That law is: nothing is permanent.
How the president made such a mess in Syria.
Why he needs a deal in Iran or Israel/Palestine.
The grim morality of our realpolitik stance on Syria
In a creeping sign that Politico-ish news coverage has migrated to the international pages, The New York Times ran several articles over the past week about how the government shutdown, which resulted in President Obama cancelling his trip to Asia, marked a big victory for China. The premise of these pieces is that the United States and China are in some sort of competition for prestige and allies in Asia, and that each step backward by America means a step forward for China. Let's grant that this somewhat simplistic analysis has a grain of truth to it.
Imagine if the Democrats in 2007, having just regained control of the Congress, had decided to go to the mat against the Bush tax cuts. Imagine that they voted repeatedly to repeal them. They tried to delay implementation. They linked repeal to debt ceiling legislation. And while most of them knew better than to shut down the government over marginal tax rates, for a group critical to Nancy Pelosi’s majority, repeal had become a matter of religion.
1. Syria Is Going to Become Al QaedastanOf all the reasons for the international community’s skittishness about ending the regime of Bashar Al Assad, perhaps the biggest is the fear of a fanatical, Al Qaeda–linked government rising in its place. Voices as ideologically disparate as Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, former Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Senator Ted Cruz have raised this concern.
Helping Washington decode what the Russians are really after.
John Kerry’s accidental diplomacy may have saved President Obama in Washington, but here in Israel, the White House’s indecisiveness of the last few weeks will cast a long shadow. Israel has kept a low profile in the Syrian civil war, launching anonymous strikes periodically to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, but otherwise keeping mum—and with good reason.
The biggest burden of being president is surely having to make decisions that will lead to people being killed and maimed in war: American soldiers who die decades before their time, innocent civilians in enemy countries, even enemy soldiers who rarely bear any moral responsibility for the decisions that make their countries our enemies.