Short Shrift for Foreign Policy

What’s been missing from the Republican National Convention? On Tuesday, nine hours worth of speechifying brought hardly a mention of the primary responsibility of any president: foreign policy. That was corrected on Wednesday night with a brief bout of isolationist sentiment from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who gave a skim milk version of his father Ron’s extremist philosophy. That was quickly followed by an address by 2008 GOP nominee John McCain who gave an impassioned defense of the importance of American leadership in the world. That McCain spoke for the overwhelming majority of Republicans was not in doubt but other than a brief film after that which highlighted Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel (which had to drive the Israel-hating Paulbots present crazy), that was it for foreign policy. The next speakers returned to familiar themes bashing ObamaCare and we heard no more about defense spending or the president’s abandonment of America’s freedom agenda and our allies. No doubt, Condoleezza Rice will say more about it later but the low priority accorded the topic is not in question.

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Short Shrift for Foreign Policy

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The Niger Ambush and the Neoconservative World

The demands of the post-9/11 world.

On October 4, four U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed amid an ambush by Islamist insurgents in Niger. In grief and shock, Americans are starting to ask why the United States is so extended abroad, even to places like Sub-Saharan Africa where our geopolitical interests are unclear. Something went wrong in Niger. It is incumbent on both the press and Congress to seek out answers as to what happened. Without jeopardizing it, American voters deserve to have a fuller understanding of the U.S. mission in North Africa. Some, however, have used these deaths to vindicate their preexisting antipathy toward American troop commitments abroad. The impulse to posture scandalized about U.S. forward positioning is not just logically flawed; it is reflective of a misunderstanding of America’s role in a post-9/11 world.

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$32 Million? Oh, Really? No, O’Reilly

Podcast: A misconception about the war on terror.

On this week’s first COMMENTARY podcast, we stand agog at the personal $32 million payout by former #1 cable news star Bill O’Reilly and what it means about the sexual harassment scandals and the way they are changing the rules. Then we move on to simpler matters, like American foreign policy and the ambush in Niger. Give a listen.

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John Kelly Changed the Game

When Trump fights on values, he wins.

For approximately 18 minutes, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly accomplished the impossible: He got America’s journalists and political opinion writers to shut up and listen.

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Bush’s Finest Hour

More than just Trump.

On Thursday, George W. Bush delivered a speech at the “Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World” event in New York City. Headlines are touting the speech as an attack on Trumpism. That’s accurate, so far as it goes. But it’s clear from Bush’s words that he was aiming for (and achieved) something loftier than yet another complaint about the 45th president. Bush was making the case against the pervasive discontent that’s driven many citizens throughout the Democratic West to a politics of grievance and revenge. Trumpism is but one example.

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The Danger of the Me Too Campaign

Denunciations.

Silence, Wordsworth wrote, “is a privilege of the grave, a right of the departed. Let him, therefore, who infringes that right by speaking publicly of, for, or against, those who cannot speak for themselves, take heed that he opens not his mouth without a sufficient sanction.”

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