Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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Here is a good summary of some things to look at as we move toward what appears to be the endgame of the Iranian nuclear negotiations. One thing Jeff Goldberg points out is that any near, or frankly even long-term, threat of an Iranian nuclear attack is at best a secondary issue. The immediate and real issue is how regional actors see the agreement - particularly Saudi Arabia and perhaps Egypt. Do they believe that the agreement walls off the Iranians' ability to become a nuclear power enough to refrain from starting a drive for their own nuclear weapons? That is a critical test of any agreement.

There's another aspect to this drama that is important to understand in order to put everyone's reactions into a proper context. You've heard a lot about not only the Israelis', but also the Saudis' and other Arab states', fears about this deal. This isn't just fluff kicked up by domestic warmongers and partisans. The key is why are they so upset.

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I wanted to flag this article on the coalition negotiations in Israel which I think captures a key reality of the moment. It's very important. Netanyahu's party won a resounding victory on March 17th. But the outcome (a narrow right wing coalition) is far less appealing for him than the one he faced when he assembled in 2009 and 2013. In both earlier cases he was able to get buy in from center or center-left parties. That gave him a fig leaf on the international stage - continued settlement activity but with the appearance of on-going two state negotiations which he nonetheless made sure would not g anywhere. This allowed him to pursue what was basically a right wing agenda while also keeping the demands of the US and Europe at bay. It also gave him room for maneuver within his coalition to pivot a bit right or left as conditions warranted.

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Did the State of Indiana have any idea what it was getting itself into? Reading the history of this particular law, the relatively quiet progress of the legislation, followed by the avalanche of criticism and boycotts, the answer seems almost certainly to be no. There's now even a backdraft of commentary that the criticism and boycotts are somehow hypocritical since 19 other states and the federal government have similar laws. And the state's hapless Gov. Mike Pence is claiming that Barack Obama voted for a similar law when he was in the Illinois state legislature. Indeed, Pence now says he will push for a new law to "clarify" the law that's gotten his state in all this trouble.

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Years from now, whoever we decide was right or wrong in the context of US politics and foreign policy, I imagine we will see the current history of the Middle East as a story unfolding from the 9/11 attacks to the US invasion of Iraq to the Arab Spring and then moving on to the current many-headed conflagration in Syria, Iraq, Libya and now Yemen.

Of course, history didn't begin in 2001. The 9/11 attacks were umbilically connected to the Gulf War and the Afghan insurgency. And we can go back before that to the creation of the modern Arab state system, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and more. But history has decisive turning points when contingent events shove building trends in dramatic directions. And I have little doubt that the disputed election of George W. Bush in December 2000, the cataclysmic 9/11 attacks a year later and the invasion of Iraq eighteen months after that, were just such a contingent and conjoined group of events.

But there's one element of the story which many see as a negative but which I think is actually a positive development.

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We're hosting a Live Chat with Natan Sachs in The Hive (sub req). Sachs is a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy and he'll be discussing the recent Israeli elections, US-Israel relations and future of the two state solution. I'll be there. Get your questions in now.

In all the other Ted Cruz nonsense over recent days, I'm not sure how many people saw this piece by Josh Rogin, now at Bloomberg, on Cruz's foreign policy agenda. The article is based on extensive interview from last year. The part that stuck out to me is Cruz's list of three foreign policy experts he most trusts. It's quite a list.

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I've been mainly away this week. So I only got a chance to catch up with the site this evening. And I have to say our headline on this story about Tucker Carlson's brother's email about de Blasio's spokeswoman seriously understates what's in the piece. I have zero sensitivity to vulgar speech. But I'd say this fellow may have some unworked through hostility toward women. Buckley Carlson appears to suffer from a pervasive fear of emasculation common among certain early 21st century bros. In my recent Annals of Psychiatry journal article I termed this condition "ejaculatory rage." Read the story here.