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Matt Spetalnick
For Matt Spetalnick's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Oval Office in Washington on Thursday.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Apr 5, 2024
Biden ultimatum to Netanyahu: protect Gaza civilians, or else
Analysts said the implicit threat was to slow U.S. arms transfers to Israel or to temper U.S. support at the U.N.
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Feb. 18.
WORLD / Politics
Mar 28, 2024
Israel asks U.S. to reschedule scrapped meeting on Rafah military plans
Rafah is the last relatively safe haven for Palestinian civilians amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv in October 2023.
WORLD / Politics
Mar 26, 2024
Netanyahu halts envoys' U.S. trip amid rift with Biden over Gaza U.N. vote
Famine looms in the Gaza Strip and there is growing global pressure for a truce in the war health authorities say has killed some 32,000 Palestinians.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) fist bumps U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Al Salman Palace, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15, 2022.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 8, 2024
Saudi Arabia pushes for U.S. defense pact ahead of presidential election
Such a major regional deal would face numerous political and diplomatic obstacles, not least the uncertainty over how the Gaza conflict will unfold.
Smoke rises from damaged buildings in the Gaza Strip on Friday. Washington has appealed to Jordan, Egypt and Gulf states to persuade Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to pursue institutional reforms with urgency to prepare for post-war Gaza.
WORLD / Politics
Dec 18, 2023
U.S. wants overhauled Palestinian Authority to run Gaza after Hamas
Washington considers the Mahmoud Abbas-led administration as the the only realistic post-war solution despite its unpopularity.
Smoke rises from Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war on Saturday.
WORLD
Nov 18, 2023
Forever war? Israel risks a long, bloody insurgency in Gaza
None of the ideas floated so far by Israel, the United States and Arab nations for the postwar administration of Gaza have managed to gain traction.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City, in the Gaza Strip, in December 2018.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Nov 4, 2023
How Hamas aims to trap Israel in Gaza quagmire
The militant group has prepared for a drawn-out war and believes it can hold up Israel's advance to force its archenemy to agree to a cease-fire.
Smoke billows over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on Wednesday.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Oct 19, 2023
Israel's endgame? No sign of postwar plan for Gaza
Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, but it has no clear plan for how to govern the ravaged Palestinian enclave even if it triumphs on the battlefield.
U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York City last month.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Oct 13, 2023
In U.S., Biden faces few calls to rein in Israel amid Gaza crisis
Allies of the U.S. president want to avoid giving Republicans making the crisis a political liability as he seeks re-election in 2024.
U.S. President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, delivers remarks Tuesday after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the situation following Hamas' deadly attacks on Israel.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Oct 11, 2023
Israel-Hamas war upends Biden's two-pronged Mideast strategy
After keeping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at arm's length, Biden now finds himself thrust into a crisis likely to reshape his Middle East policy.
People hold Israeli and U.S. flags as they take part in a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Sept. 20.
WORLD / Politics
Oct 10, 2023
Conflict forces Biden and Netanyahu into uneasy partnership
After months of strain over the path forward in the Middle East, the two leaders have been thrust into a wartime partnership.
A man stands in front of a damaged shop in Tel Aviv after it was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Oct 8, 2023
In attack, Hamas strikes Israel and regional security realignment
Saturday's assault coincides with U.S.-backed moves to push Saudi Arabia toward normalizing ties with Israel.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jul 20, 2023
How a U.S. soldier made a mad dash into North Korea
The U.S. military was scrambling on Wednesday to determine the soldier's fate, as well as his motive.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Jun 8, 2023
U.S. takes aim at China over Latin America trade tactics and fentanyl role
China has denounced U.S. sanctions on Chinese firms and individuals over their alleged involvement in the fentanyl trade and has accused Washington of trying to deflect blame.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Apr 6, 2023
Taiwan resigned to diplomatic losses in Latin America, observers say
U.S. officials and other sources see limited options available to the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden for halting the gradual drift toward China in Washington’s neighborhood.
Japan Times
WORLD
Nov 16, 2022
Poland blast: How NATO's defense obligations could be triggered by Ukraine war
The United States and its allies have said they are investigating reports a deadly explosion in Poland on Tuesday was caused by stray Russian missiles.
Japan Times
WORLD / FOCUS
Jul 9, 2022
U.S. and Israel push Arab allies for joint defense pact amid Iran tensions
The two allies are seeking to lay the groundwork for an alliance with Arab states that would connect air-defense systems to combat Iranian drone and missile attacks in the Middle East.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jun 10, 2022
Biden rebuked over guest list at Americas summit he is hosting
The exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the event prompted criticism from the leaders of Argentina and Belize.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jun 6, 2022
U.S. to let Eni and Repsol ship Venezuelan oil to Europe for debt
While any impact on global oil prices will be modest, Washington's greenlight to resume Venezuela's oil flows to Europe could provide a symbolic boost for the Venezuelan president.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Dec 17, 2020
Biden likely to keep using sanctions weapon but with sharper aim
Biden is expected to make clear that sanctions will remain a central instrument of U.S. power — although it will no longer be deployed with the 'America First” bravado.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?