Commentary Magazine


Topic: Web Exclusive

WEB EXCLUSIVE: America: The Left’s Dispensable Nation

It takes a world-class imagination to believe that the cause of democracy will not suffer from American neglect. Luckily for Peter Beinart, it takes only political bias to assert it. And so Beinart’s latest column at the Daily Beast attempts to rehabilitate the Obama administration’s freedom-neutral foreign policy by assuring us that “even in a post-American world, democracy has legs.”

Good to know. But in a post-American world, tyranny acquires jet engines. Beinart cites the Tunisian revolt as evidence of democracy’s global health.  One must ask: Wasn’t it liberal types like Beinart who rightly used to point out that toppling a tyrant in no way constituted the establishment of representative government? If Ben Ali’s flight from Tunis to Riyadh comprises democracy’s legs, Arab freedom is ready for a walker.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

It takes a world-class imagination to believe that the cause of democracy will not suffer from American neglect. Luckily for Peter Beinart, it takes only political bias to assert it. And so Beinart’s latest column at the Daily Beast attempts to rehabilitate the Obama administration’s freedom-neutral foreign policy by assuring us that “even in a post-American world, democracy has legs.”

Good to know. But in a post-American world, tyranny acquires jet engines. Beinart cites the Tunisian revolt as evidence of democracy’s global health.  One must ask: Wasn’t it liberal types like Beinart who rightly used to point out that toppling a tyrant in no way constituted the establishment of representative government? If Ben Ali’s flight from Tunis to Riyadh comprises democracy’s legs, Arab freedom is ready for a walker.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Obama’s Moment of Truth at the UN

President Obama has affirmed repeatedly that, under his leadership, America’s bond with Israel is absolute, unshakeable, and rock solid. But the Israeli public is not convinced. A Jerusalem Post poll in March 2010 found that just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think his administration is pro-Israel, against 48 percent who think it is pro-Palestinian. J Street’s pollster, Jim Gerstein, looked for a different result, but even his survey found that 55 percent of Israelis do not believe that Obama supports Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also is not convinced that Obama is necessarily in Israel’s camp. Abbas sees rich opportunities to drive a wedge between Israel and its “most reliable” partner, particularly on what the Arabs consider settlements in Jerusalem. Abbas witnessed, from Obama’s first day, this administration’s fixation on the most divisive and vexatious issue in the U.S.-Israel relationship. He sees that Obama does not regard the Jewish presence in the parts of Jerusalem that Jordan held before 1967 to be legitimate. (One wonders: Is Obama aware that more than half the Jews in Jerusalem live in this forbidden eastern half of the capital?)

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

To make sure you never miss an issue of COMMENTARY, click here.

President Obama has affirmed repeatedly that, under his leadership, America’s bond with Israel is absolute, unshakeable, and rock solid. But the Israeli public is not convinced. A Jerusalem Post poll in March 2010 found that just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think his administration is pro-Israel, against 48 percent who think it is pro-Palestinian. J Street’s pollster, Jim Gerstein, looked for a different result, but even his survey found that 55 percent of Israelis do not believe that Obama supports Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also is not convinced that Obama is necessarily in Israel’s camp. Abbas sees rich opportunities to drive a wedge between Israel and its “most reliable” partner, particularly on what the Arabs consider settlements in Jerusalem. Abbas witnessed, from Obama’s first day, this administration’s fixation on the most divisive and vexatious issue in the U.S.-Israel relationship. He sees that Obama does not regard the Jewish presence in the parts of Jerusalem that Jordan held before 1967 to be legitimate. (One wonders: Is Obama aware that more than half the Jews in Jerusalem live in this forbidden eastern half of the capital?)

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

To make sure you never miss an issue of COMMENTARY, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: North Korea Points to the Way on Iran

“The U.S. has no good options.” How many times have we heard that refrain in the days since North Korea attacked the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong?

In fact, even calling our options “options” is optimistic. We have obligations. Foremost among these is our obligation to “act to meet the common danger” now manifest in North Korea, as stipulated by a mutual defense treaty signed in 1953. Even if the president wanted to stay clear of the action in the Koreas, he couldn’t do so without breaking America’s promise to a long-standing democratic ally.

After obligations, we have hopes. We hope China will rein in the aggressive regime in Pyongyang. We hope that that regime is being tactically provocative and not irrevocably bellicose. We hope Kim Jong-il wants aid or summitry or a smooth transition of leadership for his son, not the destruction of his neighbor to the South. But we can’t know. Decades of bad bipartisan policy have left us guessing at the deathbed motives of a nuclear-armed paranoiac.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

“The U.S. has no good options.” How many times have we heard that refrain in the days since North Korea attacked the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong?

In fact, even calling our options “options” is optimistic. We have obligations. Foremost among these is our obligation to “act to meet the common danger” now manifest in North Korea, as stipulated by a mutual defense treaty signed in 1953. Even if the president wanted to stay clear of the action in the Koreas, he couldn’t do so without breaking America’s promise to a long-standing democratic ally.

After obligations, we have hopes. We hope China will rein in the aggressive regime in Pyongyang. We hope that that regime is being tactically provocative and not irrevocably bellicose. We hope Kim Jong-il wants aid or summitry or a smooth transition of leadership for his son, not the destruction of his neighbor to the South. But we can’t know. Decades of bad bipartisan policy have left us guessing at the deathbed motives of a nuclear-armed paranoiac.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: The Never-Ending Worst Week Ever

Barack Obama is on an open-ended run of “worsts.” The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin opened his November 7 column thus: “He took a ‘shellacking,’ a 2012 poll shows him trailing two Republicans, and losing candidates in his own party are griping about his ‘tone deaf’ leadership. And the Mad Hatter, Nancy Pelosi, refuses to exit quietly. Welcome to Barack Obama’s worst week in the Oval Office.”

Days later, on November 12, Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio told the Daily News: “This certainly was the worst 10 days of [Obama’s] political life.” Commenting on the president’s failed Asia trip, Muzzio noted, “He came back with bupkis,” and said, “Given that he’s not going to be able to get any domestic achievements with the Republicans in control of the House … if he doesn’t do it in foreign policy that’s a big problem for him.”

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Barack Obama is on an open-ended run of “worsts.” The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin opened his November 7 column thus: “He took a ‘shellacking,’ a 2012 poll shows him trailing two Republicans, and losing candidates in his own party are griping about his ‘tone deaf’ leadership. And the Mad Hatter, Nancy Pelosi, refuses to exit quietly. Welcome to Barack Obama’s worst week in the Oval Office.”

Days later, on November 12, Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio told the Daily News: “This certainly was the worst 10 days of [Obama’s] political life.” Commenting on the president’s failed Asia trip, Muzzio noted, “He came back with bupkis,” and said, “Given that he’s not going to be able to get any domestic achievements with the Republicans in control of the House … if he doesn’t do it in foreign policy that’s a big problem for him.”

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Soros Is No Good Guy, but Beck’s Holocaust Remarks Are Dead Wrong

There has been a lot of criticism of George Soros on COMMENTARY’s blog. The financier has bankrolled a great many left-wing groups and candidates. He wrongly views the United States, his adopted country, as “the main obstacle to a stable and just world order.” His ambivalence toward the state of Israel is also well-known. Indeed, despite the fact that he is well-known for his philanthropy, the only Jewish cause this Hungarian-born Jew is associated with is J Street, the left-wing lobbying group that seeks to build support for crippling American pressure on Israel. Throw in a career filled with tawdry episodes of currency manipulation and insider trading, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

But even George Soros does not deserve some of the opprobrium heaped upon him by Glenn Beck this week. Beck has devoted much of his TV and radio programs in the past few days to detailing Soros’s sins. But instead of sticking to the issues and rightly flaying him for the stands he has taken and the bad causes he supports, Beck painted him as a teenage Nazi collaborator on his Nov. 10 show.

Read the rest of this Web exclusive here.

There has been a lot of criticism of George Soros on COMMENTARY’s blog. The financier has bankrolled a great many left-wing groups and candidates. He wrongly views the United States, his adopted country, as “the main obstacle to a stable and just world order.” His ambivalence toward the state of Israel is also well-known. Indeed, despite the fact that he is well-known for his philanthropy, the only Jewish cause this Hungarian-born Jew is associated with is J Street, the left-wing lobbying group that seeks to build support for crippling American pressure on Israel. Throw in a career filled with tawdry episodes of currency manipulation and insider trading, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

But even George Soros does not deserve some of the opprobrium heaped upon him by Glenn Beck this week. Beck has devoted much of his TV and radio programs in the past few days to detailing Soros’s sins. But instead of sticking to the issues and rightly flaying him for the stands he has taken and the bad causes he supports, Beck painted him as a teenage Nazi collaborator on his Nov. 10 show.

Read the rest of this Web exclusive here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Plame and Fortune

The Sean Penn–Naomi Watts take on the Joseph Wilson–Valerie Plame story, Fair Game, is coming to theaters on November 5, and though political movies almost always flop, and it’s likely to suffer much the same box-office fate as the instantly forgotten Nothing but the Truth, a fictionalized version from two years ago in which Kate Beckinsale played a Judith Miller–like character and Vera Farmiga was a stand-in for Plame, it’s important for those who actually read the newspapers and know the facts to point out the way Fair Game massages reality to suit its own purposes.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

The Sean Penn–Naomi Watts take on the Joseph Wilson–Valerie Plame story, Fair Game, is coming to theaters on November 5, and though political movies almost always flop, and it’s likely to suffer much the same box-office fate as the instantly forgotten Nothing but the Truth, a fictionalized version from two years ago in which Kate Beckinsale played a Judith Miller–like character and Vera Farmiga was a stand-in for Plame, it’s important for those who actually read the newspapers and know the facts to point out the way Fair Game massages reality to suit its own purposes.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

Web Exclusive: Blank Tablet: Distorted Defense of Boycott Discredits Publication

What qualifies a publication for consideration as a serious contributor to the national Jewish conversation? Tablet magazine is an online publication that appears to aspire to such a status despite the fact that it mixes political and literary commentary with breezier lifestyle articles. But it is getting increasingly difficult to look at this website without wondering: what exactly is Tablet’s conception of serious commentary on Jewish issues and Israel?

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

What qualifies a publication for consideration as a serious contributor to the national Jewish conversation? Tablet magazine is an online publication that appears to aspire to such a status despite the fact that it mixes political and literary commentary with breezier lifestyle articles. But it is getting increasingly difficult to look at this website without wondering: what exactly is Tablet’s conception of serious commentary on Jewish issues and Israel?

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Aim Is to Make Israel a Pariah’

Last night, Rupert Murdoch gave an extraordinary speech at an Anti-Defamation League dinner in which he revealed, yet again, that he is a true and selfless friend of the Jewish people and of Israel. Here is the text:

You [the ADL] were founded a century ago against the backdrop of something we cannot imagine in America today:  the conviction and then lynching of an innocent Jew. In the century since then, you have fought anti-Semitism wherever you have found it.  You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.  And you have held America to her founding promise. So successful have you been, a few years ago some people were beginning to say, “maybe we don’t need an ADL anymore.” That is a much harder argument to make these days. Now, there’s not a single person in this room who needs a lecture on the evil of anti-Semitism.  My own perspective is simple:  We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews.  For the first decades after Israel’s founding, this war was conventional in nature.  The goal was straightforward:  to use military force to overrun Israel.  Well before the Berlin Wall came down, that approach had clearly failed. …

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Last night, Rupert Murdoch gave an extraordinary speech at an Anti-Defamation League dinner in which he revealed, yet again, that he is a true and selfless friend of the Jewish people and of Israel. Here is the text:

You [the ADL] were founded a century ago against the backdrop of something we cannot imagine in America today:  the conviction and then lynching of an innocent Jew. In the century since then, you have fought anti-Semitism wherever you have found it.  You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.  And you have held America to her founding promise. So successful have you been, a few years ago some people were beginning to say, “maybe we don’t need an ADL anymore.” That is a much harder argument to make these days. Now, there’s not a single person in this room who needs a lecture on the evil of anti-Semitism.  My own perspective is simple:  We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews.  For the first decades after Israel’s founding, this war was conventional in nature.  The goal was straightforward:  to use military force to overrun Israel.  Well before the Berlin Wall came down, that approach had clearly failed. …

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Christine O’Donnell, Made and Broken by TV

The Fox News poll in Delaware has parlous news for Republican senatorial nominee Christine O’Donnell — she’s 14 points behind, her opponent is well over 50 percent, and 60 percent of those polled say she is not fit to be a senator. Ninety-one percent of Delaware’s voters say their minds are made up. If this number is anywhere near right, O’Donnell needs a startling turnaround in her fortunes to win the race. Much of this, one presumes, is the fallout not only from the revelations of various irregularities in the week before the primary but also the media revelations since — her “witchcraft” comment, her remarks on masturbation, and so on.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

The Fox News poll in Delaware has parlous news for Republican senatorial nominee Christine O’Donnell — she’s 14 points behind, her opponent is well over 50 percent, and 60 percent of those polled say she is not fit to be a senator. Ninety-one percent of Delaware’s voters say their minds are made up. If this number is anywhere near right, O’Donnell needs a startling turnaround in her fortunes to win the race. Much of this, one presumes, is the fallout not only from the revelations of various irregularities in the week before the primary but also the media revelations since — her “witchcraft” comment, her remarks on masturbation, and so on.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Venezuela on the Brink

Venezuela goes to the polls on Sept. 26 in a parliamentary election that opponents of President Hugo Chavez see as “a chance to turn the tide,” as Reuters news service puts it. Chavez may be taking on more authoritarian powers, but he also has to defend what the latest data show is the worst economy in the world. And you thought the Democrats had problems!

The Economist magazine provides statistics weekly on 57 nations, from the United States to Estonia. Its most recent report forecasts that gross domestic product in Venezuela will decline by 5.5 percent in 2010. Next worst is Greece, with a 3.9 percent decline. Greece, of course, came close to defaulting on its debt earlier this year, and analysts at Morgan Stanley worry that Venezuela is moving in the same direction.

Click here to read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive.

Venezuela goes to the polls on Sept. 26 in a parliamentary election that opponents of President Hugo Chavez see as “a chance to turn the tide,” as Reuters news service puts it. Chavez may be taking on more authoritarian powers, but he also has to defend what the latest data show is the worst economy in the world. And you thought the Democrats had problems!

The Economist magazine provides statistics weekly on 57 nations, from the United States to Estonia. Its most recent report forecasts that gross domestic product in Venezuela will decline by 5.5 percent in 2010. Next worst is Greece, with a 3.9 percent decline. Greece, of course, came close to defaulting on its debt earlier this year, and analysts at Morgan Stanley worry that Venezuela is moving in the same direction.

Click here to read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive.

Read Less

Web Exclusive: Acceptable in Polite Society

The German word Salonfähig doesn’t have a precise English translation. The closest English can do is something along the lines of “acceptable in polite society.” Salonfähig came to mind when I got my first look at the outrageous cover of this week’s Time magazine. Against a light blue background is a Star of David composed of white daisies. “Blue and white” brought to you by Time. But in the middle of the star, in stark black letters, lies the title of this week’s cover story: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

Here we are in the middle of peace negotiations that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted upon, and to which the president of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, had to be dragged, and Time writes about “why Israel doesn’t care about peace.” Is there no limit to the Israel-bashing that now passes for serious conversion in polite society?

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

The German word Salonfähig doesn’t have a precise English translation. The closest English can do is something along the lines of “acceptable in polite society.” Salonfähig came to mind when I got my first look at the outrageous cover of this week’s Time magazine. Against a light blue background is a Star of David composed of white daisies. “Blue and white” brought to you by Time. But in the middle of the star, in stark black letters, lies the title of this week’s cover story: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

Here we are in the middle of peace negotiations that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted upon, and to which the president of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, had to be dragged, and Time writes about “why Israel doesn’t care about peace.” Is there no limit to the Israel-bashing that now passes for serious conversion in polite society?

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: The Federal Government’s Steroids Problem

The news today that former baseball great Roger Clemens has been indicted on federal perjury charges will, no doubt, serve as the catalyst for another outpouring of moral outrage about the use of steroids or other so-called “performance enhancing drugs” in sports. Clemens, like Barry Bonds, another superlative player who has also been indicted for perjury about his steroid use, is exactly the sort of person the authorities love to single out for prosecution: wealthy and arrogant, and thus extremely unpopular.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

The news today that former baseball great Roger Clemens has been indicted on federal perjury charges will, no doubt, serve as the catalyst for another outpouring of moral outrage about the use of steroids or other so-called “performance enhancing drugs” in sports. Clemens, like Barry Bonds, another superlative player who has also been indicted for perjury about his steroid use, is exactly the sort of person the authorities love to single out for prosecution: wealthy and arrogant, and thus extremely unpopular.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: In Bush v. Obama, Bush Wins in a Rout

According to Reuters:

President Barack Obama attacked the economic policies of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush in Bush’s home state… as evidence of the way Republicans would operate if given power in Nov. 2 U.S. congressional elections.

At a fund-raising event for Democrats in Dallas, where Bush now lives, Obama said the former president’s “disastrous” policies had driven the U.S. economy into the ground and turned budget surpluses into deficits.

Obama defended his repeated references to Bush’s policies, saying they were necessary to remind Americans of the weak economy he inherited from Bush in January 2009.

“The policies that crashed the economy, that undercut the middle class, that mortgaged our future, do we really want to go back to that, or do we keep moving our country forward?” Obama said at another fund-raising event in Austin, referring to Bush’s eight years as president.

So President Obama describes his predecessor’s policies as “disastrous.” Just for the fun of it, let’s do compare the two records, shall we?

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

According to Reuters:

President Barack Obama attacked the economic policies of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush in Bush’s home state… as evidence of the way Republicans would operate if given power in Nov. 2 U.S. congressional elections.

At a fund-raising event for Democrats in Dallas, where Bush now lives, Obama said the former president’s “disastrous” policies had driven the U.S. economy into the ground and turned budget surpluses into deficits.

Obama defended his repeated references to Bush’s policies, saying they were necessary to remind Americans of the weak economy he inherited from Bush in January 2009.

“The policies that crashed the economy, that undercut the middle class, that mortgaged our future, do we really want to go back to that, or do we keep moving our country forward?” Obama said at another fund-raising event in Austin, referring to Bush’s eight years as president.

So President Obama describes his predecessor’s policies as “disastrous.” Just for the fun of it, let’s do compare the two records, shall we?

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Hiroshima, Obama, and Truman

Today’s ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima had something new: the presence of the U.S. ambassador to Japan. Never before had America sent an official participant in the annual memorial to those killed in the world’s first atomic attack. That this should occur during the administration of Barack Obama is no surprise. No previous American president has been at such pains to apologize for what he thinks are America’s sins. So while, thankfully, Ambassador John Roos did not speak at the Hiroshima event, the import of his presence there was undeniable.

In theory, there ought to be nothing wrong with an American representative appearing in Hiroshima. Mourning the loss of so many lives in the bombing is both understandable and appropriate. But the problem lies in the way Japan remembers World War II. One of the reasons why it would have been appropriate for the United States to avoid its official presence at this ceremony is that the Japanese have never taken full responsibility for their own conduct during the war that the Hiroshima bombing helped end. Indeed, to listen to the Japanese, their involvement in the war sounds limited to the incineration of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the fire bombings of many other urban centers in the country, followed by a humiliating American occupation. The horror of the two nuclear bombs didn’t just wipe out two cities and force Japan’s government to finally bow to the inevitable and surrender. For 65 years it has served as a magic event that has erased from the collective memory of the Japanese people the vicious aggression and countless war crimes committed against not only the Allied powers but also the peoples of Asia who fell under their cruel rule in the 1930s and 1940s. The bombing of Hiroshima was horrible, but it ought not, as it has for all these years, to serve as an excuse for the Japanese people to forget the crimes their government and armed forces committed throughout their empire during the years that preceded the dropping of the first nuclear bomb.

Click here to read the rest of this COMMENTARY web exclusive.

Today’s ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima had something new: the presence of the U.S. ambassador to Japan. Never before had America sent an official participant in the annual memorial to those killed in the world’s first atomic attack. That this should occur during the administration of Barack Obama is no surprise. No previous American president has been at such pains to apologize for what he thinks are America’s sins. So while, thankfully, Ambassador John Roos did not speak at the Hiroshima event, the import of his presence there was undeniable.

In theory, there ought to be nothing wrong with an American representative appearing in Hiroshima. Mourning the loss of so many lives in the bombing is both understandable and appropriate. But the problem lies in the way Japan remembers World War II. One of the reasons why it would have been appropriate for the United States to avoid its official presence at this ceremony is that the Japanese have never taken full responsibility for their own conduct during the war that the Hiroshima bombing helped end. Indeed, to listen to the Japanese, their involvement in the war sounds limited to the incineration of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the fire bombings of many other urban centers in the country, followed by a humiliating American occupation. The horror of the two nuclear bombs didn’t just wipe out two cities and force Japan’s government to finally bow to the inevitable and surrender. For 65 years it has served as a magic event that has erased from the collective memory of the Japanese people the vicious aggression and countless war crimes committed against not only the Allied powers but also the peoples of Asia who fell under their cruel rule in the 1930s and 1940s. The bombing of Hiroshima was horrible, but it ought not, as it has for all these years, to serve as an excuse for the Japanese people to forget the crimes their government and armed forces committed throughout their empire during the years that preceded the dropping of the first nuclear bomb.

Click here to read the rest of this COMMENTARY web exclusive.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Nil, Baby, Nil

“Where is the outrage? Where are the millions marching in the streets, where is the round-the-clock roadblock coverage tracking every moment of the crisis?” Such were the questions asked by the Huffington Post’s Peter Daou in late May. And the declarations were no less bracing. “We are at an inflection point, one that will likely determine the fate of our species,” he informed readers. The “planetary emergency” to which he was referring was not, as one may be forgiven for thinking, the appearance of alien spacecraft above civilization’s greatest structural landmarks. Daou’s concerns were grounded in earthly developments. Or, rather, a single earthly development: a pipe broke.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

“Where is the outrage? Where are the millions marching in the streets, where is the round-the-clock roadblock coverage tracking every moment of the crisis?” Such were the questions asked by the Huffington Post’s Peter Daou in late May. And the declarations were no less bracing. “We are at an inflection point, one that will likely determine the fate of our species,” he informed readers. The “planetary emergency” to which he was referring was not, as one may be forgiven for thinking, the appearance of alien spacecraft above civilization’s greatest structural landmarks. Daou’s concerns were grounded in earthly developments. Or, rather, a single earthly development: a pipe broke.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: A Sidelight on the ICJ’s Kosovo Decision

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice, in a nonbinding opinion that resulted from a referral from the UN General Assembly at Serbia’s behest, ruled that Kosovo’s breakaway from Serbia was not illegal because “general international law contains no applicable prohibition on declarations of independence.” Well, that’s a relief.

On its merits, the opinion was correct. But this is exactly the kind of fundamentally political question that cannot be settled by the courts – especially not an international court. If the ICJ had decided that Kosovo’s independence was illegal, it would in theory have committed itself and the UN to reversing it. That could only be done by force applied by the so-called international community against Kosovo. There was and is not the slightest chance of that. The ICJ would have done better to refuse to accept the referral on the grounds that the matter was outside its competence.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice, in a nonbinding opinion that resulted from a referral from the UN General Assembly at Serbia’s behest, ruled that Kosovo’s breakaway from Serbia was not illegal because “general international law contains no applicable prohibition on declarations of independence.” Well, that’s a relief.

On its merits, the opinion was correct. But this is exactly the kind of fundamentally political question that cannot be settled by the courts – especially not an international court. If the ICJ had decided that Kosovo’s independence was illegal, it would in theory have committed itself and the UN to reversing it. That could only be done by force applied by the so-called international community against Kosovo. There was and is not the slightest chance of that. The ICJ would have done better to refuse to accept the referral on the grounds that the matter was outside its competence.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: How the Mainstream Media Misses the News

For a year, a small number of conservative media outlets have been reporting on the New Black Panther Party scandal – a slam-dunk voter-intimidation case documented on videotape, which the government won by default but that Obama administration appointees ordered career lawyers to dismiss against the NBPP and two individual defendants. (The injunction against a third individual was drastically curtailed.) On the web at CONTENTIONS, Hot Air.com, and National Review Online, and on the pages of the Weekly Standard and the Washington Times, readers could watch the story unfold as bit by bit an extraordinary tale came into focus and the stone wall erected by the Holder Justice Department crumbled.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

For a year, a small number of conservative media outlets have been reporting on the New Black Panther Party scandal – a slam-dunk voter-intimidation case documented on videotape, which the government won by default but that Obama administration appointees ordered career lawyers to dismiss against the NBPP and two individual defendants. (The injunction against a third individual was drastically curtailed.) On the web at CONTENTIONS, Hot Air.com, and National Review Online, and on the pages of the Weekly Standard and the Washington Times, readers could watch the story unfold as bit by bit an extraordinary tale came into focus and the stone wall erected by the Holder Justice Department crumbled.

To read the rest of this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Rules of Engagement: From Bosnia to Afghanistan

A career military officer is typically less inclined than civilians to offer sweeping criticism of the rules of engagement (ROE) adopted for an operation. This is due to an ingrained understanding of the basic purpose of ROE, which is to enable our side to retain initiative and operational discretion. ROE exist to discourage situations created by the enemy from spiraling out of control, while allowing commanders the optimum latitude for what U.S. ROE call the “right and obligation of self defense.”

To continue reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

A career military officer is typically less inclined than civilians to offer sweeping criticism of the rules of engagement (ROE) adopted for an operation. This is due to an ingrained understanding of the basic purpose of ROE, which is to enable our side to retain initiative and operational discretion. ROE exist to discourage situations created by the enemy from spiraling out of control, while allowing commanders the optimum latitude for what U.S. ROE call the “right and obligation of self defense.”

To continue reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: A Short History of the Recess Appointment

President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services escalates the abuse of the recess appointment power one step further.

The Constitution gives to the president the power to nominate and, “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” to appoint high government officials, such as ambassadors, judges of the Supreme Court, and department heads (Art. II, Sec. 2). This is a classic example of the checks and balances the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution to ensure that the power of each branch of government was limited by the powers of the other two branches.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services escalates the abuse of the recess appointment power one step further.

The Constitution gives to the president the power to nominate and, “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” to appoint high government officials, such as ambassadors, judges of the Supreme Court, and department heads (Art. II, Sec. 2). This is a classic example of the checks and balances the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution to ensure that the power of each branch of government was limited by the powers of the other two branches.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Darrell Issa and the Criminalization of Politics

Politico reports that

Rep. Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall. … Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama. At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.

“That will make all the difference in the world,” he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. “I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”

In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.

For the sake of the country I hope that Republicans take over the House in November — and for the sake of the country, I hope that if they do, Representative Issa is very careful with the power he wields.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Politico reports that

Rep. Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall. … Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama. At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.

“That will make all the difference in the world,” he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. “I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”

In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.

For the sake of the country I hope that Republicans take over the House in November — and for the sake of the country, I hope that if they do, Representative Issa is very careful with the power he wields.

To finish reading this COMMENTARY Web Exclusive, click here.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.