How the GOP Can Neutralize the Donald Trump Threat

Republican Party officials are, apparently, paralyzed with fear and indecision. This lamentably familiar condition was not brought about by the deft maneuvering of their Democratic opponents, but by someone who purports to be a member of the tribe: reality television star and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump. The GOP’s incapacitation in the face of this relatively minor challenge ahead of what is sure to be a testing presidential cycle does not bode well for the party’s electoral prospects. The conundrum posed by Trump’s self-aggrandizing, scorched earth candidacy is not an insurmountable one; in fact, it’s relatively modest. The Republican National Committee’s impulse has thus far been to attempt to contain Trump and mitigate the damage done by his irresponsible rhetoric, but in doing so the party has taken some unnecessary ownership of his candidacy. Trump cannot be contained. He cannot be reasoned with. The GOP has but one course available: neutralize him. 

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How the GOP Can Neutralize the Donald Trump Threat

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The Ethics Cloud over Trump

The Trump presidency is redefining “conflict of interest.” The kind of ethical concerns that would have been major news in a previous administration receive barely any attention in this one—in no small part because Trump is such a genius for garnering media attention for his other excesses, such as calling the news media “the enemy of the American People.”

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Microaggressing Against Science

Those who object to the study of a sensitive topic aren't academicians.

Widespread interest in microaggressions–mostly subtle, mostly inadvertent slights directed at racial minorities and other “marginalized” groups–is relatively new. According to Scott Lilienfeld, a professor of psychology at Emory University, who recently reviewed the state of research on the topic, it “began to filter into the academic mainstream” just ten years ago. Yet universities are already investing in training programs for students and faculty to combat microaggressions. Microaggressions are also the subject of some of the demands issued by student activists last year. At Providence College, students included microaggressions in the “Rigorous Sensitivity Training” they wanted all students to undergo. At Wesleyan University, students demanded “tracking of faculty [and] staff . . . microaggressions.”

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Flashpoint Bahrain

Iran's destabilization campaign in Bahrain bears fruit.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has gotten away with murder. Or, more accurately when Iran’s proxy wars in Syria and Yemen are considered, hundreds of thousands of murders. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were willing to turn a blind eye to Iranian regional aggression to reach a nuclear deal. The Iranian regime took advantage of their reticence and upped its aggression throughout the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.

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Fear a ‘Post-West World’

What would a Russia-led 'Post-West' order would look like?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did the world a service this weekend when he abandoned coyly evasive and tiresome Russian diplo-speak by outright advocating for the creation of a “post-West world order.” These comments, made before an audience of European and American security professionals who are already sufficiently spooked by Donald Trump’s campaign-trail flirtation with the abandonment of the Atlantic alliance, surely disturbed the conference’s Western attendees. Good. It is about time that someone properly framed the stakes of the ideological and strategic competition between revisionist powers and the Western-led post-War order. The West’s intellectual elite certainly are not up to the task.

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Have We Overestimated Asia?

Have policymakers missed the boat on Asia?

The rise of China as an economic and, perhaps, military power has for more than two decades dominated strategic conversations in Washington and New York, much as fear that the Japanese economy could overtake America became a cultural obsession in the 1980s. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has penned a number of columns proclaiming the virtues and wisdom of China’s one-party, command-economy. Meanwhile, China’s military sabre-rattles and challenges the United States increasingly far from China’s shores.