How curious. At the very moment the threat posed to U.S. interests by the toxic Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming ever more palpable, a top Senate Democrat seems determined to suppress Americans' understanding of that menace.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday in Lebanon that his Islamist militant group would conquer parts of Israel if there were a new war with the Jewish state.
To all outward appearances, the just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was a huge success. It was attended by a large, boisterous crowd, a substantial part of which was student-age - a promising indicator of the movement's appeal to the coming generation. A number of luminaries, including several prospective presidential candidates, addressed enthusiastic audiences clearly invigorated by November's successes at the polls.
In Egypt, the exciting part is over; now come the worries. Let's start with three pieces of good news: Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's strongman who appeared on the brink of fomenting disaster, fortunately resigned. The Islamists, who would push Egypt in the direction of Iran, had little role in recent events and remain distant from power. And the military, which has ruled Egypt from behind-the-scenes since 1952, is the institution best equipped to adapt the government to the protesters' demands.
The Obama administration's foreign policy - advertised far and wide as a sure-fire antidote to cowboy diplomacy - is flailing, and nowhere more so than in its attempt to ingratiate itself with those on the roiling Egyptian street.
As Egypt's much-anticipated moment of crisis arrived and popular rebellions shook governments across the Middle East, Iran has stood as never before at the center of the region. Its Islamist rulers are within sight of dominating the region. But revolutions are hard to pull off, and I predict that Islamists will not achieve a Middle East-wide breakthrough and Tehran will not emerge as the key power broker. Here are some thoughts behind this conclusion:
The sudden and yet unexplained exit of Tunisia's strongman, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, 74, after 23 years in power has potential implications for the Middle East and for Muslims worldwide. As an Egyptian commentator noted, "Every Arab leader is watching Tunisia in fear. Every Arab citizen is watching Tunisia in hope and solidarity." I watch with both sets of emotions.
A popular singer-turned-presidential candidate whose apparent loss in Haiti's flawed election helped spark days of rioting called Tuesday for the electoral commission to be replaced and the vote redone with all the original candidates involved.
The Middle East peace process is beginning to look like the Theater of the Absurd. Absurdism posits that while meaning may well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental limitation. In the Mideast, neither Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu nor the Palestinians' Mahmoud Abbas seems capable of crossing the Rubicon, or embarking on a course of action on which there is no going back.