The group blog of The New Republic

September 2, 2013

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.


As the eventual triumph of marriage equality in the United States came to seem more and more inevitable over the past several months and years, a new line emerged among some liberals: Okay, this argument went, we fought for it, we are winning, and we will win; but with all the states passing it, with the Supreme Court codifying it, and with public opinion moving


The purpose of Labor Day is to give American workers recognition and honor—and to give them a little rest. Boy could they use it. As Tom Schaller notes today in the Baltimore Sun, workers in this country are among the most productive in the world. Yet they get less paid vacation time and fewer guarantees of time off than their peers in other industrialized countries. Nor has pay kept up.


August 31, 2013

Barack Obama, known previously for his caution, has decided to take an enormous risk and seek Congressional authorization for a military strike against Syria. If Obama fails to get authorization, does he then go ahead regardless? Or does he renege on his promise to enforce a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons? At risk is Obama’s presidency and the country’s ability to act in the world.


Today, President Obama finally addressed the main question that has gripped this town on Syria: will he or won't he?

He will, as we knew he would. But now he has added for himself another hurdle on the road to Damascus: Congress.

Citing "some people's" reluctance to repeat the example of David Cameron losing control over his party in Parliament, Obama said, no, he was going to take this thing to Congress because we are a Constitutional democracy.


My Reluctant Opposition to the Syria Campaign

I'm pro-intervention in principle, but Obama hasn't sold me on it

I’m not remotely an expert on foreign policy in general or Syria in particular. At best I’d call myself a semi-informed lay-person.


August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney was the lyrical Virgilian guide for a bewildered Irish generation.


Today, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the case against Assad, summarizing the unclassified intelligence assessment that was just then landing in reporters' inboxes: Bashar al-Assad and his minions knew about, prepared for, and carried out a massive attack using a nerve agent on areas outside Damascus that his regime had trouble clearing of the opposition, "to break a stalemate." The


This week's cover story, by Elizabeth Weil, documents a new and disturbing trend in childhood education: emotional self-regulation. This new ideal for American school children does away with traditional discipline and encourages students to control their own impulses—but at what cost to non-conformist children? Read the story online Monday night.

Photograph by Erin Patrice O'Brien

I largely dislike reading op-ed columnists. All too often, columnists hem and haw and posture and drop references to their famous friends and fancy trips. They make points that are obvious. They are overly pious. They hew to the party line. They love moderation. They love pointing out how they love moderation even more than they love moderation. They give credit where it is not due for politeness’s sake. They gin up fake controversies out of deadline desperation. They feign shock they don’t really feel. Even when I agree with them, I am bored by about paragraph three.