U.S. Wants Israel To Give Up Jordan Valley
The Obama administration is pressing hard for Israel to give up the strategic Jordan Valley in a deal with the Palestinians, a senior Palestinian negotiator told this column.
The current round of U.S.-brokered talks is attempting to hash out the details of a plan for the valley. Obama’s proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with unarmed Palestinian police forces, the PA negotiator said. Israel will retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley, according to the U.S. plan.
Previous talks incorporated an element of Jordanian authority in the Jordan Valley, but the Kingdom of Jordan is suddenly wary of participating in a future Palestinian state, the negotiator said.
The Palestinian negotiator pointed to the insurgency in Syria and changes of leadership in Egypt as reasons for Jordan’s reluctance to assume any security control over Palestinian areas.
The Jordan Valley cuts through the heart of Israel. It runs from the Tiberias River in the north to the Dead Sea in the center to the city of Aqaba in the south, stretching through the biblical Arabah desert.
The negotiator, meanwhile, said Secretary of State John Kerry is urging an all-encompassing final status deal on the Jordan Valley, West Bank, and sections of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.
Israel, on the other hand, would rather have an interim deal to ensure the Palestinians keep their side of the bargain, according to informed Israeli diplomatic sources.
New Keynesian Will Likely Head The Federal Reserve
Janet Yellen, President Obama’s choice to head the Federal Reserve, is widely regarded as a New Keynesian, meaning she favors government or central bank intervention in the economy.
Together with her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, Yellen co- authored a theory on “fair wages” that was a precursor to a later progressive campaign for the government to ensure “fair” pay to employees.
Yellen is poised to become the first female leader of the Central Bank. She is currently vice chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
During her tenure at the Clinton White House, Yellen was commonly referred to as a leader in the New Keynesian movement, named after 20th century British economist John Maynard Keynes, whose theories influenced the New Deal
The New Keynesian movement calls for an increase in money supply or decrease in interest rates, believing such a move will lower unemployment. The movement believes government intervention can lead to more employment than laissez faire, free market policies.
Yellen’s most prominent theory is called the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment. It posits that “workers proportionately withdraw effort as their actual wage falls short of their fair wage.”
According to Yellen, “a wage is generally considered as fair if the pay spread is lower than the performance differential.” In other words, Yellen believes people will work more if they believe their wages are “fair.”
The theory helped lead to progressive policies of economic “fairness,” including the concept of a “living wage,” in which the government determines what is a fair wage.
Obama has previously supported the “living wage” concept, originally a pet project of the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
A review of Yellen’s recent speeches and academic papers finds that she consistently argues for lowering interest rates and other government intervention.
Kerry Justifies Terror Raid By Citing Despised Bush-Era Law
Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was captured by U.S. Special Forces earlier last week under the authorization of a Bush-era military law that President Obama recently criticized and vowed to repeal.
Amid Libyan concerns about the raid, Secretary of State John Kerry justified al-Libi’s abduction in Tripoli as a fair use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF. Kerry stated al-Libi’s capture was a “legal and appropriate target for the U.S. military under the Authorization of the Use of Military Force passed in September 2001.”
The AUMF doctrine was signed into law by President Bush immediately following the 9/11 attacks. AUMF grants the president authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those determined to have “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, or who harbored al-Qaeda groups.
The same law was utilized to justify an Oct. 4 raid against Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, known as “Ikrima,” a Kenyan of Somali origin and top commander in the terrorist group al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate. The Defense Department cited UAMF in a press release about Ikrima’s capture.
However, just a few months ago Obama strongly criticized UAMF and even called for the law’s repeal. In a speech in May at the National Defense University, Obama said the UAMF law, like the war on terror, was aging and needed to be changed and ultimately discarded.
“So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate,” he said. “And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”
Obama emphasized that the AUMF is now nearly 12 years old, the Afghan war is coming to an end, and “core al-Qaeda is a shell of its former self.”
“Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states,” he said.