China loses its allure

January 27, 2014

This week’s print edition of The Economist brings a worth reading story on China: life is getting harder for foreign companies there.

“According to the late Roberto Goizueta, a former boss of The Coca-Cola Company, April 15th 1981 was “one of the most important days…in the history of the world.” That date marked the opening of the first Coke bottling plant to be built in China since the Communist revolution.

The claim was over the top, but not absurd. Mao Zedong’s disastrous policies had left the economy in tatters. The height of popular aspiration was the “four things that go round”: bicycles, sewing machines, fans and watches. The welcome that Deng Xiaoping, China’s then leader, gave to foreign firms was part of a series of changes that turned China into one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world.

For the past three decades, multinationals have poured in. After the financial crisis, many companies looked to China for salvation. Now it looks as though the gold rush may be over.”

Read full story.


Trade Deals Take Global Commerce Back to the Future

January 17, 2014

Edward Alden argues in an article for World Politics Review that the United States and European Union are reasserting their control over global trade rules after two decades of stalemate with developing countries.

After the negotiations that led to the creation of the WTO in 1995, developing country officials were determined to never again allow the U.S. and EU dictate the final terms of a global trade agreement. For the past two decades, until this month’s modest agreement in Bali, they have made good on that threat. But through ambitious regional deals, the U.S. and EU are reasserting control over global trade rules.

“Never again. That was the sentiment I remember hearing over and over from developing country officials following the tumultuous completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations in 1993 that led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) two years later. Once again, most of them believed, the United States and the European Union had dictated the final terms of a global trade agreement and forced it down the throats of the rest of the world. These countries were determined to have far more say in the shape of any future deals.

For the past two decades, until this month’s modest agreement in Bali to adopt new “trade facilitation” measures, the developing countries have made good on that threat. They have insisted that any new global trade agreement, such as that pursued unsuccessfully over the past decade through the Doha Round, pay special attention to their needs and priorities in areas like agriculture, manufacturing and intellectual property rules. Their united opposition has made it impossible to conclude another big global trade round on terms acceptable to the U.S. and EU.”

Read full story.


The Meaning of Israel: A Personal View

January 15, 2014

In light of the obsessive, hypocritical focus by several scholarly groups taking aim at Israel, not to mention the permanent chorus of Israel’s detractors both here and abroad, David Harris wants to offer a totally different view of the Jewish state. This is a time to stand up and speak out.

An op-ed by David Harris
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
The Jerusalem Post, January 15, 2014

Against the backdrop of recent efforts in some academic circles to vilify and isolate Israel, let me put my cards on the table right up front. I’m not dispassionate when it comes to Israel. Quite the contrary.

The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from around the world; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are accomplishments beyond my wildest imagination.

For centuries, Jews around the world prayed for a return to Zion. We are the lucky ones who have seen those prayers answered. I am grateful to witness this most extraordinary period in Jewish history and Jewish sovereignty.

And when one adds the key element, namely, that all this took place not in the Middle West but in the Middle East, where Israel’s neighbors determined from day one to destroy it through any means available to them—from full-scale wars to wars of attrition; from diplomatic isolation to international delegitimation; from primary to secondary to even tertiary economic boycotts; from terrorism to the spread of anti-Semitism, often thinly veiled as anti-Zionism—the story of Israel’s first 65 years becomes all the more remarkable.

No other country has faced such a constant challenge to its very right to exist, even though the age-old biblical, spiritual, and physical connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel is unique in the annals of history.

Indeed,  that connection is of a totally different character from the basis on which, say, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the bulk of Latin American countries were established, that is, by Europeans with no legitimate claim to those lands who decimated indigenous populations and proclaimed their own authority. Or, for that matter, North African countries that were conquered and occupied by Arab-Islamic invaders and totally redefined in their national character.

No other country has faced such overwhelming odds against its very survival, or experienced the same degree of never-ending international demonization by too many nations that throw integrity and morality to the wind, and slavishly follow the will of the energy-rich and more numerous Arab states.

Yet Israelis have never succumbed to a fortress mentality, never abandoned their deep yearning for peace with their neighbors or willingness to take unprecedented risks to achieve that peace, never lost their zest for life, and never flinched from their determination to build a vibrant, democratic state.

This story of nation-building is entirely without precedent.

 Here was a people brought to the brink of utter destruction by the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany and its allies. Here was a people shown to be utterly powerless to influence a largely indifferent world to stop, or even slow down, the Final Solution. And here was a people, numbering barely 600,000, living cheek-by-jowl with often hostile Arab neighbors, under unsympathetic British occupation, on a harsh soil with no significant natural resources other than human capital in then Mandatory Palestine.

That the blue-and-white flag of an independent Israel could be planted on this land, to which the Jewish people had been intimately linked since the time of Abraham, just three years after the Second World War’s end—and with the support of a decisive majority of UN members at the time—truly boggles the mind.

And what’s more, that this tiny community of Jews, including survivors of the Holocaust who had somehow made their way to Mandatory Palestine despite the British blockade, could successfully defend themselves against the onslaught of five Arab standing armies that launched their attack on Israel’s first day of existence, is almost beyond imagination.

To understand the essence of Israel’s meaning, it is enough to ask how the history of the Jewish people might have been different had there been a Jewish state in 1933, in 1938, or even in 1941. If Israel had controlled its borders and the right of entry instead of Britain, if Israel had had embassies and consulates throughout Europe, how many more Jews might have escaped and found sanctuary?

Instead, Jews had to rely on the goodwill of embassies and consulates of other countries and, with woefully few exceptions, they found there neither the “good” nor the “will” to assist.

I witnessed firsthand what Israeli embassies and consulates meant to Jews drawn by the pull of Zion or the push of hatred. I stood in the courtyard of the Israeli embassy in Moscow and saw thousands of Jews seeking a quick exit from a Soviet Union in the throes of cataclysmic change, fearful that the change might be in the direction of renewed chauvinism and anti-Semitism.

Awestruck, I watched up-close as Israel never faltered, not even for a moment, in transporting Soviet Jews to the Jewish homeland, even as Scud missiles launched from Iraq traumatized the nation in 1991. It says a lot about the conditions they were leaving behind that these Jews continued to board planes for Tel Aviv while missiles were exploding in Israeli population centers. In fact, on two occasions I sat in sealed rooms with Soviet Jewish families who had just arrived in Israel during these missile attacks. Not once did any of them question their decision to establish new lives in the Jewish state. And equally, it says a lot about Israel that, amid all the pressing security concerns, it managed to continue to welcome these new immigrants without missing a beat.

And how can I ever forget the surge of pride—Jewish  pride—that  completely enveloped me in July 1976 on hearing the astonishing news of Israel’s daring rescue of the 106 Jewish hostages held by Arab and German terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda, over 2,000 miles from Israel’s borders? The unmistakable message: Jews in danger will never again be alone, without hope, and totally dependent on others for their safety.

Not least, I can still remember, as if it were yesterday, my very first visit to Israel. It was in 1970, and I was not quite 21 years old.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I recall being quite emotional from the moment I boarded the El Al plane to the very first glimpse of the Israeli coastline from the plane’s window. As I disembarked, I surprised myself by wanting to kiss the ground. In the ensuing weeks, I marveled at everything I saw. To me, it was as if every apartment building, factory, school, orange grove, and Egged bus was nothing less than a miracle. A state, a Jewish state, was unfolding before my very eyes.

After centuries of persecutions, pogroms, exiles, ghettos, pales of settlement, inquisitions, blood libels, forced conversions, discriminatory legislation, and immigration restrictions—and, no less, after centuries of prayers, dreams, and yearning—the Jews had come back home and were  the masters of their own fate.

I was overwhelmed by the mix of people, backgrounds, languages, and lifestyles, and by the intensity of life itself. Everyone, it seemed, had a compelling story to tell. There were Holocaust survivors with harrowing tales of their years in the camps. There were Jews from Arab countries, whose stories of persecution in such countries as Iraq, Libya, and Syria were little known at the time. There were the first Jews arriving from the USSR seeking repatriation in the Jewish homeland. There were the sabras—native-born Israelis—many of whose families had lived in Palestine for generations. There were local Arabs, both Christian and Muslim. There were Druze, whose religious practices are kept secret from the outside world. The list goes on and on.

I was moved beyond words by the sight of Jerusalem and the fervor with which Jews of all backgrounds prayed at the Western Wall. Coming from a nation that was at the time deeply divided and demoralized, I found my Israeli peers to be unabashedly proud of their country, eager to serve in the military, and, in many cases, determined to volunteer for the most elite combat units. They felt personally involved in the enterprise of building a Jewish state, more than 1,800 years after the  Romans defeated the Bar Kochba revolt,  the last Jewish attempt at sovereignty on this very land.

To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel’s case,  it began against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that laid claim to the very same land, and tragically refused a UN proposal to divide the land into Arab and Jewish states; as the Arab world sought to isolate, demoralize, and ultimately destroy the state; as Israel’s population doubled in the first three years of the country’s existence, putting an unimaginable strain on severely limited resources; as the nation was forced to devote a vast portion of its limited national budget to defense expenditures; and as the country coped with forging a national identity and social consensus among a population that could not have been more geographically, linguistically, socially, and culturally heterogeneous.

Moreover, there is the tricky and underappreciated issue of the potential clash between the messy realities of statehood and, in this case, the ideals and faith of a people. It is one thing for a people to live their religion as a minority; it is quite another to exercise sovereignty as the majority population while remaining true to one’s ethical standards. Inevitably, tension will arise between a people’s spiritual or moral self-definition and the exigencies of statecraft, between our highest concepts of human nature and the daily realities of individuals in decision-making positions wielding power and balancing a variety of competing interests.

Even so, shall we raise the bar so high as to ensure that Israel—forced to function in the often gritty, morally ambiguous world of international relations and politics, especially as a small, still endangered state—will always fall short?

Yet, the notion that Israel would ever become ethically indistinguishable from any other country, reflexively seeking cover behind the convenient justification of realpolitik to explain its behavior, is equally unacceptable.

Israelis, with only 65 years of statehood under their belts, are among the newer practitioners of statecraft. With all its remarkable success, consider the daunting political, social, and economic challenges in the United States 65 or even 165 years after independence, or, for that matter, the challenges it faces today, including stubborn social inequalities. And let’s not forget that the United States, unlike Israel, is a vast country blessed with abundant natural resources, oceans on two-and-a half sides, a gentle neighbor to the north, and a weaker neighbor to the south.

Like any vibrant democracy, America is a permanent work in progress. The same holds true for Israel. Loving Israel as I do, though, doesn’t mean overlooking its shortcomings, including the excessive and unholy intrusion of religion into politics, the marginalization of non-Orthodox Jewish religious streams, the dangers posed by political and religious zealots, and the unfinished, if undeniably complex, task of integrating Israeli Arabs into the mainstream.

But it also doesn’t mean allowing such issues to overshadow Israel’s remarkable achievements, accomplished, as I’ve said, under the most difficult of circumstances.

In just 65 years, Israel has built a thriving democracy, unique in the region, including a Supreme Court prepared, when it deems appropriate, to overrule the prime minister or the military establishment, a feisty parliament that includes every imaginable viewpoint along the political spectrum, a robust civil society, and a vigorous press.

It has built an economy whose per capita GNP exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors—Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

It has built universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways, and won a slew of Nobel Prizes in the process.

It has built one of the world’s most powerful militaries—always under civilian control, I might add—to ensure its survival in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. It has shown the world how a tiny nation, no larger than New Jersey or Wales, can, by sheer ingenuity, will, courage, and commitment, defend itself against those who would destroy it through conventional armies or armies of suicide bombers. And it has done all this while striving to adhere to a strict code of military conduct that has few rivals in the democratic world, much less elsewhere—in the face of an enemy prepared to send children to the front lines and seek cover in mosques, schools, and hospitals.

It has built a quality of life that ranks it among the world’s healthiest nations and with a particularly high life expectancy, indeed higher than that of the U.S.

It has built a thriving culture, whose musicians, writers, and artists are admired far beyond Israel’s borders. In doing so, it has lovingly taken an ancient language, Hebrew, the language of the prophets, and rendered it modern to accommodate the vocabulary of the contemporary world.

It has built a climate of respect for other faith groups, including Baha’i, Christianity and Islam, and their places of worship. Can any other nation in the area make the same claim?

It has built an agricultural sector that has had much to teach developing nations about turning an arid soil into fields of fruits, vegetables, cotton, and flowers.

Step back from the twists and turns of the daily information overload coming from the Middle East and consider the sweep of the last 65 years. Look at the light-years traveled since the darkness of the Holocaust, and marvel at the miracle of a decimated people returning to a tiny sliver of land—the land of our ancestors, the land of Zion and Jerusalem—and successfully building a modern, vibrant state against all the odds, on that ancient foundation.

In the final analysis, then, the story of Israel is the wondrous realization of a 3,500-year link among a land, a faith, a language, a people, and a vision. It is an unparalleled story of tenacity and determination, of courage and renewal.

And it is ultimately a metaphor for the triumph of enduring hope over the temptation of despair.


100th Anniversary of Current History

January 1, 2014

Current History, the journal of contemporary international affairs, marks its 100th anniversary with a special January issue: “Global Trends, 2014.” The issue features essays by Michael Mandelbaum, Larry Diamond, Sheila Jasanoff, G. John Ikenberry, Joseph S. Nye Jr., Scott D. Sagan, Bruce Russett, Martha Crenshaw, and more.

Perils and Progress

by Alan Sorensen
Editor of Current History

After Current History began publication a hundred years ago, the world suffered a succession of horrors: world wars, depression, totalitarian tyranny, genocide, nuclear terror, environmental threats. These sorely tested the modern belief in progress. Yet over this same century, knowledge and innovations accumulated, liberal values and open markets spread, and nations laid the foundations for collective security and global governance.

For our centennial issue, we asked a dozen scholars to consider major trends that emerged in the past century and how these might influence events moving forward. A fair reading of their essays gives cause to hope for a bright, if complicated, future.

Not that progress will be automatic. All the essays, on the contrary, emphasize the importance of politics.

The world still depends on America to safeguard security and promote globalization, according to Michael Mandelbaum. Sheila Jasanoff warns that global warming could threaten the human species with ruin, absent concerted effort. The challenges posed by globalization, says G. John Ikenberry, increase the demand for international coordination. Will supply follow? Amrita Narlikar argues that burden sharing will require greater understanding of rising powers’ interests, world views, and negotiating strategies. Still, as Ikenberry suggests, China and other emerging powers have little interest in overturning the US-built international order that has facilitated their progress.

A recent wave of democratic regressions, governing failures in advanced nations, autocratic resistance, and turmoil following the Arab Spring raise concerns about the health of democracy within nations, concedes Larry Diamond.

However, as he points out in his essay, “it is worth considering the intrinsic political dilemmas of authoritarian regimes, and the tenacity of popular aspirations for government that is open and accountable.”

The swelling ranks of a global middle class ought to boost democratic prospects. Nicholas Eberstadt notes that “the greatest population explosion in history” over the past hundred years did not prevent the “greatest jump in per capita income levels ever recorded.” The rapid expansion of global markets has lifted millions from poverty. And the international economy, observes Uri Dadush, is no zero-sum game in which countries prosper only at others’ expense.

In another demonstration that politics matters, the rich nations’ current stagnation has resulted, Dadush says, not from “the rise of the rest,” but from “errors in macroeconomic policy and regulation.”

The security realm, too, is a positive-sum game in which mutual interests multiply. Increasing economic interdependence and advances in liberal norms and institutions account for a demonstrable decline in warfare, writes Bruce Russett.

The ongoing information revolution, according to Joseph S. Nye Jr., is helping to disperse power to more actors, including groups that seek to influence others via example and persuasion, rather than coercion. Martha Crenshaw observes that threats nowadays arise less from rivalry among great powers than from extremist groups operating in frail states. But keeping the nuclear peace, Scott D. Sagan warns, will depend on sustained cooperation to discourage proliferation and uphold the taboo against using atomic arms.

Moral progress, meanwhile, continues apace— evidenced, for example, in evolving attitudes about torture, the treatment of women and minorities, and human rights generally. The struggle for gay rights, highlighted by Omar Encarnación, also underscores the importance of politics. Human rights, too, are not a zero-sum contest (gay rights do not threaten heterosexual rights). And here again, there is cause for optimism.

As Encarnación notes: “International norms, once established, tend to spread to even the most recalcitrant corners of the world as part of the international ‘socialization’ of states.”!

To subscribe, visit currenthistory.com. Or call 1-800-293-3755 in the US, or 856-931-6681 outside the US.


Happy New Year from HIRAM7 REVIEW!

December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from HIRAM7 REVIEW!

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. HIRAM7 REVIEW was viewed about 55,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Where did they come from?

That’s 149 countries in all!

Most visitors came from The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Germany & France were not far behind.

Thanks for flying with HIRAM7 REVIEW in 2013.

We look forward to serving you again in 2014! Happy New Year!

… but wait, there’s more! This is our “Thank You” Song.


Stanley Fischer To Become Next Federal Reserve Vice Chairman

December 12, 2013

Stanley Fischer, the former Bank of Israel governor and International Monetary Fund (IMF) official, is alleged to be the successor of Janet Yellen as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

STANLEY FISCHER

As a professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he taught Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term ends in January 2014, and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.

Washington Post columnist Neil Irwin, and author of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, explains why Stanley Fischer is the most qualified candidate for the job.

“A crisis-management veteran. Fischer has faced trial by fire, most dramatically as the deputy managing director at the IMF from 1994 to 2001. He was on the front lines dealing with of a series of emerging market crises, including in Mexico, East Asia and Russia.

In other words, if there were to be a crisis in one or more of the emerging powers like China, India or Brazil, it would be the sort of thing that Fischer has spent his career preparing for. That is doubly important right now, as money has been gushing out of emerging economies in the past few months, driving their currencies down and their borrowing costs up.”

Read full story.


Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) or The Making Of A Myth

December 6, 2013

Politicians and people around the globe pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, 2013. Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from apartheid to multiracial democracy after spending almost three decades in prison.

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

“Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy,” argues foreign policy analyst Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast.

“In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of terrorist groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail. In 2004, after Mandela criticized the Iraq War, an article in National Review said his ‘vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.’ As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list, thus requiring the 89-year-old Mandela to receive a special waiver from the secretary of State to visit the U.S.”

Read full story.


Das Biblikon-Projekt – Die Entschlüsselung des Bibel-Codes

December 3, 2013

Gut ein halbes Jahrzehnt hat sich der Politikwissenschaftler und Historiker Tomas Michael Spahn neben seinen beruflichen Aufgaben als Berater für politische Kommunikation und Analytik dem Alten Testament der christlichen Bibel – dem Tanach der Juden – gewidmet.

Was als der Versuch eines kurzen Essays über die Lebenswirklichkeit des biblischen Königs Josia begann, wurde zu einer Analyse dieses Werks, die mittlerweile ziemlich genau 1.350 gedruckte Seiten umfasst und die Spahn jetzt unter dem Titel „Das Biblikon-Projekt – Die Entschlüsselung des Bibel-Codes“ veröffentlicht hat.

Die Ergebnisse dieser Analyse sind – zurückhaltend formuliert – sensationell. Denn im Grunde stellt Spahn 2.500 Jahre gelebte Menschheitsgeschichte auf den Kopf und entlarvt die Wirklichkeit der Religion als etwas, das er als “sacred fiction” – heilige Fiktion – bezeichnet.

„Schon Gandhi erkannte: Das Grundproblem bei jeglicher Betrachtung menschlicher Interaktionen und historischer Vorgänge ist die Unterscheidung zwischen Wahrheit und Wirklichkeit“, sagt der frühere Leiter der Öffentlichkeitsarbeit einer Berliner Landesbehörde und Ressortleiter einer deutschen Tageszeitung.

“Wahrheit ist das, was war oder ist – was tatsächlich war oder ist. Nicht das, was gewesen sein soll oder sein könnte oder von dem wir glauben, dass es war oder ist. Sobald wir letzteres jedoch zu unserer persönlichen Scheinwahrheit machen, wird es zur Wirklichkeit. Wirklichkeit kann also sein, ohne auf Wahrheit zu beruhen – und gleichwohl unterstellen wir, dass es so sei.“

Wer in dreißig Berufsjahren als politischer Redakteur und als Kommunikationsverantwortlicher in Unternehmen und Verwaltung tätig war, lerne den Unterschied zwischen Wahrheit und Wirklichkeit zu erkennen, meint Spahn. Als Redakteur sei es seine Aufgabe gewesen, die ihm präsentierte Wirklichkeit auf ihren Wahrheitskern zurück zu führen. Als Öffentlichkeitsarbeiter hingegen habe er das genaue Gegenteil gemacht: Aus der Sache wurde eine Wirklichkeit für die Öffentlichkeit, die mit der Wahrheit nicht immer etwas zu tun haben musste.

Damit schließt sich für den Analytiker der Kreis zur Bibel. Eines der faszinierendsten Phänomene der gelebten Wirklichkeit sei es, dass selbst in den renommiertesten, historischen Fachbüchern die im Tanach geschilderte Geschichte als historischer Tatsachenbericht eingeflossen ist.

Spahn: “Sachlich betrachtet hat die Bibel erst einmal nicht mehr historischen Wahrheitsgehalt als beispielsweise die Ilias oder das Siegfried-Lied. Kein Historiker würde auf die Idee kommen, diese literarischen Werke ungeprüft als geschichtliche Wahrheit in seine Werke zu schreiben.“

Ganz anders bei den Erzählungen zum Ursprung des Monotheismus: Jenseits jeglicher Fremdquelle, die die Geschichten belegen könnte, seien die biblischen Darstellungen als vorgebliche Wahrheit in die Geschichtsschreibung eingeflossen und fänden sich dort bis heute. Für Spahn ist dieses der trotz abendländischer Aufklärung nachwirkende Wahrheitsanspruch der Kirche, der “als Wirklichkeit derart tief in unserem kollektiven Bewusstsein verankert ist, dass sich kaum einer traut, ihn als das zu bezeichnen, was er ist: Eine Fabel, deren Wahrheitsnachweis bislang ausgeblieben ist.”

Als der Publizist und Nahostkenner begann, sich intensiv mit den Geschichten des Alten Testaments zu beschäftigen, stieß er schnell auf Ungereimtheiten, die seit geraumer Zeit die historische Wissenschaft zu Korrekturen hätten bewegen müssen. “Eine der grundsätzlichen Fragen ist es, in welcher Schrift der eine Gott seine zehn Gebote in den Fels des Berges Sinai geschrieben hat”, befindet Spahn. Laut biblischer Darstellung habe sich dieser Vorgang auf der Flucht der Hebräer, die korrekt als „Seitenwechsler“ zu übersetzen seien, aus Ägypten ereignet – und damit viele Jahrhunderte, bevor die legendären Könige David und Salomo das Großreich Israel gegründet hätten.

“Wenn es so ist, wie der Tanach es darstellt, stehen wir vor einem Problem. Die Wissenschaft weiß heute, dass die hebräischen Schriftzeichen sich keinesfalls vor der letzten vorchristlichen Jahrtausendwende entwickeln haben. In welcher Schrift also schrieb der Gott Jahuah Jahrhunderte vor dieser Zeit seine Gebote in den Sinai?” Hinzu käme, dass auch die Geschichte von der gewaltsamen Übernahme des “Landes Kanaan” – und damit der gesamte Komplex der fünf Bücher Mose sowie die Josua-Geschichte -zumindest dann nicht in Ivrit geschrieben worden sein können, wenn sie als Tatsachenberichte zum Zeitpunkt des geschilderten Geschehens verfasst wurden. Diesen Eindruck jedoch vermittelten diese Geschichten – und da nicht sein kann, was nachweislich nicht möglich ist, müsse es sich bei diesen sechs Büchern um deutlich später schriftlich verfasste Erzählungen handeln.

Damit jedoch müssten ihre Inhalte nicht zwingend unrichtig sein. Sie könnten immer noch auf tatsächlichem Geschehen beruhen. Wenn sie allerdings, wie der israelische Archäologe Israel Finkelstein nachgewiesen hat, eine Welt des achten oder siebten vorchristlichen Jahrhunderts beschreiben, dann haben sie in etwa den gleichen historischen Wert wie jene mittelalterlichen Kunstwerke, die die Juden zur Zeit Christi in der Garderobe der mittelalterlichen Ghettos zeigen. Von einem wäre in diesem Falle jedoch zwingend auszugehen: Eine möglicherweise wahre Geschichte hätte über die Jahrhunderte zahllose Veränderungen erfahren können, wäre erweitert und glorifiziert worden. Insofern bliebe vielleicht ein Kern an Wahrheit.

Die Frage sei dann jedoch: Welches ist dieser Kern. Denn es gibt auch andere Ungereimtheiten, die nicht passen wollen. So kauft der aus Mesopotamien zugewanderte Urvater Abraham einem Hethiter ein Grundstück ab. Das Problem: Die Hethiter waren erst deutlich später in der Region anzutreffen, als zu jenem Zeitraum, in dem die Abraham-Geschichte historisch zu verorten ist. Andererseits waren “chét”, wie die Hethiter im Original heißen, eine gängige Bezeichnung der assyrischen Herrscher in Ninive für die Bewohner der Region zwischen Jerusalem und Anatolien. Die assyrischen Konflikte mit diesen Chét wiederum fallen in die Zeit des achten und siebten vorchristlichen Jahrhunderts und stützen so die Erkenntnis Finkelsteins, dass wesentliche Teile des Tanach nicht vor dieser Zeit verfasst wurden.

Der Kommunikationsexperte Spahn wandte sich in einem weiteren Schritt konkreten Fragen der Sprache und des erzählerischen Aufbaus des Alten Testaments zu. Dabei kommt er neben zahlreichen anderen neuen Erkenntnissen zu der Feststellung, dass die Autoren der Bibel, vergleichbar den Kolportage-Autoren des 19. Jahrhunderts, über Master-Stories verfügten, die mit unterschiedlicher Besetzung zu unterschiedlichen Zeiten in das Gesamtwerk einfließen. Beispielhaft wird dieses aufgezeigt an der Erzählung von der verschacherten Ehefrau, deren Muster sich dreimal findet und die sich am Ende als Lagerfeuer-Erzählung der Nomaden erklärt, in der diese den Reiz ihrer Frauen und die Dummheit der von ihnen verachteten Städter feiern.

Werkzeuge der Statistik halfen, einzelne Erzählkomplexe bestimmten – bis heute weitgehend unbekannten – Autoren zuzuweisen.

Spahn: “Autoren sind oftmals daran zu erkennen, dass in ihren Texten spezifische Begriffe und Floskeln Verwendung finden, die bei anderen Autoren und zu anderen Zeiten nicht zum Einsatz kommen. So können wir beispielsweise davon ausgehen, dass ein deutschsprachiger Text, in dem eine Häufung des Begriffes ‘Nachhaltigkeit’ auffällt, keinesfalls vor den achtziger Jahren des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts verfasst worden sein kann. Umgekehrt finden wir beispielsweise in den Originalen der Romane der Volkschriftsteller May und Gerstäcker Begriffe, die schon einhundert Jahre später kein normal gebildeter Leser mehr kennt. Eine lebendige Sprache unterliegt einem permanenten Wandel. Begriffe, die keinen Nutzwert mehr haben, verschwinden, werden durch neue abgelöst. Andere Begriffe wandeln die mit ihnen verbundene Assoziation und können so – durch spätere Generationen gelesen – zu gänzlich falschen Interpretationen des geschriebenen Wortes führen.”

Wenn dieses heute so sei, fügt der Autor hinzu, dann sei dieses auch in der Antike nicht anders gewesen. Und so stelle sich die Frage, ob das, was wir heute in der Bibel selbst dann lesen, wenn wir auf den Aleppo-Codex des Tanach als älteste verfügbare Quelle in Ivrit zurückgreifen, tatsächlich so darin gestanden habe, wie wir es heute verstehen wollen oder sollen.

Nach diesen grundsätzlichen Fragestellungen richtete Spahn sein Augenmerk erneut auf den ursprünglichen Untersuchungsgegenstand: Dem König oder Mélék Josia, der in der hebräischen Originalschrift Jéáshéjah, der das Feuer des/von Jah ist, heißt. Die Bibel schreibt diesem einzigen Herrscher von Jahudah, dessen Erscheinen im Tanach prophezeit wird, zahlreiche Leistungen zu. Obgleich als Heidenkind – also Anhänger der assyrischen Götterwelt – aufgewachsen, bekehrt er sich zu dem einen Gott Jahuah, lässt dessen Tempel in Jerusalem renovieren und anschließend in einer großangelegten Aktion das Land von allen Stätten der Nicht-Jahuahisten “reinigen”. Bei der Renovierung des Tempels wird zufällig ein antikes Textwerk gefunden: Das Gesetzbuch des Mose. Und hier beginnen für Spahn die ebenso offensichtlichen wie bis heute verdrängten Ungereimtheiten. Denn das Buch Mose ist weder dem Herrscher noch seinen Getreuen als mosaisches Basiswerk bekannt. Theatralisch zerreißt Josia seine Kleider, klagt: „Wenn wir das gewusst hätten …!“

Wenn nun aber dem vorgeblich mosaischen Josia das Buch Mose nicht bekannt war – wäre das nicht ungefähr so, als wenn der katholische Papst ohne Evangelium oder der Ayatollah Chamenei seine klerikale Funktion ohne den Quran leben würde? Was also kann das für ein jüdischer Glaube gewesen sein, dem dieser Mélék vor dem Fund des mosaischen Gesetzes anhing?

Es ist nicht die einzige Ungereimtheit in diesem Text, die Spahn aufzeigt. Am Ende seiner Auseinandersetzung mit dieser Person und ihrem Umfeld steht für ihn fest, dass es “einen jüdischen Glauben in der Form, wie wir ihn heute kennen, vor 622 vor Christus nicht gegeben haben kann”. Seine in umfassender Analyse erarbeitete Darstellung der nahöstlichen Geschichte zwischen 630 und 580 liest sich dann auch gänzlich anders, als in allen Geschichtsbüchern und theologischen Werken beschrieben.

Spahn geht davon aus, dass es ein wirklich unabhängiges Königreich in Jahudah vor und nach Josia nicht gegeben hat. Die im Tanach beschriebenen “Könige” waren in aller Regel nichts anderes als Statthalter der jeweiligen Hegemonialmächte Ägypten, Assyrien und Babylon. Vor allem waren sie eines nicht: Genetische Nachfahren eines legendären David. Sie entstammten aus den führenden Familien Jerusalems – und “Söhne Davids” wurden sie nur deshalb, weil die Königschroniken zu jener Zeit von Indus bis Nil den jeweiligen Nachfolger im Amt als “Sohn” bezeichneten. Leibliche Söhne – so wird unter anderem anhand der Königschronik des assyrischen Herrschers Sanherib nachgewiesen – erhielten den Hinweis auf die Zeugung “aus meinen Lenden”, der sich in ähnlicher Form gelegentlich auch im Tanach findet.

Als Josia – vermutlich in Folge einer priesterlichen Intrige – an die Macht kommt, hat die vom Nil bis zum Tigris ausgedehnte Macht der Assyrer ihren Zenit bereits überschritten. Im fernen Babylon erhebt sich ein ehemaliger Offizier, dessen leiblicher Sohn Nebukadnezar dereinst zum Herrscher der damals bekannten Welt aufsteigen sollte. Nachweislich ist der Babylonier mit den Medern verbündet. Spahn geht davon aus – und findet dafür eine plausible Beweiskette – dass auch der assyrische Vasallenkönig Josia zu den Verschwörern gehörte. Um 626 vc stieß er zu den Aufrührern, schloss mit ihnen einen Geheimvertrag, den der Tanach als den “Bund des Jah” in zahlreichen Details beschreibt. Dem Jahudahi wurde unter dem Dach des künftigen Herrschers in Babylon absolute Selbstverwaltung garantiert. Das Land solle ihm auf alle Ewigkeit gehören, das Volk von Jahudah – im Gegensatz zu den gewaltsam unterworfenen Stämmen – als “sein Volk” im Reich eine privilegierte Stellung unter dem allmächtigen Herrscher am Euphrat erhalten. Mehr noch: Die damals als Handelszentrum aufblühende Metropole Jerusalem solle künftig der Hauptverwaltungssitz des zu schaffenden Großreichs für den Westen des Reichs werden. Dorthin hätten die Völker zu pilgern, ihre Abgaben zu entrichten und dem fernen Herrscher der Welt zu huldigen. Der Wohlstand der Region wäre damit langfristig gesichert gewesen, die Jahudahim von ewigen Vasallen zu Mitherrschern aufgestiegen.

Da es auf dieser Welt nichts umsonst gibt, erwartete der Rebell im fernen Babylon allerdings auch eine Gegenleistung. Josia sollte die Herrschaft der Assyrer in Jahudah und in den angrenzenden Ländern Israel – das niemals zuvor Teil eines jüdischen Reiches gewesen war und das die Jahudahim als Kénéýn (Kanaan) bezeichneten – und in der Mittelmeerküstenregion – dem assyrischen Land Chét, das für die Semiten auch das Land der Féléshétjm (korrekt übersetzt als “Eindringlinge”) ist – übernehmen.

Die Verbündeten gegen Assyrien verfolgen damit ein doppeltes Ziel: Zum einen sollten die Jahudahim eine zweite Front im Südwesten eröffnen. Die alliierten Babylonier und Meder drangen im Osten gegen die langjährige Hegemonialmacht vor. Josia sollte Kräfte binden, damit die Eroberung des assyrischen Kernlandes erleichtert werden konnte. Wichtiger noch aber war es, die damals ebenfalls zu Assyrien gehörenden Ägypter daran zu hindern, die Zentralmacht mit Nachschub und militärischen Kräften zu unterstützen.

“Jahudahs Hauptgegner in diesem Konflikt sind nicht die Assyrer, denn diese sind durch ihren Abwehrkampf gegen Babylon und Medien gebunden, sondern die Ägypter”, erläutert Spahn. Tatsächlich wird Josia seinen vertraglichen Verpflichtungen gerecht. Er schaltet das ehedem assyrische Jahudah gleich, erobert weite Teile der assyrischen Provinz Samaria (Shémérunah) – dem Israel des Tanach – und stellt sich dem ägyptischen Heer entgegen, als dieses im Jahr 609 vc entlang der Küste nach Norden zieht, um die zwischenzeitlich nach Haran geflohene assyrische Regierung zu entsetzen.

Damit dann allerdings endet der jahudahische Ausflug in die Weltgeschichte keine zwanzig Jahre, nachdem er begonnen hat. Bei seinem Versuch, sich dem Pharao, der zuvor noch in Unkenntnis des Geheimabkommens eine Neutralitätserklärung für das Reich des Josia abgibt, in den Weg zu stellen, wird der Herrscher Jerusalems getötet oder zumindest tödlich verwundet – womit der Tanach Jahuah ungewollt einer Lüge überführt, denn zuvor hatte der eine Gott seinem Anhänger einen friedlichen Tod voraussagen lassen. Das ägyptische Heer zieht weiter nach Norden, unterliegt dort jedoch militärisch den babylonischen Alliierten. Auf seinem Rückzug an den Nil besetzt der Pharao dennoch das geschwächte Jerusalem und setzt dort einen Statthalter ein, den der Tanach in seiner Legendenbildung ebenfalls zu einem davidischen König macht. Im Jahr 605 vc ist Babylon stark genug, nach Süden gegen Ägypten vorzugehen. Nun sind es die Babylonier, die Jerusalem übernehmen und dort Statthalter etablieren.

“Bemerkenswert dabei ist, dass Nebukadnezar sich immer noch der Verdienste der Jahudahim im Befreiungskampf erinnert. Der von Ägypten eingesetzte Statthalter ist der Spross eines der Männer, die maßgeblich am Zustandekommen des Geheimbundes mitgewirkt haben. Als dieser sich nun dem Babylonier unterwirft und Nebukadnezar in Babylon als seinen Allmächtigen anerkennt, darf er sein Amt – nunmehr von Babylons Gnaden – weiter ausüben”, so Spahn.

Doch die Nachfolger des Josia verspielen ihre Chance. Sie konspirieren weiter mit Ägypten und provozieren damit zwei Strafexpeditionen der Babylonier. 598 vc wird das abtrünnige Jerusalem erneut besetzt. Nebukadnezar sieht abermals von einem Strafgericht ab und setzt einen anderen Spross aus der jahudahischen Elite zum Statthalter ein. Auch dieser konspiriert mit Ägypten – 586 vc wird die Metropole erneut erobert und nunmehr zerstört. Nicht allerdings ohne dass die Babylonier zuvor mehrfach den Versuch unternommen hätten, über den im Tanach als “Jahuah Zébaut” bezeichneten, babylonischen Militärbefehlshaber und Gouverneur über die babylonische Provinz Israel die belagerten Jahudahim mit zahlreichen Zusicherungen für Leib und Leben zur freiwilligen Übergabe zu bewegen. Doch der vorgeblich letzte Mélék von Jahudah, der von Nebukadnezar mit der Bezeichnung Zedekia (Zédéqéjah – der Gerechte des/von Jah) eingesetzt worden war, ist längst nicht mehr Herr des Geschehens. Der Kampf wird von einer Militärjunta geführt – Zedekia ist nur noch ein Marionettenkönig.

“Mir ist bewusst, dass diese Version der Geschichte allem widerspricht, was für die Menschheit seit Jahrtausenden als Wirklichkeit gilt”, stellt Spahn fest. “Aber”, so fügt er hinzu, “die Analyse des Quelltextes und der Abgleich mit historischen Quellen lässt nur diese eine einzige Version als plausibel erkennen.”

Wie nun aber sind in diesem Kontext all die biblischen Erzählungen einzuordnen, die von früheren, monotheistischen Herrschern in Jerusalem zu berichten wissen?

Spahn hat auch dafür nachvollziehbare Erklärungen, die er mit Texten des Tanach und Fremdquellen belegen kann: “Die Bücher Mose – vielleicht nicht alle, aber deren Kernelemente – entstanden zwischen 626 und 622 vc als Arbeit einer kleinen, im Geheimen agierenden Schriftstellergruppe unter Leitung des Josia-Getreuen Chéléqéjah, den die Griechen als Hilkia übersetzt haben. Er, der ursprünglich ein Priester der weiblichen Regionalgottheit Ýnét (Anat) war und zum ersten Hohepriester des Jah wird, ist der eigentliche Strippenzieher im Hintergrund. Er macht das Kind Josia zum Mélék, er organisiert den Geheimbund des Jah mit den Babyloniern. Er leitet die aus Spenden der polytheistischen Bevölkerung finanzierte Renovierung des großen Tempels in Jerusalem, der zu diesem Zeitpunkt wie seit eh und je ein Tempel der weiblichen Gottheit Ashera gewesen ist. Er sorgt dafür, dass sich die Assyrien-treue Priesterelite arglos im Baals-Tempels zu Jerusalem trifft, um sich dort auf die Einsegnung des frisch renovierten Tempels der Ashera vorzubereiten. Er hat das Konzept entwickelt, die Elite des assyrischen Glaubens dort durch das königstreue Militär niedermetzeln und anschließend alle Stätten der Polytheisten niederbrennen zu lassen. Die Ausführung überlässt er dem Feuer des Jah – seinem Produkt Josia. Und Hilkia ist es auch, der im Geheimen das Gesetzbuch des Mose formulieren lässt, das der Bevölkerung als Glaubenskonzept des einen Gottes, der ausschließlich für das Volk von Jahudah zuständig ist, präsentiert wird und das die Initialzündung für den Befreiungskampf gegen Assyrien und Ägypten liefert.”

Deshalb, so der Politikwissenschaftler, muss beispielsweise Abraham aus Mesopotamien kommen. Die Babylonier werden so von einem fernen Stamm zu nahen Verwandten. Deshalb führt Abrahams Weg über Haran, das zu diesem Zeitpunkt Regierungssitz der Assyrer ist.

“So schreibt der Tanach den Anspruch fest, auch gegen Haran militärisch vorgehen zu können und die Illegalität der assyrischen Regierung darzulegen”, ist sich Spahn sicher. Deshalb auch werden die Ägypter, die Palästina seit Urzeiten als ihren Vorgarten betrachten, im Tanach zum Hauptfeind erklärt. Das Volk von Jahudah soll darauf vorbereitet werden, sich im äußersten Notfall gegen die Nachbarn vom Nil zu rüsten.

Nach dem dennoch durch falsche Einschätzung der weltpolitischen Lage unvermeidbaren Untergang Jerusalems setzt der entgegen seinem Bild in der Geschichtsschreibung für seine Zeit überaus humane und bedachte Herrscher der Welt, Nebukadnezar, mit Gedelja einen weiteren Spross aus befreundetem, Jerusalemer Hause ein. Der wird von seinem Jugendfreund Ismael als Verräter ermordet – und Judäa wird abschließend zum Teil der babylonischen Provinz Israel. Die überlebende städtische Elite der Jahudahim zieht es nach Babylon, wo die Männer Karriere machen und die kurze Geschichte ihres Staates mit Billigung der babylonischen Staatsmacht in ein religiöses Manifest verwandeln. Die pro-ägyptische Militärelite zieht es – begleitet von einem langjährigen Agenten und Propagandisten Babylons, den die christliche Bibel unter dem Namen Jeremia kennt – nach Ägypten, wo sich ihre Spur verliert. Im Land selbst verbleiben die sogenannten kleinen Leute. Ihre Herkunft ist teilweise semitisch, teilweise anatolisch, teilweise griechisch, teilweise vielleicht sogar kurdisch. Ihnen gemein ist, dass sie nach wie vor an ihre polytheistische Götterwelt glauben und sich in der aramäischen Sprache der Assyrer verständigen.

“All dieses steht – wenn auch verklausuliert – im Tanach. Die Bücher Josua und Könige werden im Wesentlichen in Josias Herrschaftsjahren zwischen 622 und 609 vc verfasst worden sein. Sie schaffen mit einer großartig angelegten Gründungslegende den politischen Anspruch auf die Herrschaft über die Region zwischen Mittelmeer und hinaus über den Jordan, zwischen dem östlichen Mündungsarm des Nils und Haran. Sie greifen wie die späteren Werke des Buches Jesaja, eines Propheten, den es nie gegeben hat und der ein literarisches alter ego des Hilkia ist, und die Chronik auf zeitgenössische Königsannalen anderer Archive zurück, wenn beispielsweise der Mélék Hiskia, der als chéßéqéjah niemand anderes als ein Starker des beziehungsweise von Jah ist und sich mit Sanherib anlegte, zu einem Vorläufer des Josia verklärt wird oder dem ebenfalls dokumentierten assyrischen Vasall Jehu die tatsächliche Vorgehensweise bei der Vernichtung der polytheistischen Elite zugeschrieben wird.

Die Judäababylonier, Männer wie der Schriftgelehrte Esra und die Bruderschaft der Leviten, welche sich unmittelbar aus jener geheimen Kerngruppe um Hilkia entwickelte, sind die eigentlichen Väter der jüdischen Religion. Ohne sie wäre das aus propagandistischen Gründen klerikal verbrämte, machtpolitische Projekt des Josia nach dessen Tode im Sande verlaufen. Eigentlicher Gründervater dessen, aus dem sich das moderne Judentum entwickelte, ist ausgerechnet ein Perser. Es war ein persischer Nachfolger auf dem Thron des Nebukadnezar, der sich von den Judäababyloniern von dem Konzept einer wehrhaften, anti-ägyptischen Kommune im nach wie vor assyrisch geprägten Palästina überzeugen ließ und die Mittel bereit stellte, um seinen Siedlern, die sich zu einem Großteil aus den Nachfahren unter Sanherib verschleppter Israeli rekrutierten, mit einem zentralen Tempel in Jerusalem das Zentrum einer gemeinsamen Identität zu geben, die die jüdische mit der israelischen zusammenführt. Es war dieses der erste Tempel in der Heiligen Stadt, der zu Ehren eines Gottes Jahuah errichtet wurde. Er stand, bis die Römer ihn im Jahr 70 als Reaktion auf einen Aufstand der Juden zerstörten.“

Spahn hat all diese Überlegungen, die für ihn keine Gedankenspiele, sondern die Basis der historischen Wahrheit sind, in vier Bänden veröffentlicht. Und ihm ist bewusst, dass er damit die theologischen Fundamente dreier Weltreligionen berührt.

„Je länger ich mich mit meinen Analysen beschäftigte, desto deutlicher wurde mir, dass die Ergebnisse im Zweifel auch politisch missbraucht werden könnten. Denn sie machen beispielsweise deutlich, dass es einen Glaubensjuden namens David, auf den sich der gegenwärtige Premierminister Israels gern zur Begründung seines Handelns beruft, nie gegeben hat. Sie machen auch deutlich, dass die Urväter Abraham, Ismael und Isaak, auf die sich drei Weltreligionen berufen, nichts anderes als Sagengestalten sind, die aus politischen Gründen Einzug in das religiöse Basiswerk finden mussten. Aber rechtfertigt das, die Ergebnisse der Untersuchung der Menschheit vorzuenthalten? Die Religionen werden nicht daran zu Grunde gehen, wenn sie sich mit einer Geschichte ihres Ursprungs beschäftigen, die anders aussieht, als sie es in ihre Heiligen Bücher hineininterpretiert haben.

Vielleicht aber auch mögen die Ergebnisse meiner Untersuchung ein Anstoß dazu sein, die eigentliche Funktion von Religion in das rechte Licht zu rücken. Den Glaube ist nichts anderes als die Wahrheitsunterstellung einer nicht beweisbaren Annahme. Er bedarf weder der Historizität noch scheinhistorischer Begründungen. Glaube ruht in uns – nicht in der historischen Wahrheit. Das Konzept des Josia war ein politisch motivierter, gemeinsam mit mächtigen Verbündeten perfekt erdachter Masterplan, um sich und das eigene Volk von einer im Bewusstsein der Betroffenen schon ewig währenden Fremdherrschaft zu befreien. Es musste ein religiöses werden, weil es damit für die Zeitgenossen unangreifbar wurde.“

Schon vor dem selbstverschuldeten Untergang Jerusalems sei aus dem Bündnispartner erst eine Figur geworden, die die in der griechischen Übersetzung zu Propheten mutierenden, babylonischen Verbindungsleute wie Jeremia und Hesekiel in ihren Unterlagen mit den hebräischen Buchstaben für J-H-W-H abkürzten. Über den Weg der in babylonischen Archiven wirkenden Schriftgelehrten wurde der allmächtige Herrscher der Welt namens Nebukadnezar zu dem Gott, den Juden, Christen und Muslime bis heute als himmlisches Wesen verehren – und der als historische Person auch gerade deshalb zutiefst diffamiert wurde.

Spahn: „Der Tanach ist ein auch nach heutigen Maßstäben perfekt verfasstes Propagandastück mit dem ausschließlichen Ziel politischer Weltveränderung. Dass es dabei die lebenslustige Vielfalt des sehr menschlichen, polytheistischen Götterhimmels durch einen einzigen autoritären Allmächtigen ersetzte und die bis dahin in der Religion gleichberechtigte Frau in die gesellschaftliche Bedeutungslosigkeit schob, war durchaus gewollt. Die stammesdemokratischen Elemente, über die selbst der Tanach zu berichten weiß, gehörten abgeschafft, um einen aus der Sicht der Mächtigen effektiven Staat zu schaffen. Und die Frau? Sie fand sich bis zum Zeitpunkt des Staatsrevolution des Josia als ‚die Gebährende‘ in der Stellvertretung der Ashera in Jerusalem als höchste klerikale Instanz wieder. Mächtiger noch als der Mélék selbst. Deswegen machten die Autoren des Tanach sie einerseits zur Prophetin, andererseits erniedrigten sie die Dame hintersinnig mit nur einem Federstrich zu einem gebärfreudigen Nager. Aus der h‘lédah, der für Fruchtbarkeit stehenden Leda der Polytheisten, wurde chélédah, das gebärfreudige Nagetier. Kennern der griechischen Bibel ist sie als Hulda bekannt. Pointierter konnten die antiken Autoren vom Männerbund der Leviten ihre Verachtung für die Frau nicht dokumentieren.“

Tomas M. Spahn: Das Biblikon-Projekt – Die Entschlüsselung des Bibel-Codes

Band 1 – Von Adam zu Mose, ISBN 978-3-943726-01-5 (EP 17,80 €)

Band 2 – Das Feuer des Jah, ISBN 978-3-943726-02-2 (EP 17,80 €)

Band 3 – Der Erhabene des Jah, ISBN 978-3-943726-03-9 (EP 19,80 €)

Band 4 – Demokratie oder Gottesstaat, ISBN 978-3-943726-04-6 (EP 22,80 €)


Anti-Semitism, A Warning Sign for Europe

November 29, 2013

An op-ed by David Harris
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
El Pais, November 29, 2013

davidharris

The European Union has had its share of daunting challenges.

From sluggish growth to punishing austerity, from high levels of unemployment to fears of brain drain, and from volatile political environments to relentless migration, there are more than enough issues to keep EU and national leaders focused 24/7. And while some countries are more at risk than others, the ties that bind the 28 member states mean that no one is entirely immune from the gusty winds and storm clouds.

Now, there is another issue to add to the list. Earlier this month, the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) issued a comprehensive study on the experiences of Jews in eight of the 28 nations – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom—whose Jews comprise 90% of the EU’s total Jewish population. Nearly 6,000 respondents took part.

Confirming the findings of earlier surveys done by outside groups and local Jewish communities, it raises serious concern. That concern should not be limited to Jews, since when Europe’s Jews feel at risk, the EU as a whole is endangered in two ways.

First, the EU’s laudable commitment to protecting the human dignity of each of its citizens is jeopardized.

And second, the history of anti-Semitism demonstrates that, ultimately, those who target Jews usually have democracy itself, including the rights of minority groups, in their crosshairs. In other words, bigotry may begin with Jews, but it rarely ends with them.

Here are some of the disturbing findings from the just-published FRA report:

Two-thirds of Jewish respondents consider anti-Semitism to be a problem today in their countries.

Three-fourths believe the problem has gotten worse in the past five years.

One-third fears a physical attack against themselves, as Jews, within the next 12 months.

More than one-half claim they personally witnessed an incident where the Holocaust was denied, trivialized, or exaggerated.

Twenty-three percent say they at least occasionally avoid attending Jewish events or visiting Jewish sites because of safety concerns.

And more than 40 percent of those surveyed in Belgium, France, and Hungary indicate they have considered emigrating because of the situation.

Equally troubling, to quote the study, is the following result: “A majority of the victims of anti-Semitic harassment (76%), physical violence or threats (64%), or vandalism of personal property (53%) did not report the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected the respondent, in the past five years to the police or to any other organization.”

In other words, if the majority of victims of anti-Semitic incidents are not even reporting them to the authorities, then they do not have confidence in the system, fear retribution from the perpetrators, are unaware of where to go for help, or have somehow come to accept the bigoted behavior as part of the “price” of being Jewish.

Whatever the explanation, it is unacceptable. Going forward, EU governments should strive mightily to ensure not only a dramatic decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, but also that those that do occur are reported to the proper authorities. Citizens of a democratic society should never have to feel helpless or abandoned.

And it should make no difference if the anti-Semitic act comes from extreme-right, extreme-left, radical Islamic, or other sources. Targeting an individual because of his or her specific group identity – in this case, as a Jew – is a potential hate crime, and should be treated as such.

AJC has devoted many years to developing response strategies to bias incidents, whether against Jews, Christians, Muslims, homosexuals, Africans, or others, and certain things are clear.

First, attitudes of tolerance or intolerance, respect or lack of respect, are formed primarily at home and at a young age.

Second, political leadership counts. Either governments act against bigotry, both symbolically and substantively, or, too often, they end up countenancing or rationalizing it. Neutrality is not an option.

Third, education, if utilized properly, can help teach respect and appreciation for difference. Otherwise, it is a lost opportunity.

Fourth, religious leaders can promote interfaith dialogue and friendship or, conversely, religious obscurantism and triumphalism. Which will it be?

And finally, the police and judiciary must understand the specific nature of hate crimes, collect proper data, and treat cases with the seriousness they merit.

The EU’s FRA report is a wake-up call. Sleeping through it, or pretending not to hear it, is not an option.


Wolfgang Kubicki: „Große Koalition ist großer Mist“

November 28, 2013

FDP-Präsidiumsmitglied und Vorsitzender der FDP-Fraktion im Landtag von Schleswig-Holstein Wolfgang Kubicki hat die Große Koalition wegen nicht eingehaltener Wahlversprechen und mangelhafter Wirtschaftspolitik kritisiert.

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In einem „Stern“-Gastbeitrag wirft er der Bundeskanzlerin vor, die deutsche Wirtschaft durch staatliche Eingriffe zu schwächen. Immerhin seien die meisten Versäumnisse der Koalitionsverhandlungen der SPD zuzuschreiben.

Zum Artikel.


Osama Bin Laden – A New Book by Michael Scheuer

February 14, 2011

In Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit and author of the bestseller Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, provides an objective and authoritative portrait of bin Laden that shows him to be devout, talented, patient, and ruthless. Scheuer delivers a hard-headed, closely reasoned portrait of America’s most implacable enemy.

"No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer." (Craig Whitlock, National Security Correspondent, The Washington Post)
“No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer.” (Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post)

To purchase this book, please click here.


“How Can You Defend Israel?” Part II

January 2, 2011

An op-ed by David A. Harris
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
The Jerusalem Post, Januar 2, 2011

Since writing “How can you defend Israel?” last month, I’ve been deluged by comments. Some have been supportive, others harshly critical. The latter warrant closer examination.

The harsh criticism falls into two basic categories.

One is over the top.

It ranges from denying Israel’s very right to nationhood, to ascribing to Israel responsibility for every global malady, to peddling vague, or not so vague, anti-Semitic tropes.

There’s no point in dwelling at length on card-carrying members of these schools of thought. They’re living on another planet.

Israel is a fact. That fact has been confirmed by the UN, which, in 1947, recommended the creation of a Jewish state. The UN admitted Israel to membership in 1949. The combination of ancient and modern links between Israel and the Jewish people is almost unprecedented in history. And Israel has contributed its share, and then some, to advancing humankind.

If there are those on a legitimacy kick, let them examine the credentials of some others in the region, created by Western mapmakers eager to protect their own interests and ensure friendly leaders in power.

Or let them consider the basis for legitimacy of many countries worldwide created by invasion, occupation, and conquest. Israel’s case beats them by a mile.

And if there are people out there who don’t like all Jews, frankly, it’s their problem, not mine. Are there Jewish scoundrels? You bet. Are there Christian, Muslim, atheist, and agnostic scoundrels? No shortage. But are all members of any such community by definition scoundrels? Only if you’re an out-and-out bigot.

The other group of harsh critics assails Israeli policies, but generally tries to stop short of overt anti-Zionism or anti-Semitism. But many of these relentless critics, at the slightest opportunity, robotically repeat claims about Israel that are not factually correct.

There are a couple of methodological threads that run through their analysis.

The first is called confirmation bias. This is the habit of favoring information that confirms what you believe, whether it’s true or not, and ignoring the rest.

While Israel engages in a full-throttled debate on policies and strategies, rights and wrongs, do Israel’s fiercest critics do the same? Hardly.

Can the chorus of critics admit, for example, that the UN recommended the creation of two states – one Jewish, the other Arab – and that the Jews accepted the proposal, while the Arabs did not and launched a war?

Can they acknowledge that wars inevitably create refugee populations and lead to border adjustments in favor of the (attacked) victors?

Can they recognize that, when the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands until 1967, there was no move whatsoever toward Palestinian statehood?

Can they explain why Arafat launched a “second intifada” just as Israel and the U.S. were proposing a path-breaking two-state solution?

Or what the Hamas Charter says about the group’s goals?

Or what armed-to-the-teeth Hezbollah thinks of Israel’s right to exist?

Or how nuclear-weapons-aspiring Iran views Israel’s future?

Or why President Abbas rejected Prime Minister Olmert’s two-state plan, when the Palestinian chief negotiator himself admitted it would have given his side the equivalent of 100 percent of the West Bank?

Or why Palestinian leaders refuse to recognize the Western Wall or Rachel’s Tomb as Jewish sites, while demanding recognition of Muslim holy sites?

Or why Israel is expected to have an Arab minority, but a state of Palestine is not expected to have any Jewish minority?

Can they admit that, when Arab leaders are prepared to pursue peace with Israel rather than wage war, the results have been treaties, as the experiences of Egypt and Jordan show?

And can they own up to the fact that when it comes to liberal and democratic values in the region, no country comes remotely close to Israel, whatever its flaws, in protecting these rights?

Apropos, how many other countries in the Middle East – or beyond – would have tried and convicted an ex-president? This was the case, just last week, with Moshe Katsav, sending the message that no one is above the law – in a process, it should be noted, presided over by an Israeli Arab justice.

And if the harsh critics can’t acknowledge any of these points, what’s the explanation? Does their antipathy for Israel – and resultant confirmation bias – blind them to anything that might puncture their airtight thinking?

Then there is the other malady. It’s called reverse causality, or switching cause and effect.

Take the case of Gaza.

These critics focus only on Israel’s alleged actions against Gaza, as if they were the cause of the problem. In reality, they are the opposite – the effect.

When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it gave local residents their first chance in history – I repeat, in history – to govern themselves.

Neighboring Israel had only one concern – security. It wanted to ensure that whatever emerged in Gaza would not endanger Israelis. In fact, the more prosperous, stable, and peaceful Gaza became, the better for everyone. Tragically, Israel’s worst fears were realized. Rather than focus on Gaza’s construction, its leaders – Hamas since 2007 – preferred to contemplate Israel’s destruction. Missiles and mortars came raining down on southern Israel. Israel’s critics, though, were silent. Only when Israel could no longer tolerate the terror did the critics awaken – to focus on Israel’s reaction, not Gaza’s provocative action.

Yet, what would any other nation have done in Israel’s position?

Just imagine terrorists in power in British Columbia – and Washington State’s cities and towns being the regular targets of deadly projectiles. How long would it take for the U.S. to go in and try to put a stop to the terror attacks, and what kind of force would be used?

Or consider the security barrier.

It didn’t exist for nearly 40 years. Then it was built by Israel in response to a wave of deadly attacks originating in the West Bank, with well over 1000 Israeli fatalities (more than 40,000 Americans in proportional terms). Even so, Israel made clear that such barriers cannot only be erected, but also moved and ultimately dismantled.

Yet the outcry of Israel’s critics began not when Israelis were being killed in pizzerias, at Passover Seders, and on buses, but only when the barrier went up.

Another case of reverse causality – ignoring the cause entirely and focusing only on the effect, as if it were a stand-alone issue disconnected from anything else.

So, again, in answer to the question of my erstwhile British colleague, “How can you defend Israel?” I respond: Proudly.

In doing so, I am defending a liberal, democratic, and peace-seeking nation in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood, where liberalism, democracy, and peace are in woefully short supply.

Reprinted with kind permission of The Jerusalem Post.


“How can you defend Israel?”

December 27, 2010

An op-ed by David A. Harris
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
The Jerusalem Post, December 27, 2010

I was sitting in a lecture hall at a British university. Bored by the speaker, I began glancing around the hall. I noticed someone who looked quite familiar from an earlier academic incarnation. When the session ended, I introduced myself and wondered if, after years that could be counted in decades, he remembered me.

He said he did, at which point I commented that the years had been good to him. His response: “But you’ve changed a lot.”

“How so?” I asked with a degree of trepidation, knowing that, self-deception aside, being 60 isn’t quite the same as 30.

Looking me straight in the eye, he proclaimed, as others standing nearby listened in, “I read the things you write about Israel. I hate them. How can you defend that country? What happened to the good liberal boy I knew 30 years ago?”

I replied: “That good liberal boy hasn’t changed his view. Israel is a liberal cause, and I am proud to speak up for it.”

Yes, I’m proud to speak up for Israel. A recent trip once again reminded me why.

Sometimes, it’s the seemingly small things, the things that many may not even notice, or just take for granted, or perhaps deliberately ignore, lest it spoil their airtight thinking.

It’s the driving lesson in Jerusalem, with the student behind the wheel a devout Muslim woman, and the teacher an Israeli with a skullcap. To judge from media reports about endless inter-communal conflict, such a scene should be impossible. Yet, it was so mundane that no one, it seemed, other than me gave it a passing glance. It goes without saying that the same woman would not have had the luxury of driving lessons, much less with an Orthodox Jewish teacher, had she been living in Saudi Arabia.

It’s the two gay men walking hand-in-hand along the Tel Aviv beachfront. No one looked at them, and no one questioned their right to display their affection. Try repeating the same scene in some neighboring countries.

It’s the Friday crowd at a mosque in Jaffa. Muslims are free to enter as they please, to pray, to affirm their faith. The scene is repeated throughout Israel. Meanwhile, Christians in Iraq are targeted for death; Copts in Egypt face daily marginalization; Saudi Arabia bans any public display of Christianity; and Jews have been largely driven out of the Arab Middle East.

It’s the central bus station in Tel Aviv. There’s a free health clinic set up for the thousands of Africans who have entered Israel, some legally, others illegally. They are from Sudan, Eritrea, and elsewhere. They are Christians, Muslims, and animists. Clearly, they know something that Israel’s detractors, who rant and rave about alleged “racism,” don’t. They know that, if they’re lucky, they can make a new start in Israel. That’s why they bypass Arab countries along the way, fearing imprisonment or persecution. And while tiny Israel wonders how many such refugees it can absorb, Israeli medical professionals volunteer their time in the clinic.

It’s Save a Child’s Heart, another Israeli institution that doesn’t make it into the international media all that much, although it deserves a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Here, children in need of advanced cardiac care come, often below the radar. They arrive from Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza, and other Arab places. They receive world-class treatment. It’s free, offered by doctors and nurses who wish to assert their commitment to coexistence. Yet, these very same individuals know that, in many cases, their work will go unacknowledged. The families are fearful of admitting they sought help in Israel, even as, thanks to Israelis, their children have been given a new lease on life.

It’s the vibrancy of the Israeli debate on just about everything, including, centrally, the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. The story goes that U.S. President Harry Truman met Israeli President Chaim Weizmann shortly after Israel’s establishment in 1948. They got into a discussion about who had the tougher job. Truman said: “With respect, I’m president of 140 million people.” Weizmann retorted: “True, but I’m president of one million presidents.”

Whether it’s the political parties, the Knesset, the media, civil society, or the street, Israelis are assertive, self-critical, and reflective of a wide range of viewpoints.

It’s the Israelis who are now planning the restoration of the Carmel Forest, after a deadly fire killed 44 people and destroyed 8,000 acres of exquisite nature. Israelis took an arid and barren land and, despite the unimaginably harsh conditions, lovingly planted one tree after another, so that Israel can justifiably claim today that it’s one of the few countries with more wooded land than it had a century ago.

It’s the Israelis who, with quiet resolve and courage, are determined to defend their small sliver of land against every conceivable threat – the growing Hamas arsenal in Gaza; the dangerous build-up of missiles by Hezbollah in Lebanon; nuclear-aspiring Iran’s calls for a world without Israel; Syria’s hospitality to Hamas leaders and transshipment of weapons to Hezbollah; and enemies that shamelessly use civilians as human shields. Or the global campaign to challenge Israel’s very legitimacy and right to self-defense; the bizarre anti-Zionist coalition between the radical left and Islamic extremists; the automatic numerical majority at the UN ready to endorse, at a moment’s notice, even the most far-fetched accusations against Israel; and those in the punditocracy unable – or unwilling – to grasp the immense strategic challenges facing Israel.

Yes, it’s those Israelis who, after burying 21 young people murdered by terrorists at a Tel Aviv discotheque, don the uniform of the Israeli armed forces to defend their country, and proclaim, in the next breath, that, “They won’t stop us from dancing, either.”

That’s the country I’m proud to stand up for. No, I’d never say Israel is perfect. It has its flaws and foibles. It’s made its share of mistakes. But, then again, so has every democratic, liberal and peace-seeking country I know, though few of them have faced existential challenges every day since their birth.

The perfect is the enemy of the good, it’s said. Israel is a good country. And seeing it up close, rather than through the filter of the BBC or the Guardian, never fails to remind me why.

Reprinted with kind permission of The Jerusalem Post.


U.S. Senate gives approval to new START Treaty with Russia

December 22, 2010

The U.S. Senate has voted to end debate (as we previously reported) on a new arms control treaty with Russia. Several Republican senators supported the new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty in what would be a bipartisan success for U.S. President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama attends a New START Treaty meeting hosted by Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2010. Seated with them, clockwise from left, are: former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger; Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright; former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright; former National Security Advisor Gen. Brent Scowcroft; former Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry; Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman; Senator John F. Kerry, D-Mass; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Senator Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind.; Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs Brian P. McKeon. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama attends a New START Treaty meeting hosted by Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2010. Seated with them, clockwise from left, are: former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger; Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright; former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright; former National Security Advisor Gen. Brent Scowcroft; former Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry; Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman; Senator John F. Kerry, D-Mass; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Senator Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind.; Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs Brian P. McKeon. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

U.S. Senate approval could smooth the way for further arms reductions beyond the limits set by START, which requires both sides to decrease stockpiles to 1,550 strategic warheads.

The text of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed in April 2010 can be read here.

In a Brookings paper released early this month, Steven Pifer, foreign policy analyst and former ambassador to Ukraine, argues that future arms reductions talks with Russia won’t be easy to negotiate, since Russia relies on tactical nuclear weapons to balance conventional imbalances with China and NATO.

Read full story.


WikiLeaks Bullshit: Much Ado About Nothing, False Flag, Strategia della Tensione, or Sabotage Act against U.S. Foreign Policy?

November 29, 2010
WIKILEAKS REAL AGENDA

WIKILEAKS REAL AGENDA

A Satirical Op-Ed by Narcisse Caméléon, deputy editor-in-chief

***

On Bullshit: It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose. (Princeton University Professor Harry Frankfurt)

And if, to be sure, sometimes you need to conceal a fact with words, do it in such a way that it does not become known, or, if it does become known, that you have a ready and quick defense. (Niccolò Machiavelli)
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. (Edward L. Bernays)

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. (Edward L. Bernays)

WikiLeaks released yesterday a batch of about 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, exposing confidential information about U.S. relationships with the rest of the world and U.S. assessments of foreign leaders.

The White House denounced the disclosures as “reckless and dangerous".

The White House denounced the disclosures as “reckless and dangerous".

In light of the revelations, apparently leaked by US Army soldier Bradley Manning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information (check out statement below).

The cables – a sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates – specify that Iran has obtained nineteen BM-25 missiles from North Korea with a range adequate to reach western Europe, and they also document Arab leaders calls for a military strike on Iran.

The documents also divulge U.S. diplomats were ordered to engage in spying by obtaining foreign diplomats’ personal information, such as frequent-flier and credit card numbers. The documents could abash the Obama administration and destabilize its diplomacy. In cables drafted by U.S. diplomats, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is called “Emperor without clothes”, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is described as an “alpha-dog,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “driven by paranoia,” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “avoids risk and is rarely creative.” It also allegedly said that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi never travels without a trusted Ukraninan nurse, a ‘voluptuous blond’.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs expressed concern in a statement that Wikileaks release could jeopardize private talks with foreign governments and opposition leaders. The Pentagon announced yesterday it will take action to prevent future illegal releases of classified information.

In a opinion piece for the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, calls these revelations an act of sabotage. Really? Or: Better bad press than no press at all? Or Bullshit as usual…

Read full story.

***

Remarks to the Press on the Release of Confidential Documents

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010
Hillary is very angry about the disclosures...

Hillary is very angry about the disclosures...


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Do we have enough room in here? I want to take a moment to discuss the recent news reports of classified documents that were illegally provided from United States Government computers. In my conversations with counterparts from around the world over the past few days, and in my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, I have had very productive discussions on this issue.

The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts.

I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.

Relations between governments aren’t the only concern created by the publication of this material. U.S. diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside of governments who offer their own candid insights. These conversations also depend on trust and confidence. For example, if an anti-corruption activist shares information about official misconduct, or a social worker passes along documentation of sexual violence, revealing that person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death.

So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.

Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.

The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.

People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.

In America, we welcome genuine debates about pressing questions of public policy. We have elections about them. That is one of the greatest strengths of our democracy. It is part of who we are and it is a priority for this Administration. But stealing confidential documents and then releasing them without regard for the consequences does not serve the public good, and it is not the way to engage in a healthy debate.

In the past few days, I have spoken with many of my counterparts around the world, and we have all agreed that we will continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand. In that spirit, President Obama and I remain committed to productive cooperation with our partners as we seek to build a better, more prosperous world for all.

Thank you, and I’d be glad to take a few questions.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Charlie Wolfson of CBS in his last week here covering the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Where are you going, Charlie?

QUESTION: I’ll (inaudible) into the sunset, but let me get to a question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you embarrassed by these leaks personally, professionally? And what harm have the leaks done to the U.S. so far that you can determine from talking to your colleagues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as I said in my statement, and based on the many conversations that I’ve had with my counterparts, I am confident that the partnerships and relationships that we have built in this Administration will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority, a real centerpiece of our foreign policy, and we’re proud of the progress that we have made over the last 22 months.

Every single day, U.S. Government representatives from the entire government, not just from the State Department, engage with hundreds if not thousands of government representatives and members of civil society from around the world. They carry out the goals and the interests and the values of the United States. And it is imperative that we have candid reporting from those who are in the field working with their counterparts in order to inform our decision-making back here in Washington.

I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.

MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas of BBC.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Kim.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I was wondering whether you could tell us what you think your upcoming trip is going to look like. Presumably, a lot of the people who have been mentioned in those alleged cables are going to have conversations with you. Do you think it’s going to cause you discomfort over the coming week as you engage in conversations with those leaders?

And I know you don’t want to comment on the particulars of the cables, but one issue that has been brought up into the daylight is the debate about Iran. What do you think the impact is going to be of those documents on the debate about Iran in the coming weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, you’re right. And I don’t know if you’re going on this trip or not, but we will be seeing dozens of my counterparts in Astana, and then as I go on from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and then ending up in Bahrain for the Manama dialogue. And I will continue the conversations that I have started with some in person and over the phone over the last days, and I will seek out others because I want personally to impress upon them the importance that I place on the kind of open, productive discussions that we have had to date and my intention to continue working closely with them.

Obviously, this is a matter of great concern, because we don’t want anyone in any of the countries that could be affected by these alleged leaks here to have any doubts about our intentions and our about commitments. That’s why I stressed in my remarks that policy is made in Washington. The President and I have been very clear about our goals and objectives in dealing with the full range of global challenges that we face. And we will continue to be so and we will continue to look for every opportunity to work with our friends and partners and allies around the world and to deal in a very clear-eyed way with those with whom we have differences, which of course brings me to Iran.

I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern not only in the United States, that what comes through in every meeting that I have anywhere in the world is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors, and a serious concern far beyond her region.

That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States went out and said, “Please do this for us.” It happened because countries, once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions, reached the same conclusion that the United States reached – that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

So if anyone reading the stories about these alleged cables thinks carefully, what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with likeminded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve got to let the Secretary get to her airplane and get to her trip. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will leave you in P.J.’s very good hands. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, did you talk to anyone in Pakistan or India?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam. (Inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: What we’ll do is we’ll take, say, a 30-minute filing break, and then we’ll reconvene in the Briefing Room and continue our discussion.


Why the U.S. Senate should ratify new nuclear treaty with Russia

November 17, 2010

The U.S. Senate’s chief Republican negotiator on the New START Treaty, Senator Jon Kyl, announced early this week he will block the vote in this session.

A White House fact sheet on the treaty can be read here. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton planned to meet with congressional leaders today to convince them to vote for the treaty’s passage.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argue for New START’s passage in the following Washington Post op-ed.

“For decades, American inspectors have monitored Russian nuclear forces, putting into practice President Ronald Reagan’s favorite maxim, “Trust, but verify.” But since the old START Treaty expired last December, we have relied on trust alone. Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspectors will not have access to Russian missile silos and the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals will lack the stability that comes with a rigorous inspection regime.”

Read full story.


Endgame with Iran? / Endspiel mit Iran?

November 15, 2010

Der Tagesspiegel, one of Germany’s leading newspapers, asked our beloved friend David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, to write the following op-ed in German: Endspiel mit Iran? English translation is below.

Endgame with Iran?

by David Harris
November 15, 2010

Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Another round of talks of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on the Iranian nuclear program is expected shortly. Or is it?

Iran’s contradictory statements make it difficult to predict. One moment, Iranian leaders indicate openness to renewed negotiations. Next, they assert there is nothing to talk about.

There is much to talk about. Iran is in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear program. The issue has nothing to do with Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy. It has to do with Iran’s aim to acquire nuclear-weapons capability, a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which it signed.

There are those who believe a nuclear-armed Iran is manageable. They assert that containment can work.

But can it? During the Cold War, Moscow and Washington understood the concept of mutual assured destruction. Though the world came close during the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear weapons were never used. Iran may be a different story. It is driven by a theology which believes in hastening the coming of the so-called Hidden Imam. If unleashing war would help, it cannot be ruled out.

Even if Iran had weapons it did not use, the world would be a more dangerous place.

First, it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia would likely seek their own weapons. If so, the risks of nuclear war, accidents, theft of nuclear material, and technology sharing grow exponentially.

Second, if Turkey followed suit, what would that mean for Greece and Cyprus, two EU members long embroiled in tense relations with Ankara? One Greek official told us that Greece might have to respond by starting its own program.

Third, what about Iran’s neighbors who do not have the capacity to keep up? Would they fall under the Iranian sphere of influence, their foreign policies neutered as Finland’s was during the Cold War?

And fourth, Israel would be forced to live with a frightening new reality—a regime that not only calls for wiping Israel off the map, but then also has the tools to do it. The situation would be made still worse by the fact that three of Israel’s neighbors – Syria, Hamas-run Gaza, and Hezbollah’s state-within-a state in Lebanon – are already within Iran’s orbit.

In other words, an Iranian nuclear capacity is a global game-changer.

Will negotiations stop the Iranian march to the goal line? The record to date is discouraging. The EU began talks with Iran in 2003 and was outwitted in the ensuing years, as Iran bought time to install more centrifuges and enrich more uranium. Some believed the absence of the U.S. from those talks during the Bush era prevented progress. Yet President Obama’s extended hand has been spurned more than once by Iran.

There is nothing inherently wrong with more talks, as long as they do not merely allow Tehran to buy time. To increase the likelihood of success, Iran must understand that when Europe and the U.S. say that it will not be allowed to produce and possess nuclear weapons, they mean it.

That requires enforcing existing sanctions, pressing other countries to do the same, and monitoring those nations helping Iran bypass the measures. It also means that Europe’s trade with Iran cannot go up, as it has this year for many countries, including Germany.

Lastly, there is the question of the military option. The best way to avoid it is by making clear that it is on the table in all dealings with Iran. Only if Iran’s leaders grasp that the world is truly serious about preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons can we hope for a diplomatic solution.


French Presidential Election 2012: Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffles his Cabinet ahead of 2012 battle

November 14, 2010

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing slackening polls ahead of the 2012 re-election, reappointed his old friend and new rival François Fillon, the country’s prime minister, as part of naming a new, more conservative French cabinet, The New York Times reports.

François Fillon's quiet tenacity has earned him the respect of the nation. Foto: RFI.
François Fillon’s quiet tenacity has earned him the respect of the nation. Foto: RFI.

France’s Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry, the charismatic daughter of former European Commission President Jacques Delors, and far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen could challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the country’s leadership, the article said.

“Mr. Sarkozy won in 2007 by uniting the right around him. He is known to be worried now about a growing level of support for the National Front to his right, which could damage his 2012 re-election prospects if the opposition Socialists united around a credible presidential candidate.”

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The Beginning of the End for NATO?

October 15, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the cuts to defense budgets in Britain and other European countries endangered the strength of NATO, which requires members to spend 2 percent of national income on defense.

“As nations deal with their economic problems, we must guard against the hollowing out of alliance military capability by spending reductions that cut too far into muscle,” Gates said. British Foreign Secretary William Hague rejected the concerns, saying Britain will remain a reliable U.S. ally. Britain’s planned cuts – which could shave off more than six hundred thousand public-sector jobs by 2015 – would make it the most aggressive deficit-reducer among major economies.

On STRATFOR, analyst Marko Papic says perceptions of the “threat environment” that unifies NATO have undermined in the post-Cold War era, marking the beginning of the end for the alliance.

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China-Bashing contaminates 2010 United States midterm elections

October 8, 2010

China is emerging as a common adversary in midterm U.S. election campaigns, as candidates from both parties seize on anxieties about China’s growing economic power to attack each other on trade policies, outsourcing, and the deficit.

 

French political cartoon from the late 1890s. A pie represents "Chine" (French for China) and is being divided between caricatures of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, William II of Germany (who is squabbling with Queen Victoria over a borderland piece, whilst thrusting a knife into the pie to signify aggressive German intentions), Nicholas II of Russia, who is eyeing a particular piece, the French Marianne (who is diplomatically shown as not participating in the carving, and is depicted as close to Nicholas II, as a reminder of the Franco-Russian Alliance), and the Meiji Emperor of Japan, carefully contemplating which pieces to take. A stereotypical Qing official throws up his hands to try and stop them, but is powerless. It is meant to be a figurative representation of the Imperialist tendencies of these nations towards China during the decade.

French political cartoon from the late 1890s. A pie represents "Chine" (French for China) and is being divided between caricatures of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, William II of Germany (who is squabbling with Queen Victoria over a borderland piece, whilst thrusting a knife into the pie to signify aggressive German intentions), Nicholas II of Russia, who is eyeing a particular piece, the French Marianne (who is diplomatically shown as not participating in the carving, and is depicted as close to Nicholas II, as a reminder of the Franco-Russian Alliance), and the Meiji Emperor of Japan, carefully contemplating which pieces to take. A stereotypical Qing official throws up his hands to try and stop them, but is powerless. It is meant to be a figurative representation of the Imperialist tendencies of these nations towards China during the decade.

 

With U.S. economic revival still slow, trade policy looms as a an issue in midterm races, The Wall Street Journal reports.

***

China-Bashing Gains Bipartisan Support

By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2010

China is emerging as a bogeyman this campaign season, with candidates across the American political spectrum seizing on anxieties about the country’s growing economic might to pummel each other on trade, outsourcing and the deficit.

In television ads, China is framed as an ominous foreign influence in a time of economic anxiety, often accompanied by red flags and communist-style stars and sometimes by Asian-sounding music. Democrats say Republicans support tax breaks that reward companies for moving jobs to China; Republicans blame Democrats for a federal budget deficit they say forces the U.S. to borrow money from China.

“Candidates are looking to speak in a visceral way to the fears and concerns of voters about jobs,” said Lawrence Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. “Bashing China is safe.”

The heated rhetoric puts the White House in a bind. Administration officials often don’t mind Congress putting pressure on China, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner himself in a speech Wednesday offered a blunt critique of Beijing’s currency policy. But officials also worry that a confrontational approach could backfire.

Both nations may feel compelled by public opinion to engage in “an escalation of rhetoric that is going to be difficult to manage” after the election, said Charles Freeman, chairman of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Wang Baodong, a spokesman for Beijing’s embassy in Washington, criticized candidates’ use of his country in campaign messages. “China is committed to promoting strong bilateral trade and economic cooperation, which brings about enormous benefit to the welfare of our two peoples,” Mr. Wang said. “So making China an issue in the elections or in any other forms is irrelevant and wrong-targeted.”

Mark Schauer, a Michigan Democrat facing a tough re-election fight, has aired an ad against his Republican rival saying, “Tim Walberg made it way too easy for companies to outsource our jobs to China.” Mr. Walberg said the ad was misleading and that he considered American products superior to Chinese ones.

In Ohio, Democratic Senate candidate Lee Fisher has focused on GOP opponent Rob Portman’s stint as a House member and as U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush. “Congressman Rob Portman knows how to grow the economy—in China,” said a recent Fisher ad.

The Portman campaign rejected these assertions, saying Mr. Portman fought to increase exports and was the first U.S. trade representative to take China to court and win.

Republicans, for their part, cited China in their recently released “Pledge to America.” “We now borrow 41 cents of every dollar we spend, much of it from foreign countries, including China, and leave the bill to our kids and grandkids,” it said, as it attacked Democrats for “unparalleled recklessness with taxpayer dollars.”

Warnings of foreign influence have often been a feature of U.S. elections, especially in times of economic insecurity. And there is little reason to believe the latest ads will have a long-term effect on U.S.-China relations. or on the fate of anti-China legislation, which has struggled in Congress.But with China on the rise, warnings about it seem to have a special resonance this campaign season. The House, with GOP support, passed a bill in September to penalize Beijing’s foreign-exchange practices. A few days earlier, Democrats unsuccessfully pushed a measure to end corporate tax deductions for expenses related to shifting jobs overseas.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, an ad by Republican Spike Maynard against Rep. Nick Rahall featured Asian music and Chinese flags. It cited a Texas wind farm that reportedly planned to apply for federal stimulus funds while obtaining its windmills from China. “It’s on our jeans, even our children’s toys: ‘Made in China,’ ” the narrator said.

Democrats said the windmill project would have materials manufactured in the U.S. and that the operator hadn’t applied for stimulus funds.

A similar back-and-forth is unfolding in Virginia, where an ad by Republican State Sen. Robert Hurt accuses Rep. Tom Perriello (D., Va.) of voting to give tax breaks to foreign companies “creating jobs in China.”

That’s a reference to a portion of the stimulus package that gives tax breaks for green jobs. The Perriello campaign said Mr. Hurt’s pledge not to raise taxes means he’d oppose closing tax loopholes for companies that move jobs overseas.

About the author: Naftali Bendavid covers Congress and politics for The Wall Street Journal. Before coming to the Journal, he covered the White House and the Justice Department for the Chicago Tribune. Bendavid also spent five years as deputy Washington bureau chief for the Tribune, overseeing its coverage of government and politics. Bendavid has covered such stories as the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the Al Gore presidential campaign, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Supreme Court confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor.

Reprinted with kindly permission of The Wall Street Journal.


Pentagon Officials Renew Military Relations With China

October 6, 2010

The Pentagon, signaling a softening in its relationship with the Chinese military, announced that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will meet with a Chinese counterpart next week in Vietnam and will likely visit Beijing early next year.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates escorts Chinese army Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Oct. 27, 2009, to a conference room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where they will hold discussions on a broad range of security topics.  (DoD photo by R. D. Ward/Released)

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates escorts Chinese army Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Oct. 27, 2009, to a conference room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where they will hold discussions on a broad range of security topics. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward/Released)

Ties between the two militaries were suspended in January 2010, when China protested a $6.4 billion U.S.-Taiwan arms deal.

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Four European Oil Firms Stop Investing in Iran

October 1, 2010

The United States announced that four of Europe’s five biggest oil companies (Total, Shell, Statoil and Eni) would end their energy investments in Iran, an attempt to bolster the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Iran into entering negotiations over its nuclear program.

Lloyd’s of London also announced it would not insure petroleum shipments going into Iran.

A chart of the major "big oil" companies (Author: Boereck, Hamburg)

A chart of the major "big oil" companies (Author: Boereck, Hamburg)

“The goal here is not to impose sanctions for sanctions’ sake but to end companies from doing business with Iran,” Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg said.

Read full story.


Bob Woodward’s New Book: Obama’s Wars – in Afghanistan and within the White House

September 30, 2010

Top investigative reporter Bob Woodward reveals Obama’s exit strategy in Afghanistan against U.S. military and the State Department.

Bob Woodward's Book Says Afghanistan Divided The White House

Bob Woodward’s Book Says Afghanistan Divided The White House

George Friedman, founder of the private intelligence corporation Stratfor, says President Barack Obama is “not going to order a complete withdrawal of all combat forces any time soon – the national (and international) political alignment won’t support such a step. At the same time, remaining in Afghanistan is unlikely to achieve any goal and leaves potential rivals like China and Russia freer rein.”

In the Washington Post, an adaptation of Bob Woodward‘s new book Obama’s Wars describes President Obama’s long-held view that Afghanistan was threatened by a “cancer” in Pakistan, which was a safe haven where al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban could recruit Westerners whose passports allowed them to move freely in Europe and North America.

Bob Woodward reveals the conflicts within the White House through exhaustive accounts of two dozen closed-door secret strategy sessions and nearly 40 private conversations between Obama and Cabinet aides and intelligence officials.

Tensions frequently turned personal. National security adviser James L. Jones confidentially mentioned Obama’s political aides as “the water bugs,” the “Politburo,” the “Mafia,” or the “campaign set.” General David Petraeus, who felt excluded by the new administration, told an aide that he considered the president’s senior adviser David Axelrod to be “a complete spin doctor.”

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Französische Philosophin Élisabeth Badinter: “Der Ökofeminismus ist reaktionär”.

September 27, 2010

Der Feminismus sieht überall nur Opfer. Das Opfer ist der grosse Held unserer Gesellschaft geworden. Wer in der Politik oder sonst wo etwas erreichen will, muss heute als Opfer auftreten, erst dann wird er gehört und geachtet. Die Feministinnen haben diesen Stimmungswechsel schnell kapiert und präsentieren Frauen unter allen möglichen Gesichtspunkten permanent als Opfer – Opfer der Männer, der Arbeitswelt, der Politik – kurz: als hilflose Wesen, die immer öfter beim Gericht Zuflucht suchen wie Kinder bei Papa und Mama. Aus den Frauen werden Kind-Frauen gemacht. (Philosophin, Frauenrechtlerin und Hochschulprofessorin Élisabeth Badinter, dreifache Mutter, Aufsichtsratspräsidentin des Medienkonzerns Publicis Groupe, Interview Die Weltwoche, 13/04)

Élisabeth Badinter
Élisabeth Badinter

In einem Gespräch erschienen in der WELT AM SONNTAG kommentiert die stets brillante Élisabeth Badinter die Kinder- und Frauenfeindlichkeit der grünen Ideologie bzw. Öko-Bewegung. Nach dem Willen der Ökofeministen ist die Lösung ganz einfach: Familie, Kinder und Karriere verweigern…der Umwelt zuliebe. Für das Wohl der Frauen interessieren sich diese Feministen in keiner Weise, da sie selbst weder kinderlieb noch frauenfreundlich sind.

[Intermezzo: Françoise Hardy, eine echte Frau - kein hasserfülltes kinderloses hässliches Gestalt à la Alice Schwarzer]

“Diese ganze Ideologie der Ökoradikalen, die auch verlangen, dass man Windeln nicht wegwirft, sondern wäscht, lastet schwer auf den Frauen. Ich war schockiert, als unsere ehemalige Umweltministerin – selbst Mutter von zwei kleinen Kindern – eine Strafsteuer auf Wegwerfwindeln verlangte. Das bedeutet, dass die Anliegen der Frauen hinter jenen der Natur zurückzutreten haben. Zwischen der Verteidigung der Rechte der Natur und der Verteidigung der Rechte der Frauen entscheide ich mich aber für Letzteres.” [...]

Dieser ‘Zurück zur Natur’-Feminismus hält sich für die Avantgarde. In Wirklichkeit ist er aber reaktionär. Da die Ökofeministen auf komplette Fusion mit ihren Kindern eingestellt sind und sie den ganzen Tag in diesen schrecklichen Umhängetüchern herumtragen, haben sie die Männer aus der Verantwortung entlassen; so konnten diese ihr altes, traditionalistisches Verhalten wieder aufnehmen.”

Vollständiges Gespräch lesen.


Searching for Stability in Sudan

September 24, 2010

World leaders meet today at the United Nations to discuss growing fears over the possible collapse of Sudan, which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently called a “ticking time bomb.

Map of Northeast Africa highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

Map of Northeast Africa highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

U.S. legislators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to “take additional steps” to define its policy on Sudan and to “publicly articulate” the consequences should the Sudanese government break his word on commitments to the 2005 peace accord.

There is large disagreement about the best policy course for the United States to pursue in Sudan, but analysts concur that any effective policy will have to consider Sudan’s internal politics and the center’s relationship with its periphery.

Read full story.


Principles for Economic Revival

September 22, 2010

Top White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers announced he will leave, allowing President Barack Obama to reshape his economic staff after midterm elections.

President Barack Obama makes his point to Lawrence Summers, left, head of the National Economic Council, and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, seated next to Summers, during a budget meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room in the President's first week in office. Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, is seated to the President's left (January 24, 2009)

President Barack Obama makes his point to Lawrence Summers, left, head of the National Economic Council, and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, seated next to Summers, during a budget meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room in the President's first week in office. Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, is seated to the President's left (Photo: Peter Souza; January 24, 2009).

The Federal Reserve said yesterday it was prepared to do more to help the U.S. economy but stopped short of announcing specific measures.

In the Wall Street Journal, George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan Meltzer, and John B. Taylor outline a set of policies to guide economic policymakers back to rapid growth, including lowering taxes, balancing the budget, modifying Social Security and healthcare entitlements, and a stronger monetary policy.

Read full story.


Interview with ISAF Commander David Petraeus

September 20, 2010

Although violence in Afghanistan‘s parliamentary elections over the weekend could be a serious setback for U.S. efforts, some experts see an opportunity for change if the elections lead to serious conversations about corruption.

General David Howell Petraeus

General David Howell Petraeus

In the Hamburg weekly Der Spiegel, U.S. commander David Petraeus says despite polls that show 70 percent of the Afghan population has no confidence in their national parliament, other polls show “that Afghans are optimistic about their future.” There is “understandable concern about the pace of progress, which also means that there are high expectations.”

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