To Read: George Friedman examines the relevance of Thomas Jefferson's foreign policy principles to today's America-
Jefferson wanted to avoid foreign entanglements except in cases where there was substantial benefit to American national interests. He was prepared to apply his principle differently then. The notion of avoiding foreign entanglements must therefore be seen as a principle that, like all well-developed principles, is far more complex than it appears. Foreign entanglements must be avoided when the ends are trivial or unattainable. But when we can get Louisiana, the principle of avoidance dictates involvement.
As in domestic matters, ideology is easy. Principles are difficult. They can be stated succinctly, but they must be applied with all due sophistication.
Quote: “We spent so much damn time navel gazing, and that’s the tragedy of it”, a former White House senior official, commenting on the Obama Administration's Syria policy.
Number: 83, the percentage of US government experts who trust Israel.
To Read: Uri Sadot explains why he thinks Israel just might, after all, strike Iran without American approval-
As American and Iranian diplomats attempt to reach a rapprochement that would end the historical enmity between their two governments, Israel is weary of being sidelined by its most important ally. While the U.S. incentive for diplomacy is great, it could place Washington in a short-term conflict of interests with Israel, which views Iran as an existential threat. With the renewed negotiations in place, will Israel dare strike a Middle Eastern nation in defiance of its closest allies? It seems unlikely, but 32 years ago, the answer was yes.
Quote: “I’m always willing to meet with him”, PA President Abbas on the prospect of direct talks with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Number: 70, the voter turnout rate in Jerusalem's ultra orthodox neighborhoods (it was 30-50% in secular neighborhoods)
The Middle East
To Read: Colum Lynch takes a look at the deepening divide between the US and Saudi Arabia-
When Saudi Arabia rejected its U.N. Security Council seat on Friday, the move caught nearly everyone off-guard. In retrospect, it shouldn't have.
In recent months, the United States has increasingly pursued a foreign policy at odds with its Persian Gulf ally, scaling back assistance to the Saudi-backed Egyptian military, abruptly dropping its plans to attack Syria despite Saudi support, and entering into a new round of nuclear talks with the kingdom's regional rival, Iran. According to U.N. diplomats and officials, the Security Council move merely reflected the Saudis' deeper anxiety over the course of American diplomacy in the Middle East, exposing a deepening rift in one of America's most important and longstanding alliances in the region. In short, Saudi Arabia's U.N. snub was a sign of the monarchy's mounting panic over the possible demise of its special relationship with Washington.
Quote: "If we say yes to Geneva 2 conference, people will cry out for the downfall of the conference. Our people have grown weary of false promises and empty words. What right are you asking us to shoulder this huge responsibility?", Syria opposition chief Ahmad Jarba commenting on the Syria peace talks at a news conference.
Number: $10m, the cost of the recently discovered Gaza tunnel (which also required the work of 100 men for two years).
The Jewish World
To Read: According to Michel Gurfinkiel, the migration of the Jews of France has already begun-
For quite a long time, many Israelis were skeptical about a large-scale immigration wave away from France ever occurring. The consensus was that French Jews talk a lot about immigrating, they buy apartments for vacationing, but at the end of the day very few of them stay abroad. Now, Jewish migration out of France is a proven reality (in fact, this goes for migration in general: many non-Jewish French are considering emigrating as well). From an Israeli perspective, the questions now are whether emigrants will go to Israel or to another place, and what the numbers really are.
Quote: “Between Beckett and Yates and James Joyce, these were old Irish writers. The best f****** writers in the world not one was a Jew. I had a nervous breakdown. I cried for about a month. I was only restored by when they told me Modigliani was a Jew”, Mel Brooks talks Jewish Heritage with Conan.
Number: 50, the number of new Jewish projects that will receive initial funding from the Schusterman philanthropic network.
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