Friday, December 6, 2013

Shocking Study: Men With Hot Wives Have Happier Marriages.

Shocking study: Men with hot wives have happier marriages. By Richard Thompson. Rare, November 20, 2013.

Men With Attractive Wives Report Higher Levels of Marital Satisfaction, New Study Finds. By Taryn Hillin. The Huffington Post, November 19, 2013.

A Hot Wife Means a Happier Marriage. By CH. Chateau Heartiste, November 21, 2013.

Survey Says: Dudes Like Having Attractive Wives. By Kelly Faircloth. Jezebel, November 21, 2013.

Sex Differences in the Implications of Partner Physical Attractiveness for the Trajectory of Marital Satisfaction. By Andrea L. Meltzer et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, online first publication, October 14, 2013.


Do men value physical attractiveness in a mate more than women? Scientists in numerous disciplines believe that they do, but recent research using speed-dating paradigms suggests that males and females are equally influenced by physical attractiveness when choosing potential mates. Nevertheless, the premise of the current work is that sex differences in the importance of physical attractiveness are most likely to emerge in research on long-term relationships. Accordingly, the current work drew from 4 independent, longitudinal studies to examine sex differences in the implications of partner physical attractiveness for trajectories of marital satisfaction. In all 4 studies, both partners’ physical attractiveness was objectively rated at baseline, and both partners reported their marital satisfaction up to 8 times over the first 4 years of marriage. Whereas husbands were more satisfied at the beginning of the marriage and remained more satisfied over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive wife, wives were no more or less satisfied initially or over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive husband. Most importantly, a direct test indicated that partner physical attractiveness played a larger role in predicting husbands’ satisfaction than predicting wives’ satisfaction. These findings strengthen support for the idea that sex differences in self-reported preferences for physical attractiveness do have implications for long-term relationship outcomes.

American History, Through Chinese Eyes. By David Caragliano.

American History, Through Chinese Eyes. By David Caragliano. Tea Leaf Nation, July 1, 2013.

China’s Viral, Nationalist Screed Against Western Encroachment. By Rachel Lu.

China’s Viral, Nationalist Screed Against Western Encroachment. By Rachel Lu. Tea Leaf Nation, December 5, 2013.

Why Israel Is Not a Model for China. By Mu Chunshan.

Why Israel Is Not a Model for China. By Mu Chunshan. The Diplomat, December 6, 2013.

Israel’s military toughness is attractive for many Chinese, but its foreign policy stance isn’t feasible for Beijing.

The Politics of Subversion. By Caroline Glick.

The Politics of Subversion. By Caroline Glick. Jerusalem Post, December 5, 2013.


US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to put additional pressure on Israel to make more concessions in land and political rights to the PLO in Judea and Samaria. To advance his current effort, Kerry brought along retired US Marine Gen. John Allen.

According to media reports, Allen presented a proposal to address Israel’s security concerns and so enabled the talks about Israeli land giveaways to proceed apace. The proposal involved, among other things, American security guarantees, a pledge to deploy US forces along the Jordan River and additional US military assistance to the IDF.

These Obama administration proposals are supposed to allay Israeli concerns that withdrawing Israeli forces from the Jordan Valley and the international border crossings with Jordan will invite foreign invasion and aggression, and increased Palestinian terrorism.

By controlling the Jordan Valley, (and the Samarian and Hebron mountain ranges), Israel is capable of defending the country from invasion from the east. It can also prevent penetration of irregular enemy forces, and on the other hand, maintain the stability of the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Without control over the areas, Israel can do none of these things.

Facing these undeniable facts, Kerry and his supporters have two main challenges. First they need to present themselves as credible actors.

And second they have to give Israel reason to trust the Palestinians. If Israel trusts the US, then it can consider allowing the US to defend it from foreign aggression. If the Palestinians are real peace partners, then Israel can surrender its ability to defend itself more easily, because it will face a benign neighbor along its indefensible border.

Unfortunately, Israel cannot trust the US. Kerry and the Obama administration as a whole lost all credibility when they negotiated the deal with Iran last month.

After spending five years promising they had Israel’s back only to stab Israel in the back in relation to the most acute threat facing the Jewish state, nothing Kerry or US President Barack Obama says in relation to their commitment to Israel’s security can be trusted. The fact that Kerry had the nerve to show up here with “security guarantees” regarding the Palestinians two weeks after he agreed to effectively unravel the sanctions regime against Iran in exchange for no concrete Iranian concessions on its nuclear arms program shows that he holds Israel in contempt.
But then, even if Kerry had all the credibility in the world it wouldn’t make a difference. The real problem with the notion of an Israeli withdrawal to indefensible borders is that those indefensible borders will be insecure. Both the PLO and Hamas remain committed to Israel’s destruction.
They will never agree to Israel’s continued existence in any borders. So the whole peace process is doomed. Kerry’s attempt to dictate security arrangements is a waste of time.
This much was again made clear last Friday by the PLO’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. Speaking to foreign supporters, Erekat said that the Palestinians will never accept Israel’s right to exist.
Their entire existence as a people is predicated on denying Jewish rights and nationhood. And, as Erekat put it, “I cannot change my narrative.”
The people who should be most upset both about Obama and Kerry’s destruction of US strategic credibility and about the utter absence of Palestinian good faith should be the Israelis wedded to the two-state paradigm. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Labor Party leader Issac Herzog among others, should be so vocal in their opposition to the deal with Iran that they make Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu look like a pushover.
It is they, not Netanyahu and his voters, who have insisted that Israel can make massive concessions to the PLO and sit on the sidelines with regard to Iran because the US will defend us. For the past generation it was they, not the political Right, that preached strategic dependency rather than strategic sovereignty.
These peaceniks, rather than Likud supporters should also be the ones leading the charge against PLO support for terrorism, incitement against Israel and rejection of Israel’s right to exist. The Right never wanted a Palestinian state to begin with. That’s the Left’s policy. If Netanyahu abandoned his support for Palestinian statehood, he would become more popular, not less so. And unless Palestinian society and the Palestinian leadership fundamentally transform their position on Israel, there is no way that Israel can be expected to surrender its ability to defend itself.
There is no way that Israel can consider the PLO’s territorial demands. And there is no way a Palestinian state can be established.
But the peaceniks don’t seem to care about these things.
Olmert uses every open microphone to attack Netanyahu.
Last week Olmert went so far as to say that Netanyahu, “declared war on the American government,” by openly criticizing the deal with Iran.
Despite the fact that PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas didn’t even respond to Olmert’s peace offer in 2008, Olmert places all the blame for the absence of peace on Netanyahu and his government.
For his part, on the eve of Kerry’s visit Diskin launched an equally unhinged attack on the government.
Speaking to the European funded pro-Palestinian Geneva Initiative, Diskin claimed wildly that Israel is more at risk from not surrendering to PLO demands than from an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
Last month Livni attacked Netanyahu for criticizing Obama’s deal with Iran and then claimed vapidly that Israel will protect itself from Iran by giving away its land to the PLO. Ignoring the fact that the Arab world is already siding with Israel against Iran, Livni said, “Solving the conflict with the Palestinians would enable a united front with Arab countries against Iran.”
This week newly elected Labor Party chief Issac Herzog went to Ramallah and chastised the government.
Praising Abbas for his “real desire to achieve peace,” while remaining silent about Abbas’s daily statements in support of terrorism, Herzog pledged “to try to put pressure on the Israeli government to take brave positions to achieve peace and security for our children.”
As for the deal with Iran, shortly after his election to head the Labor Party last month, Herzog lashed out not at the deal, and not at Obama for betraying his pledge to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, but at Netanyahu. Netanyahu, he claimed, “has harmed our relations with the US and hasn’t brought about an improved agreement.”
Ignoring the fact that the Obama administration negotiated with Iran behind Israel’s back and then lied about the contents of what it had agreed to, Herzog seethed, Netanyahu “has created a total lack of trust between us and Obama rather than a trusting relationship.”
As polls taken over the past 20 years have shown, a majority of Israelis would be happy to make peace with the Palestinians, and pay a price in territory for doing so. But those polls have also shown that the public believes the Palestinians when they say they want to destroy the Jewish state. The Israeli public does not think people like Abbas, who praise mass murderers of Jews as national heroes, have “a real desire to achieve peace.”
And, as recent polls show, following the US deal with Iran, while the public continues to prize Israel’s alliance with the US, it no longer trusts the US government.
The fact that the likes of Olmert, Livni, Diskin and Herzog and their followers are not at the forefront pressuring the Palestinians to change their ways and demanding that the Obama administration demonstrate its trustworthiness, but rather have directed all their energies to attacking the government, indicates that peace with the Palestinians is not their primary concern.
Rather it would appear that their main concern is their personal power and prestige.
By siding with the Americans against the government, these senior figures seek to exploit the public’s support for the US. By presenting Netanyahu as anti-American, and claiming that he is responsible for Obama’s abusive behavior, they hope to convince the public to embrace them as guarantors of the strategic alliance. Certainly that is Olmert’s goal as he looks past his criminal prosecutions and begins to plot his course back to the center of power.
As for their support for the Palestinians against their government, here the motivation is external.
Israelis do not trust the Palestinians. And they certainly do not trust Abbas. But the Americans and Europeans have made Palestinian statehood the centerpiece of their foreign policies and view Abbas as the indispensable man.
Livni had no political future after she lost the Kadima party primary to Shaul Mofaz last year.
Her hopes of becoming prime minister had ended. But then she went to Washington, met with Hillary Clinton, and announced she was forming a new party and running on a pro-Palestinian, pro-Obama platform. She won a paltry six seats, which she took from other leftist parties.
But that was enough. Bowing to US pressure to prove he was serious about appeasing the Palestinians, Netanyahu appointed Livni justice minister and put her in charge of the talks with the PLO. If Livni had been less supportive of Obama or of the PLO, she would not be where she is today.
If the behavior of these people were just a matter of shameless jockeying for political power their actions would be bad enough. But they cause immeasurable damage to the country.
By accusing Netanyahu of blocking peace between Israel and the Palestinians, they embolden the Palestinians to escalate their political warfare against Israel, and maintain their steady anti-Semitic incitement. Indeed they lay the moral groundwork for justifying terrorism against Israel.
Livni, Olmert, Diskin, Herzog and their allies also give political cover to outside forces to adopt anti-Israel positions and policies. Why shouldn’t the European Union boycott Israeli goods when the former prime minister claims that Israel is the reason there is no peace? Why should Obama care what Netanyahu tells Congress when Olmert says Netanyahu is at war with the US? How can Israel justify attacking Iran’s nuclear installations when Olmert says it is strategically idiotic to even train for such an attack and Diskin says that we need a PLO state more than we need to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Diskin’s unhinged attack against Netanyahu on the eve of Kerry’s visit was hardly coincidental.
And we should expect more such displays as Obama becomes more open in his hostility towards Israel.
As long as we have a seemingly endless supply of senior officials willing to harm the country to advance their personal goals, domestic subversion will remain a key weapon in the international arsenal against us.

Obama’s Plan Won’t Persuade Palestinians. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Obama’s Plan Won’t Persuade Palestinians. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, December 4, 2013.

Why Should Anyone Believe Kerry? By Jonathan Tobin. Commentary, December 6, 2013.

U.S., Stepping Up Role, Will Present West Bank Security Proposal to Israel. By Michael R. Gordon and Jodi Rudoren. New York Times, December 4, 2013.

Palestinians Want a Geneva Accord Against Israel. By Khaled Abu Toameh. Gatestone Institute, December 3, 2013.

Halfway through timeframe, Palestinian-Israeli talks are going nowhere. By Noam Sheizaf. +972, November 28, 2013.


Anyone who thought the Obama administration is concentrating so much on its push for détente with Iran that it can’t simultaneously launch a new push for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians was wrong. As the New York Times reports this afternoon, a former U.S. commander in Afghanistan that is currently serving as an advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to the Middle East to brief the Israelis on a detailed plan for the West Bank that the U.S. envisages will be implemented in the wake of a peace agreement. Though President Obama has repeatedly pledged that he would not seek to impose a U.S. plan on the parties, the Times’s friendly sources at the State Department say retired Marine General John Allen will be bringing with him a specific scheme for the future of the West Bank.
The sources say it won’t be presented to the Israelis as a take-it-or-leave-it proposal. But there’s little question that the general’s arrival must be seen as part of an effort to strong arm the Israelis into abandoning the West Bank and specifically giving up most of its demands that a future Palestinian state be prevented from posing a military or terrorist threat to its Jewish neighbor. More to the point, it may be part of an effort to impose an international military presence in the region that would replace Israeli forces.
It’s possible that Israel will agree to some of the elements of the American plan even though they are loath to put themselves at the mercy of Western powers that will, as with other peacekeeping forces, be more interested in preserving the status quo than in preventing terror. But the real obstacle to the administration’s hubristic push for an agreement will come from the Palestinians. The same article that spoke of Allen’s mission discussed the remarks of chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat at a dinner last week in Jerusalem in honor of the United Nations’ annual “day of solidarity” with the Palestinians. Erekat’s remarks in front of a friendly audience made it clear that if President Obama is serious about achieving Middle East peace, he needs to be concentrating on pressuring the Palestinians to see reason rather than expending so much effort on trying to strong arm the Netanyahu government.
While lamenting his lack of military leverage over Israel, Erekat stated again that despite even the Obama administration’s acceptance of the idea of territorial swaps that would accommodate Israeli settlement blocks, the PA’s idea of a two-state solution remained the “1967 border.” But aside from inflexibility on territory rooted in a desire to ethnically cleanse the West Bank and much of Jerusalem of hundreds of thousands of Jews and refusing to disavow the “right of return” for the descendants of the 1948 refugees, Erekat also signaled that any peace deal would not end the conflict:
Mr. Erekat told the diplomats that the Palestinians could never accede to Israel’s demand that they recognize it as the nation-state of the Jewish people. “I cannot change my narrative,” he said. “The essence of peace is not to convert each other’s stories.”
Why is Erekat’s stance so crucial?
Palestinian apologists dismiss Israeli demands that the Palestinians simply accept that whatever territory is left to the Jews after a theoretical deal is a Jewish state as irrelevant to a deal. What difference, we are asked, does it make whether the Palestinians accept Israel as the Jewish state so long as they accept the concept of peace and take what is offered them? But it does matter so long as the Palestinian leadership continues enable a political culture that is rooted in rejection of Israel’s legitimacy.
If Israel is to accede to U.S. demands that it give up the bulk of the West Bank, let alone compromise on Jerusalem, it cannot be on any terms but on those that conclusively end the conflict. And that can only happen once the Palestinians give up the dream of eradicating the Jewish state, either immediately or in stages. A peace deal that only sets the stage for future violence on more advantageous strategic terms for the Palestinians is not a rational option for Israel no matter what the United States says now or what guarantees it makes. Right now, the Palestinian “story” is one that is based on the idea that Israel’s existence, not its policies or post-1967 borders, is a crime. Until that changes, there is no way to argue that peace is possible.
That’s why all the U.S. pressure on Israel is utterly misplaced. Even if Israel bowed to Obama’s dictates, the negotiations into which Secretary Kerry has invested so much effort will inevitably run aground on the shoals of Palestinian intransigence. PA leaders know that so long as the culture of intolerance they have promoted is in place and so long as its Islamist Hamas rivals run Gaza, they cannot sign off on a peace deal that recognizes Israel’s legitimacy and ends the conflict. Like Kerry’s talks, Allen’s mission is a fool’s errand. If President Obama wants an outcome that differs from every other attempt to make peace with the Palestinians he will have to something different. A place to start means telling the Palestinians that they must do exactly what Erekat says they will never do.

Six Reasons to Worry About the Iranian Nuclear Deal. By Jeffrey Goldberg.

Six Reasons to Worry About the Iranian Nuclear Deal. By Jeffrey Goldberg. Bloomberg, December 3, 2013.

A Riyadh-Jerusalem Entente. By Walter Russell Mead.

A Riyadh-Jerusalem Entente. By Walter Russell Mead. Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2013.


Could the Saudis and Israelis be cooking up a little diplomatic revolution of their own to offset the shift in American policy toward Iran?
The temporary nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s major powers has this pair of America’s oldest and closest Middle East allies deeply worried. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a bevy of Saudi officials attacking the deal, Jerusalem and Riyadh are torn between rage and fear.
The question is whether this matters. The U.S. is the world’s only superpower, and its security guarantees have been the pillar of Israeli and Saudi defense thinking for a very long time. As long as U.S. domestic politics give President Obama the leeway he needs in the Middle East, U.S. officials and commentators appear to believe that the Saudis and Israelis will have to live with whatever Washington does.
Perhaps. The Saudis and Israelis are status-quo, stability-seeking powers. Maybe they will stand by and watch while a U.S. president they neither trust nor respect remakes the region.
But maybe not. The two countries could instead forge an entente, informal or formal. Just as Saudi support for the coup in Egypt thwarted two years of painstaking if farcical American efforts to promote “a transition to democracy” in the land of the Nile, so the Saudis and Israelis could throw some serious wrenches in the Obama administration’s Iran strategy.
Riyadh and Jerusalem have common interests that are not limited to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The Saudis believe Iran is leading Shiites in a religious conflict with Sunnis now engulfing the Fertile Crescent. They fear that the Islamic Republic, nuclear or not, poses an existential threat to their security as the Shiite tide rises.
Israel is less concerned about the Sunni-Shiite war, but the prospect of a Hezbollah-Tehran-Syria axis along its northern frontier is more than troubling. Both countries think that a naive Mr. Obama’s unicorn hunt for nuclear disarmament is leading him to sacrifice vital geopolitical interests in the hope of what will turn out to be a very bad nuclear deal with Iran.
Riyadh and Jerusalem also want Hamas crushed. They worry about Turkey’s increasingly unhinged and unpredictable diplomacy as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan follows his wandering star. They rejoice that the Muslim Brotherhood was driven from power in Egypt, and they want Egypt’s army to succeed as it tries to pacify the country and stabilize the Sinai. They want to protect the status quo in Jordan and Iranian power contested in Iraq.
One suspects that both the Israelis and the Saudis are also looking at Kurdish aspirations with more favorable eyes. Playing the Kurdish card against Shiites in Baghdad and Tehran is looking more interesting every day.
Arguably, the two countries now have more in common with each other than either has with the Obama administration. The question is whether this common interest is enough to make both countries swallow their visceral dislike of one another and work together. Most commentators seem to think not; the champion of Wahhabi Islam cannot stand with the Jewish state.
Yet necessity has made stranger diplomatic bedfellows. From the Saudi point of view, times are grim. The Sunni Arab world is in a fight for survival against the Shiites, but without Israeli help the weak and divided Sunnis may not stand.
There has already been some discussion, public and private, about a relatively weak form of Saudi-Israeli collaboration against Iran. In this scenario, Israeli jets would overfly Saudi territory as part of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Saudi sources hint that the Israeli air force would encounter no Saudi resistance. The obstacles against a successful attack on Iran may be too great even using Saudi airspace. But an agreement that let Israel use Saudi bases for takeoff and refueling could tip the military balance enough to make a difference.
This could not be kept secret, but the Saudis could contain the consequences. Islamic history, including the life of the Prophet Muhammad, offers many examples of unlikely truces and temporary alliances. Saudi Arabia is as rich in Islamic legal scholars as it is in oil, and no doubt there are precedents that could legitimize such an arrangement.
Paradoxically, Mr. Netanyahu might pay a higher price in settlement restrictions in the West Bank and commitments about the long-term status of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem to the Saudis than he would to Secretary of State John Kerry. If the Saudis offer concrete assistance in handling what Israel sees as its gravest security threat since 1967, Mr. Netanyahu could justify his concessions as the price of national safety. One suspects that if enough Iranian nuclear facilities went up in smoke, most of the settler lobby would give him a pass.
For the Saudis, getting a better deal for the Palestinians, even a temporary one, than the U.S. has ever managed to get would do much to repair any reputational damage from temporary cooperation with the Jewish state against Iran. The Saudis are not the only Sunnis watching in fear and horror as the Shiites march from victory to victory across the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the two temporary allies could settle a few other scores. They could work jointly against Hezbollah and Hamas, perhaps with Egyptian help returning Fatah to power in Gaza. From Syria to Iran, the Kurds might suddenly find they’ve got more money and that their relations with their Sunni Arab neighbors might improve.
Those who think the Israelis and Saudis will have to accept whatever treatment the Americans dish out may be right. But if access to Saudi facilities changes the calculations about what Israeli strikes against Iran can accomplish, the two countries have some careful thinking to do. It would be an error for American policy makers to assume that allies who feel jilted will sit quietly.