Our Collective “Aleppo Moment”

The Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson may not know a thing about foreign policy, but he was able to coin a phrase that will likely live on long after his candidacy is forgotten. He said he was having an “Aleppo moment” when he was unable to supply a single name when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked him to cite his favorite foreign leader. He was referring to the fact that he had memorably said, “What is Aleppo?” when asked what he would do about the crisis in Syria. It’s possible that the slight decline in his polling numbers since the first “Aleppo moment” (from getting 9 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of polls to his current figure of 7.2 percent) indicates that at least some voters think their president should be able to identify the locus of the world’s greatest current humanitarian disaster or the name of at least one world leader.

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Our Collective “Aleppo Moment”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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