Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Clifford May

The Mr. Rogers Doctrine

April 27, 2016  •  The Washington Times

Barack Obama last week visited Saudi Arabia, an unusual nation with which the United States has had a relationship that can be accurately characterized as both strategic and strange — and one that is now severely strained. To understand how we got to this juncture requires at least a smattering of modern history.

It's polite to say that Ibn Saud, in the first third of the 20th century, united most of the tribes living on the Arabian Peninsula. It's more accurate to say he defeated those tribes, conquering their lands, along with a source of enormous future wealth that lay under some of them.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Missing in Action
The U.S. still lacks a comprehensive counterterror strategy

Spring 2016  •  City Journal

In January 2001, a bipartisan federal commission led by Senators Warren B. Rudman and Gary Hart published "New World Coming," the first installment of a three-volume report on American security in the twenty-first century. Its warnings proved prescient. Challenged by the eruption of "long-suppressed nationalisms, ethnic or religious violence, humanitarian disasters, major catalytic regional crises, and the spread of dangerous weapons," the U.S. military would eventually be unable to protect Americans from terrorist groups and rogue states in possession of weapons of mass destruction. "Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers," the authors warned. In September of that year, the World Trade Center fell.

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

A Caliphate under Strain: The Documentary Evidence

April 22, 2016  •  CTC Sentinel

Abstract: Internal Islamic State documents, including documents obtained by the author and published here for the first time, shed new light on how the Islamic State has come under strain as it is degraded by coalition air strikes and loses territory. The internal records make clear these pressures have been felt in the group's military, financial, and administrative domains, forcing it to take measures to react and adapt. But while the so-called Caliphate has come under pressure, there is little prospect of any collapse anytime soon. Populations under Islamic State rule are accustomed to poor living standards, exacerbated by years of civil war, and will likely stomach further decreases in quality of life for the time being rather than rebel and risk a brutal crackdown.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Biden's belligerent bluster

April 21, 2016  •  Jerusalem Post

Over much of the past decade, US Vice President Joe Biden has made a name for himself as one of the most gaffe-prone American politicians in recent memory.

His habitual howlers and frequent missteps, such as when he called on a wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator to stand up at a rally, insisted that "jobs" was a three-letter word and couldn't recall his running-mate Barack Obama's last name, have become the stuff of political legend.

Indeed, everyone from Time magazine to the UK's Daily Telegraph have compiled competing lists of Biden's biggest blunders, and there are undoubtedly many late-night television comedy hosts who thank the good Lord for providing them with such a consistent source of material.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

The Sunni-Shi'ite Proxy War Heats Up

March 2016  •  Defense Dossier

Beneath the recent ferment of a highly volatile Middle East lies the region's deepest geopolitical fault line: the decades-long rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This modern-day contest, rooted in centuries of sectarian enmity, has been best described as the "new Middle East cold war." The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 made that competition a defining feature of the region's geopolitics. It has since been spurred on by the so-called "Arab Spring" and the ensuing civil wars in Yemen and Syria. And as unrest has spread, both sides have supported their sectarian allies, elevating previously local conflicts to zero-sum grudge matches in a series of increasingly dangerous proxy wars.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

How GOP Intellectuals' Feud With the Base Is Remaking U.S. Politics

April 19, 2016  •  Politico

One of the most spectacular fissures of this already dramatic political season has been the messy, public divorce of the Republican intelligentsia from the party's suddenly energized populist voter base. As Donald Trump grips crowds and racks up delegates with a blunt nationalist message of jobs, protectionism and "winning," true-believing conservatives—from dean of the conservative commentariat George Will, to Pete Wehner, who has worked for every GOP administration since Ronald Reagan, to Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol—have peeled off in anti-Trump directions. When National Review, the flagship magazine of modern conservative thinking, devoted an entire issue to rejecting the GOP front-runner, it felt like a separation being finalized. Trump, of course, was unfazed, saying, "You have people that are in National Review—they're eggheads. They're just eggheads."

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

The Looming Iranian Threat to Israel

April 19, 2016  •  House Foreign Affairs Committee

Joint Hearing on "Israel Imperiled: Threats to the Jewish State"
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating; Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, distinguished representatives, it is an honor to speak before you today about the growing threats Israel faces to its security.

Israel and, for that matter, moderate Arab states across the Middle East as well, face a growing threat from a resurgent Islamic Republic of Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been a game changer, but not necessarily in the way the Obama administration recognizes.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

UK: What British Muslims Really Think

April 17, 2016  •  Gatestone Institute

Many British Muslims do not share the values of their non-Muslim compatriots, and say they want to lead separate lives under Islamic Sharia law, according to the findings of a new survey.

The poll — which shows that a significant part of the British Muslim community is becoming a separate "nation within a nation" — has reignited the long-running debate about the failure of 30 years of British multiculturalism and the need for stronger measures to promote Muslim integration.

The survey was conducted by ICM Research for the Channel 4 documentary, "What British Muslims Really Think," which aired on April 13.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

What is Zochrot really remembering?

April 14, 2016  •  The Times of Israel

On March 21-22 the Israeli NGO Zochrot held its "Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees" in Tel Aviv. The two-day event featured an all-star team of anti-Israeli Israeli speakers from NGOs and academia, all to promote the Palestinian "right of return."

Zochrot's goal is "rais[ing] public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba" and "recognizing and materializing the right of return," stressing that "the rights of the refugees to return must be accepted." Nothing brings together Israel haters, including Americans, like the Palestinian "right of return."

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Iran's Eurasian Adventure
Tehran Builds Its OPEC With Bombs

February 24, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

As expected, last summer's nuclear deal is already shaping up to be an economic boon for Iran. From stepped-up post-sanctions trade with countries in Europe and Asia to newfound access to some $100 billion in previously escrowed oil revenue, the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) has put the country on the path toward a sustained national recovery. But it has also done much more. As Iran's economic horizons have expanded, so have its global ambitions. The Middle East is already feeling the ramifications. There, Tehran has assumed an increasingly aggressive, adventurist foreign policy in recent months, including expanded intervention in Syria and Yemen. Tehran's designs don't stop there; the ayatollahs are now busy expanding their regime's strategic presence in a variety of other global theaters - and Eurasia is prominent among them.

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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Toward saner drug pricing

February 21, 2016  •  Washington Times

When Congress subpoenaed the controversial financier Martin Shkreli to testify about pharmaceutical pricing this month, it should have been no surprise that the hearing shed more heat than light on an important, yet divisive issue.

Mr. Shkreli, unsurprisingly, plead the 5th and then proceeded to not only mock the seriousness of the issue, but call the House committee members "imbeciles."

If members of Congress are sincere in their call to thoughtfully consider drug pricing, they should acknowledge that Mr. Shkreli and his unorthodox approach to pharmaceuticals are an anomaly (in every sense of the word).

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