The Rut of History and Leon Wieseltier

July 30, 2015

An old friend whose devotion to Israel is very, very strong shared The Iran Deal and the Rut of History on Facebook a couple of days ago. The piece is from The Atlantic and was written by Leon Wieseltier. Mr. Wieseltier was the literary critic for The New Republic forever—well, only from 1983 until 2014—and writes now for The Atlantic. His writing has focused often on Jewish and Middle East subjects, and his parents survived the Holocaust.

The piece opens with these words: “The president said many times he’s willing to step out of the rut of history.” Mr. Wieseltier is quoting Ben Rhodes, a White House aide. Three sentences later—not many extra words here—Mr. Wieseltier states his thesis:

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December 18, 2014

Cuba! It’s certainly a touchy topic, but it’s no longer ignorable, or a topic which can wait. So, I’m all in here.

Formal relations with Cuba do not exist. The signal feature of the relationship, however, is the embargo on trade. The embargo had as its purpose forcing Fidel Castro and his Communist regime from power. It began on October 19, 1960, under President Dwight Eisenhower. It has lasted for more than 54 years, albeit with many exceptions. (Several MRW readers have been to Cuba in the recent past, traveling from Miami on cultural exchanges.) Ten successors to President Eisenhower—Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama—have come and, excepting President Obama, gone. And the Castro brothers,

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