Khamenei vs. Khomeini
August 20, 2009

During his August 3 speech formally endorsing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned protesters that “by imitation of Ayatollah Khomeini, they cannot deceive people.” Khamenei was mocking the opposition’s claim to be to reviving “the values of Ayatollah Khomeini”--the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Khamenei’s predecessor as Supreme Leader. Ironically, Khamenei made this statement while seated below a large, framed picture of Khomeini. This scene provides a stark illustration of the fact that politics in Iran are largely defined by attempts to claim Khomeini’s legacy.

The Politics of the Jackboot
August 20, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Try a thought experiment: What would conservatives have said if a group of loud, scruffy leftists had brought guns to the public events of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush?  How would our friends on the right have reacted to someone at a Reagan or a Bush speech carrying a sign that read: "It's time to water he tree of liberty"?

No Muslims Here
August 17, 2009

For years, the Soviet Union and its successor, the Russian Federation, were active handmaidens to Arab and Muslim terrorism. Of course, the targets had to be Israel and Israelis or Jews, Westerners, capitalists and other people vulgarly associated with the United States. Terrorism now strikes everywhere. Russia is a target of some ideologically intoxicated band virtually every day. China is now also a more or less regular target. And Thailand, the Philippines, India and so on, wherever there are enough Muslims to have political ambitions for even an Islamic mini-state.

Defending The Nerds: Are The Best And Brightest Really All That Bad?
August 14, 2009

Washington in the early days of a new administration is a didactic, lesson-drawing place, but even so, it has been striking to see how quickly the commentary on the death of Robert McNamara, defense secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and architect of the Vietnam war, has turned to abstraction--as if it was not one exceptionally smart man being buried, but a certain kind of smarts itself. "What happened ... to Robert McNamara teaches a lesson to all those who talk of governments of all the talents," editorialized The Times of London.

Realism In Action
August 13, 2009

State Department European affairs chief Phil Gordon to visit Belarus, meet with "Europe's last dictator." --Michael Crowley

What Motivated The Mehsud Killing?
August 11, 2009

One interesting wrinkle in the story of Baitullah Mehsud's assassination-by-drone is that Mehsud has long been a higher-priority target for Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, than he has been for the United States. This may have been for personal reasons. Pakistan and the CIA both believe that Baitullah Mehsud was responsible for the assassination of Zardari's wife, Benazir Bhutto. And ever since, Zardari has feared that he will be the next target. The Bush administration, however, was reportedly unwilling to send drones against Mehsud.

Failure of Leadership
August 10, 2009

Last week, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States government can afford a civilian. Among the 16 awardees are truly great figures: breast cancer philanthropist Nancy Goodman Brinker, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

"...A Government In Tel Aviv..." What Nonsense! Alas, It's Also Rancid Bigotry And Deceit
August 05, 2009

The phrase, "a government in Tel Aviv," does not come from an article written in 1948 during which the provisional government of Israel had, in fact, headquartered itself in the city then only 40 years old. Not at all.

How Confused Are Americans About Health Care?
July 30, 2009

The New York Times' lede story today, which summarizes the paper's poll on health care and other issues, has taken flak from Mickey Kaus (second item). Here is the Times: Over all, the poll portrays a nation torn by conflicting impulses and confusion. In one finding, 75 percent of respondents said they were concerned that the cost of their own health care would eventually go up if the government did not create a system of providing health care for all Americans.

Today At Tnr (july 28, 2009)
July 28, 2009

Obama Vs. Bibi? Six Ways The President Can Regain Israeli Trust, by Yossi Klein Halevi So Are We Having Our ‘Conversation’ On Race Now, Or What? by John McWhorter Washington Diarist: Leszek Kolakowski And The Spirituality Of Philosophy, by Leon Wieseltier Why It’s Dangerous To Spend Too Little On Health Reform, by Jonathan Cohn The Venezuelan Constitution Vs. The Venezuelan Reality. (The Constitution Is Losing.), by Francisco Toro The Case For A Four-Day Workweek, by Bradford Plumer From Joe The Plumber To Frank Ricci To Sgt. Crowley, Are Aggrieved White Men The GOP's Best Hope?