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Targeting the CIA

From the Scrapbook.

Mar 8, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 24
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This not-so-rare instance of State Department bumptiousness is guaranteed not only to infuriate all sides in the British polity, but also to leave the inhabitants of the Falklands feeling a little nervous. After all, the “history” to which State eludes is the 1982 invasion by the brutal Argentine junta, and the “current situation” is the combination of threatening noises from Argentina’s latest ruler—the erratic leftist Cristina Kirchner—and her best buddy in the hemisphere, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez. In The Scrapbook’s view, by pointedly refusing to support the British in this instance, the Obama administration is effectively siding with the unstable/hostile Kirchner regime and with Chávez.

The Falklands, it is true, are a collection of rocky, windswept islands in the south Atlantic populated largely by sheep and sheep farmers. But while Argentina lays claim to the Falklands, it has been under British sovereignty since the early 19th century, and the inhabitants of the Falklands have always made it overwhelmingly clear that they wish to remain British, not Argentine. Now that Kirchner and Chávez know that Barack Obama has washed his hands of this one, it is entirely possible that the Falklands war of 28 years ago could be repeated.

The Scrapbook has a theory about this. People used to wonder about Bill Clinton’s tilt toward Gerry Adams and the IRA, and against the British, on Northern Ireland. But Clinton was a student at Oxford when the Troubles erupted (1968-70), and good leftists in those days tended to side with the IRA terrorists and against Great Britain. In April 1982, when the Argentine junta attacked the Falklands, Barry Obama was finishing up his junior year at Columbia, and once again, good leftists in those days sided with the Argentine generals against Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. 

American foreign policy, in other words, might well be held hostage in certain places to the youthful enthusiasms of our left-leaning presidents. This is only a theory, of course. But for the English-speaking, democratic-minded farmers in the Falkland Islands, as well as for our traditional allies around the world, let’s hope its application is limited.

Welcome the ‘Jewish Review of Books’

We interrupt this Scrapbook to bring you a public service announcement from our boss, William Kristol, to whom we defer on matters Jewish:

The Weekly Standard is happy to welcome a new kid on the magazine block, the Jewish Review of Books, a print and web publication for serious readers with Jewish interests, covering new (and some old) books about religion, literature, culture, and politics.

The first issue’s just out, and it’s pretty spectacular ( In it you’ll find articles that are high quality and thought provoking, engaging and unpredictable, lively and deep. Particularly striking in the first issue, I thought, was Hillel Halkin’s brilliant reflection on the Jewish prayer book, using as its occasion the publication of the new Koren Sacks Siddur. It’s an essay that will be of great interest not just to observant and non-
observant Jews, but really to anyone who’s puzzled about the question of prayer. 

Also fascinating are Michael Weingrad’s “Why There is No Jewish Narnia,” Allan Arkush on Zionism, and Jon Levenson on the idea of Abrahamic religion—all great stuff.

A word for non-Jews: Don’t be intimidated by the journal’s title; take a look. As for my fellow Jews—if I may be presumptuous—you really have no excuse not to read it, and subscribe. So do so!


Madam Governor

Despite last week’s decision by New York governor David Paterson not to seek reelection amid a brewing scandal (Paterson intervened on behalf of an aide accused of domestic violence), this doesn’t mean the race will be a cakewalk for the presumed frontrunner, Andrew Cuomo. For standing in the way of the popular state attorney general (who has yet to formally announce) is Kristin Davis, who herself has a full understanding of the demands of the job. Known as the Manhattan Madam, Davis provided the call girls who fulfilled the various needs of former governor Eliot Spitzer.

According to a press release, “Davis will announce her intention to petition her way onto the ballot and will outline her platform,” which includes, among other things, “legalization, regulation, and taxation of prostitution and marijuana to generate urgently needed new revenues for New York State.” At least she has her priorities straight.

The Scrapbook wishes her the best of luck. But we can only guess what Davis’s campaign slogan will be: “Get Your Money’s Worth”? “Time Is On My Side”? Or perhaps something more selfless like “Serving the People of New York One Hour at a Time”?


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