The Have-Nots and the Have-Lots
January 28, 2012
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mitt Romney is in the top .0025% of American income earners. That makes him poorer than Warren Buffett, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, probably even than Jon Huntsman, the father of the junior Jon Huntsman, who, with all his money and a very decent record, scored virtually nothing in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. So the question about Romney is whether the electorate will resent his wealth or take it as an index of initiative, imagination and hard work. Also, I suppose, a real drive to be rich. No, not just rich, but downright wealthy, super-wea
Are We Sliding Toward War With Iran?
January 18, 2012
The sanctions against Iran may well succeed on their own terms while producing regrettable, if unintended, consequences.
Why Is Obama Selling Arms to a Theocratic Dictatorship?
January 06, 2012
On December 29, the White House announced that it was sending nearly $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, part of a $60 billion package—the largest arms deal in history. President Obama has come a long way since his 2008 declaration that “nothing is more important than us no longer borrowing $700 billion or more from China and sending it to Saudi Arabia.” Apparently it was the borrowing part that really irked him—not the arming of a gender-apartheid, theocratic dictatorship. The justification for the arms sale is simple.
Who Is Adel al-Jubeir?
October 15, 2011
I’ve written about Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington and a favorite of the king, at least five times (“This Is A Scoop … A Scoop About Saudi Arabia,” “When Progress Is Made Progress Should Be Recognized,” “The Saudi Ambassador,” “A Circus Or A Conclave,” “Why Should Israel Make Peace With Failed States?”). I should have written about Adel soon after we met. It wasn’t a year before he invited a few of us roughly from the TNR crowd (Fouad Ajami, Michael Kinsley, Tom Tisch, James Woolsey, and one or two others) to be his guests on a visit to the kingdom.
The Cruelty of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Reformist’ King
October 13, 2011
The king of Saudi Arabia is once again making headlines for overturning a court ruling that sentenced a woman to ten lashes for driving a car. For many, this is further proof that King Abdullah is a force for moderation and reform. Fareed Zakaria, for example, has called the Saudi dictator a “man of wisdom and moderation.” Then again, the king could also have considered stopping the recent beheading of Abdul Hamid Al Fakki for the crime of “sorcery.” Instead, he chose to do nothing.
October 12, 2011
The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages By Nancy Marie Brown (Basic Books, 310 pp., $27.95) A study of twenty member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (recently re-named the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC—the international body that represents Ummah al Islam, with a permanent delegation to the United Nations) found that between the years 1996 and 2003 those countries spent 0.34 percent of their GDP on scientific research, one-seventh of the global average.
Arab Spring, My Foot
October 06, 2011
Or, better yet, “my ass.” The Arab Spring has been with us for nearly three quarters of a year. This is not a long time as history goes. But the annual flowers of the spare land have long ago vanished into the crude, mostly gritty sand that is the Middle East. It’s not, though, as if it is at all back to “normal” in the Arab world. And, frankly, we haven’t the slightest about what normal in the Arab world is or will be. The Muslims and the Jews and the increasingly scarce but differentiated Christians who constituted the region lived (and live) recreant lives.
Saudi Women Can Now Vote. But Their Plight Remains a Human Rights Calamity.
September 30, 2011
Sunday’s announcement that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had granted Saudi women the right to vote and stand for office in municipal elections was big news around the world. At a glance, it certainly sounded like terrific news—what, after all, is a more direct emblem of the march of progress than the right to vote? But while the announcement may represent some very marginal progress, Saudi Arabia remains one of the worst places on earth to be a woman.
How Libya’s Energy Economy Can Avoid Iraq’s Mistakes
September 26, 2011
Since Muammar Qaddafi was toppled in Tripoli, Saddam Hussein’s fall in Baghdad eight years ago and 1,800 miles away has framed much of the way many think about it. Global leaders, reporters, experts, and even Libyan officials have explicitly argued that Libya will not become another Iraq. This is particularly emphasized when addressing oil and natural gas, which not only dominate Libya’s economy but also are important to the global economy.
Obama Is Finally Doing the Right Thing on Israel—For Now, At Least
September 24, 2011
Not yet two months into his presidency, Barack Obama designated Chas Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council. It wasn’t the first indication that the United States would likely embark on a new and what was at best a jejune and shallow foreign policy. But the appointment was disturbing all the same. Altogether aside from some raw anti-Jewish biases, Freeman had done a good deal of time in the foreign service, stationed in venues where the instincts of his hosts were especially appreciated by this oh, so cooperative Washington emissary.