Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Clifford May

Trump's pivot to North Korea

March 22, 2017  •  The Washington Times

America can do anything but America can't do everything, at least not within a four-year time frame. That suggests that the American president — any American president — needs to prioritize.

In 2011, President Obama decided that the Muslim world should no longer be a top American priority. Against the advice of key members of his national security team, he decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and do nothing about the growing turmoil in Syria. He expressed confidence that coalition forces would soon "begin to draw down" in Afghanistan. As for al Qaeda, it was "on the path to defeat."

"So make no mistake," he announced, "the tide of war is receding." With those words, he began what was called his "pivot to Asia."

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

French Elections: Populist Revolution or Status Quo?

March 21, 2017  •  Gatestone Institute

The presidential election in France officially got underway on March 18, when the Constitutional Council announced that a total of eleven candidates will be facing off for the country's top political job.

The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with traditional parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.

The first round of voting will be held on April 23. If no single candidate wins an absolute majority, the top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Leave Steve Bannon Out of Your Shpiel

March 9, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

As Jews celebrate Purim this Saturday night, a surprising figure could be making an appearance in some synagogues: Steve Bannon. What might the controversial presidential adviser have to do with the Jewish holiday?

Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia from death at the hands of an evil government official named Haman. The story, told in the Book of Esther, shows how the beautiful Esther, with her cousin Mordechai's guidance, became queen and helped turn the tables on Haman. Esther opened King Ahasuerus' eyes to Haman's designs and thus saved the Jews. Purim is a classic Jewish holiday. As the old joke goes, "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat."

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

Assad is Not the Solution in Syria

March 9, 2017  •  The Hill

As the Trump administration considers American military involvement in Syria, there are those who argue that Assad should remain in power as a check against the forces of Islamic radicals. Aside from the fact such a policy would ignore the horrific war crimes and atrocities committed by the regime, the fact is Assad doesn't have the military capability to hold Syria together. What's left of his army is an empty shell, precariously held together by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Moreover, such a move ignores reality in Syria. The very fabric that held society together is irreparably torn. Having turned on the majority Sunni population of his country, Assad stands today as a great magnet to which jihadists of all stripes are attracted. The question is, who can better defend them — groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda's affiliate, Tahrir al-Sham, or the Free Syrian Army and U.S.-backed rebels? There are no pillars left upon which Assad's legitimacy can rest; Bashar Assad can't "Make Syria Great Again."

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Stop calling it the 'Old Testament'

March 8, 2017  •  Jerusalem Post

Recently, in an episode of the popular American television program Dateline NBC, veteran journalist Dennis Murphy repeated a stale anti-Jewish canard, one that despite its popularity is nonetheless as offensive as it is inappropriate.

"The rhetorical language you used in your email to your ex had a kind of biblical Old Testament ferocity to it," Murphy said to an interviewee, referring to messages she had allegedly sent which included phrases such as, "I hope to God you are ready for the pain I will show you." "Burn in the fiery pits of hell tonight as by God's law," read another.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

review of Debriefing the President

March 5, 2017  •  City Journal

In December 2016, ten years after Saddam Hussein was hanged, John Nixon published an account of his work as the first CIA officer to interrogate the deposed Iraqi leader after his capture near his hometown of Tikrit. The Bush administration needed to be sure that the dirty, disheveled, bearded man U.S. soldiers had dragged out of a spider hole on a farm was, in fact, the fugitive who for nine months had eluded one of the most intensive manhunts in military history. Having spent three years as a "leadership analyst" at the CIA studying Saddam and having been stationed in Baghdad since October 2003, Nixon was asked to verify that American forces had finally found their man.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Dezinformatsiya 2.0
Russia Heats Up Its Infowar With The West

March 3, 2017  •  The Daily Beast

When it comes to Russian propaganda, we haven't seen anything yet. Over the past several months, Americans have become acutely aware of a phenomenon that Europeans were already all too familiar with: the pervasive, corrosive nature of Russian propaganda. Russia's purported attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election remain a major topic of national debate—one that could, even now, lead to fresh Congressional investigations and a political showdown between Capitol Hill and the new White House. Yet the scope of Russia's propaganda machine is still poorly understood by most Americans. Many may by now be familiar with Moscow's highest profile media outlets, like television channel RT (which the Russian government funds to the tune of some $250 million annually) and the flashy Sputnik "news" multimedia website (which is likewise lavishly bankrolled by the Kremlin). But the full range of Russia's information operations are still truly appreciated only by the small cadre of foreign policy and national security professionals who have been forced to grapple with their far-reaching and negative effects.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

The Nature of Quaker Education

March 1, 2017  •  Jewish Exponent

Unwittingly, Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of "simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that 'there is that of God in everyone.' Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends' Central education."

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Standing With Israel On The Golan Heights

February 17, 2017  •  Wall Street Journal

Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved his primary objective of resetting ties with the U.S. after eight years of tensions. True, the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump still need to bridge the gap on issues such as Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy and West Bank settlements. But they seem to be on the same page on a broad range of regional matters.

That could lead to a breakthrough on an issue of strategic importance to Israel. According to reports of the two leaders' meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu asked for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

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