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Showing posts from July, 2007

The Banality of Bipartisanship

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Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, but most of what she writes about foreign policy is very boring and quite shallow, heaps of cliched banalities that sound like a speech of the head of Red Cross before a bunch of Valley Girls (see here). But she sounded a bit feisty over the weekend, attacking Partisans Gone Wild in the Washington Post. The central idea: why can't we -- the good Democrats and the good Republicans, you know, the "internationalists" -- just get along when it comes to maintaining U.S. "leadership" in the world -- and isolate all the baddies on the right and the left, you know, the isolationists, realists, etc. It ends with this gem:It's time, then, for a bipartisan backlash. Politicians who think we need bargaining to fix the crises we face should appear side by side with a friend from the other party -- the consistent policy of the admirably bipartisan c…

Hillary trying to "Jesse Jacksonize" Obama

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According to the New York Daily News Hillary's people are going to use Obama's willingness to meet with baddies like Iran's president as a way of making the guy who is very, very popular among Jewish voters look as insensitive to Jewish concerns:
Political observers said they expected Clinton to waste no time using Obama's comment to shore up her standing among key voter blocs, such as Cuban-Americans in bellwether Florida and Jewish voters who may find the idea of a sitdown with the Holocaust-denying president of Iran disturbing.
Team Clinton plans "to use these issues in outreach in the states [and nationally] with Jewish leadership and Jewish grass-roots voters," a Democratic operative familiar with the Clinton campaign told the Daily News.
In a related subject, an entertaining "exchange" between Podhoretz Junior and Philip Weiss on Weiss' blog. BTW his blog which in trying to ignite debate among American-Jews over Israel and Zionism is worth r…

No one is a prophet in his country

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David Remnick has an interesting "Letter from Jerusalem" in the New Yorker, The Apostate: A Zionist politician loses faith in the future about Avraham Burg, the former Speaker of Israeli Knesset and the son of a renowned Zionist and religious-Orthodox figure who seems to be kind of disillusioned about the idea of of a Jewish State: Burg writes that one of the most dispiriting aspects of Israeli political conversation is the constant reference point of the slaughter of six million Jews in the nineteen-forties. “The most optimistic years in the state of Israel were 1945 to 1948,” he said to me. “The farther we got from the camps and the gas chambers, the more pessimistic we became and the more untrusting we became toward the world. It was a shock to me. Didn’t we, the politicians, feed the public? Didn’t we cheapen the sanctity of the Holocaust by using it about everything? Some people say, ‘Occupation? You call this occupation? This is nothing compared to the absolute evil …

What has Mark Helprin been taking?

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The novelist and arm-chair strategist Mark Helprin who for some reason likes to brag about his service in the "Israeli air-force" (was he a pilot?) and looks like a British actor Edward Fox (the one above on the top) has a very silly op-ed the New York Times today:

First there is the idiotic analogy of the Israeli-Egyptian peace process, something about "similar metaphysics." WHEN considering President Bush’s new plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it would be wise to bear in mind that because political initiatives in the Middle East are cursed with such a high failure rate analysts sometimes use the odds as a substitute for craft. After Anwar Sadat’s spectacular trip to Jerusalem in November 1977, the press, mistaking cynicism for wisdom, was skeptical. After all, in the first 25 years of its existence, Israel had had to fight Egypt four times. But the past was no guide to the future, for in the last 30 years the peace of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sa…

Pakistan and terrorism: Golden Oldies

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Six Day War

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My article "Six Days -- and 40 Years: In 1967 Israel won Jerusalem, defeated its emenemies, and expanded its borders. It has not recovered since" in The American Conservative (July 16, 2007) is not available yet online. But if you click on the three pasted images, you'll be able to read it:




Jordan and Palestine: Could work (II)

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A few days ago I published The Return of the Jordanian Option in National Interest Online.

Ceckout today's Growing Talk of Jordanian Role in Palestinian Affairs in the New York Times.
AMMAN, Jordan, July 6 — Inside a drab cellphone shop, set deep inside the sprawling Baqaa refugee camp on the outskirts of this city, Muhammad Khalil and his friends were as gloomy as the fluorescent lights that flickered on the ceiling.

“Everything has been ruined for us — we’ve been fighting for 60 years and nothing is left,” Mr. Khalil said, speaking of the Palestinian cause. Just weeks earlier, he might have been speaking enthusiastically to his friends here, in their usual hangout, about resistance, of fighting for his rights as a Palestinian and of one day returning to a Palestinian state.

Last Wednesday, however, he spoke of what he saw as a less satisfying goal for the Palestinians here and one that raises concerns for many other Jordanians: Palestinian union with Jordan.

“It would be better if …

Mirror mirrror on the wall, who is...

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In the Hobbled Hegemon the guys at The Economist concluded that while its "troubles in Iraq have much weakened it," America is "likely to remain the dominant superpower." It's a long piece, but I didn't but the main thesis. Here for example it poses the argument that American is on decline in the Middle East:Strategists wonder whether the Iraq war has damaged America so badly as to set it on a path to “imperial decline”. Is the post-Soviet “unipolar” world, established after America's first war against Saddam Hussein in 1991, coming prematurely to an end as a result of the second war to topple him? For Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a leading think-tank, “the American era in the Middle East is over”—and because of the importance of the Middle East, American global power has also been weakened, for years if not for decades. And here:
For about two years after the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration could still find ev…