November 12, 2009
When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally. The distinction matters. An alliance is an institution negotiated between two sovereign governments in which each agrees to a series of reciprocal obligations that have the force of law.
The November Pogrom
November 12, 2009
In our collective memory of the Holocaust, Kristallnacht occupies a central but ambiguous place. If you look simply at the statistics, there is little reason why the events of November 9-10, 1938, should loom so large.
Abortion, Catholics, and the Health Care Bill
November 10, 2009
Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Just before the House of Representatives voted on the Stupak Amendment, designed to stop any public funding of insurance plans that cover abortion, the U. S. Conference on Catholic Bishops (USCCB) weighed in with its endorsement.
Debating the Health Care Bill
November 09, 2009
I had a friend visiting me this weekend who had fervently backed Barack Obama for President (against the “devil-woman” Hillary), but who now thinks Obama has betrayed his followers – most recently by agreeing to disastrous compromises in the health insurance bill.
Does Fort Hood Have a Meaning (cont'd)?
November 09, 2009
I continue to be puzzled/annoyed by the reluctance to call the Fort Hood shootings a terrorist act. If we're going to label Scott Roeder--a man with a history of mental illness and extreme religious and political views who allegedly killed George Tiller--an anti-abortion terrorist, then I don't see the problem in calling Nidal Hassan a terrorist, since there's plenty of evidence* that his actions were motivated, in part, by his religious and political views.
Budapest, The Berlin Wall, and Iran: What Obama Does Not Grasp
November 08, 2009
It is just about 30 years since the wall around Iran went up. And it is a few days away from fully 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The Berliner Mauer had been up for more than a quarter century, and its surface facing east, grim gray, was a metaphor for life in the German Democratic Republic. On its western face graffiti evoked the freer spirit of the half-city whose heart had nonetheless been broken by the Soviet goose step that divided it. And the Cold War was won on the very day the authorities of the D.D.R.
Abortion Rights Opponents Get Their Day--and Maybe Their Way
November 07, 2009
Opponents of abortion rights won a significant political victory last night, making it more likely that millions of American women will no longer be able to purchase insurance that covers abortion services. At issue is what happens inside the new insurance exchanges, through which small businesses and people purchasing coverage on their own would shop for insurance. People purchasing coverage through the exchanges would be eligible for subsidies if their household incomes were below four times the poverty level.
‘With Them or With Us’
November 05, 2009
Almost three decades ago, a group of radical Islamist students, dressed in army fatigues or covered in scarves and black chadors, forced their way into the American embassy in Tehran. According to some accounts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then a student at a second-tier technical college in Tehran, was invited to join the hostage takers. He declined, saying he would join only if they would also occupy the Soviet embassy in Tehran.
Tall, Bronze, and Hideous
November 04, 2009
James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, now writes on culture for several publications. That Golem that was just unveiled in one of the main squares of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, turns out to be none other than William Jefferson Clinton. Apparently he is something of a god over there: The locals are grateful for his initiating, in 1999, the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia that curbed Serbian aggressions against the ethnic Albanians, and so they have raised this astounding monument to the man.
Nice Guys Finish Last
November 03, 2009
If Creigh Deeds loses today—and few candidates have hoisted themselves out of the kind of hole he’s dug—let it be known that the Commonwealth of Virginia missed out on having a very nice man in Richmond. “When you elect a governor, you elect not only their positions, but you elect their character, their heart,” declared Senator Mark Warner, to a gamely cheering crowd of about 150 in Alexandria’s Market Square last night.