Sunday Reads: Kissinger on North Korea, Netanyahu attacks the media, A Jew in Charlottesville
Henry Kissinger weighs in on the North Korea nuclear crisis:
Since denuclearization requires sustained cooperation, it cannot be achieved by economic pressure. It requires a corollary U.S.-Chinese understanding on the aftermath, specifically about North Korea’s political evolution and deployment restraints on its territory. Such an understanding should not alter existing alliance relationships.
Paradoxical as it may seem in light of a half-century of history, such an understanding is probably the best way to break the Korean deadlock. A joint statement of objectives and implicit actions would bring home to Pyongyang its isolation and provide a basis for the international guarantee essential to safeguard its outcome.
Aaron Blake writes about what the conflicting voices in the White House on this matter show about the Trump administration:
As I wrote Wednesday morning, we may be witnessing a little “Good Cop, Bad Cop” here, with the administration providing different signals to keep North Korea guessing. It’s the “madman theory,” which says you want your enemies to think you’re capable of anything.
But this also seems to fit into a pattern of the White House not really having its story straight and figuring things out on the fly — which would be a perilous strategy, given the stakes of the North Korea situation. And it also fits into a long-running pattern of White House officials undermining one another, both privately and publicly. Having members of your staff undercut your own secretary of state doesn’t seem like a great way to do business.
Micah Halpern writes about Israel and the fight against ISIS:
Israel is watching the fight to uproot ISIS very carefully. It is of utmost importance to get ISIS out of the area and far from the Israeli border. The entire Middle East, even Hezbollah, understands this.
But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Nahum Barnea takes a look at Netanyahu’s attempts to deflect the corruption scandals he faces:
Netanyahu isn’t telling them the truth when he describes the investigations against him as a plot devised by a hidden enemy (the media? The Left?) to replace the government. The Netanyahu cases are being investigated by a police commissioner who he appointed. Only a person who has lost his mind can attribute left-wing views to Roni Alsheikh. The decisions on the cases are being made by an attorney general who he appointed, a man who served under him as cabinet secretary. Whoever ascribes left-wing views to Avichai Mandelblit is living in a fantasy world. The media’s influence on their decisions is smaller than the media’s influence on Netanyahu’s decisions.
James F. Jeffrey and Wa’el Alzayat suggest consulting with the Powell Doctrine in the efforts to contain Iran in Iraq and Syria:
The objective of any U.S. military response to those violations has to be clear: to protect newly liberated areas and members of the international community who are helping there, rather than to initiate any future offensive operations against the regime or Russian interests in Syria. Of course, protecting areas in southern Syria, Raqqa, and the north would not only help civilians there but also undermine Iran’s efforts at extending its arc of control from Tehran to Beirut and serve as a pressure point in support of more serious political negotiations.
Sir John Jenkins writes about the West’s attempt to engage with Islamists:
I’m always happy for members of that Select Committee to correct me. But I cannot think of a single example where Western diplomatic or any other sort of engagement has produced any change in the position of any political Islamist. Deniable channels of communication may sometimes be wise, for example when we have kidnappings to resolve or to ensure the physical security of diplomats (both of which we had to do in Gaza when I was HM Consul General in Jerusalem).
But our decisions publicly to engage with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after 2000 and in 2008 to re-engage diplomatically with Hizbollah’s political wing produced absolutely no shift in their thinking.
Nathan Guttman reports on his experiences at the Charlottesville hate rally:
“[L]ittle Mayor Signer — SEE-NER — how do you pronounce this little creep’s name?” asked Richard Spencer, a right-wing leader who dreams of a “white ethnostate,” as he stood on a bench under a tree to rally his troops, deprived of their protest.
The crowd knew exactly how to pronounce his name: “Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew” some shouted out. The rest burst out in laughter. And that was one of the only moments of levity the alt-right audience gathered under the tree enjoyed.
JTA reports on a letter written by the leaders of Poland’s Jewish community amid the growing levels of public antisemitism:
Earlier this month, a lawmaker for the anti-immigration conservative Law and Justice Party, Bogdan Rzonca, wrote on Twitter: “I wonder why there are so many Jews among those performing abortions, despite the Holocaust.”
Schudrich in an interview for JTA called this an “outrageous statement that smells of anti-Semitism.” He noted Rzonca was not reprimanded for the statement. Schudrich said that this “deafening silence by the government on specific acts or statements on anti-Semitism is disappointing and disconcerting.” In that regard, he added, “the letter is criticism” of the government.