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 War on Truth in Europe

Russia's distortions are blurring the line between truth and lies.

There has been a lot of talk in the United States lately about “fake news” (the accusation that President Trump tosses out to discredit unfavorable articles) and “alternative facts” (the phrase that Kellyanne Conway used to justify the White House propagation of falsehoods about the size of the inaugural crowd and other matters). But it’s important to remember that these devices were neither invented in the United States nor confined to our shores. Russia is the world leader in both areas, if in nothing else.

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A Reform to Stand the Test of Time

For Republicans, it’s time to choose: their careers or their country.

While it may be a dated version of a working draft of the GOP’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act, the text of legislation that is circulating in the press provides political observers with a window into how the Republican Party plans to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare. For conservatives, there is a lot in the proposal to like, but also provisions that are troubling. Naturally, the latter will get the most attention. The political intractability of some ObamaCare provisions demonstrates the permanence of sweeping reform legislation and why Republicans might be better served by adjusting their priorities.

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North Korea’s Chemical Terrorism

North Korea Deploys WMD on Malaysian soil.

Hope always springs eternal that newly appointed dictators will be kinder and gentler than their predecessors. But whether it’s Bashar Assad in Syria or Kim Jong-un in North Korea, it turns out that the scions of dictatorial dynasties are even more deadly than their parents and never the “reformers” they were once touted to be. Assad, of course, is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in a Syrian civil war that has claimed as many as half a million victims. Kim, meanwhile, is becoming famous for killing his relatives—first his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, was eliminated in 2013 and now he has assassinated his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam.

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Social Conservatism’s Resurrection

Social conservatism isn't dead. Far from it.

The Trump administration has a peculiar view of federalism. The Trump White House believes the Obama-era guidelines designed to expand restroom access to transgender students are an offense against the 10th Amendment. Yet at the same time, the administration also warned the public to expect a crackdown on those states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Presumably, unlike public restrooms, that’s an issue the White House believes should not devolve to the states, but the logic here appears arbitrary and contradictory. From a strictly constitutionalist perspective, it is. Only through the lens of social conservatism can this conflict be reconciled.

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Zionism is Not Racism

41 years later, Columbia University students are still equating Zionism with racism.

As part of their annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” the Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, in conjunction with Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace, are hosting an event Monday, February 27th entitled “Zionists are Racists.”