Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals
07/31/2006 - Washington Post, The (cir. 724,242)
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The Return of Turkey's Kurdish Problem
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US Strategy in Iraq
07/31/2006 - Encounter - Voice of America (cir. )
Brood Indigo: Mankind's greatest hope or hype?
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Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals
07/31/2006 - Washington Post, The (cir. 724,242) Return to Top
The Israeli bombs that slammed into the Lebanese village of Qana yesterday did more than kill three dozen children and a score of adults. They struck at the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and illustrated in heart-breaking images the enormous risks for Washington in the current Middle East crisis.
With each new scene of carnage in southern Lebanon, outrage in the Arab world and Europe has intensified against Israel and its prime sponsor, raising the prospect of a backlash resulting in a new Middle East quagmire for the United States, according to regional specialists, diplomats and former U.S. officials.
Although the United States has urged Israel to use restraint, it has also strongly defended the military assaults as a reasonable response to Hezbollah rocket attacks, a position increasingly at odds with allies that see a deadly overreaction. Analysts think that if the war drags on, as appears likely, it could leave the United States more isolated than at any time since the Iraq invasion three years ago and hindered in its foreign policy goals such as shutting down Iran's nuclear program and spreading democracy around the world.
"The arrows are all pointing in the wrong direction," said Richard N. Haass, who was President Bush's first-term State Department policy planning director. "The biggest danger in the short run is it just increases frustration and alienation from the United States in the Arab world. Not just the Arab world, but in Europe and around the world. People will get a daily drumbeat of suffering in Lebanon and this will just drive up anti-Americanism to new heights."
The White House recognizes the danger but thinks the missiles flying both ways across the Israel-Lebanon border carry with them a chance to finally break out of the stalemate of Middle East geopolitics. Bush and his advisers hope the conflict can destroy or at least cripple Hezbollah and in the process strike a blow against the militia's sponsor, Iran, while forcing the region to move toward final settlement of the decades-old conflict with Israel.
"He wants a resolution that will solve the problem," White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters yesterday. "Not only do we feel sorrow for what happened in Qana, but also a determination that it is really important to remove the conditions that led to that."
"This moment of conflict in the Middle East is painful and tragic," Bush said in his radio address Saturday. "Yet it is also a moment of opportunity for broader change in the region. Transforming countries that have suffered decades of tyranny and violence is difficult, and it will take time to achieve. But the consequences will be profound for our country and the world."
At the heart of the crisis for the United States is a broader struggle with Iran for influence in the Middle East, one that arguably has been going on since the Islamic revolution of 1979 and that has escalated during Bush's presidency. The United States not only backs Israel in the current war but also has accelerated weapons delivery to Israel. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has long acted as a surrogate for Iran, and in the past three weeks it has shown off Iranian weapons never before used by the radical group.
"It's really a proxy war between the United States and Iran," said David J. Rothkopf, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of "Running the World," a book on U.S. foreign policy. "When viewed in that context, it puts everything in a different light."
The Hezbollah attacks on Israel that touched off the latest conflict came just as international pressure on Iran to give up uranium enrichment had reached a crescendo. Bush aides suspect Iran orchestrated the attacks to distract attention from its nuclear program or to demonstrate the consequences of pushing too hard. "It's tempting to believe that," said a senior official involved in the crisis but not authorized to speak on the record. "Iran spends a very large amount of money on Hezbollah."
The president hopes the crisis will ultimately help him rally world leaders against Iran's nuclear program. Even as the U.N. Security Council today considers a peacekeeping force for Lebanon, it may vote on a U.S.-backed resolution to threaten sanctions if Iran does not suspend uranium enrichment in August.
"There's no question that this is going to stiffen up in the long run the resolve of the Europeans in dealing with Iran," said Henri J. Barkey, a former State Department official who teaches at Lehigh University
. "Even if they don't like what Israel is doing," he said, they will recognize that Iran "is a menace."
Others are not so hopeful. Outside the White House, the mood among many foreign policy veterans in Washington is strikingly pessimistic, especially as leaders of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, traditional rivals based in different Islamic sects, began calling for followers to take the fight to the enemy.
Analysts foresee a muddled outcome at best, in which Hezbollah survives Israel's airstrikes, foreign peacekeepers become bogged down, and U.S. relations with allies are severely strained. At worst, they said, Hezbollah and Iran feel emboldened, Islamic radicalism spreads, and a region smuggling fighters and weapons into Iraq fractures further along sectarian lines.
"What the conflict has exposed in a really clear way is how linked all these issues in the region are to each other," said Mara Rudman, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton White House now at the liberal Center for American Progress. "The worst-case scenario . . . is a much more radicalized Islamic fundamentalist Middle East and much more isolated Israel and a much more isolated United States and fewer people to talk with."
Haass, the former Bush aide who leads the Council on Foreign Relations, laughed at the president's public optimism. "An opportunity?" Haass said with an incredulous tone. "Lord, spare me. I don't laugh a lot. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what's Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?"
In the long run, he and others warn, the situation could cement the perception that the United S ties to the European Union is in danger of hitting a brick wall of European opposition because of Cyprus. Defying an agreement with the EU, Turkey has refused to open up its ports to Greek Cypriot shipping because its Turkish Cypriot brethren are barred from trading with Europe and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, relations between Turkey's civil and military authorities are at their lowest point since Erdogan became prime minister in late 2002. Suspicious that Erdogan has a hidden Islamist agenda, the generals have been exploring means by which to weaken him, if not force him out. They worry that either the prime minister or someone from his conservative religious entourage will ascend to the presidency-parliament, which elects the president, is controlled by Erdogan's party-one of the most important and last bastions of secularism in Turkey. Erdogan also has been the target of a nationalist backlash-not a majority movement yet-that accuses him of being too soft on Europe, Cyprus, the U.S., the PKK and Iraqi Kurds.
Yet, Iraq is Erdogan's Achilles' heel. He can bat away most criticisms, but when it comes to the PKK insurgents taking refuge in northern Iraq, he's trapped by his promise to retaliate for the deaths of the Turkish solders. The timing could not be worse. Israel's retaliation against Hezbollah in Lebanon, a move profoundly unpopular in Turkey, has raised the ante for Erdogan. If Israel can unleash a punishing attack on terrorists, how can he do any less?
It would be a win-win proposition for the Turkish prime minister, although inaction could bring down his government. By delivering on his promise of retaliation and standing up to the Americans, Erdogan would burnish his nationalist credentials. He also would inoculate himself against the meddlesome generals, who are eager to counter Kurdish gains in northern Iraq.
Although a Turkish cross-border military move would embarrass the Bush administration, the U.S. may be able to tolerate it, especially if it took the form of just artillery attacks or airstrikes. But an operation involving large numbers of ground troops backed by tanks could cause mayhem in northern Iraq. It would inevitably clash with Iraqi Kurds, destabilizing the only relatively quiet sector in Iraq.
None of this should be happening. But Ankara has treated Iraqi Kurds with disdain while making no attempt to improve the domestic conditions of Turkey's Kurds. The U.S., especially the Central Command, has shown little understanding of the political costs to Turks of the PKK's presence in Iraq. And the Iraqi Kurds have refused to cut off supplies to the insurgents because they regard the PKK as a Turkish problem. The most consequential misstep came last fall, when the Turkish intelligence chief, Emre Taner, began talking with Iraqi Kurds on how to dispose of the PKK. The Iraqi Kurds were genuinely interested in doing a deal. But neither the Turkish government nor its military was willing to take the chance, and Washington, distracted by its multitude of problems, did not use its considerable influence with Iraq's Kurds to push the negotiations forward.
The talks could be resuscitated if the U.S. gave them high-level attention. Bush has talked to Erdogan, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has talked to her counterpart in the Turkish government. There may still be enough time to avert a crisis.
US Strategy in Iraq
07/31/2006 - Encounter - Voice of America (cir. ) Return to Top
Sectarian violence rages in Iraq and Israel and Hezbollah are at war. Not the backdrop Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki would have chosen for his first official visit to Washington. Retired Marine Corps officer, Col. Thomas X. Hammes, and Professor Henri J. Barkey, Chairman of the International Relations Department at Lehigh University
in the State of Pennsylvania, assess US plans to increase troop strength in Baghdad and overall prospects for stability and democracy in Iraq with host Carol Castiel.
To listen to the interview, please click on the paperclip for directions.
Brood Indigo: Mankind's greatest hope or hype?
07/31/2006 - Dallas Morning News, The (cir. 573,340) Return to Top
Generation of free spirits wins believers, worries skeptics
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, July 21, 2006
It sounds like an X-Men movie sequel.
A new generation of humans-smarter, stronger and more talented than those who came before-has evolved to save the world.
And one way to tell them apart from average Joes is their indigo energy field.
But this isn't the plot of a summer blockbuster.
It describes the "Indigo evolution," an earnest movement that attributes near mystical abilities to children and adults who don't otherwise fit into society's conventional molds.
While Indigos and their advocates don't claim they have comic book-like superpowers, they believe they were born into a highly awakened state and can unite the planet.
A documentary film, Web sites and books about Indigos are sparking interest in the subject globally, including the Dallas area, where a concert and workshop are scheduled this weekend.
Conventional educators, psychologists and evolutionary biologists, though, express skepticism. A few declined to talk about the subject for fear of giving it credibility. They note that the movement has distinct New Age spiritual and religious elements and no supporting scientific evidence.
Maybe so, but James Twyman is a believer. He produced a recently released documentary, The Indigo Evolution.
"Humanity is on the cusp of taking a giant leap forward toward manifesting the world that we want-a world based upon compassion not competition, peace rather than war," Mr. Twyman said. "These new children are the ones that are going to lead the way into that."
Some parents embrace it
Parents seem to advocate the idea partly as a way to explain their children's high energy, lack of focus and rebelliousness-traits often diagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism.
That thinking, however, raises concerns among psychologists.
"People are obviously entitled to believe what they want to believe," said George DuPaul, school psychology professor at Lehigh University
in Bethlehem, Pa. "But where I get concerned as a psychologist and researcher is to the extent that parents are dissuaded from getting effective treatment for their children's disorder."
At the same time, some believers have tired of the labels and superhero image Indigos receive in the media. And they say it's a mistake to focus solely on children with developmental issues.
Mr. Twyman said the movement is about all types of children interacting with a higher sense of values and abilities, including psychic, healing and telekinesis.
He said he has seen children make flowers bloom almost instantly just by looking at them.
"The more I research, the more I see this as the next step in human evolution," he said.
Bearing Indigo gifts
San Diego psychic Nancy Ann Tappe first identified Indigo children in the late 1970s. She said she perceived a new, deep-blue hue in their auras, or energy fields, which she attributed to a higher consciousness.
Ms. Tappe published a book on auras in 1982 and introduced the Indigo concept. She described Indigo children as intuitive and energetic, self-confident, healthy and compassionate, resistant to authority, often bored and easily distracted.
Since then, the topic has attracted followers worldwide.
One publisher, Britain's Hay House, reports selling more than 500,000 books on the phenomenon.
Many Indigos say they are old souls reincarnated to bring peace to the world through music, the arts, relationships and communication. They also say everyone has Indigo gifts, and the world will be a much better place once they awaken them.
"When that happens, we will have a love-based culture where we're in harmony with the Earth and all living things, where we see each other as sisters and brothers again," said Elijah, an adult Indigo featured in Mr. Twyman's documentary.
As a child in Portland, Ore., Elijah always felt like an alien. He said he often cried for seemingly no reason and told his mother he felt the pain of trees being cut down around the world. When a psychic told him at 18 that he was an Indigo, he felt immediate validation.
Now he has found creative outlets in his music, writing and speaking. Elijah Gene Lenhart chose his name from a dream and says it symbolizes the middle path in a polarized world.
A 'bit airy fairy for some'
Believers say these bright but misunderstood children and adults have undergone an evolutionary leap in consciousness that is frequently dampened by medication and creative limitations.
Karla Bass, who is promoting the local events, treats Indigos through her holistic medicine practice in Dallas. She says many parents bring their children to her because they are having trouble in school.
But she believes they aren't the problem.
"Their passion should be encouraged," she said. "It's a little bit airy fairy for some, but people used to think the world was flat, too."
Dr. DuPaul understands parents' willingness to believe in something so unconventional. He said it stems from frustration over how their children are functioning and a reluctance to rely on medication.
"It's much more palatable to believe your child has special talents than that they have a disability," he said.
Mr. Twyman thinks more optimistically. He says Indigos represent mankind's greatest hope, especially at a time when world events can be very discouraging.
"Evolution always comes about through a profound need, and the profound need that we have encountered is that our systems, our politics, our society are not serving our world," he said. "Indigos â€“ these children, these adults, these humans â€“ are the ones who are going to save the world. It's you. It's me. It's all of us."
The outs and ins of facility managment
07/01/2006 - University Business (cir. 46,000) Return to Top
Margaret Plympton, vice president for Finance and Administration, was interviewed for an article explaining why "outsourcing facilities management isn't an all-or-nothing decision on today's campuses." She also discussed other business affairs in the "Before You Leap" sidebar article.