Since President Obama arrived in the Oval Office three years ago there have been many efforts to explain his foreign and defense policy succinctly. Is there an Obama Doctrine? While many theories have been propounded, the recent State of the Union speech settles the matter.Read more
When UNESCO voted in 2011 to admit the "State of Palestine" as a member despite the fact that there is no "State of Palestine," the United States suspended paying dues to the organization. This was done in accordance with U.S. law, because Congress had forbidden paying dues to any UN organization that admitted the PLO to full membership as a state.
The goal was to deter UN organizations from giving the Palestinians the diplomatic victory they wanted—being treated as a state—unless and until they negotiated a peace agreement with Israel. And it worked: since the U.S. move in 2011, other key UN organizations have not followed UNESCO down the PLO's preferred path.Read more
News stories this week have brought attention back to the name Lori Berenson, and that was truly a blast from the past.
Berenson was, twenty years ago, a young American radical who worked with Communist guerrillas first in El Salvador and then in Peru. She was convicted of treason in a military trial in Peru in 1995, and convicted again a few years later in a civilian trial. The charge was in essence being part of a Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement plot to assault and seize Peru's congress and hold all its members hostage. The Tupac Amaru group, also known as MRTA, was listed as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the EU.Read more
Speaking in Paris on November 17, Secretary of State John Kerry made what are already infamous comments about the fight against terrorists and terrorism. He spoke to the staff and families of the U.S. embassy in Paris, and his remarks deserve quoting at some length—because they display a deep misunderstanding of what we are up against and how it must be fought. In State Department lingo his remarks would be called “deeply troubling.” In normal English usage, they are astonishing and unforgivable. Here are two paragraphs.Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, on President Obama's politically correct foreign policy.Read more
Obama Calls Helping Christian Refugees 'Shameful,' While State Claims That’s Exactly What It’s Doing
In remarks a few days ago in Turkey, President Obama said this:
when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution -- that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.Read more
In his press conference in Turkey on Monday, President Obama called “shameful” the proposals to give special treatment to Christian refugees from the Middle East. Here’s some of what he said:Read more
The Yom Kippur liturgy, just followed in synagogues around the world, repeats several times references to God as one who rescues captives. The central daily Jewish prayer as well refers to God who “supports the fallen, heals the sick, sets captives free.” And throughout Jewish history, the redemption of captives has been considered an important commandment. This is the background to the repeated decisions by the state of Israel to free a hundred or a thousand Arab prisoners in exchange for one single captive Jew.Read more
This week President Obama sealed his legacy as the most divisive president in modern times, who will leave behind both worsened race relations and a set of arguments about Iran that will surely feed anti-Semitism.Read more
Would George W. Bush have negotiated and signed the JCPOA with Iran? Even for those who (like me) worked in the Bush White House, that seems like a silly question. After all, who cares? Bush has been out of office for more than six years, and refrains from commenting on foreign affairs or from criticizing President Obama.Read more
When the revolt in Syria began in 2011, many policy analysts and former officials argued that the downfall of the Assad regime would be a major setback to Iran. I was one of them, and the claim was not complicated: Syria was Iran’s only Arab ally, provided its only ports on the Mediterranean, was a land bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon that allowed Iran an easy means of arming Hezbollah, and via Hezbollah gave Iran a border with Israel. The fall of Assad would deny Iran all these assets and all these possibilities.Read more
The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.Read more
Back in the late 1970s, when I worked for Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, our office followed the changing data about the Empire State closely. It was a habit of Pat Moynihan’s, indeed almost an obsession, to chart the state’s decline.Read more
Imagine for a moment that you are a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli. Your main national security worry these days is Iran—Iran’s rise, its nuclear program, its troops fighting in Iraq and Syria, its growing influence from Yemen through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.Read more
Today we learned that it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Even a short "framework" agreement or one-pager was beyond reach. And this, despite the extension of the talks from the original deadline last spring.Read more
President Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly touched very lightly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That alone is a step forward: in previous years, he has made it a central part of his speech and left the impression that it is the main issue in world affairs.Read more
For the moment, the Gaza war of 2014 is over. Anyone trying now to figure out who won and who lost should recall the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Then, Israelis had a great sense of letdown because they had not “won.” They had not destroyed Hezbollah, and the organization loudly claimed a triumph: “Lebanon has been victorious, Palestine has been victorious, Arab nations have been victorious,” said Sheikh Nasrallah. An estimated 800,000 Hezbollah supporters gathered in Beirut for a rally celebrating the “divine victory.”Read more
The Gaza war of 2014 will end in a cease-fire, just as the previous rounds between Israel and Hamas and the 2006 battle with Hezbollah ended. But the war will be won or lost less in the streets and tunnels of Gaza this summer than when the fighting is over. Israel must not only damage Hamas on those battlegrounds, but seal its own gains in the terms of the cease-fire, and ensure that the aftermath of the war weakens Hamas’s hold on Gaza and its role in Palestinian politics.Read more
The reluctance of Hamas’s “military wing”—a misnomer for the more extreme elements of its extremist leadership—to accept the cease-fire designed by Egypt is, well, logical. Let’s admit it. They do not wish to accept defeat, and the Egyptian terms are a defeat for Hamas.Read more
The creation of a new Palestinian “national unity” government has raised a slew of questions in the United States. What should our policy be toward a government that has the support not only of the Fatah party but of the terrorist group Hamas as well? Should all aid to the Palestinians be suspended?Read more
The world’s attention was largely turned to Ukraine last week. To the extent that the Middle East was on the front pages, the focus was the new agreement between the PLO and Hamas, its implications for the “peace process,” and John Kerry’s comment about Israel as an “apartheid state.”
But in Israel a different subject was getting a lot of attention: Iran’s nuclear program. April 28 was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that was the context in which Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about Iran at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.Read more
Type in your email
address to get started:
Thank you for signing up for the Jonathan V. last newsletter! You should receive your first newsletter very soon.
We're sorry, there was an error processing your newsletter signup.