The Adventures of Two-Gun Cohen

Aug. 26 2013

How a poor Jewish boy from London’s East End became chief of security for Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese nationalist and revolutionary founder of modern China.

Read more at Asian Jewish Life

More about: Chiang Kai-shek, China, Israel, Morris Cohen, Sun Yat-sen, Zionism


Benjamin Netanyahu Has Succeeded Where Barack Obama Failed

Sept. 28 2016

Difficult though it may be for American liberals to accept, writes Walter Russell Mead, Israel’s prime minister has conducted a far more successful foreign policy than his American counterpart:

The reason that Netanyahu has been more successful than Obama is that Netanyahu understands how the world works better than Obama does. Netanyahu believes that in the harsh world of international politics, power wisely used matters more than good intentions eloquently phrased. Obama sought to build bridges to Sunni Muslims by making eloquent speeches in Cairo and Istanbul while ignoring the political realities that Sunni states cared most about—like the rise of Iran and the Sunni cause in Syria. Netanyahu read the Sunnis more clearly than Obama did; the value of Israeli power to a Sunni world worried about Iran has led to something close to a revolution in Israel’s regional position. . . .

Obama is an aspiring realist who wanted to work with undemocratic leaders on practical agreements. But, despite the immense power of the country he leads, Obama has been unable to gain the necessary respect from leaders like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping that would permit the pragmatic relationships he wanted to build. Netanyahu is a practicing realist who has succeeded where Obama failed. Netanyahu has a practical relationship with Putin; they work together where their interests permit, and where their interests clash, Putin respects Netanyahu’s red lines. Obama’s pivot to Asia brought the U.S. closer to India and Japan, but has opened a deep and dangerous divide with China. Under Netanyahu’s leadership, Israel has stronger, deeper relationships with India, China, and Japan than at any time in the past, and Asia may well replace Europe as Israel’s primary trade and investment partners as these relationships develop.

Inevitably, all these developments undercut the salience of the Palestinian issue for world politics and even for Arab politics and they strengthen Israel’s position in the region and beyond. Obama has never really grasped this; Netanyahu has based his strategy on it.

Read more at American Interest

More about: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy