March 15, 2010
The Wall Street Journal accuses the Obama administration of creating a diplomatic crisis with Israel for no good reason: As for the West Bank settlements, it is increasingly difficult to argue that their existence is the key obstacle to a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling. At Least In Northern Ireland They're Not. George Mitchell’s Frosty Legacy.
March 14, 2010
On the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe “Ideas” section, there’s a photograph of East Belfast—or, rather, of a concrete demarcation “that separates the Protestant community from the Catholic residents on the other side of the wall.” It is called the “Peace Line,” and maybe it’s what George Mitchell, who negotiated the settlement that ended “the Troubles,” thinks of as peace. Mitchell was Bill Clinton’s “special envoy” to those troubles, and that is why Barack Obama made him his personal emissary to Israel and the Palestinians.
I Make No Excuses. But The Obama Administration Was Not At All Surprised By The Israeli Decision To Build In East Jerusalem.
March 14, 2010
In fact, Israel explicitly told them that it would, and Washington--with some regret, to be sure--accepted the fact. So why are the Obami having such conniptions?
The Best Way Forward
March 13, 2010
Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. More in sorrow than in anger, Washington Times editorialists are concerned that President Obama doesn't do enough to control costs. The Times particularly chides the President for delaying the proposed "Cadillac tax" on costly insurance plans. One original cost-control measure was to impose a tax on high-quality insurance, dubbed Cadillac plans….
Toward a New Alexandria
March 12, 2010
Imagine a new Library of Alexandria. Imagine an archive that contains all the natural and social sciences of the West—our source-critical, referenced, peer-reviewed data—as well as the cultural and literary heritage of the world's civilizations, and many of the world’s most significant archives and specialist collections. Imagine that this library is electronic and in the public domain: sustainable, stable, linked, and searchable through universal semantic catalogue standards.
Biden: Obama Made Me Do It
March 11, 2010
I am a little embarrassed to be so self-referential this morning, but I am going back to my Spine from yesterday, “The Relentless Facts of Palestine.” Vice President Biden knew he had to calm the waters in Israel a bit. And he did. So, to an audience at Tel Aviv University--said by some to be comparable to Cairo University, where President Obama delivered his June 4 speech, and which saying tells you how little most people understand the real differences among universities--Biden delivered the reassurances that probably nobody expected: “U.S.
“Diplomacy 102”: A New York Times Editorial Gets It Right
March 11, 2010
This is apropos my last Spine. The editorial habits of the New York Times are to utter hortatory dicta about how this should happen and that. In this morning’s lead editorial (“Diplomacy 102”), it heuristically explains what happened to the president’s ambitions to restart direct negotiations on a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians: President Obama seriously miscalculated last year when he insisted that Israel impose a full stop on all new settlement building ...
Everything is narrative. And the present “responsible” narrative, we are told, comes from President Obama. It’s too bad he knows very little about the intrinsic history of the dispute or about its present contours, which, after all, he--in his arrogance, vanity, and suave--has done much to make both sides more rigid rather than more amenable to compromise. (Actually it’s at least three sides if you count Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the president blithely ignores ...
Clear (Conservative) Thinking On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
March 10, 2010
Max Boot is among the conservative columnists I esteem the most. One reason is that he has to be more than a bit brave because the right is not ordinarily cordial to those who dissent on its keystone issues. Of course, he is not the only conservative to be sensible on gay matters. Still... In his latest blog post on ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Boot points us to a previous entry that provoked considerable consternation among those who usually claim to want the government out of our private lives.
I’ve written myself about the Obama administration’s more-than-flatfooted policies on Syria (here, here, and here) and Iran (here, here, and here). So I am particularly gratified when I find myself in alignment with Barry Rubin, a truly brainy scholar with a slight polemical touch. His latest analysis is below. Syria is a galling instance of the president’s obsessions ... and for several reasons. A weak country, both economically and militarily, its only possible political sway is to exacerbate the hatreds of its neighbors towards Israel.