GOP and Women; Assessing Nationalism; NATO After Trump; Mideast Homeland
Good morning. It’s Friday, September 21, 2018, the last day of what has been -- here on the East Coast -- a hot, wet, and dreary summer. I’m not talking about the weather, but politics. On this date in 1922, President Warren G. Harding signed a joint resolution of Congress, passed unanimously, calling for a Jewish refuge in “Palestine,” a term that did not then connote a nation for Arabs, but for Jews.
Even so, Congress paid tacit consideration to the fact that people (many of them Christian Arabs) were already living on that land. Today, that resolution, which pre-dates both World War II and the rise of pan-Islamic radicalism in the Middle East, sounds quaintly innocent.
“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.”
Eighty-nine years later to the day, another American president addressed this matter. I’ll explain where Barack Obama came down on this great question in a moment. First, I’d direct you, as I do each weekday, to our front page, which aggregates an array of columns and stories spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors this morning, including the following:
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How Many Women Does the GOP Want to Lose? A.B. Stoddard warns Republicans that their alienation of female voters will be heightened if they don’t handle Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations properly.
Why the Left and Right Can Embrace Nationalism. F.H. Buckley writes that, properly understood, the ideology reflects our country’s core liberal values.
Nationalism May Have Its Virtues, But Can It Work? Max Diamond reviews Yoram Hazony’s new book on the merits of the nation-state.
NATO Forgets That All Politics Are Local. In RealClearDefense, Phil W. Reynolds advises European nations to realize they’ll still be expected to pay more for NATO protections even if Donald Trump is voted out of office in 2020.
Natural Gas Pipeline System Needs to Be Expanded, Upgraded. In RealClearEnergy, Jude Clemente discusses why new gas pipelines are essential to President Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
California’s Lead Paint Abatement Ruling Hurts Low-Income Families. In RealClearPolicy, Kevin Marchman asserts that a court order has caused landlords to avoid maintenance in order to shift abatement responsibility to paint companies.
Anti-Liberal Zealotry, Part 3: Locke and the Liberal Tradition. Peter Berkowitz continues his series in RCPolicy.
War on Vaping Threatens Public Health. Robert Goldberg argues that e-cigarettes are a comparably safe way to help people quit smoking.
Don’t Rely on Homeopathy When Kids Get the Flu. Ross Pomeroy explains why in RealClearScience.
10 Corporations That Gave Capitalism a Bad Name. In RealClearHistory, Brandon Christensen exposes large companies that exploited workers and pillaged nations.
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On September 21, 2011, President Obama spoke to the United Nations on the subject of Palestinian statehood, which now means something much different than it did in 1922. Although the topic was fraught, as has always been the case, it came at a rare moment of hope in the Middle East. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Palestinian political leaders were seeking non-member status at the U.N., but without resolution of any of the issues dividing that region.
Obama wasn’t having any of it. In a 35-minute speech interrupted not once by applause, America’s 44th president invoked the horror of the Holocaust to defend Jewish aspirations and Israeli security concerns. Yes, the Arab Spring was a ray of light, Obama suggested, but it didn’t change the long-held bedrock U.S. position: that a dual-state solution in that region couldn’t be done by fiat. It could only be accomplished through the hard work of negotiations, and a dialogue that required Arab concessions -- the primary compromise being Israel’s right to exist and to defend its borders.
Even some of America’s staunchest allies on this question wondered if it wasn’t time to break out of the box, however. In his speech to the U.N. that week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy broke with the United States. “Sixty years without moving one inch forward,” he said. “Doesn’t it seem like time to do something new?”
In his rejoinder, Barack Obama sided with American presidents going back to Warren Harding.
“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” he said. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics