Showing posts from May, 2011


The Great Error of Israeli Normalization

Israel has celebrated its 63rd independence day, but it is a hollow celebration in a country that is less independent than it has been in decades. Rather than working within regional and global realities, its leaders instead fanatically pursue normalization and stabilization. But normalcy and stability are illusions in the Middle East, as the past few months have reminded us. Pursuing stability with unstable regimes is doomed from the start. Normalization relies on peace achieved through agreements with Arab leaders. But such agreements are always hostage to the corruption of the Arab governments and their desperate need for bigoted populism. Even an agreement with the relatively stable Egypt was not able to outlast a single government. The less stable Palestinian Authority breaks agreements as soon as it signs them. The Camp David Accords, jewel of the normalization crown, have proven to be worthless. The Oslo Accords were discredited in far less time than that. Had Israel given i


Nearly 1.3 million Americans have died in the nation's wars. That is one soldier for every hundred families living today. One soldier for every 270 of us has died somewhere between the shot heard round the world' fired at Lexington and the shots being fired now as you read this on some dusty patch of rock in Kandahar. We all bear the terrible burden of their sacrifice. And the greater burden to make that sacrifice meaningful. Some wars that are remembered and some wars that are forgotten. And it matters least whether they died standing watch on a lonely frontier with a handful of others in a clash barely dignified with a proper name or in one of the great kettles of war in which men boiled and of which songs are sung, novels written and movies filmed. Up close there is no story but that of the fight itself. The dirt, the sand and the waves. The rush of wind, the sound of a bullet and the long fall from life to death. And from beyond there is nothing but the immemorial sacrifi

Will Islam Destroy Itself?

In his address to congress, Netanyahu said that militant Islam threatens Islam. As if there were any such thing as a non-militant form of Islam. An ideology that was militantly expansionistic from birth. And yet that expansionism does threaten it. It's not mere militancy that threatens Islam, but its own lack of proportion. Had the Nazis satisfied themselves with a round of domestic purges and only a little territorial expansionism, today they might still be running a bankrupt decaying state. And news stories from the 1970's and 1980's might carry reports of popular protests against the disastrous economics of National Socialism. But Hitler and his cronies lacked a sense of proportion. When they capped off an invasion of Russia, war in Africa and an air campaign against England, with a declaration of war on America-- they were done. And their ideology went down with them. If an ideology fighting a simultaneous war on nearly every continent sounds familiar, it should.

A Day at the Races

If the Republican presidential field were any more unstable, it would be radioactive. At this point just about anyone can jump in and briefly poll on top of the heap, before slowly sinking down to the bottom again, like a banana in a bowl of stale jello. Party players pin their hopes on candidates that aren't running. Pilgrims in thousand dollar suits court state governors. Activists assemble petitions. But none of that is the solution. It's not so much that the man is missing, but the message. It's a long way from 2011 to 2010. A year ago it was about the message, not the personalities. Now it is all about the personalities. And such scant personalities they are. After months of this, we can finally begin dividing the field into RINO's who have experience, populists who have no experience and those who have decided not to run. For all the feverish speculation, we find ourselves without the usual surplus of candidates. Instead it's more like a shortage. Trump

Friday Afternoon Roundup - An Enemy We Dare Not Name

LESS THAN JUST WORDS Netanyahu's visit managed to overshadow even Obama's visit to the UK. Israeli leaders have come to Washington before, but rarely has it been such big news. The visit itself was significant mainly because Netanyahu kicked back against the narrative. His speech compromised on too many areas, but it was a show of independence against a leader who has no credibility on Israel. It was what so many conservatives and Jews wanted to hear. How much any of it matters is another question. Netanyahu's warm reception makes applying pressure more difficult, but far from impossible. And Obama is certainly not throwing in the towel. But where's the beef. Take Congressman Dan Burton's "H.R.1006 - Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011" that would finally accomplish something as elementary as recognizing the actual birthplace of children born in Jerusalem and moving the embassy to the nation's capitol. How many of the congressmen and

Failed State Colonization - The Greatest Threat of Our Time

Let's compare two countries side by side. Country A has a sizable middle class and economy, social welfare benefits and a low birth rate. Country B is a failed state where thugs run amok in the street, a few families control the economy and the birth rate is off the charts. Country A's citizens are taught that nationalism is evil and that everyone should get along. Country B's citizens are taught that they are the greatest people that ever lived and would be running the world if not for Country A. But despite all this, Country B's citizens all want to move to Country A. And Country A wants to let them. Because Country A needs new workers to subsidize its welfare state and voters who will vote for pro-social welfare parties. Since Country B's workers want the social welfare benefits, they move to Country A. Country A ends up with a huge failed state population and dramatically increases its social welfare spending for them. Bankruptcy threatens, but change is alm

Scarecrow Empires and Broken Alliances

Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to congress was less about the contents of his speech and more about the familiarity. Like Tony Blair, he was startlingly at home here. His presence an instinctive reminder of an alliance based on commonality and fellowship, weighed against the realpolitik of multinationalism. The warmth in his tone countering the cold counsel of foreign policy hands demanding more pressure. The chilly reception that Gordon Brown and Benjamin Netanyahu received on their visits from the Obama Administration are post-modern fracture points in the old friendships. The instinctive kinship that Blair and Netanyahu called on are completely alien to Obama who feels far more warmth toward Egypt or Indonesia, than England and Israel. But Obama's foreignness to the old traditions is only a small fracture point in the larger break. The US and EU have become empires without an empire, obsessively trying to maintain a world order based on multinational alliances and in

How the Left Went Wrong on Islam

What makes the creeping political correctness on Islam so startling is its very newness. It wasn't so long ago that the right and the left both agreed that as a religion and a political movement, it was dangerously backward and violent. From Winston Churchill , "Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance" to Karl Marx , "Islamism proscribes the nation of the Infidels, constituting a state of permanent hostility between the Mussulman and the unbeliever", leading figures on the right and the left held a realistic understanding of Islam. They dismissed it as violent, barbaric, ignorant and dangerous. The right saw Islam as a threat to the Western Christian hegemony. The left viewed it as a reactionary movement of superstitious fanatics. They might praise Arab generals or scientists, but not the creed itself. Where then did that lost consensus on Islam go? One answer can be found in the Soviet Union. Unlike Western Europe, t