The Best Defense

David Sanger's 'Confront and Conceal' made me wonder: Should Barack Obama be seen as our first Asian president?

Here is a link to my review in today's New York Times of David Sanger's new book on President Obama's foreign policy. As I say in the review, the strongest part of the book is the stuff about the joint Israeli-American cybercampaign against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. (Btw, the copyeditor for the book review told me while editing it that she had checked and this is the first time the Times has used the word "cybercampaign" to describe a series of cyberattacks, which surprised me.)

An interesting side observation in the book is Sanger's comment that Obama's "legendary self-control .  . . makes him seem like a politician from a more buttoned-down, controlled Asian environment."

I wonder: Is Obama actually our first Asian president?

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The Best Defense

Three terms that wouldn't occur to me in describing the U.S.-Pakistan relationship

"We are trying to have an open, transparent, and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. based on our national interest," the Pakistani prime minister told officers at that country's Command and Staff college. Well, that is good news!

But then I read more of his comments and I realized Prime Minister Gilani probably was engaging in what one of my sisters used to call "grandma talk," to signify when my mother would say the opposite of what she actually meant (e.g., "You look thin!"). For example, the Pak PM said, "we want to play our role in the stability and peace in Afghanistan." And he said he believes that "our children and the generations to follow will lead a peaceful and productive life." Just use the Grandma interpreter, and you will understand what he is saying.

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