Sunday Reads: Putting ISIS in perspective, On Jewish organizations & the Armenian genocide

April 19, 2015


Anthony Cordesman writes about what he sees as ‘the complexity crisis’ the US is facing when it comes to national security:

Far too much U.S. strategic rhetoric is a hollow shell, while the real U.S. national security posture is based on suboptimizing the budget around the fiscal ceilings set by the Budget Control Act (BCA), persisting in issuing empty concepts and strategic rhetoric, and dealing with immediate problems out of any broader strategic context.

Andrew C McCarthy believes that Bob Corker's Iran Bill could actually work in President’s Obama favour:

Because it would require the president to submit any Iran deal to Congress, it is drawing plaudits for toughness. But like McConnell’s debt legerdemain, it’s a con job. Once the deal is submitted, Congress would have 60 days (or perhaps as few as 30 days) to act. If within that period both houses of Congress failed to enact a resolution of disapproval, the agreement would be deemed legally binding — meaning that the sanctions the Iranian regime is chafing under would be lifted.


Historian and former Labor MK Michael Bar-Zohar explores the reasons behind his party’s long-term failure:

“What is insanity?” Albert Einstein once asked, and replied: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That is exactly what my party, the Labor Party, has been doing since 1977. Ever since it lost power to the Likud, it has abandoned David Ben-Gurion's way and hasn't stopped shifting to the left.

Jeffrey Goldberg talks to British PM David Cameron on Israel, Anti-Zionism, and Anti-Semitism:

“The people who are trying to make the line fuzzy are the delegitimizers. And I have a very clear view, which is that if you disagree with the policies of Israel, fine, say so, but that is never a reason to take that out on Jewish communities. We have to be very clear about threats—this is a dangerous line that people keep crossing over, that says that anti-Zionism is a legitimate form of political discourse.”

Middle East

Rosa Brooks puts ISIS’ horrors in historical perspective in her review of a new book by Jessica Stern and J. M. Berger:

Gruesome public executions served to display and consolidate the power of those capable of inflicting such atrocities upon their opponents. Such spectacles were, as Michel Foucault famously put it, the “ritual destruction of infamy by omnipotence.” In the longer term, however, such public ultraviolence often became self-defeating: As Foucault also noted, the bloodthirsty crowds gathered to witness public executions sometimes developed a dangerous tendency to turn upon the executioners. Awakened bloodlust is difficult to control. Wise leaders eventually learn to dispense with spectacles of ultraviolence; unwise leaders may find themselves eventually dispensed with in their turn.

Michael Petrou tries to explain how Yemen became the stage for numerous proxy battles:

It adds up to a messy civil war. It’s been years since any government in Sanaa controlled all of Yemen’s territory. But now, the conflict is becoming internationalized.

Much of the Sunni Middle East has mobilized militarily. The United States, with little fanfare or public discussion, is effectively at war in Yemen: It may not be dropping bombs, but its drones are guiding Saudi ones.

Jewish World

Andrew Tarsy does not understand how Jewish organizations can deny the Armenian Genocide:

Over the past three decades, various national Jewish leaders have urged Armenians to address their need for validation by taking up the matter with the Republic of Turkey itself. Imagine Jews being told to do the same with Germans. Jewish leaders have made public comments that deliberately provide cover for those who willfully undermine the truth; and in our name, they habitually advocate against congressional efforts to acknowledge the genocide. Some even take steps to exclude the Armenian story from genocide education curriculums and Holocaust commemoration events.

Katie Glueck takes a look at Ted Cruz’s attempt to woo Orthodox Jews:

“In coming to our dinner, seeing the response [from] people at the dinner, and the very wealthy Jewish activists at the dinner, I think this made him understand, ‘My God, Jews understand my position on Israel, even though I’m a Republican and most Jews are not, maybe they will be interested in considering being supportive of me,’” Klein said.

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