Russia and Trump’s Big Mouth

Tweets aren't policy, but they still get you in trouble.

Donald Trump’s commitment to avoiding the antagonization of Russian officials on Twitter—a courtesy he reserves for no one else—was conspicuous months ago. Despite his reported fondness for those who “return fire” and engage their critics in public fora, Trump seems determined to turn the other cheek when it comes to Russia. This week, Moscow’s efforts to provoke and agitate the president finally succeeded. And yet, rather than take his aggravation out on the Kremlin, he vomited his frustrations out all over Congress.

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Russia and Trump’s Big Mouth

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The Liberal Fetishization of Abortion

Provocation for its own sake.

As Americans gird themselves for the sound and fury of a Supreme Court confirmation “fight,” they should prepare to hear one poll-tested expression repeated with Pavlovian consistency: “extremism.” The label could be applied to any number of conservative policy preferences, but Democrats seem especially prepared to direct the epithet at conservatives’ belief that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. On its face, this is a sound political decision. Senate Democrats cannot prevent Republicans from confirming the next Supreme Court justice, so the party’s best bet is to motivate its voters by implying that the new Court will strip them of their right to access abortion services. That’s a message to which Democratic voters are very receptive, but there is a thin line between motivation and fanaticism. The pro-choice party that once stood in opposition to the outright prohibition of abortion has begun to make a fetish of that procedure.

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PODCAST: It’s Hotter Than July

Podcast: NATO and North Korea

It’s a smorgasbord of a podcast today, in which we talk about NATO, and British governmental collapse, and military spending, and the dangers of a remilitarized Europe, and Europe’s declining birthrate, and Mike Pompeo and North Korea, and whether liberals are going insane. Give a listen.

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Is Higher Education in Trouble?

A bubble on the brink?

Conservatives have long warned of a higher education bubble. Americans, they say, are irrationally exuberant about the value of college. Students who might once have chosen an apprenticeship have been pushed toward college instead, which has bid up the price of higher education to unsustainable levels. Now, as director of editorial content for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, George Leef, recently explained, Americans are wising up because “lots of people with degrees” are “doing low-skill work.” Families are no longer willing to overlook that “students [learn] little of value and [rack] up big debts.” They are fleeing the market.

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The Merkel Catastrophe

She has already cemented her legacy.

Angela Merkel on Monday downed what she no doubt viewed as a poisoned chalice. To keep her power and her grand coalition, the German chancellor agreed finally to stanch the flow of migrants by setting up camps at the border and turning away those who had already applied for asylum in other European countries. The concession comes three years after Merkel flung open the gates to more than a million newcomers from the Middle East and Africa. For much of that time, she refused to put a cap on the number Germany would accept.

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The Theater of North Korean Denuclearization

It's not cheating if there is no deal.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we were all on the same page when it came to North Korea. Time was not on our side, the thinking went. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and, to a lesser extent, the People’s Republic of China needed only to stall until Pyongyang had developed a reliable nuclear deterrent and delivery system. It was the West that had to act fast. But after President Donald Trump’s sojourn to Singapore, the urgency of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula dissipated. The president’s most unfailing supporters suddenly adopted a wait-and-see approach; after all, this wasn’t the end of the standoff but the beginning of the end (as if calling a presidential-level summit the “beginning” of anything wasn’t an outrageous admission against interest).

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