With some 140 heads of state and government in town for the UN General Assembly, there has been no shortage of VIPs in New York this past week. But there is one foreign leader whose visit has been anticipated more than any other: Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister. Modi’s current U.S. trip is his international coming out party, and he is making the most of it.
David Cohen | All Articles
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David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W. Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is the author of “<a href="https://www.createspace.com/3859219"> Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals</a>.” Follow him on Twitter @DavidBCohen1.
We’ve all heard this refrain ad nauseam since 9/11: “Islamists are at war with the West. They hate us for who we are.” The fact is, though, that they don’t hate us for who we are. They hate us for who we’re not: we’re not Muslim, and that’s a characteristic we share with billions of people outside the West. If we could only get over our Western self-absorption, we could do a much better job of uniting with our natural allies to combat the global Islamist threat.
In Kolkata, India on Saturday, the Gaza conflict brought 20,000 people to the streets for a massive demonstration — in support of Israel. This was a remarkable display in a city that has always been a leftist bastion. It reinforces a rather counterintuitive conclusion that I have come to recently: India, the country with the second-largest Muslim population in the world, a country with more Muslims than Egypt and Iran combined, a country whose government has consistently sided against Israel over the past six and a half decades … has more supporters of Israel than any other country in the world. More than the United States. More than Israel.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS, or whatever we’re calling them now) is inflicting unspeakable cruelty on Iraq’s Kurdish Yazidis, an ancient religious sect that predates Islam and Christianity. Many men, women, and children have been beheaded, and many others have been buried alive. Others have been crucified. Hundreds of women have been raped or enslaved. U.S. intervention has come too late for thousands of Yazidis, and some remain stranded on a barren mountaintop with no food or water. Iraqi Christians have been suffering a similar fate at the hands of ISIS brutality.
A young mother is sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to renounce Christianity. An Iranian-British housewife faces 20 years in Iranian prison for Facebook posts deemed critical of Ayatollah Khomeini. Hundreds of Syrian men, women and children die agonizing deaths from their own government’s chemical weapons attacks. For those concerned about gross violations of human rights, the world is a target-rich environment.
“Every Sperm is Sacred,” an old parody song by the British comedy troupe Monty Python, poked good-natured fun at Catholic doctrine on birth control. The song’s title is, of course, a comic exaggeration of the church’s position. But substitute “government program” for “sperm,” and you’re left with a not-so-exaggerated characterization of how we govern ourselves. Public sector programs appear to be endowed by their creator — i.e. government — with an unalienable right to (perpetual) life.
Foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but a complete lack of moral consistency is the hobgoblin of bigoted minds. Those who would single out the world’s only Jewish state for boycott, divestment and sanctions, while ignoring the infinitely more virulent persecution and intolerance that prevails throughout the surrounding region, cannot claim to be crusading against injustice. They are crusading against Jews.
Anyone over 40 will remember Joe Isuzu, the smarmy pitchman who, in a series of 1980s car commercials, lied his way into America’s heart. The Joe Isuzu character, played by David Leisure, was an ingenious creation of comic advertising—a pathological liar who somehow wound up as the spokesman for a major car company. Looking straight into the camera with dimwitted confidence and a greasy smile, he would make ludicrous claims (Isuzu trucks are “so inexpensive you can buy one with your spare change!”) that would hastily be qualified with clever subtitles (“if you have $6,189 in quarters”). It was all good fun: everyone knew Joe was lying; no one took him seriously.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month starts next week, and for one son of Asian immigrants, Neel Kashkari, it will be a very important month indeed. The significance of the month for Kashkari is coincidental: May is when his campaign for governor of California will kick into high gear in advance of the June 3 primary.
India is a budding economic powerhouse which, as a multicultural democracy, shares America’s most important fundamental values. Our relationship with India will be hugely important to us for years to come. This is especially true given recent revelations that our other supposed friend in South Asia, Pakistan, has been secretly (or not so secretly, to those of us who have been paying attention) acting as our enemy. India is in the midst of an important election to choose its next prime minister.
India, the world’s largest democracy, is in the midst of a marathon five-week election that will result in the selection of its next prime minister. Although Nate Silver has yet to make it official, most pundits and prognosticators predict that Narendra Modi will be India’s next leader.
Once again, President Obama is using dishonest demagoguery to sell his policy agenda — this time with his insistence on tax hikes in any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. And once again, Republicans are like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football with Lucy holding: falling for the same trick over and over again, appearing completely surprised and unprepared each time.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld is out with a new book entitled “The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph Over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage.” In full and fair disclosure, I haven’t actually read it. But I’m not going to let that stop me from weighing in.
When I ran for Congress a number of years ago, I called my campaign the “Rainbow on the Right.” The name was a response to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, and reflected my belief that the Republican message — especially the power of free enterprise to lift people out of poverty, to provide opportunity and allow upward mobility — could eventually resonate in traditionally liberal communities if we made the case properly. I was as good a person as any to start a Rainbow on the Right: I’m a Jewish Samoan, married to an Indian, with an extended family that includes African Americans, Filipinos, Latinos, Tongans and, by religion, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Hindus and Muslims. And my campaign was indeed a rainbow coalition. It had more diversity than the campaign of the Democratic incumbent I was challenging, but his campaign had more money. You can guess who won.
Dear Undecided Voter:
They say Americans don’t vote on foreign policy. That’s usually true, especially in times like these where the economy is in shambles. But Americans do vote on leadership. And ultimately Americans also vote on character, notwithstanding the generous leeway we tend to allow our politicians. In the final presidential debate and beyond, Mitt Romney has a great opportunity to show how the president’s foreign policy record exemplifies his failures of leadership and, sadly, of character.
The Obama campaign really, really wants you to believe that Mitt Romney is a liar. In fact, they’ll say anything to make you believe it — even things that, well, aren’t true.
“They want to go back to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place,” railed former President Bill Clinton to an adoring crowd in Charlotte last week. That is President Obama’s central argument for re-election: that the economic misery, record unemployment, record debt and abysmal growth that has marred Obama’s term is not his fault. Rather, it’s the fault of Republican policies — tax cuts, deregulation and defense spending — that Mitt Romney wants to return to.
No decent person believes that the color of your skin should limit what you’re allowed to achieve or what you’re allowed to earn. So why do some liberals believe that the color of your skin should limit what you’re allowed to think? When people of color refuse to think the way they’re “supposed to” think, when they follow their conscience to conservatism, do they forfeit their right to be treated with dignity and respect? The obvious moral answer is “no,” but some liberals don’t seem to get that. And it is particularly troubling when white liberals attempt to enforce racial groupthink in communities that are not their own.