Sunday Reads: Why Trump can’t disengage the US from the world, On the Torah as a work of philosophy

January 8, 2017


Robert Kaplan explains why ” target=”_blank”>Trump, Putin and the big hack:

In the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with Russian political experts, and all of them agreed that Putin was certainly pleased, at least initially, with Trump’s victory—and that satisfaction is reflected, too, on countless news and talk shows on television. These analysts added that Putin is undoubtedly cheered that Rex Tillerson, Trump’s appointment to head the State Department, was likely to leave behind American “sanctimony” about human rights and democracy and, following the pattern of his career at ExxonMobil, to concentrate on purely “transactional politics.” Some, however, wondered if Putin will remain enchanted with Trump once he encounters Trump’s inconsistencies, his alarming penchant for surprise pronouncements via Twitter.


Amnon Abramovich takes a look at ” target=”_blank”>the trial of the Hebron shooter Elor Azaria:

As Liberman explained, Bennett and Regev have no power or influence in getting a pardon for Azaria. The law clearly says that with regard to a military trial, the only ones who have authority to grant pardons are the head of central command or the chief of staff, not the Knesset. Thus, as in all the stages of the affair, the clemency issue became a sleight of hand among politicians who put themselves first.

Middle East

Lee Smith criticizes ” target=”_blank”>not to follow Iran and Russia:

Of course, Russia and Iran aren’t going anywhere when it comes to Syria’s war or other flashpoints in the Middle East. But as events have shown, Russia and Iran have fueled terrorism and instability, rather than tamped them down. If Trump is serious about taking on the Islamic State, fighting terrorism broadly, and stabilizing the Middle East, he must not gamble on making Moscow and Tehran his partners.

Jewish World

Harvard Professor Jon Levinson muses on the idea of the ” target=”_blank”>Nat Hentoff, the legendary Jewish Jazz journalist and activist who passed away yesterday:

Perhaps the most striking presence is that of the late Amiri Baraka; despite a history of having penned, along with a few superb plays, some repellently anti-Semitic screeds (quite a few of them produced after he claimed to have abandoned that prejudice), he nonetheless offers a sympathetic and insightful account of the natural alliance between African Americans and Jewish Americans, along with an acknowledgment that most of jazz’s early white enthusiasts tended to be Jews. His testimony in the film is gripping in its own right and startling when considered in its context.

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