From the Left



John McCain, a man of supreme resolve and honor

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

John McCain's mother's name is Roberta. She is 105. When I met her, she was somewhat younger and something of a mythical figure to those who knew her son. He had often told about her trips through Europe and Asia by car while in her 90s, and so one night at a party John McCain was giving I approached her, wanting to know more about her. I asked ...Read more

Could mercenaries end America's longest war?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I differed with a friend who said I was wrong to support an invasion of Afghanistan to root out al-Qaida and punish the Taliban. I said America had no choice but to make the terrorists and their Afghan host pay for what they had done. I insisted I was right. That, amazingly was almost 16 years...Read more

On his trip abroad, Trump left America's values behind

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Somewhere over the Atlantic, as Air Force One was hurtling toward Poland, President Trump opened the door and threw out America's values. In Warsaw, he delivered a speech a parakeet could have swiftly mastered -- "That's trouble, that's tough," he called the 1939 dual invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union. He then moved on to ...Read more

With North Korea, the art of the deal is steadfastness

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Of all the wars with odd names -- the War of Jenkins' Ear comes to mind -- the potential one with North Korea may take its rightful place. It could be called the War of Trump's Mouth for all the stupid and inconsistent things the president has said about both China and North Korea. He needs to get the former to squeeze the latter, but he has ...Read more

In battling the media, Trump is harming you

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Leave it to Ben Bradlee to set things straight. The late executive editor of The Washington Post appeared on "The Dick Cavett Show" back in March 1973 and talked about the Pentagon Papers. They contained the secret history of America's involvement in Vietnam and were first published by The New York Times and then The Washington Post, against the...Read more

With inaction, Trump shows a weakness for Russia

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Every once in a while, as often as a blue moon or a politician forgoing the use of the word "frankly," I utter a soft "Right on" in response to something President Trump has done or tweeted. This occurred recently when he took Barack Obama to task for his weak -- and tardy -- response to Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. For a moment there...Read more

The capitulation of Marco Rubio, the Florida butterfly

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Little Marco has made up with Big Donald.

The pliable Republican senator from Florida and the deranged president of the United States now get along. It was only a bit more than a year ago that they were hurling verbal spitballs at one another. Donald Trump called Marco Rubio "Little Marco," and Rubio called Trump a "con artist." Rubio suggested...Read more

Why do Republicans think that Trump, like cheese, will get softer with time?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In college, I had an anthropology teacher who roamed the Earth studying bizarre folkways. But the people who most fascinated him happened to be in his own backyard -- New Yorkers who could remain asleep on a screeching subway as it started, stopped and even when the power failed and the lights blinked, finally going as dark as Donald Trump's ...Read more

In praise of cultural appropriation

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The great jazz singer Billie Holiday recorded "Strange Fruit" on April 20, 1939. It is a song about lynchings, inspired by the 1930 murder of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, who were photographed, in the words of the song, "hanging from the poplar trees." Holiday sang the song so often and it meant so much to her that she apparently came to ...Read more

Campus muzzling leaves a mark

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

From time to time, I email Allison Stanger. She answers always, but says she is not yet healthy enough to talk. On March 2, Stanger was escorting the social scientist Charles Murray, whose speech at Middlebury College where she teaches had just been shouted down, when the mob charged their car. "Someone pulled my hair," she recounted, "while ...Read more

Can Captain Trump keep control of his ship?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Back in 1951, Herman Wouk published the definitive book about the Trump administration. He set it in 1943, during the war in the Pacific, aboard a destroyer-minesweeper skippered by a paranoid man with a compulsion to blame others for his mistakes. The captain was named Philip Francis Queeg, his ship was called the USS Caine and the novel was "...Read more

A team of bobble-heads

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

When history holds its trial to account for the Donald Trump presidency, Trump himself will be acquitted on grounds of madness. History will look at his behavior, his erratic and childish lying and his flamboyant ignorance of history itself and pronounce the man, like George III, a cuckoo for whom restraint, but not punishment, was necessary. ...Read more

Walter Mondale, the original Hillary Clinton

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

I once wrote a column in praise of competence. The object of my admiration was Walter Mondale, then running for president against Ronald Reagan. The president's message was that it was "morning again in America." Mondale's message was that he was competent. He lost 49 states. He was Hillary Clinton even before she was.

The comparison is apt -- ...Read more

Donald Trump and the juvenilia of a deluded leader

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The greatest achievement of Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president was that there was a 101st. If things continue this way, he will finish out his term and then the nation, like someone after a boozy night, can right itself and get on with its business. We will restore the environment, repair alliances, recognize science, welcome ...Read more

Lady Liberty’s torch burns less bright

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

My friend, publicity shy but otherwise admirable, has an odd way of spending his free time. He flies to some of the world’s most Godforsaken places and tries to help some of the world’s most Godforsaken people. This is how he got to the Dadaab refugee camp on the Somalia-Kenya border, a moonscape of sun-blanched trees adorned with errant ...Read more

Trump’s Supporters Have Been Duped

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In the last week or so, Donald Trump has decided not to be totally Donald Trump. He has changed his positions on many issues, often by simply contradicting himself and sometimes by repudiating what he once said. However he does it, it comes down to this: If policies were sexual identities, Trump wouldn’t know which bathroom to use.

Trump has ...Read more

Recklessness is Not a Policy

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Last week was bad for two nations. The first was Syria, which got 59 Tomahawk missiles slammed into it, destroying part of its air force, causing some casualties and losing the confidence that it could use a nerve agent with impunity. The second was the United States, which launched those missiles and then, with some exceptions, roared its ...Read more

Nikki Haley Advocates Human Rights on Behalf of a Heartless President

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Nikki Haley, the new ambassador to the United Nations, came before the Council on Foreign Relations last week to, among other things, pronounce human rights as at “the heart” of her mission. She mentioned the term “human rights” about 30 times, leaving no doubt about her seriousness. Later that day the State Department announced that it ...Read more

Is Israel Losing its Soul Over the West Bank?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

WASHINGTON -- On what seems a regular basis, the United Nations takes a poke at Israel -- for its settlements policy, its treatment of Palestinians and, once, in the 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, merely for existing. Altogether, the U.N. and its agencies have condemned Israel so many times that, on one of those proportional maps,...Read more

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