Eye on the Mideast: Israel-UAE Friendship’s Cost
“What’s an advanced weapons system between new friends?” quips Bloomberg Opinion’s Eli Lake. Yet Israel, which has long relied on America’s policy not to sell the same weapons systems to Arab countries, is unhappy with the US openness to selling the United Arab Emirates the F-35 fighter jet. While the two nations are normalizing relations, the Jewish state knows “today’s friends can be tomorrow’s adversaries” — and that “more volatile” countries may demand the jet “as a price for normalization.” Providing “the UAE with state-of-the-art fighter jets” hedges against “the very real possibility of Chinese and Russian arms sales to Iran.” Yet the price of “turning the UAE from foe to friend” may be “the erosion of the military advantage” Israel’s “most important friend” — the United States — has provided “for nearly 50 years.”
Education beat: The Anti-Pod People
Some school districts are “not amused” that families are using “pandemic pods” to “provide some kind of in-person instruction for their children,” scoff Lindsey M. Burke and Jason Bedrick at National Review. The Fairfax County, Va., district, for one, claimed pods will “widen the gap in education access and equity” — “an implicit admission” that its online-only learning is “inferior to the education students could be receiving in pods.” Of course, school boards are really just trying to protect the “residentially assigned and government-run” status quo, which “podding calls into question.” If they were really “interested in the ‘public good’ of public education,” after all, they’d “be doing everything in their power to provide education continuity to children” — including embracing pods.
Foreign desk: Real Russian Interference
“The leaders of the coup that ousted Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita spent most of the year training in Russia before returning to boot out the democratically elected leader at gunpoint,” reports Philip Obaji Jr. at The Daily Beast. Sources said the Russian military trained rebel leaders Malick Diaw and Sadio Camara, and while it’s not yet certain “Diaw and Camara sought military assistance or cover” from the Kremlin, “military officials aren’t ruling out Russia’s direct involvement,” especially as it has “a reputation for swooping into African countries and hoping to reshape their politics for material gain.” The Russians, however, may need to watch out: The coup could result in “nationwide disharmony and political uncertainty” — allowing jihadist groups to “expand their reach.”
Campaign watch: Biden Offers Blacks Only Fear
“Joe Biden has presented himself” to black Americans as “a savior figure for whom they have a moral duty to vote” — which is “a total fraud,” blasts Rudy Giuliani at The Washington Times. In his announcement speech, Biden justly criticized white supremacists but “failed to mention” much worse “threats to blacks and other Americans.” In fact, “violent crime in America’s major cities” destroys “far more black lives” than “white supremacist bogeymen,” yet “Biden has chosen to attack police, exploiting the false charge of ‘systemically racist’ law enforcement.” His party has “ignored and exploited” African Americans for decades, while under President Trump, black unemployment and poverty “hit a record low” and “black wages” hit a record high. In sum, Biden offers black voters only more “fear and dependency.”
Culture critic: What’s in a Name?
The “Reclaim Her Name” project, 25 novels “whose women authors were originally published under male pseudonyms” reissued with the authors’ “real” names, is “well-intentioned” but “misses the point of the pseudonymous writer,” argues Catherine Taylor at The Times Literary Supplement. Does “Middlemarch” author George Eliot “really need ‘reclaiming’ as Mary Ann Evans?” The project “glibly states that Eliot was ‘forced to use a male pen name,’ as if she were incapable of making her own decisions.” Same with Amantine Aurore Dupin: “ ‘George Sand’ was as much a part of her image as the men’s clothes she wore and the tobacco she openly smoked.” Indeed, the project’s “rather superficial” and “one-size-fits-all approach overlooks the complexities of publishing history, in which pseudonyms aren’t always about conforming to patriarchal” standards.
— Compiled by Karl Salzmann & Kelly Jane Torrance