Politics, Moderate



A Modern Version of 'Massive Resistance'?

WASHINGTON -- After the Supreme Court's historic 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Southern politicians adopted a strategy that became known as "massive resistance." It doomed the South to a losing battle not just against the court, but a majority of Americans.

Some GOP conservatives may be on the verge of making a similar mistake in ...Read more

Iran's Janus gambit

WASHINGTON -- Iran enters the endgame of the nuclear talks with what amount to two negotiating positions -- the parameters reportedly endorsed in April at Lausanne by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and another set of "red lines" drawn this week by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The two positions are significantly different. The first version offers...Read more

Why Baker-Hamilton Merits a Fresh Read

WASHINGTON -- "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. ... Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability."

That's from the opening page of the 2006 Iraq Study Group report. Nine years later, it's haunting to revisit the bipartisan commission review chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee ...Read more

Bush and Clinton Should Embrace Their Brands

WASHINGTON -- The two dynastic candidates told compelling stories recently about why they should be president, but there has been one big difference: Jeb Bush has taken the political risk of disagreeing with his party's base, and Hillary Clinton hasn't.

Their formal announcement speeches were overdue but offered coherent accounts of why they ...Read more

The Point Man Against Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON -- In November 2012, Jeh Johnson, who was then the Pentagon's general counsel, let himself speculate in a speech about al-Qaeda, "How will this conflict end?" He foresaw a "tipping point" at which U.S. officials might be able to say that the group had been "effectively destroyed."

That was then. Nearly three years later, al-Qaeda and...Read more

Dueling Manifestos for Iraq

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration and the Islamic State both issued new manifestos for the battle in Iraq this week. Guess which one is more forceful?

The U.S. plan is to add 450 additional military advisers who will train Sunni tribal fighters at an airbase in Anbar province. It's a careful, incremental step. The American troops won't go ...Read more

Democracy Reigns in Turkey

WASHINGTON -- The march of authoritarianism around the world has had different names over the past decade: "Neo-Ottomanism," "Putinism," "the Beijing Consensus." The shared premise has been that fragile democratic systems were no match for strong rulers who could impose top-down solutions.

This idea of the efficient despot got a sharp rebuff ...Read more

Assad Nears the Tipping Point

WASHINGTON -- The regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria is facing what U.S. experts say is the most intense pressure since the early days of the four-year civil war. This new squeeze poses some stark choices for America, Russia, Iran and Syria's neighbors.

"Based on current trend lines, it is time to start thinking about a post-Assad ...Read more

A Juggler's Act in Asia

WASHINGTON -- When South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited Washington two years ago, she spoke of "Asia's paradox" -- a disconnect between the region's growing economic cooperation and its deep political and security tensions.

This dissonance is still evident as Park prepares for another visit to Washington on June 16, especially in the ...Read more

The Need for Old-Fashioned Spying

WASHINGTON -- The unexpected fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State this month is the latest sign of a basic intelligence problem: The U.S. doesn't know enough about its jihadist adversaries to combat them effectively.

This intelligence deficit afflicts the military, the CIA and other agencies. The problem has been several decades in the making, ...Read more

Distracted by Trivia While Libya Burned

WASHINGTON -- Secretaries of state have had private contacts since the job was created, so it's a mistake to get too indignant about Hillary Clinton's email exchanges about Libya with her longtime friend, Sidney Blumenthal. Still, these messages offer some useful insights about the court politics of Washington, and the way policymaking can be ...Read more

The Center Needs a Voice

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton's move to the left on trade and other issues is a reminder of the growing power of activists on the wings in presidential nominating politics -- and a corresponding diminution of the power of the center.

"Social and demographic shifts mean that no left-leaning position Clinton takes now would be likely to hurt her"...Read more

A Big Setback in Ramadi

WASHINGTON -- The capture of Ramadi last weekend by Islamic State fighters is a significant setback for U.S. strategy in Iraq and shows that, nearly a year after the extremists overran Mosul, the U.S. still doesn't have a viable plan for protecting the country's Sunni areas.

The collapse of the Iraqi army in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar ...Read more

Is Clinton Ready to Lead?

WASHINGTON -- President Obama, so often cool and cautious in his language, gave a full-throated roar on trade last week, saying that Sen. Elizabeth Warren was "absolutely wrong" in her criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that "her arguments don't stand the test of fact and scrutiny."

I think Obama is right about the TPP, but there's ...Read more

The Antidote to Mideast Violence

WASHINGTON -- As Arab leaders gather for discussions at Camp David this week, the Obama administration is quietly debating a revision of its strategy against the Islamic State to reflect a U.S. assessment that the terrorist group poses a global threat.

Given the swirling vortex of challenges and threats in the Middle East, U.S. officials hope ...Read more

Netanyahu's Shaky Base

TEL AVIV -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a dominating political figure in the U.S. this year, seemingly invincible as he hurled thunderbolts at President Obama and other adversaries. But here in Israel, not so much.

After winning a narrow election victory in March, Netanyahu formed a fragile government late Wednesday with a bare ...Read more

Bin Laden's Last Plans

WASHINGTON -- In the months before his death in May 2011, Osama bin Laden was discussing new gambits -- from a truce with Pakistan to opportunistic alliances with jihadist groups spawned by the Arab Spring -- so that he could focus on tipping what he called "the balance of fear" with his main enemy, the United States.

This picture of a cagey, ...Read more

Iran Shows Interest in Mideast Peace

NEW YORK -- U.S. and Iranian officials have been insisting the last several years that they wanted to resolve the nuclear issue before discussing the sectarian wars that are raging across the Middle East. Not anymore. As the battles have escalated in recent months, so has talk about regional diplomacy.

The interest in peace talks was voiced by ...Read more

Abe's Quest to Revive Japan

WASHINGTON -- It may not be obvious during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's choreographed visit to Washington this week, but he's a study in contradictions. The dissonance actually helps explain how Abe is trying to revive a moribund Japan.

Abe is a deeply conservative man who has become an "accidental progressive" in his drive to shake up the ...Read more

Turkey's Long-Ago Slaughter of Armenians

WASHINGTON -- Where do I look for hope on this day that marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide? To the brave Turkish and Armenian human rights activists who have gathered in Istanbul this week to commemorate together the tragic events of 1915 and find a pathway to the future.

The Turkish activists embrace a demand that has been ...Read more

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Nick Anderson Signe Wilkinson Mike Lester Chip Bok Mike Luckovich Clay Bennett