Articles Archives


Putin Unleashed

Russia’s move for dominance in the Middle East.
Oct 12, 2015

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.

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Everyone Gets Everything Wrong

The surprising 2016 race.
Oct 05, 2015

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.

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Can Biden Defeat Her?

The party hasn’t decided yet.
Oct 05, 2015

By most accounts, Joe Biden is very close to running for president. His entry would shake up the Democratic race. But could he possibly defeat Hillary Clinton?

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Bacha Bazi and the Afghan Drawdown

See no evil, hear no evil.
Oct 05, 2015

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.

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She Said What?

Ann Coulter, twit.
Oct 05, 2015

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.

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High Anxiety in the Baltics

Putin’s nervous neighbors.
Oct 05, 2015

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.

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Social Justice Mikado

The pooh-bahs of political correctness prevail.
Oct 05, 2015

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!

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Regulate that Fantasy

Congressman shocked, shocked to find gambling going on out there.
Oct 05, 2015

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.

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Jebonomics

A winning tax reform.
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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Europe Gets Borders

Hungary’s Orbán cancels Merkel’s invitation.
Sep 28, 2015

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. 

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Desperately Seeking Consensus

Where is the Republicans’ Goldilocks?
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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Ray Mabus Can’t Handle the Truth

The secretary of the Navy attacks his own Marines over women in combat.
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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Isolation at the U.N.

It’s also known as leadership.
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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China’s Currency

Contrary to the complaints of some politicians, it’s not undervalued.
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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Reaching the Promised Land

Moses Malone, 1955-2015.
Sep 28, 2015

The man had tiny hands. Or, at least, hands that looked tiny on his huge frame. Six foot ten, 275 pounds, and Moses Malone had the hands of a 59 grocery bagger.

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An Ideological Relic

Labour elects an unelectable leader.
Sep 28, 2015

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.

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Crisis? Which Crisis?

European disunion.
Sep 21, 2015

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.

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The Putin Solution

What Russia is up to in Syria.
Sep 21, 2015

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.

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The Art of the Donald

Why has Trump risen so far, so fast?
Sep 21, 2015

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. 

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Our Utilitarian Medical Elite

Bioethics and Planned Parenthood.
Sep 21, 2015

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.

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Discouraging Marriage

The hidden cost of means-tested government ­benefits.
Sep 21, 2015

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. 

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Lincoln Who?

Chafee’s minimalist presidential campaign.
Sep 14, 2015

Storm Lake, Iowa

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Bye Bye McKinley

A president who deserves to be remembered.
Sep 14, 2015

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, 1625

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‘Growing’ in Office

How Alaska’s governor went from Palin favorite to Obama pal.
Sep 14, 2015

Juneau, Alaska
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.”

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Among the Believers

A century-old mass organization cultivates an adaptable Islam.
Sep 14, 2015

Jombang, Indonesia
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.

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Labor’s Wishful Thinking

Unions are no panacea for low-income workers.
Sep 14, 2015

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. 

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Immiserating the Poor

More dubious achievements from the EPA.
Sep 14, 2015

‘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.” 

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Of Course They’re Fed Up

The left blames economic woes on everything except its hero president.
Sep 14, 2015

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.

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Jobberwocky Lives

You can’t keep regulating the workplace without killing jobs.
Sep 07, 2015

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.”

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Economic Liberty vs. Security

Another time for choosing.
Sep 07, 2015

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.

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