1. ‘Democrats join Republicans in questioning Obama’s policy on Israel‘, Peter Wallsten, Washington Post
Who said President Obama was a divider? His position on the Israel-Palestine conflict seems to be uniting Democrats and Republicans in opposition. This was visibly seen during Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday:
Top Democrats have joined a number of Republicans in challenging President Obama’s policy toward Israel, further exposing rifts that the White House and its allies will seek to mend before next year’s election.
The differences, on display as senior lawmakers addressed a pro-Israel group late Monday and Tuesday, stem from Obama’s calls in recent days for any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians to be based on boundaries that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, combined with “mutually agreed swaps” of territory.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and other Democrats appeared to reject the president’s reference to the 1967 lines in his latest attempt to nudge along peace talks, thinking that he was giving away too much, too soon.
2. ‘A World of Our Making‘ – G. John Ikenberry, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Esteemed International Relations scholar G. John Ikenberry provides an in depth look at the changing global order, warning that though its current liberal make up will remain intact, changes are a coming:
This American-led liberal hegemonic order is now in crisis. The underlying foundations that support this order have shifted. Pressures for change—and for the reorganization of order—are growing. But amidst this great transformation, it is important to untangle what pre-cisely is in crisis and what is not. My claim is that it is a crisis of author-ity—a struggle over how liberal order should be governed. But it is not a crisis over the underlying principles of liberal international order, defined as an open and loosely rule-based system. That is, what is in dispute is how aspects of liberal order—sovereignty, institutions, participation, roles, and responsibilities—are to be allocated, but all within the order rather than in its wake.
If the old postwar hegemonic order were a business enterprise, it would have been called America Inc. It was an order that, in important respects, was owned and operated by the United States. The crisis today is really over ownership of that company.
3. ‘A Formidable Republican Field‘ - Jay Cost, The Weekly Standard
Cost makes a compelling case that the current GOP presidential leaders, Pawlenty, Romney, and Huntsman, are a more formidable challenge to President Obama than many in the media would have you believe. Cost also reminds us that contrary to what many Obama supporters hope, a Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich candidacy, the Republican Party has for the past 40 years chosen a mainstream candidate:
With Mitch Daniels having taken himself out of the GOP nomination battle, the field has come into sharp focus, and the view is not good for President Obama and the Democrats.
If one were only to read commentary and analysis from the mainstream media, this would surely come as quite a shock, as the GOP field is usually portrayed as uninspiring and lackluster. But then again the MSM is often behind the curve when it comes to the Republican party, seeing as how most journalists and pundits do not identify with it or the modern conservative movement that animates it. Most are politically aligned with Obama, and so unsurprisingly they think his would-be Republican challengers are second-raters.
My position over the last three months has been that Republicans need to evaluate each contender along three key metrics: general election competitiveness, legislative skill, and party stewardship. I think conservatives have legitimate concerns about the field, although it’s also worth waiting to see whether the main contenders can address this issue to the right’s satisfaction.
Today, I want to look at things strictly from the competitiveness metric, and here I think the main contenders — Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney — all score very, very well. I see four reasons for drawing this conclusion…
4. ‘Chomsky’s Follies‘ – Christopher Hitchens, Slate
Chomsky, who Hitchens (And Paul Berman) correctly note, still enjoys some reputation both as a scholar and a public intellectual, had some remarkably delusional things to say regarding the American killing of Osama Bin Laden. Hitchens takes the creepy, radical leftist to task:
It’s no criticism of Chomsky to say that his analysis is inconsistent with that of other individuals and factions who essentially think that 9/11 was a hoax. However, it is remarkable that he should write as if the mass of evidence against Bin Laden has never been presented or could not have been brought before a court. This form of 9/11 denial doesn’t trouble to conceal an unstated but self-evident premise, which is that the United States richly deserved the assault on its citizens and its civil society. After all, as Chomsky phrases it so tellingly, our habit of “naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk … [is] as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy.’ ”
In short, we do not know who organized the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or any other related assaults, though it would be a credulous fool who swallowed the (unsupported) word of Osama Bin Laden that his group was the one responsible. An attempt to kidnap or murder an ex-president of the United States (and presumably, by extension, the sitting one) would be as legally justified as the hit on Abbottabad. And America is an incarnation of the Third Reich that doesn’t even conceal its genocidal methods and aspirations. This is the sum total of what has been learned, by the guru of the left, in the last decade.
5. ‘Word of the Decade: ‘Unsustainable”, Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
Peggy Noonan lucidly describes how Americans are coming to terms with our unsustainable fiscal situation:
We’re at a funny place. The American establishment has finally come around, in unison, to admitting that America is in crisis, that our debt actually threatens our ability to endure, that if we don’t make progress on this, we are going to near our endpoint as a nation. I am struck very recently by the number of leaders in American business, politics and journalism who now get a certain faraway look at the end of an evening or a meal and say, “It’s worse than people think, you know.”