Ghassan Michel Rubeiz

President Obama should not move too fast on Syria. The sudden US shift of policy from professing alleged neutrality (over the last two years and a half) to planning swift, "surgical" military action is unwise.

Before the rush to war, the US must wait for the United Nations team of inspectors to finish their report on the nature of the chemical weapons used.


The peace process is unlikely to be revived with a presidential visit. Facing hardened attitudes in Israel and Palestine President Obama may have to assume a pastoral role.

In the fourth week of March, Obama will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. The U.S. Ambassador to Israel has announced the agenda for this event: discussions on Iran's nuclear ambitions, Syria's chemical weapons and ideas for the stalled peace talks.


In order for diplomacy to work, Moscow must apply strong pressure for leadership transition in Damascus, and the West must reduce its threats of direct or indirect military intervention.

Romney and Gingrich seem to be making progress in winning the Jewish vote. They have portrayed Obama as a Palestinian ally. But in turning their backs on the peace process, they are serving neither Israel’s security nor U.S. interests in the region.

President Obama is staging an unwarranted diplomatic battle against the Palestinian attempt at statehood recognition through U.N. membership.

The Assad dynasty in Syria has miscalculated by applying overwhelming force to try to stop the five-month uprising there.

The United States should not be sending $60 billion of sophisticated weaponry to Saudi Arabia’s air force.

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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