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Foreign Policy Roundup: U. Michigan’s Prof. Juan Cole and Journalist Robert Parry

Prof. Juan Cole of the University of Michigan and journalist Bob Parry join me for two wide-ranging conversations on recent foreign policy developments, including Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iran and Israel/Palestine.

Professor Cole’s Informed Comment blog is so influential that the Bush White House asked the CIA in 2005 to dig up dirt to destroy Cole, which we discuss near the end of the interview.  PBC settles his bet with Cole, who believed that Obama would actually pull almost all of our troops out of Iraq by the end of this year; we talk about US efforts to get the Maliki government to ask us to keep troops there, then talk about the Libya operation, which Cole supported.  We compare Libya to the more complex problems with Syria and Turkey’s more muscular role with its neighbors.  We also talk about Yemen and the drone kills of the American al-Awlaki and his teenaged sons, and Coles asserts the need for new policies for drone warfare.  Cole dismisses the recent and dubious plot by Iran to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington and comments on the recent escalation of tensions with Tehran.  He also comments on the Israeli/Palestinian prisoner swaps and missile swaps.  Finally, he describes how ex-CIA official Glenn Carle (the subject of Jason Leopold’s report in PBC Podcast 307) tipped him off early this year that, in 2005, his boss relayed a request from the White House for dirt on Cole; Carle says he refused, and tried to block an attempt by others at CIA.  The ACLU has filed FOIA requests, and the delayed response is expected in January.

At one hour into the podcast, Robert Parry returns.  In a recent post at Consortium News he slapped the left for failing to honor the risks and hard work that led to the October 21 announcement by Obama that our troops are leaving Iraq as promised.  We credit some of the antiwar leaders who led the efforts that produced this outcome, even if it is an ugly win.  Parry offers some comparisons to the post Viet Nam period.  As in the first segment, we talk about Libya and some of the unseen actors in its “liberation”; we also talk about Yemen and the al-Awlaki kill, and the lack of process-slippery slope factors.  Like Prof. Cole, Parry says the exposed Iranian spy plot is not at all credible.  Toward the end, we debate a bit on comparisons of Obama to Bush.

Note to listeners:  Both guests had a lot to say, and I let them say it.  It makes this episode longer than usual, so I invite your feedback.  Do you prefer podcasts of less than 90 minutes?  Considering this podcast, would you prefer it be split into two separate podcasts, about an hour each?  You might also tell me it doesn’t matter–you listen to the podcasts in spurts anyway.  All your comments are welcome: