Sunday, November 26th, 2023
There’s so much strong stuff being published in Tablet but I’ll just link to this long and searing piece by Andrew Fox entitled “A Dark Thanksgiving” about his teenage son’s experience at school in Durham in northern Virginia, where Muslims outnumber Jews by a ratio of at least 50 to 1.
I was particularly moved by his mention of his other two children:
My oldest son, who had started a chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at the same high school, refused to hear a word I had to say about Israel, abruptly leaving the dinner table whenever the subject arose. My middle son was hardly any more receptive, pinging me with the moral equivalencies he’d picked up from Instagram posts and then ignoring the long responses I sent in return. Now my youngest son had accused me of betraying him and using him.
This is rough.
Monday, November 13th, 2023
Among other points, in his piece “Initial Lessons From the October 2023 War” at The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, Yaacov Amridor admonishes:
It is wrong to argue – as some significant critics have done – that too much money has been spent on technology at the expense of training and high levels of combat readiness. As it turns out, ground operations are demonstrating that technology is vital for the IDF’s success in general and for the specific challenges of urban warfare in particular.
Thursday, November 9th, 2023
I just finished watching Michael Doran’s 6-part lecture series on the Yom Kippur War at the Tikvah Fund (requires free registration). After Walter Russell Mead, Doran is doing so much to promote the American-Israeli relationship.
Monday, November 6th, 2023
Kobi Michael and Gabi Siboni write:
The Gaza war is also a historic opportunity to dismantle UNRWA, which is an active partner in perpetuating the conflict by fostering the ethos of armed resistance, the demand for the return of refugees, and incitement against Israel.
And the next step:
The sole course of action vis-à-vis Hezbollah must be its complete and utter destruction.
Saturday, November 4th, 2023
On Tel Aviv University’s YouTube Channel, host Ido Aharoni interviews former Director of TAU’s program in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at the Department of Middle East and African History Ehud Toledano on the current situation.
Toledano characterizes himself a believer in credible ultimatums. Rather than finishing off the Hamas leadership, Israel should surround them and offer them death or expulsion (perhaps to Turkey) akin to the PLO model from Beirut to Tunisia, with exile also contingent on hostage release.
He’s against Israel occupying Gaza in the aftermath, instead recommending a laissez faire approach of instant withdrawal resulting either in the West rushing in or else letting locals organize, with Israel conducting offshore balancing militarily (ie bombing) to suppress any jihadists emerging victorious.
Then with credibility at a high, he suggests Israel present Hizballah with an ultimatum: dismantle the missiles and retreat north of the Litani River or face war. Hizballah would not go for it, he points out, as Hizballah’s very existence is to provide a deterrent against an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear program. So Hizballah would not comply and Israel would face two devastating days of missile attacks and it would be over.
It’s all perhaps slightly fanciful — starting wars is not Bibi’s style — but worthy strategic thinking in the mix (plus he may not be in the saddle by then).
Friday, November 3rd, 2023
I hesitate to even bother linking to Matthew Continetti’s Washington Free Beacon column “Let Israel Win” because it’s such a statement of the bleedin’ obvious, as even Continetti himself writes:
Hamas could end all this tomorrow if it released the hostages, put down its arms, and surrendered. Hamas, not Israel, is the aggressor. Hamas, not Israel, is the “occupier” of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, not Israel, rejects international law. Hamas, not Israel, steals food, fuel, and water from civilians. And the fact that these words need to be written at all is evidence that the culture-producing institutions of the West—the media, the universities, cultural and political celebrities—are irreparably broken.
Wednesday, November 1st, 2023
Hamas official Ghazi Hamad is pretty sober in his insanity, as translated and promoted by MEMRI:
The existence of Israel is illogical. The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood, and tears. It is Israel, not us. We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000 – everything we do is justified.
Frank Furedi and Brendan O’Neill discuss Gaza, anti-Semitism and the global culture war and it is a single topic. Ultimately, Furedi argues, Hamas is not even an entirely Middle Eastern phenomenon but at least partially a cultural creation of an influential strand of Western self-loathing that seems to be on track for a self-evisceration.
Do the woke not see that if they are successful in their takeover of the modern state they will immediately become actually oppressed, this time by their erstwhile favored activists who have already demonstrated their methods? All the glories and technologies that have come about as a result of the new liberties of modernity will fall into the hands of ruling barbarians. We need no longer fear the singularity; technology will have peaked and start regressing. I hope the American high school curriculum still assigns A Canticle for Liebowitz alongside Brave New World, Animal Farm?? and 1984.
Another tour de force interview with Walter Russell Mead, this time with Bari Weiss.
I look at the last 300 years of world history as this contest, a series of contests, between English-speaking commercial, reasonably liberal maritime powers and these big land powers… We’re back to the Cold War when Russia was a huge sponsor of Palestinian terrorism. And Russia has decided to go back to that today. See, we don’t want, the Biden Administration doesn’t want, Russia and Iran and China to cohere because that just makes all of our problems worse. But they also know that cohering makes all of our problems worse. And that’s what they want.
Wednesday, October 25th, 2023
Aha, more spot-on clarity from Tablet magazine in “America Needs a Decisive Israeli Victory” by Raphael Benlevi.
America is being tested no less than Israel; the outcome will determine whether regional states will ally with America or with China and Russia. In other words, the Gaza war will determine whether the American-led order in the Middle East is still sustainable, or rather a relic of a historical period whose time has passed.
Take heed, o Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and Commentary Magazine: your might is being eclipsed!
Kudos to Tablet for publishing “Biden’s Three Nos” by Gadi Taub:
The closer you examine Biden’s hug, the more it appears like a full nelson. To be sure, there are positive aspects to the visit, but the cons decisively outweighed the pros. Biden came to Israel to preserve his—and President Barack Obama’s—disastrous policy of appeasing Iran.
Together with Caroline Glick, Taub is a useful right-wing voice in the mix that is my head, and I’m inclined to agree with much of this piece, except for one glaring and ultimately overriding omission: events, dear Gadi, events. The leopard will not change its spots; momentum has its own momentum; reality itself will pop — is already popping — the Democrat delusion of an appeasable Iran.
Brigadier General Pat Ryder speaks to and takes questions on the missiles that the USS Carney shot down:
There were no casualties to U.S. Forces and none that we know of to any civilians on the ground. Information about these engagements is still being processed and we cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting but they were launched from Yemen, heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel.
The US has now had to defend Israel in this war. On Iran’s part, might firing from so far away have been a strategic mistake?
Monday, October 23rd, 2023
Great interview [Hebrew audio] with Prof. Danny Orbach on historical comparisons to Israel’s current war, including 1973, 1948, Vietnam, Lebanon, WWII, etc.
Israel shows 200 foreign journalists 43 minutes of footage of the Hamas invasion and mass murder — I think this could make a difference. I think at last Israelis understand that other people are not us and need to be told, need to be shown, otherwise falsehoods will rush in to fill the new empty space of attention that is demanding filling.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2023
A strong piece by Yinon Weiss in response to Thomas Friedman’s latest condescending piece to Israel:
It has not been since 1945 that an enemy was entirely and irrefutably defeated. It has been so long that many people, rank and file and leaders alike, forget that such a war is even a strategic option. I am not one to downplay risk or quickly advocate for any war, let alone total war. As a U.S. combat veteran, I have seen the horrors of war up close, and like many veterans, I have been against virtually all military interventions of the last 15 years. However, when your neighbor ceases being a manageable threat and instead enters your house and kills and rapes your family, you can no longer rely on bigger fences and brainstorming sessions to unwind the situation – the evil force must be removed.
Thursday, October 19th, 2023
To paraphrase: “What do you all think sovereignty means? Vibes? Papers? Essays? Losers.”
With some distaste I link to the BBC Verify page on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital explosion (whatever the heck BBC Verify is, at any rate you’d think it would not be a separate thing from BBC News). I would wager that the link, currently 3rd on the BBC News homepage, will soon quietly disappear and this story will not be heard from until weeks or months from now, when it is acknowledged that the preponderance of evidence indeed points to an Islamic Jihad misfire. There’s no mention that the US Department of Defense has determined the explosion was “very unlikely” to be the result of Israeli action — arguably fair enough, the US is not above the fray. Yet not in the lede, nor at the beginning nor end of the article, does the closest text to a conclusion appear:
Three experts we spoke to say it is not consistent with what you would expect from a typical Israeli air strike with a large munition.
Rather, it is buried in paragraph 14 of 22, caveated by: “So far, the findings are inconclusive.”
As I write this, I remember that in even as a high schooler at the American School in Israel I was examining British press reports for media bias. I think I will stop now. But this example is especially important because it should make Westerners pause and note their eagerness to believe a false version of events put out by organizations their own governments have classified as terrorists, should the historic horrors of October 7th be leaving them with any doubt. It can affect whether or how much the person in the European living room trusts and supports Israel to do what it must in response to Hamas’s surprise attack.
Another barnstormer interview with Haviv Rettig Gur on Israel on Dan Senor’s Call Me Back podcast, all the more powerful this time for the steely quiet tone.
Monday, October 16th, 2023
I’ve been saying it all week and here Michael Oren has posted it up nicely in Israel Hayom: “A golden opportunity to focus on Hezbollah”:
Hamas cannot escape anywhere; it is trapped within Gaza, which can be sealed off gradually, and the air force can strike it at any time without significant hindrance. Rooting out Hamas can be done at a later stage. On the other hand, Hezbollah has a vast geographic area and open supply lines.
In terms of military capabilities, the organization poses a much greater threat than Hamas, including hundreds of thousands of missiles (some with precision capabilities) and many experienced fighters with combat experience in Syria. As long as Hezbollah remains unchallenged, it will continue to pose an intolerable strategic threat to the State of Israel.
Tackling Hizballah first seems to me the most rational order, so much so that the onus should be on why not to proceed so. Some questions:
Hostages: Does dealing with Hizballah first improve or degrade the hostages’ chances of safe return? It does buy some time to locate them and also provides a credible threat of destruction to Hamas while also providing its leaders with the option of at least personal survival, which is a reason to deal. But it also delays matters, which might be critical.
USA: Presumably the Biden Administration will oppose it — hence perhaps the aircraft carriers — because it brings things closer to a head with Iran, a confrontation the Democrats seem unwilling to have. Yet that is what proxies are for, and Iran seems to always climb down. And America has unfinished business with Hizballah. [Update 2023 Oct 17: Victor Davis Hanson has mused: “Why does the U.S. discount any possibility of a strategic response from Russia—which reportedly has some 6,000-7,000 nuclear weapons—to attacks on its homeland, but seems almost terrified about calling Iran to account for its central role in arming and funding terrorists to start a war with Israel by slaughtering 1,200 civilians?”]
1948: Oren’s analogy to 1948 may not be the best one; wasn’t Egypt on the southern front the more serious military threat? It is true though that Jerusalem, like the kidnapped Israelis, was being held hostage; moreover, the spiritual and moral imperative of relieving Jerusalem is analogous to that of saving hostages. In which case, perhaps the 1948 comparison resolves back into the issue of hostages.
Clearly Oren has thought about this a bit, if maybe not enough, and the op-ed is a whittled-down version. I’m sure decisionmakers are bandying about the notion, which might one of the reasons there’s been no ground invasion yet.
Ultimately I think the reason not to go this route, and it is an overwhelming one, is to not start a war that might be avoided. Perhaps here intelligence matters; if Israel can induce that this attack was truly a joint one in which Hizballah as well as Hamas has an active assigned role, that tilts things further towards starting first on the northern front. But if that role is as passive deterrent, like Biden’s aircraft carriers seem to be, then it seems prudent to not fan the flames further for now.
Update 2023 Oct 17, 12:11am GMT:
Some corroboration of my thinking:
- “Israel weighing possible ‘first strike’ against Hezbollah in north, former soldier says” in The Washington Times
- “The Next Unthinkable Attack: Growing Risks of a Third Lebanon War” at JINSA
In fact if it’s coming at all it could come at any moment.
Update 2023 Oct 21:
Do the warnings of Itzhak Brik regarding the IDF’s unreadiness [Hebrew video] have any bearing here? We are all assuming Israel has the capability, maybe it doesn’t. Well, maybe it didn’t three weeks ago, but — and I hope this too isn’t merely a misleading conceptzia — democracies once awakened are the most formidable war machines.
Aviv Rettig Gur has become one of the go-to writers on Israel, and his latest, “Hamas does not yet understand the depth of Israeli resolve” makes some pithy points:
If the response of Palestinian politics to the Oslo peace process was the mass murder of Israeli civilians, and the response of Palestinian politics to the stagnation of the peace process under Benjamin Netanyahu is the mass murder of Israeli civilians, then Israeli policy isn’t the cause of Palestinian mass murder of Israeli civilians.
But Israelis’ minds are already made up regarding the dissolution of Hamas, so this piece reads merely as a primer for foreigners to grasp that implacable determination. In fact, what strikes me most is the gaps in logic that seem almost deliberate given how well Gur reasons; Straussian even perhaps. He writes:
That enemy is not the Palestinian people, of course, even though support for terror attacks is widespread among Palestinians.
What is his explanation for teasing apart the enemy — some sort of historical meme — from the people who believe it?
When Hamas is destroyed, Israel will finally have liberated the Palestinian cause from the bottomless brutality of its most fervent practitioners, from the shattering albatross of a violent decolonization movement that refuses to grasp its enemy has no colonial motherland to which they can return, and so from an addiction to cruelty without purpose or function.
I see no reason why destroying Hamas will achieve this; as Gur points out in the same piece, this attitude predated Hamas.
In The Wall Street Journal, poetic justice from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who suggest “each of these countries should be called on to take ownership of their terrible decisions” by taking in Gazans:
- Iran: Hamas’s chief financier and arms supplier
- Turkey and Qatar: material and financial support [to Hamas]
- Malaysia: a haven for Hamas in years past
- Algeria and Kuwait: cheered on Hamas’s violent and brutal tactics
One wag (I’ve been reading so much I can’t remember who) deliciously suggested Ireland. [Update 2023 Oct 19: Scotland!
Now, forcible population transfer, or ethnic cleansing to use the pejorative language, is a terrible thing — it’s what Meir Kahane was banned from the Knesset for advocating — but Allah help the jackals we have entered war footing, wherein historic generational changes occur.
(That said, these proposals are historic and controversial enough to warrant nitpicking. The authors write:
Civilians are seeking to flee in advance of the fighting…
This is a bit disingenuous, as the IDF has been instructing the population in northern Gaza for days now to head south.
The Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border is open.
This seems false, it’s most definitely closed, though there is talk of it opening this afternoon for a few hours.)
For decades Palestinians have absurdly been calling themselves refugees even while sitting on territory they control and maintaining refugee camps with nary a tent on their own territory. Ditto the contradictory simultaneous accusation of both occupation and apartheid. So, as it goes for what you wish for, herein lies a lesson: be careful what you lie about.
Saturday, October 14th, 2023
On a call driving south, Jerusalem Post defence correspondent Yonah Jeremy Bob muses on Israel’s war in Gaza, echoing many thoughts I’ve had lately.
Israel could turn to a hybrid solution, with autonomy for the Palestinian Authority, helped by a multinational group, and the Israeli military in some way involved to prevent a Hamas comeback. “That is utter speculation on my part,” Mr. Bob says.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2023
Since the international community’s bludgeon against Israel taking wise action against Hamas and Gaza will now likely be claiming that conducting a siege is against international law, here is the UK’s Chatham House on siege law.
Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
Wednesday, January 4th, 2023
This tweetstorm by Heshmat Alavi points out how the MSM glorified IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, no doubt at least partially because it was Bad Orange Man who ordered him killed. Most egregiously, MSNBC compares this methodical murderer to Princess Diana and Elvis Presley!
Saturday, December 3rd, 2022
A History of the Israeli Army
Author Ze’ev Schiff provides a matter-of-fact overview, probably not too different from many other books of Israeli military history, though I did learn that it was probably Arafat who precipitated the Six Day War. The edition I read was published a decade after the first publication, in the midst of the Lebanon War, about which the author is caustic and upset yet manages to end the book on an optimistic note, wishing Lebanon serve at least as a lesson for future non-endeavors.
Saturday, October 8th, 2022
Himars, highly mobile precision missile launchers, is a revolutionary military technology that has changed the balance of war in Ukraine’s favour against Russia.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2022
The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People
Walter Russell Mead
Mearsheimer and Walt — three words that do not appear once in this 1045-page book but are clearly its raison d’etre. John Mearsheimer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago; Stephen Walt is Professor of International Relations at Harvard Kennedy School; together they are the respectable face of American anti-Semitism, sufficiently reputable that Walter Russell Mead seems unwilling to criticize them by name, sufficiently retrograde however that their book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy infuriated our southern-born dean of foreign relations to work on this book for a dozen years or so.
The Wikipedia article on the Lobby book illustrates Mead’s Southern Gentleman approach; whereas Israeli historian Benny Morris says “their work is riddled with shoddiness and defiled by mendacity,” Mead applauds the authors for “admirably and courageously” initiating a conversation on a difficult subject, but more in sorrow than in anger laments that while their intentions are surely strictly honorable, they commit “easily avoidable lapses in judgment and expression.”
Making multiple approaches from multiple angles, Mead demolishes their central notion, giving it the withering moniker of Vulcanist thinking. (Actually I take issue a little with this label, because since the book is so long I forgot the elegant historical anecdote that originates it — a theory of astronomy that attempted to explain celestial workings by means of an undetected planet that doesn’t actually exist. Instead I mentally defaulted to popular culture, where Star Trek’s Vulcan is a stand-in for excessive logic — a characterization quite antithetical to his notion of Vulcanist thinking. This is a shame because the term therefore probably won’t catch on, which it could have perhaps as a shorthand for tendentious yet respectable and therefore ultimately even more ridiculous thinking.)
Especially enriching are his fleshing out of the geopolitical maneouverings among the US, Britain and Russia at the time of Israel’s founding. Important here for Mead’s thesis is that the legend of Truman’s Jewish friend from back in Missouri inveighing on the flummoxed President to recognize Israel be relegated to Queen Esther-echoing myth. For it is WRM’s contention in his chapter “Cyrus Agonistes” that American support for Israel is endemic to the United States, rather than due to the influence of the American Jewish lobby qua Walt and Mearsheimer. Moreover this support comes despite American Jews, whose leaders have for most of Israel’s history been actively working against a Jewish state, their energies only turning once America as a whole pursued full-throated support for Israel after it became the Middle East’s unambiguous Six Day War strong horse.
It’s also a helpful historical insight that WRM groups 19th century American support for Jewish return to Israel with support for the birth of the Italian and Greek nationstates:
In the ancient world, as Americans saw it, the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews had been much like Americans of the nineteenth century. They were mostly agrarian people, nations of family-owned farms. They had free institutions and their societies were grounded in virtue. But corruption, urbanization, and monarchy had wreaked their ugly work; in time, all three of the ancient peoples fell from their virtue and freedom into slavery, superstition, and oppression.
As the nineteenth century progressed, and the Greek and Italian independence movements advanced, the possibility of a restored Jewish commonwealth also began to gleam on the horizon.
In fact the discussion of nationalism’s birth pangs from the empires of eastern Europe, the chapter entitled “Maelstrom”, is perhaps the richest part of the book.
As a columnist I have been irritated by what I perceive as WRM’s intellectual mealy-mouthedness. But as a full-throated podcast guest I realize this is merely his print persona, a tic I suppose similar to what he probably views as his Straussian icy politeness regarding Mearsheimer and Walt. That said, I took umbrage when in the book he referred to the Second Intifada, a wave of despicable terror attacks against Israel in the wake of the Oslo Agreements, using the BBC-like passive even-handed term: “violence flared”. I instantly recalled eyewitnessing the shellshock in the hours after the Dolphinarium suicide bombing that killed and maimed dozens of partying teenagers. I was only somewhat mollified later in the book when he mentioned this particular bombing by name, without mentioning that the victims were teenagers.
This is a book about America not Israel, and as well as constituting a scathing retort to Mearsheimer and Walt, is a continuation by other means of his 2001 book Special Providence that classifies the various streams of America’s foreign policy; in portraying America’s relationship with Israel, Arc explicates the fullest expression of the Jacksonian stream, a Meadian classification that, unlike Vulcanism, does seem to be sticking.
Tuesday, September 6th, 2022
The Mufti, Qadaffi, King Hussein — I’m vastly enjoying season 2 of the Israeli TV documentary series Enemies (streaming requires an Israeli IP). One thing I can’t help but notice is the impressive living rooms in which the interviewees — mostly military intelligence vets — sit. None of them are in apartments, all have leafy window views, there’s a lot of wood, and most of them aren’t furnished like typical Israeli dwellings. I guess these aren’t military men, they’re men and women of the world.
I can’t tell if I enjoy Israeli docs because they’re so good, or merely because I’m the target audience. If it’s the former, and I think it is, they really should be selling them subtitled to wider audiences, say to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
It’s great, this pounding away at Israeli history, each episode a different prism.
Friday, August 12th, 2022
Hamas stays out of the fray in Israel’s latest Gaza blow-up, further fractalizing the Palestinian movement.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2022
I agree with the sentiment in this Haaretz op-ed piece “It’s Time for Israeli Media to Start Calling Gaza Victims by Their Names”, an issue I blogged about during a previous Gaza altercation back in 2014 and haven’t changed my mind. What regular folks here in Israel care about are the disruptions caused due to incoming rocket fire — and that’s totally legit. But for the record the media should be noting whom Israel kills in order to ameliorate the aggression — especially when they are non-combatants. Perhaps one argument against doing so is that we must rely for the facts on the Palestinians themselves, for whom facts seem to be malleable instruments. If credibility is truly Israel’s issue, then we should enlist the aid of credible third-parties organizations for corroboration.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
Not only is it newsworthy that Israeli company Watergen is installing its drinking water generators in Syria, but that (opposition web site) Syria TV reported the fact.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2022
Niall Ferguson’s important and much-quoted Bloomberg piece of March 22nd on the cynical/optimistic Biden strategy for Ukraine:
It is, when you come to think of it, archetypal Realpolitik to allow the carnage in Ukraine to continue; to sit back and watch the heroic Ukrainians “bleed Russia dry”; to think of the conflict as a mere sub-plot in Cold War II, a struggle in which China is our real opponent. … The optimism, however, is the assumption that allowing the war to keep going will necessarily undermine Putin’s position; and that his humiliation in turn will serve as a deterrent to China. I fear these assumptions may be badly wrong and reflect a misunderstanding of the relevant history.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2022
The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have met with President Volodymy Zelenskyy. The glimmerings perhaps of a significant new bloc.
Thursday, March 10th, 2022
In the new inflation, the water-cooler is gone, the press serves as water-cooler, the government as press. This does have the fortunate effect of leaving the people available to govern.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2022
Russia, as parlance goes, is too big to fail; we need to forge it an off-ramp from this horrific self-inflicted disaster, as Commentary’s Noah Rothman argues in “What if Russia loses”, Sam Altman of YCombinator tweets, and presumably plenty of other smart people are saying.
Putin though is probably not quite ready to take it, thinking he may yet regain the military upper hand, as attested by the lengthy convoys headed today to Kyiv. He may then as Putin biographer Anita Hill fears, savvily offer the delectable compromise of partitioning Ukraine, wherein he gets the east and others can divvy up the rest. Joe Biden has after all a predilection for territorial break-up — he thought it right for Iraq.
Fortunately it seems we are well beyond Europe countenancing such temptations; Germany has reoriented around the danger emanating from Russia, the UK is acting on what it called it “a catastrophe on our continent” [emphasis mine], and a myriad of surprising others are joining the fray each in their way (Switzerland, Finland, etc).
Also, it does seem self-evident that Vlad the Mad has lost some of the faculties he’s had up to now, so that such diplomatic savvy might never be forthcoming from him. As of now, Russian diplomatic efforts in such forums as the United Nations are of the Baghdad Bob sort even as the Ukrainians are performing masterfully, not just spreading the word but showing Westerners (and probably everyone else): we’re your sort of people — more, we’re the sort of people you hope you are.
Once again, the West must win firmly, though this time — unlike after the collapse of its Soviet Union guise — there should be effective stroking of Russia’s vanities.
Monday, February 28th, 2022
At last, Mark Steyn is writing again.
I take faint glimmers of a new seriousness in the chancelleries of Europe not as a sign of Nato “unity”, but as the dawning realization that the US has blown the last thirty years and they’re now in a post-American world, and, absent course-correction, ultimately on the same grim trajectory as Ukraine.
In this interview, Francis Fukuyama points out:
One of the things that’s happened over the past couple of weeks is that Russia has effectively reabsorbed Belarus. It had been an independent country, after 1991, but it’s effectively become part of Russia.
Israel’s Channel 12 News has tweeted out this video of an Israeli Ukrainian soldier, saying in Hebrew:
It’ll be ok. All the world is with us. They are finished regardless. And Putin won’t be able to do anything with this. This was his last war. And that’s it, we will win regardless. We already beat them actually, even if we die, we beat them. It’s incontrovertible.”
Saturday, February 26th, 2022
At /r/interestingasfuck, President of Ukraine Zelensky plays piano without his hands. As humanity rallies to ballsy Ukraine, it seems Putin has lost already?
Monday, January 3rd, 2022
Nice, Tasshin writes on Risk:
As I play RISK, I watch myself flip back and forth between means-ends thinking and conditions-consequences thinking. If I lose, I can without fail look back and see that I got trapped in means-ends thinking. If I stay in a conditions-consequences mindset, though, I will almost inevitably win the game.
Sunday, December 19th, 2021
Can the USA stay checked-in long enough to deliver Israel the required refueling tankers? Michael Makovsky of JINSA hopes so.
Tuesday, November 16th, 2021
In American Affairs, my man David P. Goldman argues once again that the United States must step up its basic technological research if it is to avoid losing preeminence to China — and we are all to avoid falling prey to a rather less liberal hegemon. Spengler’s point:
The definitive inventions of late twentieth century technology — laser-powered optical networks, fast and light integrated circuits, and the Internet — all came out of Defense Department projects whose originators could not have foreseen the impact of the new discoveries … All the elements of the modern digital economy — integrated circuits, laser-powered optical networks, sensors, and displays — were invented at the behest of NASA or the Defense Department.
I’m pleased to see this — Fathom, the organ of BICOM, the British-Israeli thinktank, has a series of articles under the rubric UK-Israel 2021. They are:
- Ambivalent Allies? Zionism, Israel and the Conservative Party from Balfour to Boris by James Vaughan, Lecturer in International History at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University
- Mandate: The Palestine Crucible 1919-1939 by Colin Shindler, Emeritus Professor at SOAS, University of London and founding chairman of the European Association of Israel Studies
- The Flourishing of UK-Israel Academic Networks by John Levy, Director of The Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East
- When Britain almost declared war on Israel by Ronnie Fraser, an independent scholar and Director of the Academic Friends of Israel
- How Israel military tech (and doctrine) will make the UK better at fighting the hybrid warfare of the future by Seth Frantzman, op-ed editor of The Jerusalem Post and Research Associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs at IDC Herzliya
- The Roots of the ‘Al Aqsa is in Danger’ Myth: Alfred Mond and a Speech Distorted by Yisrael Medad, media column for the Jerusalem Post and foreign press spokesperson for the Yesha Council of Jewish communities
I want bilateral histories.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021
Anybody with a serious interest in Israel’s ongoing regional conflicts should watch this serious panel, moderated by top-flight journalist Eli Lake, JINSA Gaza Conflict 2021 Assessment: Report Release. Now JINSA is a thinktank with the slogan “Securing America, strengthening Israel”, but think of this not as bias but seriousness.
Tuesday, October 26th, 2021
Hijinks for the practicing intellectualoid: Mansfield on Machiavelli, acknowledging the Florentin’s modernity paternity.
Sunday, September 26th, 2021
In what turned out to be his final essay, “Graveyard of Narratives”, Angelo Codevilla excoriates America’s response to 9/11, even going so far as to point out that it wasn’t really fully clear just how involved Osama Bin Laden was. Codevilla:
Since WWII, whether in the name of anti-communism, anti-terrorism, democracy, or humanitarianism, it’s always the same: dismiss the substance of local quarrels; recast the local scene in terms of American elites’ concerns…
Sunday, September 12th, 2021
This is so full-throated by David Horowitz (posted by John Hinderaker at Powerline). Entitled “The Read Existential Threat”, it rings very true to me, given the unforced error that is the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Anti-white racism, and ignorant attacks on the American founding – these constitute the greatest existential threat to America. And the fact that Black Lives Matter fictions make up the crippling doctrine of our military leaders should wake everyone to the menace we face. There never has been a greater threat to our patrimony and freedom since the darkest days of the Civil War.
Sunday, July 18th, 2021
This top-draw (The New Republic) essay on James Bond and Ian Fleming is ostensibly disparaging about its subject, but author Scott Bradfield’s sheer depth of knowledge marks him a fan. Another clue: although it’s a book review of The World Is Not Enough: A Biography of Ian Fleming by Oliver Buckton, in the entire piece Buckton’s name is mentioned just once! This guy Bradfield’s clearly been chomping at the bit to write something Bondy.
Friday, July 9th, 2021
A voice new to me, David E. Bernstein, gives a fresh and concise viewpoint on the tired topic of why so many love to hate on Israel, providing separate reasons for the disparate groups. For Christians:
Christian critics of Israel so often accuse Jews of not learning anything from the Holocaust; in their mind, the Holocaust is a story about Christian sin and possible redemption via the actions of the victims; the fate of the Jewish people as a people is at best irrelevant.
Mohammed started his empire with limited territory and a small army, only to expand throughout the Middle East and North Africa. There is undoubtedly some latent fear that Israel is a camel’s nose under the tent for Jewish expansionism. This of course misunderstands Zionism and Judaism, but the average Muslim knows little about Judaism.