Stop Being Shocked

Observers of the Obama administration are perpetually shocked by a foreign policy that often lacks both heart and rationality. Yesterday, Josh Rogin wrote:

The Obama administration quietly waived a key section of the law meant to combat the use of child soldiers for four troubled states on Monday. Today, the White House tells The Cable that they intend to give these countries — all of whose armed forces use underage troops — one more year to improve before bringing any penalties to bear. The NGO community was shocked by the announcement.

It seems there is already some flexibility in the law, and this move by the administration simply encourages behavior that we and other Western democracies consider abhorrent. (“‘This exception gives the U.S. government very wide berth to continue to provide assistance to bring these militaries more in line with the American image of what their military should look like,’ said Rachel Stohl, Associate Fellow at the Washington office of Chatham House, a U.K.-based think tank. ‘The law allows for professionalization of these militaries, so these waivers are really disappointing and add insult to injury.'”)

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Stop Being Shocked

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Can Turkey be Trusted with F-35s?

Are the warplane's secrets safe?

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The Trump Right’s Martyrdom of Kim Guadagno

Too many martyrs make a movement.

If the GOP is to be converted into a vehicle for politicians who evince Donald Trump’s brand of pragmatic center-right populism, Trump will have to demonstrate his brand of politics can deliver victories for people other than himself. Presidential pen strokes help to achieve that, as do judicial appointments. Nothing is so permanent, though, as sweeping legislative change. On that score, the newly Trumpian Republican Party is coming up short. If the passive process of transformational legislative success fails to compel anti-Trump holdouts in the GOP to give up the ghost, there is always arm-twisting. It seems the Republican National Committee is happy to play enforcer.

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The Conservative Crack-Up, 2017 Edition

Podcast: Conservatism in shackles while O.J. goes free?

On the second of this week’s podcasts, I ask Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman whether the health-care debacle this week is simply a reflection of the same pressures on the conservative coalition Donald Trump saw and conquered by running for president last year—and what it will mean for him and them that he has provided no rallying point for Republican politicians. And then we discuss OJ Simpson. Give a listen.

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Macron’s Terrorism Idiocy

Hyperbole yields cynicism, not the other way around.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron surprised almost everyone when he invited President Donald Trump to celebrate Bastille Day with him in Paris, especially after the two leaders’ awkward first meeting in Brussels in May. After all, between now and then, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and Macron has become perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump among European leaders.

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Trump Quietly Gives Putin What He Wants

Quid pro quo?

Until now, the notion that Donald Trump was providing Russia and Vladimir Putin with concessions at the expense of U.S. interests was poorly supported. That all changed on Wednesday afternoon when the Washington Post revealed that Donald Trump ordered his national security advisor and CIA director to scrap a program that provided covert aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

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