David Ignatius at The Washington Post on Obama's secret diplomacy. The Iran nuclear deal "began by [President Obama] authorizing carefully concealed meetings back in March, through Oman, the most opaque and discreet nation in the Persian Gulf. The president sent as his personal emissaries two low-key, quintessentially gray men, Bill Burns and Jake Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state and vice presidential adviser, respectively," Ignatius writes. And so the deal was done "out of sight." Most importantly, "it’s a beginning of a process that could make the world less dangerous." Middle East scholar Andrew Exum tweets, "FWIW, Bill Burns and Jake Sullivan are two people in government of whom I think very highly."
Roxane Gay at Salon on Michelle Obama's feminism. Politico recently published an essay titled "Michelle Obama: Feminist Nightmare?" Gay responds, "The shame here is clear: Motherhood, fitness and early education are beneath feminists. [Michelle] Cottle further trivializes Obama’s healthy eating initiatives as 'gardening.' She gleefully references Obama’s fashion choices and toned arms." Gay calls the essay a "rankly condescending piece of shallow provocation." She argues that the First Lady is navigating difficult waters: "Women so often face impossible choices in life, in work, in feminism. We are either 'independent and empowered' or we’re tools of the patriarchy. For black women, our choices may seem even more impossible because there are so many persistent, damaging cultural tropes about black women." She concludes, "I have to believe we can inspire better, more complex and inclusive feminist conversations." Emily M. Keeler, a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books and The New Inquiry, tweets, "Kudos to @rgay for this piece on Feminism, politics, and Michelle Obama's actions as FLOTUS."