An Overdue Punishment for Venezuela

Trump punishes Venezuela with a speed that greatly improves on Obama's.

The Trump Treasury Department’s move to impose sanctions on and to freeze the assets of a series of high-profile Venezuelan actors—including the country’s new vice president—is a welcome development. It has been a long time coming and follows years of investigation into the targets’ assets and activities related to the trafficking of narcotics. The alacrity with which the Trump Treasury Department acted against these officials, however, contrasts mightily with the Obama administration’s lethargy when it came to Venezuela. The sluggish pace at which the Obama White House moved to punish Venezuelan officials for violating international law and human rights will forever remain a stain on that administration.

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An Overdue Punishment for Venezuela

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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.

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Music From Another World

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 1969-2018.

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Fawning Over North Korea’s ‘Ivanka’ Isn’t Harmless

Yasss, Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea!

It’s become a familiar pattern. In the manic pursuit of traffic, accolades, or any number of perverse incentives that have little to do with good journalism, the mainstream political press stumbles into a controversy. The controversy prompts a backlash mostly among, but not limited to, conservatives and is summarily disregarded as bad faith posturing. Pretty soon, we’ve all forgotten what the subject of the controversy was in the first place as we ease into familiar forms of partisan warfare like a warm bath. This was the trajectory of the scandalous coverage of North Korea’s diplomatic presence in South Korea for the Olympics, but the tribal animosities between media creator and consumer must be put aside here. The North Koreans’ are playing a 70-year-old game, and the press would do well to avoid unwittingly advancing North Korean objectives.

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Another Bad Olympic Moment

Podcast: Instability at home and abroad.

The bizarre celebration of North Korea’s regime—through its representative, Kim Jong Yo, and its cheerleading squad—leads the COMMENTARY podcast crew to wonder at the degradation of the U.S. media and the continuing foolishness of the very idea of the “Olympic spirit.” We also consider the White House domestic-abuse mess and the dangers of conflict between Israel and Iran. Give a listen.

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