We’re Staying

Eli Lake has an important piece in the New Republic on the realistic prospect of a long-term military partnership between the U.S. and Iraq. This was especially striking:

[B]oth the Kurds and Sunni Arabs in western Iraq, where the Al Assad Airbase is located, are likely to facilitate a U.S. military presence for a long time. A Washington representative for the Kurdistan Regional Government, Qubad Talabani, whose father Jalal is president of Iraq, told me last week, “As Kurdish leaders have said in the past, American forces will always be welcome in the Kurdistan region, and we look forward to working with our American friends within the framework of this law to discuss America’s long-term presence in our region.” Far from booting U.S. forces out of the country, he believes that the SOFA “gives America the legal cover for expanding their already good relations with Iraqi security institutions.” And the influential Sunni leader Sheik Ahmad Rishawi, head of the Anbar Awakening, told me in an interview in June that he had hoped a long-term treaty with America would be based on “mutual friendship” and compared the future SOFA to similar accords struck with postwar Japan and Germany, where American troops are garrisoned to this day. The committees established in the new agreement are expected to be the vehicles by which Sunni Arabs and Kurds negotiate longer-term leases for the U.S. bases in their respective areas.

In the unlikely event that Barack Obama insists on rebuffing our Sunni and Kurdish partners, he would establish the U.S. as a nation that’s indifferent to, indeed disdainful of, strategic alliances. Far from being the gesture of a “humble” country, such a rejection would mark a policy tilt toward unprecedented American arrogance. Remember, we are supposed to return to working together with allies. Turning down friends – in the Muslim world no less – is no way to signal America’s hope for cooperation among “the community of nations.”

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We’re Staying

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Shut Down Senselessness

Podcast: Government shut down, ???, profit!

John Podhoretz is out today. In his absence, the remaining COMMENTARY Magazine hosts untangle the complicated policy and politics behind a short-lived government shutdown. Who benefits, who doesn’t, and what was at stake? Did this brief cessation of non-essential government activity change the political landscape ahead of 2018? Give a listen.

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The Democrats’ CHIP Hypocrisy

Mixed messaging.

Congressional Democrats appear to have meandered into a cul-de-sac. Ostensibly, the federal government shut down last week during an impasse over whether to make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permanent this month or next. Democrats had threatened to shut down the government over DACA recipients before but backed off amid mounting objections from the party’s moderate governing wing. As public polling has confirmed, Americans are in favor of legal status for this deserving set of illegal immigrants who suffer that status through no fault of their own, but voters do not believe that outcome is worth a government shutdown. It’s therefore reasonable to expect that Democrats will soon shift gears, leaning into the other ostensible reason why the government shut down: lapsed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Yet here, too, the Democrats and their allies in media are playing a double game.

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Democrats Go Soft on Anti-Semitism

Shameful.

I don’t always agree with Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. But he is without question the kind of person who might have been nominated in any Republican administration to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. In fact, Marcus served in the same role in the George W. Bush administration on an interim basis. Yet Marcus received not one Democratic vote in the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which just voted 12-11, on party lines, to advance his nomination.

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Pod Shut Down America

But they fight.

On the eve of an ill-fated government shutdown in 2013, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a column that captured the sentiments of liberal opinion makers perfectly: This was all talk radio’s fault.

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Harvard Rewards an Iranian Hate-Monger

Another dubious honor.

What is it with the Harvard Kennedy School’s penchant for celebrating dishonorable characters? First came a speaking invitation and fellowship for the traitor formerly known as Bradley Manning. The Kennedy School disinvited Manning following a public outcry in September, but now its leadership has awarded a fellowship to an equally odious figure.

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