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What Jake Sullivan Didn’t Want You To See
I was planning to write a thing about Jake’s new essay in Foreign Affairs, because I find many things about it problematic.
Jake is important both because he’s the current national security adviser and because he’s perhaps the single smartest foreign policy wonk from the Clinton ecosystem. The best version of Clinton-liberal-hegemony style arguments come from Jake.
I may still write that critique of Jake’s essay, but for now, I just want to share the difference between what he wrote in the print edition, which went out before October 7, and the online version, which was scrubbed to account for how the Middle East in particular can no longer be narrated the way he initially tried to narrate it.
Here’s some key points that are missing from what was published online:
the region is quieter than it has been for decades. The progress is fragile, to be sure. But it is also not an accident.
The Israeli-Palestinian situation is tense, particularly in the West Bank, but in the face of serious frictions, we have de-escalated crises in Gaza and restored direct diplomacy between the parties after years of its absence.
the president inherited a region that was highly pressurized…US troops were under regular attack in Iraq and Syria…Such attacks, at least for now, have largely stopped.
This disciplined approach [of deterring aggression and Arab-Israeli elite rapprochement] frees up resources for other global priorities, reduces the risk of new Middle Eastern conflicts, and ensures that US interests are protected on a far more sustainable basis.
It’s totally understandable that the White House would need to remove these kinds of passages from Jake’s piece. But so doing really punctures the entire thrust of what they’re selling when it comes to the Middle East.
Ironically, my beefs with Jake’s essay didn’t even involve the Middle East portions!