Consequences of a Victory for Assad Will Be Costly for Obama

The Western optimism about the imminent fall of the Assad regime in Syria voiced so frequently throughout much of the last year is starting to quiet down. President Obama was willing to express confidence that the Arab Spring would claim another triumph in Damascus just a few months ago. But the collapse of the United Nations-sponsored plan for an end to the violence in Syria has once again made it clear not only that the world body’s peace efforts are farcical, but that the administration’s Middle East policies are a hopeless muddle.

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Consequences of a Victory for Assad Will Be Costly for Obama

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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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The GPS Isn’t Working Right

Podcast: Follow the bouncing ball...

Trump has a meeting and everybody cheers, then he decides to oppose his own administration’s policies and everybody gets depressed again. Meanwhile, Right and Left are going bonkers over Russia, collusion, and the testimony of the oppo-research firm Fusion GPS. With these topics, we give you an hour of hot podcast content featuring me and Noah Rothman and Abe Greenwald and Sohrab Ahmari. Give a listen.

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Defending Trump’s Tweets Backfires

Is it really worth it?

When it comes to foreign affairs, Donald Trump has not governed as he campaigned. So far, he has largely abandoned radical populist isolationism and protectionism in favor of conventionally hawkish tweaks on the status quo, abandoning ideology in favor of consistency. Doing so, he’s had a relatively successful run. For this White House, cautious but positive verdicts on the Trump administration’s conduct just don’t cut it. Trump must be a transformative figure, incapable of miscalculation or imprudence; he says so himself, after all. Trump cannot have mere successes, and they most certainly cannot be unexpected or the result of a concession to critics. This president’s image must be burnished at every turn, even if that means besmirching the legacies of Trump’s Republican predecessors.

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The U.S. Must Show Iranians That They Can’t Have It All

Not a hard choice.

The fact that Iran’s anti-regime protests appear to have died down is not a reason to relax the pressure on Tehran. On the contrary, it’s a reason to increase it through serious sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as its support for terror and regional aggression. The protests will only become a truly mass movement if enough Iranians come to realize what the protesters already have: Contrary to the promise held out by the nuclear deal, Iran can’t have it all. Terror and military aggression are incompatible with a thriving economy.

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Should Professors Go Public?

Reality and self-delusion.

Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Leonard Cassuto argues  that academics “need to go public.” That’s an extension of the reasoning behind his 2015 book, The Graduate School Mess, in which he questions the strange notion that advanced education in the humanities exists to produce unread journal articles.

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