Change the Right Can Believe In

Bill Kristol commented on the new Obama national security team:

I like all these choices, you know? I mean, I’m not much of a hope and change guy, so it’s no problem. If I were a hope and change guy, I’d be a little bit distressed, perhaps. . . I mean, why her rather than some of the more conventional picks? Because she has been a little more hawkish than the mainstream of the Democratic Party, voted for the war in Iraq, gave a very fine speech I went and looked up last night, which I recommend that everyone — I think liberals especially, left-wing antiwar activists who think Bush was such a horrible president, who invented WMDs and all that — they should go read Hillary Clinton’s October 10th, 2002 Senate floor speech, a very good justification for the war in Iraq, which she’s never retracted, to my knowledge, tough on Iran. And that’s fine with me if she’s going to be secretary of state. And Jim Jones, who served on the Clinton and Bush administrations at very high levels in the military, obviously, as national security adviser – – that would be — that would be interesting.

For those expecting the dawning of a new age in (or a New Age) national security policy, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and James L. Jones likely don’t send a thrill up their legs. But if you are wary of a foreign policy excessively reliant on “soft power,” if you want the victory in Iraq secured and Afghanistan won, and if roll your eyes in disgust at the thought of an American President try to charm Ahmadinejad you are resting easier with this line-up in the wings.

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Change the Right Can Believe In

Must-Reads from Magazine

Revenge of the Unduly Reprieved

Clemancy for Manning and Arpaio backfires.

Americans are about to have another “entertaining” election cycle at a time when the country desperately needs a return to boredom and predictability. In Arizona, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s decision to challenge conspiracy-theory enthusiast and former state Senator Kelli Ward ensures that the race to replace retiring Senator Jeff Flake will become a competition to see who can do their best Roy Moore impression. Democrats should hold the schadenfreude. They have their own embarrassment to contain in Maryland, where Chelsea Manning—the former U.S. Army soldier court-martialed in 2013 for violating the Espionage Act—will challenge Senator Ben Cardin. Both candidacies represent a humiliating stain on their respective parties, not just because they are reflective of their increasingly legitimized fringes, but because they are the result of the worst ideological excesses of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

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Republicans Are About to Lose an Election About Values

The coming Republican depression.

Congressional Republicans passed tax-code reform into law on December 19, and the near-term effects exceeded even the most wide-eyed optimist’s imaginings. Almost every day since, some large employer has announced its intention to reinvest in capital and workers what they will save as a result of the reduction in the corporate tax rate. This means more employment opportunities and things like raises, bonuses, and 401(k) hikes. Manufacturing is repatriating into the U.S. as a result of the tax bill, and even the minimum wage is on the rise for several major employers. Events have humbled Democrats who predicted that the GOP’s tax reform initiative would only benefit the wealthiest. Republicans should enjoy this modest vindication because it’s all they’re going to get. A reckoning is coming for the GOP, and it has nothing to do with the party’s policies. Voters seem prepared to deliver a negative verdict on Donald Trump.

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Letter From a Shitholer

A moment for moral clarity.

Dear President Trump:

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Two Dossiers, Zero Standards

Hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

BuzzFeed News editor in chief Ben Smith would like you to know that he’s proud of his organization’s decision to publish the raw, unverified intelligence product that has come to be known as the Steele Dossier. He shouldn’t be.

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The Fiction that Destabilizes the Middle East

Liberating Lebanon.

If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran’s foreign legion, Hezbollah. The Western foreign policy establishment maintains this fiction out of good intentions; it wants to protect innocent Lebanese from suffering the consequences of Hezbollah’s military provocations against its neighbors. But this policy has enabled Hezbollah to devastate several neighboring countries with impunity, and it’s paving the way to a war that will devastate Lebanon itself.

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