Mission Creep in Syria

Dereliction.

Just over one year ago, President-elect Donald Trump stood alongside his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis and outlined his philosophy on what constitutes the appropriate use of the U.S. armed forces. Trump promised an end to the decades of “intervention and chaos” and vowed to rebuild the military “because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in.” It was the kind of boilerplate noninterventionist rhetoric to which Trump had appealed throughout the campaign, but it was never realistic. Trump inherited America’s intractable post-9/11 commitments abroad as well as the public weariness that accompanies them. The administration has found a novel way to navigate this dilemma: maintain America’s troop commitments overseas, and perhaps even expand them, but keep the public in the dark about the details.

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Mission Creep in Syria

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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?

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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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