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group

A newly-formed and still obscure neo-conservative foreign policy organisation is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

U.S.: Obama’s New Sudan Envoy Faces Big Challenges

As the humanitarian situation in Darfur deteriorates, President Barack Obama's new Special Envoy for Sudan is likely to find his inbox filled with urgent challenges - none more immediate than how to get relief groups back into the province.

POLITICS-US: New Calls for a More Tolerant Intl Order

The U.S. should stop focusing on universalising Western democracy and instead work on constructing an international order that grants full legitimacy to responsible non-democratic states, argues an influential new paper that has become widely discussed in Washington foreign policy circles.

POLITICS-US: Freeman Affair Puts Israel Lobby in Spotlight

Although the successful campaign to keep Amb. Charles "Chas" Freeman out of a top intelligence post marked a surface victory for the pro-Israel hardliners who opposed him, the long-term political implications of the Freeman affair appear far more ambiguous.

POLITICS-US: Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for Israel Lobby

Amb. Chas Freeman withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration on Tuesday, following a vitriolic battle that pitted Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel hardliners opposed to his appointment against liberals and members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities who had come to his defence.

POLITICS-US: Intel Council Head Draws Ire of Israel Lobby

The appointment of a top-ranking retired diplomat and vocal critic of Israel to a key intelligence post has triggered an intense backlash from hawkish Israel supporters in Congress and the media who are pressing the administration of President Barack Obama to reconsider.

POLITICS: Dutch Foe of Islam Ignores US Allies' Far Right Ties

The fiercely anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders has been traveling through the U.S. this week on a highly-publicised trip to meet with politicians, promote his controversial film ‘Fitna’, and raise money for his legal defence back home.

POLITICS: Rights Group Calls for Israel/Hamas Arms Embargo

A prominent international human rights organisation has called for an arms embargo against both Israel and Hamas after finding evidence that both sides used foreign-supplied arms to commit war crimes during the recent conflict in Gaza.

US-RUSSIA: Kinder, Gentler Tone, Same Policy Tradeoffs

The relationship between the U.S. and Russia, which reached a nadir this past August during the war in Georgia, appears to have experienced a slight thaw during the first month of the Barack Obama administration.

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