What's Wrong with Martin Amis's New Holocaust Novel?

More than two decades ago, Martin Amis gave us Time’s Arrow, a novel told from the perspective of a Nazi official who served at Auschwitz. Now he has returned to the death camp with Zone of Interest, a fictional account, partly seen through the eyes of a Jewish prisoner, of a love affair involving a camp functionary and the camp commandant’s wife. The novel showcases Amis’s lavish literary talents, writes Ruth Franklin, especially for satire and parody, but fails to come to terms with the gravity of its subject matter—partly because it labors in the shadow of an entire library of previous fiction and memoirs, but partly for more telling reasons:

Amis is one of the most inventive users of language currently at work in English—his sentences cannot help crackling—as well as a uniquely talented satirist. But when it comes to the deeper problems of the Nazi pathology that gave rise to the jargon he so brilliantly parodies, he does not have much to offer. . . . A novel that raises [possibly unanswerable questions] should at least make an attempt at grappling with them.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Auschwitz, Holocaust fiction, Literature, Martin Amis

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy