Trump Must Define America’s New Mission in Syria

Trump has some explaining to do.

One of the worst things that Barack Obama did while in office was to announce a “red line” over the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and then, in 2013, refuse to enforce it. His failure to act gave Bashar Assad license to commit further atrocities, including the use of chemical weapons, as he did again this Tuesday. It also sent to the entire world a crippling message of American irresolution. Obama’s lack of credibility was obvious to predatory states such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, and encouraged them to conduct further violations of international norms. It may not be entirely a coincidence that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine a year later; at the very least the U.S. failure in Syria must have reassured Putin that Obama would do little to stop him.

20
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Must Define America’s New Mission in Syria

Must-Reads from Magazine

Can Trump Have a Bad Week Anymore?

They're with him.

Donald Trump traveled to Florida on Friday at the end of a nightmarish week for the nation. The shooting deaths of 17 people, many of them teenagers, has sent the nation reeling into an increasingly routinized cycle of grievance and recrimination. The familiar debate over what federal response, if any, could have prevented this atrocity or interdict future episodes of mass violence has, however, largely bypassed the president. Trump tweeted condolences, and he briefly addressed the nation, but his presence in the post-Parkland shooting national debate was almost apparitional. The response to this event has largely focused on the Republican majority in Congress. That is instructive; after a year of near ubiquity, Donald Trump might be relinquishing the hold he has had on the national imagination.

26
Shares
Google+ Print

So Now We’re Killing Russians

The stuff of nightmares.

Americans no longer have the luxury of throwing up their hands in frustration over the confused situation on the ground in Syria. As the Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov demonstrated, unpacking the bewildering complexity of the conditions that prevail on the ground now that the ISIS threat has receded leaves observers with the terrifying realization that great power conflict is not so difficult to imagine.

31
Shares
Google+ Print

Responding to Parkland: Amend the Second Amendment?

Podcast: How to respond to mass murder.

For those who want radical changes in the way the United States handles guns and shooters, what else can be done but amending the Constitution to supplant the Second Amendment? That’s the question I ask Noah Rothman and Abe Greenwald on this edition of the COMMENTARY Magazine podcast, which also addresses rising Republican fortunes in national polling. Give a listen.

7
Shares
Google+ Print

The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism

Fear for the future.

When conservatives and conscience-addled liberals fret about the rising influence of censorious students on college campuses, the overwhelming response they get from skeptics is “who cares?” Those who do not outright defend creeping radicalism on campus are prone to minimize the threat of violence and fanaticism. While obtuse, this approach does have some immediate political utility. Dismissing events on campus as the antics of a few misguided kids casts those who care about such affairs as obsessive cranks who fixate on matters of no objective consequences. It goes without saying that not everyone is sincere who wonders aloud about the relevance of maximalist rhetoric, racial intolerance, and even violence on campus, but some are. They deserve an answer. Why should we care about rigidly enforced intellectual cloistering on campuses?

42
Shares
Google+ Print

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.

13
Shares
Google+ Print