Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Trump's right: It's time to end the timetables for Afghanistan

August 22, 2017  •  The Hill

The long slog in Afghanistan just got longer. But at least this time we are not certain that the war will end in an American defeat.

The president's speech Monday night made it clear that the Obama administration's non-strategy of a planned exit was no longer an option in Afghanistan. Trump refuses to allow Afghanistan to fall into the hands of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Iran, or al Qaeda.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Spain: Barcelona Attack Was Preventable

August 22, 2017  •  Gatestone Institute

As details emerge of the August 17 jihadist attack in Barcelona, the evidence points to one overarching conclusion: the carnage could have been prevented if a series of red flags had not been either missed or ignored.

The failure to heed intelligence warnings, enhance physical security and report suspicious activity are all factors that facilitated the attack, which had been in the planning stage for more than six months.

The attack was also enabled by the idiosyncrasies of Spanish politics, especially the tensions that exist between the central government and the leaders of the independence movement in Catalonia, the autonomous region of which Barcelona is the capital.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Why the White House Needs Another Bannon

August 21, 2017  •  Politico

Steve Bannon was a unique administration figure in many ways, but in another, he was part of a long White House tradition.

For the past four decades, Republicans have viewed themselves as the party of ideas—and a crucial part of that self-perception has been having a person inside the White House to serve as a conduit to conservative thinkers. Ever since Richard Nixon, Republican presidents have installed a kind of resident intellectual who can help shape the president's vision, articulate that vision to conservative thinkers, and—importantly—warn the president of discontent from his key supporters in that conservative idea world.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

In search of a grand U.S. strategy

August 17, 2017  •  The Washington Times

Richard Nixon's rapprochement with China, the end of the Cold War, President Obama's outreach to "the Muslim world," the growth of the (largely American-funded) United Nations — weren't such developments supposed to lead to a safer world, one in which the "international community" would embrace "universal values" and pursue common interests — peace and security key among them?

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Beware Iran's Jihadi Legion

August 14, 2017  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Today, the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group has become a top strategic priority of the United States and its allies in the region. In turn, the efforts of Washington and Middle Eastern partners have begun to pay real dividends, with recent months seeing a significant rollback the group's self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. But lurking in the background of the current counterterrorism fight is another, and potentially even more significant, long-term threat. Since its rise to prominence in 2014, one of the Islamic State's most striking - and formidable - features has been its ability to inspire and attract disaffected extremists to its cause. Experts estimate that, to date, the group has drawn some 32,000 radicals from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and beyond to its nascent state. Thanks to the influx of these foreign extremists, Syria has steadily transformed into a training ground for today's terrorists and a crucible for a coming wave of extremism. It is, in other words, the new Afghanistan - albeit on a significantly larger scale. The number of foreign fighters in the Islamic State is more than one-and-a-half times the size of the total contingent that joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviets in the entire decade between 1979 and 1989. As impressive as it is, however, the size of the Islamic State's jihadi contingent is dwarfed by a second, far less well understood foreign fighter stream: the Shi'ite militias and fighters that have been mobilized over the past two years by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

President Trump is on vacation but that won't stop the Twitter storms

August 8, 2017  •  Fox News

Donald Trump is now officially on a working vacation, and not a minute too soon. Above all, he should give his Twitter thumbs a rest.

Although his administration had a significant foreign policy accomplishment this weekend – the United Nations' Security Council's unanimous approval of the toughest-ever economic sanctions against North Korea to punish Pyongyang for its ongoing nuclear weapons program - President Trump distracted press attention from that achievement with a Twitter storm on Monday morning of no less than seven early bird attacks on the press.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Malarkey detectors and the Temple Mount

July 20, 2017  •  Jerusalem Post

Since the beginning of the week, Palestinian officials have been seeking to stir up violence and controversy, hurling invective at Israel over the decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount.

The Fatah Central Committee called for "a day of rage," Arab residents of the Old City have denounced the measure as an "act of war" and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah labeled the move "gross aggression" and "dangerous."

Don't let the overblown rhetoric fool you. The real menace to peace is not tighter security at the holy site, but rather looser lips among the Palestinian leadership.

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

It's Time for a New Qatar Policy that Puts America's Interests First

July 17, 2017  •  The Federalist

Qatar's promiscuous foreign policy isn't just bad for the region, it's harmful to U.S. interests at home and abroad. To realize the multiple dimensions this challenge presents and only seek to paper over them ensures the same cycle will repeat. Given the goals President Trump laid out in Riyadh, he should seek a change in Doha's duplicitous behavior and bring them back into the fold on terms that align more with his vision. That means the deal worth making is a new one predicated on American interests, not the interests of those addicted to both the money and the status quo.

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Israel's Relations with the Syrian Rebels: An Assessment

July 3, 2017  •  Middle East Review of International Affairs

In light of media coverage regarding Israeli backing for certain Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime along the border with Israel in Quneitra governorate, this article provides a wider overview of the situation along Israel's borders with Syria. It also establishes a better context through provision of extra detail not otherwise present in recent media coverage. The article concludes with an assessment of Israeli policies and aims on the border, given the various concerns regarding the situation in Syria.


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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Is $13.7 Billion a Good Price for Whole Foods?
The brilliant online behemoth absorbs a sometimes careless and deceptive grocery chain.

June 30, 2017  •  National Review

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross called Amazon's recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods a "clever move" because it marries Amazon's marketing and distribution expertise with a "high-quality, niche retailer." One suspects that perhaps Secretary Ross, a 79-year-old billionaire investor and art collector, doesn't do a lot of grocery shopping.

More to the point, as to the "high quality" of Whole Foods' operation and reputation, he might wish to check with his government colleagues at the FDA and Department of Justice, because Whole Foods' violations of state and federal law have been escalating: They've gone from defrauding their customers in various ways to adopting food-preparation practices that actually endanger them.

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