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PI Newsletter #98

1.  Kissinger’s folly: The threat to world order is China.

April 19, 2020

The old joke that doctors bury their mistakes should be amended, because former statesmen sometimes try to do so as well. Claims advanced by Henry Kissinger, the doyen of the U.S. foreign policy community, that the coronavirus is a danger to the liberal international order are correct, especially since the virus has killed tens of thousands around the world.

But the specter that is haunting the world order is not the virus that originated in Wuhan. It is the rise of dictatorial China. And it was Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of State and national security adviser, who contributed mightily to this threat as one of the major creators and advocates of the decades-long U.S. strategy towards China emphasizing cooperation, “bringing China in” to the international order, and fostering its growth so that it could become a “responsible stakeholder.”

The expectation was that China would cooperate with the West to preserve the present liberal order of global politics. This approach was a profound mistake: In a historically unprecedented act, the West actively contributed to the creation of its most formidable peer competitor. China hid behind a false promise to abide by Western rules and norms to forestall balancing against it, while it rapidly developed economically and militarily — and was creating a new international order to replace the one that is so rightly valued in the West.


The West did not respond to the challenge for three reasons.


2.  A Time to Hate

May 11, 2020


Through eight years, I accepted the rules of the game. Obama was president. He won fair and square because the Republicans serially put up two milquetoast opponents who were incapable of offering a vision or articulating a message that inspired.


I accepted Obama. I never articulated his first name, and I never called him “president,” but I accepted the results and accepted that this Pretender was our country’s lawfully elected chief executive. I watched his arrogance, the unctuous way he carried himself literally with his nose up, the way he never held a railing while walking a stairway because he was too cool, the kinds of human dreck he regularly invited as his White House guests, and I accepted it all with the soft whisper, “This, too, shall pass.


And yet I accepted that Obama had won. No derangement syndrome for me. It was what it was. As a New York Mets fan from their founding in 1962, I understood what it was to wait patiently and to endure eight years of unmitigated disaster.


As a rabbi of 40 years and a person who believes that most people have the potential for goodness, and who tries to find the good even in people who disappoint until they absolutely close off the possibility of goodness being discovered within them, I now have learned to hate.


Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtueThere is a time to hate. I have come deeply to hate. I hate that Donald Trump never was given a chance to be president of the United States for even one day’s honeymoon. I hate that, long before he won the presidency — fair and square — corrupt crooks and criminals in the United States Department of Justice, its Federal Bureau of Investigation, were actively plotting to take him down. I hate that there are so few outlets in the media that give voice to condemn the criminality and corruption that broke every accepted societal norm by which we play the game. I hate that Obama was in on it, yet continues to pontificate on what is just and on what threatens freedom.

I hate that they all keep getting away with it. Every single one of them gets away with it. There is absolutely no price to be paid on the left for perjury, for conspiracy to overturn a legitimate election, for treason.


3.  Facebook’s new oversight board is cover for censorship, critics say.

May 8, 2020

At first glance, the board may seem like a positive step for distributing decision-making power away from Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg and his executives in Silicon Valley. But not so, said Preston Byrne, a lawyer and partner at Anderson Kill. In this context, “platform governance means platform interference,” said Byrne.


Already, some members of the board have faced criticism for their perceived lack of impartiality.  One board member, Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, was lambasted for crude remarks she made about Baron Trump, Donald Trump’s son. Karlan was a vocal supporter of Trump’s impeachment during last year’s hearing. (Earlier today, the Trump campaign ripped Facebook’s new oversight board as “censorship police.”)

On Twitter, Byrne noted tha Oversight Board Co-Chair Thorning-Schmidt, as the former prime minister of Denmak, may have a skewed sense of what should or shouldn’t be protected speech.


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