The Atlantic »

Braininess Is Now the Brand

June 14, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Among the biggest surprises of the Democratic presidential campaign so far are the rise of Pete Buttigieg and the resurgence of Elizabeth Warren, both of whom, according to a new Des Moines Register poll, have moved into a virtual tie for second place in Iowa with Bernie Sanders. In many ways, the Buttigieg and Warren phenomena are distinct: Buttigieg promises generational change; Warren is almost 70. Buttigieg emphasizes his success in a conservative state; Warren stresses her willingness to challenge corporate power. Buttigieg has become a darling of the big donors whom Warren eschews.

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The Forward »

Netanyahu Has Changed The Democratic Party – One Candidate At A Time

June 12, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

If you don’t think Benjamin Netanyahu has changed the debate about Israelinside the Democratic Party, just listen to Pete Buttigieg’s foreign policy speech yesterday at Indiana University. Buttigieg is no radical; he’s a darling of the post-Obama Democratic establishment. And yet he said things on Tuesday that would have been unthinkable during Obama’s campaigns.

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The Atlantic »

Democrats Are Avoiding the China Question

June 10, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Listening to the Democratic candidates for president, you would probably not know that globalization, as it has existed for the past several decades, may soon cease to exist. Since at least the turn of the century, the close ties between the United States and China, which together constitute 40 percent of the world’s GDP, have bound the world economy together. But this deep interdependence—which is sometimes called “Chimerica”—may not survive Donald Trump. It’s not just his tariffs on Chinese goods, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on American products, which if not repealed will likely depress trade between the nations. Trump is also building a wall between China’s and America’s biggest companies. In May, his administration forced Google to stop supplying crucial software to Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker. China will likely respond by bolstering its own suppliers so it’s never at America’s mercy again.

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The Forward »

Opinion 13 Democrats Recorded Messages About Israel. Only One Spoke With Courage

June 5, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The mantra of Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign is “Brave Wins.” Yet in her video message to the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum this week, the New York Senator didn’t even mention the word “Palestinian.”

That was typical. The 2020 Democratic hopefuls talk a lot about having the courage not just to challenge Donald Trump but to transform America’s political and economic system. But with the exception of Bernie Sanders, the leading contenders couldn’t muster the nerve to offer any substantive criticism of Israeli policy in front of an establishment Jewish audience, even by video.

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The Forward »

It’s Time to End America’s Blank Check Military Aid to Israel

May 22, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared that American aid to Israel is “something that can be discussed” in Washington. Her comments made news precisely because America’s policy of giving Israel billions in aid without expecting any policy changes in return hasn’t actually been discussed — or at least questioned — in either party in more than a quarter-century. That needs to change.

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The Atlantic »

Even Democrats Keep Thinking Iran Is Worse Than Saudi Arabia

May 21, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

With ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are challenging the ideological parameters that have defined American domestic policy since the Reagan era. If only they were doing so on foreign policy too.

Consider their responses to President Donald Trump’s recent escalation with Iran. Yes, one Democrat after another has called on Congress to prevent Trump from going to war. But Democrats have not frontally challenged the core assumption underlying Trump’s belligerence: that Iran is a uniquely malevolent actor in the Middle East.

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The Forward »

Synagogue Shootings Shattered Our Illusion. America Is No Safe Haven For Jews.

April 28, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Saturday, April 27, a few hours before the shooting at the Chabad in Poway, California, I walked from my hotel in Amsterdam—where my family has been on vacation—to a synagogue I found online. I arrived at a building with no external Jewish markings. The door was locked. When I tried to open it, a man with a walkie-talkie showed up and explained that he was from the community security service.

He asked me where I was going. I said I was going to shul. He asked me if I knew what day it was on the Jewish calendar. I said it was Shabbat and the last day of Passover. He asked me to describe a Shabbat service and the rituals Jews perform on Passover. Then he said, “Complete this sentence: Shema Yisrael….”

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The Atlantic »

Unlike His Rivals, Biden Sees Trump as an Aberration

April 25, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The key word in Joe Biden’s announcement video is aberrant. If Donald Trump serves only one term, Biden declares, “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time.”

Before Trump, the former vice president implies, a moral consensus reigned. America, he declares, “is an idea”—an idea that “everyone is treated with dignity,” and that “gives hate no safe harbor” and “instills in every person in this country the belief that no matter where you start, there’s nothing you can’t achieve if you work at it.” That, Biden explains, is “what we believe”—or at least we did, before Trump came along.

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The Atlantic »

China Isn’t Cheating on Trade

April 21, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

News reports suggest that in the coming weeks, the United States and China will sign an agreement that repeals the tariffs the two nations have been levying on each other’s goods for the past nine months. If past behavior is any guide, Donald Trump will call it the greatest deal ever, and global markets will breathe a sigh of relief. But the deal will likely constitute only a modest pause in Washington’s growing hostility toward Beijing.

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The Atlantic »

Ilhan Omar’s Deeply American Message

April 15, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

I watched Ilhan Omar’s recent address to the Council of American Islamic Relations for the same reason most people did: to see whether she had—as Donald Trump claimed—minimized the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What I found was unexpected. In offering a vision for how to live as an American Muslim, her speech to CAIR beautifully evoked what I treasure about being an American Jew.

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