As anyone familiar with South Asia knows, a “tight slap” is a colorful Indian idiom for a verbal takedown. It is the rhetorical equivalent of giving someone a crisp smack on the face, sharpening the impact by leaving no gaps between your fingers. My many Twitter followers from India will recognize President Trump’s blunt remarks about Pakistan on Monday, made during his address unveiling the new U.S. policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, as a textbook “tight slap.”
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 “ Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals.” Follow him on Twitter @DavidBCohen1.
There was much celebration on this Fourth of July in two unlikely places: Israel and India—and not because it was American Independence Day. When Narendra Modi landed in Ben Gurion Airport yesterday, becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit the Jewish state, the international chessboard shifted in ways that will benefit Israel, India—and the U.S.
The Cold War may have ended more than a quarter century ago, but according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it still lives on in at least one way: International relations are still largely managed through institutions that were designed for that era. Tillerson is intent on reforming the State Department so that it is prepared to face today’s realities, rather than those of a bipolar world order that no longer exists.
After years of impotent sermonizing on Syria by the Obama Administration, the U.S. has taken an important step to reestablish its credibility in the Middle East and beyond. A mere two days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 70 of his own people with poison gas—including many children—President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike on the airbase from which Assad launched his attack. Over 50 Tomahawk missiles bombarded Shayrat Airfield shortly after President Trump bade goodnight to his dinner guest at Mar-a-Lago, Chinese President Xi Jinping. The U.S. strike will loom large over President Xi’s important first meeting with President Trump, and add an edge to U.S. demands that China rein in North Korea.
For the last two weeks, Palestinians have been conducting stabbing campaign in Israel. Incited by the Palestinians’ top political and religious leaders, the campaign has thus far resulted in eight murders and over 70 attempted murders. The victims — including young teens, young mothers, and elderly women and men — have been targeted solely because they are Jewish.
SAN JOSE — The SAP Center, the San Jose arena that will host concerts from Madonna and Black Sabbath in the coming months, featured a different kind of rock star on Sunday night: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After a week of unrest in Baltimore, chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby calmed the waters Friday by indicting six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I have heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace,’” Mosby declared.
Senator Marco Rubio didn’t purposely time his entry into the presidential race to occur one day after Hillary Clinton’s. But Rubio should embrace the opportunity to contrast his youthful optimism and intellectual energy with, well, whatever it is that Hillary has to offer.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s impassioned speech Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, a plea for America to reject an emerging nuclear deal that “paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” was interrupted by 26 standing ovations. But not everyone was cheering. As many as 60 Democratic lawmakers boycotted the address, and a group of them rushed to the microphone to denounce the prime minister shortly after he finished speaking.
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio talk show Friday, columnist Charles Krauthammer launched into a devastatingly hilarious riff on President Obama’s infamous National Prayer Breakfast speech last week. Obama, of course, invoked the Crusades and other ancient grievances lest Christians get on their “high horse” over the recent savagery of Islamist extremists. Krauthammer’s take:
For me, the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson brings back memories of a tragic police shooting that occurred over 20 years ago near Los Angeles. I was then, and am now, a conservative who is greatly supportive of the police. But in that case, I helped organize protests against the police.
Much has already been written about Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece this week in The Atlantic, where two senior Obama administration officials deride Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu as “chickensh*t.” Most pundits have focused on the juvenile name-calling, but the importance of that is dwarfed by a devastating admission that was inadvertently made by one of those officials: Thanks to the Obama administration’s pressure on Israel, it is now too late to prevent Iran from going nuclear.
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.
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.