What China Fears

The battle between “idealism” and “Realpolitik” in the making of foreign policy is vividly on display now with regard to Egypt: “Idealists” (aka “neocons”) generally favor cutting off aid to the military regime which is slaughtering its own people in the streets; “Realpolitikers” generally advocate holding our noses and backing the generals as a better alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. My purpose here is not to engage in the debate about Egypt per se (I will do that separately), but simply to point out that, although the U.S. cannot afford to stick to its ideals in each and every foreign-policy crisis (compromises do sometimes have to be made in the real world), when we deviate too far from our principles we lose what is arguably the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.

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What China Fears

Must-Reads from Magazine

Now, More than Ever, Holocaust Memory Matters

Memory and Judaism are inseparable.

Yes. That’s the answer to a question posed by the headline of Shmuel Rosner’s latest piece in the New York Times. Yes: Israeli students need to visit Auschwitz. All Jewish students should. Plenty of non-Jews, too.

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Mr. Ellison Goes to Dinner

Collusion of a different sort.

My former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently unearthed what should be a major political scandal. It involves an anti-American government, a prominent member of Congress, and a far-right group that traffics in anti-Semitism, homophobia, and conspiracy theories. In the current climate of anxiety about “collusion” and the alt-right, you would think the liberal media would give this story top billing.

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Trump Can Do No Right: Human Rights Edition

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

In a New York Times op-ed, Princeton University Professor Gary Bass recently contended that Donald Trump’s record on human rights is a disaster. In the effort to craft a comprehensive denunciation, Bass claimed that Trump is a menace not only when he “ignores” the issue of human rights but also “when he speaks up” about it. That surely covers all the bases.

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Music From Another World

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 1969-2018.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was found dead at his apartment in Berlin over the weekend, and police are still investigating the cause. He was 48. Jóhannsson’s richly textured soundscapes and his tremendous contributions to film will long endure.

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Fawning Over North Korea’s ‘Ivanka’ Isn’t Harmless

Yasss, Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea!

It’s become a familiar pattern. In the manic pursuit of traffic, accolades, or any number of perverse incentives that have little to do with good journalism, the mainstream political press stumbles into a controversy. The controversy prompts a backlash mostly among, but not limited to, conservatives and is summarily disregarded as bad faith posturing. Pretty soon, we’ve all forgotten what the subject of the controversy was in the first place as we ease into familiar forms of partisan warfare like a warm bath. This was the trajectory of the scandalous coverage of North Korea’s diplomatic presence in South Korea for the Olympics, but the tribal animosities between media creator and consumer must be put aside here. The North Koreans’ are playing a 70-year-old game, and the press would do well to avoid unwittingly advancing North Korean objectives.

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