International Affairs

International Affairs

Questioning liberals' moral consistency

This piece is also published in The Washington Times.


"Have you no shame? Have you no decency?" That was the question that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked during his important speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 24.

He was referring to the decision of those members of the General Assembly who remained in their seats when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke the day before.

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Lisbon’s second chance

Ireland votes today for the second time in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty — an agreement to streamline the decisionmaking process in Brussels and further integrate member-states — having turned down the treaty narrowly in 2008.

There are significant disagreements over whether the European Union (EU) project is a worthwhile economic endeavor that is spreading peace, or an inexcusable erosion of democratic accountability and national sovereignty. EU enthusiasts, influenced by Cosmopolitan philosophy, like to believe that the EU is helping to remove “outdated” ideas like loyalty to national governments. While I believe such contentions are farcical, I’ll save the larger argument of what the conception of citizenship ought to be for another day.

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China at 60

In the early 1920s, the French writer Andre Malraux posited that the question of the century will be, How will the Chinese adapt to individualism? That question may still be unanswered as China reaches the 60th birthday of Mao’s revolutionary turning.

That was long ago; before Jet Li and Ziyi Zhang, before Nixon and Kissinger. But the symbols and images chosen for the celebration, including 5,000 goose-stepping soldiers who rehearsed for five months, recall the Soviet style in the age of Stalin.

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Countdown to Armageddon

Iran is already one of the foremost sponsors of terrorism in the world. If Iran achieves nuclear capability, it will undoubtedly step up its support to terrorist regimes. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad consistently refers to Israel as a cancerous tumor and has previously pledged to wipe Israel off the map. If Iran achieves nuclear enrichment capacity, it will likely give a bomb to Syria, and perhaps even Hezbollah.

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Going rogue with Sarah Palin

Years ago, Dennis Hopper directed a movie about a Hollywood crew that went to the Amazon jungle to shoot an action film. After they left, a tribal chief had a movie camera fashioned out of vines and pretended to be directing movies. It came to mind during the recent G-20 meeting of global leaders in Pittsburgh. Last year historian Niall Ferguson made the credible claim that there is no G-20. There is only a G-2, America and China, or Chimerica, or possibly only a G-1, China.

This new phase of post-global, self-serving pseudo-events and -organizations, like Bill Clinton’s puerile Global Initiative or The (obsequious) Elders, carries all of the convincing authenticity of a Cindy Crawford infomercial. But in the reelection of Angela Merkel as prime minister, Germany has stepped away from the pack and opened a portal with fresh and new potential.

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Sea, sand, Lake Habbaniya and summer ... in Iraq

What's the first word or phrase that you think of when someone mentions Iraq? Most would say "suicide bombings." Others would say "war." But I doubt that many, if any, would say "beach."

This past Sunday's New York Times carried the remarkable story of Lake Habbaniya, a former terrorist stronghold that has now become a place for Iraqis, Sunni and Shiite, to come together and leave behind the travails and uncertainty of their daily lives:

A few hours outside Baghdad in the middle of Iraq’s vast western desert is a sight that could understandably be mistaken for a mirage: a long, sandy beach filled with thousands of people swimming and dancing barefoot under the hot sun without apparent care ... It is amazing, but it is real: for the first time since the outbreak of the sectarian war in 2006, Iraq is enjoying a beach season.
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Ling and Lee and the Al Gore Religion

I am sure every American is delighted that the two journalists were safely removed from the desperation of North Korea’s twilight. If ever there was a realm that time has passed by, it is that one. The kind of thing Kafka used to write about: People stuck in the time warp of their youthful glory days when the trends and the stirring movements had well passed and the world had passed them by. Nostalgicos. But there is something about these two reporters that makes them seem more like missionaries than reporters.

And this story is so much like a modern-day retelling of the classic story of American missionaries getting “accidentally” caught alone somewhere behind the lines and some high-profile American politician or celebrity or both like Bill Clinton is sent out to save them — isn’t this Jesse Jackson’s job? — out there in the Godless realm of the Foreign Devil, raising the celebrity’s profile and the profile of the whatever, esoteric, Christian cause that no one has ever heard of before but everybody knows all about now.
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Netanyahu’s Speech for Peace: Is Anyone Listening?

This piece is also published in The Washington Times.


I really don't get it. On June 14, less than a month after his meeting with President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave one of the most comprehensive, thoughtful and highly personal speeches supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process of any Israeli prime minister in recent years, perhaps ever.

One would have thought his speech would have been big news in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Mr. Netanyahu for the first time clearly stated he would support a two-state solution, albeit with understandable requirements to guarantee Israel's security, despite leaving a different impression during last month's U.S. visit.
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Whose Supreme Leader?

One of my favorite public moments was in the mid-1970s at a football game in New York. Howard Cosell, the most prominent announcer in his day, was in the stands looking for a few celebrities to talk to at halftime. He was having a playful little back-and-forth chatter with John Lennon, who had not long before moved to New York. Then he said to him, “I’ll see you, John. I’ve got to go interview the Gipper now.”

Lennon said, “Who’s the Gipper?”
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America's Credibility in Iran

What's happening in Iran is INSANE.

We should applaud the brave Iranians who are in the streets demanding liberty and their freedom from the oppression of the ayatollah. Who is speaking up for these people fighting for their lives, trying to get their freedom after decades of repression?
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