Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense. Much has already been said about the pros and cons of the nomination, and much more will be said during confirmation hearings in the Senate. Here is one possible line of questioning: given the centrality of the Middle East in U.S. military planning, how does Hagel think the region works? If the United States has limited resources, and must apportion them judiciously, where is it best advised to invest them?
Just before Christmas there was a lot of public concern about America’s declining birthrate, which closed out 2012 at its lowest point since 1920. But in trying to understand why American fertility is on the wane, it’s important to understand that fertility decline is a global phenomenon. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s population lives in countries with declining fertility rates. And as bad as America has it now, things could be worse. We could be Japan.
On November 29, Albania was the sole Muslim-majority country in the United Nations to be counted among the 41 abstainers from the proposal to admit Palestine as a non-member observer. Certain Islamists were displeased, to say the least. In particular, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the “fundamentalist-lite” Justice and Development Party or AKP, responded with one of the tantrums that has become a hallmark of his administration.
A week after the ceasefire concluding Israel’s eight day campaign against Hamas, Operation Pillar of Defense, there is some debate as to who came out on top. The way one judges the outcome seems to depend on: one, what you make of the ceasefire agreement; two, what role you think that Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi played; and, three, other less tangible factors.
Babies are being named for the recent fighting between the terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Israeli media is reporting. At least, babies being born to those affiliated with Hamas.
"Some parents from the Strip have decided to name their newborn babies after operation-affiliated icons – from assassinated Hamas commanders to long-range missiles fired at Israel," reports the Israeli paper Yediot Achronot.
The day after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, the terrorist group's TV station aired this "Death to Israel!" music video on its station:
"Destroy the throne of Zion, the house of absolute evil," the song goes. "Raise the banner of victory. Be like the fire of a volcano. Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel! With blood and fire, resist until freedom. Defeat the soldiers of aggression the enemies of humanity."