I am pressed for time today, so I'll just comment quickly rather than do an in-depth post.
1. Annapolis "Peace" Conference.
It amazes me that anyone could call this a peace conference. The words of Palestinian President Abbas aside, it is difficult to make peace with a group of hostile nations and individuals who want you dead and wiped off the map. Israel keeps getting pushed into making concessions, while there are no concessions on the other side. This is obscene, and the Bush Administration ought to be ashamed.
We've heard much over the past few years/months about Russia's retreat from democracy. Doesn't anyone have the long view of history anymore? Russia has never been a true democracy or representative republic. It has no tradition of democracy. And since 1917, there has been a general modus operandi. The Soviets were very good about appearing to liberalize for a time, only to tighten up again when sufficient Western capital had flooded in, or certain political objectives were realized. All who had hoped that President Putin would be a different type of leader (including our own president, who claimed to be able to look into Putin's soul), are now having to face a bit of reality.
I will probably have more to say on this later, but that's all for now. Think about it.