By any objective measure, Russia has made a strategic decision to challenge America for dominance in the Middle East. Despite depressed global oil prices and economic sanctions intended to curb his Ukraine adventurism, Vladimir Putin is pursuing an undisguised effort to expand Moscow’s military power, political heft, and economic influence in a region long under Washington’s sway. Barack Obama has made no effective response, and none seems in prospect. The recent Obama-Putin meeting at the United Nations did not change that underlying reality.Read more
Nearly everything that was expected to happen in the 2016 presidential race hasn’t, and many things that weren’t expected have. The rise of Donald Trump—even that he would run—was not predicted. Nor was the fall of Scott Walker or the weakness of Jeb Bush’s candidacy. Polls have proved to be unreliable indicators of where the Republican and Democratic campaigns are headed. Hillary Clinton’s coronation as Democratic nominee, we were told, was a sure thing. Now she’s sliding toward underdog status.Read more
The recent outrage over reports of systematic child rape by Afghan security forces may be justified, but sadly there is little novelty to the reports themselves. Even the Sunday New York Times article that brought the matter into public view cited a list of earlier dispatches addressing it: articles in the Times itself in 2002 and 2011, as well as a 2010 Frontline documentary, “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan,” that explored at length the pedophilic practice of bacha bazi—the keeping of boys by Pashtun men for sex.Read more
Toward Ann Coulter I had always taken a “suffer little children to come unto me” attitude. Not that she ever came on to me or anything. It’s just that she’s a kid. She was born in 1961. I’ve got skinny Brooks Brothers neckties in the back of my closet older than that.
Ann Coulter grew up during the “I-was-conservative-after-conservatism-was-cool” era, helping found the Cornell Review in the early 1980s. She’s noisy and she gives me a headache. But kids are, and kids do. I have several.Read more
In fall 1991, a member of the Slovenian parliament visited me at my office at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss her country’s campaign to join NATO. I recall the intensity of the conversation and how odd her zeal seemed to me at that moment. The Cold War was over. Slovenia’s fate as a peaceful little Switzerland hugging Austria, Italy, and the Adriatic Sea struck me as fairly assured.Read more
Chorus: Behold the Social Justice Warrior!
A personage of noble rank and title
A humor-free yet potent officer.
Whose functions are particularly vital!
Defer, defer to the Social Justice Warrior!Read more
Pick Eddie Lacy. That was the advice of at least one expert back in the summer. Not a single play of the regular NFL season had been run, but it was already a busy time for those who play fantasy football and the gurus who advise them. “Lacy’s mix of stability and upside over a full season” is unmatched, the expert wrote.Read more
Some Republican presidential candidate was sure to come along with a credible tax reform plan to erase tax loopholes, preferences, and special breaks, broaden the tax base, and lower rates. Now Jeb Bush has done it. This marks a departure point in the GOP race.Read more
Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise.Read more
Judging by the number of House and Senate seats, governorships, and state legislative seats it holds, the Republican party is stronger than at any point since the 1920s. Yet, going by the presidential nomination battle alone, the party is a mess. There are too many candidates, a few of whom are distracting the public with their self-aggrandizing shenanigans, spurred on by ratings-hungry cable-news networks.Read more
Disputes between the political appointees who run the Pentagon and the military officers who serve there are not unheard of, but the nastiness and public nature of the fight over women in combat being waged between Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and the Marines who answer to him is unprecedented in recent memory.Read more
In defending the Iran nuclear deal to Congress, President Obama and his staff argued repeatedly that rejection would leave America in dire isolation at the United Nations. Obama can now relax. Having used slash-and-burn executive tactics to roll right over a dissenting majority in Congress and a disapproving American public, he can look forward to celebrating this deal with those more likely to applaud it, when he speaks September 28 at the 70th annual General Assembly in New York.Read more
Last month, China devalued its currency, slightly lowering the bottom of the range within which market forces can determine the yuan’s foreign exchange value. The central bank’s announcement triggered severe repercussions in global financial markets—but it was inaccurate and incomplete.Read more
The eighties, as the hipsters among us know, are undergoing a revival. The music and fashion of the decade have been disinterred, and its politics too. Where, the pundits of America ask, is our Reagan? Meanwhile in Britain, the Labour party has revived its eighties’ follies by choosing an unelectable leader. Jeremy Corbyn is one of the hardest of the hard left, an ideological relic. His surprising success in Labour’s leadership election represents an unsavory turn in European politics.Read more
Europe’s migrant crisis, the continent’s greatest humanitarian disaster since the aftermath of World War II, continues to worsen. The summer began with mass drownings in the Mediterranean and bickering between the European Union and the governments of its member states over who should foot the bill for search and rescue patrols of Europe’s southern coasts. The summer is ending with a series of appalling images that have galvanized public opinion, especially in the northern European states, and forced both national and supranational authorities to act.Read more
A photograph of a drowned 3-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach after his family failed to find refuge from the war in Syria seems to have finally gotten the world’s attention. The conflict has been an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe for more than four years. A quarter of a million are dead, and millions have been driven from their homes, either displaced within Syria or moved to flee abroad, where they take their chances on reaching shelter.Read more
The Donald Trump candidacy has inspired a hundred writers to pen a thousand think pieces about the meaning of it all. Is Trump’s surge the sign of a new breed of populism? Is it the Tea Party reborn? Is it the reemergence of the old Ross Perot-Pat Buchanan strand of protectionism? Does it signal a right-wing nativism similar to what is bubbling up in Europe?
Maybe what’s going on is simpler: The Trump surge is, primarily if not entirely, about Donald Trump.Read more
Jeffrey Drazen, the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, recently penned a scathing editorial about Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of fetal tissues. No, Drazen and his two coauthors (one a volunteer for Planned Parenthood) didn’t criticize the abortionists for killing fetuses in a “less crunchy manner” to obtain intact organs.Read more
Traditional marriage is in big trouble in the United States. Between 1960 and 2011, the share of white adults 18 and older who were married declined by 25 percent, while the declines for Hispanic and black adults were 35 percent and 50 percent respectively.Read more
Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers, for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill.
—Francis Bacon, Essays, 1625Read more
Governor Bill Walker flew to Washington, D.C., to accompany President Obama aboard Air Force One on the president’s seven-hour flight to Anchorage. “I’m honored to be governor of Alaska at the time a sitting president comes to Alaska,” he told the Alaska Dispatch News. “You bet.”
The 50-mile route from Sura-baya airport to this East Java city was lined with tens of thousands of banners wishing peace and success to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, as participants gathered in August for its latest five-year congress.
As inconvenient as it may be, the forces of supply and demand are difficult to counteract—especially in labor markets. The Obama administration has exerted much effort attempting to do so over the last seven years, and it has yet to succeed.Read more
‘It was $5, right?” I was at a convenience store in northern Missouri, filling up with gas, and the guy next to me was checking his gas budget with the lady in the passenger seat of his car. He was driving what might be the last K-car on the road. He noticed that I had overheard their conversation and turned to me and said: “I hate dollar and diming it, but if five bucks is all you have, that’s all you can spend.”Read more
Two weekends ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City held its annual monetary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The left flew in hundreds of protesters donning green T-shirts that demanded “Higher Wages for America” and chanting, “We’re Fed Up.” The crowd was an assortment of college kids on their summer break, disgruntled middle-aged teachers, senior citizens, and blue-collar union members. Think Occupy Wall Street.Read more
Twenty-one years ago, Fortune boldly declared “The End of the JOB.” Thanks to rapid advances in technology, people had been freed from the tyranny of the nine-to-five workplace. Now they could set their own hours and schedules, do without constant oversight and supervision, and concentrate on a more powerful objective: not just “doing their jobs,” but finding better and more innovative ways of “doing what needs to be done.”Read more
Whatever the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the summer of 2015 will be remembered as the summer of Trump and Sanders. The other candidates, especially the Republicans, could learn a lesson from the two renegades, who have figured out how to capitalize on the fact that America is in a funk even as its economy improves.Read more
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