In Milan, Germany’s leader strikes the right note on Russian sanctions | Washington Post

Opinion from the Washington Post:

To her credit, Ms. Merkel is staking out a firm position, perhaps because she has spent more time than any other Western leader talking to Mr. Putin about Ukraine. On Monday she said, “There’s a long way to a cease-fire, unfortunately,” and added that Russia would have to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity “not just on paper” before sanctions could be lifted. That added weight to comments last week by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who — even as he tried to promote U.S.-Russian cooperation on other issues — said Russia would have to withdraw “heavy equipment” and allow its border with Ukraine “to be properly monitored and secured” to win sanctions relief.

Mr. Putin is unlikely ever to meet those terms. To do so would doom Novorossiya, which can’t survive without military and material support from Russia. As the sanctions bite, he is as liable to escalate his aggression as to offer concessions….

Further escalation is not likely — it’s inevitable. Decisive action now will save much pain later. Read Putin’s Coup, Ben Judah’s piece on how Vladimir Putin has consolidated his hold on power. The parallels with Germany’s NSDAP in the 1930s are chilling — using fear to quell dissent.

Read more at In Milan, Germany’s leader strikes the right note on Russian sanctions | The Washington Post.

Is Israel an Apartheid State?  | Bloomberg View

Congratulations to Jeffrey Goldberg for this opinion on John Kerry’s statement:

I will dissent from Boxer’s critique, both because I believe that Kerry is a pro-Israel secretary of state who worries about the Jewish state’s future, and because I myself have used the word “apartheid” not only to describe a possible terrible future for Israel, but also as a way of depicting some current and most unfortunate facts on the ground…….

I suppose this passage makes me an enemy of Israel, in the same way Kerry is an enemy of Israel, and in the same way that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (who is also Israel’s most decorated soldier) is an enemy of Israel, because Barak has also warned about the dangers of the status quo: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel,” he said in 2010, “it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

A two-state solution (the apartheid government in South Africa called them “bantustans”) will never resolve the conflict. Israelis face some hard choices.

Read more at Is Israel an Apartheid State?  – Bloomberg View.