Exporting the Iraq Speech

Ahead of President Obama’s speech on Iraq tomorrow, National Security Adviser James L. Jones has a Wall Street Journal op-ed about . . . export controls? He says the current U.S. system is an outdated product of the Cold War that needs to be streamlined to allow for “efficiently” scrutinizing sensitive items we ship overseas, while at the same time being able to quickly respond to allies’ needs.

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum hopes President Obama acknowledges the “very high price” America has paid here at home for victory in Iraq. She says the U.S. performance has called into question our reputation for effective fighting and coalition building, and our ability to influence the Middle East, “think like a global power,” and care for our wounded warriors.

Also in the Post, Reuters editor Chrystia Freeland writes that when historians look back at the summer of 2010, they are “likely to focus on”—no, not the Ground Zero mosque debate—China’s emergence as the number-two economic power. While this is mostly “a very good thing,” she says, it would be “dangerous” to think that China’s rise proves “authoritarianism works.” Freeland argues that China has a long way to go and autocracies historically threaten “revolutionary technological development,” fourteenth-century China being one example, when it turned inward and began its long decline relative to the West.

Moving back to the Middle East, Hebrew University professor Gadi Taub has an op-ed in the New York Times that traces two different strands of Zionism: Theodor Herzl’s “democratic” version, which has its roots in the Enlightment, and that of Orthodox Jewish settlers, who are “steeped in blood-and-soil nationalism.” Taub writes that further settlements, with their goal of expanding the Jewish state into areas with Arab majorities, would force Israel into a “one state solution” that can only lead to “civil war.” Because the Arab population growth rate is higher, he says, either Israel would have to give up the democratic part of its identity in order to preserve its Jewish heritage, or it would be forced to relinquish its Jewishness to hold onto democracy. So expanding settlements for “short-sighted” security reasons is a greater threat to “Herzl’s Zionist vision” than that posed by terrorism.