Bush's new "five-step plan" to "help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom" is not new, does not lay out serious steps to resolve the Iraq crisis, and will not bring about anything resembling democracy or freedom.
We can expect the traditional US policy of support for Israeli repression to continue also in 2008, with predictable results: more repression generates more deadly radicalism. The similar pattern can be seen also in Pakistan.
Scarce attention to poverty alleviation and blind reliance on military might has brought the western forces in Afghanistan to a standstill. Putting Pakistan into the equation is a key to any solution in Afghanistan.
The UN has huge role to play in Afghanistan, but when it is trying to do this under the conditions of occupation it is inevitable that it is going to be seen as part of that occupation, not as part of the solution.
Obama's caving in to the pressures of Pentagon to escalate the war in Afghanistan will inevitably mean weakening his programmes at home and losing the support of the broad progressive coalition that brought him to power.
President Obama's speech reflected accountability not to his base, the extraordinary mobilization of people who swept this anti-war and anti-racist candidate into office, but rather to the exigencies of Washington's traditional military, political, and corporate power-brokers who define "national security."
The recent civilian casualties demonstrate, for any who doubted it, that this is a war against a vast population of Afghanistan, and the only way to stop killing civilians is to stop the killing. That means to stop all offensive actions and withdraw the troops.
The US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do not improve the lives of the people living there and the cost is devastating the US economy. The sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can begin to make good on our real debt -humanitarian, not military- to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Renewed U.S. efforts to bring sanctions against Iran are more backlash for being snubbed in favour of a tripartite deal with Turkey and Brazil than they are about nuclear proliferation. A UN Security Council coalition may be able to block U.S. pressure for sanctions that would only punish Iranian civilians.