After RNC Triumph, Whither Condi Rice?

Count me among the many who were wowed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brilliant speech at the Republican National Convention last night. She didn’t just add a note of foreign policy gravitas to a convention that served up a seemingly endless roster of mid-level GOP figures riffing on President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” gaffe. Rice’s address was as much about belief in the idea of America as it was about contemporary political disputes. She left the podium not only having won the hearts of the audience with her recollection of her own rise from a childhood in the segregated south to the heights of power but left a lot of her listeners wondering whether she was interested in a future run at the presidency and making comparisons to other great convention speeches in the past that were stepping-stones to the White House.

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After RNC Triumph, Whither Condi Rice?

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Congress Doesn’t Want the Responsibility Anymore

A crisis of apathy.

The American republic owes its longevity to the uniqueness of its revolution. Unlike almost every subsequent revolution, that of the Founders was not motivated by an interest in perfecting mankind’s inherent flaws. Rather, they fashioned a government that saw humanity as it was—imperfect—and they sought to constrain its worst impulses. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” read a prescient admonition in Federalist 51. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The constitutional conventioneers, therefore, devised a system in which those who desire the accumulation of power would compete against other similarly motivated power centers. The Founders could not have envisioned the present circumstances. It seems that the most important branch of the federal government—the legislature—doesn’t much care for the responsibility of governing. Indeed, Congress appears eager to give their authority away.

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The New Old European Obsession

Some things never change.

Does Europe still want its Jews, and can the Jews still find belonging in Europe? Ask the likes of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, and they will answer firmly and decisively in the affirmative. Yet their assurances ring hollow amid a resurgence of Europe’s old and unhealthy obsession with Jews.

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When Useful Idiots Were Useful

'Agents of influence' to my right, 'subconscious multiplicators' to my left.

Last week, Robert Mueller’s probe established with legal precision the methods Russian nationals used to sow chaos and dissension in 2016. Moscow’s efforts ranged from laughably silly to quite menacing; all of it amounted to an attack on American sovereignty. The precise effects of the Russian operation are still debatable, but whatever efficacy it enjoyed would have been impossible without the aid and support of Russia’s unwitting accomplices in the United States.

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Trump Endorses his Frenemy, Romney

A living counter-narrative.

If Donald Trump’s ascension felt like the final nail in the coffin of the battle over the Republican Party’s soul, Mitt Romney’s Senate run proves that the war is far from over.

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Do Arabs Back Israel in a Clash with Iran?

Reality beckons.

After issuing a rare rebuke of Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s destruction on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added that Moscow also opposes “attempts to view any regional problem through the prism of fighting Iran.” Unfortunately for him, that’s precisely the way most of the Middle East does view many regional problems, as revealed by a stunning informal poll which an Al Jazeera talk show host conducted among his tens of thousands of Arabic-language Twitter followers on February 10. Asked which side they supported in a recent Israeli-Iranian clash in Syria, fully 56 percent–12,800 people–said they backed Israel.

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