Politicize This, Mr. President

The nation was shaken again on Thursday following an atrocity committed by a disturbed, likely prejudiced young man with access to firearms. It’s become an all-too-common occurrence, and mass shootings should inspire introspection. That’s not what the President of the United States demanded when he took to the podium in the White House briefing room mere minutes after the horrible event had occurred, before the public even knew the victims’ identities. Instead, he called on the nation to shed their capacity for reason, to surrender to emotion, and to direct their grief and frustration at externalities in the hopes that it might advance his preferred political agenda.

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Politicize This, Mr. President

Must-Reads from Magazine

Excommunicating the Abusers

Narrative shaping.

As Jonah Goldberg observed, the ongoing reckoning with abusive men in positions of authority might have begun with the outing of Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes. But it didn’t. The “national conversation” that followed the exposure of their abuses focused more on a perceived culture of aggressive masculinity and institutionalized exploitation in conservative circles. It is telling that it required the confirmation of decades-old “open secrets” involving a prominent movie producer and liberal political activist to get the ball rolling on this moment of national reconciliation.

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Please Help COMMENTARY Enlighten

News moves at the speed of light. Enlightenment doesn't.

I need to ask you a favor. You’re here because you value COMMENTARY. And we’re here because we value our mission, which is to do what we can to enlighten our readers about the immensely confusing days through which we are living. We all need to follow the news as it happens. And we also need enlightenment—to understand what the news is doing to our lives, to our countries, to our civilization. If you can, please help COMMENTARY—a non-profit 501 c 3 organization that relies not only on subscribers but also on donors to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

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It’s Time to Prepare a Military Option on Iran

While there's still time.

North Korea’s demonstration of a ballistic missile capable of reaching most of the United States prompted gloomy commentary in Israel about the failure to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear program and, by analogy, the seeming impossibility of stopping Iran’s nuclear program. As Haaretz commentator Anshel Pfeffer put it, Kim Jong-un “proved that a dictator who wants a nuclear weapon badly enough,” and is ruthless and determined enough, “will ultimately achieve it.” Yet the North Korean example proves no such thing because it says nothing about the efficacy of the one tactic America never tried: military action, or at least the credible threat thereof.

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Flynn and Saudi Arabia: Turn and Face the Strange Ch-Ch-Changes

Podcast: Flynn and the Saudis make peace with reality.

On the first COMMENTARY podcast of the week,  we ask whether the Michael Flynn plea indicates huge trouble for the Trump White House or will prove to be much ado about nothing. But in the “much ado about something” category, we place the astonishing report that Saudi honcho Muhammad bin Sultan has effectively endorsed an Israeli peace proposal and sought to impose it on recalcitrant Palestinian boss Mahmoud Abbas. Could be the biggest news of the young century. Give a listen.

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Michael Flynn and the Conservative Spidey-Sense

Trouble from minute one.

Something was off about Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure as Donald Trump’s first national security adviser has landed him in legal hot water. Flynn promoted the so-called alt-right. He dallied with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin propaganda network RT (formerly “Russia Today”). And his anti-Islamism too often became indistinguishable from bigotry against Muslims. Yet Trumpian hard-liners adored Flynn, while the softer Trumpians in the GOP establishment suppressed their Spidey-sense and played down criticism of the general’s judgment.

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