A Victory for Democratic Foreign Policy
May 03, 2011
Dobson argues that Bin Laden's death was a victory for Democratic foreign policymakers and helped cement Obama's place in history.
Why Has the U.S. Been So Soft on Bashar Assad?
March 29, 2011
I don’t know where to begin. So let me start with Bashar Al Assad—whose father, Hafez, Jimmy Carter wrote he had higher regard for than any other leader in the Middle East. Barack Obama never said anything quite that hagiographic about the son. But Hillary Clinton, his pliant chief diplomat, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the Syrian president was considered by members of Congress from both parties to be a “reformer.” How many senators and representatives will own up to Hillary’s characterization? It is hokum. The hokum started long ago.
Man Versus Wild
March 16, 2011
The earthquake and potential nuclear catastrophe in Japan have brought home a set of questions that have haunted philosophers for hundreds of years—and have played an important role in American politics for over a century. They have to do with the relationship between humanity and nature—not nature as “the outdoors,” but as the obdurate bio-geo-physiochemical reality in which human beings and other animals dwell. To what extent does nature set limits on human possibilities?
Obama’s Moment of Truth
March 15, 2011
Each president of the United States enters office thinking he will be able to define the agenda and set the course of America’s relations with the rest of the world. And, almost invariably, each confronts crises that are thrust upon him—wars, revolutions, genocides, and deadly confrontations. Neither Woodrow Wilson nor FDR imagined having to plunge America into world war. Truman had to act quickly, and with little preparation, to confront the menace of Soviet expansion at war’s end.
March 03, 2011
After many feints in this direction dating back to 1996, Newt Gingrich seems to be finally preparing a run for president. Generally, he is not being taken as seriously as potential candidates like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee—or even D.C. insider heartthrobs such as Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie. I agree with this assessment of Gingrich’s potential, to an extent; he’s the opposite of a fresh new face, and the guy’s baggage rivals Charlie Sheen’s.
Egypt and the Liberal Realists
February 03, 2011
Washington—The democratic uprising in Egypt has brought into relief a gradual and little-noticed transformation in American politics. Over the last decade, ideological divisions over the role of democracy and human rights in American foreign policy have been scrambled. In the meantime, President Obama has restored foreign policy realism to the White House, giving a liberal gloss to what had traditionally been a conservative disposition.
Snore or Snare?
January 26, 2011
The ideas and policy proposals in Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address were anything but fresh and original. Much of it could easily have been harvested from any number of interchangeable speeches given during the last 20 years—not just by presidents by members of Congress, governors, mayors, and CEOs—from both parties. Yet that may have been exactly the point. By staking his claim to decades of well-worn political detritus, I think Obama has set a cunning political trap for his enemies. A crash program for economic competitiveness?
The States And Peoples Of Africa...The Coming Break-Up
January 10, 2011
Perhaps it was fated that Sudan, possibly the most preposterous of African states and certainly among the most murderous members of the United Nations, should after two wars waged against populations imprisoned within its borders be the first to actually break up. Of course, it depends on two uncertain circumstances. The first is that secession wins the vote in the south. The second depends on whether Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan who is under indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, would allow the choice of independence to stand.
December 27, 2010
I've been annoyed about today's Ross Douthat's column all day, so I suppose I should write something about it. Here's the paragraph that annoyed me: The fantasy was the idea that Barack Obama, a one-term senator with an appealing biography and a silver tongue, would turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled into one. This fantasy inspired a wave of 1960s-style enthusiasm, an unsettling personality cult (that “Yes We Can” video full of harmonizing celebrities only gets creepier in hindsight) and a lot of over-the-top promises from Obama himself.
Field of Dreams
December 01, 2010
This is the inaugural edition of Ed Kilgore's new political column, the PERMANENT CAMPAIGN. Check back every week for obsessive coverage of the 2012 contest. It's time to smack down, once and for all, the idea that President Obama will face a serious primary challenger in 2012. This trope has been popping up ever since the 2008 general election, when horserace-hungry pundits speculated that Hillary Clinton would try to knock off the Democratic nominee four years down the road.