Feb 1st 2013

Earning The Nobel Peace Prize

by Alon Ben-Meir

A noted journalist and author, Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is professor of international relations and Middle East studies at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. Ben-Meir holds a masters degree in philosophy and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. His exceptional knowledge and insight, the result of more than 20 years of direct involvement in foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East, has allowed Dr. Ben-Meir to offer a uniquely invaluable perspective on the nature of world terrorism, conflict resolution and international negotiations. Fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, Ben-Meir's frequent travels to the Middle East and meetings with highly placed officials and academics in many Middle Eastern countries including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Turkey provide him with an exceptionally nuanced level of awareness and insight into the developments surrounding breaking news. Ben-Meir often articulates

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama early on in his first term was largely based on the premise that he would pursue peace and end existing violent conflicts to make the world a better and safer place for all people. The President’s efforts to end the war in Iraq and wind down the war in Afghanistan are admirable, regardless of what may befall these countries in years to come. The President, however, fell short in his effort during his first term to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which remains extraordinarily pivotal to regional stability. The raging conflicts throughout the Middle East —the horrific civil war in Syria, the unending violence in Iraq, the instability in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, and the simmering conflict with Iran— may appear to have little to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet they are interconnected and will affect one another. A resolution to this decades-long explosive conflict will have an immediate and direct impact on the stability of the entire region and singularly earnPresident Obama the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded.

With the confirmation of John Kerry as Secretary of State, the Obama administration must develop a comprehensive strategy geared toward stabilizing the region and remain engaged to preserve its sphere of influence and ensure continuing stability while maintaining its strategic interests. There is not a single Arab country that does not seek American support to end the civil war in Syria and to protect its own turf; there will be no solution to Iran’s nuclear weapons program without direct American involvement and no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without direct and active American engagement. President Obama may well be reluctant, especially following the two bruising wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to involve America in other conflicts which may require direct or indirect military intervention. The US, however, will have little choice but to project its multi-faceted powers -economic, political and military- to influence, if not shape, the outcome of these conflicts before they explode in America’s face and spin the entire region out of control.

A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stands out as the singular most troubling conflict because the Palestinian problem continues to feed into the Arab frenzy, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring. Although the Israelis and Palestinians are not slugging each other day in and day out, that does not suggest that the relative quiet can last as the conflict continues to simmer beneath the surface. Given the regional turbulence and the continuing debilitating status of the Palestinians, I strongly believe that unless the US initiates a new peace offensive, it will only be a matter of time until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict explodes with more far-reaching regional repercussions than can be envisioned. In Prague, on his first European visit in April 2009, President Obama emphatically stated, “When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp.” No individual, let alone the President, can ignore a conflict that has spanned over three generations in such a pivotal region when the stakes are so high for the United States and its allies.

It is interesting to note that throughout the Israeli election campaign, all political parties from the extreme left to the far right focused primarily on domestic socio-economic issues, while the conflict with the Palestinians received scant attention. In his confirmation hearing, John Kerry stated “There were elections yesterday [in Israel] and we still don’t know which government it’s going to be…I pray that maybe this will be a moment that will allow us to renew the effort to the one they were on in the last few years. I would like to try and do that.” Mr. Kerry’s efforts to “bring the parties to the negotiating table and go down a different path” should not be mere wishful thinking. The US must realistically assess where Netanyahu, who will most likely form the next Israeli coalition government, really stands on the prospect of the two-state solution and what kind of measures the US is prepared to take if it wishes to lead Israel and the Palestinians toward a peace settlement. The result of the Israeli elections will more than likely force Netanyahu to invite Yair Lapid, the leader of left-of-center party Yesh Atid (who made bread-and-butter issues and social justice his central political themes), to join his government. This should not mislead anyone to think, however, that Netanyahu will automatically moderate his views about the Palestinians and actually act to advance the two-state solution as the only practical option to end the conflict. He will publically support such a solution to pacify the US, but will certainly be guided by his conviction and play for time, as he does not believe that Israel is an occupying power and that the West Bank is an integral part of the Jewish people’s ancestral land.

The Palestinian victory in becoming a non-member observer state at the UNGA has yet to yield any improvements in their condition on the ground; on the contrary, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is now facing dire financial problems. The Obama administration’s opposition to the Palestinian bid for UNGA membership has in fact encouraged Netanyahu to accelerate the expansion of settlements while withholding tax revenue from the Palestinians, making their acute financial crisis even worse, albeit he recently transferred 100 million dollars to the PA. Adding to their financial difficulties, Palestinian factionalism and infighting (the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas) further complicates the prospect of genuine peace negotiations, especially since Hamas continues to openly seek Israel’s destruction. Here, the Obama administration must rethink its position in relation to the Palestinians and how it must treat Hamas, which ultimately cannot be excluded from the peace process if the US wishes to pursue sustainable peace.

While it seems logical that the Israelis and the Palestinians should sort out their own problems, history has shown that they have simply been unwilling or unable to do just that. Indeed, the conflict transcends territory, security, refugees, settlements or the future of Jerusalem; it is highly emotional and shrouded with intense hatred and distrust, further hampered by psychological hang-ups emanating from deep historical experiences and religious beliefs.

In his speech at the United Nations in September 2011, President Obama said: “Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians—not us—who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.” If the President feels today the way he felt then, he should not expect a breakthrough in the peace process any time soon. The United States’ rolehas been and remains indispensable, as was reflected in John Kerry’s speech in March 2009 at the Brookings Institution when he said: “While I believe there must be an enhanced role for the regional players, nothing can substitute for our [the United States’] crucial role as an active and creative agent for peace [emphasis added].”

Given the current regional upheavals and the Iranian threat of regional ambition, if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved over the next couple of years it could ignite a massive violent conflagration that will undermine the prospect of achieving a settlement and severely damage the U.S.’ strategic interests and credibility in the region. Notwithstanding Obama’s failure to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process during his first term, he now has one last chance to push for an agreement. John Kerry, who is only too familiar with the travails of the conflict, may succeed with the full support of the President where others have failed.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, however, as Palestinians watch young men and women in several Arab states fighting and dying for their freedoms, their own relative passivity will not last forever. In his speech after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in December 2009 the President said: “For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.” The President must now live up to that premise. He cannot kick the ball down the field and leave the region to the whims of other powers–Russia and Iran–that will go to any length to undermine American interests while tearing the Israelis and Palestinians further apart without any prospect of reconciliation.

For these reasons, what President Obama and his Secretary of State do within the next few months will have a clear and immediate effect on how the Israelis and Palestinians conduct themselves in anticipation of a new American initiative to resolve the conflict. The notion that the U.S. should not have a greater desire for peace than the parties to the conflict is flawed. The lack of peace will continue to erode the U.S.’ interest and influence and undermine its role in shaping the outcome of the multiple upheavals sweeping the region in the wake of the Arab Spring. The United States may well have to save the Israelis and the Palestinians from themselves and use both inducement and coercive measures if necessary to that end.

To advance the real prospect for peace between Israel and Palestine, President Obama must take a number of critical steps:

First, within the next few months, the President should visit the region and directly address the Israeli as well as the Palestinian people. For most Israelis, Obama’s failure to visit their country when he traveled three times to the region during his first term (visiting four Muslim states) was nothing short of a slap in the face. Skipping Israel and the Palestinians seemed odd, especially in light of the fact that President Obama made a solution to the conflict a top priority in his first term by appointing former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as a Special Envoy to the region only a few days after his first inauguration. A visit to Israel in particular could be a game changer, where the President can explain why only peace will ultimately ensure Israel’s national security, democracy and the Jewish national identity of the state. The President should reiterate his commitment to a two-state solution and emphasize that the U.S. will use all means available at its disposal to advance the peace process while maintaining an unshakable commitment to Israel’s national security. President Obama’s visit to Israel will further reinforce the belief that nearly all Israelis share—that the United States is the only ally they can trust without any reservation. The President may also expand the existing strategic agreement with Israel by offering to enter into a mutual defense treaty with Israel once a peace agreement with the Palestinians is achieved. Such a bilateral defense treaty could then develop and become a part of a regional securityumbrella between Israel and every Arab state that is at peace with Israel.

Second, the President must carry with him a general framework for peace based on a prior understanding negotiated between the two sides, especially those achieved in 2000 (at Camp David between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak) and 2007-2008 (between Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas). In both sets of comprehensive negotiations, the two sides had been able to resolve the vast majority of the conflicting issues; in the latter, then-Israeli Prime Minister Olmertstated both sides had come “very close, more than ever in the past, to complete a principle agreement that would have led to the end of the conflict.” These prior agreements should be placed on the table anew and modified to factor in the changing conditions on the ground, creating a clear basis for negotiating a comprehensive agreement with the U.S.’ direct and active participation. The US must use all means available at its disposal, including political, economic, and coercive measures to exact the necessary concessions from both sides to reach an agreement.

Third, to increase the framework’s effectiveness, a new independent envoy should be appointed with a clear presidential mandate to work relentlessly to advance the negotiation process while maintaining a top-level American official in the region to keep up the momentum and the pressure in case of the occasional absence of the envoy. By way of example, former President Clinton would be a remarkable choice, or for that matter former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or someone in their caliber; namely, a widely respected figure who would be welcomed by both sides. The envoy should be present in every single session to find out how sincere the Israelis and the Palestinians are in the search for peace and to what extent they are prepared to make the painful concessions needed to reach an agreement. The Israeli and Palestinian contention that there is no partner with whom to negotiate or that the other cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith would be dispelled or confirmed in these face-to-face negotiations (only, however, with an American presence).

Fourth, it is imperative that the US reaches out to leading Arab and Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others that can exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to make necessary concessions. Similarly, Egypt and Turkey, who both enjoy great leverage on Hamas, should persuade its leadership to change its acrimonious public pronouncements against Israel, as well as its antagonism and hard-line policy against Israel. In particular, Hamas must renounce violence as a tool by which to reach its political objective of establishing an independent Palestinian state and remove from its charter the clause that calls for Israel’s destruction, in return for the promise of American recognition. Hamas must be treated as a political party who does not need to recognize Israel or accept prior agreements (the principles stipulated by the Quartet), but would be required to do so as a precondition to being a legitimate partner in the negotiations once they become the governing authority of all Palestinians. The Arab states, especially Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood or any other regime, will always have serious stakes in finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and could play a leading role in persuading Hamas to change course. Indeed, the government of Egypt has mediated several times between Hamas and Israel in the past under the Mubarak regime. More recently the Egyptian government arranged for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas with American involvement. In fact, Israeli officials had direct contact with Hamas in Cairo in order to negotiate the terms of the latest ceasefire, following the violent flareup between the two sides in mid-November 2012.

Fifth, in reaching out to the Arab and Muslim world, the President should help reignite the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which still represents the most comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The revival of the API remains critically important, as even top Israeli officials includingPresident Shimon Peres and former head of the Mossad Meir Dagan have strongly endorsed the API as central to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the wake of the Arab Spring, restarting the API will have special thrust; as the whole region undergoes revolutionary change, the API represents a key factor in maintaining and enhancing the momentum toward positive and constructive regional change. In his Brookings speech, Mr. Kerry rightly invoked the Arab Peace Initiative when he said: “This bold step never received the focus it deserved when Saudi King Abdullah proposed it in 2002. We cannot underestimate the importance that, through this initiative, every Arab country (including all Muslim states) has now agreed to the basic formulation of land for peace, recognition of the state of Israel, and normalization of relations.” The creation of a “sovereign independent Palestinian state,” which the API calls for, will greatly contribute to stabilizing the region. Indeed, most if not all Arab and Muslim countries will begin normalizing relations with Israel and foster a lasting peace that will ultimately improve the lives of millions of ordinary citizens throughout the region.

Sixth, the perception that Congress is more supportive of Israel than the President must be dispelled, and no one can do that better than the President himself. During his first term, President Obama provided Israel with greater political, economic and military support than any of his predecessors. Before he embarks on a new peace initiative, the President should use the opportunity of his upcoming State of the Union Address, or seize any other opportunity to articulate to the American people and to Congress how critical it is for Israel to forge peace and why it is in the best interests of the United States to take the lead, however uncertain the prospect may be, to help Israel reach peace with security. The President needs to explain that by not taking action now, Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state could be jeopardized. Being a trusted friend of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry can further articulate and emphasize to Congressional leaders the need to act soon, because Israel’s peace with the Palestinians is an integral part of the US’ commitment to Israel’s national security and key to regional stability.

Seventh, one of the most difficult impediments between the Israelis and Palestinians is mutual distrust and the psychological underpinning of the conflict. It is critical for the US to exert every conceivable pressure on both the Israelis and Palestinians to begin changing their public narratives about each other, ending mutually acrimonious statements, expressions of hatred, and distrust. In addition, the US should insist that both governments encourage universities, nonpartisan think-tanks, and media to begin a process of changing mindsets about some of the inevitabilities which will be required to reach an agreement.

Even if Israeli and Palestinian leaders reach an agreement behind closed doors, they cannot simply come out with pronouncements of concessions that were made without first preparing the public. For example, an agreement on Palestinian refugees might entail the return of only a small fraction of refugees to Israel proper, so as to preserve the Jewish identity of the state, but the vast majority of Palestinians still believe in the right of return. In addition, there can be no two-state solution without East Jerusalem becoming the capital of Israel and Palestine, and though the city will remain united, this will be difficult for the Israeli public to accept. For this reason, the groundwork must be laid concurrently with the resumption of the negotiations, if not before, in order to shift the public narrative and psychologically prepare the populations on both sides to accept the necessary concessions. The willingness to encourage public discourse on these sensitive issues and others will further indicate the extent to which either or both sides are committed to reach a mutually gainful agreement. In addition, to avoid deadlocks, the agreement should be implemented in a number of phases, making sure that any concession made by one side is reciprocated by the other based on prior agreements to gradually engender trust.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been overshadowed in recent months due to international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, the bloody civil war which continues to rage in Syria, and the unending insurgency and terrorism that continue to plague many nations in the region. Meanwhile, the conflict is quietly simmering underneath the surface and is becoming worse as Israel continues to establish new and expand existing settlements while the Palestinians remain hopelessly factionalized, unable to present a unified front and demonstrate the keenness necessary to make peace to be taken seriously.

Finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has gone on for more than sixty years, should now be a top priority for President Obama as it is central to Arab-Israeli peace and will dramatically enhance regional stability. The status quo is not sustainable, and it can only lead to a new violent and perilous conflagration that will leave no victors—only horrifying destruction, irreparably deepening the already existing gulf between the two sides. The United States has both the interest and the responsibility to put an end to a self-consuming conflict in a region where the stakes for all concerned cannot be overestimated.

President Obama may well deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but by successfully forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians he will have earned it, and that will be his greatest legacy.

Browse articles by author

More Current Affairs

Aug 8th 2020
EXTRACT: "It is time for the world’s governments and companies to wake up. Beijing’s reach is wide and deep. It is taking advantage of the West’s openness – and gaps and inconsistencies in our data protection protocols - to acquire information on all of us. The hacks on Anthem, Equifax, Marriott, and the US government are good examples of how they have already done so. American and Western companies need to take a hard look at the costs and benefits associated with operating in China and continuing to have Chinese partners. Those partners must comply with these Laws. American and Western companies that continue to operate with them may unwittingly well be aiding and abetting the Chinese government."
Aug 5th 2020
EXTRACT: "James Murdoch is not the most obvious candidate for editorial heroism. His route to resigning from the News Corp board because of “disagreements over certain editorial content” has been circuitous and colourful."
Aug 4th 2020
EXTRACT: "Say what you will about the slippery slope the US government has been on since Trump came to power, America has a rich history of promoting creative thought, running head-first into particularly uncomfortable subjects, and encouraging robust debate internally and among its allies and partners. Once Trump leaves the scene, America is sure to be perceived as having briefly lost its senses and will come charging back into the mainstream of global thought, debate, and engagement. China has entered the global arena crippled by its own ideology. Ultimately, the US is better equipped to lead the world. It knows that, and so does most of the rest of the world. Someone had better tell Beijing."
Jul 29th 2020
EXTRACT: "The Chinese government has for years argued that its ‘nine-dash line’ of sovereignty over the entire Sea is based on centuries of maritime history, and that China’s claim is air tight. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has even asserted that ample historical documents and literature demonstrate that China was “the first country to discover, name, develop and exercise continuous, effective jurisdiction over the South China Sea islands”. "
Jul 23rd 2020
EXTRACTS: "Like many, I have long been critical of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union as a dysfunctional currency area. Notwithstanding a strong political commitment to European unification as the antidote to a century of war and devastating bloodshed, there was always a critical leg missing from the EMU stool: fiscal union. Not anymore. The historic agreement reached on July 21 on a €750 billion ($868 billion) European Union recovery fund, dubbed Next Generation EU, changes that.................Unlike the United States, which appears to be squandering the opportunities presented by the epic COVID-19 crisis, Europe has risen to the occasion – and not for the first time."
Jul 21st 2020
EXTRACT: "I cannot recommend strongly enough Anne Applebaum’s recent book Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends. Advancing her arguments with eloquence and personal testimony, Applebaum passionately decries the corrosion of liberal, open-society values in the last three decades. Her book is a practical reminder of what all democrats should have learned from reading Karl Popper’s magisterial The Open Society and Its Enemies, itself written in liberal democracy’s darkest hours during WWII."
Jul 19th 2020
EXTRACT: "Political motivations aside, Macron has said aloud what few others have acknowledged: NATO is experiencing “brain death,” owing to Trump’s dubious commitment to defend America’s allies. Given that the US drift away from NATO began well before Trump, there is little reason to believe that this trend will be reversed, though it may be slowed if he loses the November election. Unless Europe begins thinking of itself as a geopolitical power and takes responsibility for its own security, Macron argues, it will “no longer be in control of [its] destiny.”
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "Uighur women in China’s Xinjiang province who have more than the approved number of children are being forcibly sterilised, forced to have abortions or having intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) inserted without their consent, according to reports that have emerged in recent weeks. The birth rate for Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim minority, has decreased significantly, according to a recent research report. These alleged practices are egregious violations of the human rights of Uighur women, and in my opinion, constitute genocide of the Uighur people."
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "The genetic makeup or “genome” of SARS-CoV-2 has been sequenced and publicly shared thousands of times by scientists all over the world. If the virus had been genetically engineered in a lab there would be signs of manipulation in the genome data. This would include evidence of an existing viral sequence as the backbone for the new virus, and obvious, targeted inserted (or deleted) genetic elements. But no such evidence exists. It is very unlikely that any techniques used to genetically engineer the virus would not leave a genetic signature, like specific identifiable pieces of DNA code."
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "The greater lack of transparency that we can now expect will only serve to make Americans pay a greater price for the president’s worst characteristics. Trump has failed our country, utterly and contemptibly. He has spread lies and misinformation. He has displayed a stunning lack of empathy or concern. He has put his personal interests before those of the nation and has revealed an abject lack of leadership. "
Jul 15th 2020
EXTRACT: "The two-state solution is dead and buried. Whatever “solution” may be found in the future will emerge not from an orderly peace process, but from chaos, the precise nature of which is impossible to predict. It could be unilateral annexation. It could be a sudden violent Israeli disengagement from parts of the West Bank. Or it could be direct conflict. This is the iron law of unintended consequences at work."
Jul 15th 2020
EXTRACT: ".........countries such as China and South Korea have been able to successfully battle the virus, and why Morocco, which just started doing the same, now has a reasonable chance of beating the virus down. America is capable of doing all this but the politicization of the virus and silly interpretations of what freedom of action means under the US Constitution have prevented us from following their example. Yes, you are free to take your own health and life into your own hands by being stupid and selfish, but you are not free to do the same with someone else’s health and life. And that is what the “live free or die” movement and conspiracy theory believers among us fail to acknowledge."
Jul 9th 2020
EXTRACT: "The ideas behind MMT [=Modern monetary theory] were mainly developed in the 1970s, notably by Warren Mosler, an American investment fund manager, who is also credited with doing much to popularise it. However, there are many threads that can be traced further back, for instance to an early 20th-century group called the chartalists, who were interested in explaining why currencies had value. These days, prominent supporters of MMT include L Randall Wray, who teaches regular courses on the theory at Bard college in Hudson, New York state. Another academic, Stephanie Kelton, has gained the ear of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and, more recently, Democrat US presidential candidate Joe Biden, providing theoretical justification for expanding government spending."
Jul 7th 2020
EXTRACT: "So we are left with herd immunity and viable treatments as the world’s only realistic near term solution. Sweden has been roundly criticized and shunned by its neighbors for embracing herd immunity at the outset of the pandemic. It has paid a price for having done so based on accelerated infection and death rates. But while the jury will remain out for some time to come about the wisdom of having done so, Sweden may prove to have been ahead of the curve in its approach. Herd immunity is an option that should be seriously considered by the world’s governments, for a safe and effective vaccine could be many years away, and may not be achieved at all. PICTURE: Daniel Wagner.
Jul 5th 2020
EXTRACT: "The war on Yemen begun in 2015 by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has been a failure militarily and a vast drain on resources that, in the age of Covid-19, neither country can any longer afford. Not only has the war been Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam, it has inflicted untold human damage on Yemenis. UNICEF has a new report out warning that millions of Yemeni children are on the brink of starvation. Yemen, with a population of about 28 million (think Texas), is one of the poorest countries in the world. Saudi Arabia, with a citizen population of some 21 million, is one of the richest. The United Arab Emirates, with a citizen population of a little over 1 million, is likewise very rich. Both have waged a high-tech air war on the indigenous Yemeni Houthis, but in the past year have pitched their Sunni proxies against one another."
Jun 25th 2020
EXTRACT: "The facts are clear: the wealthiest 0.54%, about 40 million people, are responsible for 14% of lifestyle-related greenhouse gas emissions, while the bottom 50% of income earners, almost 4 billion people, only emit around 10%. The world’s top 10% income earners are responsible for at least 25% and up to 43% of our environmental impact. Most people living in developed countries would fit into this category, meaning you don’t have to consider yourself rich in order to be globally affluent. Even many poorer people in wealthy countries have a disproportionately large and unsustainable resource footprint compared to the global average."
Jun 24th 2020
EXTRACT: "To be sure, the American Dream was always more aspiration than reality. Economic, social, and intergenerational mobility have always fallen short of what the myth of the self-made man or woman would lead one to expect. But with social mobility now declining as inequality rises, today’s young people are right to be angry."
Jun 19th 2020
EXTRACT: "There is only one way to repair America’s reputation, regain the trust of allies, and ensure that the US can act as an effective counterweight to China: address the root causes of the cracks that Trump’s disastrous presidency has exposed and widened. This is in line with the vision advanced in 2011 by two military strategists, Captain Wayne Porter and Colonel Mark Mykleby, using the pseudonym “Mr. Y.” Porter and Mykleby argued that national security depends not only on the capacity to respond to threats from foreign powers, but also – and perhaps more important – on the “application of credible influence and strength.” That influence, in turn, depends on America’s success in providing a “pathway of promise” for US citizens – and a model for the world."
Jun 14th 2020
EXTRACT: "The most critical question then is not how far Trump will go to promote his treasonous agenda, but for how long Republican leaders will silently accept and subserviently enable Trump to destroy the basic moral tenets and values on which this Union was founded, and which they swore to uphold and protect...............Of course, shame on us if we continue to be surprised by Republicans’ continuing silence, because as we all know, even when presented with overwhelming evidence that Trump committed crimes against the American people, Trump’s Republican stooges in the Senate exonerated him following impeachment almost unanimously...................The Republican leadership, to be sure, has made its bed. It has committed moral suicide. History will judge them harshly for their treason and betrayal of the nation, including all of those who have lived and died throughout our history to foster and protect our safety, integrity, and freedom."
Jun 9th 2020
EXTRACT: " Governments can do nothing about the quotidian offenses of living as a black person in America – the empty taxis that refuse to stop, being mistaken for employees in supermarkets, the myriad intentional and unintentional insults. Many now in the streets won’t be satisfied unless the result of this national spasm is improved schools, health care, and job opportunities for minorities – a fair shake for black people. What will happen when America once again falls short of honoring its professed values?."