World

Pakistan Going Soft on Taliban Again?
August 28, 2009

Bill Roggio flags an important--and disturbing--Time story: Despite strenuous entreaties by top U.S. officials, Pakistan has abandoned plans to mount a military offensive against the terrorist group responsible for a two-year campaign of suicide bombings across the country. Although the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been in disarray since an Aug.

Mullen: Battling Taliban "Like Fighting the Marines"
August 28, 2009

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, via Joe Klein: "Last week I spoke to a couple of Army Rangers who had just engaged the enemy. They said it was like fighting the Marines. The Taliban were well trained, better organized, much tougher fighters than they'd been in the past."

Defining "Settlement Freeze"
August 28, 2009

Recent reports have indicated that the way U.S. and Israel might be able to reach agreement on settlement freeze is by excluding East Jerusalem in such a freeze, among other things.

A Key Saudi Royal Dodges Death
August 28, 2009

Saudi Arabia's chief counterterrorism official has narrowly survived a suicide attack -- an event significant for two reasons. First, it underscores that the Saudi royals are still in a very dangerous battle with al Qaeda, which would love to overthrow their regime. The good news is that the Saudis have had success in fighting domestic al Qaeda militants over the past few years, something Obama officials praise the Saudis for.

Beware: Do Not Read if All You Want Is an Intellectual Fix for One of Your Political Prejudices. This Is Serious Stuff!
August 26, 2009

Jeffrey Herf is one of the pre-eminent intellectual historians of totalitarianism. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic. See, for example, his last few contributions here, here, and here. You can also find a TNR review of one of his books, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, here. In the current issue of The American Interest, Herf makes a highly convincing argument that radical Islam today is in fact a totalitarian movement with totalitarian ideology and totalitarian methods. No, it is not Nazism or Communism.

Washington Diarist
August 26, 2009

On August 4, Haaretz reported that Benjamin Netanyahu called Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod self-hating Jews. A spokesman for the prime minister later denied this, but I have heard from Israeli friends that this conspiratorial explanation is quite popular in the prime minister’s office. I have no reason to believe otherwise. The accusation of ethnic infidelity is an old feature of the political culture of the Likud. The defenders of Greater Israel have values, but the critics of Greater Israel have motives.

OK, It's a Little Coarse. But the Question Is Worth Asking.
August 25, 2009

Can anyone, and Eric Holder in particular, "find 12 [random] Americans who would vote to convict an American citizen for threatening the life of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?" I doubt it. Not even on the Upper West Side. (The question has been posed by Michael Goldfarb on the Weekly Standard web site.) But not even that fact can dispose of the problem. Which suggests that Attorney General Holder, by foraging into what is by contemporary standards ancient history, has put himself outside the matrix of democratic standards.

An Unprecedented Settlement Freeze?
August 25, 2009

That's what Aaron David Miller tells Politico-bound Laura Rozen will come from the peace-process announcement expected from the Obama administration next month. But Miller remains a deep pessimist about the possibility of an actual peace deal.

Aliyah and Interest Rates
August 25, 2009

Aliyah is the at once mystical and practical "going up" to Zion. Stanley Fischer is one of the very many men and women who have made that journey and are, thus, olim. It was Bibi Netanyahu who, as minister of finance in Ariel Sharon's government, summoned him to the service of the Jewish state and turned around his whole life.

Madoff Has Cancer, Too. Why Not Release Him or At Least Send Him Home on House Arrest?
August 24, 2009

The New York Post and Reuters both report not exactly that Bernie Madoff has cancer. But that he's told his fellow inmates that he has cancer, pancreatic cancer, at that. Which means that, if the tale is true, he'll be a goner soon, very soon. Unless there's a medical miracle, as sometimes there is even in such terrible afflictions of the pancreas. Now, a federal judge has sentenced Madoff to 150 years in federal prison, a sentence--as is obvious--he cannot possibly serve. So the master Ponzi schemer is now in the hands of the president as top man in the federal penal system.

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