New Baseball Commish Wants to Play Ball with Cuba


PitcherFidelAccording to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wants to schedule a Spring Training game in Cuba in 2016.

“To the extent that we can play a role in helping the United States government effectuate a change in policy, that we’re following their lead and we’re acting in a way that’s consistent with what they want us to do, that’s an honor for us,” Manfred is quoted as saying.

There are those in the U.S. government — Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz to name two — who may differ. So may many of the major league players, coaches, and managers who have had direct experience on what President Kennedy called “that imprisoned island” — still an accurate description.

Petraeus Puts the Icing on Bibi’s Iran Cake


Don’t just rely on Benjamin Netanyahu’s passionate advice to Congress on his way to reelection that Iran is our arch enemy. Now we have the counsel of retired general David Petraeus, who gave a remarkable interview this week to the Washington Post. Petraeus agrees with Netanhayhu: Iran, not ISIS, is the real enemy.

His message: “I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq’s long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State; rather, it is Shiite militias, many backed by – and some guided by – Iran.”

Grand Strategy Podcast: James Fearon on Rethinking Failed States


What is a failed state? When do they pose legitimate threats to American national security? Has America overestimated its capacity to impose order on far-flung parts of the globe? Those are some of the questions animating a new series of podcasts we’re releasing at the Hoover Institution featuring interviews with scholars from Hoover’s Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy. In this first installment, I talk with James Fearon, who wears many hats at Stanford: Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, a professor of political science, and a Senior Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. James’ argument: that the U.S. needs to be much more circumspect in taking on nation-building projects overseas. Listen in below:

Relationship Status with Bibi: It’s Complicated


bibi-2015victoryHey, everybody. Greetings from King Bibi-Land. Troy suggested I drop in and offer a word or two about the Israeli election from ground zero, as it were. I’m happy to do so, although I confess to some slight hesitation, as my views on the result run somewhat counter to the general sentiment at Ricochet.

There appears to be much (forgive me) rather uninflected delight being expressed at Ricochet over Bibi’s victory — a victory that does offer obvious satisfaction to anyone who views it strictly in terms of the thumb in the eye it offers to President Obama. I understand this. I can see that the result has really energized some of you, who view it as evidence that a rhetorical, chest-thumping lunge for the throat can, under certain circumstances and when executed by a pro, be a productive strategy against Obama.

But from my perspective here in Israel, it’s hard to view Bibi’s dissing of the US president and subsequent electoral triumph with unalloyed joy. This is not because I have any problem in principle with this president being flipped a well-earned bird, but because the consequences could be precisely the opposite of what Bibi intended. They could, in fact, be horrendously costly to us.

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Canada. Please don’t stop reading–I know it can be down-right boring–it is where I am from and what I got to work with. I would love to see some of that positive American conservatism attitude here on Ricochet branch out into Canada. As most members of Ricochet know there is a federal election to be held October 19, […]

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Rubio Speech Drops Hammer on Anti-Israel President


If Marco Rubio keeps talking like this, he’ll be the GOP front runner before we know it.

Two days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s big victory in Israel, one day after Obama’s peevish reaction, and on the same day the White House stated that they foresee “terrible days” for Israel ahead, Rubio spoke up. In 15 minutes, Florida’s junior senator vivisects Obama’s Israel policy before dispatching it once and for all into the depths of hell.

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In some weird kind of way Obama’s failure to toss Netanyahu out of the Israeli government reminded me of his failure, in Copenhagen, to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.  Anyone else think of that? Correction: See this blog for a more passionate exposition on my point.  Preview Open

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An Israeli Referendum


benjamin-netanyahu-us-congressThey say one should never fall in love with a politician. Ideas, yes, but never the person. They tend to fail and ultimately break your heart. I’ve agreed with that rule and followed it religiously — until the levees broke a few weeks ago.

On March 3, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in an historic speech on Iran, Israel, and the future of Western Civilization. I can’t really remember when I last felt such pride. I’m not sure I have ever engaged in that kind of uncensored admiration

It wasn’t merely his words, eloquent as they were, but the fact that my leader of my state had been given this honor and had made Congress rise to its feet no less than 25 times (yes, I did count). I was proud, and I wept as he said that “if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will still stand.” Those words filled my heart and straightened my spine, and as the applause roared I could clearly see the straight red line from where we have been as a people to where we stand today: with each other, with Bibi, having the ear of the world.

The Strategika Podcast: Angelo Codevilla on Our Ambiguous Russia Policy


Codevillo-Angelo-bio-photoThings always get lively when Angelo Codevilla joins us on the Strategika podcast. In this installment, Angelo looks at the history of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine and argues that we’ve been weakened by a tendency to say one thing and do another. To hear his full diagnosis of the situation, listen in to the podcast embedded below or subscribe to Strategika in iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

Gil’s Guide to Israel’s Elections


Knesset voting slipsWhat?: Israel elects its 20th Knesset (legislature).

When?: Today, March 17. Irish Israelis can vote drunk. Exit polls will be broadcast at 10 PM Israel time (4 PM EDT).

How? Each voter shows her photo ID — crazy, right? — to members of a three-person panel, who check the name against their lists. If the voter passes, he or she is given an envelope and goes behind a partition where there’s a tray of white slips of paper with each party’s code letters in big writing and name in small writing. This goes back to Israel’s founding, when many new immigrants couldn’t read Hebrew. The voter chooses a slip, puts it in an envelope, and then puts the envelope in the box in front of the observers.

The Strategika Podcast: Victor Davis Hanson on Understanding Putin


victor_davis_hansonAt the Hoover Institution, we’ve just released a new set of podcasts from our Strategika series on military history and foreign policy (subscribe to Strategika on iTunes here). We begin this series — which focuses on Russia and Ukraine — with a conversation with the great Victor Davis Hanson, who, amongst his many other accolades, chairs the Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group at Hoover that produces Strategika. In this episode, Victor attempts to get inside Vladimir Putin’s mind: analyzing his motivations, his ultimate goals, and the possible means of deterring him.

NATO: Alliance or Protectorship?


640px-Flag_of_NATO.svgGiven Vladimir Putin’s recent aggressions — to say nothing of the sum of Russian history — one might think former Soviet-bloc states would be arming to the teeth, lest one of their border provinces becomes the next Crimea, South Ossetia, or Abkhazia. But as it so happens, very few of the nations who border Russia spend more than 2% of their GDP on defense (Lithuania and Latvia each spend half that; the United States spends roughly 3.5%*). In many of them, military spending has has actually declined in recent years.

This begs a question: what is the United States doing in alliance with imperiled countries unwilling to even attempt their own defense? The matter is especially jarring when one considers that — despite not sharing a land border with a potentially belligerent nation (not for the past 98 years, at least) — the United States spends more than twice on defense as all other NATO members combined, despite having a GDP 17% smaller than that of its colleagues.

It’s even worse when you consider how few of the dollars spent by our allies could even potentially benefit us. By my counting, only two of our allies have the means and will to reliably deploy large numbers of combat troops overseas to fight alongside ours: the United Kingdom and Australia (who is not a formal NATO member, but who has fought alongside America in every theater since WWI).

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Shortly before the Charlie Hebdo affair, I conceived an interest in visiting El Salvador. During and after the Charlie Hebdo affair, this interest was unabated. About the Charlie Hebdo affair, it was instantly clear to me that nothing useful would be done, indeed nothing notable would be written. “Notable” being defined as “containing the phrase […]

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