I've forgotten most of the Arabic I once knew. All I can remember now are a few colorful phrases, like "aktar maliki min il malik" - more royalist than the King.
Suppose that you decided that you wanted to scaremonger Iran's nuclear program. An obvious question presents itself: exactly how much should you scaremonger it? Suppose that you decided you wanted to run even with the world's top-drawer Iran nuclear program scaremongers. You might reasonably think to yourself, well, surely the world's preeminent Iran nuclear program scaremongers are Israeli government officials. If I scaremonger Iran's nuclear program like Israeli government officials, no-one's going to accuse me of being an Iran nuclear program scaremonger patzer.
So, you check the press reports to catch up on the latest in Israeli government Iran nuclear program scaremongering:
The Washington Post is at it again. A Sunday article entitled "Kerry tells Israel that Syria accord is no prelude to Iran deal" contained the following gem:
Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.
Saying that something could encourage Iran "to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb" implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium with the purpose of using it for a nuclear bomb. There is, of course, no evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon or that it is diverting uranium from its civil program, which is under IAEA inspection. In fact, both Israeli and US intelligence agree that Iran has not made a decision to pursue nuclear weapons. Since there is no evidence that the aim of any Iranian enrichment is "for a bomb," this passage in the Post is misleading.
When the news broke that President Obama wanted to launch military strikes in Syria, I was sitting in a hotel in Jerusalem nearing the end of a fact-finding mission examining the situation on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What I had recently witnessed was the failure of the US to uphold not only international law but its own stated policy as Israel effectively colonized East Jerusalem and vast swathes of the West Bank, encircling Palestinian cantons in a sea of Israeli-only settlements, roads, state lands, and military zones.
Even the initiation of the US-brokered peace process seems to have had little impact on the Israeli calculus. I arrived in the country the same week as Martin Indyk, the US envoy for the talks. In the days immediately preceding my arrival, and in the three weeks I spent in the country, the Israeli government announced the construction of over 4,400 new settlement units. In the same period of time, 11 Palestinian families were made homeless through house demolitions. Under present circumstances, a contiguous Palestinian state seems like an impossible dream.
We are within reach of doing something unprecedented: stopping a U.S. war before it starts by means of a Congressional vote. We have public opinion our side including a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of Independents. We have MoveOn, CREDO, VoteVets, and Win Without War, among many other groups, active on the left; meanwhile the Campaign for Liberty and Heritage Action are active on the right. ABC's whip count has 217 Members of the House as "oppose" or "likely to oppose."
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Eliot Engel - a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war - told Fox News that President Obama should strike Syria first and get Congressional approval afterwards.
If you've been worn down by too much bad news into thinking that nothing good can ever happen in Washington, here's proof that it ain't so: "the biggest ever pro-Iran diplomacy letter from the Hill."
Days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the incoming Iranian president's plea for engagement with the United States and called for ratcheting up military pressure, a bipartisan letter circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives is urging President Obama to test Hassan Rohani's offer.
The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and David Price (D-N.C.), had garnered 118 signatures by Thursday afternoon, more than a quarter of the House. The bulk of the signatories are Democrats, but 15 Republicans have signed on as well.
With 200 Democrats in the House, that means that the majority of House Democrats signed the letter.
On Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela would offer political asylum to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Regardless of what happens next, President Maduro's announcement was world-historical. With his announcement, Maduro has invited Americans to live in a new world: a "multi-polar" world in which the U.S. government's power is limited, not by a single "superpower adversary," but by the actions of many independent countries which are not U.S. "adversaries"; countries which agree with the U.S. on some things and disagree with the U.S. on other things, as is their right; countries which do not always accede to U.S. demands, as is their right. The day after Snowden claims political asylum in Venezuela, the U.S. and Venezuela will continue their robust economic trade; in particular, Venezuela will continue to be one of the top four suppliers of foreign oil to the United States.
It's a general constant in human affairs that no-one likes to be told that they have too much power for the general welfare. Nonetheless, we're all capable, when we want, of seeing things from the other guy's point of view.
And from the point of view of most people in the world, it's not a good thing for the United States to have too much power in world affairs; from the point of view of most people in the world, it's not a good thing for any one country to have too much power in world affairs.