Columns

Israel Can Win

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AP

Slandered, despised, insulted, degraded, Israel is nonetheless winning its war against Hamas. The number of rocket attacks launched by the terror group each day has been halved. The IDF is uprooting the underground tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons, contraband, and terrorists in and out of the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel Two newscast carried footage of Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF. The jihadists carried white flags. They stripped to their shorts, proving they were not wearing suicide belts. These are facts Hamas does not want you to know, images Hamas does not want you to see.

The Bear Is Loose

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MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

The New Old Europe

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Demonstrators being separated by Murrieta police officers / AP

Clemens Wergin is something of a contrarian. A German editor of the Die Welt newspaper group, he often found himself defending American foreign policy against European criticism. He would chide his countrymen for neglecting their dependence on the U.S. armed forces. He would lampoon the European belief that moral grandstanding makes for a foreign policy. He would praise American leaders for having the courage to make costly decisions.

De-Listing

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iStockPhotos

“I’ve got a little list,” sang Ko-Ko in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. I have got—or, more accurately, I am on—about 20 of them: Email newsletters to which I subscribe, and which appear in my inbox throughout the day. How I made it through life without all of these lists, which bring me the latest news on economics, politics, literature, foreign policy, defense, and media, I do not know. I am not quite sure how I will make it through life with them, either.

“Email newsletters, an old-school artifact of the web that was supposed to die along with dial-up connections, are not only still around, but very much on the march,” writes David Carr of the New York Times. And newsletters, in my experience, are not lone wolves. They overwhelm.

Power Precedes Politics

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An ISIL image shows the country’s largest oil refinery under ISIL control / AP

The situation on the ground: Iraq in flames. The black flag of al Qaeda over Sunni-majority cities, Shiite militias cleansing Baghdad neighborhoods of other sects and ethnicities, car and suicide bombs exploding daily, the government of Nouri al-Maliki looking insolent and ineffective, the Kurds hinting at independence. Civil war. Iranian meddling. American defeat.

Hillary’s People

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The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

The facts are these. In 1975, before she married Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham defended a child rapist in Arkansas court. She was not a public defender. No one ordered her to take the case. An ambitious young lawyer, she was asked by a friend if she would represent the accused, and she agreed. And her defense was successful. Attacking the credibility of the 12-year-old victim on the one hand, and questioning the chain of evidence on another, Clinton got a plea-bargain for her client. He served ten months in prison, and died in 1992. The victim, now 52, has had her life irrevocably altered—for the worse.

Points of Departure

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A nearly deserted base in Iraq in December 2011 / Getty Images

The phrase “offshore balancing” did not appear in President Obama’s commencement address at West Point. It did not have to. Obama’s every word was informed by the idea that America should renounce nation-building, extended deployments, base construction, and other elements of hard power in favor of diplomacy, military-to-military partnerships, multilateral institution-building, and soft-power in general. “Just because we have the best hammer,” the president said in a particularly insipid use of cliché, “does not mean that every problem is a nail.”

The Bonfire of the Inanities

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Jill Abramson / Twitter

Reading the New York Times’ report on the defenestration of the paper’s executive editor, Jill Abramson, and the coronation, at a hastily arranged meeting Wednesday, of her replacement Dean Baquet, I could not escape the feeling that the Soviet press must have covered the comings and goings of Politburo members in much the same way.

Shellacking II: The Sequel

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President Barack Obama walks down the stairs of Air Force One upon his arrival in the rain at Andrews Air Force Base / AP

Fitting, I thought, when I saw Air Force One returning to Andrews Air Force Base in the rain the other day. The weather had not only assumed the character of President Obama’s demeanor, it had become a physical representation of the sentiments inside his administration, inside Democratic circles in Washington. Those sentiments are dark, foreboding, cloudy, and gloomy. The president’s foreign policy is under attack, his agenda is stalled in Congress, and his signature program remains unpopular. A second repudiation of Obama, a second shellacking, may be at hand.

Oligarchy in the Twenty-First Century

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Sean Eldridge poses with a local commoner. (Facebook)

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell famously wrote, “needs a constant struggle.” In front of my nose as I write this is a copy of last Sunday’s New York Times. I have opened it to the business section. Below the fold is one of many Times articles on Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which argues that America has entered a second Gilded Age of vast inequality, inherited fortunes, and oligarchic politics, where the shape of public discourse and public policy is determined by a wealthy few.