Daily Archives: May 9, 2012

Gideon Rachman

The defeat of Senator Richard Lugar in a Republican Party primary in Indiana is a further depressing sign of the death of centrism in the GOP. Lugar was a classic old-style, bipartisan Republican: solidly conservative in his outlook, but also willing to work across party lines on issues of national interest, such as arms control. He also has two other characteristics that are going out of fashion among Republicans: he has a deep knowledge of international affairs and he believes in international law. Neither characteristic turned out to be a plus, when running for the Republican nomination, against a Tea Party candidate.

On the other hand, one should be honest. Lugar is now in his eighties. His great period was in the 1980s and 1990s, when he played a key role in formulating US policy, as the cold war came to a climax – and then a close. As this piece by Jacob Heilbrunn makes clear, it was probably time for him to retire. But it’s a real shame that there are no new Lugars on the horizon.

Gideon Rachman

The endless guessing game about whether Israel is planning to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months continues. Now we have two pieces of fresh evidence – but they seem to point in opposite directions. First, there is the outbreak of dissent amongst top Israeli securocrats – several of whom have gone on the record, to say that an attack on Iran would be a v.bad idea. On the other hand, Netanyahu has just formed a government of national unity - which includes three former chiefs of the defence staff. 

John Paul Rathbone

General Óscar Naranjo is known as the world’s “best policeman”, or at least that is what the Canadian mounties have called Colombia’s top cop. Gen Naranjo, profiled here by the FT, is also looking for a job.

The unassuming Jesuit-schooled 56-year old, who has shaped and led Colombia’s pretty successful two-decade-long fight against organised crime, said last month that he would step down in July as head of Colombia’s 160,000-strong police force. After leading the institution for five years it was time, he said, for somebody else to take charge.