The Debate Democrats Can’t Have

The over 18 million Americans who tuned to CNN on Tuesday night for the first Republican presidential debate since the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino might have been pleasantly surprised. American anxieties over the threat of radical Islamic terrorism are nearing or surpassing their immediate post-9/11 peaks, and those who turned on the news to hear a substantive debate over the near-and long-term security challenges facing the nation were privy to one. For Democrats, this has proven frustrating. Theirs is a party that cannot have a serious debate over matters related to national security without condemning their party’s leader and his brand of crisis management and, thus, jeopardizing its own electoral viability in the process.

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The Debate Democrats Can’t Have

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Mainstream Media’s Fake News on Jerusalem

Revisionism.

Mainstream media outlets like to complain about “fake news” emanating from sources other than themselves, but the mainstream media itself has taken fake news to new heights in its recent coverage of Jerusalem. Leading media outlets have asserted, inter alia, that Jews never cared about Jerusalem until a few decades ago, that Jews didn’t live in East Jerusalem before 1967, and that Jordan protected freedom of worship in the city.

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Mission Creep in Syria

Dereliction.

Just over one year ago, President-elect Donald Trump stood alongside his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis and outlined his philosophy on what constitutes the appropriate use of the U.S. armed forces. Trump promised an end to the decades of “intervention and chaos” and vowed to rebuild the military “because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in.” It was the kind of boilerplate noninterventionist rhetoric to which Trump had appealed throughout the campaign, but it was never realistic. Trump inherited America’s intractable post-9/11 commitments abroad as well as the public weariness that accompanies them. The administration has found a novel way to navigate this dilemma: maintain America’s troop commitments overseas, and perhaps even expand them, but keep the public in the dark about the details.

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The End Isn’t Nigh: A Year of Trump in Review

The republic endures.

With just about a month to go before we close out the first full year of Donald Trump’s presidency, those of us who have survived can take stock of our good fortune. To take a retrospective survey of the liberal opinion landscape in the wake of Trump’s surprising victory is to inventory Democratic anxieties. Admittedly, the left did not have Trump pegged entirely wrong, but many fears about the extent of the damage a Trump presidency would do to the American civic compact should yield a national sigh of relief.

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Making Saudi Great Again

MBS delivers big reforms.

Writing in these pages last month, I described Muhammad bin Salman’s reform agenda in Saudi Arabia as “the real Arab Spring.” The 32-year-old Saudi crown prince, widely known as MBS, seeks to dramatically transform the ultra-conservative kingdom, I argued. But he is pursuing change in a top-down, authoritarian manner that is better-attuned to the character and needs of his people. His methods are less likely to yield the chaos and state failure that resulted from the popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa in 2010 through 2012.

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More Terror in NYC, and Moore Closes in Alabama

Podcast: Paradigm-shaping events, or more of the same?

On the first podcast of the week, the COMMENTARY crew takes up the failed terrorist attack in the New York City subway station and points out just how blase it appears we have gotten in response to these events 16 years after 9/11. And then we ask: What are the media’s obligations after they report falsely on highly sensitive events? Give a listen.

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