Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is worried that the United States is withdrawing from foreign affairs and he doubts that U.S. efforts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians will calm tensions in the Middle East.
Mr. Oren told the Jerusalem Post newspaper that he detected a growing isolationist sentiment among liberals and libertarians during his four years in Washington.
"It is something I have been aware of for a long time," he said in the interview published this week. "I have been talking about this for at least a year."
Mr. Oren said U.S. fatigue is not limited to foreign affairs. "It is on a whole spectrum of issues," he said.
Mr. Oren also revealed his anxiety over the latest U.S. move to restart talks between Israelis and Palestinians, rejecting the view of many analysts that resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict would bring wider stability in the Middle East.
"If you make peace with the Palestinians, does that mean the Iranians are going to stop spinning out enriched uranium?" he said of Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
"It is not going to bring stability to internal affairs in Egypt, and it is not going to end the Syrian civil war," the former ambassador said.
Mr. Oren returned to Israel late last month to join the faculty at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, one of Israel's most prestigious universities.
A STICKY WICKET
Just in time for the World Series, the British Embassy is telling Americans that they have been playing the game of baseball "wrongly" and is offering some tips on how to play the very English sport of cricket.
A bit cheeky, some might say.
Most sports historians agree that baseball evolved, not from cricket, but from another old English game called "rounders."
But British diplomats in Washington appear to take some delight in teasing Americans about their national pastime, nevertheless.
On its Twitter account, @UKinUSA, the embassy exclaimed: "You're doing it wrong." The embassy tweet links readers to a video on the fundamentals of cricket at http://ow.ly/q4KpR.
"Dear Americans," the embassy says, "after watching some of your 'base-balls' playoffs and in advance of what you call the 'World Series,' it has come to our attention that you have, for quite some time, been playing cricket wrongly.
"Luckily, we Brits are here to set the record straight!"
As best as Embassy Row can determine, cricket involves two teams of 11 players each dressed in white flannel trousers and sweaters with heraldic crests. Tea and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off apparently have something to do with the game, which can go on for several days.
In cricket, like baseball, the team with the most runs wins. However cricket matches can rack up hundreds of runs. Also like baseball, a batter — called a "batsman" — hits a ball thrown by a pitcher — called a "bowler." Confused?
That's about where the similarities end.
Cricket is played on a rectangular "pitch," 22 yards long and 10 feet wide. At each end is a wicket — three vertical sticks balancing two smaller horizontal ones. One way to eliminate a batsman is for the bowler to knock off the small sticks with the ball.
There are only two innings, instead of nine. The inning is over after all 11 players from one side take turns at bat. Then they become the fielders and the opposing team the batsmen.
A "sticky wicket" occurs when the field is damp and the ball bounces poorly.
No one strikes out in cricket — which is one reason the game can go on and on. Aside from knocking the sticks off the wicket, there are three other ways to eliminate a batsman. One is called "leg before wicket" — but that's a call for the umpire.
• Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at email@example.com or @EmbassyRow.
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