No Iranian Nukes


Cartoon of a man painting the words "Death to U. S." on a nuke

Two years ago, we wrote in these pages that we were entering with respect to Iran what Winston Churchill called in 1936 a “period of consequences,” in which “the era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close.”

And so it finally is. The Obama administration has remained committed to procrastination and half-measures, to soothing and baffling expedients. But even friends of the administration now acknowledge the obvious: After all the diplomatic efforts and attempts at various forms of economic pressure, Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapons capability, with a new enrichment facility, thousands more centrifuges spinning, and enough enriched uranium to produce five nuclear weapons.

The last year has also witnessed a foiled Iranian plot to assassinate U.S. diplomats and their families in ...

Photo of American soldiers

The AWOL Commander


When it comes to the conflict in Afghanistan, Americans are war-weary. A Washington Post/ABC poll this spring found that two-thirds of those surveyed now believe that “the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting.” Nearly the same ...

Photo of a North Dakota building

Conservatism, North Dakota Style


North Dakota is a rich state, relatively speaking. Good Midwesterners of mostly Scandinavian descent, those Dakotans always tried to live within their means, with the result that the state never ran up much debt, even in the lean years. And recent ...


The Buck Stops Over There

Blaming Europe for the U.S. economy.


Cartoon of Obama pointing a finger

Barack Obama doesn’t have George W. Bush to kick around anymore. At least not credibly. Sure, he will continue to argue that he inherited such a mess that his own policies can only be regarded as a smashing success. But it’s been four years since the patient was turned over to the new president for treatment, and the economy’s stubborn failure to recover its robustness tells us something about the efficacy of the Obama medicine. Which makes it increasingly difficult for him to continue to play the blame-GWB game. So Obama has found a new cause of falling growth and stubbornly high unemployment: Europe.

Now, no one can argue that our European friends are paragons. They have fiddled while Athens burned; done too little too late to save Spain’s financial system; forced an exodus of talent such as Ireland hasn’t seen since the potato famine (I exaggerate); replaced democratically elected governments in ...

Rep. David Cicilline

Arrivederci, Cicilline

Mayoral malpractice comes back to haunt a ­congressman.


It might be surprising to some that Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, finds himself on the list of endangered incumbents as he heads into election season. For one, he’s just that: a Democrat from Rhode Island. But ...

Photo of Robert Bentley

What’s the Matter with Alabama?

How to squander a Republican majority.


Wise old hands know that almost no political victory is permanent. Unfortunately, reformers in Alabama are relearning that lesson. 

State election results in Alabama in 2010 and Louisiana in 2011 were remarkably ...

Photo of George Allen and wife

George Allen’s Second Act

Can he put a political disaster behind him?


Richmond, Va.
At the Westin hotel, George Allen and his family bounded onto the stage on the night of the June 12 Republican primary to country legend George Jones’s “The Race Is On.” The tune’s tempo and title seemed ...

Photo of an anti-Assad fighter aiming at a helicopter.

Obama Fiddles . . .

While Russia arms Assad.


The prominence of Russian-made helicopters in Bashar al-Assad’s brutal and desperate efforts to hang on to power puts the Syrian war in a new light. It’s getting difficult to categorize the conflict simply as a humanitarian crisis or a “teacup war” of ...


The Real Reagan

In his own words.


Photo of Ronald Reagan delivering a radio address in the mid-1970s

When I interviewed President Reagan in the Oval Office in 1987, I took with me a photograph of him with two dozen women at the Presidio of Monterey in California 50 years earlier. My mother, the presidio commander’s daughter, was one of the women. I wanted Reagan to autograph the photograph, and he graciously obliged, but not before telling me in extraordinary detail how he happened to be at the presidio, a cavalry post, and everything about the movie he was making there.

He was starring in a B movie called Sergeant Murphy, the third film in his long career as an actor. Sergeant Murphy was a horse, and Reagan played a young cavalry private. This was surely one of the least memorable of Reagan’s 53 films. B movies were the second film in a double feature, and this one, lasting a mere 57 minutes, was half the length of movies today. Yet Reagan remembered everything: the characters, the tangled ...

Photo of Gough Whitlam in 1972

The Case of the Shaky Ally

The U.S.-Australia Cold War of 1972-73.


A Washington tortured by Vietnam was flummoxed in 1972 when Australian voters made the Labor party’s antiwar Gough Whitlam prime minister after 23 ...

Books & Arts

Toddlin’ Town

How Chicago moved from city to metropolis.


Photo of a bird flying through Chicago

The nature of fact in nonfiction has been a hot topic of late in literary circles. Late February, for example, saw the arrival of The Lifespan of a Fact, a slim volume that claimed to chronicle a seven-year argument between author John D’Agata and fact-checker Jim Fingal over just how much D’Agata could alter the facts in his story about the 2002 suicide of a Las Vegas teen (see “The True Facts” by Zack Munson, The Weekly Standard, April 30, 2012). A few weeks later, monologist Mike Daisey confessed that allegations he made against Apple in his wildly popular one-man show, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, were not based on reportage gathered at factories in China (as he claimed) but were invented wholesale by him out of a desire to “make people care.” 

How refreshing, then, to be greeted by the author’s note in Gary Krist’s thoroughly researched, ...

Philip Larkin and his ‘muse and mistress,’ Monica Jones

Philip the Great

A distinguished poet gets the full treatment.


In a talk given to university librarians, Philip Larkin, the poet and onetime librarian at the University of Hull, said about the preservation of literary manuscripts, “Unpublished work, unfinished work, even notes towards unwritten work all contribute to our knowledge ...

Picture of James Madison

Framers of Mind

A constitutional scholar asks: What were they thinking?


The battle between originalism and living constitutionalism has been waged in law schools and the public at large since the 1970s, and many liberal constitutional scholars have since hoped to strike the death knell of originalism as a viable ...

Terrace garden in Ravello

Under the Volcano

Sun-drenched in the shadow of Vesuvius.



Behind the suburbs, a black giant throws its ominous shadow—its damaged lip, its raised shoulder—against an azure sky. This is Naples: a city where you never need to look far for trouble. I am headed south, to a ...

Photo of the characters from Girls

‘Girls’ Are All Right

Messy lives make a tasty serial.


For once, the buzz got it right.

HBO’s much-discussed new series Girls is just concluding its first season, and it’s extraordinary. Girls offers the most interesting and original televised portrait ...


Dressed Down

Christopher Caldwell, antiauthoritarian


Cartoon of a giant statue overlooking a man and his dog

I was walking with my dog last week in woods near our house. As we crossed a grassy clearing where the trail passes a road, a car slowed and a voice boomed from it: “Put! That! Dog! On a leash, sir!

“All right,” I said. My parents always insisted I obey policemen and other figures of authority. Doing what school crossing guards told you could keep you from getting hit by a truck. The lesson had enduring practical relevance, too. Saying “Yes, officer” to a state trooper might subject you to a $20 speeding ticket and the annoyance of being lectured when you were in the right. Saying “You crazy? No way I was doing 70 back there!” ...


Ambassador Wintour?

Photo of Anna Wintour

The Scrapbook has taken a certain perverse delight in the sudden prominence of Vogue editor Anna Wintour among President Obama’s more fervent admirers (see “The Obama Vogue,” June 18). If the Republican National Committee were searching for an unappealing image for the president’s reelection campaign—icy demeanor, vulgar wealth, condescending British accent, even villain status in the popular culture (The Devil Wears Prada)—it could not do better than Ms. Wintour. 

So readers may imagine The Scrapbook’s delight when the Guardian, which could hardly be described as unsympathetic either to Anna Wintour or Barack ...


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